Open Thread – 11 April 2016



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124 Responses to Open Thread – 11 April 2016

  1. Does the “vision thing” exist in U.S. leadership circles or anywhere else?

  2. Fred says:

    Any thoughts on the 60 minutes profile of the 28 redacted pages from the 9-11 commission report?

  3. Stonevendor says:

    Brrrrr. Those cardinals better snuggle up, they look cold. While the contents are not a surprise on this website, here is a critique of the sloppy foreign policy reporting of the neocon leaning MSM.

  4. turcopolier says:

    Yes, on SST. pl

  5. Tony says:

    Another few $billion lawsuit against Iran…because we don’t like them.

  6. Fred,
    I don’t think the 60 Minutes profile will get any further unless the Presidential candidates take it up as an issue, at least Trump and Sanders. Barring that, the sheeple will forget about it. As far as I’m concerned, the Saudi royals are in this up to their necks.

  7. John Minnerath says:

    World might be going to hell in a hand basket, but I do like the photos you choose for “Open Thread”.
    Cardinal’s are a beautiful bird, one we don’t have in the mountains of western Wyoming.

  8. turcopolier says:

    I have whole clans of them who come to my garden. pl

  9. walter says:

    Anyone have any experience with Dexter miniature cows? Im thinking about getting one or two to 1) lawnmow my grass 2) meat 3) maybe milk if I can make the time

  10. Dubhaltach says:

    I’m currently reading “Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace – Dominic Lieven”
    I’ve always wondered why what happened after 1812 got so little coverage. I was also very interested in the logistics of the 1812-1814 war from the Russian side. How did they equip, feed, and move hundreds and thousand of men and horses from Russia all the way to Paris. Come to that where did they get the horses?
    Lieven went digging through the Russian archives and answered my questions about logistics. He also covers in a fair amount of detail not only the 1812 campaign but the campaigns of 1813, and 1814. There’s a fair amount on the diplomatic history and the geopolitics of the era. All of it (I’m almost at the end) well and interestingly written.
    If you’re interested in Russian history and or Napoleonic era history this book fills lot of gaps.
    Link to Amazon Page:

  11. divadab says:

    I have one for you all,
    What kind of person runs for President – what are the deep emotional underpinnings of their supreme ambition? This is an unknowable even on an intimate personal level – but we can at least know something from public behavior – what can we conclude about the motives of the candidates from their finances? We know that Sanders is not in it for the money – that is clear from financial records. And Mrs. Clinton surely is – and she works very hard at it, and with great success. Is this a moral issue? Is there a moral superiority to someone who is not motivated by the pecuniary? That is my question.

  12. Haralambos says:

    I found this very interesting on the centenary of the Easter Rising. A friend from the North sent it. His father is Catholic and his mother Protestant. My wife’s family is Catholic from the Republic. She was born and raised in the US, studied for her MA in Ireland and now holds both US and Irish passports. This piece from the BBC is about 45 min:
    There is much food for thought regarding this bit of history and much further afield for those who follow here.

  13. rjj says:

    if book pile is too big and/or the budget too strained, here are a couple of quickies

  14. crf says:

    I doubt, that people who run for U.S. president are motivated by money to any great degree. Power is what draws them. And Sanders may desire power just as much as Clinton. He simply has more self-control compared to Clinton.
    Having a lot of money is, of course, a form of power, and in places which are less developed than the US with respect to the rule of law, politics is about collecting money, which is used to cement power (for example, Ukraine, South Africa, Malaysia).
    A more interesting question is whether there are politicians who are not motivated by power? The answer is probably a big NO. Politics is one of the alternatives to money for wielding power.

  15. walter,
    I’m pretty sure Tyler raised a Dexter or two. He’ll chime in if he did.

  16. Allen Thomson says:

    OK, since the thread is open, I was browsing around on Google Earth yesterday and noticed that the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) digs in Yasenevo on the south side of Moscow (55.5841 N, 37.5181 E) has been under major biggification for several years. (The SVR is, of course, the present manifestation of the KGB’s First Main/Chief Directorate.)
    Researching this a bit, came up, which has better shots than GE has.
    Maybe this is just Putin being nostalgic for the old outfit and channeling them some rubles.

  17. gordon reed says:

    Told us nothing we did not know and acted like the two hijackers that were in San Diego were a revelation when they were actually being monitored by the FBI.

  18. rjj says:

    what a splendid idea. add a couple of ducks for eggs and what more would anyone need! I would do that too, but am temperamentally better suited to camellids of some sort and African guinea fowl.
    sorry, no experience.

  19. Harry says:

    For what little its worth, I don’t think Hitler was in it for the money. But David Cameron, and Jeremy Heywood, both pretty sure they are in it for the money. Funny considering officially there is no money in those jobs.

  20. YT says:

    RE: “World might be going to hell”
    The Chinks take a stoic view:
    “Even if the sky were to fall, one makes a blanket out of it.”

  21. kooshy says:

    According to news reports, president Obama has said (today) his worst mistake was “adequately” ( according to Russian FM Lavrov: he means he should have followed up with a ground invasion) planning for Libyan war he and his allies started without a mandate for war from UNSC or any other national or international legal organization except his own NSC’ R2P-ers.

  22. BraveNewWorld says:

    As a person interested in the 1812 war you have probably seen Minards incredible graph of the March on Moscow. But for any one that hasn’t.
    I don’t remember where but I recently read some thing that said “Sentence one of the first paragraph, of the first chapter of the Book of War is never march on Moscow.”

  23. Tyler says:

    I breed dexters. What do you need to know?

  24. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Tulsi Gabbard, Rep Hawaii’s 2nd Dist, very unusual background.
    Learned about her at SST.
    Also, Elizabeth Warren.
    Also, whoever at McClatchy found money for their participation and coverage of the Panama Papers, which IMVHO have only yet begun to turn things inside out and upside down.

  25. Bill H says:

    My take on Clinton is that she is in it for more for power than for money, not forgetting the extent to which money represents power. That makes her all the more frightening.

  26. mike says:

    Reuters is saying Izzat el Douri is back in the news asking Iraqi Sunnis to back a Saudi Backed push against ISIS in Mosul – but only if the Iranians and their proxies stay out.

  27. oofda says:

    An interesting critique of R2P by Paul Pillar. He notes that R2P is a major departure from the concept of inviolate sovereignty of states that dates back to the Peace of Westphalia in the 17th century. That is something that is not discussed much, if at all.

  28. Balint Somkuti says:

    I suggest you read on the About Us section.
    Maybe the last name on the list Alexandr Dugin will be familiar.

  29. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Now here’s a curious perspective on what’s been happening in Syria of late, under the title, “Assad has taken Russia ‘hostage,’ and what comes next could be ‘the worst this war has seen'”

  30. LeaNder says:

    Maybe reading Tea Leaves is not the best thing to do? Although strictly, I am a fan of the I Ging myself. 😉
    “whoever at McClatchy found money”
    Explain. As I understand the documents were offered anonymously to a (one? I think, with two working on the matter of the paper after) journalist at the “Southern German Newspaper/Süddeutsche Zeitung”.
    Realizing that it was way beyond their head both considering work load and news value (emphasis on Germans involved over here, obviously) they looked for cooperation. The rest is a matter of how to do it. Surely the best thing was looking for an international NGO in investigative journalism. And not keep matters to themselves. Remember its a huge leak. No? Besides, international cooperation surely is not a bad thing in the field.
    “whoever at McClatchy found money for their participation and coverage of the Panama Papers”
    Some McClatchy journalists must have been members. That’s all I can see. Not a bad thing to do either, if you need help somewhere else. No?
    But I sure wait for and will appreciate your instructions, as a nitwit, I am always willing to learn.

  31. LeaNder says:

    If we leave out money interests for a while. I sure can spin matters too to my ‘straight heart’s delight’.
    Meaning we all spin any tape of tales confronted with the ‘unknown’, but why are you picking out Tulsi Gabbard or Elizabeth Warren?
    And how is your comment related to William’s “vision thing”

  32. What was not said in the 28 redacted pages or elsewhere was the deep connection between the Bush family [41 and 43] and the KSA. The manifest of the KSA group flown out of the US in the day after 9/11/2001 to prevent interrogation would also be of interest.
    What will always remain of concern is the prohibition on the 9/11 Commission of inquiry as to WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE for direct and indirect support in the US for supporting then attack.
    Disclosure: I was interviewed for 5 hours by 9/11 Commission staff on various issues including PREPAREDNESS. I had retired from FEMA and the federal government in October 1999.

  33. Agree with Mr. Pilar although quite complicated because the U.S. has also overthrown many “democratically” elected leaders.

  34. YT says:

    I’ve heard of this Dugin chap.
    Apparently “the Saker” [also] disagrees (strongly) with his rather extreme opinions.
    “SmoothieX12”, what about you?
    Balint Somkuti, thank you for pointing out this.

  35. YT says:
    From him apparently, according to one of the honorable guests who frequent this here blog.
    Yes, I recall seeing this quite recently as well.

  36. JJackson says:

    Yes I saw that one. My thought was Syria was a bigger mistake – although the Russian may have rescued him from its worst consequences. Ukraine has even more potential.

  37. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to BraveNewWorld 11 April 2016 at 10:10 PM
    Yes I have seen it and it’s amazing – anyone reading this who hasn’t seen it click BraveNewWorld’s link.
    You probably most recently read that quote from Montgomery in Patrick Armstrong’s posting “Russia Prepares for a Big War: The Significance of a Tank Army” which you can find below. It repays re-reading IMO.

  38. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to rjj 11 April 2016 at 06:35 PM
    Thanks for that 🙂

  39. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to oofda 12 April 2016 at 03:57 AM
    If I’m traducing you my apologies, but you should not assume that just because Americans aren’t debating something that the topic isn’t being keenly discussed elswewhere.
    Amongst other instances I refer you to the current British referendum on whether or not they’ll continue to be members of the EU, and the surge of support for right-wing nationalists throughout Europe in general.

  40. Valissa says:

    Great article, thanks so much for the link! R2P is such an insidious and Big Brotherish excuse for self-righteous imperialism … George Orwell would be impressed.
    Like so many concepts/principles, the idea of sovereignty has changed a bit over time, and varies by ideology

  41. Both your identified issues could well control America’s future also. Is the 21st Century a replay of some other time and place?

  42. walter says:

    Our Muscovy ducks have been freeloaders so far; our 7 Rhode Island reds pump out 5-7 eggs / day;

  43. walter says:

    Wow, thats cool. Currently I have 39 in. x 330 ft. Field Fence with Galvanized Steel Class 1 Coating 12.5 gauge …the one that has small squares at the bottom which get progressively larger as u go up surrounding my property (5 acres) ….do u think this fencing is strong enough and tall enough for Dexters?? Do the Dexters try and get out of the fence? Do I need to make it strong as hell? Or do they behave and stay in the fence assuming there is plenty grass to eat??
    Also, we have this stuff called guinea grass Megathyrsus maximus which grows fast and tall and was transplanted here to Hawaii for cattle … mainland acre/cow ratios appear to be 1.5 to 2 acre /cow….I reckon due to our tropical climate and faster growing grass, I can have less acreage per cow…especially if I irrigate it occasionally.
    Also, do i have to milk them every day or can I skip days if I want to buy a cow for milk…I have doubts that I have the discipline to milk every day….thanks for your time

  44. Trey N says:

    The Panama Papers leak was in no way, form or fashion the act of an “altruistic whistleblower.” The only question is which national intelligence agency is behind the leak. I’d bet the house, car, wife and kids on the CIA — as would this genuine whistleblower:

  45. Fred says:

    On an gastronomic note any Parisian restaurant recommendations?

  46. Trey N says:

    Russian arms sales have skyrocketed this year. Buyers are apparently really impressed with the display of the capabilities of various Russian weapons in Syria over the last six months.
    The US military has recently announced a strong buildup of ground, naval and air forces in the Middle East.
    To me, the timing of this buildup is not accidental. Russia has hit the US MIC where it really hurts: international arms sales. Now the Pentagram brass and their revolving-door cronies are out to defend their trough — er, turf — with a display of their own systems’ prowess.
    I assume that the F-35 “flying phone booth” and the navy’s littoral combat vessel that broke down and had to be towed back to port on its maiden voyage will no be among the items on display in the sandbox….

  47. SmoothieX12 says:

    It was Monty (Field Marshal Sir Montgomery) who said that. There is, however, a chance that he was merely quoting Bismark. After all, the phrase that Russia is never as strong as she seems and never as weak as she seems, is attributed to Bismark, Metternich and Churchill simultaneously.

  48. Kooshy says:

    I wonder what colors are the colonel Lang’ Virginia visiting (migrating?) Cardinal birds, I think he used this same stock photo a few months back. Where I live, we see schools of “scaped” colorful parrots on hill sides.

  49. turcopolier says:

    The males are red. the females are brown with orange beaks and crests. Cardinals do not migrate. They are very territorial and my cardinals are all related or they would not share the territory. the pair mate for life. you must live in an awful place if there are no cardinals. pl

  50. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    The Saker has a long and informative post up nominally about the controversies regarding Stalin both in and outside of Russia. But it covers considerably more ground than that, tracing the influences since Czarist times that have operated to create what Russia is today. The author also goes into his own personal background more that he has elsewhere. He is the descendant of White Russian exiles but has to some degree transcended the views with which he was inculcated growing up.

  51. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Oops! I just realized I may have pasted in the wrong link. Here’s the correct one for the Stalin story:

  52. SmoothieX12 says:

    Dugin is full o’sh.t academic failure. If memory doesn’t fail me–he dropped out of famed Moscow Aviation Institute–couldn’t handle precise sciences. And as it is always proper for pretentious Moscow “intellectuals” went on reading too much of Mackinder, Heidegger and all other pseudo-scientific BS, while getting degree from some backwater Stavropol Agricultural (or something like that) Institute. Dugin thinks that he knows geopolitics, I think he is pretentious creep. His Eurasianism “theories” are the same kind of BS as sheer Russian uber-liberal Westernization doctrine mongering. But then again–it is just me, me and my personnel, unlike Dugin, experienced first hand all the “beauty” of “Eurasianism”. I barely survived it, others didn’t.

  53. kooshy says:

    Colonel thanks for defining your native bird’ color and habitat, not too many colorful birds here in LA, if you may, here in LA’ Santa Monica mountains where I live, beside the nonnative loose school of formerly pet parrots and finch that I mentioned, we have the native California blue bird, very pretty deep blue, a wonderful big gray night owl (which matches the gray color of California costal oak trunk where by pure accident I have seen here day time), right above my roof top hooting all night, and a huge majestic hawk hunting all day, above the edge of the canyon I live in, hunting pigeons and other small birds. if not migrating, wondering how the little cardinals can survive the hard winters you get back east?

  54. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Both Gabbard and Warren are articulate about their areas of emphasis and appear to have mastered the devilish details that enable them to predict the likely outcomes of policies.
    I have no clue who is behind the Panama Papers; motive is less important than the quality of the data. Nevertheless, the Panama Papers is one more instance of leaked documents forming the basis of a wide-ranging public understanding of things that have long been hidden.
    There is an ancient parable: ‘where there is no vision, the people perish’. I agree.
    FWIW, I agree also with Col Lang that there is vision at SST — the posts are often prescient.
    Several experts here apparently possess ‘that vision thing’.

  55. cynic says:

    Here’s more bad news about Mrs. Clinton. Has she actually won anything, or is it all fraud? Why is her campaign allowed to get away with multiple flagrant violations of the electoral laws? What is it that attracts shady lawyers who resign rather than be disbarred to politics? Not the opportunities for theft and bribery surely?
    ‘Based on the above, it is more than likely that Bernie Sanders is ahead in the real vote count. Because paperless voting machines often have no paper trail, there is no way of being certain of the actual vote count. However, the crimes of voter intimidation, campaigning inside and in front of polling places, and other illegalities, if pursued, could invalidate Clinton’s election results in numerous states.’

  56. cynic says:

    Here’s why some people may need to take more alcohol with their water intake!
    The parasites may not even be named Bill or Hillary!

  57. cynic says:

    Lovely pictures. I wonder what seed eating birds eat during most of the year when there are naturally no seeds, unless kind people give them some. Do they eat insects?

  58. cynic says:

    Perhaps it would be well for America to revisit it’s 17th century English roots, and refresh them.
    I’m reading an excellent book by John Adamson, called The Noble Revolt: the overthrow of Charles I. In 1641 the House of Lords put the King’s chief advisor, the Earl of Strafford, on trial for his life before them. The King’s ‘special forces’ failed to break him out of the Tower of London. His execution was a huge public spectacle.
    Can you imagine the US Senate similarly putting Rumsfeld or Cheney or Hillary Clinton on trial before them, prosecuted by members of the House of Representatives, with the Supreme Court sitting as legal advisers to the Senate, and with the President obliged to watch quietly from a corner? The execution would be viewed by the whole world, although it may be doubted whether Hillary would have the dignity and fortitude to give an appropriate speech and ‘make a good death’ in the old expected manner. That might revive some hope that Justice still has a place in public life.
    Wasn’t it one of the American revolutionaries, Paine or perhaps Jefferson, who said that the Tree of Liberty needs to be refreshed with the blood of traitors and patriots? Some Political Gardening is long overdue.

  59. Barish says:

    A couple things on recent fighting heating up around Aleppo city:
    Nusra and various other unicorns they could muster, who are along despite being signatories to the ceasefire – e.g. Ahrar al-Sham, “Division 13” – appear very much determined to hold Tal al-Eis they recently recaptured, after months of SAA and allies’ occupation, no matter what. In connection to the next round of Geneva talks to soon be restarted, how important is the place, and how does this capture compare to the govt.’s feat of cutting the Azaz-Aleppo city centre route in February? Can we expect that, sooner rather than later, their hold on the place will collapse?

  60. Bill Herschel says:

    One can call it the Borg, if one wishes. But I call it the CIA. Check out this article in the Times. It is blatant, pure, solid gold Bernaysian propaganda. Bernaysian propaganda. The Times is under the control, explicit control of an agency of the United States government. For my money, it’s the CIA. And I give them credit. A lot of credit. Oh, and I guess no one on this blog knew that there is no Russian presence in Syria at all.

  61. turcopolier says:

    Bill Herschel
    “But I call it the CIA” Did you work at the CIA? Do you know anyone who has worked at the CIA? How do you know things about the CIA? Did you read a book about the CIA? Why should I not think you are a crackpot conspiracy theorist? pl

  62. turcopolier says:

    “around Aleppo city” I would find it difficult to call the town of Tel al-Eis and the hill behind it “around Aleppo City,” but from the maps it seems to be a topographically strong position that dominates the plain below and from which the M% can be brought under fire. The anti R+6 people seem to have heard a dog whistle blow and are attacking mostly futilely all over Syria. They can either do that or have R+6 “eat their lunch” as ongoing plans are executed. pl

  63. The Beaver says:

    Don’t know whether to laugh or to cry !
    Bono(the U2 member who loves to spread OPM instead of putting his own Millions where his mouth is) being invited to speak in front of a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday , on a wide-ranging discussion on the Middle East and the refugee crisis, by Lindsey Graham, chairman of the subcommittee.
    Amy Schumer or Borat – is he for real ?

  64. turcopolier says:

    I listened to him interviewed yesterday. He is a silly man. He has “discovered” that “the military” believes that internal development is an important tool in COIN, Well, pilgrims, I was taught that in the ’60s at Ft. Bragg and it has been US Army doctrine ever since. pl

  65. turcopolier says:

    cynic & kooshy
    I don’t know how the cardinals and other non migratory birds survive the winters. A lot of people feed them, including me. pl

  66. turcopolier says:

    To believe that the PP are a CIA black propaganda op you have to believe that the journalist group that produced the product is a CIA op. Do you? pl

  67. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In regards to describing Al Maqdisis as a theologian and in the interest of Rectification of Names:
    Al Maqdisi is not a theologian; that subject has been closed in Sunni Islam for more than a millennia.
    He is a purveyor of yet another concoction of Sunni Legalism as the cure for Islam’s encounter with European Modernity.
    Yet another still-born attempt that would only lead to more deaths.
    In regards to Chinese: I do not see any adventurism – the Dragon was kicked awake by the foreign powers and she is stretching her legs and arms.

  68. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Seems that friends of US in Iceland and Pakistan – to name 2 – are falling victims to this disclosure….

  69. jld says:

    Though I do not entirely share his analysis Scott Alexander (a pseudo) certainly have a point that theology/ideology is more a pretense to make in-group/out-group distinctions than about morality/culture/whatever and claims about THE righteous way:
    Scott is a somewhat lefty psychiatrist with a famous blog and claims to be a “rationalist”.

  70. turcopolier says:

    He sounds like the usual social science or psychiatrist nutcase who want to tell us (always) what is below the surface of the ideas that people say they fight for. ok

  71. turcopolier says:

    Yes, the CIA op idea for the PP is fun for the feeble minded who want conspiracy everywhere. this is just the beginning. There are hundreds of law firms who specialize in the work. pl

  72. turcopolier says:

    the Sunnis still have what they call “Kalam” (speculative theology) but as you say it has been a wounded religious science since the defeat of the Mu’tazila and the subjugation and submission of the Sunni Sufis. pl

  73. rjj says:

    open thread … noted in passing ….
    recently have been regretting that I lost my old copy of Eric Hoffer’s True Believer years ago. Checked Amazon. The book is still in print and is peaking as a best seller!! Is he being pushed on CorpsMedia or in classrooms, or is this [pseudo?]synchronicity? synchronicity is interesting. 52.4K mentions on google search. they discontinued their search timeline so no way to see when trend started.

  74. YT says:

    The occident west is… over-reacting to her stretching legs and arms.

  75. YT says:

    I loved his songs…
    But now I’m sad.
    How the west has fallen (from grace)…

  76. YT says:

    Good sir,
    I [seriously] doubt most Americans read anything besides the ‘sports’ section…

  77. Trey N says:

    Iceland is no “friend of the US” — they threw their big banksters in jail, setting a precedent for other countries that absolutely horrifies and terrifies the big bankster bastards that run the US.
    The fact that Iceland has had the best performing economy in Europe since they did that only adds to the distress of the BBBs.
    As for Pakistan, my best guess would be that the CIA/Pentagram are still all butt-hurt about the Paks allowing the Afghan Taliban to freely come and go across their border over the last decade+. Could be for other reasons, too….

  78. Trey N says:

    I remember this saying from my college days: “those students who are too stupid to do anything else go into journalism.”
    The state of the MSM today only confirms the accuracy of that statement to me.
    I don’t believe the ICIJ has to be a CIA front; I do believe that said group of journalists can be manipulated by skilled intelligence operatives. After all, such work is part of the job description.

  79. SmoothieX12 says:

    I would be very cautious taking this Business Insider sewer seriously. It is akin to more pop-version of STRATFOR.

  80. Trey N says:

    If you like books about English revolts, check out Juliet Barker’s “England, arise” about the Great Revolt of 1381. I’m just several chapters into it, but the social/economic conditions it describes that led up to the revolt are chillingly familiar.
    The rebels did manage to kill (by beheading) several of the “1%ers” of their day, among them Simon Sudbury (chancellor of England) and Sir Robert Hales (treasurer of England).
    I can think of a mighty long list of such people today whose heads I would like to see similarly decorating the tops of pikes….

  81. Valissa says:

    I first heard of it and then bought it in 2008. After that I recommended it many times. Guessing that others have done the same and eventually this has increased the books popularity. I found it particularly helpful in understanding the “netroots” and how many of the leaders of that eventually sold out to the Democratic Party in order to have access and higher paying blogging or other political careers. So much for the so-called “progressive revolution.” Lost any lingering romantic notions about political revolutions while reading this book Hoffer was the ultimate political realist.
    I first read Bernays book around the same time.
    Both books were pivotal in my becoming a non-partisan political non-believer (anti-ideology, anti-utopian).

  82. charly says:

    The journalist group is 25% paid for by USAID so it is obviously not CIA but another alphabet agency. If it was CIA the PP would have included Americans and not so obviously being paid out of the US treasury

  83. Linda Lau says:

    Love the cardinals – I have just two in my yard.

  84. turcopolier says:

    Linda Lau
    In Italy? pl

  85. no one says:

    Sir, Maybe Linda is in the Vatican

  86. LondonBob says:
    Interesting allegations regarding the Litvinenko case, should be of interest to David Habakkuk?

  87. cynic says:

    That’s true of most people everywhere. It’s the function of the actual or putative upper classes to make such changes, as necessary arousing the emotions of the populace to support them and supply the muscle required.

  88. cynic says:

    Thank you. She also wrote a reasonable book on Agincourt I think. Peasant revolts seldom achieve anything beyond the deaths of a lot of peasants and a few of their rulers. That’s why I find it amusing that some people expect popular outbreaks to achieve much other than a stricter tyranny.

  89. cynic says:

    There was an article recently which pointed out that not only was there no criticism of American or Israeli interests, but that creating and maintaining that data base would have required huge IT resources.

  90. cynic says:

    A nun rather than a cardinal?

  91. rjj says:

    great psychologist, too (Hoffer). Didn’t read Bernays. Not sure why anybody with a mom would need to consult Bernays on the art of mindfuck.
    Uh oh, perhaps that should be qualified: a mom of a certain generation.

  92. rjj says:

    forgot to add .. thanks for the response to my question!!!

  93. Valissa says:

    LOL… Bernays discusses the science of manipulating collective beliefs (the “group mind”) so his book is really more sociological than psychological in the modern sense IMO, as it involves group, herd or crowd psychology (he wasn’t much concerned about the individual). He genuinely believed that the elites should use this science of propaganda to control and improve society by manipulating the beliefs of the masses where they could for the betterment of all.
    Bernays also pioneered the public relations industry’s use of psychology and other social sciences to design its public persuasion campaigns: “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.” He called this scientific technique of opinion-molding the engineering of consent.
    … Bernays defined the profession of “counsel on public relations” as a “practicing social scientist” whose “competence is like that of the industrial engineer, the management engineer, or the investment counselor in their respective fields”. To assist clients, PR counselors used “understanding of the behavioral sciences and applying them – sociology, social psychology, anthropology, history, etc.” In Propaganda, his most important book, Bernays argued that the scientific manipulation of public opinion was necessary to overcome chaos and conflict in society.
    Of course, the desire of leaders to manipulate the beliefs of the masses is timeless and of ancient origin. Bernays gift was in systematizing that practice and promoting his system at which he was very successful. Not surprisingly Bernays was in demand by various leaders of his day.
    Interestingly (to me anyway), while everyone I know recognizes how their parents tried to control and manipulate them (for their “own good”), very few of them recognize how much propaganda is thrown at them by various forms of media and how great an influence that has on their own opinions, esp in politics. The subject of propaganda seems to make most people very uncomfortable. One of the reasons I appreciate this blog is that people here are aware of the power and effects of propaganda and are willing to discuss it, whether they have read Bernays or not.
    Hoffer was well aware of the power of propaganda as that is a major component of all mass movements. Though lacking a traditional academic background, Hoffer was a very astute observe of his fellow human beings, esp how they behave in groups.

  94. They are both formidable persons. Persons that may have staying power in governance circles IMO!

  95. I have posted a short book review of March Ambinder’s DEEP STATE [2013] on!

  96. cynic says:

    Some time ago there was mention of the big Bronze Age battle in northern Germany.
    Here’s an article about the DNA of the bones. It appears that one side came from the south or south east.
    From a comment: ‘This battle was around 1,250 BCE and apparently a conflict between a “standing army” made up of professional soldiers of widely mixed origins, and people from the south or southeast (as compared to northern Germany – we will know more precisely after the DNA analysis has been completed)’

  97. rjj says:

    Bernays writing comes from the same source as Bauhaus/modernist architecture cult (scowl!!!) – earlier visionary meddlings via perfectly rational and utterly unworkable grand designs for The Masses. (another bigger scowl)
    It took a while but eventually realized what inspired these ideas and how they make sense. They are a product of/reaction to the world of Central Europe.

  98. LondonBob,
    If you ever hear reports in the press about a mysterious death in West London – sometime journalist and television producer choking in hysterical laughter on his whisky and water – they could even be true.
    The notion that Andrei Lugovoi and/or Dmitri Kovtun poured polonium into Litvinenko’s green tea in the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel is laughable; the suggestion that Mario Scaramella sprinkled it on his sushi at the Itsu even more so.
    However, while the claims by Paul Barril are clearly in part a continuation of a series of Russian ‘information operations’ designed to obscure the truth of how Litvinenko died, they also help open up areas that are important. Interesting skeletons may be tumbling out of cupboards.
    While some of what Barril says about ‘Operation Beluga’ is dubious, it seem reasonably clear that MI6 and elements in the U.S. intelligence community were in cahoots with Berezovsky in covert operations, and in particular ‘information operations’, one of whose purposes was to destabilise the Putin ‘sistema’.
    And here, another report which appeared on ‘Russia Insider’ on the same day as the full Barril interview was posted – Gilbert Doctorow’s account of programmes on Russian state television making claims about the role of Bill Browder in such attempts – is interesting.
    ( See .)
    Unlike a very large number of other people who are involved in disseminating claims about these matters, I think Doctorow is an honest man, as well as a highly intelligent one.
    And the possibility that there was a cache of documents collected by Berezovsky, which he was attempting to use as a ‘bargaining chip’ for a return to Moscow, is a real one. It is also, I think, quite likely that a top-class ‘hitman’ was employed by person or persons unknown to murder Berezovsky and try to make it look like suicide, precisely to head off the threat of his returning to Moscow.
    (Ironically, this helps put the ludicrousness of Owen’s report into sharp relief. If either the FSB, or Lugovoi, a top-class bodyguard, had wanted Litvinenko assassinated, they would have hired a competent ‘hitman’ who would have covered his tracks.)
    However, there is reason for a good deal about caution about some of the ‘evidence’ produced in the Russian TV programmes. If there was a cache of documents, some of the material might be absolutely what it appears to be. Also, other material might be completely genuine, but not actually originating with the ‘cache’ – this could provide an ideal means of disguising ‘sources and methods’.
    And, as Doctorow himself clearly thinks perfectly possible, crucial material could have been simply faked, or at least doctored.
    Here the situation is actually oddly parallel to that at the Litvinenko Inquiry. In paragraph 3.132 of his report, Owen refers to the ‘interviews’ supposedly recorded with Litvinenko by DI Brent Hyatt on 18-20 November 2006. He writes:
    ‘The interviews were transcribed and I adduced the entirety of the transcripts into evidence. It is, to put it mildly, unusual when inquiring into a death to have available lengthy transcripts of interviews with the deceased conducted shortly before his death. I regard these transcripts as being of great value to this Inquiry.’
    A few facts that if Owen should have considered. One of the – many – reasons why polonium is an improbable choice of assassination weapon is that, commonly, people intending to commit murder do not want the police to have the opportunity to conduct ‘lengthy’ interviews with their victim.
    Moreover, if indeed at the time of his supposed poisoning, on 1 November, Litvinenko suspected Lugovoi and Kovtun, as well as Scaramella, how do you account for the fact that he was apparently not interviewed seriously by the police until 18 November? Is Scotland Yard utterly incompetent?
    How also do you account for the fact that, if the interviews are to be believed, the MI6 ‘handler’ who had met Litvinenko on 31 October was still ignorant of the fact that he had been poisoned on 20 November? Is MI6 utterly incompetent?
    What we need to make a considered judgement – and people ought to be demanding – is the original audio of the interviews. Likewise, in relation to the materials produced on the Russian TV programmes, we need to see the originals. Redaction of some passages would be quite acceptable – we simply need enough material for competent analysts to be able to assess authenticity.
    This brings me back to Barril. Part of the use to which the interviews I think forged have been put is to explain away the only statement by Litvinenko about the circumstances of his poisoning for which we have direct verification of authenticity – the interview he gave to the BBC Russian Service on 11 November 2006. In this, he unambiguously pointed the finger of suspicion at Scaramella.
    The forged interviews allow Owen to accept an ‘information operations’ line originally produced by Goldfarb in March 2007, according to which the incrimination of Scaramella was a ruse designed to lure Lugovoi back to London. By contrast, the claims by Barril – which pick up on earlier claims by William Dunkerley – are attempting to persuade us we should take the BBC Russian Service interview at face value. Both suggestions are ludicrous.
    Ironically, Owen and Dunkerley alike ignore critical evidence about the circumstances in which Litvinenko originally broke the story of his poisoning, in collaboration with Akhmed Zakayev.
    On this, an excellent starting point remains a thread on ‘European Tribune’, which opened with a ‘diary’ by someone calling themselves ‘eternalcityblues’ on 19 November 2006 – the day the story broke in the mainstream Western media. This was a piece of first-class targeted internet research, which put the whole Anglo-American MSM to shame.
    In it, he or she – I suspect it was a she – quoted from one of the early reports on which the story was broken, on the Chechenpress and Kavkaz Center websites:
    ‘As earlier reported by the Chechepress news agency, Mario Scaramella is a FSB agent in Italy and a close friend and business partner of the FSB deputy chief Kolmogorov. The Italian visited several time the FSB headquarters in Moscow.’
    (See;sid=2006/11/19/20439/209 .)
    A few quick Google checks enabled ‘eternalcityblues’ to establish that in fact Scaramella was – to use my language – a dirty little disinformation peddler, targeting the enemies of Silvio Berlusconi, who had wheeled in his fellow disinformation peddler Litvinenko to make entirely bogus charges that Romano Prodi was a KGB agent.
    Moreover, the Italian had a nice line in nuclear scaremongering – in which as it turns out Litvinenko collaborated with him. So Scaramella was hardly an obvious choice for an FSB ‘hitman’. But then, he was hardly an obvious choice for an MI6 ‘hitman’ either.
    To be frank, if the notion that either the FSB or Lugovoi would have arranged an assassination so incompetently is hokum, so too is the notion that they would have read the Chechenpress reports and concluded that Litvinenko suspected Scaramella.
    Here, Barril is again of some use: the FSB clearly knew all the Italian’s involvement in anti-Russian ‘information operations’ – and there is good reason to suspect that Lugovoi was playing a double game, and feeding information back to Moscow. sources.
    A plausible hypothesis is that Litvinenko incriminated Scaramella in part at least because he wanted the story of his poisoning brought into the open – but did not want to make public what he thought had actually happened.
    If moreover there was any substance in the claim that MI6 and Berezovsky were involved in a deliberate assassination, they would not have been going round like headless chickens after their supposed victim – apparently against their will – broke the story.
    A critical document in this whole affair – not admitted into evidence by Owen – is the long report by David Leppard and his ‘Sunday Times’ colleagues published under the title ‘Cracking the code of the nuclear assassin’ on 3 December 2006.
    (See .)
    If you compare the claims made here with the ‘evidence’ which Counter Terrorism Command claim to have identified by the end of November 2006, one has to explain why practically everything the ‘Sunday Times’ team – fourteen journalists – were told contradicted what we are now given to understand Litvinenko had told DI Hyatt.
    In particular, at this point the Pine Bar is not being pointed to as a likely murder location.
    It is instructive to compare the ‘Sunday Times’ report with a report in ‘Izvestiya’ on 1 December 2006. This is a classic ‘information operations’ piece, but its timeline for 1 November 2006 is I think likely to be accurate, although incomplete. It begins with Litvinenko leaving Berezovsky’s office with the polonium, then has him visiting Lugovoi at the Millennium, and then going on to meet Scaramella at the Itsu. And there is no mention of the Pine Bar.
    (See .
    Reading between the lines of this story, it seems likely that at this point those ‘in the know’ in the Russian security services thought that Scotland Yard would have to produce a timeline which would leave Berezovsky and Litvinenko caught in the act in possession of a highly dangerous radiological isotope.
    At that point, the only people who wanted to bring the Pine Bar meeting into the open were Lugovoi and Kovtun – who also wanted to disavow the existence of any earlier meeting between the former and Litvinenko, prior to the latter’s encounter with Scaramella.
    What changed everything was the discovery, in the week following the ‘Sunday Times’ story, that the extent of contamination in the Pine Bar – and in particular, the fact that seven bar staff had ingested polonium – could not be disguised.
    The ‘Izvestiya’ report also makes explicit what lay in the background of the presence of polonium in London in October-November 2006. As it noted – accurately:
    ‘Eighteen months ago, Berezovsky was saying that the Chechen guerrillas had a portable nuclear bomb. According to him, all it lacked was “a small component” to make it ready for use.’
    So the ‘information operations’ contests came to involve a scientifically totally-implausible polonium-beryllium ‘initiator’ being supplied to make functional a non-existent nuclear weapon. This is a state of affairs the contenting intelligence services alike want keep out of the limelight.

  99. cynic says:

    Here’s the article about the Tollense Bridge battle from Old European Culture blog that I mentioned previously. It has photos of finds and a discussion of the metal trade. The author thinks that a large caravan, including women, children and old people was ambushed by robbers.
    ‘ I believe that they were traders, and more specifically metal, tin and bronze traders. It was these Silesian metal traders who were traveling in a caravan protected by the armed guards, which were attacked by a gang of robbers. And these robbers attacked the caravan precisely because it was carrying the most precious metal of the bronze age: tin.’

  100. cynic says:

    Is there no more ‘Red Mercury’?

  101. bth says:

    Soleimani has flown to Moscow for meetings with defense ministry. S300 stated purpose and to discuss Syria. Always good to keep an eye on his doings. Wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Iran is suddenly making good on some old trade deals that were expected to close last year and some arms purchases this fall and perhaps food shipments from Russia to Syria and Yemen. This is just speculation but we shall see.
    Also Iran and Turkey are meeting. One item on list is transportation routes and tariffs which is probably timely if Turkish southern trucking routes have become problematic again. Now that sanctions are being lifted on Iran I wonder how that affects the family business in Turkey that made a pretty penny circumventing those regulations.

  102. Valissa says:

    William I looked for your review but couldn’t find it. Maybe it hasn’t been approved yet. I will check again tomorrow. Did you like it?
    I noticed that the reviews for Mike Lofgren’s book The Deep State are consistently higher. From what I can tell from the reviews, esp. one of my favorite reviewers, Robert David Steele, who trashed the book, the Ambinder book focuses on secrecy and related problems.
    Mike Lofgren’s book is about the ordinariness of the Deep State, and is focused more on explaining the out of control bureaucracy, the revolving door between gov’t and corporations, the high percentage of contractors used in gov’t work today (esp. problematic is the defense industry), the power of lobbyists and think tanks, the powerful influence of Wall Street, and the types of people that get ahead in this environment (hint: not people who are oriented to solving actual problems). Lofgren is a former long time congressional aide, he’s not an investigative journalist and he has no hidden agenda of his own or axe to grind. Just wants to educate the public on how the gov’t really operates. This is why I’ve been recommending Lofgren’s book to anyone that’s willing to listen. It’s easy to read and requires no special knowledge to understand it. There is absolutely zero conspiracy theory type info in it and Lofgren hardly mentions anything about secrecy issues. That’s not a concern of his.

  103. turcopolier says:

    I sometimes get a dozen comments a day from WRC. I have asked him not to do that. pl

  104. Valissa says:

    I thought he was referring to a book review he did at Amazon. They also wisely moderate reviews before they post them.

  105. LeaNder says:

    without looking into it, for someone selling ‘revelations’ for profit it may well feel completely impossible someone else wouldn’t want to be paid solidly, worse not at all.
    If I may joke, in the proverbial land of winners and losers, or in more up to date terms, black versus white heads, it may feel a bit beyond belief.
    As a nitwit I would never rule out interested parties, or that the leaker was a black or at least gray versus white head, including hired by intelligence. But without doubt intelligence would be the most popular accusation. Don’t you think?

  106. rjj says:

    “”competence is like that of the industrial engineer, the management engineer, or the investment counselor in their respective fields”. To assist clients, PR counselors used “understanding of the behavioral sciences and applying them – sociology, social psychology, anthropology, history, etc.”
    V., this is rhetorical packaging (aka flaming bullshit) for marketing his services. How much could he have charged and how much demand would there have been for Mom’s Own Mindf—® brand?
    the principles and methods are the same. they scale.

  107. turcopolier says:

    “including hired by intelligence. But without doubt intelligence would be the most popular accusation” So your vision of things is that the CIA roams the world looking for people to hire to do what, exactly…? pl

  108. rjj says:

    thanks for these links. please keep them coming. would be more interested in isotope analysis data than the DNA. [personal] For a long time I have claimed people are creatures of place and the particularities of place LITERALLY get written into our bones. It was nice to have that confirmed – people assumed I was being fanciful.[/personal]
    The third paragraph below is the most interesting. Would like to know where these people and their horses grew up.

    Isotopic oxygen is incorporated into the body primarily through ingestion at which point it is used in the formation of, for archaeological purposes, bones and teeth. The oxygen is incorporated into the hydroxylcarbonic apatite of bone and tooth enamel.
    Bone is continually remodelled throughout the lifetime of an individual. Although the rate of turnover of isotopic oxygen in hydroxyapatite is not fully known, it is assumed to be similar to that of collagen; approximately 10 years. Consequently, should an individual remain in a region for 10 years or longer, the isotopic oxygen ratios in the bone hydroxyapatite would reflect the oxygen ratios present in that region.
    Teeth are not subject to continual remodelling and so their isotopic oxygen ratios remain constant from the time of formation. The isotopic oxygen ratios, then, of teeth represent the ratios of the region in which the individual was born and raised. Where deciduous teeth are present, it is also possible to determine the age at which a child was weaned. Breast milk production draws upon the body water of the mother, which has higher levels of 18O due to the preferential loss of 16O through sweat, urine, and expired water vapour.

  109. rjj says:

    too bad you’re not close by. would volunteer to milk for milk and duck eggs (when they eventually get in the mood).

  110. rjj says:

    More and more am appreciating why the American War of Independence should not ever have been called a revolution.

  111. LeaNder says:

    not so, Pat. I wrote: “the most popular” for a reason. The world is complex and wide. My most favorite choice is, admittedly, someone with the right tools to travel the net in search of bugs that allow entrance without need for profit, which would turn it black. In our case at hand case a real hit.
    Concerning the CIA. Maybe the popular lore turned me off, at least the way I encountered it on the US web. My guess is that much of the lore is the result of the basic secrecy: The popular mind wants to fill the void.
    But yes, without doubt US services are so well funded, that they can hire the best geeks out there. 😉

  112. bth says:

    Fascinating read. Thanks

  113. Published under my non-profit’s name Vacation Lane Group.

  114. Agree with your analysis and also recommend Lofgren’s book. My review was prompted by a current study by Marc Ambinder and call to me requesting info. I gave him me following link maintained for me by FAS’s Steve Aftergood:
    His question: How could the United States protect its civil population from nuclear attack? My answer! It cannot and could not yet no American President has told the American people that fact and explained why IMO!

  115. While I do comment on other comments since your request have never posted more than three comments on their own on different days. Now, I will refrain from comments on others comments.

  116. Chris Chuba says:

    I have heard complaints about Russian aggression towards NATO member states in international waters but I have never heard as much caterwauling as now with the buzzing of the U.S. destroyer in the Baltic sea. I am including the following link because it is one of the more professionally written articles on the subject.
    1. Given the outcry over this incident, perhaps the previous incidents weren’t so bad?
    2. I keep hearing that the Russian jets were not armed but in the released videos I can clearly see two large objects under the fuselage. Are these auxiliary fuel tanks?
    3. The destroyer was conducting naval exercises with Poland, so I expect that Russia will be more aggressive the closer that exercises are done to their territory. I believe in the exact opposite of Carly Fiorina, she seems to think that we need to do this to show the Russians who are boss, time will tell who is right.
    4. Kerry says that we could have shot at the Jets in international waters, the Russian’s say that there is a NATO agreement and that we can lodge a complaint.
    Given our track record, I suspect that the Russians are correct. I don’t know the protocol for firing at Jets in international air space but I suspect that it would have to be done only when a naval vessel feels that they are under attack. So the first approach of Russian Jets would have to be a direct intercept pattern, warned that they will be fired on, and shot at during the approach but again, what do I know?
    Any thoughts on this incident would be appreciated.

  117. bth says:

    Colonel I suggest that this article by Bacevich is probably worth
    a separate thread regarding national policies and the all volunteer force.

  118. bth says:

    Some curious articles coming out of Belarus of late.
    First, Lukashenko gives a speech were he says that elements in Russia should stop treating Belarus as its ‘lackey’.
    Second it looks like Russia is going through with its plans to place at least motorized rifle brigadenright near the intersection of major road and rail lines where Russia, Belarus and Ukraine intersect. Timing for initial base completion September 2016 with units sleeping in the field until completed. Apparently the plan was initiated in February if I read the article correctly and is being fast tracked.
    Third, Belarus alters its defense doctrine to prevent its military forces from participating outside its own territory.

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