All posts filed under: Russia

UPDATED: Maria Butina Endgame

I wrote in some detail in Off-Guardian on 29 July about the 15 July arrest by the FBI in Washington DC of a 29 year old Russian national, a postgraduate student in Washington DC and gun enthusiast, Maria Butina.

I was not expecting Maria Butina to be still languishing in solitary confinement in a high-security prison in Virginia awaiting trial as an agent of foreign influence, over four months later. Yet this is what has happened to this unfortunate young aspiring lobbyist for better US-Russian relations.

Discuss: Kerch Strait and Azov Sea Tensions

The Guardian has a an opinion piece today, titled: The EU’s response to Russia must be bold and unanimous. It is written by German politician Norbert Röttgen, head of the Bundestag foreign affairs committee…and it is simply massively dishonest and one-sided. The “mainstream” narrative on Ukraine has been corrected to death in the alternate media, there is no need to go back over old ground, suffice to say, here are just few of the relevent facts which Mr Röttgen leaves out of his article: The Kerch Strait is incredibly shallow, it has a canal carved into to the sea bed to allow deep-draft ships to pass. Using the canal requires a pilot, and ships can only go in single file. The Ukrainian naval ships ignored these rules. Ships using the Kerch strait are required to give 72 hours notice, due to the narrowness of the passage and the shallowness of the sea. These rules have been in place for years. Ukraine ignored them. There have been calls – both inside and outside Ukraine – to …

The EU and the warning signs of Fascism

Things are spiralling out of control in Europe, faster than many predicted. Outside of Brexit, there is strong anti-EU feeling in Hungary, Spain, Italy, Greece and France. The EU is in danger of crumbling, and people afraid of losing power are prone to extreme acts of dictatorial control.

How long before the EU truly becomes the authoritarian force that people from both ends of the political spectrum have always feared?

Bleak See on the Black Sea

Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarević Following the latest events in and around the Black Sea, two old questions are reappearing. Both are inviting us for a repeated elaboration: If a Monroe doctrine (about the hemispheric security exclusivity) is recognised at one corner of the globe, do we have a moral right or legal ground to negate it at the other corner? This irrespectively from the fact that Gorbachev-Yeltsin Russia unilaterally renounced the similar explication – the Brezhnev doctrine about irreversibility of communist gains. Clearly, the ‘might-makes-right’ as a conduct in international relations cannot be selectively accepted. Either it is acknowledged to all who can effectively self-prescribe and maintain such a monopoly of coercion, or it is absolutely (revoked and) condemned as contrary to behaviour among the civilised nations. Next to the first question is a right of pre-emption. It is apparent that within the Black Sea theatre, Russia acts in an unwilling, pre-emptive and rather defensive mode. That is not a regime change action on the other continent following the rational of extra security demand by …

Andre Vltchek Interviewed in L’Antidiplomatico

Alessandro Bianchi’s interview with Andre Vltchek, originally published in L’Antidiplomatico. You can read both parts 1 and 2 in the original Italian here and here. Alessandro Bianchi Let’s start from today’s crisis in the Sea of Azov. The European Union and NATO have given full support to Ukraine after the violation of Russian sovereignty by two Ukrainian vessels. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gave his full support to Poroshenko, who declared martial law. What does a country like Italy risk in continuing its accession to NATO? Andre Vltchek: Russia intercepted three Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait. The ships had, even according to Ukrainian authorities, several intelligence officers on board, as well as a number of light arms and machine guns. It was clear provocation, as the ships refused to inform Russian authorities about their intentions, and behaved in an aggressive manner. They were passing through Russian territorial waters. Ukrainian intelligence officers were obviously in charge of the entire operation. So, what is really so ‘alarming’ for the West? The ships were stopped, some crew …

Uber-loser Poroshenko goes “full Saakashvili”

by Saker, November 30, 2018, via the Unz Review Petro Poroshenko is in deep trouble. His ratings have been in the single-digit range in spite of a vast propaganda effort, and his latest attempt to create a salvific crisis involving the usual “Russian aggression” has not only failed but appears to be backfiring. It is now becoming abundantly clear that the Ukronazi provocation was not only breathtakingly stupid and irresponsible, but also breathtakingly poorly planned and executed. The documents seized by the FSB on the Ukrainian ships show that the Ukrainian captains were given the order to “covertly” sneak under the Kerch bridge. I have no idea what the Ukronazi junta leaders were thinking, maybe they were drunk or terrified to tell Poroshenko that this was a suicidal mission (most likely he was too drunk to care anyway), but the fact that they could even imagine that three old boats could somehow sneak around the Crimean Peninsula and then covertly pass under the Kerch bridge is just amazing (as is the fact that the crews …

DISCUSS: the “Kerch Strait crisis”

Today, Sunday November 25, an incident happened in the Black Sea that threatens to seriously escalate the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Details are still unclear but it seems vessels of the Ukrainian navy were fired upon by Russian ships near the Kerch Strait and some Ukrainian service men were injured. Russia says the Ukrainian vessels were behaving in a “dangerous” manner and ignoring “legal demands to stop” . Ukraine claims they were simply attacked without any provocation while attempting to legally navigate the Kerch Strait en route to Mariupol. It appears the Ukraine government may use the incident to impose martial law. How helpful of the Russians to go ballistic for no reason (according to Alec and the MSM) and give #Poroshenko an excuse to declare martial law just when he needs one… https://t.co/5zGuM6VAfH — OffGuardian (@OffGuardian0) November 25, 2018 NATO is responding predictably so far #NATO is closely monitoring developments in the #AzovSea & #KerchStrait, & we are in contact with the #Ukrainian authorities. We call for restraint & de-escalation. Read my …

Building Bridges vs. Buying Bombs

Eric Zuesse China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” is famous as an extension of their domestic infrastructure investments, but Russia is also investing heavily in infrastructure. Both countries need to do it in order to improve the future for their respective populations, and both Governments have avoided the Western development model of going heavily into debt in order to pay for creating and maintaining infrastructure. Both are, in fact, exceptionally low-debt Governments. According to the “Global Debt Clock” at Economist, China has a public debt/GDP of 17.7%, and Russia’s is 8.0%. For comparison, America’s is 93.6%. (Others are: Germany 85.8%, Spain 91.2%, Italy 122.6%, Greece 147.1%, India 54.2%, Pakistan 47.0%, and Brazil 55.0%.) The United States isn’t going into public debt in order to finance building or maintenance of infrastructure, but instead to finance expansions of its military, which is already (and by far) the world’s largest (in terms of its costs, but not of its numbers of troops). While the U.S. Government now spends around half of the world’s military expenditures and plans to conquer …

Whither Russiagate?

Philip Giraldi Two years have passed since the 2016 presidential election. Allegations that foreign interference had influenced the result, perhaps decisively, began to surface even as the last ballots were being counted. Against all odds underdog Donald J. Trump had been elected president and the Establishment, which denigrated him throughout the campaign, had to find a scapegoat to explain their failure to elect the preferred candidate. The scapegoat turned out to be Russia. The Robert Mueller led inquiry into the election has been running since May 2017. It has been tasked with determining whether the Trump campaign colluded corruptly with the Russian government to influence the outcome of the election. It has worked hard to delegitimize the president without that being its stated objective and has had a certain measure of success in doing just that. But apart from a couple of low-level convictions for perjury, Mueller has come up with nothing that convincingly demonstrates that Moscow had some kind of plan to disrupt the elections and thereby damage American democracy. There was, to be …

WATCH: Who Are These Russians And Why Do We Hate Them?

In his film, Regis Tremblay examines the history of US-Russian relations, talks to ordinary Russian people, deconstructs propaganda and attempts to answer the question – Who are these Russians? And Why Do We Hate Them? The escalating downturn of US relations with Russia has made the world a more dangerous place than at any time during the Cold War, including during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This film explores the many reasons why the US foreign policy establishment since the end of World War II hates all things Russian. With the exception of John Kennedy who sought to end nuclear weapons and to seek peace with Russia, every president since has used Russia as a threat to American interests, security and Democracy. Is Putin a thug and an assassin? Or he is a great, patriotic leader of a country that was nearly destroyed by President George Herbert Walker Bush’s CIA good old boys, Bill Clinton and the CIA asset Boris Yeltsin? But, perhaps the greatest fear is that Russia has regained its superpower status and because …

The mega war game “Trident Juncture 2018”

This is the second of the two articles we are publishing today on NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018 military exercise being held October 25-November 7, 2018. by Manlio Dinucci, October 25, 2018, via VoltaireNet Far from being a simple military exercise, the war game « Trident Juncture 2018 » aims at eradicating the ideal of neutrality and press-ganging the Nordic countries into the US crusade against Russia. The states which are participating either believe or will come to believe in the imaginary danger of the « Russian peril ». US Marines disembarked from convertibles and helicopters from the amphibious attack ship « Iwo Jima », and « secured » Keflavik airport in Island, where Poseidon P-8A aircraft had arrived from Sigonella to take part in the hunt for enemy submarines. That was the start, on 17 October, of the NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2018, whose principal phase will be taking place from 25 October to 7 November in Central and Eastern Norway, in the areas adjacent to the North Atlantic (as far as Iceland) and the …

Military Escalation in Europe Is Like Runaway Train: It’s Time to Slow It Down

This is the first of the two articles we are publishing today on NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018 military exercise being held October 25-November 7, 2018. by Arkady Savitsky, October 29, 2018, via Strategic Culture Much has been said about the Trident Juncture 2018 NATO exercise being held in the immediate vicinity of Russia’s borders. This is the largest training event since the Cold War, but it’s only part of a broader picture, in which military war preparations targeting Russia are in full swing. Exercises are being coordinated, along with infrastructure facilities that are being built, expanded, and modernized. For instance, last week the construction of an aircraft maintenance hangar at Estonia’s Amari Air Base, the first military project fully funded by the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), was completed. The event was celebrated by US and Estonian air force officials with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. More than $38 million in EDI funds are being invested in that base. Beyond the training, a joint maintenance facility will also support the NATO aircraft that are conducting air policing in Eastern Europe. The Air Force Times cited US Air Forces …

Mr. Lucas, Don’t Take Your Readers for Fools!

by Vladimir Golstein So Edward Lucas, the columnist at The Times, the long time contributor to the notoriously Russophobic Economist and the author of 2008 The New Cold War: Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West, where he fully exhibits his own paranoia about the dangers of Putin’s Russia, has came up with a new theological and cultural diagnosis. Paranoia is the religion of Putin’s Russia. Not communism, not capitalism, not Orthodoxy, not atheism. Just plain old paranoia. Why, and how? Argument number #1 is that RT has put him on the list of ten top Russophobes. Lucas’ complaint: the list is haphazard and flimsy. Fine, any list is haphazard and flimsy – it just points to some people or organizations that like to come up with ridiculous charges and accusations, not dissimilar from his own “academic” investigations. So what? Having never produced anything academic himself, Mr. Lucas can’t expect any academic study from RT, can he? Argument #2. Mr. Lucas had found an academic study to his liking — Ilya Yablokov’s Fortress Russia …

The Framing of Russia

David Macilwain On the first of May, the UK’s National Security Adviser Sir Mark Sedwill told MPs that the agencies he oversaw – MI6, MI5 and GCHQ – had no information on who was responsible for the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter two months earlier. Three days later police searched the room in the City Stay Hotel used by “suspects” Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, and took swabs which were “found to contain Novichok” by Porton Down. The police did not make this information public until September 6th, when they chose to break the story of the now notorious “Russian assassins”. As I have speculated before, and as is now becoming increasingly clear, the “suspects” put in the frame by the UK government were evidently known to its intelligence agencies long before Mark Sedwill’s denial, and in fact before they even reached London, on their way, we are told ad nauseum, to hit the Skripals with toxic perfume. Obviously that story is not true, but it now appears that the mission assigned to …

Bellingcat outed by the Independent

Philip Roddis The West’s war on Syria, and rapidly heating cold war on Russia, have involved extensive use of smear. Of unsubstantiated or even disproved allegations repeated in our not-so free mediauntil even those who rightly or wrongly – usually wrongly – deem themselves critical thinkers assume, no-smoke-without-fire  fashion, there must be truth to them. This conclusion is seldom drawn by the conscious mind. That’s not how propaganda works: witness on the one hand that near universal belief that ‘adverts don’t sway me in the slightest’;  on the other those misguided capitalists who, oblivious to our immunity to it, continue to throw vast sums at that propaganda form we call commercial advertising. Putin – my, how we feted his predecessor, the drunken Yeltsin, as he oversaw Russia’s descent to basket case status while Wall Street drooled over the spoils! – and Assad feature hardly less frequently on our screens and front pages than do ads for new cars and sofas. The stakes are higher, though[1], which explains two aspects of their demonisation not shared by commercials. One is …

US Switching to Ukraine as Location to Start World War III

Eric Zuesse The United States Government is now treating Ukraine as if it were a NATO member, and on September 27th donated to Ukraine two warships for use against Russia. This is the latest indication that the U.S. is switching to Ukraine as the locale to start World War III, and from which the nuclear war is to be sparked against Russia, which borders Ukraine. Here is why Syria is no longer the U.S. alliance’s preferred choice as a place to start WW III: On September 4th, U.S. President Donald Trump publicly threatened Syria, Iran and Russia that if they exterminated the jihadists in Syria’s only remaining jihadist-controlled province, Idlib, then the U.S. might launch a full-scale invasion against Syria, Iran and Russia in Syria. Either the U.S. or Russia would then quickly escalate to nuclear war so as not to lose in Syria — that would be the conventional-war start to World War III. The leaders of Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Syria (Putin, Rouhani, Erdogan, and Assad), agreed in two meetings, one on September …

In the land of fake news is the spin master king?

One MI6 shill selling the work of another just sums up the level of factual journalism at the Guardian. Tutisicecream Not only was Pippa Crerar one of the Guardian’s deputy editors called out for her pious tweet from the Labour conference writing: “Corbyn criticises some parts of British media, claiming they “smear the powerless, not take on the powerful”. As a journalist, makes me very uncomfortable to hear him leading attack on our free press. Dangerous, Trumpian territory.” Corbyn criticises some parts of British media, claiming they “smear the powerless, not take on the powerful”. As a journalist, makes me very uncomfortable to hear him leading attack on our free press. Dangerous, Trumpian territory. — Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) 26 September 2018 The comment got her loads of flack from the general twittering public for her attempted smear, but then today we get another implausible piece of spin from Luke Harding. The hubris at the Guardian is palpable. The reason I am writing connecting these two points is to demonstrate just how bad the standards of …

MI6 Will Be So Proud: Urban & Harding Continue The Ludicrous Skripal Narrative

Bay Kurley, DailyShocker.news Mark Urban is releasing a book on Skripal. He didn’t tell anyone he had met him during 2017 for that purpose mind you, not even his BBC bosses, until forced to, the day after Skripal was allegedly poisoned. Which would explain the intimate knowledge he demonstrated on Newsnight that evening, 5th March. It’s even stranger that Mark didn’t tell his bosses earlier, when he MUST have been aware that Skripal still met his “old” MI6 handler in Salisbury. Urban must have been aware that this handler, who was an old tanker mate of Urban, was linked to Orbis, the company Christopher Steele ran. Seems a HUGE link, to a HUGE global story, to not tell your bosses at one of the world’s largest news agencies? He didn’t admit to the public he had met Skripal until July 2018. FOUR months after Skirpal was “novichoked”. Yes, I met Sergei Skripal a few times in 2017 while working on a book project. He's a remarkable man with a dry sense of humour and a …

Operation Nina – the Novichok Hoax

There’s no shortage of commentators in the Western mainstream telling us how Russia planned its attack on the Skripals, or how Syria planned its chemical weapons massacres. Anyone who expresses a different opinion from this accepted narrative stands condemned and belittled as a “conspiracy theorist”. But the criticism works both ways – for us it is they who are the conspiracy theorists, as well as the conspirators.

Putin-Nazi Paranoia

They’re out there. Trump-loving, Assad-apologist, Putin-Nazi sleeper agents, posing as regular normal Americans. They could be anyone. They could be your neighbors, the guys in the copy room, your Uber drivers, even some of your Twitter followers. They’re sitting there, right now, glued to their televisions, waiting for Jewish Nazi law clerks to perform a series of secret hand signs, blinks, hiccups, sneezes, coughs, and almost undetectable, low-frequency flatulence that will signal the launch of the “Attack on America.” It could come at any moment now.