Category Archives: Uncategorized

probably instructed by pindostan to try to enter euro army then act as spoilers, like with the EU

London Offers to Ink New Euro Defense Pact
Alex Gorka, Strategic Culture, Feb 21 2018

Lots of things happen and many problems get discussed but the concept of EU security remains as vague as ever. In her speech at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on Feb 17, the British PM Theresa May called for a new defense pact with the EU. She believes this issue should be considered apart from the Brexit negotiations. This is an obvious about-face, as Britain has always opposed the idea of setting up a European defense alliance, fearing it would sap NATO resources. EU officials welcomed the PM’s initiative, emphasizing the need to separate this issue from Brexit. On Feb 16, the spy chiefs from Britain, France, and Germany urged the EU not to jeopardize their data-sharing agreements when Britain terminates its EU membership. And they made this request openly in a press release! Theresa May wants the new pact up and running by 2019, when Britain is to pull out of the EU, and sooner if possible. There are just 10 months left to reach an agreement: a tall order, but May insists she is in a hurry. She claims there is no need to wait until the Brexit deal has been finalized to get this signed. In a nutshell, British forces will continue to take part in EU missions, weapons will be developed jointly, London will continue to contribute to foreign aid programs, anti-terrorist activities will be coordinated, and international problems related to security will be handled cooperatively. In practice, this means all the parties will synchronize their foreign policies, as all problems are always related to security in one way or another. Although the idea of forming a defense pact outside of NATO has been a matter of concern for Faschingstein, no Pindo representative at the forum spoke against it. This sudden change in the Pindo attitude is striking. Prior to the conference, Pindo Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison had expressed grave concern over PESCO, warning it could undermine NATO. Heralded as a turning point, PESCO emerged in late 2017. Britain, along with Denmark and Malta, has not joined. The pact commits its signatories to using the European Defense Agency for the joint development of any new weapon systems. This means that missions from the EU will have priority over those from NATO. Hutchison warned there could be serious consequences for the EU if it shuts Pindo defense companies out of PESCO projects.

Europe’s push for an independent system of defense is gaining momentum. An idea that had been mere words for some time has now taken shape as PESCO, a tangible step on the path toward a joint European armed force. Not every conflict that the Europeans have gotten mixed up in has been in their best interest. It was Pindostan & Britain who invaded Iraq in 2003, while Germany and France opposed the move. The rationale for sending European troops to Afghanistan was to demonstrate support for Pindostan. The decision to launch a NATO train-and-assist mission in Iraq made at the Feb 15 meeting of defense chiefs, forces Europe to join Pindostan in its confrontation with Iran, a country that is offering lucrative contracts to European companies. Europe can never be truly independent without the capability to mount a robust defense on its own. For instance, the EU needs a joint border force to prevent illegal immigration, which is plainly a real threat. But NATO obliges Europeans to spend their resources deploying more forces to counter Russia, an imaginary threat no one takes seriously.  A border force would bolster EU security while an unneeded confrontation with Russia would weaken it. Russia and the EU naval task forces worked together to fight Somali pirates. In 2008, Russia sent four helicopters and 200 soldiers to join the EU operation in Chad. Security is an area in which Moscow and Brussels could be cooperating instead of confronting each other, were it not for the Americans. A robust EU defense policy runs counter to the interests of NATO, while meeting the interests of European independence. The transatlantic relationship has been frayed enough with Pres Trump in the White House. Opposing the concept openly is too risky. So Pindostan has decided to maintain its control over the process “with a little help from its friends.” For Pindo, Britain has always been the friend in Europe they could rely on in a pinch. With Britain becoming a leading member of this new European alliance, Pindo interests will be well protected, while the existence of an independent European force will remain a pipe dream.

i assume phil writes these for strategic culture, they don’t just help themselves from his blog

When Will Congress Investigate All Interference in Elections?
Philip Giraldi, Strategic Culture, Feb 22 2018

The atmosphere in Pindostan regarding possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is something like hysteria, with a real danger that bilateral relations might break down completely as a result. Indeed, a number of politicians and senior government officials have described the allegations that Moscow sought to influence the election results as an “act of war” with Congressman Jerold Nadler even declaring that it was similar to Pearl Harbor. Assuming that the indictment against 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies filed last week by Robert Mueller is accurate, the reported activity of the Internet Research Agency could indeed have been part of an intelligence operation seeking to influence developments in Pindostan, but the organization’s employees also displayed considerable amateur behavior, suggesting that they were not professional spies, supporting the stronger argument that it was not a Russian government-run operation at all. Pindostan is hardly innocent when it comes to interfering in the domestic politics of both friends and enemies. That is very often what intelligence agencies are designed to do, and no one is more active in interfering in foreign governments and elections than Pindostan. The Russian election featuring Boris Yeltsin in 1996 was arranged by Faschingstein working with the IMF, and more recently there was the $5b invested in bringing “democracy” to Ukraine in 2014. Pindostan was also involved in many of the elections in post-war Europe, most particularly in countries whose own democratic systems were still evolving. The CIA worked to keep communists out of the government in Italy’s 1976 national election. Conservative parties received sacks of money, and articles warning about communism appeared in all the major newspapers. The major covert action proceeded even though Italy was a NATO member and the corruption that the intervention brought with it has blighted Italian politics to this day.

Then there are Pindostan’s friends who in similar fashion interfere in Pindo politics to support their own national agendas. Most active recently have been Israel and the Toads, both of which have an identical foreign policy goal, which is to end what they describe as the Iranian threat in their region. As neither has the resources to go it alone, both seek to involve Pindostan in what would likely be a catastrophic war for all involved, leaving Riyadh and Tel Aviv standing on the sidelines to pick up the pieces. The lobby for the Toads in Pindostan operates largely below the surface, working on individual congress-critturs and through the funding of think-tanks. Israel’s manipulation of Pindostan is much more overt. One can argue that what we are now calling Russiagate all started when Michael Flynn called Sergei Kislyak on Dec 22 2016. The call was made at the direction of Jared Kushner, who in turn had been approached by Netanyahu to change a UN vote critical of Israel. Kushner asked Flynn to help Israel by undermining what was being done by the Obama government, still in power in Faschingstein. In legal terms this most certainly could be construed as covered by the “conspiracy against Pindostan” statute that the Mueller investigation has exploited in the recent Russian indictments. Mueller’s indictment specifically claimed that the Russians created false Pindo personas while also stealing actual identities. But the Russians are being accused of involvement in activity that Israel engages in openly. It has interfered in Pindo elections, for instance promoting Romney over Obama in 2012, and has a powerful and well-funded lobby in AIPAC that intervenes aggressively in Pindo foreign and domestic policy. The Israeli government’s hasbara arm uses false internet identities to confuse and deflect critical stories. They do so routinely and do not even try to hide what they are doing. Part of their agenda is to smear critics and elect politicians favorable to them. So, when will Mueller and the several congressional committees that are investigating the Russians move on to the topic of Israel and the Toads to find out what really effective foreign influencing operations looks like? Given the power of Israel and the Toads over Congress, probably never.

james risen is “a bitchy, passive-aggressive concern troll”

Background:

Materials:

Why is a Russian Troll Farm Being Compared to 9/11?
The Real News, Feb 20 2018


Robert Mueller’s charges against 13 Russians and their troll farm for “information warfare” against Pindostan has prompted comparisons to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Max Blumenthal breaks down the indictment and the overblown reaction.

The Dog’s Bollox
The Intercept, Feb 21 2018

James Risen and Glenn Greenwald have both won Pulitzer Prizes. They both have found themselves in the crosshairs of the government for their journalism. And they both write for The Intercept. But Jim and Glenn have taken very different approaches to covering the Trump/Russia story. In this one-hour special video edition of Intercepted, they go head-to-head in a debate. Glenn is one of the most high-profile critics of the official story bolstered by the intelligence community, the Demagogs and many media outlets, including some of this country’s most powerful papers and news channels. Jim battled both the Bush and Obama administrations for refusing to name his sources, despite the threat of imprisonment, in some of the most sensitive national security reporting of the modern era. Jim recently broke a key story on a secret NSA channel to Russia and his first column for The Intercept, about the Trump/Russia investigation, posed the question: Is Donald Trump a traitor?

the european cannon is here

The 2018 Munich Security Conference and the emerging conflict between Pindostan & Eurostan
Alex Lantier, WSWS, Feb 22 2018

The Munich Security Conference (MSC) held last weekend was dominated by rising, potentially violent conflicts between the imperialist powers, led by Pindostan, and Russia and China. How close the world is to a possible war between nuclear armed powers was epitomized by the MSC’s main report, which featured an introduction by Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger that warned:

The world has gotten much too close to the brink of a significant conflict.

Ischinger backed up this assessment by listing Pindo war threats against NK, China’s rapid economic growth, conflict with Russia in Eastern Europe, and the Pindo confrontation with Iran. Yet amid all the talk of a common “external threat” in the form of Russia, China or Iran, the MSC was characterized by a widening rift between Pindostan & Eurostan (the EU) centred on plans to create an independent European military capability. This was initiated last year by the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) treaty and detailed in a second MSC document, entitled:

More European, More Connected and More Capable. Building the European Armed Forces of the Future.

It was impossible to hide the accelerating historical collapse of the institutions of world capitalism that Faschingstein created after emerging from WW2 as the imperialist world hegemon. Just nine months ago, in response to Pres Trump declaring his belief that NATO was an outmoded institution, Chancellor Merkel said that Berlin would now pursue an independent foreign policy from Washington. In the future, she said, “we will have to fight for ourselves.” At the 2018 MSC, the EU led by Berlin and Paris declared that they would no longer be constrained in their own actions by NATO structures dominated by Pindostan, but would undertake to become an independent world power, spending hundreds of billions of euros per year on their own war machine. In the run-up to the MSC, plans were announced in both Berlin and Madrid for a doubling of military spending, and Paris announced a €300b military budget for 2018-2024. This 35% increase included tens of billions spent on nuclear weapons. Taking advantage of Pindo demands for increased military spending and for Europe to assume its share of the burden of policing the world, the erstwhile euro puppets declared that they would now take their rightful place in a new multi-polar world:

‘Pindostan First’ and Brexit may have the welcome effect that other stakeholders in the liberal order try to make up for less internationalist Anglo-Saxons. The EU as a whole could play a stabilizing role for the liberal international order, as could other groupings of liberal democracies, such as the renewed ‘Quad’ in the Asia-Pacific.

The MSC report’s proposals for the EU to become a world power finds its echo in the agreement on which the CDU/CSU and the SDP intend to form a new “Grand Coalition” government working in alliance with Pres Macron in France. This pact lays out a staggering area for EU influence: the Balkans, Russia, Turkey, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, the whole MENA. The EU aims to build a sphere of influence larger than that of the Third Reich at the height of Hitler’s conquests. Macron’s call for a return to the draft in France and threats to bomb Syria are signals that the EU plans to pursue these aims through large-scale resort to arms. These plans elicited a warning from Mad Dog Mattis spox that Faschingstein had concerns that some proposed initiatives risked pulling resources or capabilities away from NATO. Mattis asked the Euro powers for written assurances that EU military cooperation would not compete with the NATO alliance, which they refused to provide. Since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, Pindo policy has been to use its unchallengeable military position to maintain its dominance of world affairs. In a 1992 document, Pentagon planners asserted:

We need to convince potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture, and discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order.

This has failed. Basing themselves on a Berlin-Paris axis, powerful factions of the European imperialist bourgeoisie are now openly challenging Pindostan’s role as undisputed world hegemon. Accompanying these military tensions is a dramatic deterioration in political and economic relations. The Euro powers reject Pindostan’s ultimatum regarding the Iranian nuclear deal, and face renewed sanctions that could hit billions of dollars’ worth of Euro business in Iran. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel delivered a blunt statement at the MSC:

We negotiated this deal together. We refuse to give it up and we will not do so. On the contrary, we advise our Pindo friends not to let this deal fail.

The EC has also denounced threats from Pres Trump of a 24% tariff on steel and a 7.7% tax on aluminum, and threatened reprisals against a range of Pindo imports. Two days after the end of the MSC, EU finance ministers met to discuss their collective response to Trump’s threat and his declaration that he will slash corporation tax to encourage a repatriation of high-tech industrial investment to Pindostan. Handelsblatt commented:

Wars sometimes start by mistake. For example, Historians have often compared the prelude to WW1 with the stuttering of sleepwalkers. This is no different with trade wars. The verbal rearmament that is currently taking place between Pindostan, Eurostan & China also runs the risk of escalating the conflicts over cheap steel or aluminum imports into an open trade war.

Trade war and military conflict are inextricably linked. A ruthless struggle for markets and for strategic influence is unfolding between the wealthiest capitalist powers. To think that this struggle can continue for long without leading to war is to place heavy bets against history. The working class worldwide is faced with the emergence of a ruthless interimperialist struggle to repartition the world, like that which led a century ago to WW1 and the Oct 1917 revolution. The imperialist drive to war goes hand in hand with escalating social and economic crises facing billions of workers worldwide, and the discrediting of capitalism. Last year, polls found that Pindo youth prefer communism or socialism to capitalism, and that over half of European youth would join a mass uprising against the social order if they had the chance. These events vindicate our insistence that the dissolution of the USSR did not signify the final triumph of capitalism, which has not overcome the basic conflicts identified by the great Marxists of the 20th century, that led to war and to social revolution. Rather, the ruling elites are spending hundreds of billions of euros drawn from economies devastated by a decade of crisis in a new global drive to war. Workers cannot allow themselves to be divided from their class brothers and sisters in other countries. As Leon Trotsky wrote in 1934, the task is “to follow not the war map but the map of the class struggle.” Already there is massive opposition among Pindo & Euro workers to war and to the austerity budgets funding war. The necessary response to the escalating capitalist crisis is the unification of the working class in a socialist anti-war movement.

two WSWS analyses of afrin etc

Syrian government offensive prompts calls for intensified US military intervention
Jordan Shilton, WSWS, Feb 22 2018

Syrian government forces have launched an assault on the enclave of eastern Ghouta over recent days with the aim of recapturing it from Islamist rebels. Pindo media outlets have seized on the escalation of violence to legitimize and call for the expansion of Faschingstein’s illegal military intervention, which is aimed at toppling Pres Assad and installing a Pindo puppet regime in Damascus. Syrian and Russian planes have conducted repeated airstrikes on the area over recent days. According to a report by the SOHR in Britain, upwards of 270 civilians, including more than 60 children, have been killed. The strikes, which have included the dropping of barrel bombs, have damaged hospitals and other critical infrastructure. MSF said that 13 of its facilities have been hit. Eastern Ghouta has been used as a military base by Jihadis throughout the conflict. They regularly shell government-controlled districts in Damascus and have continued to do so during the latest offensive, killing at least 12 and injuring dozens more on Tuesday alone. Human rights groups such as AI issued statements condemning the civilian deaths and appealing for a ceasefire. UN officials described living conditions in Ghouta, where only one aid truck has arrived over the past three months, as “hellish.”

With its trademark moral double standards and outright hypocrisy, the corporate-controlled media in Pindostan has provided saturation coverage of the government offensive. The transparent aim is to whip up public support for a catastrophic escalation of the Syrian war that could put the lives of millions of people at risk. Videos of the carnage were widely circulated, including in articles published online by the major news outlets, while the WaPo ran a piece containing a series of pictures from Ghouta. In a lengthy NYT article, the “newspaper of record” proclaimed that Assad’s forces would “show no quarter” and described the attack on Ghouta as “the deadliest in years.” This turns reality on its head. The bloodiest and deadliest assaults in Syria and Iraq since the conflict began have in fact been carried out by Pindostan and its proxies. The civil war itself, which has claimed the lives of over 400,000 people, was deliberately incited by Faschingstein seven years ago to bring about regime change in Damascus. In the devastating air and ground onslaught to recapture the Daesh-held city of Mosul in northern Iraq, which lasted over six months, conservative estimates placed the number of civilian deaths at between 5,000 and 10,000. Some reports were substantially higher, with one Iraqi estimate suggesting that 40,000 were slaughtered in the vicious onslaught. Many were massacred as Pindo military personnel indiscriminately fired artillery shells into the city, which was home to some 1.5 million people. As the bombardment of Mosul raged on, Pres Trump announced the lifting of the limited restrictions imposed on CENTCOM in Iraq and Syria by Obama. This led to a vast intensification of air strikes and a corresponding sharp rise in civilian deaths. In one attack in Mar 2017, a Pindo airstrike in Mosul killed up to 300 Iraqis, more than Assad’s forces are alleged to have killed in their current offensive. Evidence also emerged of Pindostan deploying white phosphorus shells, which are banned under international law.

When the battle shifted to Raqqa last summer, USAF CENTCOM warplanes were slaughtering more than 100 innocent civilians every week as they dropped high-powered explosives on residential areas. In the end, to pursue its broader strategic goals of preventing Iran from consolidating control of eastern Syria and opening up a land corridor from Tehran to Damascus, Faschingstein allowed thousands of Daesh fighters to escape Raqqa so they could take on pro-Assad forces. Throughout both of these shameful episodes, which international rights groups criticized as war crimes, the NYT and other establishment media mouthpieces not only buried reports of civilian casualties, not to mention images or videos from the war zone, but positively praised the Pindo military for its supposed restraint in carrying out air strikes. The media outcry over Ghouta is merely the latest in a long line of propaganda campaigns to drum up support for the Pindo war in Syria by portraying it as a humanitarian crusade against an evil dictator. When the Assad regime launched a sustained assault to recapture Aleppo in late 2016, backed by Russian air power, politicians and the media accused Assad and Russia of war crimes, of causing civilian casualties, while systematically downplaying or covering up entirely reports of deaths in government-controlled parts of the city due to shelling by the Jihadis. The eventual removal of the Islamists from Aleppo, including HTS/Nusra, represented a significant setback for Pindo imperialism.

The latest warmongering media campaign takes place under conditions in which the Syrian conflict has become even more explosive. Seeking to secure its unchallenged dominance over the energy-rich Middle East, Faschingstein has escalated its intervention in Syria over recent months. In a Feb 7 airstrike, Pindo warplanes bombed a convoy of pro-Assad forces, reportedly killing hundreds, including several Russian contractors, and is collaborating with the remnants of Daesh to prevent Assad’s forces from recapturing energy reserves in eastern Syria. Russia continues to support Damascus, meaning the danger of a direct military clash between the world’s two largest nuclear powers remains extremely high. Faschingstein is also determined to push back against Iranian influence in Syria as part of a broader strategy to contain and prepare for all-out war with Tehran. This has encouraged Israel to step up its intervention into the conflict, targeting Iranian installations in Syria Feb 10 in what were the largest Israeli air strikes in the country in over thirty years. In northern Syria, a new front in the war appears to have opened over recent days after Assad dispatched pro-government militias to back the YPG in the enclave of Afrin against an invasion by Turkish troops. Turkey intervened to prevent the emergence of a Kurdish-controlled region on its southern border and has threatened to push eastwards to Manbij, raising the risk of a clash with Pindo SOF deployed there alongside the YPG. Russia gave its tacit backing to the Turkish operation in hopes of exploiting the divisions between the two NATO allies, to strengthen its hand in Syria. A Pindo escalation of the Syrian conflict could rapidly provoke a regional war that would draw in the major powers on opposing sides. Some of the media pundits howling most hysterically of all over events in Ghouta are quite prepared to back such a development, and are indeed explicitly calling for it. Jonathan Freedland complained in a column for Britain’s Guardian that the CIA-concocted allegations of the use of CW by Assad last April “only” resulted in “a limited Pindo cruise missile strike.” He added ominously:

Until now the only message we have sent Russia, Iran and Syria is a silent shrug. If we want the killing to stop, we need to say so.

The prospect of such a catastrophic conflict is not a fantasy of so-called liberal journalists, but is actively being prepared for by Pindo imperialism. Last month, the Trump administration openly acknowledged that great power rivalries represent the main NatSec threat to Pindostan, and announced the creation of a 30,000-strong ‘border force’ for Syria, to be recruited predominantly from the YPG, to support the more than 2,000 Pindo troops already in the country. Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Pentagon has submitted a request for $1.8b worth of arms to wage war in Syria and Iraq. This amounts to 20% more than the entire arms budget for Middle East operations in 2017.

Syrian conflict further escalates as pro-Syrian forces enter Afrin
Halil Celik, WSWS, Feb 22 2018

With the entry of a convoy of militias backing the government into the Syrian canton of Afrin on Tuesday, and Turkish troops responding with heavy artillery bombardment, the danger of a direct military confrontation between Turkish and Syrian troops has increased. It opens the door to a further escalation in the civil war in Syria, where Turkish and Syrian armies, Iran-linked militias backing the government, Russian and Pindo troops, and several proxy forces, including Kurdish nationalists and several Islamic groups, are present. According to Reuters, the pro-government forces were welcomed by the YPG, which has set up three autonomous cantons in northern Syria, including Afrin, since the onset of the Syrian conflict in 2011. On Jan 20, Turkey launched its Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG from Afrin. According to Turkey, this operation has cost the lives of 1,651 Kurdish fighters and 32 Turkish troops, while 7 Turkish civilians were killed and 125 wounded in cross-border attacks launched by the YPG. With its operation Euphrates Shield, the Turkish army began direct intervention in northern Syria in Aug 2016 to stop the YPG linking Afrin along the Turkish-Syrian border to other largely Kurdish-populated territories in north-eastern Syria. Speaking to his AKP parliamentary group earlier on Tuesday, Pres Erdogan said that Ankara had worked with Russia to prevent any deployment by pro-Syrian government forces. He said:

Preparations in the field take some time. In the coming days we will lay siege to Afrin city. It’s very important that every place we go remains secure. Thanks to the siege, the YPG will have no room to bargain with the Syrian regime.

In an attempt to belittle the growing danger of escalation, Erdogan stated later in the day that the issue of the entrance of the pro-Damascus militia in Afrin was “closed for now.” At a presser with Macedonian Pres Ivanov, he said:

Yesterday, we agreed on these issues in talks with Putin and Rouhani. Unfortunately, you know, these kinds of terrorist organisations have taken the wrong step with the decision.

On Monday, Pres Erdogan had discussed the issue with Pres Putin and Pres Rouhani in separate telephone conversations. In a parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the somewhat fascist MHP, the main ally of Erdogan, warned Pres Assad about the consequences of a possible support to Kurdish forces. He said:

If he enters Afrin and stands with the PKK/PYD/YPG, he will suffer the consequences.

On Feb 6, Bahceli declared before his parliamentary group:

Afrin should be destroyed and the terrorists should be set on fire.

On Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with Kanal 24:

It is obvious that theyally from the East. It does not pose any problem for Turkey, if Syrian regime forces enter Afrin to fight the terrorist group, but if the regime enters there to support and protect YPG/PKK-Daesh, no one can stop the Turkish army.

Cavusoglu was answering a question about a report by Syria’s state-run news agency SANA, that the pro-government militia “Popular Forces” would enter Afrin soon. SANA’s report, however, left no doubt that the “popular forces are to arrive in the Afrin area soon to support locals against the aggression launched by the Turkish regime on the area since Jan 20. According to SANA:

The Turkish regime has been waging a barbaric aggression on Afrin area for almost a month, using various types of weapons and shells including the internationally prohibited chlorine gas, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians and destroying infrastructure, properties, and historical landmarks.

Meanwhile, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag has called SANA’s report unrealistic, saying:

Although Syrian official news agency SANA reported that some forces linked to the Syrian regime will enter Afrin, this news has not been confirmed by the official authorities. It is unrealistic, not related to the fact.

The Turkish Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalin dismissed an agreement between the YPG and Syrian government as propaganda on his official Twitter account. He wrote:

It is clear that the reports about a deal between the regime and the PYD/YPG have the purpose of propaganda. But that does not mean there has not been a set of dirty and secret negotiations.

These comments came after Badran Jia Kurd, an adviser to the Kurdish-led autonomous administration in northern Syria, told Reuters on Sunday that a deal had been struck for the Syrian army to go into Afrin soon to help fight the Turkish assault. YPG spox Nouri Mahmoud denied on Monday that such an agreement with the Damascus government had been reached, adding that pressure from Russia had prevented the deal from going ahead so far. Mahmoud said that there was only “a call from us for the SAA to come in and protect the borders.” According to a press statement from the Kremlin on the phone conversation between Putin and Erdogan:

In discussing the situation in Syria, special attention was paid to ways of further enhancing cooperation in the Astana format. The readiness was confirmed for tight coordination of efforts by Russia, Turkey and Iran for the sake of achieving effective operation of the deescalation zones and advancing the political process in line with the agreements achieved by the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi.

Speaking Monday at the opening of the Valdai Conference, Sergei Lavrov expressed Russia’s concerns over Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, calling on Faschingstein “not to play with fire in Syria.” Lavrov said:

We cannot but observe with concern attempts to disintegrate Syria. Such concerns arise after studying the plans which Pindostan is starting to implement, chiefly on soil east of the Euphrates. I once again call on our Pindo colleagues not to play with fire, and to measure their steps proceeding not from the immediate needs of today’s political environment, but rather from the long-term interests of the Syrian people and of all the peoples of this region, including the Kurds of course, be they in Syria or Iraq or other countries of the region.
Referring to Pindo support to the SDP/YPG, Lavrov accused Pindostan of taking provocative steps in Syria, “which led to an escalation of tensions with Turkey, and you know what is now going on in Afrin.” Previously, he accused Faschingstein of “seeking to isolate a vast part of the Syrian territory from the rest of the country, in violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” In an interview with Euronews TV on Friday Feb 16, the Russian foreign minister said:

A Pindo taskforce and other units are illegally staying in Syria, without any invitation from Damascus or a UNSC mandate. Obviously, Pindostan has some strategy, which I think is geared to keep its military presence in Syria forever. They are seeking to do the same in Iraq and in Afghanistan, in spite of all their previous promises.

Not only Moscow but also Tehran have reiterated the necessity of respecting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In a phone call with Erdogan late on Monday, Fars News reported, Pres Rouhani said:

Fighting terrorism, driving terrorists out of Syria and countering separatist moves in the region are among the common goals of Iran and Turkey. Iran and Turkey are pursuing common goals in regional and international developments.

In September of last year, Ankara and Tehran applied punitive measures against the KRG in Iraq and launched military exercises on their borders in support of the Iraqi central government, as the KRG proceeded with an independence referendum. Faced with imminent sanctions and the prospect of a military intervention, the KRG had to retreat. Russia, Turkey and Iran are currently in a tacit alliance that has sidelined Pindostan in much of the diplomatic negotiations over Syria’s future, but they have distinct and not necessarily compatible interests in the region. Having given its approval to Turkey’s push into northern Syria, providing the operation remains within certain limits and does not confront Assad’s forces, Moscow is playing on the divisions between Ankara and Faschingstein, to strengthen its hand in Syria against Pindostan. Moscow has also the aim of moving the Syrian Kurds away from the Pentagon, and it retains close ties with them, in contrast to both Ankara and Tehran. Thus the Kurdish question has once more become a factor bringing Iran, Turkey and Iraq closer together, not only as a historically unsolved common problem but also due to the Pindo involvement, which increases their fear of Kurdish separatism. This may also be true of the Syrian government. This development has revealed the reactionary character of Ankara’s invasion in Afrin: it is a reckless move that will exacerbate the conflicts raging across the Middle East and intensify the danger of war between the major powers.

michelle nichols, natch

Russia resists Pindo draft UNSCR against Iran over Yemen arms
Michelle Nichols, Reuters, Feb 21 2018

UN – The UNSC should not condemn Iran in a resolution to renew sanctions on Yemen, Russia’s UN ambassador said on Wednesday, resisting a Western bid to denounce Tehran for failing to stop Yemen’s Houthis getting its missiles. Pindostan has been lobbying for months for Iran to be held accountable at the UN, while at the same time threatening to quit the JCPoA if “disastrous flaws” in it are not fixed. A draft UNSCR produced by Britain condemns Iran for violating the arms embargo on the Houthis and demands action against it. Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told Reuters:

We don’t like condemnations at all, in general. The resolution is about Yemen. It’s a resolution about the extension of the working group (of independent experts), not about Iran. So we should concentrate on extending the working group first.

The key focus of the draft text, which needs to be adopted by Feb 26, is to renew targeted UNSCRs and the mandate for the independent experts who monitor their implementation. It would also expand sanctions criteria to include “any activity related to the use of ballistic missiles in Yemen.” A senior UN diplomat remarked:

It is fair to say the draft is not one the Russians are currently supportive of, and they have made their views clear.

Another UN diplomat said Russia had described the draft text as “unacceptable.” An expert report to the UNSC in January said:

We identified missile remnants, related military equipment and military UAVs that are of Iranian origin and were brought into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo. We have no evidence as to the identity of the supplier, or any intermediary third party.

floridan “pro-russian” laughs in CNN’s face

Mueller’s Fraudulent Indictment
Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com, Feb 22 2018

The indictment handed down by Robert Mueller against 13 Russians connected to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian-owned and Russian-operated clickbait farm, is the capstone of my case that we have indeed entered Bizarro World, an alternate universe where up is down, black is white and truth is a ridiculous falsehood. I said clickbait farm because that’s precisely what the Internet Research Agency (IRA) is: founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former Russian chef who wanted to figure out a new way to make money, the IRA, as pointed out here, is a money-making operation. Mueller seems to acknowledge this when, in his laughable “indictment,” we read this:

Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real Pindo persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their coconspirators typically charged certain Pindo merchants and Pindo social media sites between $25 and $50 per post for promotional content on their popular false Pindo persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist.

What kind of a propaganda/spy operation charges its co-conspirators a fee? The total Russian/IRA buy was $100k, including $300 in Pennsylvania, $832 in Michigan, and $1979 in Wisconsin, mostly before the primary. Most of the “Russian” ads ran after the election, and they didn’t support any candidates. Instead, they focused on “hot button” issues, precisely the sort of thing intended to attract visits and make money for the creators via ads. This business model has been widely utilized by enterprising Macedonian teenagers and others out to make a quick buck, and it works quite effectively if you know what you’re doing. The IRA, like other clickbait operations, isn’t really about politics, although it deals with political subjects. It’s about making money for its owners, period. Moon of Alabama points out:

There were, according to the indictment, eighty people working on the “translator project.” These controlled “hundreds” of sock-puppets online accounts, each with a distinct “political” personality. Each of these sock-puppets had a large number of followers, in total several hundred thousand. Now let’s assume that one to five promotional posts can be sold per day on each of the sock-puppets content stream. The scheme generates several thousand dollars per day ($25 per promo, hundreds of sock-puppets, 1-5 promos per day per sock-puppet). The costs for this were limited to the wages of up to eighty persons in Moscow, many of them temps, of which the highest paid received some $1k per month.

All in all, a fairly profitable business: not a state-run “disinformation” project, but rather good old free enterprise. I know that some of the IRA’s employees traveled to Pindostan for a week or two to do “research” but what, exactly, does this mean? Does anybody have a record of where they stayed, or whom they associated with? There’s nothing about that in the indictment. In short, they could have come to Pindostan for the same reasons tens of thousands do every day of the week: to enjoy themselves as tourists. After all, what could they possibly learn in a week-long stay that could sway a presidential election? I mean, what are we talking about here? The weird-stupid aura hanging over this whole affair was underscored when CNN actually knocked on the door of some woman whom they accused of running a “Russian-sponsored” pro-Trump rally in Florida. The woman laughed in the “reporter’s” face and said she’d never spoken to a single Russian in her entire life. So how many Trump supporters will be visited not just by CNN but by the FBI in order to intimidate them in a similar manner? What in the name of all that’s holy does Robert Mueller think he’s doing? Is he just plain ignorant of the internet and how it works, or is he mocking us? His “indictment” is nothing but a joke! Ass for the hysterics proclaiming it shows that the Russians have launched the equivalent of the attack on Pearl Harbor, these people need to be heavily sedated. 3,000 people died at Pearl Harbor: how many were killed by Prigozhin’s clickbait farm? My recent cancer diagnosis has really focused my attention on an issue I had hardly considered before: spending time refuting nonsense is essentially a waste of my time. And at this point, it’s the kind of luxury I can no longer afford. If these are truly my last days on earth, I’d rather be writing about something substantial and meaningful, thank you very much. So I’ll just end with this: anyone who says they believe the Mueller narrative outlined in his laughable indictment is either clueless or is a cynic who will say anything. The charge of “Conspiracy to Defraud Pindostan” detailed in this “indictment” is are precisely what the authors of this disgraceful document are guilty of themselves. Russia-gate is a hoax. I’ve told my readers that from the very beginning. This “indictment” underscores the extent of the hoax, and the contempt that the government officials and their journalist collaborators who thought this would bring down a President have for the Pindo creeple. They expect us to swallow this fraud whole. Well, guess what? Iit’s not happening, folks. A child could see through this nonsense. It’s high time to shut this fraud on the country down, and return Mueller to private life, where he can contemplate how badly he messed up not only this but also the anthrax investigation.

this reaganaut (sec OMB under reagan) thinks prigozhin’s ‘internet research agency’ was a hamfisted attempt to subvert pindostan

Mueller’s Comic Book Indictment: How To Prosecute a Great Big Nothingburger
David Stockman, Antiwar.com, Feb 22 2018

We have always heard that a determined government prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich, and now we know it’s true. After 38 years in the prosecution racket, Robert Mueller just made his biggest score ever. That is, he nailed a great big Nothingburger. But he also did a lot more than that. Mueller’s 37-page comic book indictment actually unmasks the distinctly un-terrifying essence of the whole Russian meddling narrative, though inadvertently to be sure. In fact, the crude ads and posts comprising the social media emissions of the so-called troll farm were generally lame, often laughable and sometimes downright ludicrous, like this gem cited by Mueller:

a. On or about Oct 16 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the ORGANIZATION-controlled Instagram account “Woke Blacks” to post the following message: “a particular hype and hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.”

Notwithstanding the grave nomenclature of BLOCK CAPITALS, endless sinister “on or about” events and 99 numbered paragraphs of particulars, the true bill is actually just a random catalogue of social media trivia, like the above “Woke Blacks” post. Most of the cited gleanings amounted to crude word bombs, often in broken English, that presumably even Kim Kardashian’s 59 million Twitter followers could see through.

Hillary is a Satan, and her crimes and lies had proved just how evil she is

The lion’s share of these postings and ads probably disappeared into cyberspace like the sound of a falling tree in an empty forest. According to Facebook, the seemingly ubiquitous social media ad campaign depicted in the indictment was nothing of the kind. It actually amounted to just 3,000 placements at a cost of $100k, more than half of which were purchased after the election, and 25% of which ended up in its dead letter office, unread. Likewise, the handful of efforts to actually stimulate pro-Trump rallies in Florida and elsewhere were abject failures. As we document below, the Russians had absolutely no “ground game” in Pindostan and any third-rate campaign consultant will tell you that ads alone do not produce crowds. In fact, there is virtually no evidence that anyone showed up at the rallies cited by Mueller. Besides, the overwhelming share of the pro-Trump social media postings uncovered by Mueller’s sleuths amounted to “cut and paste” relays of current partisan talking points. Thus, the indictment cites such slogans as:

Vote Trump and support the Second Amendment!

Trump is our only hope for a better future!

Donald wants to defeat terrorism, Hillary wants to sponsor it!

Really? It took a clandestine nest of Russkie impostors and subversives to pollute the social media with this kind of tripe? In fact, RNC, Fox News and the Trump campaign were already saturating the internet with these messages anyway, along with millions of pro-Trump social media activists. The 80 Russian operatives cited by Mueller didn’t add one damn bit to the massive social media messaging that was already out there. So here’s the joker in the whole deck. It seems that the nefarious”troll farm” in St Petersburg that comprises nearly the totality of Mueller’s case is not a Russian intelligence agency operation at all. Instead, it’s the relatively harmless Hobby Farm of a fanatical Russian oligarch and ultra-nationalist Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has a great big beef against Imperial Faschingstein’s demonization of Russia and Vladimir Putin. Apparently, the farm was the vehicle through which he gave Faschingstein the middle finger and buttered up his patron. It’s apparently being disbanded. Prigozhin is otherwise known as “Putin’s Cook” because he made his fortune in St Petersburg restaurants that Putin favored and via state funded food service operations at Russian schools and military installations. Like most Russian oligarchs not in jail, he apparently tithes in gratitude to the Kremlin: In this case, by bankrolling the rinkydink operation at 55 Savushkina Street in St Petersburg that is the object of Mueller’s pretentious foray into the flotsam and jetsam of social media low life. Prigozhin’s trolling farm is grandly called the Internet Research Agency (IRA), but what it actually does is hire (apparently) unemployed 20-somethings at $4/hr to $8/hr to pound out ham-handed political messaging on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube etc. They bang away twelve hours at a shift on a quota-driven paint-by-the-Internet-numbers basis where their output is rated for engagements, likes, retweets etc. Whatever these keyboard drones might be, they are not professional Russian intel operators. And the collection of broken English postings strewn throughout the indictment are not one bit scary. Indeed, the utterly stupid naiveté of the whole St Petersburg operation is crystallized by this episode when the farm purportedly garnered some startling political insight from an unwitting Trump campaign official in Texas:

80. On or about Aug 19 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the false Pindo persona “Matt Skiber” account to write to the real Pindo person affiliated with a Texas-based grassroots organization who previously had advised the false persona to focus on “purple states like Colorado, Virginia & Florida.” Defendants and their coconspirators told that Pindo person, “We were thinking about your recommendation to focus on purple states and this is what we’re organizing in FL.”

Jez Louise and goodness gracious, too. Who coulda thunk as early as August that Colorado, Virginia and Florida would be swing states! In any event, even Mueller’s indictment proves that the farm was strictly amateurville. None of the other 12 Russians charged has an intelligence background. Thus, the CEO is a retired St Petersburg police officer. The executive director is a 31-year old website developer and Internet PR promoter who previously had garnered small beans contracts ($4k-20k each) from St Petersburg agencies to publish municipal newspapers, make video reports about their activities or promote local programs such as one on “tolerance and prevention of drug addiction.” Likewise, two more of the operatives were graduates students in IT and advertising at St Petersburg universities. Then there is the husband/wife duo, Maria and Robert Bovda, who were the original heads of the Pindostan-focused “translator project.” Both were recent graduates in psychology from local universities, where Robert’s 2011 thesis had been on “The Effects of Social-Support Conditions On Loneliness As Experienced By the Elderly.” We can’t help but think they had not yet become hardened spies when the joined IRA in Nov 2013 and apparently left in Oct 2014. Whatever they did during their tenure at the farm, cooking up ways to help Donald Trump’s not yet announced campaign was surely not among them, but still apparently enough to help fill out Mueller’s indictment roster. Another was Dzheykhun Aslanov, who was head of the “Poindostan Dept” and had graduated in 2012 from the Russian State Hydro-Meteorological University in St Petersburg. He had studied economics and wildlife management! Likewise, nowhere in the entire 37 pages is there even a clause linking Prigozhin’s Hobby Farm to the SVR, the FSB, the GRU, any other agency of the Russian State or even some purported Kremlin back-channel to Putin. Yet there is every reason to believe that the entire Russian meddling narrative cooked up by the partisan hacks in Obama’s inner circle, John Brennan, Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes, was based on the amateurish machinations originating in the nondescript building pictured below. As we will show, the Hobby Farm was no Russian state secret or clandestine vehicle of its intelligence community. To the contrary, it had been fully covered in the Russian press for years as one of numerous such oligarch funded projects designed to glorify the Putin regime and vilify the Russian opposition. It had also been the subject of a lengthy expose in The Guardian of London, as well as other western media. Even RFE had done a lengthy profile.

All of this had happened long before Prigozhin’s Hobby Farm had turned its attentions to Pindo politics. Indeed, the IRA’s pivot to Pindostan in Apr 2014 occurred well before Trump’s candidacy was gleam in anyone’s eye except his own, but after a seminal event had occurred which Mueller’s comic book narrative completely ignores. To wit, what apparently riled up Prigozhin was Washington’s heavy-handed meddling in the politics of Ukraine during the Pindo funded and -enabled coup on the streets of Kiev in Feb 2014. Never mind that the incumbent pro-Russian government had come to power in an honest election, and had chosen to take a more attractive economic deal from Moscow than was being offered by the West. Never mind that Ukraine was Russia’s next-door neighbor and had been an essential element of Greater Russia, sometimes a full fledged constituent state, for more than 700 years. Likewise, when Crimea elected by 90% referendum vote to “rejoin” Russia, it didn’t happen at gunpoint. Crimea is 85% Russian, and had been an integral part of the Russian state ever since it was purchased from the Turks by Catherine the Great for good money in 1783. But when Obama’s neocon Asst Sec for European Affairs, Toria Nuland, was caught telling the Pindo ambassador in Kiev that “Yats is the guy” with respect to the new Faschingstein-designated leader of the post-coup government and joined a chorus of Faschingstein-based vilification of Putin and the Russian government, the die was cast. Russian nationalists like Prigozhin were not going to take it lying down. As we document below, then and there he began to shift some of the activities of his trolling farm toward Pindostan. It amounted to a tit-for-tat response to the anti-Russian propaganda emanating from the Faschingstein-funded NGOs in Kiev, and also from outright government agencies like the NED and RFE/RL, as well as the Deep State subservient operations of CNN and its print media imitators. That shift was described as the “translator project” by Mueller’s historically ignorant lawyers. The implication was that out of sheer aggression the Kremlin had unilaterally decided to attack Pindostan’s democratic process through the IRA. In fact, the overwhelming likelihood is that an arriviste Russian billionaire got a bee in his bonnet after Faschingstein’s Ukrainian coup, and then went to town on Pindostan with his trolling farm, exactly as he and many others had been doing in internal Russian politics for years.

From the point of view of Pindo/Russian relations and world peace, the redirection of activity at Prigozhin’s Hobby Farm could not have come at a worse time. Its wholly open and widely known operations permitted Obama’s hatchet-people to quickly seize on the IRA’s new theater of focus as evidence of a massive Russian attack on Pindostan’s election process, thereby turning a molehill into a mountain. At length, the partisan leaders of Obama’s national security team, led by the detestable DCI Brennan, selectively coopted and abused the resources and credibility of the vast intelligence apparatus to put the imprimatur of a national security threat upon what was in fact a scary bedtime story of no real significance. That effort culminated in the phony intelligence assessment published by four intel agencies in Jan 2017 based on the work of Brennan’s “hand-picked” accomplices. In what is surely a fabulous irony, therefore, the IRA amounts to a reverse Potemkin Village. It wasn’t much to look at, and was nothing to worry about until Obama’s national security posse falsely embellished its innocuous façade into a mortal threat to Pindo democracy and national security. And then Robert Mueller brought in his gang of copywriters and illustrators to turn this entire tall tale into CNN-ready “news.” We will demonstrate below that what happened in this building was a complete farce and posed no threat to the security and liberty of the Pindo creeple whatsoever; nor did it even remotely impact the 2016 election process. But with his comic book indictment, Robert Mueller has actually made himself a mortal threat to Pindostan’s democracy and national security. That’s because his indictment is unleashing a rabid anti-Russian mania in the Demagog Party and turning flaming liberals and left-wing progressives, who used to form the backbone of the peace party in America, into outright warmongers.

The Donald tweeted over the weekend about Moscow “laughing its ass off” about the Mueller indictment, but we think he missed the mark. It is the Deep State on the banks of the Potomac that is bursting with glee, literally licking its collective chops about the endless budget boondoggles now assured to be coming its way. The neocons and military/industrial complex had already taken control of the GOP lock, stock and barrel. Then, his campaign rhetoric about “Pindostan First” notwithstanding, Trump abdicated to his empire-minded generals in order to concentrate on his Twitter account. Now, in the wake of the Russiagate hysteria being given a powerful new boost from Mueller’s comic book, the Dems are lining up to say we will see your $700b budget and crank it up from there. The truth is, there is a screaming fiscal crisis coming hard upon Imperial Faschingstein. That’s owing to the $15t of new deficits that are now built-in for the next decade, at the very time when the Fed has shut down its massive bond-buying experiment, and the Baby Boom is hitting the social security and Medicare rolls in droves. Absent the Russiagate hoax and the Dems’ descent into mindless anti-Putin hysteria, there would have been a moment of maximum danger for the Deep State’s hideously inflated military, intelligence and surveillance operations. In the coming battle against fiscal collapse, they surely would have been on the fiscal chopping-block like at no time since the aftermath of Vietnam in the 1970s. But rescue is now at hand. The Dems have been shell-shocked ever since the evening of Nov 8 2016, and have worked themselves into deliriums about how it was all a big mistake enabled by Russian meddling and collusion with the Trump campaign. To a substantial degree, those narratives were on their last legs until the Mueller indictment came along. For anyone who takes the trouble to read it, of course, it’s just a potpourri of nonsense, marginalia and irrelevance. But the Dems had already gone brain-dead on the Russiagate matter, so they are now greeting it as a “blockbuster,” as are the talking heads of CNN and the MSM. Consequently, the drivel that came out of the building pictured below is being taken as evidence of a far-reaching attack on Pindostan that even rivals Pearl Harbor. As Pat Buchanan noted:

This Russian troll farm is “the equivalent (of) Pearl Harbor,” says Jerrold Nadler, who would head up the House Judiciary Committee, handling any impeachment, if Demagogs retake the House. When MSNBC’s Chris Hayes pressed, Nadler doubled down: The Russians “are destroying our democratic process.” While the Russian trolling may not equal Pearl Harbor in its violence, in its “seriousness, it is very much on a par,” said Nadler.

That’s right. But unlike the vast Japanese naval armada that stealthily steamed toward Hawaii in early Dec1941, the Facebook cyber-missiles that allegedly hit Pindostana in 2016 came out of this little joint hiding in plain sight:

farm

So let’s return to the fact that Prigozhin’s troll farm doesn’t really look much different than countless others that dot the Russian Internet landscape, and which mushroomed after 2011 in support of the Putin-ified Russian state and the crony capitalist economy it shepherds. A New Yorker piece by journalist Adrian Chen in late Jul 2016 explains about as well as any where the Internet Research Agency came from:

The IRA has been widely reported in Russian media to be the brainchild of Evgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch and ally of Vladimir Putin. At the time, it employed hundreds of Russians in a nondescript office building in St Petersburg, where they produced blog posts, comments, infographics, and viral videos that pushed the Kremlin’s narrative on both the Russian and English Internet. The agency is what is known in Russia as a “troll farm,” a nickname given to outfits that operate armies of sock-puppet social-media accounts, in order to create the illusion of a rabid grass-roots movement. Trolling has become a key tool in a comprehensive effort by Russian authorities to rein in a previously freewheeling Internet culture, after huge anti-Putin protests in 2011 were organized largely over social media. It is used by Kremlin apparatchiks at every level of government in Russia. Wherever politics are discussed online, one can expect a flood of comments from paid trolls. The real effect, the Russian activists told me, was not to brainwash readers but to overwhelm social media with a flood of fake content, seeding doubt and paranoia, and destroying the possibility of using the Internet as a democratic space. Toward the end of last year (2015), I noticed something interesting: many had begun to promote right-wing news outlets, portraying themselves as conservative voters who were, increasingly, fans of Donald Trump. Exposure to even small amounts of Russian politics can induce severe bouts of paranoia and conspiracy-minded thinking, and it seemed logical to me that this new pro-Trump bent might well be an attempt by the agency to undermine Pindostan by helping to elect a racist reality-show star as our Commander-in-Chief. At the time, I found it funny. The agency was a well-funded but often hapless operation. It created a cartoon character that was a giant buttocks to spread anti-Obama propaganda, for example. This seemed like another of its far-fetched schemes to poison the Internet.

In fact, it was. How it became a fearsome Russian Intel operation was entirely due to what happened in Faschingstein, not St Petersburg, or the Kremlin for that matter. That is, in the summer of 2016, when the Obama inner circle and the Deep State national security establishment alike suddenly were confronted with the theretofore unthinkable prospect that Donald Trump might actually be elected president, they literally transformed the Hobby Farm of a second tier Russian oligarch into monumental threat to Pindo democracy. And that took some doing because Prigozhin was essentially a nobody in the great scheme of national security. Unlike Putin, who cut his eye-teeth in the old Soviet-era KGB, Prigozhin had fancied himself a ski racer as a privileged young man in a Soviet boarding school. Failing to make the grade on the slopes, however, he had subsequently pursued various petty criminal schemes that landed him nine years in a Soviet prison during the latter’s dying days. But timing is everything, so when he opened a hot dog stand from his mother’s kitchen in newly liberated St Petersburg in the early 1990s his entprenurial talents in the culinary field self-evidently flourished. Soon he branched into convenience stores and then in 1996 into a swank restaurant that catered to newly monied Russian who were looking for “more than cutlets with vodka.” At length, a strategic $400k investment in a rusting harbor boat was turned into a floating hot spot called “The New Island Restaurant.”

From there flowed catering contracts for lavish state banquets after he gained the gastronomical favor of the post-Soviet St Petersburg political operative who became prime minister of Russia. Putin held lavish state dinners on Prigozhin’s floating emporium, where he played host to world leaders like Bush 43 and Jacques Chirac. He also apparently heaped business into Prigozhin’s budding empire with a $177m catering contract with Moscow’s schools, and then the real jackpot: A two-year contract in 2012 worth more than $1.6b to supply 90% of all food orders to Russian soldiers. That’s where the troll factory came from. It opened the next year in 2013 as the kind of token of appreciation expected from oligarchs favored by the Russian state. It wasn’t the KBG incarnate, just a tweet-by-the-numbers body-shop designed to flood Russian media and Internet forums with messages extolling Russian greatness, the iniquities and hypocrisies of the morally corrupt West and the glorious works of Vladimir Putin. At this stage the troll farm was involved in strictly Russian business, the handiwork of an oligarch who had thrived on Russia’s particular brand of crony capitalism and was more than happy to shill for his patron in the Kremlin. Here is how the previously referenced Guardian article from mid-2015 described the farm before some of its modest resources were later shifted to the “Pindostan Dept” in 2016:

Just after 9 pm each day, a long line of workers files out of 55 Savushkina Street, a modern four-storey office complex with a small sign outside that reads “Business Centre.” Having spent 12 hours in the building, the workers are replaced by another large group who will work through the night. They painted a picture of a work environment that was humourless and draconian, with fines for being a few minutes late or not reaching the required number of posts each day. Trolls worked in rooms of about 20 people, each controlled by three editors who would check posts and impose fines if they found the words had been cut and pasted, or were ideologically deviant. The LiveJournal blogger who spent two months working at the centre until mid-March, said she was paid 45,000 roubles ($790) a month to run a number of accounts on the site. She said: “We had to write ‘ordinary posts’, about making cakes or music tracks we liked, but then every now and then throw in a political post about how the Kiev government is fascist, or that sort of thing.” Scrolling through one of the LiveJournal accounts she ran, the pattern is clear. There are posts about “Europe’s 20 most beautiful castles” and “signs that show you are dating the wrong girl” interspersed with political posts about Ukraine or suggesting that the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is corrupt. The desired conclusion of one reads: “The majority of experts agree that Pihdostan is deliberately trying to weaken Russia, and Ukraine is being used only as a way to achieve this goal. If the Ukrainian people had not panicked and backed a coup, the west would have found another way to pressure Russia. But our country is not going to go ahead with the Pindo plans, and we will fight for our sovereignty on the international stage.” To add colour to their posts, websites have been set up to aid the troll army. One features thousands of pasteable images, mainly of European leaders in humiliating photoshopped incidents or with captions pointing out their weakness and stupidity, or showing Putin making hilarious wisecracks and winning the day. Andrei Soshnikov, a St Petersburg journalist who infiltrated the company two years ago and has continued to cover it, said: “When I got the job there in 2013, it was a small building. I was working in the basement, and it was clear they didn’t have enough space.” He linked the move to a much bigger office with increased online activity around the Ukraine crisis.

As we explained above, it was only after Faschingstein massively intervened in the domestic politics of Ukraine in Feb 2104 that Prigozhin’s Hobby Farm branched into external operations focused on Russian adversaries, like the new anti-Russian Ukraine and Pindostan. Even then, the MSM headline-writers who have been intellectually lobotomized by a constant diet of anti-Russian mania cannot seem to grasp that their hyperbolic headlines are in no way supported by the actual written words in Mueller’s indictment. Eighty 20-somethings sitting cheek-by-jowl at banks of computer screens and banging out social media tripe in English as a third language did not impact anything in Pindostan, let alone the 2016 election outcome. The pathetic output of this group could not have amounted to 0.000001% of the content that rumbled through these social media channels during 2016. Yet here is Mueller, writing in indictment black and white, admitting that the troll farm had deployed precious few trolls to the Pindostan Dept, whose purpose suposedly was to “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general”:

By approximately Jul 2016, more than eighty ORGANIZATION employees were assigned to the translator project.

Besides the infinitesimal volume and generally crude and unoriginal nature of the troll farm’s output, this tiny 80-person contingent points to another huge flaw in the entire Mueller narrative, especially as it has been embellished and exaggerated by the main stream media since last Friday afternoon. To wit, all of these posts were destined to get lost in the vast sea of cyberspace without a ground game in Pindostan. Yet the indictment is clear on that crucial point as well. The Russian meddlers had no “ground game” whatsoever, aside from a 22-day visit in Jun 2014 by two operatives who were not trained spies and who had apparently never even been to Pindostan previously. Yet they visited nine states during that brief interval and thereby cased out the entirety of the Pindo electoral scene:

Only KRYLOVA and BOGACHEVA received visas, and from approximately Jun 4 2014 through Jun 26 2014, KRYLOVA and BOGACHEVA traveled in and around Pindostan, including stops in Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas and New York to gather intelligence. After the trip, KRYLOVA and BURCHIK exchanged an intelligence report regarding the trip.

The above paragraph is itself a smoking bratwurst! Aside from sleeping, passing through countless airports, checking into a dozen or more hotels and perhaps visiting the Chamber of Commerce in Dallas or Denver, what possibly could these two travelers have done to lay the groundwork for “influencing” 133,000,000 voters two years later? Mueller doesn’t say, and the talking heads jabber on about this trip as if it were some kind of invasion, not the pointless needle-in-the-haystack type of undertaking that it actually was. And that gets us to the ballyhooed efforts to organize and promote Trump rallies in Florida, Faschingstein, NYC and elsewhere. Once again, however, Mueller spills large amounts of ink citing the emails and social media posts that describe the aims of these long-distance media trolls. But there is not a shred of evidence presented about what actually happened on the ground. We would be so bold as to suggest that we know why Mueller didn’t document this core element of the alleged meddling campaign. Namely, because nobody came to the rallies and flash mob events called for by the keyboard jockeys in St Petersburg. Take the case of the “Florida Goes Trump” rallies on Aug 20, which the indictment dwells on at length. In so doing, it purports to explain how real Trump supporters in the state were duped into cooperating, how bloggers back in Russia used social media posts to promote 13 rallies across the state of Florida and bought ads to the same end on Facebook. In fact, compared to fleeting references with respect to similar rallies allegedly staged in Faschingstein and NYC, the Florida rallies take up far more ink in the indictment and come across as exhibit #1 on Russia ground game in the election process. Indeed, the liberal hatch-people at Politico made the singular importance of the Florida meddling operation abundantly clear:

But the document makes clear that the operation in Florida, the nation’s largest swing state, was in a class by itself. The indictment is packed with details of how Russian nationals duped Donald Trump campaign volunteers and grassroots organizations in Florida into holding rallies they organized and helped fund with foreign cash.

Here’s the problem. There seems to be scant evidence that these rallies actually happened, or that anyone showed up to the ones that did occur. For instance, here is a photo of one in St Petersburg (FL) posted on social media at the time. We doubt whether Vlad got his money’s worth on this one:

rally

Then there’s the case of Jim Frishe of Clearwater, Florida. He was a real estate development consultant and candidate for county office, who organized a sign-waving event in response to the Russian entreaties that attracted barely a dozen people:

Frishe, 68, said he was called by someone identifying themselves as with a group called “Florida for Trump” and asked to organize a sign-waving rally. He said between 15 and 18 people showed up and that he didn’t receive any signs or money or other support. He never heard from them again. He said:
“I was going to do what I was going to do anyway. I was a Trump supporter, they didn’t convince me.”

Then there is the case of the “Hillary in stripes” caper allegedly promoted by the Russians. According to the indictment:

For example, defendants and their coconspirators asked one Pindo person to build a cage on on a flatbed truck … and another Pindo person to wear a costume portraying Clinton in a prison uniform.

The thing is, the main evidence for that is that the “cage” appeared about a month later as the handiwork of a Trump supporter called Gary Howd, who did it all on his own, without any prompting, encouragement or money from the Russians. Even the Politico account of the purported Florida invasion by the Russians let that much slip out:

The caged Clinton stunt was a hit among Trump supporters. On Sep 23, for instance, NBC2 reported that a Cape Coral man erected a caged Clinton display in his front yard. Homeowner Gary Howd said: “I feel like I’m doing my little part, at least in my little neck of the woods.”

As it happened, even the WaPo admits that the “Florida Goes Trump” rallies didn’t amount to much.

The efforts in Florida that August day did not turn out to be particularly impressive. No people showed up to at least one of the proposed rallies, and online photos of some of the other events reveal ragtag groups with Trump signs staking out patches of grass or traffic medians.

As to the “Down With Hillary” demonstration on Jul 23 2016, to take another example, here is what you get from Google on this particular element of the indictment:

No results found for “Down with Hillary” rally in NYC on Jul 23 2016.

Finally, and as long was we are on the topic, here is what a real troll farm looks like. Yet this vast suite of offices in Fort Meade, MD, where 20,000 SIGINT spies and technicians work for the NSA, is only the tip of the iceberg. Pindostan is actually spending $75b/yrspying on and meddling in the politics of virtually every nation on earth This is more than Russia’s entire $69b/yr defense budget. An outfit within NSA called Tailored Access Operations (TAO) has a multi-billion annual budget, and does nothing put troll the global Internet. It does so with highly-educated highly-paid professionals, not $4/hr keyboard jockeys. Indeed, the cafeterias in the NSA buildings cost far more per year to operate than did Prigozhin’s troll farm during its entire short-lived existence. It’s apparently now being closed down, with two of the 3.5 floors already dark. In that context, Charles Hugh Smith cogently reminds that the real farce in the Mueller comic book is that it is the ultimate case of the pot calling the kettle black:

Pindostan’s foreign policy is one of absolute entitlement to influence the domestic affairs and politics of every nation of interest, which to a truly global empire includes every nation on the planet to the degree every nation is a market and/or a potential threat to Pindo interests. Assassination of elected leaders? no problem! Funding the emergence of new Pindo-directed political parties? just another day at the office! Inciting dissent and discord to destabilize regimes? it’s what we do, folks! Funding outright propaganda? one of our enduring specialties!

turkey conducted a major anti-PKK incursion into northern iraq in 2008

Turkish forces in Iraq “invaders” : Iraqi envoy
Ahval (looks pro-NATO to me – RB), Feb 20 2018

The Russian news site Sputnik Türkiye reported on Tuesday that Iraqi Ambassador to Moscow Haydar Hadi told a press conference there:

We see the Turkish soldiers’ presence in Iraq as an invasion, and have sent a message of protest on the topic. Certain countries from the Arab League have supported our stance.

Turkish forces entered Iraq in 2015 as part of the Pindo-led coalition to defeat Daesh, which had declared itself a caliphate in 2014 after seizing the Iraqi city of Mosul. The Turkish parliament voted to extend the deployment of troops at a military base in the town of Bashiqa for another year in Sep 2017, though their stated objective of forcing Daesh out of Mosul had been achieved. This vote coincided with the resurgence of Kurdish dreams of an independent state in northern Iraq, triggered by the independence referendum called by former KDP Pres Barzani. The referendum was considered illegitimate by Baghdad, and the drive for independence was quickly suppressed by the Iraqi government, working in conjunction with Turkey and Iran. The Iraqi ambassador to Ankara spoke about the Turkish military presence in Iraq shortly after the crisis, saying that further cooperation between the two countries depended on Turkey’s withdrawal from the Bashiqa base.

some say these forces are iraqi shi’ite popular mobilization units (hashd al-sha’abi)

More Pro-Government Forces Arrive In Syria’s Afrin
Reuters, Feb 21 2018

BEIRUT – A new batch of pro-Damascus forces arrived in Syria’s Afrin region on Wednesday to help Kurdish fighters repel a Turkish offensive there, Syrian state news agency SANA said. It said;

New groups of popular forces arriving in Afrin to support the people in confronting the continued aggression of the Turkish regime.

Turkey warned on Wednesday that militia fighters, allied to the Syrian government, would face “serious consequences” for going into Afrin to support the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia.

The “Olive Branch” Is Breaking: Afrin Pays The Price Of The Pindo-Russian Struggle And Turkey Is Part Of It
Elijah Magnier, Feb 21 2018

The SAA will take control of the Kurdish Syrian city of Afrin? The SAA won’t take control of Afrin? Finally, hundreds of Syrian popular forces trained by Syrian allies have entered the enclave of Afrin. Thir original name, Liwa’ al Baqr refers to Muhammad bin Ali bin al-Hussein al-Baqr, the fifth Imam. They come mainly from the nearby Shia cities of Nub’ul and Zahra to support the Kurds and stand against the Turkish forces and their allies. By resolving to send forces to support the Kurds, Damascus is breaking Turkey’s “olive branch” and confronting Ankara’s forces and its proxies. In fact, the first clash was registered minutes after their arrival. They fired the first shells against the Turkish forces and their proxies, marking the first direct confrontation between Syria and Turkey this year. Damascus refrained from sending the SAA, which requires coordination with Russia. However, Pres Assad is clearly challenging Pres Erdogan, testing the ground and sending a determined message to Turkey that Syria won’t give up its territory. It is a positive message to the Kurds to tell them that only the central government can protect them, supported by Russia. Contradictory news is being sporadically released regarding the development of the Afrin Canton deal at the same time that it is under continuous attack by the Turkish army and its Syrian proxies. This indicates the nature of the Pindo-Russian struggle in Syria: the Kurds are the biggest losers, paying the price of their alliance with CENTCOM in al-Hasaka and Deir-ezzour provinces. The Kurds’ acceptance to become an American shield and detach themselves from the central government in Damascus weighs heavily against their future wellbeing in Syria.

The unstable outcome of the battle of Afrin is due to the Russian-American agreement, over a year ago, to divide areas of operation while both parties were fighting Daesh in Syria, in order to avoid collision in the skies of Syria. Moscow believed Faschingstein would abide by the promises of its Pres Trump who had harshly criticized Hillary Clinton, saying her plan for Syria would lead to WW3. Trump, during his presidential campaign, said he would get “the hell out of Syria” and that he was not interested in rubbing up against Russia, only concerned to defeat Daesh. Pres Putin didn’t expect Pres Trump to exceed 1,628 lies before ending his first year in office. His insight came too late. Russia agreed to deliver the territory east of the Euphrates to CENTCOM during the war against Daesh. But the biggest surprise is from the Pentagon, which says it is staying in Syria even if Daesh is defeated, and therefore won’t allow any force, Russian or Syrian, to cross its area of influence east of the river. CENTCOM forces are in control of the rich oilfields (al-Omar) and gasfields (Conoco), east of the Euphrates. They also control 24% of all Syrian territory, occupied by 10% of all Syrians (Kurds and Arab tribes). They have learned from their experience in Iraq, by creating and financing the Sahawat tribes, and are establishing other close contacts with the local Arab tribes of the region. Lastly, to defend their occupied territory, they did not hesitate to engage in direct combat with the Syrian tribes and Russian contractors, killing over 61 with more than 85 wounded. The advance of this force was commanded by the joint operations room directed by Russia, Syria and Iran with the aim of testing Pindostan’s readiness of engagement and to try to impose a new state of affairs on the ground by establishing a non-Pindo foothold east of the Euphrates (Propaganda – RB).

Pindostan and Russia covered the attack and avoided releasing details about it to avoid appearing to wage a larger war with unforeseen results. WW3 seems not very far away. Syria seems to be highly dangerous ground for any force involved in it. But Putin didn’t swallow Pindostan’s strategic bluff, to maintain their area of influence in Syria for longer than expected, and Russia started its silent hit back against Pindostan. Russia allowed Turkey a free hand against the Kurds of Afrin, who are considered in Syria to be pro-Pindo forces. The Turkish attack highlighted the significant Euphrates area, which effectively prevented Pindostan from rushing to help their Kurdish clients. The Russian move exposed the Pindo plan, which was to use the Kurds of al-Hasaka as a shield to protect CENTCOM forces. Trump can no longer credibly present himself as the protector of the Kurdish minority in Syria, which has enjoyed broad support from the west for decades. The Russians’ clear hit to Pindostan was manifest in the withdrawal of Russian observers from Afrin. The Kurds failed to see the bigger game between the two superpowers. The Afrin administration refused to deliver the enclave to the central government’s control as prior to the beginning of the war, through which Afrin became financially rich and equipped with heavy weapons, anti-tank wire-guided missiles, very efficient and deadly weapons against Turkish tanks. The Afrin administration believed that Pindostan would rush to support them and push away any menace against the enclave, but Pres Erdogan played his cards well and forced Pindostan & Eurostan to keep away from his “Olive Branch” operation against the Kurds in Afrin. Only about a month after the beginning of the “Olive Branch” operation did the Afrin administration began to understand the reality of the power struggle, and even then not completely.

Russia is teaching the Kurds a lesson, so that these understand the price of cadging favors from Pindostan, which now feels impotent and exposed by the Kurds, forced to reveal its plan to stay in Syria and occupy at least some of its territory regardless of the defeat of Daesh. The Kurds can’t yet fully grasp the extent to which they are wood for the Syrian fire, caught between two superpowers. In Syria, there are only two alternatives: either Moscow or Faschingstein will remain in Syria, if the game remains rough, or they will cohabit as they did in Berlin after WW2. The Afrin administration doesn’t understand that for every day that goes by, there will be new Syrian demands. If the Kurds continue to resist these demands, Damascus will ask for further concessions and further withdrawal of the Kurds to the east of the Euphrates, become a burden on Pindos there. This is also allowing Turkey to be more determined in allowing the SAA to regain control of Afrin. Although the central government in Damascus agreed to send several hundred local militants from Nub’ul and Zahraa and other national forces as a preliminary support, it is likely that the negotiations over Afrin will continue until mid-March in Kazakhstan between Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria (indirectly), discussing not only Afrin but also Idlib, unless the Kurds acknowledge without delay all of Damascus’s conditions. Otherwise, Turkey increases its influence and occupies more territory in the enclave with every day that goes by. Russia is not expected to be satisfied with one victory against Pindostan in Afrin. Russia is accelerating the end of control by AQ and other militants (Faylaq al-Rahman and Jaish al-Islam) over al-Ghouta, east of Damascus. The Russians would like to deal with Pindostan alone in Syria, to point out its illegal presence and therefore illegal occupation of north-east Syria. Russia considers Turkey is the lesser evil in Syria and can deal with it later.

Considering that the remaining concentration of Daesh is situated within the area on the Syrian-Iraqi borders which is under Pindo control, the CENTCOM forces appear now to be protecting the terrorist group and allowing it to continue its existence and operations in Syria and in Iraq. Pindostan has still more company in Syria. Daesh is also present in the Yarmouk camp south of Damascus, expanding its control over the camp and displacing AQ there. There are an estimated 1500 Daesh militants in the Palestinian camp, ready to attack the Syrian Army at the limits of the Yarmouk camp. The Kurds, Daesh and AQ are part of the Pindo/ Russian/ Turkish chess game, the only powerful countries moving these small players according to their policy and needs. All the other Arab states, and all of the European states, have had enough of playing on Syrian territory. Pres Erdogan further distancing himself from Faschingstein, but without necessarily abandoning NATO, and is coming closer to Moscow. Putin is Erdogan’s economic and strategic ally, expected to stay much longer in Syria than the Pindos are. Furthermore, in Erdogan’s eyes, Trump is arming and protecting Turkey’s enemies, reducing Turkey’s trust in Pindostan as an ally. Therefore, Russia, not Pindostan, can be expected to gain the upper hand in the end.