This is a very young Mike Pompeo when he was a first year cadet at West Point in 1983. He concentrated his study there in Mechanical Engineering and graduated first in his class. By the time he graduated the war in VN was long over. He served just enough time to repay his service debt to the army, then resigned his commission to go to law school. So, he never served in combat. War is an abstraction to him. In other words, this is probably a game for Pompeo, a power game played on a global map board.
DJT in announcing Pompeo's nomination to the WH lawn press corps stressed that he and Pompeo had "great chemistry" and that they share the same view of the world. In other words, Pompeo never disagrees with Trump. Pompeo is well known for his hard line anti-Iranian views and his unshakable sympathy for Israel. DJT professes the same views.
At the UN Nikki Haley has now specifically threatened Syria and Russia with attack if the Syrian government does not halt its offensive in East Gouta and the Yarmouk camp. Both are near Damascus. These two places are mainly defended by jihadis, the largest group of which is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, the Al-Qa'ida branch in Syria. You remember Al Qa'ida. They were the people who attacked us on 9/11. Her threat is for retaliation for use of chemical weapons (chlorine)or just plain old "inhuman suffering" inflicted on the "Syrian People." This does not seem an idle threat given the number of times she has repeated it. Someone is telling her to say this. Haley has cabinet rank and does not answer to the State Department. My guess is that she is listening closely to AIPAC and the neocons like John Bolton.
At the same time Russia has made it clear that they will fight to protect their ally and interests in Syria. They have been quite plain spoken about that and they included both US aircraft and ships in the threat. I note that the Admiral Essen, a Russian missile shooting frigate sortied from Sebastopol today.
I think that Pompeo's nomination and his eventual confirmation brings the world closer to a US-Russia war. If that happens it will be difficult if not impossible to keep the war from escalating toward the use of nuclear weapons. Israel wants war, a wrecking war with Iran. Israel wants the US to win that war for Israel. IMO Israel would be wrecked in such a war whatever the outcome. This is an August, 1914 moment. pl
And what about the No Ko talks?
Yes absolutely an August 1914 moment…
That was my first thought when I heard the news.
I think the tone on the Russian side has also markedly changed recently. They are losing patience
How long until Mattis is shown the door?
The No Ko thing was bluff and bluster against a 3rd rate disfunctional regime at the kiddie end of the statecraft pool.
Russia is another ball game altogether and as much as I’d like to see Trump and the US come out on top he’s way out of league in this and the heavy pro Israel leaning is going to be trouble.
Hopefully some smarter and cooler headed diplomats will keep things on an even keel.
A pox on both Pompeo and Haley I say.
I have never trusted Pompeo. How does a Californian run and win a Congressional election in Kansas? Carpetbagger? Plus he got his Doctorate of Law degree from Harvard, which is another strike against him IMO. How will he get along with Nikki, since in the past he has called a Punjabi-American a ‘turban topper’? And I note that Nikki had a brother who served in Desert Storm while Pompeo reportedly sat it out.
I don’t know anything about Satterfield. But I thought that Haley’s job as United States Ambassador to the United Nations was a Cabinet level post and that she worked directly for the White House and not for the State Department. When did that change?
Pompeo’s close relationship with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies–a louder bunch of war mongers you would have a hard time finding–makes the danger that much more palpable, I think.
I have noted the smell of gunpowder in the air since the Kiev coup, though it is almost unbearably intense now.
With what has been occurring recently in Syria, now may make or break time for the US.
If it loses to Russia in Syria/Iraq, US would most likely start losing in many places.
Yes I remember Al Qaida. That several consecutive US administrations decided to threaten Russia in order to protect these terrorists was one of the reasons why I lost my trust in the US government and their political appendices here in Europe.
Will CNN praise Trump for his new appointments, just like they praised the US cruise missile attacks on Syria in April 2017 after the alleged chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun?
Reminds me of a murder that happened near Charlottesville some years back. Two middle aged brothers who shared a home in the country got into an argument over the use of the air conditioner and one shot the other. Afterwards he was grief stricken and couldn’t believe what he’d done. Alcohol was involved. So the thing was tragic and the more so because it was quite unnecessary.
Russia may be VERY sorry they screwed around in our election. Watch what you pray for! I know I’m pretty much not caring about the damn tax cut anymore.
Just my view on things but something is just so very wrong in this country. Yeah, this has been par for the course for so long that i am used to it but who the hell is in charge and what is the agenda?
“In 2005 Satterfield was named as having provided classified information to an official of the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, AIPAC. According to documents, Satterfield had discussed secret national security matters in at least two meetings with AIPAC official Steven J. Rosen, who was subsequently indicted by the U.S. Justice Department (later quashed over the objections of the FBI.”
I agree. This is August 1914 being replayed again. The end of the second Gilded Age.
Only the true believers and the Generals are left. The VA Secretary has to guard his office suite. EPA Administrator flies first class. Larry Kudlow, the rumored new economic czar, was fired from Bear Stearns for his cocaine habit.
Donald Trump wants the three Generals gone. Anything becomes possible even a Korean Peace Treaty. Correct me if I am wrong. But, without the Generals the President loses military and contractor backing. The 25th Amendment becomes a real possibility. The God of War is chuckling; if not a World War; then, at least, another American Civil War.
I pray you are wrong Colonel, but I fear you are not. I have the feeling a far away war just got a whole lot more relevant to my life. Stay safe everyone.
“Frighteningly, Mattis is now the adult and saner one in the whole administration” was exactly my thought a few hours ago…
As for Israel, they should be aware that if this ends up in a US vs Russia WW3, they will be wiped out – if not nuked by Russia, others will seize the opportunity offered by such chaos. There’s simply no way that they’re coming out of this war in a comparatively better situation, compared to the sorry state of other Western countries, than they are now – they’ll be hit just as badly, and probably worse than some.
Trump needs 60 votes to push the appointees through. Hopefully there are enough concerned Rs to encourage a transparent debate on the policy ramifications.
I think you are being too pessimistic, still a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. Trump is instinctively opposed to another war and knows it would be politically disastrous. The Iran deal being further undermined is more likely the middle path that will be trod.
I was very enthusiastic about Tillerson but he really hasn’t looked up to it, the idea was better than the reality. Pompeo I don’t know, superficially looks poor but I think he is cleverer than he lets on, and a lot is just rhetoric.
Colonel. Unfortunately you are perfectly right again with your analysis,for consequences of trending current affairs. My hunch is in this new west east war, Europe (except for UK) and east Asia, none of US main allies will side with US in a meaning full way, and that unwillingness to share will be the final nail in coffin of US centered world order based on UN, NATO and BW dollars.
“This is an August, 1914 moment.”
I’ve been fearing that Syria is looking more and more like that for some time now.
The unimaginative ridicule the suggestion that open war between the US and Russia could result from events in Syria, because it is just too big a change in the world for them to comprehend it as a real possibility. But there is a clear route for escalation, and now the US regime has suggested how the initiation might occur.
If the US strikes Syria, Russia has to choose whether to let it pass (as it did Trump’s previous crime) or to respond. If the US misjudges the scale of its attack and Russia responds with actions that kill US military personnel, then the US regime faces the same choice, and open war is an easy outcome. On each occasion, there is a clear cost to not retaliating, and a psychological inclination not to just turn the other cheek. This is a profoundly dangerous situation, and parallels with 1914 are absolutely not out of place.
I believe we would have been here a year ago if Clinton had won the presidency. Trump gave hope that it could be avoided, but it seems that hope was vain, whether because Trump lied or because he has been putty in the hands of the usual suspects around the US regime.
Fortunately, there will probably be many opportunities for either party to step off the escalation process before it reaches a nuclear exchange, and the prospect of that tends to concentrate even the minds of the powerful.
Let’s be absolutely clear here, though – the US is wholly the party at fault here in creating this situation. Syria is a longstanding Russian/Soviet ally and it is the US regime’s determination to overthrow the Syrian government that is creating the danger we now face. Granted, after that you can look at other parties involved in “influencing” the US regime towards war in Syria for their own self-serving ulterior motives, but in the end the US government and nation must be held responsible for its own choices and for allowing itself to be “influenced”.
With NATO right on their border and Alaska on their other – there isn’t anywhere for Russia to retreat to. They have ONE overseas base, and we wish to contest that, per our mouthpieces.
I think Putin made his point(s) crystal clear on March 1st. Continually poking the bear only ends one way. What might the neocon/Trump reaction be to a carrier being taken out? Or closing of the Straits by air/sea denial?
I do not wish to have either of these questions answered in any reality – simply because our government has come to believe they are invincible, and apparently, our military as well.
I believe he now needs only a simple majority to confirm appointments. pl
Explain to me how the “contractors” affect the outcomes. Campaign money? The big money is in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and the left side of Wall Street. pl
Yes & no to Aug’14. I’d go for July; the ‘black swan event’ has occurred, now what will the major powers do?
I note that the Russian threat came not from the Pres or the Prime Minister, or the FM. It came from the CDS. I think the orders for Russian air defense staff in Syria have been cut; shoot on launch. The Russians seem sure the attack will be on Damascus, in response to an imagined gas attack in East Ghouta. So probably air launched cruise missiles.
My black swan is Russian air defense knocking down a couple US strike a/c. In 1914, starting with Austro Hungary, everyone (Rus, Ger, Fra) then reacted instead of looking at how bad it could get. The Brits were the last in, reluctantly. Brit FM Grey said “The lights are going out in Europe, I don’t know when we shall see them lit again”.
There were others in the Satterfield sting. Who were they? pl
It has been on and off and is now on as a cabinet post. So, Satterfield is probably not the man responsible for his foolishness. pl
yes, a simple majority of the senate
and vp can break a tie vote
On further reflection i would guess that AIPAC and the neocons control her; Bolton, Keane, Woolsey, Wolfowitz, etc. with Trump’s acceptance. pl
I believe Rep. Jane Harman was involved and probably should have been arrested but it involved Israel.
Infowar dialled up to ‘BS Crazy’ level in the UK just now – so building towards something. I guess we find out in the next 48hrs.
Perhaps a small nuclear exchange against non-civilian targets is just what the world needs to realize this endless warmongering is not rational. If I were Putin, I would nuke the Ghawar field in KSA.
Tea for the tillerman,anyone.the chinese oil maneuver enterprise,also known as COME,is one step closer to saudi oil now that tillerson has come and gone
Yes, Sir, I stand corrected: a majority vote it is. I suppose I was getting ahead of myself with speculation.
Stripping away all the claptrap about unicorn rebels and chemical weapons and human rights, the US is publicly and clearly stating that it will directly militarily intervene in defense of its demonstrably failing Syria policy; however, not with a ground invasion – there is no stomach for that. This is moronic (to use Rex’s lexicon) – a missile attack on Syria will have no strategic effect on the Syrian conflict.
Is it coincidence that Russia just very clearly signaled that it has the capability and will to counter the US military strategy directly? Whereas one suspects few in the administration believe that history has any relevance, Russia is very history aware. Russia practices, every year, a nationwide, civilian response to a major nuclear attack. One cannot imagine such an exercise in the US (it would interfere with our duty to shop).
I cannot see how the US de-escalates if a US carrier group is sunk. Winds of 1914 indeed. Perhaps after a few metropolitan areas are nuked in each country (and probably someone glasses the chosen people’s country, Israel) saner minds in the US will pull back. Or not.
So the US is willing to risk escalation that in gaming always seems to lead to a nuclear weapons exchange for an action with zero strategic benefit!
May God keep Mattis safe.
“Will CNN praise Trump for his new appointments, just like they praised the US cruise missile attacks on Syria in April 2017 after the alleged chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun?”
Regarding that, SAA have cleared access now for reporters to a very dodgy looking plant in Shifuniyah, SE of Douma. One of them was Mrs Narwani here who shot a few photos on-site:
and wonders out loud where her colleagues from “Western” agencies are.
There’s also a video shot by Sama TV, with subtitles added by this Syrian Digital Media account here:
I seem to recall that the usual suspects were hollering about how “chlorine barrel bombs” or whatever was used in Shifuniyah when it had already been taken by SAA at that point…
I thought that Jaysh al Islam had the upper hand in East Ghouta given the arrangements that were made that allowed HTS guys and their families get out of jail there and move to Idlib. It sounds now that many of them are still in Ghouta. If that is the case, the “terrorism” issue is real. The US, along with Saudi Arabia, has kept Jaysh al Islam off the list at the UN and in the US. The presence of Jaysh al Islam is actually good for the SAG since they have their own reputation with regard to chemical weapons. One can cry wolf only so many times. We’ll see what Mattis says after his trip to the reason, as it is expected that he will have something to say about the chemical weapons issue.
Why do the wolves insist on pushing Russia to the brink? They see Russia as an obstacle to destroying Syria before they destroy Iran? This is diabolical if true.
Larry Franklin? Or was that in a different timeframe?
Military Contractors have 400 lobbyists, revolving doors with military officers and civilian officials, jobs in congressional districts; plus, corporations and their employees contribute to election campaigns. Most importantly, they are part of the connected elite. You are groomed to succeed and are paid handsomely if you belong to their exclusive club. Unfortunately, today the system is corrupt and the global establishment has absolutely no concern for the well-being of American citizens.
Blaming Russia for the 2016 election and Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatening U.S. troops in Manjib Syria are signs of the House of Cards collapsing around us.
I predicted Tillerson would be out by end of last year. So I was off by three months…
Rumor has it that Trump is looking for an excuse to launch an attack on Syria which will be “bigger” than the last one, and apparently Ghouta and alleged “chlorine attacks” will be the excuse.
U.S. warns it may act on Syria as onslaught against Ghouta grinds on
Apparently the US also believes Syria violated a de-confliction zone which might be another excuse for a US attack:
U.S. calls urgent meeting in Jordan after Syria strikes reports
As I noted yesterday, some believe Putin explicitly mentioned attacks on Russia’s allies as a reason to use nuclear weapons. Whether Putin considers Syria an “ally” justifying the use of nukes is unlikely in my opinion. North Korea and the implicit threat to China if China intervenes probably would qualify.
So hopefully Trump will go to meet Kim. Yesterday’s Crosstalk pointed out that there’s a lot the Deep State could do to derail that, assuming Trump is even truthful about his intentions. Personally I suspect Kim is using the talks between NK and SK as a means to drive a wedge between SK and the US. This would be to the good. Yesterday’s Crosstalk suggested the best outcome would be to get the US “out of the room” and let the two Koreas work it out. The problem with that is that Kim wants US forces out of SK and while SK might agree to that, they’ll have to talk it over with the US which will be highly resistant since those forces are there not just for NK but for China. Mark Sleboda suggested Trump might well be going to Korea not to make things better but to reinsert the US into the SK/NK negotiatons to sabotage them. We’ll see.
But it seems Trump intends Syria to be the next target. So the question remains how far will he go to attack Syria and how far will Russia go to defend Syria. If I were Putin, I’d be on the phone with Trump today reminding him that Russia has cruise missiles that can sink the entire US Med fleet (not in those terms, of course, but you get the idea.) He might also remind Trump that half the previous cruise missiles never reached their target even without Russian S-300’s and Pantsirs being involved. This time, they might be.
The last cruise missile attacks was around 50 missiles. So if Trump wants a “bigger” attack this time, will it be 100 missiles? Airstrikes by US jets against the SAA since the cruise missiles might be ineffective against ground troop positions? What happens if the Syrian air defenses – even without Russian help – shoot down a US jet attacking SAA forces a la the Israeli incident earlier? How does Trump react to that?
DC @ 16, you are way too optimistic in assuming that no Democratic senators will vote for Pompeo’s confirmation. My guess is that even 20 Dem votes against cloture won’t be sufficient.
Niki Haley hysterics at the UNSC over Ghouta? Going by what is starting to come out of Ghouta, there was much to cover up.
Sharmine Narwani a journalist who is on the front lines of east Ghouta. Photograghs of the jihadi CW factory recently captured, directly linking back to Saudi Arabia and US.
East Ghouta civilians that recently escaped from East Ghouta, including a girl who was forced to appear on a Bana of Aleppo type video.
Worth watching a reporter interviewing these people. (English subtitles)
You are most certainly leaving out the UK, here.
Much of US foreign policy is first hatched in the UK, and then exported as a commodity; just as Israel is an undue influence on US foreign policy, so is the UK–except moreso.
What they lobby for is procurement contracts not foreign policy. pl
My favorite mole in all of this is the slippery Doug Feith. He is continnues to be more slippery than the Teflon Don, who by the way died in jail.
Lawrence Franklin, the former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst was another. https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Larry_Franklin
Keith Weissman, the man once recognized as a top analyst at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Another former Aipac analyst, Steve Rosen, has been accused of handing over top-secret American documents to foreign officials and journalists. Both plead not guilty.
CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY REPORTS THAT REPRESENTATIVE JANE HARMAN WAS CAUGHT ON TAPE PROMISING TO LOBBY FOR REDUCED CHARGES AGAINST TWO ACCUSED SPIES, IN EXCHANGE FOR HELP SECURING THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE:
Pat Buchanan was mostly right when he said that our U.S Congress is Israeli occupied territory.
How does UK influence manifest itself in US policy? Baroness Thatcher did everything but fellate Bush 41 to get him to go to war over Kuwait.. Is that what you are talking about? pl
Ghouta, Duma particularly, is the base of operations for Jaysh al-Islam. A nasty terrorist group with a long pedigree and supported by Saudi Arabia. I would guess that the Saudis are pressing hard on this one behind the scenes. Remember the people in cages as human shields – that was these guys.
In a lengthy TV interview March 11, Putin spoke of an episode of his early years in St. Petersburg when he was chasing a rat from an apartment block house where he lived with his parents.
“So I cornered the rat,” Putin recollected, “and it suddenly turned back on me. I was scared and fled all the way back up to my apartment, but the rat continued to chase me.”
The lesson Putin said he learned from that incident was, “Never corner your opponent” to the point where they turn back and bite.
I was curious about Pompeo’s Army service. Best I could determine from some searching is that he was an armor officer and I’m guessing in an 11th ACR tank squadron?
Do you really think a threat from Nikki Haley to attack is more credible when she repeats it several times?
I doubt it is. What did she threaten? From what I understand it was something like taking action and attack Syria like the US did it in April 2017 after the staged CW attack in Khan Sheikhun. The US fired several dozen uruise missiles worth plenty of Dollars on a military air field. Before the missiles were fired the US told the Russians the coordinates where they will hit, so as to ensure the US won’t accidentally harm a Russian soldier. Of course, these missiles then hit nothing what had much worth, because everything of worth was qucikly removed before the missiles hit. So, does Nikki Haley now threaten a replay of that circus?
Anyway, the head of Russia’s Gen. Staff V. Gerasimov seems not to be very impressed. He said today Russia will respond with certain measure to both “missiles” & “launchers” which are delivering these projectiles if the US attacks Syria again. So the US hits Syria and Russia hits the US launchers in response. So, and then what?
Will the US then want to start some minutemen to Moscow to get back some Sarmats to Washington? I doubt it. I think the US will just bark a lot then and suck it up.
Yes; imagination. In the era when our species has developed the weapons with which to destroy itself at the press of a button, an adequacy of this commodity in a few key individuals seems to be pretty much all that stands between us and oblivion.
As for opportunities to step off the escalation process, 1914 is a sobering reminder that such opportunities can come & go pretty fast.
how is the AUMF discussion figure in this warmongering by Nikki Haley and her managers (pupetteers ? is that the correct description of her ‘handlers’)
Three more videos with english subtitles on the East Ghouta chemical weapons facility.
@snarwani and other brave people like her, seem to be the best chance to derail the single track ‘Assad/Russia uses chemical weapons’ narrative.
So Trump has picked the woman who destroyed the CIA torture tapes to be the new head of the CIA. The destruction of those tapes sounds like obstruction of justice to me. I wonder if he is trying to put his critics in a bind where they have to demand that the head of the CIA also be prosecuted for obstruction of justice if they go after Trump for obstruction of justice. Presumably she will feel that she is in the same boat as Trump.
The UK and Israeli elites undoubtedly count among the second order “influencers” that I mentioned, but in the end the US can’t use them as excuses. They are only allowed to “influence” the US so strongly because it suits so many powerful people in the US for them to do so, and the “influence” certainly goes both ways, in Britain’s case at any rate.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”. Israel has been manipulating US policy and culture for decades, and Britain has been doing so for a century and more. However, it’s a bit absurd to pretend that the scope and scale of British “influence” has even approached that of Israel and its lobbies, certainly in recent decades. British “influence” is nowadays mostly just being useful for particular factions within US politics and government.
Trump is President today because in the Republican primaries he faced a fractured slate, many of whom, like Trump, had no business thinking they should be President; and in the election, he faced a corrupt government grifter without political talent whose only salient asset was that she was the wife of a former President, the one who destroyed the bully pulpet. Without the Clintons, there is no Trump.
Trump assumed office with no political friends, with some good ideas that resonated with old line Democrats and people who were tired of 16 years of a disastrous over militarized foreign policy and aimless failing or failed interventions; but unfortunately he had neither tactics, strategy, or personnel to carry those ideas forward; and as if these deficits weren’t enough, through some combination of misfeasance and malfeasance, the outgoing Administration, the Intelligence swamp, and the Democratic Party extremists combined to cripple him with a hastily concocted crisis in our relations with Russia. Finally, Trump did not help himself by surrounding himself with Generals and family members, something he had not signaled he would be doing during the campaign.
Trump tapped Tillerson for State precisely because it was reasonable at the time to believe that Tillerson could be instrumental in restoring correct relations with Russia. Alas, it was not to be: neither Trump nor Tillerson were up to steering out of the maelstrom. Still, Trump did not serve himself well by the chickenshit way he got rid of Tillerson.
So how are things now lining up: Trump; Mattis; Pompeo; a career bureaucrat from an undistinguished time frame (to say the least) at CIA: and the perfectly awful, hopelessly unqualified, ranting fool, Nikki Haley. Over in GB, Theresa May lays down a 24 hr ultimatum: does this idiot know what an ultimatum is and what it means and where it leads? Is there a .300 hitter in the bunch?
August 1914? We’re getting there,
Totally agree – thought it very interesting that one particular new hypersonic weapon is in use in the Southern District. Which seems to me that US Navy assets in the Med or Gulf are not safe from a MIG31 with clearance to use Iranian air space.
From watching Russian responses, they seem to go in other than conventional direction. Assuming their new MAD weapons work as advertised, is it within the realm of possibility that Russia would respond to our tactical nukes with their own conventional and kinetic weapons? That would certainly change the worldview of everyone watching.
Rus FM spox Maria Zakarova just addressed Brit PM May: “You do not give a nuclear armed power 24 hours”!
I can’t figure out what the hell is going on these days in UK, are they looking are they looking to exit the Europe only or the rather exit out of the world. What do they really want? Do they really think they can isolate Russia out of Europe? Would that bring more security for UK? IMO, they must be crazy if they think American population will allow or come to protect them again, while the two-ocean security no longer is viable in era of ICBMs. As colonel predicts a pre-war condition is forming on the two far ends of our outdated two ocean protection.
“No British outlet will work in Russia if London shuts down RT – Foreign Ministry”
I agree with you all that replacing Rex Tillerson, who could not be brow-beaten all the time, with Mike Pompeo, “who agrees with me,” further isolates the Trump Whitehouse and makes the world that more dangerous.
But, am I alone in noting a tendency of President Trump to fire his staff without warning, at considerable distance, and to deny that anything he might have done was a reason for poor polling?
The first time we saw this was the dismissal of Corey Lewandowski, the man who was with Candidate Trump 24 / 7 for 18 months of Primaries. Corey arrives at his desk in Trump Tower at 6:00 am and is asked to join Trump Jr. He reaches Jr.’s office and is assigned a security guard to vacate his office. “What have I done?” he asks and Jr. does not reply. On 5th Avenue he calls Trump’s personal number. The Donald says that “They are killing us.” and hangs up. Corey is persuaded to meet Dana Bash of CNN and is extremely loyal to his former boss, while saying he has no idea about the firing. On leaving the studio, Trump calls him to say how proud he was of Corey. A nice gesture, but inadequate given Corey’s personal sacrifice. (Let Trump Be Trump — Lewandowski and Bossie 128 – 133.)
We will probably never learn why President Trump turned on Rex Tillerson. If we ever do, it may be because Neocons are furious reality refuses to bend to their fantasies.
One significant thing that I can see is that Tillerson did not issue any warnings in his departure speech, which I suggest he would have if he suspected that time was running out.
A second is that Syria has not declared an ADIZ for all or parts of it’s airspace, which would be the first step in escalation, and a mark of Putin’s willingness to use a comprehensive Russian/Syrian IADS against air threats – which interestingly would also have implications for the Turkish AF. A breached ADIZ would most certainly lead to a contest for airspace with Russian air power.
The other ‘good’ news is that even this in the case of US aircraft / munitions it would be a long way from the use of defensive tactical nukes, and even further from a fallback from tactical nukes to strategic nukes.
The wildcards are of course Israeli and Iranian wildcards.
A very meaningful head line by Izvestia on Potomac, WP. For WP editors, a victory for legal army of Syria in their own country’ is defying the INTERNATIONAL order. One wonders who are these International community, are Russians, Chinese, Iran and many others part of this community? Or this so-called community is another of US’ international country clubs. Too bad, i think the international community should just STFU and live with it.
“Syrian military pushes for victory in Ghouta, defying international outcry”
You are obviously a troll, so climb back in your troll hole and leave the considerate commentary to others. If you had been a part of this commentary, then you would have known there is no evidence of “Russia” interference in the recent election. And further note that the US has been the real aggressor and provocateur in the ME and Eastern Europe.
That 2005 AIPAC investigation was actually started in 2001. According to Condoleezza Rice she was told about the investigation soon after President George W. Bush began his first term of office.
The FBI was clearly looking for a big fish, much bigger than Satterfield, Rosen, Weisserman and Larry Franklin.
Laura Rozen covered it and reported the FBI was very, very pissed when their investigation was leaked to AIPAC, effectively shutting it down.
How it got leaked is very interesting…someone told Franklin to call Adam Ciralsky,the producer of Leslie Stahl’s 60 Minutes program for whatever reason. Ciralsky was a Jewish guy who was fired from the CIA in 1999 for unreported contacts with Israelis and failing polygraph tests when questioned about his meetings with Israelis.
Leslie Stahl had interviewed him about his firing and antisemtism, then he ended up being hired by 60 Minutes as a producer. Shortly after the Franklin call to Ciralsky the investigation was blown and Stahl did a 60 Minutes program on the AIPAC investigation.
The FBI was alleged to have thought that Ciralsky tipped off AIPAC after the Franklin call.
The FBI never got their big fish.
Agreed….that being said what are the odds Pompeo will be around say till the end of the year….
IMO Trump did the right thing in dismissing Tillerson.
Appears CIA nominee was involved in torture.
Trump will react to Mattis alone as a rival. pl
Nikki is aligned with but not controlled by the neocons. Her screeching is preparation for an eventual presidential run. There’s a recent Foreign Policy article up about her.
Her warmongering against Iran is a product of Christian Zionism among her evangelical political base in South Carolina and in the Republican Party base generally. She thinks she can ride the Iron Lady for Israel horse to the White House.
The other element is an echo of south Asian subcontinental wars between Hinduism and Islam. Remember her birth name is Nimrata.
“They screwed around in our election…”
Any evidence that the Russians have influenced perceptibly the electoral process in the US? Or you are a believer in the “Indictment of Trolls” that made the US into a laughing stock? Mueller was intimately involved into Uranium One. How do you like this deal and the money involved?
Under Mueller’s watch the US cybersecurity had received a black eye from Awans’ family. Still OK? How about the dereliction of duty and incompetence?
And do not forget the “defensive” war in Iraq. The price tag is somewhere around $6 trillions plus the traumatized, mutilated American boys and girls that believed in a war with pernicious Al Qaeda (add the hundreds of thousands of “collateral damage”). Today it is the US & Israel that care for and support Al Qaeda in Syria. “Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda fighters are attacking Syrian military positions important for the defence of Syria and of the Arab nation from Israeli aggression. These Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda attacks would not be possible without air support from Israel. Indeed, Israel has admitted many times that it supports these terrorists, whom it calls “moderate rebels.” http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-america-armed-terrorists-in-syria/
What is your agenda? – support the MIC and the Lobby in their nefarious activity? The US military has been zionized. Guess it warmth your heart to read these insulting words: “US Commander: ‘US Troops Prepared to Die for Israel’ http://www.renegadetribune.com/us-commander-us-troops-prepared-die-israel-war-syria-hezbollah/
One point that may have already been commented on:
If that pic was of him in his first year in the 80s? The Vietnam War was over in the 70s. So I sure hope that the VN war was over by the time he graduated.
I guess for some the VN was never over.
I cannot see how the US de-escalates if a US carrier group is sunk.
I read an article some time ago (I cannot find it again or I would link it) on how China might conduct a similar carrier-sinking and at least have some hope it might not escalate. In present circumstances, I expect it would run something like this:
1) sink or seriously damage the carrier quickly with as much deniability as possible.
2) quickly rescue any survivors and treat them extremely well – not as POWs but as survivors, repatriating them ASAP.
3) loudly criticize the US for the poor ship handling, terrible maintenance, and/or other failures that let such a tragedy occur.
4) blame the attack on either/both: an accident caused by negligence or a terrorist group – the latter via sabotage, a suicide boat/sub, or shore-launched anti-ship missile.
If done well, the mass media will be showing video of injured US servicemen being treated by friendly Russians, while sinister figures take credit for the attack in Arabic. An attack on Russia under such circumstances would not be impossible, but getting the public on board would be very, very difficult.
Ye the message would still be very clear. All the informed players would be reasonably certain of what had actually happened, but proving it, much less doing so convincingly in a short span of time, would be nearly-impossible. At least, without making up evidence to support the call to war, which is something the American public is likely to react very poorly to.
maybe Haley’s repetition of her threats is along Cato the elder’s “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam“.
Cato said it all the time whenever he was speaking (speaking about anything – weather, rain, sunshine, frogs, flies, slaves, taxes, tomatoes, marmelade, wine – and then adding his inevitable carthago addition).
Point is that he eventually got his way and carthago was destroyed. Maybe Haley and her heroes like Bolton are just as “cato-ised”.
That written, Trump’s cruise missile strike on Syria should be seen as a reminder to the limits of US power, despite all that firepower.
The Russians, having been held the Tomahawk at the head for three decades, saw the US use them happily throughout the middle east, and they have taken it serious and learned about it and improved their air defence.
Babbling “Carthaginem esse delendam” all the time has practical consequences beyond feeling good for a second. It comes with a price.
Whether Trump, Haley or Bolton or Pompeo see that, or even care about that price, is another thing – likely they don’t see the price for belief in invulnerability and being high on their belief of unmatched US super power. So … : Ahead with full throttle!
Tidewater to All,
I think everything has changed for the carrier-centric US Navy. The MIG-31 has a combat radius of 450 miles, if flying at an altitude of 59,000 feet at Mach 2.35 (1800 miles per hour.) Presumably it would be carrying two drop fuel tanks. It can sustain supersonic flight for long periods of time, in spite of the intense heat on its frame. The Kinzal is said to have a speed of over seven thousand miles per hour and a range of 1200 miles. It can alter course rapidly, going into extreme and unexpected maneuvers. The Mediterranean is some 2400 miles in length. The Kinzal will cover some 1650 miles of it without in-flight refueling. Bases such as Sigonella, Sicily, or possibly even Rota, Spain, could be under the gun. I think it is fairly clear that a well-organized attack employing six or more Kinzals could cripple or sink a carrier and its air guard escort of DDG’s. The Kinzal can actually destroy an entire carrier group.
If employed in the Persian Gulf by Russian pilots and technicians, or by trained Iranian personnel, the Kinzal could destroy most of the Arab Gulf desalination plants, among them: Az Zour North IWPP, Kuwait; Jubail IWPP, Saudi Arabia; Ras al Khair IWPP,Saudi Arabia; Jebel Ali desalination, UAE. Once the Arab east coast desalination facilities were gone, I think there would be a panicked flight to the west.
The Kinzal could wreck the United States Naval Support Facility at the old British base of HMS Jufair, Bahrain, and sink the ships stationed there, at Mina Sulman, including the command ship.
And it could all be done by an attack that is launched from Iranian soil.
With in-flight refueling, I think that Iranian or Russian manned MIG-31s could get within range to launch Kinzals at Diego Garcia. A sub that had Kinzal launch capabilities that got within a thousand miles of Diego Garcia would be quite dangerous.
Of course the Iranians have their own ballistic missile, the Khorramshahr, with a range of 1,240 miles. It is said to be quite accurate. But Diego Garcia would be, if measured from Chabahar, say, a distance of 2,392 miles. Nevertheless, I think Diego Garcia would be targeted in an Iranian-American war.
The Iranian Ho Chi Minh trail would run west down through Oman into Yemen from the Musandam Peninsula and from other Omani ports. This means that the Kinzal, in theory, could also be a threat to carriers on the Red Sea.
I think the asylum’s cracked window of opportunity for an attack on Iran has closed in the last few years. As for carrier groups. They are impossible now to hide. A fisherman’s global positioning and his cell phone or radio could pin-point a carrier perfectly. Drones can track carriers. American drone bases in the Indian Ocean, such as at Djibouti or on the Seychelles, could almost certainly be targeted, as from Yemen.
Mattis was talking strategically. However, in the Mediterranean and in the Persian Gulf something very significant has changed.
Haspel isn’t alone in her views on torture – according to your link Mattis, Trump and Pompeo also think waterboarding is an excellent intelligence tool.
According to your article Pompeo answered to Feinstein’s torture criticism that agents who had tortured people were “heroes, not pawns in some liberal game.”
*sob* … poor heroes … *sob*
Apparently it was all that heroism that made Haspel destroy evidence about the CIA torture site in Tailand which she led.
Indeed, apparently these heroes (and their leaders) needed to be protected from that odd and unpleasant “liberal game” called ‘prosecution for crimes’.
Silly, just silly…
” the prospect of that tends to concentrate even the minds of the powerful.”
Are you sure?
I would like to, too many “powerfuls” of the day are also darn stupid.
August, 1914 moment ?
No, just AGADIR 1911. SMS Panther, a so tiny ship…
What is US interest in the Middle East? I don’t see any. We’ve got plenty of oil. And the Canadians will happily sell us more.
The millenia old conflicts there are really no business of ours. The possibility that we’ll go to war with Russia and risk our own population to further Israeli perceptions shows how far down the rabbit hole we’ve gone. The zionists “own” our political, media, governmental establishments lock stock and barrel for this possibility to exist.
If Putin is so diabolical and his information operations so elegant and effective he should execute one that breaks the chain of zionist influence on the US polity. That would prevent Armageddon and the world would be thankful.
Honestly I have no idea what the firing of Tillerson and his replacement by Pompeo means. Maybe it’s because Tillerson called Trump a moron and Pompeo is an ass licker. Hillary, Rubio, etc al wanted a no-fly-zone over Syria. That would have brought instant conflict with Russia. If Nikki Haley’s threats come to pass we’ll get there.
Trump is attempting to change many past arrangements. One being trade where the US has bled for decades running massive trade deficits. How the GOP does in the mid-terms will influence his position on many issues.
WMDs are taboo, and it is good so. A bigger conventional strike would do the same.
In oil prodcution it is not the raw oil, what makes the choke point but the refineries. A strike on ANY big refinery, ad some sabotage on others would bring the world economy and world itself to screeching halt.
The US survived Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, could this guy possibly be worse?
What is going on here in Britain?
There are more unsavoury types who have fallen foul of the law and/or the Kremlin who then base themselves in London. If your country becomes a haven for dodgy people, like Berezovsky, then dodgy things are likely to happen.
In some ways on the political right the neocons are more dominant than they are in the US. The Murdoch empire controls a huge chunk of the right leaning media and pumps out the usual tropes, with the added hysteria of the tabloid press of this country. Sadly we saw the replacement of Emily Blunt’s uncle Crispin as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, a realist replaced by fellow Conservative but Zionist Tughendat. The neocons and the Blairites have the numbers in the Commons.
On the left they have been traumatised by the election of Trump and the vote for Brexit. They have dutifully followed the Russia smokescreen of the Democrats in the US. Crucially though Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour party and continues to poll well. Blairites, the press and the Israelis have launched an unrelenting campaign to unseat him and damage him electorally. This has not worked, Israel looks to have lost the political left. If you thought Trump was pro Russia, anti-interventionist and NATO skeptical then Corbyn is even mores so, with the added bonus of being fiercely critical of Israel.
Finally we have also seen continuing cuts to the defence budget, The military industrial complex has been eagerly jumping on the Russia bandwagon to try to stop this.
Add in the Saudi/Arab lobby and Syria and it is a perfect storm. The hysteria is because they are losing, not winning.
I’ll add two articles on the Skripal affair that I like.
Pardon my ignorance, but what’s a kinetic weapon?
No verifiable fiduciary evidence has been produced that would stand in the court of law. I suggest you chnge yur dupplier.
A euphemism for a gun as opposed to IO (propaganda). pl
HC had Obama who was cautious. pl
I note that the Admiral Essen, a Russian missile shooting frigate sortied from Sebastopol today.
There are Russian submarines operating–diesel ones from Tartus in East Med. plus unknown number of nukes elsewhere in Mediterranean–all of them with anti-shipping missiles. There is enough deterrent there. So, while the pitch of hysteria is extremely high in the US (and UK) I think Gerasimov and Dunford settled the issue yesterday between them–both sides (per military people) know the consequences and Gerasimov’s warning, however blunt, was towards US political operatives not military. Per UK–this is not serious, most of it posturing, such as sending out 23 Russian diplomats, well, Russia will do the same, plus will make sure Brits gain no special treatment in valuable Russian markets and that will be about it. I think Lavrov now is on suicide watch after May recalled his invitation to visit London. So, I have to say all this is a lot of noise and very little activity. A lot of it is connected to Russia’s elections and inability of US political elites to grasp a reality of a new world.
The point was (as stated) that he has no combat experience. pl
Such “hysteria” often leads to war. I don’t know about Gerasimov but Dunford is a functionary and settles nothing in national policy. pl
The Panther was used in Haiti and Venezuala before it was sent to Agadir. I don’t think there’s any Russian money in either country today but there is plenty of US money east of where the rust line of the Iron Curtain used to be.
Such “hysteria” often leads to war
True, but only so far–we live in a nuclear paradigm and even most hysterical (unless they are completely berserk) functionaries get the idea of being evaporated in the nuclear blast. Per Dunford, he might be a functionary but US people on the ground in the ME are not. Plus Dunford per his position of CJCS, I am sure, DOES know forces involved there. In fact, Russian media yesterday specifically pointed out, omitting legal and geopolitical nuances, that both Russians and Americans on the ground in Syria are very meticulous in observing deconfliction procedures and are, indeed, in constant communications. If to imagine that I am a Russian policy-maker, I would rather deal with American military than political operatives. Yes, US “elites” are a clear and present danger to both US herself and the world.
Sorry if this is not quite on topic.
1. “Russia” did not screw around in the election.
2. HRC had repeatedly promised a no-fly zone over Syria, a step guaranteed to lead to a shooting war with Russia.
Now, compare the foreign policy positions of Clinton, Dubya, Obama, and now Trump as candidates to their positions once elected. What have we learned?
We have learned that unless and until the Deep State is eradicated root and branch, it matters not who wins the elections.
I was enthusiastic about Tillerson as well, but he did not perform as advertised.
Pompeo promises to make Tillerson look positively statesmanlike by comparison.
At least this war is guaranteed to have enthusiastic bipartisan support, with members of both Team D and Team R jockeying to outdo one another in their displays of patriotism.
My hunch is that our various NATO allies will grumble but do as they are told.
Thank You, for a very informing summary
“…until the Deep State is eradicated root and branch, it matters not who wins the elections.” I generally agree with that and would expand the cleansing of the Augean stables to the military caste of generals and admirals who are self replicating as a group. They are not part of the Borg (foreign policy establishment)but are part of the problem. It is true that HC wanted to do all manner of aggressive things but BHO did not let her do them. thus, it does matter who wins the election. pl
The US military people on the ground in the ME operate within the four corners of their guidance and not outside that guidance. there are no rogue operations. Look at Votel’s testimony before congress now posted on SF. He speaks of this “mission.” That is his assigned mission. pl
That is his assigned mission.
Of course military operates within its mission and manuals. I was talking about judgement–US military at this very moment has better judgement than its political top. In fact, it becomes increasingly obvious.
I’m sad to say that I concur with your estimate and conclusions. The American objective and strategy in regard to Syria has become increasingly obvious since the air attack on the embattled Deir ez Zor garrison. The course being followed seems to have its own momentum, regardless of administration, bureaucracy, or congress. Addressing the “ancient” AUMF in congress could be a hopeful development were it not for the relentless and escalating anti-Russian propaganda. Is that being orchestrated in order insure a favorable AUMF?
You are a military analyst and a good one from what I read, but I believe that this misses the point here re the danger. The issue is not that the people who matter do not know what nuclear Armageddon looks like, it is that they may not appreciate that a chain of unpredictable events – of the kind that JohnsonR described upthread – can lead us there from here.
I think the Colonel is absolutely right in his analysis and historical comparison because we now have exactly the right (wrong) mix of personalities in combination with an already dangerous proxy war. A very dangerous game is being played and I am not at all convinced that one side has the imagination to appreciate how dangerous it is.
A kinetic weapon carries no exploding payload. The velocity of the missile itself is sufficient to destroy targets. This requires extreme velocity, the effect being similar to a meteor, Various space agencies have been reported to have this tech, sometimes referred to as “the rod of God’, the rod being a metallic mass in rod form shot from orbit. The new Satan 2 is purported to have these type warheads fired from flightpath of the ICBM.
Like the Heritage Foundation pipsqueaker Haley, Pompeo has his admirers in Israel:
They will not. Maybe you have forgotten what war is, we don’t.
Never will german, french, belgian or italian people allow their gvts to let that happen and it will be worse in Hungary or Czech republic.
I’m not talking about political circus but about massive riots, sabotages and violence.
About Gina Haspel an arrest warrent was issued by Germany against her and send to Interpol two years ago.
That sounds like a Russian strategy. It seems Russia has managed to get revenge for actions that targeted its assets in Syria (I read an article that suggests the E. Ghouta push is hitting also US SF advisors) but they do not brag about it on twitter.
For example, I assess that the poor performance of the Tomahawk attack was EW (the other explanation being they are crap missiles), but in either case, Putin did not brag on twitter.
Also consistent with the Putin story about the rat per Luke8929.
One might hope that an encrypted channel (that had been cracked) would provide a few minutes warning for our sailors to get overboard – the fact that carrier groups are useless against a peer power is accepted in naval circles since the 80s.
I believe you are spot on that the US has very little national interest in the Middle East. It would seem that Trump’s instinct during the campaign was correct that better relations with Russia is in US interests, especially if Trump intends to change the trade relationship with China.
As Putin had suggested in his interviews with Oliver Stone, we should have Russia join NATO and align militarily with them. I would suggest we go further and negotiate a “Peace & Friendship” treaty with the Russians. There is much that can be achieved with a mutually beneficial partnership with Russia.
Ah, you mean things like rail guns. Well, sure but the military more generally applies the term “kinetic operations” to any shooting/bombing operation. pl
precisely because it was reasonable at the time to believe that Tillerson could be instrumental in restoring correct relations with Russia.
Flavius, I had the impression he sought support from the military quite early. I didn’t take more then a rather superficial glance at his campaign website, or on Clinton’s horribly bad one. But the military, I suppose a necessity in the US seemed to be one of his central columns. Clinton: Aesthetically bad, and non-focused it felt.
I am open to corrections of cause. Can’t help though: to what extend was his position on Russia simply a response (countervailing?) to the launched Russiagate theme?
I hope to never see Russia joining NATO; the Western Diocletian states are already generally insufferable, Heaven only knows what they would do once the Orthodox join them.
But I can assure you that the attempt at White Hegemony of this planet will be resisted tooth and nail by the Beige, the Brown, the Yellow, and the Black.
I agree with you that the United States – indeed the entire Western Diocletian states – have no rational interests in the World of Islam that warrants war.
Kooshy – Under correction from the Westminster experts here, Westminster seems to be calling for further joint European/American sanctions rather than for military action.
UK trade with Russia is not as great as that of the Continental Europeans. There is UK investment in Russia, however, and handling expatriate Russian money is profitable for the City. Therefore, unless we want to cut off our noses to spite our faces, there’s not that much damage the UK can do to Russia.
As for the hate speech, in which we are now rivalling even the Poles, I assume Putin welcomes it. Every jab another bunch of votes for him, I’d imagine, unless the Russian people are more saintly than the rest of us.
LondonBob — Time to reread Tuchman’s The Proud Tower, I guess. 1914 didn’t happen because no one knew a war would be politically disastrous or because their instincts kicked in. And “just rhetoric” is a very dangerous concept. Words have power and words do matter.
May’s British government is in a weak position domestically, with the fear and loathing of Corbyn motivating a certain hysteria since last years snap election. What has transpired this week appears direct from the Thatcher playbook. What is stunning is, for all the bluster, they have reached a verdict without a trial, without any evidence at all of an “attempted murder”, without even being able to explain what happened. To then wrap their denunciations in the banner of standing tall for “our values” and sticking up for the “rules-based system” while trampling on the logic and procedure of the basic justice system – that’s just crazy and rather thoughtless.
Here, the 1914 analogy can be seen in the rapid insistence that friends and allies of Britain must also stand tall and denounce the Russians – evidence be damned – lest the alliance crumble. This will permit the “unlawfull chemical weapon attack” meme to grow just as Russiagate has done, with unproven allegations presented as settled fact, requiring “action” in response. Further, by this reaction, the British government has assured the investigation into whatever happened will be politicized, and that any information countering the government’s charges will be suppressed so to prevent a loss of face.
blue peacock, Jack
Apparently US policy in the ME is strongly about oil, though I expect basic geopolitics is the twin reason.
I’ve excerpted some key paragraphs, but suggest reading the whole thing if you want to know how The Borg thinks about the ME.
A Rare Glimpse into the Inner Workings of the American Empire in the Middle East – The U.S. foreign policy elite still wants the Middle East for its oil and its strategic location. http://fpif.org/rare-glimpse-inner-workings-american-empire-middle-east/
In recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, four former U.S. diplomats provided remarkably candid commentary on recent U.S. involvement in the Middle East, revealing a number of the most closely guarded secrets of U.S. diplomacy.
The four former diplomats emphasized the importance of the region’s oil, spoke critically about the weaknesses of U.S. strategy, made a number of crude comments about U.S. partners, displayed little concern about ongoing violence, and called for more “discipline” throughout the region.
… Currently, all signs indicate the United States is increasing its hold over the Middle East.
The only problem, according to the former diplomats, is that the United States continues to face significant resistance. Although the U.S. has constructed a kind of informal American empire, they believe that U.S. actions and polices are creating blowback that is bringing more conflict and violence to the region.
…Indeed, Jeffrey insisted that it would be necessary to accept more death and violence if the United States was going to achieve its strategic objectives. This kind of trade-off, he believed, was simply how things worked in the area. Citing recent retaliatory actions by the Israeli and Saudi government against missile attacks, Jeffrey said that the high civilians death tolls that resulted from such operations had simply become one of the costs of military engagement in the region.
This thread me wonder about the status of the US Sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. It seems that are still moving along towards final sale.
In response to comment 87.
Unfortunately, although the pieces by both Séamus Martin and Craig Murray to which you link are much better than most MSM coverage, among many problems with them is the rather basic one that both accept without question an unproven assumption that is fundamental to the whole British case against Russia over Skripal – that a class of lethal CW called ‘Novichoks’ actually exists.
A relevant post has just appeared on the site of a ‘Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media’ recently set up by a group of British academics. It is co-authored by Paul McKeigue, Professor of Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology at Edinburgh University, and Piers Robinson, Professor of Politics, Society and Political Journalism’ at Sheffield University, and is entitled ‘Doubts about “Novichoks”.’
(See http://syriapropagandamedia.org/working-papers .)
In the Commons on 12 March, Theresa May claimed that ‘world-leading experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down have established that Skripal was poisoned with one of a ‘group of nerve agents known as Novichok,’ developed by Russia.
Until recently the head of the detection laboratory at Porton Down was Dr Robin Black. As McKeigue and Robinson note, back in 2016 this ‘world-leading expert’ on chemical weapons – he really is that – published a chapter in a book on ‘Chemical Warfare Toxicology’ entitled ‘Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents.’
The link to this at the site of the Royal Society of Chemistry is at the end of the piece by McKeigue and Robinson – a free download if one registers. I would very strongly recommend the whole chapter to anyone seriously interested in getting to grips with issues to do with chemical weapons, as it provides an authoritative account accessible to those without a scientific background.
Of particular interest in relation to May’s accusations against Russia is the fact that Black specifically states that the existence of the Russian programme to which she refers was unconfirmed as of his writing:
‘In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the “Foliant” programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published.’
What he is suggesting is that in the course of the – OPCW-monitored – destruction of the Russian chemical weapons programme, no evidence emerged confirming the claims by Mirzayanov. For this to be consistent with the Prime Minister’s claims, some pretty radical assumptions have to be introduced.
As McKeigue and Robinson also note, a similar scepticism was expressed in a March 2013 report by the Scientific Advisory Board on the OPCW – again, the link is in the ‘Working Group’ document:
‘[The SAB] emphasised that the definition of toxic chemicals in the Convention would cover all potential candidate chemicals that might be utilised as chemical weapons. Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB makes reference to “Novichoks”. The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”.’
Of course, it is possible that, since Dr Black wrote, both Porton Down and the OPCW have received conclusive evidence vindicating the claims by Mirzayanov. It is even just remotely conceivable – very remotely conceivable – that all these people are part of a conspiracy to cover the devastating information revealed by Mirzayanov. But those who want to argue this owe us at least an attempt to provide a coherent account of how this might be so.
And then, it has to be born in mind that there is a long history of people in the West accepting, without critical examination, claims from ‘dissidents’ and ‘defectors’ from the former Soviet Union and now Russia.
In this connection, I would refer people to two reports from Judith Miller. One, from 1999 in the ‘New York Times’, is entitled ‘U.S. and Uzbeks Agree on Chemical Arms Plant Cleanup’. It both accepts Mirzayanov’s claim’s at face value, and suggests American officials also did this.
(See http://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/25/world/us-and-uzbeks-agree-on-chemical-arms-plant-cleanup.html .)
Another, published yesterday in the ‘City Journal’ is entitled ‘Chemical Weapons are Back, Thanks to Russia; The banned agents are increasingly being used for assassination and terror.’
(See https://www.city-journal.org/html/chemical-weapons-are-back-thanks-russia-15766.html .)
The ‘City Journal’ is an outlet with which I was unfamiliar. At first glance, and particular in the light of their publishing Judith Miller, it seems to me it might usefully be retitled ‘Still useful idiots, after all these years, and proud of it’, or ‘Inside the bubble, and terrified of having it pricked.’
If this seems extreme, have a look at her article.
Compounding the confusion is the fact that various Russians quoted repudiating Theresa May’s accusations have not denied that the ‘Novichoks’ programme existed. In general, these seem to me to be people who could not be expected to have a grasp of the detailed history of the Soviet chemical weapons programme, and this would not be the first time that such figures have opened their big mouths in response to questionable accusations and in so doing given these unmerited credibility.
(See https://www.rt.com/news/421200-uk-novichok-agent-allegations/ ; https://sputniknews.com/russia/201803131062469325-russia-nerve-agent/ .)
However, these are not matters which need to be prejudged. What we clearly need is clarification about the actual state of the evidence about ‘Novichoks’ from people who are well-informed, both on the Western and Russian sides. Maybe if some people in the Western MSM actually did some journalism, as it used to be understood, we might get it.
It would not be sufficient to establish Russian responsibility to establish that the programme to create ‘Novichoks’ actually existed, but it would seem rather close to a necessary condition. Until the problems raised by McKeigue and Robinson are cleared up, it really is premature to conduct any discussion of the Skripal poisoning on the basis of the assumption that it did.
Meanwhile, it is difficult to see what possible grounds there can be for the apparent reluctance of the British to supply the Russians with samples for testing.
An intriguing question is raised by the arguments made by McKeigue and Robinson. Clearly something was tested at Porton Down, and some kind of results produced. If in fact ‘Novochoks’ do not exist, what was it that was tested, and what were the results?
As with the test results from Porton Down and other laboratories on samples from incidents where CW have been used in Syria, one comes back to the urgent need to have the actual test results in the public domain, and the obvious implausibility of claims that ‘sources and methods’ considerations mean that this cannot be done.
Incidentally, Professor McKeigue is also the author of what I take to be a highly cogent demolition of the report of the UN/OPCW ‘Joint Investigative Commission’, issued last October, which blamed the Syrian government for the Khan Sheikhoun sarin atrocity, to which I have referred in earlier comments.
(See https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/khan-sheikhoun-chemical-attack-guest-blog-featuring-paul-mckeigues-reassessment/ .)
Among other things, his argument provides very strong reasons to suspect that intense pressure was put on people at the OPCW to collaborate in the cover-up of a ‘false flag.’ It thus becomes perfectly natural to ask whether similar pressure may have been put on people at Porton Down.
The fact that Theresa May simply assumed away the possibility of a ‘false flag’ would seem reason at least to a range of possibilities regarding her role – ranging from very great naivety to actual collusion in a cover-up of a ‘false flag.’
If she wants to prove such suspicions are groundless, she should order the disclosure of the kind of information I have suggested needs to be made public – just as General Mattis should order the disclosure of the test results relevant to Syrian CW incidents which publicly available evidence indicates must be available to him.
In all these cases, what we most of all simply need are the charts showing the ‘spectra’ of the various compounds identified by the testing processes. It is difficult to see any cogent ‘sources and methods’ grounds for not disclosing these. Once they were disclosed, an informed discussion by people with relevant scientific competence would become possible.
Until they are disclosed, suspicion will be unavoidable that those who do not want to see them disclosed are afraid of what such informed discussion would reveal.
( reply to comment 11),
Even though several others have replied to you first, I will repeat the question:
do you have any specific evidence of the known-to-be-proven details of Russian meddling in our election?
Further, do you have any specific evidence of how such meddling (if any) actually affected any votes on the ground? If so, which votes? How many votes? Which districts and precincts?
How do you feel about Clinton and the Clintonites and the DemParty officials meddling in the primary to underhandedly disadvantage Sanders? I can tell you how I feel about it. I nurture and cherish a cold bitterness which will last for years.
Which in fact will last until every last piece of Clintonite filth has been exterminated from public life and private influence. Do you think Russia meddled me into feeling that way? Really? Reeeeaaaa . . .ly?
Lastly, here is a video clip of Clinton speaking in India just recently. I assume you agree with her stated sentiments and you agreed with them even before you heard her say them. Would I be wrong?
Rand Paul says he will oppose, and does not rule out a filibuster. Some may disagree with him about a lot of things, but he’s a patriot, no doubt. Go get em Paul.
“anything for israel…”
“Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical. … According to Philip Zelikow, a former member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, the ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The ‘unstated threat’ was the ‘threat against Israel’, Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002. ‘The American government,’ he added, ‘doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.’
That was then… Today with have this situation: http://silentcrownews.com/wordpress/?p=5814
“Washington and Israel have signed an agreement which would see the US come to assist Israel with missile defense in times of war… according to Haimovitch [Israeli IDF Brig. Gen.] “I am sure once the order comes we will find here US troops on the ground to be part of our deployment and team to defend the state of Israel”
General Clark, the US Army: “We are ready to commit to the defense of Israel and anytime we get involved in a kinetic fight there is always the risk that there will be casualties…”
More: “Jerusalem – IDF, US Army Celebrate Inauguration Of First American Base In Israel” https://www.vosizneias.com/280626/2017/09/18/jerusalem-idf-us-army-celebrate-inauguration-of-first-american-base-in-israel/
”We will probably never learn why President Trump turned on Rex Tillerson. If we ever do, it may be because Neocons are furious reality refuses to bend to their fantasies. ”
One speculation about Tillerson being on Kusner’s hit list.
Trump Fired Tillerson To Protect Jared Kushner
”It all comes back to an underwater building in Manhattan, 666 5th Avenue. The property, owned by Kushner’s family, is severely in debt, and the family could face financial ruin if they fail to finance it. To this end, Kushner has been seeking financing for the building from some top players, including from a Qatari investment group
”The Qataris did not in the end agree to finance the building. And weeks later, Qatar found itself under a blockade, imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, formally known as the Anti Terror Quartet.
Tillerson was reportedly enraged. And he blamed one person for Trump’s support of the blockade: Jared Kushner. “Rex put two-and-two together,” his close associate told reporters, “and concluded that this absolutely vacuous kid was running a second foreign policy out of the White House family quarters.”
About Qatar here…
Tillerson and Mattis Cleaning Up Kushner’s Middle East Mess
June 27, 2017
”Qatari operations were more than symbolic. The Qatari military trained rebel units, shipped them weapons, accompanied their fighting units into battle, served as a link between rebel commanders and NATO, tutored their military commanders, integrated disparate rebel units into a unified force and led them in the final assault on Qaddafi’s compound in Tripoli.“We never had to hold their hand,” a retired senior U.S. military officer says. “They knew what they were doing.” The Qatar intervention has not been forgotten at the Pentagon and is one of the reasons why Defense Secretary James Mattis has worked so diligently to patch up the falling out between them and the coalition of Saudi-led countries ”
Tillerson’s aides, I was told, were convinced that the true author of Trump’s statement was U.A.E. ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, a close friend of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Otaiba weighed in with Jared and Jared weighed in with Trump. ”
Wouldnt be the first time Kushner tried to hit someone who denied him something:
“You can’t say ‘hit job’ in here.”
I was six months into my tenure as the editor of the New York Observer, and I was schooling my publisher, Jared Kushner, on why ordering up a slam of someone who had crossed his family in business didn’t pass the journalistic smell test.
Kushner, in an earlier meeting, had asked for a hit piece on an official at Bank of America, and was now in my office to check on how the story was coming together. I had spent the previous weeks trying to avoid the subject with him, knowing full well that the Observer was never going to pursue a story about an anonymous banker whose only sin was running afoul of the Kushner family.”
Well I am now sufficiently scared that some false flag incident will start up WWIII in the ME. Which imo will be the end of the USA for all practical purposes.
So what to do?
Why cant the CIA just disappear 2 or 3 dozen certain individuals and let us have some peace and sanity for awhile.
Jack, in my opinion, there is no “US”. The “US” doesnt have an interest. There are individuals who behave in their own individual self interest. The individuals who work in our State Dept., CIA, DOD, corporate defense contractors, lobbyists, politicians, media……these individuals appear to benefit on an indivdual level (promotions, high paying jobs, social acceptance, nice neighborhoods and schools for their kids) when they “accept the party-line” that masquerades as US interests”. Its a monumental unconscious group-think based on individual self interest. This is my understanding of “the Borg” and “US interests”, “US foreign policy goals”….they are actually individual interests shaped by what individuals who work in this realm believe they should believe and espouse to achieve their own goals. Rebels, individual thinkers tend to get fired, not promoted, snubbed
As Bannon said, “Washington is a business model.” The business is getting paid.
it is that they may not appreciate that a chain of unpredictable events – of the kind that JohnsonR described upthread – can lead us there from here.
I agree with that and I don’t dismiss the fact that probability of the conflict, and with it the escalation to a threshold, increased substantially. I merely pointed out that US military at this stage has much better judgement and awareness. In plain language it means that there are more per capita responsible people at this stage than it is in US political class. Even Russian media reported on that. This also is in agreement with Colonel’s title of Mattis being the only adult in the room. This very well might be true. But my feel, which, of course, could be entirely wrong, is that this is not planned to go beyond hysteria. That is why I reject completely any suggestions, not here, on this site, but now floating in great numbers in blogosphere that this is some kind preparation of “public opinion” to war with Russia. Posturing? Yes. Preparation? Don’t think so. Desperation of some large strata of US political elite, especially neocons? Absolutely.
I hope to never see Russia joining NATO
Babak, Russia is not joining the NATO. It is political, ideological, technological and cultural impossibility. In the end, Lord Ismay’s definition of NATO still stands.
But I can assure you that the attempt at White Hegemony of this planet will be resisted tooth and nail by the Beige, the Brown, the Yellow, and the Black.
It is not that simple, especially once you listen to both recent Putin’s Valdai conversation with youth and then Lavrov’s press-conference.
Pompeo is in for a rude awakening in the diplomatic arena if he tries to spar with Lavarov. Lavarov IMO will bloody Pomepo’s nose before he knows what hit him.
Pompeo strikes me as a Narcissist.
Thank you very much David.
Here is a link for
Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents
by Robin Black
as you stated, one must register for a free account
before gaining access
Even if Novichok exists, it seems unlikely that it was used here. Supposedly these things are 10x more toxic than VX, in which case anyone exposed to even the smallest quantity of it would be as dead as a doornail. Yet by some miracle no-one has actually been killed in this incident.
I should point out that Gerasimov’s explicit threat to target US “missiles and launchers” is specific to the event that Russian troops are directly threatened by a US attack on the Damascus government quarter where, of course, Russian military facilities are located.
In essence, what he is saying boils down to “If you attack the SAA, you better hit ONLY the SAA, IOW, you better not miss and hit Russians.”
The problem with this is that once a cruise missile is inbound, how do you know the target until it’s hit? Which means a larger scale attack than the one that hit the SAA airbase earlier becomes indistinguishable from a “decapitation attack” on the Syrian government. Russia can’t allow that. So Russia may be forced to start actively shooting down any US attack on the Syrian capital.
As long as it’s just cruise missiles the US uses in such an attack, even if Russia shoots them down, the US can’t really complain (although it will, of course.) But what happens if the US decides to use its air power to conduct part of all of the attack, and Russia is (or Syrian forces are) forced because of the uncertainty over the nature and extent of the targets to shoot down a US jet?
It’s clear that this is a step up from previous situations where only alleged “Russian contractors” were involved and Russia said little or nothing about it.
It’s also clear that this is a warning to the US about heavier attacks on Syria than the relatively minor attacks the US has engaged in so far, some of which have been explained away as “accidents” or “self-defense.”
IOW it’s clear the Russians are getting tired of US provocations and will quite likely respond in kind at some point.
At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday: “”If a new strike of this kind takes place, the consequences will be very serious.” This is a more general threat than the one from Gerasimov which suggests the Russians are getting very tired of the US interference in preventing the end of the Syrian war. Lavrov specifically accused the US of failing to rein in the militant groups the US is in contact with in the de-confliction zones while trying to blame Russia, Iran and the Syrian government of the same.
I had difficulty registering/logging in to the RSC site.
So I found a copy of the book here:
Interesting, Catherine. I recall rumors about the CIA being antisemitic around the same time frame. Followed Laura Rozen too then. But don’t think I ever was aware of the man. …
Western Diocletian states are already generally insufferable
Sounds like a change of mind. 😉
Relevant to your comment, I think some background is in order. Wikipedia on “Kinetic bombardment”; “Fractional Orbital Bombardment System”; and “RS-28 Sarmat” sketch in what “Object 4202” is all about. Sputnik News has an article on this, as well: “‘Object 4202’: New Russian Hypersonic Warhead to be Coupled With Sarmat ICBM.”
On April 12, 2017, Scott Ritter published in Newsweek an analysis of how Russian science has achieved stunning success with new technology, some of which had been work in progress going back to Soviet times, discontinued, and after a restart, now proving to have been based on sound research and work. Ritter’s article is: “The US Russia Nuclear Arms Race is Over, and Russia has Won.”
Ritter writes: “Object 4202 was a new kind of weapon, a hypersonic warhead capable of speeds 15 times the speed of sound, and capable of evading any anti-missile system the United States has today, or may develop and deploy for decades to come. While the October 26  test used an older RS-26 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as the launch vehicle, “Object 4202” will ultimately be carried on a newer ICBM, the RS-28.
“The RS-28 is itself a wonder of modern technology, capable of flying in excess of five times the speed of sound, altering its trajectory to confuse anti-missile radars, and delivering 15 independently targetable nuclear warheads (each one ten times as powerful as the bombs the United States dropped on Japan at the end of World War II) or three “Object 4202 hypersonic warheads, which destroy their targets through kinetic energy (ie., through impact).
“A nuclear warhead-armed RS-28 would take about 30 minutes to reach the United States from a silo in central Russia; its warheads would be capable of destroying an area about the size of Texas.
“Armed with the ‘Object 4202’ hypersonic warheads, each of which is capable of destroying an American missile silo, the time would be cut down to 12 minutes or less. The RS-28 ICBM, scheduled to become operational in 2018, assures Russia the ability to annihilate the United States in retaliation for any American first strike, while providing Russia a silo-killing first-strike capability of its own.”
Ritter goes on to comment that the new American land-based ICBM will not be operational for another decade. And Russia is now on the verge of completing the deployment of its own anti-missile shield, one that will seal off its air space to bomber, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. Ritter believes that Russia is capable of “negating in totality America’s nuclear triad.”
The RS-28, which can be dubbed the ‘Sarmat’, is now in “the active phase of tests,” Putin told the Russian Federal Assembly. Wikipedia conflicts a little with Ritter’s estimate of payload. There are, of course, many combinations of warheads. Wiki says of Sarmat: “It’s large payload of about 10 tonnes would allow for up to 10 heavy warheads or 15 lighter ones (350 kilotons each) or up to 24 hypersonic glide vehicles YU-71/YU-72/ Object 4202, or a combination of warheads and massive amounts of countermeasures designed to defeat anti-missile systems.” I would note here that Mattis seems to have admitted in his recent comments that the Aegis system placed in Romania and along the Russian frontier will not protect any of the vociferous central European countries such as Poland. Aegis has been touted as a developing global network and has been sold to a number of allies. It is now mostly useless, it seems. Maybe Mattis should have been a bit more careful protecting the franchise.
Now, the question is, could hypersonic glide vehicles delivered by “Object 4202” with or without conventional warheads, manage to do pretty much what a nuclear warhead might do? I think they could.
How would it play out? The Sarmat has a range of 6,000 miles and therefore could reach out into the vastness of the oceans to destroy a Carrier Attack Group (CAG). Once the CAG is located, the Sarmat will get the “Object 4202” to its jumping off point. If the warhead is kinetic, it could be tungsten rods. Each non-nuclear warhead could have its own flight program. They come in like cruise missiles but at hypersonic speeds. Mach 15 is possible. Testing of these warheads in Siberia caused witnesses to think it was a meteor shower.
My guess is that carrier defense systems could not prevent the Sarmat from getting to a launch point; and I do not think that most glide vehicles would not get through. The shock of impact would torque and twist the hull, jam up hatches and ladder wells, tear loose fuel and water lines, knock out electronics and steering, cause fires, kill and maim, and breach water-tight integrity, possibly going right through the hull. A carrier could be left a smouldering wreck from the kinetic shock. It might still be afloat, fighting for its life. Smaller ships in the group such as frigates and DDG’s could have gone down. Remember that the Stark was nearly cut in half by two Exocets. My guess is that this “meteor shower” cripple the entire operational plan. Further, you could have thousands of dead if marine troop transports were in the mix.
If a shower of hypersonic glide vehicles hit Diego Garcia you would have a lot of sunk supply ships in the lagoon. You could also have the desalination system disrupted or destroyed. Ammunition warehouses, fuel and food supplies on fire.
All done conventionally and after provocation. The runways of airfields could be destroyed all over the Middle East, including Israel. If F-22s were going to be flown into bases around Hafar al Batin, such as at King Khalid Military City, what can now be done if the whole area is cratered with hypersonic hits?
In fact, the possibilities are so interesting, one would need some time to begin to think through what could be done with these weapons conventionally.
Thanks for the link to the ‘Doubts about “Novichoks”’ article, this is very encouraging.
The second point made by the authors is that
Now Theresa May is not a scientist and may believe that a chemical compound can be ‘Russian’. But you are right to speculate about pressure having been put on the boffins at Porton Down, as they will know better and seem to be choosing not to say so.
Given that the means in this crime now seems to be open to a far wider range of suspects, I would hope that the investigation would give at least some consideration to motive and opportunity. But of course the investigation is a side show in this piece of orchestrated political theater – in much the same way as is Mueller’s indictment of Russian trolls, who have no prospect of being brought to trial. God forbid they should actually catch the perpetrator. I’d put money on their being a state actor, just not that state.
why don’t they disappear two or three dozen people? They don’t, because they can’t. that is the joke. they know that and desperately don’t want you all to know that. pl
The USA is on board, Niki Hailey says they will be using nerve agents in New York if we don’t deal with the Russians.
And of course a secret North Korean facility underground in Syria helping Assad make chemical weapons.
You mean like left wing activist Jame Hodgkinson tried to do with a couple dozen members of congress? Apparently the left couldn’t pin that on the Russians like the folks in the UK are doing with the poisoning of some ex-russian agent.
Just watched today’s Crosstalk which was on the Skripal poisoning and Britain’s “rush to judgment”. The panel guests included Alexander Mercouris, The Duran’s Editor in Chief as well as a legal analyst whose articles I’ve mentioned many times here, Charles Shoebridge, a former British counter-terrorist officer, and Annie Machon, a former British intelligence officer who I always find to be very informative.
CrossTalk on Sergei Skripal: ‘Publicity Murder?’
They raise a lot of the points that David Habbakkuk raises in his post in this thread, namely where is the evidence that only Russia can produce the alleged nerve agent, what would Russia’s motivation be in assassinating a former Russian spy – one who undoubtedly had been debriefed by both Russia and the UK when he was exchanged – just before the World Cup and in light of the Litvinenko case, and the problematic nature of prejudging the case before all the evidence is in (exactly like the Litvinenko case.)
Also, unless we know what this guy has been doing since he was sent to the UK (in exchange for the Russian “illegals” including the famous Anna Chapman, now a celebrity in Russia), how can anyone say with any certainty what the motivation might be for killing him?
The suggestion is also made that Theresa May, in a weak political position in Britain, may well be using this as a distraction and publicity gimmick to bolster her domestic political status.
Mercouris has a piece at The Duran today about the measures May has announced against Russaia, saying that they will be almost completely ignored in Russia in terms of actual effects and Russia will no doubt retaliate in like manner.
Skripal crisis: Theresa May fires a blank shot
Measures announced today will bounce off Russia but will hurt Britain
His article yesterday describes the Russian response to May’s threats:
Russia to Britain: ‘don’t give 24 hour ultimatums to a nuclear power
Specifically, since the Brits are threatening to shut down RT in England, the Russian response was:
Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman:
I can tell you right now that not a single British media outlet will be working in our country if they shut RT down
EO, thank you for the update, I was in London this past summer, and I could see on the surface, Russians are now spending far more lavishly than your 70/80s Arab crowd. I told my wife they may as well change the Park Lane to Gorky Lane, in the hotels, Russian was more fluent than English. After this recent anti-Russian posture coming out of London I was asking myself this same question, why would London want to block lavish Russian spending of Russian money in UK. What this the benefit of that specially if UK is exiting EU. I still can’t understand what is the logic for Brits wanting to isolate Russia?
David Habakkuk and LondonBob
The hysteria that Russia did it is so total I completely missed that the victims are still alive. Like CP, I remember Basic Training, with nerve gas, if you didn’t get the protective gear on; you died. This is very very strange. “Newcomer” nerve agents are binaries that are relative non-toxic but when mixed highly toxic; five times greater than VX. The policeman was exposed at the house. Yet the victims left home, drove into town, dined and collapsed on the park bench. I don’t see how one mixes Russian military grade nerve agents without chemical protective gear and respirator and not die instantly. Perhaps someone mixed together an organophosphate compound in a clandestine laboratory that the victims were exposed to; but, that completely destroys the PM’s narrative.
Memory has failed you. Gas mask training was ALWAYS done with CS, a crowd control agent. It will make you uncomfortable as hell but not kill you unless you are trapped in it. pl
1914 looks to be coming closer to repeating…
There are rumours that the Russians are intending to implement a no-fly zone prior to the next bout of Israeli/US anti-Assad hostilities. Supposedly additional S-400 batteries have been deployed along with another A-50 yesterday.
Chloropicrin is also a very”lovely” substance, granted in controlled concentration, which lets one know really fast if the gas mask is not tight.
I am not a chemist nor a chemical corps officer, but I was sent to chemical warfare defense schools as a lieutenant of infantry. CS was our standard training agent for gas mask training. Very nasty stuff but not lethal if you don’t have to stand around in it for a long time. pl
Yes, my memory is selective and failing. I remember nerve gas as the point of the lecture before going into the gas chamber, taking off the gas mask and being sick from CS. I assume it was because Fort Lewis at the time had troops and M-60 tanks for reinforcement into Europe and the Soviet Union’s possible use of nerve gas in a attack through the Fulda Gap. Almost all of us ended up in Vietnam.
The Russia Federation states that it has destroyed all chemical weapons.
Lord, do I remember that day of training!
First we had the tear gas (CN) training. Just stand over the pot in which they’re burning the gas, take off your mask, state name, rank and serial number, then answer a question the training sergeant asks you and you can leave. You tear up and choke and cough a bit, but you’re still pretty functional.
For the other gas, CS, you got out in a field in formation, then the trainers walk through the formation carrying the gas dispensers. You grab your mask when you hear the “pop” of the dispenser.
Then you go nuts. The formation disintegrates, people running everywhere trying to get away from the stuff. Your nose runs, your eyes burn, and you’re completely out of action.
I could smell that stuff in my nose every time I thought about it for years later.
Nerve gas would be better. You’d die not even knowing what hit you.
There is no good reason for a war. None of the powers, least of all in the West, face any major fundamental threat to their security.
The spectacle of some societies going to war when they all have sub-replacement demographics is almost too laughable. It would be one of the most precious jokes played by Tyche in all of human history.
But we could well end up in a war anyway.
What particularly worries me is the number of weak governments involved in the current situation. The Trump admin is politically beleaguered, as is May’s gov’t in the UK. Germany’s gov’t is weak, too. EU as a whole is weakly governed, and its elites feel threatened by recent political trends.
There are a lot of politicians in the West looking for some kind of validation, and their war experience, if any, relates only to minor conflicts happening far away. That doesn’t make for responsible high-level statecraft. Moreover, none of the current crop of Western leaders exhibit any sign of having received a classical education, which in the past at least provided a surrogate understanding of human conflict and its consequences.
On the other hand, the Russian gov’t isn’t exactly strong, either. Although recovered considerably from its nadir, today’s Russia is nevertheless weaker relative to its potential enemies than it was during the Soviet era. Russia has no powerful allies, and little of its old buffer zone remains.
Perversely, weakness could force Russia to fight, since Russian elites might figure that foreign powers will continue to encroach on Russian interests unless Russia demonstrates a willingness to push back.
So as others noted above, this situation could escalate into a major war. We could acutally witness a bunch of aging, greying peoples slaughtering each other with advanced robotics. So much for the “rational” civilization of the modern secular West.
Tillerson could well have been fired for the sin of being right or publicly cleaning up one of his bosses messes. Seen it before many times.
https://cen.acs.org/articles/96/i12/Nerve-agent-attack-on-spy-used-Novichok-poison.html American Chemical Society writing in the publication “Chemical and Engineering News” has commented on the poison used.
This one is correct
Julian Assange writes about Pompeo. He notes that Pompeo said that he (Assange) has no right to freedom of speech or freedom of the press, as he is not a citizen of USA.
“Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms. He’s sitting in an embassy in London. He’s not a U.S. citizen.”
This view was also declared by VP Cheney years ago.
Pompeo went to Harvard Law School, after graduating from West Point.
Cheney went to Caspeur College, 1963 and University of Wyoming
after he flunked out of Yale twice.
Professor David Cole explains that this view is wrong.
Given this record, it is not surprising that many members of
the general public presume that noncitizens do not deserve the
same rights as citizens. II But the presumption is wrong in many
more respects than it is right. While some distinctions between
foreign nationals and citizens are normatively justified and consistent
with constitutional and international law, most are not.
The significance of the citizen/noncitizen distinction is more
often presumed than carefully examined. Upon examination,
there is far less to the distinction than commonly thought. In
particular, foreign nationals are generally entitled to the equal
protection of the laws, to political freedoms of speech and association,
and to due process requirements of fair procedure where
their lives, liberty, or property are at stake.
Are Foreign Nationals Entitled to the Same
Constitutional Rights As Citizens?
25 T. Jefferson L. Rev. 367-388 (2003)
I am not a chemist nor a chemical corps officer,
Me neither, despite taking in academy a mandatory two year long course on ZOMP (Zashita ot Oruzhiya Massovogo Porazhenya–Defense from Weapons of Mass Destruction). Hated both nuclear and chemical, not to speak of biological, parts of it with all my soul. Of course, in officer career one was forced to deal with that on many levels, especially after Chernobyl, when a whole stream of “updates” started.
I dunno. I have read in other places that Mattis is not only committed to war with Iran, but has basically pledged allegiance to Israel,specifically the Likud program. There are so many lies out there now that I’m not sure I believe it, but I’m skeptical that he’s a force for peace in our time. The problem seems to be than none of the Americans playing this game are open about their goals, which seem to shift frequently. Why, for example, are we in Afghanistan? What are our desired outcomes there? How can we tell when we have won? Or lost? What are our real goals in Syria, and why? I strongly suspect that our reasons are worse than reprehensible, but can’t tell. Is it true that the Pentagon and CIA are fighting each other in Syria, or has that ended? So many questions, so few answers.
VietnamVet, Although UK say the poison has been identified, they can not give a designation code nor chemical analysis of whatever poison was used if any to OPCW, the body both Russia and UK are part of. It is the OPCW’s job to investigate incidents like this. The nerve gas Russia dunit narrative is bullshit from start to finish.
This is the UK rep’s statement to the OPCW where he lays out the evidence.
The UK will promptly expel 23 Russian diplomats without waiting for the end of the investigation. Which means that from now on the investigation is highly politicized and tainted in a sense that it will be conducted by people who proved the existence of Iraq WMD in the past:
So it looks more and more like a well planned multi-step propaganda operation, not an impromptu action on the part of GB. Kind of replica of Russian election influence witch hunt in the USA with the replacement of cyberspace and elections with chemical agents and poisoning.
So inconsistencies that were pointed in this thread (such as the mere fact that three people exposed are still alive) do not matter anymore.
The verdict now is in.
This is one step further from the “self-indictment as a formal proof” used in Show Trials. Now it looks like “suspicion is the formal proof.”
Both cyberspace and poisoning with exotic chemical agents proved to be a perfect media for false flag operations designed to poison relations between nations and fuel war-style demonization.
This post was about Mattis being the only “grown-up in the room”.
I’m not sure that’s something to be reassured about. Brian Cloughley is a seasoned military writer and analyst. A few years ago he wrote a piece on Mattis that was not very complimentary. If even half of it is right, we should all be worried.
The article is at: http://tinyurl.com/ycp8yta2
Trump’s mojo has evaporated. He has no coattails. He has negative coattails. It is so time for war.
The problem is that this would have some semblance of solubility were it not for Israel. Israel desperately, repeat desperately, wants the U.S. to go to war in a very big way in the ME. That could tip the scales.
I hope you are wrong, but Trump sees very clearly “Wartime President” did for the cipher Bush. It’s the only straw left for him to grasp at.
My approbation of Mattis was only relative to the others. pl
Mattis has been better than I thought. I have read, and you imply, he and Tillerson have been somewhat of a tandem. I agree that the risk remains of Trump going off on his own in regards to Israel and Iran but I still think in general his instincts are still good, he has learnt the ropes now so it will be interesting, if nothing else, to see what happens.
Seems to be less than fulsome support for Britain in regard to Skripal, French have been particularly vocal saying they need the evidence first and that these things will happen given the people you let in. Of course Macron has now issued bland support for the British position, as has Trump. Corbyn didn’t dissappoint either demanding evidence, cooperation and dialogue with the Russians. All in all not what some folks were hoping.
For what its worth: there was a very long and detailed analysis by the Frankfurter Allgmeine Zeitung yesterday regarding Tillersons dismissal. You can take this analysis as something like the “official” German position as FAZ journalists are the equivalent of Pravda journalists. That is fully in the know but only writing what is desired. The FAZ angle (and therefore the angle of Germans in Washington) is, that Tillerson was displaced because he was too bellicose towards Russia. Pompeo is seen as moderate towards Russia but as a hawk regarding Iran. The British noice about the alleged nerve gas agent is then nothing more but another attempt to force Washingtons´s hand to increase hostility towards Russia.
Interestingly enough today Germany´s defense minister who is a close confident of Merkel echoed the outrage about the alleged nerve gas attack but called for a “UN investigation”. That is she didn´t endorse the British claim.
Another background to the British provocation might be the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Construction is to start now and once it is finished Ukraine can´t blackmail Europe anymore by holding up gas delivery. Poland, the Baltics, the US and of course Ukraine are violently opposed to Nord Stream 2.
Kooshy – I should have checked down-thread before submitting my comment. Then I’d have seen that “London Bob” (87) had given a brief account of what is happening in Westminster.
“London Bob” explains something that puzzles some in the UK (and bothered me a lot over Syria). Why isn’t Corbyn, the opposition leader in the House of Commons and now stronger than he was, coming out with all guns firing against the present anti-Russian hysteria? He’d have plenty of ammunition, that’s for sure.
As that brief account explains, he’s in no position to do so. He’s leading a divided party. He has some support from within his party rank and file but not from many of his own colleagues in the House. We now see, incidentally, some of his colleagues making public statements that are only a hair’s breadth away from disavowing Corbyn or his spokesmen.
In addition Corbyn is already suspected of being anti-patriotic and doesn’t want to give his opponents a bigger stick to beat him with on that.
Therefore resistance to the current Russophobia from within the Westminster bubble is likely to be weak.
Also in this thread DH is casting a sceptical eye over the Wiltshire poisoning. It’s an indication of how far down public discussion in the UK has gone that specialists in the UK who know their stuff no longer get airtime while people like Luke Harding, who plainly don’t, are all over the media. This blanking out of the voice of reasoned criticism in the UK media is, I suspect, already proving counterproductive for the status quo. It merely reinforces that general public feeling, evident to some extent in the Brexit vote, that we do at least know we’re being conned even if we don’t always know how. I don’t know how widespread that feeling is in this case.
But even to an outsider, and even if we take it all at face value, that official account of the Wiltshire poisoning is nowhere near solid enough to justify the steps taken. “If you have a weak argument, shout louder” is sufficient therefore to explain the surprising volume of anti-Russian PR coming out of London just now.
I think they’re probably shouting loud enough to gain their point. A sufficient number of us in the UK public will accept that Wiltshire incident as further proof of Putin’s malevolence. We will therefore accept further anti-Russian measures.
What’s in it for us? As you perhaps indicate, bent money will be running like the devil away from London, which one would think can’t be good news for the City or for the London property market. Hence the repeated calls for European and American solidarity; if the Russian expatriates can simply move their fortunes to other Western boltholes that’s going to leave Westminster looking ineffectual.
I don’t accept the argument I sometimes see put forward that we, and the East Europeans for that matter, are at present dragging the Americans along with us. However weak the American economy is or is said to be, there’s no question but that ours is considerably more fragile. For the Westminster bubble all our eggs are in the American neocon basket. One could say that the respective swamps are inextricably connected. What’s in it for our politicians is nothing less than the maintenance of a comfortable and familiar status quo. There’s therefore no choice but to be more Roman that Rome when it comes to pursuing neocon objectives.
So when it comes to the various neocon establishments, the little dogs can kick up more racket but it’s still the big dog running the show.
As ever therefore it all centres around Trump. Is he getting dragged along by his neocons? Or is he now one of them?
If the first, then it’s accurate to see this as many of us here have seen it from the start. Trump is not only up against his own establishment. He’s up against the European establishment as well. Hence the hammering he’s getting from our European press and politicians. Hence also the dossier scandal, which for my part I now see for certain as a joint attempt by the American/UK status quo supporters to weaken or unseat Trump.
If the second then all is still not lost. Better to have the cronies falling out amongst themselves – and it’s evident at least that that’s happening – than have them as united as they were before Trump.
Mercer would be very surprised to hear he is on the left side of Wall Street.
In reply to 139.
Ironically, while I think the notion that the Russian authorities would have organised this kind of attack now is peculiarly preposterous, I think there are a very large number of suspects – including both state actors and some non-state. So, for example, Ukrainian oligarchs would very likely be in a position to organise such an operation.
Moreover, if they did, the British authorities would have very little option but to cover up for them.
One thing which is striking me forcibly is the way that the claims about a long history of assassinations of ‘dissidents’ in the UK in the ‘investigation’ by ‘BuzzFeed’ last June, of which the centrepiece was a long piece entitled ‘From Russia With Blood’ are now being recycled all over the place.
(See, for example, this from the ‘Chicago Tribune – http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-russian-dissidents-poisoned-20180306-story.html .)
A possible element in the story is that both ‘BuzzFeed’ and Christopher Steele face very serious potential problems in lawsuits relating to the ‘dossier.’ Both have been sued by Aleksej Gubarev and XBT, while the former also has to face actions from the Alfa oligarchs, Michael Cohen, and Carter Page.
The best way of avoiding a disaster for both ‘BuzzFeed’ and Steele – which could have large knock-on implications – may be to reinforce the already prevalent climate of hysteria, so that even the most preposterous claims in the dossier can be made to seem reasonable.
I think the problem goes well beyond the foreign policy establishment and most definitely includes the generals and a variety of other people and institutions in and out of government.
While BHO did restrain some of the aggression that we are now seeing, I suspect that the Deep State was confident that HRC or some Team R muppet (Jeb!) would win the next election, so all they had to do was bide their time.
I suspect that Germany will quietly cancel any arrest warrant.
Europe wants only to go peacefully into that good night.
Of course the “Russia poisons peoples we has the proof ZOMG!” coming out of May is pure theater and nothing more.
But why is she putting on this particular production right now?
One significant omission in your list of weak governments; Israel. And this is the one that, at least perceives, the greatest threat to its security.
Good point re the apparent dearth of the classically educated among our leaders (Boris Johnson is one exception & has no excuse). I guess this is partly due to the ‘modernization’ of our Western education systems. After all, of what possible use could be the study of Thucydides, his “possession for all time” and The Melian Dialogue, now that we live in a post conflict, liberal utopia?
“However weak the American economy is or is said to be, there’s no question but that ours is considerably more fragile.”
IMO, per se, on the surface the American economy (for the rich) presently is not weak, IMO the problem with our economy, is the job quality, which means increasing income disparity between the rich and the poor on continues bases ever since 80’s which I remember, especially in large urban areas, where service and small manufacturing industries center and provide majority of jobs.
re comment 155.
With respect, the piece to which you link is an article in a publication of the American Chemical Society, not a statement by that society.
As to its credibility, the following quotation from Jean Pascal Zanders illustrates the quality of argument deployed:
‘Novichok agents are not specifically listed in the schedules of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), says Zanders, because “they only became public after the treaty negotiations had been concluded.” But that does not amount to a loophole that would allow their use, because the CWC places a blanket prohibition on the manufacture of any toxic chemical intended to be a weapon. “It covers any toxic chemical, be it past, present, or future,” says Zanders. Russia has been a party to the convention since it entered into force in 1997, and the Novichok agents “should have been declared to the OPCW, even if they don’t appear in the schedules,” says Zanders.’
As was made absolutely clear in the March 2013 document from the Scientific Advisory Board of the OPCW which I quoted in comment 121, ‘Novichoks’ could have been included, and were not, because the evidence was not deemed adequate:
‘[The SAB] emphasised that the definition of toxic chemicals in the Convention would cover all potential candidate chemicals that might be utilised as chemical weapons. Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB makes reference to “Novichoks”. The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”.’
(See https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/CSP/RC-3/en/rc3wp01_e_.pdf )
The ‘Chemical & Engineering News’ article is clearly based upon the premise that Vil Mirzayanov is a reliable source. It seems clear that the OPCW scientists were not persuaded of this.
These are facts which Zanders must know, so his contribution would appear to be patently dishonest, and the inclusion of it by the author of the article a reflection either of similar dishonesty or incompetence.
What this emphatically does not mean is that we are in a position to assume that there was no ‘fire’ beneath the ‘smoke’ put out by Mirzayanov.
The fact that Russian statements have not denied the existence of ‘Novichoks’ may simply be due to ignorance on the part of those involved.
The most authoritative statement I have seen is in a ‘tweet’ from the Russian Ambassador to the UN. This however denies research, development and manufacturing in Russia – while the reports generally refer to Uzbekistan.
(See https://twitter.com/EmbassyofRussia/status/974177410676555777 .)
This may simply be a slip, it may be a subterfuge. We are not yet in a position to make definite judgements.
If you need further proof of the fundamentally supine nature of the modern European, keep in mind that the CIA operated black sites in Europe itself, and it did so with impunity.
Do not misunderstand me – I have no joy in relating this news, but I call things as I see them and not as I wish them to be.
If you haven’t noticed it is the Likud party of Israel that is in control here. They have promised that the world will burn to a cinder before they let the “Jewish State” fall.
turcopolier, “cautious” in foreign policy to sum up Obama seems very accurate after all. What one word would you use to sum up Trump so far in foreign policy?
“But why is she putting on this particular production right now?”
Because her campaign contributors impolitely asked her and she needs their support for her upcoming unemployment.
Ignorant of the word outside of analogies to business deals. pl
OE and all who have wondered off topic into the UK CW debate.
The one thing not mentioned anywhere, that I have seen, is Ukraine. None of us seem as certain as my PM that ‘the Russian done it’, Craig Murry argues that an equally compelling case could be made for an Israel false flag but Ukraine was part of the USSR at the time and has even more reason for an anti-Russian false flag. I am not attempting to promote a new conspiracy theory just running with ‘if not the Russians then who had motive and the alleged weapon?’. The Russian are already fighting against claims of collusion with SAG CW use in Syria and have ample reason not to do this at this time.
I looked at the Novichok Wikipedia page and, if accurate, these are very simple low molecular weight organophosphate derivatives which I suspect I would probably have been able to synthesize in my youth, given a cookbook.
Is North Korea all about Paul Singer’s interests in South Korea/Samsung?
re David Satterfield: he was delighted to inform a Senate Foreign Relations committee panel that no one was willing to front the huge amounts it will take Syria to rebuild, so Syria would capitulate to the Borg’s demands or languish, if not worse.
The nice aspect of Carthago delenda est is that Cato died and Rome got total war out of its system. From Sherman to FDR’s demand for total surrender of Germany & Japan, and persistence of war in Iraq-Afghanistan, total capitulation has become the modus operandi of US engineer/National Guard/warriors.
Sun Tzu has left the building.
Intriguing sequence of events:
(Welcome back, Jared; all is forgiven.)
What are the chances Mueller will pursue what GOP declined to pursue, much to Dem’s (faux) dismay?
Croesus @184, I nominate you for the “witticism of the day” award 🙂
“Sun Tzu has left the building.” ROFLMAO…
US Grant, a.k.a Uncnditional Surrender Grant.
David Habakkuk @170
” I think there are a very large number of suspects – including both state actors and some non-state. So, for example, Ukrainian oligarchs would very likely be in a position to organise such an operation.”
Perhaps you would be kind enough to give your thoughts on the likelihood of Bill Browder being such a non-state actor?
David, Russia is the Russian federation. Prior to that, they where part of the Soviet Union. I haven’t seen Russia deny or confirm that the Soviet Union may have carried out research into the so called novichok group.
(Welcome back, Jared; all is forgiven.
Who are you referring to, Croesus. Jared Kushner? I thought about him in the Tillerson affair. After all he seems to be given free ranging ground in the Secretary of State’s area of responsibility.
But if so, what’s to be forgotten, why welcome back? Can’t refer to Kushner? What Jared then?
A Swiss paper speculated that the Tillerson’s exit may have been timed to cover up publicity about the exit of Trump’s personal assistant John McEntee, who was immediate rehired for the upcoming Trump campaign. But it seems “escorted out over security issues”. Kelly? That would be one out and welcome back. But that’s not a Jared.
On the hasty reaction in Westminster to the Wiltshire poisoning – it also looks as if Middle England isn’t fooled:-
I thought the Trump administration just released a statement acknowledging Russian involvement in the election.
Clinton was wrong. She is not president.
Interesting update on the Skripal affair. Craig Murray says his sources told him Porton Down were pressured in to agreeing the phraseology ‘of a type developed by Russia’ when they couldn’t identify where it came from. Bizarrely they are hoping Russia’s great ally China will rig the inquiry committee that is likely to held at the OPCW. Advice to the Russians, get your Chinese friends to lie that they will, then do the opposite.
Sigmar Gabriel is now free to speak freely and has called it a bad James Bond film and stated you should be innocent until proven guilty.
Brilliant idea. I’ve always maintained that all you need for a decent education anywhere is a thorough grounding in Latin, Maths and Cricket. That last might seem a bit of a stretch for the States, but it does rain over there too so you already have the essential ingredient for the game.
But then I got thinking. We’ve had hotshot classicists amongst our politicians since the year dot. As did the Americans and the Europeans. No evidence that that helped them to work stuff out better than the rest of us. I suppose politicians in times past had better manners but wherever they got those from they certainly didn’t get them from Cicero.
As for the moderns, Boris Johnson was an accomplished classicist and Enoch Powell a Professor of Greek. Two great disaster areas in modern English politics and if anything the only respectable argument I can think of for banning the subject in our schools forthwith.
Involvement in does not equal control of the outcome. pl
This doesn’t sound like you. pl
It’s me. See. At the moment, I prefer to take a step back and watch from a distance, figuratively speaking.
Colonel at 195
Sir, this is not the first time you made this observation – Babak and myself have noticed that as well several months ago.
CBS is reporting (anonymous sources, of course) that Gen. Kelly is going to resign:
I think there is a set of them, they rotate in and out of commenting on this site.
This is not encouraging. SF’s last CSG map was Feb. 9th, is it possible one or more has deployed to the Med and/or Red Sea since?
That would be the alleged ‘screwing around with the US election’ by people who have had NGO staff in Moscow shown the door for political activism by a foreign power.
” not very believable or trustworthy..” Try standard enabling propaganda.
Harking back to the ‘Balfour Declaration’ it might as well be pointed out that Israel itself was a UK invention – heavily subsidized by the USA lo these many decades. This despite disloyalty evidenced as far back as the attack on the USS Liberty.
There cannot be ‘prosecution for war crimes.’ Even though Clinton’s actions in Serbia qualified, George W Bush had supplementary cover. https://www.hrw.org/news/2002/08/03/us-hague-invasion-act-becomes-law
More notes in http://oldephartte.blogspot.com/p/law-and-failure-to-convict.html
For those who doubt Syrian insurgents ability to produce chemical weapons (no one here, presumably), this article may lay that to rest.
Terrorist capabilities laid bare in an Eastern Ghouta chemical lab
The SAA found a chemical weapons lab hidden out in the middle of nowhere.
One thing I didn’t know is this:
“In Syria, the trouble began in December 2012 when the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front (a former IS ally), took over the country’s only chlorine manufacturing plant, a joint business venture with the Saudis located east of Aleppo. Damascus issued an immediate warning to the UN: ‘Terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people… after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory.’”
So the West has been blaming Assad for using chlorine when the only chlorine plant in Syria has been under Al Qaeda control since 2012.
London Bob – I learned a lot from your brief comment but could I put in a dissenting voice about cuts to the UK defence budget.
We have cut manpower to too great an extent. We are behind in many areas of defence technology. Our alliances are shaky and will become shakier. The Russian threat, I firmly believe, is one we ourselves have conjured up but if the Russian hawks get the upper hand then it’s a threat to be taken into account even though we’ll have brought it on ourselves. And Continental Europe itself is potentially unstable.
That’s not allowing for the possibility, however remote, of NI type civil disturbance in mainland UK itself; and dealing with civil disturbance soaks up army manpower.
It therefore may suit our MIC, such as it is, to press for further spending on defence, but I think it is clearly necessary in any case.
I was interested to see that the CIA pegged our defence spending at 2.2% of GDP in 2016, well above the European average, most of whom don’t share our favourable geography, and hardly famine conditions. Of course another issue is we waste so much on carriers we don’t need etc.
There is a coherent argument for defence spending to be made, but this is not what the military is doing, the Russia theme has really taken over in the past year. It always fascinates me that Admiral Chris Parry wrote a remarkably prescient furture threat assessment in 2006, but we took, and take, no heed because it doesn’t reflect the ruling ideology.
Indeed with ur actions in Syria and Libya, or our ferrying of immigrants from the shores of Libya to Italy, we are actively implementing his vision.
Just been down your way. Not into the metropolis but near. Home Counties. Getting a foretaste of what’s already coming our way in the provinces. Massive and brutally ugly modern developments and I’m not doing a Prince Charles on the architecture because there isn’t any of it to speak of, modernist or otherwise. Just ugly sprawl. Square miles of it, as if it were dumped there, and in between still stretches of that unique English combination of countryside and settlement that’s grown out of the landscape over the centuries. What we had juxtaposed with what we’re going to get more of.
Maybe you won’t notice it so much if you live around central London because there the planners are putting their best foot forward. Although I’m a fogey along Prince Charles’ lines on modern architecture I have to admit that if you’re going to do it, and get the nuts and bolts right and squeeze in the necessary infrastructure, then the London planners and architects in general now do it exceptionally well. So at least my London friends tell me even when they’re fogeys themselves, and so it seems to me on the now rare occasions I venture there. But outside the major cities and the big prestige projects it’s just dump the concrete and run; and if it’s houses, make ’em as small as you can get away with and pack ’em in any old how.
So, mass immigration. Not a good time in the provinces to accommodate unexpected millions. Prime agricultural land transformed into sensitive and unobtrusive integration of the built environment … hell, I can’t get the planning jargon right so I won’t try. Just tell it as it is. Pack in the little boxes. Slap a conservation order on a few trees for the look of it. Give that awkward councillor a consultancy. Call it done.
You do know, don’t you, that there’s no prospect of opposing it effectively, mass immigration? We’re not dealing with anything rational here. As soon argue with a cult. Point out that it does neither the immigrants nor the natives any good and you’re already next door to a Holocaust denier. Where no rational argument is possible no rational argument is possible. This thing is going to run its course.
For how long, and where it will lead to, we can only guess. Not that much longer, and to no agreeable place, in my estimation and probably yours. But that’s irrelevant. As we see in France and Germany – don’t bother to discuss Sweden, the death wish is too strong with that lot – all the formidable levers of power that a modern state has at its disposal are set to full ahead and the guardians of argument – the journalists, the academics, and the intelligentsia – will roll you up like a rug if you think different. I assume you do go to the occasional Islington dinner party so you too will have seen the cult in full flow.
There’s more of course. Away from the agreeable dinner parties the nuts and bolts apparatus of running a country isn’t doing that well. From utilities to maintenance of infrastructure, from Health to Education, just about everywhere one looks, we do see oases of true excellence and a surprising number of them too, but set in an unacceptably mediocre and often dysfunctional norm of stodge. Should be the other way round.
One might argue, therefore, that worrying about defence in this context is a little pointless. Why go the the trouble and expense of stationing guards at the front gate if behind them the house is crumbling? That’s the question your comment above posed for me and I believe there is a valid answer.
An obvious answer too. Houses are always crumbling. It’s just a question of when you heave a sigh of exasperation and reluctantly accept that it’s time to fix the roof. In a well run household you don’t of course let it get to that stage. You don’t sit around pretending nothing’s wrong until you can’t get away with the pretence any more; but I can’t think of anywhere in Europe that’s been that well run. Perhaps societies never get that well run. Ours hasn’t been, as is obvious. But at some stage, early or late, you can’t ignore the dysfunction any more.
Not unless you are a defeated people. I don’t think that we are that. I see around me great numbers of brisk, competent, sensible people, just as many as there ever were. Even pen pushers – I was of their number once and there was by no means a majority of losers even in that despised community. The spirit’s there, for enough at least. It’s just that many haven’t yet noticed the damn roof’s leaking.
Some have already. The Brexit vote sent out confused and contradictory signals but it sent out a true one also. Millions upon millions said, we are not fooled. We no longer buy the mantras. There has to be a better way.
Amongst the confusion and anger we’ll find that way somehow and in the meantime we’d better keep the guards on. They’re being used for all sorts of wrong duties at present but that’s part of the dysfunction. Underneath all that is the essential truth that since we don’t live in a world of peace and amicability, and are even less likely to do so in the future, a country that fails to insist on defending itself usually loses the right to insist on anything.
Hence the comment I submitted to SST above. Whatever is happening internally we still need to keep our defence forces up to scratch. How? Why should I pretend to know? But one doesn’t need to be a Haldane or a Fisher to see that the chancers and the bought men we allow to run our affairs at present are screwing up on that just as comprehensively as they are screwing up on the rest of it.