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CrossTalk: Nulandistan

THE VINEYARD OF THE SAKER - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 23:42
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The US plan for the Ukraine - a hypothesis

THE VINEYARD OF THE SAKER - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 17:54
Listening to Lavrov today I came to the conclusion that the regime in Kiev was indeed about to try to attack the eastern Ukraine.  It's not only Lavrov, the Russian Internet is on "red alert" and chock-full of rumors and speculation about an imminent attack.  This begs a number of questions:

1) Why would the junta in Kiev so overtly renege on the Geneva agreement?
2) Why would it attack when the chances of success are very small?
3) Why would they attack know that Russia would almost certainly intervene?
4) Why is the US clearly behind that strategy?

I have a hypothesis which I would like to submit to your attention.

First, the junta in Kiev is reneging on the Geneva agreement simply because it cannot abide by its terms.  Remember, the junta is composed of a few politicians handpicked by the US and a few Ukrainian oligarchs.  They do have money, but no power.  How could they possibly impose anything in the well-armed and determined freaks of the Right Sector?

Second, the eastern Ukraine is lost no matter what.  So the junta in Kiev have to pick on of the following options:

a) Let the eastern Ukraine leave by means of referendum and do nothing about it.
b) Let the eastern Ukraine leave but only after some violence.
c) Let the eastern Ukraine leave following a Russian military intervention.

Clearly, option 'a' is by far the worst.  Option 'b' is so-so, but option 'c' is very nice.  Think of it:  this option will make it look like Russia invaded the Eastern Ukraine and that the people there had no say about it.  It will also make the rest of the Ukraine rally around the flag.  The economic disaster will be blamed on Russia and the Presidential election of May 25th can be canceled due to the Russian "threat".  Not only that, but a war - no matter how silly - is the *perfect* pretext to introduce martial law which can be used to crack down on the Right Sector or anybody expressing views the junta does not like.  That is an old trick - trigger a war and people will rally around the regime in power.  Create a panic, and people will forget the real issues.

As for the USA - it also knows that the Eastern Ukraine is gone.  With Crimea and Eastern Ukraine gone - the Ukraine has exactly *zero* value to the Empire, to why not simply use it as a way to create a new Cold War, something which would be much more sexy that the Global War on Terror or the really old War on Drugs.  After all, if Russia is forced to intervene militarily NATO will have to send reinforcements to "protect" countries like Poland or Latvia just in case Putin decides to invade all of the EU.

Bottom line - the freaks in power in Kiev and the USA *know* that the eastern Ukraine is lost for them, and the purpose of the imminent attack is not to "win" against the Russian-speaking rebels or, even less so, to "win" against the Russian military, it is to trigger enough violence to force Russia to intervene.  In other words, since the East is lost anyways, it is much better to lose it to the "invading Russian hordes" than to lose it to the local civilian population.

So the purpose of the next attack will not be to win, but to lose.  That the Ukrainian military can still do.

Two things can happen to foil this plan:

1) The Ukrainian military might refuse to obey such clearly criminal orders (and becoming a target of the Russian military might help some officers make the correct "purely moral" choice).
2) The local resistance might be strong enough to draw out such an operation and have to come to a grinding halt.

Ideally, a combination of both.

From the Russian point of view things are rather simple: it is infinitely better for Russia to have the East break away without any Russian intervention.  If the attacking force is crazy enough to use armor, artillery or airpower, the Russian could decide to strike from the air without actually sending in ground forces.  They could also use electronic warfare capabilities to further create chaos inside the attacking force.  Limited pinpoint attacks could also serve to demoralize the attacking force.  What Russia has to avoid all costs to find itself forced to engage in offensive urban operations which are always dangerous and bloody.  It is therefore absolutely essential the the locals take control of their own streets, villages and cities.

Lavrov today delivered a very direct warning: if things go out of hand in the eastern Ukraine Russia will intervene.  Hopefully somebody in the West will finally realize that the Russians are never bluffing and that they really mean it.  I am not very optimistic though - if Lavrov felt the need to make a full 30min interview in English in which he clearly compared the situation in the Ukraine today to the one in Ossetia in 08.08.08 it is probably because the Russians have intelligence indicating that an attack is imminent.

We shall know very soon.

The Saker
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US not ready to admit it can’t run the show around globe — Sergei Lavrov

pennyforyourthoughts2 - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 15:55
I have updated the post to include the video of the entire interview- with thanks to Saker for bringing it to my attention. It's well worth taking the 30 minutes needed to watch it entirely
Sergei Lavrov has way more class then John Kerry!
Video below


Sergei Lavrov in his own words- straight shootin'

The United States can’t admit that it is unable to manage processes around the world from Washington single-handedly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with RT television channel.

“As I said, the point is not Ukraine. Ukraine is only one case that shows the United States’ unwillingness to make concessions in the geopolitical struggle,” Lavrov said.

“The Americans are not ready to admit that they can’t single-handedly run the show in all corners of the planet from Washington, that they can’t impose their ready decisions on everyone,” he said.

“And they can’t realize — that is, I think they are already beginning to realize but still keep instinctively adhering to the position that they don’t need to take into account the opinions and interests of others,” the Russian foreign minister said.

“You know that in response to a demand to vacate the illegally occupied buildings in Kiev, [US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs] Victoria Nuland said that ‘everything that is still being held by protesters is being held with licenses and with the agreement of the government of Ukraine… or with regular leases from the owners of the building’,” he said.

“It’s just incredible! It’s hard to believe that they may use such arguments seriously,” Lavrov said.
Given the abundance of absurdities coming from the US administration it isn't hard to believe they would use such arguments, seriously.

Interview in full




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Drunken 18 yr old female taken from PM Harper's residence

pennyforyourthoughts2 - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 14:29
Keep in  mind that the legal drinking age is 19 in Ontario
Conservative values?

PM residence

Notice the media sat on this story? 
Why? 

Medical authorities intervened at 24 Sussex Dr. over the weekend after a young party-goer suffered from severe intoxication.
The Ottawa Paramedic Service confirmed that an 18-year-old girl was brought to hospital after suffering from “possible alcohol intoxication” at an event at the Prime Minister’s official residence.The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19, but the RCMP, which is responsible for security at 24 Sussex, said it will not intervene. “We are aware of the Ottawa [Emergency Medical Services] attending the residence,” said RCMP spokeswoman Lucy Shorey. “This was a medical call and not a police matter.” It would be a police matter if this was at your house or my house

The Prime Minister’s Office refused to state whether Stephen or Laureen Harper were present during the party, and whether this was a celebration of Ben’s 18th birthday.
Sun
 An 18-year-old woman had to be carted away from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's official residence Saturday night for a suspected case of alcohol poisoning.
The RCMP, who are responsible for protecting the PM and his family, said paramedics from Ottawa's Emergency Services were called to 24 Sussex Dr. and took away in an ambulance what was believed to be an unconscious or semi-conscious woman.
The media wants us to believe it was PM Harper's son Benjamin party Was it?
Why should we assume that?
If it was, shouldn't PM Harper and Laureen the cat lover make sure underage drinkers get home safely?

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Interview: Rick Rozoff/Stephen Lendman

pennyforyourthoughts2 - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:12

Progressive Radio News Hour – Rick Rozoff – 04/18/14Rozoff is an activist, anti-war supporter, Stop NATO web site editor. He documents and opposes global militarist trends throughout a […]
Podcast: Play in new window | Download | Embed
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Replies to some of the comments made about my latest post on empires and lies

THE VINEYARD OF THE SAKER - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 16:42
First, I have to apologize but the lack of time does not allow me to reply to all your comments.  I had to pick some and leave other out.  Here we go:

@Tom Burnett: That's it. I am tired of hearing you refer to America as an 'AngloZionist' empire and me and my countrymen as AngloZionists".

What a stupid comment to make!  First, I never referred to you or any Americans as AngloZionists.  I spoke about the AngloZionist *empire*.  Second, you wrote me in your email that you are Scottish.  Good, then at least you should not that you are not Anglo to begin with, but Celtic.  As for Zionist, this is not an ethnicity, but an *ideology* which can be shared by Anglos too (Pastor Hagee for example).  Besides, had I written about the Anglo Empire or even US Empire would you have been happier?

Seriously, the current Empire was built on what is left of the old British Empire and it is run by what are called the Echelon countries.  These are the members of the so-called UKUSA Agreement aka AUSCANNZUKUS or Five Eyes.  In other words, this is the Empire of the Anglosphere.  Some add France, especially after Mitterrand to this list, giving us the pittoresque abbreviation "FUKUS" (France, UK, US).  But the fact that France is not part of Echelon really proves its 2nd class status in the Empire.  Israel, however, has a special status.  Officially, it is not even an ally of the USA.  In reality we all know that the Zionist Lobby has a huge power in the USA and some even speak of a Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG) or Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC).  What is undeniable is that the USA vetoed more resolutions than any other UNSC member and that most of those were in defense of Israel.  It is also undeniable that when the Israeli Prime Minister speaks at a joint session of Congress he gets more standing ovation that POTUS (29 to 25).  I won't bother multiplying the examples of this, but I submit that the interest of Israel are different than those of the Anglosphere.  This is why I speak of a AngloZionist Empire.

You and your countrymen are simply the hostages, the serfs, the cannon fodder and the exploited taxpayer for this Empire. To underscore that I even wrote this in my analysis:
"interestingly, there is definitely a strong anti-regime movement of American patriots out there. These are folks who have the wisdom to differentiate between, on one hand, their country, their people, the ideals upon which the US society was originally built, and, on the other hand, regime in DC and the 1% of the population whose interests this regime works for. Amazing, no?" Then I also wrote:
"there was no "occupy the Kremlin" movement in the USSR while the Occupy Wall Street movement in the USA was very large and widely spread across this huge country. Nor has there ever been a Soviet equivalent of the huge 1990 anti-WTO protests in Seattle. So the American public is nowhere nearly as passive as some think."So not only did I never say that American people were AngloZionists, but I even compared their level of resistance to the AngloZionist empire favorably to the Russian resistance to the Soviet Empire.

And yet, you turn all patriotic on me and tell me that you are fed up and want off my mailing list.  Sure - no problem.  But next time around, make sure you read what it says before having an anger fit, ok?

@AGS:an expression of gratitude that you provide a forum to read and digest information which PROMOTES intellect and thought -- not filling empty vessels with lies and deceit. THANK YOU for respecting your readers intellect. In this way we are the oil.

Well, thank you!  I try, but it always gets me in trouble as the case with Tom Burnett shows.  The topic of Jews seems to make people exceptionally obtuse and as I result I have been accused of being anti-Jewish and of being a Jew.  Some manage to read some racist ideas in my posts even though I have even implemented an anti-racist moderation policy.  Frankly, there are day when I feel like banging my head against a wall and sob.  So yes, I try to treat my readers with respect and I do assume they can read what it says and not begin to hallucinate as soon as they see what I call a "trigger word", but I promise you that it comes at the costs of having to fight off an army of advancing straw-men and lots of hate mail.  All this is to say that your words today really came right on time, as Tom's email really made me feel rather discouraged.

@Anonymous: Russian military high tech surpasses the Americans'. Have a look at this show of superiority: http://indian.ruvr.ru/2014_04_21/Russian-Su-24-scores-off-against-the-American-USS-Donald-Cook-5786/ The Americans were left wetting their pants.

I hear that rumor but I have yet to see this confirmed, even indirectly, by any credible source.  As a former electronic warfare pioneer myself, I can tell you that this is hard to believe as there is going to be a lot more power on a USN ship than on a Russian aircraft, especially at close distance.  I am not saying that this is not true, only that I need more confirmation.  Also, the story of 27 USN sailors resigning en masse because they did not want to die sounds fishy to me.  So if you have any other sources, please let us know.

@Anonymous:direct quotes from a Putin speech/TV presentation or interview from last Thursday (n.b: I have not verified the accuracy of the direct quotes).  Would appreciate your thoughts/analysis on the thesis of the post, especially on Putin's comments (e.g. "“As for me, you know that the decisions we take in a critical situation depend on our experience and values. You know that I worked for the Soviet Union’s KGB, or, more precisely, foreign intelligence, where we were trained in a specific manner that boils down to absolute loyalty to people and the country.”).

First, I can confirm the quote.  He said that during his 4 hour long Q&A with the Russian people on TV/radio/Internet.  Second, yes, you bet this sentence also did strike me.  But you absolutely have to keep in mind that if the KGB was the elite of the Soviet Union, the external intelligence service (called the PGU KGB SSSR) was the elite of the KGB.  Also, notice that Putin speaks of absolute loyalty to the people and country and not to the CPSU or the Marxist-Leninist ideology.  The PGU officers were the best informed people in the country, often the most intelligent too, and they saw it all happening long before anybody else.  I know the PGU rather well because I spent years fighting it in my private life (I was a very busy anti-Soviet activist), years studying it in my professional life (as a military analysts) and after 1991 I met a lot of my ex-opponents, retired and even active duty, some of which became my friends.  I can assure you that what Putin says is true, most PGU officers were very patriotic, but I also assure you that a lot of them fully understood how corrupt and cynical the Soviet system had become.  Most of these guys were not brain dead propagandized automatons who would blindly believe all the nonsense which the Soviet propaganda would spew at them.  They served their country not because of the regime in power, but in spite of it. You probably know Ray McGovern who is ex-CIA, but who is a patriot.  That is what a lot of PGU officers were like in the 1980s and 1990s.  Putin was truthful in his reply.

@Vediki: Extraction from very famous Russian film "Brat 2"/Brother 2. Pay attention to dialogue between Danila Bodrov, film's main hero, and an American banker. Where's force? In money? No, force is in truth.

Oh yes, I love both of these, Brat 1 and Brat 2 - great movies and great music too.  But did you know that Danilo quotes Saint Alexander Nevsky who himself was paraphrasing Saint Augustine?  Yes, that is true.  Research it for yourself if you doubt that.

Two more items I would like to bring to your attention:

First, do you remember the "Open Letter to President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov" which John posted on Change.org and which I posted here?  It got over 600 signatures and was picked-up by the Voice of Russia.  Nice, no?  I hope that it was shown to Putin and/or Lavrov who deserve to know that some people in the West understand them

Second, I have to apologize for failing on my first day on the job as "stern moderator".  I was in the car and could not read with any attention what Cold N. Holefield posted today.  I am so squeezed for time that I do a lot of my blogging with my cellphone as a hotspot and my Nexus 7 Internet Tablet "on the go", from my car.  His posts looked okay at first glance, so I let it pass.  Sure enough, he was trolling to his heart's content and other felt that his crap deserved a rebuttal.  I don't feel like removing his post retroactively, but I will now keep a closer eye on him and other dumb trolls.  Sorry about today and gimme some time to learn the ropes of this new activity ;-)

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker

PS: I also sometimes work on this blog late into the night.  So I apologize for my slow replies, horrible typos, poor grammar and other screw-ups.  Last week I calculated that I had a total of 4 nights in a row with only 3-4 hours of sleep.  And then I have to work from the car to moderate, answer emails or manage the mailing list, so my mean time between failure is sometimes rather short, and I screw-up.  Please keep in mind that this is a one man blog, and that I have a (wonderful)  wife, a regular job and three kids all of which should come first.  I do the blogging with what is left on the clock and that is often not much.  So I plead for your understanding and forgiveness.  The Saker
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10 Years On, Pat Tillman and the Culture of Lies

kennysideshow - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 12:50
Pat Tillman (November 6, 1976 – April 22, 2004) made a grave mistake. He joined the military. 

Then he apparently woke up to some extent. Then he was dead. 


"He was an outlier" remembered Jim Rome. Just not enough of an outlier to overcome the lies that eventually led to his demise. Not that he was alone. Tens if not hundreds of millions of people initially fell for the psyops of the new American century that was 9/11. The hook, line and sinker that reeled in the gullible. Wars for profit need young strong guys. Preferably those who act without thinking, who die without knowing exactly why.

It is thought that Tillman reached some realizations. That he wasn't all that shy about speaking about the revelations that came to him during his time in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That he kept a diary. That as soon as he got home and out of the army, he was going to warn others as to what he saw and understood.

In the wasteland of opium and corruption, a triple tap to the head ended Pat's life. Friendly fire or assassination? Pat was a military recruiter's dream and friendly fire did not fit the narrative so there was a cover up. Tillman's uniform and body armor were burned. His diary went missing. 
Tillman had naively made contact with the CIA’s Noam Chomsky to discuss his plans to reveal what he knew about the lies of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld in the War on Terror. He was apparently also angry about the US Army’s support of the Afghan opium trade, started up by the army after the Taliban had eradicated it {nearly}one hundred percent during their four-year reign.

Pat Tillman was probably the greatest recruiting asset that the Neo-Cons had, until they sent him and Kevin {Pat's brother}from Afghanistan to Iraq in ‘03. Tillman became quite bitter and outspoken about the invasion of Iraq, figuring Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. So they were sent back to Afghanistan, where they discovered the opium trade being protected and supported by the US Army. Now, they’re both pretty upset. Pat Tillman went from the Neo-Con dream to nightmare and needed to be shut up before he could tell America about the lies of its leaders. For all of his years and the multitude of spoken and written words, Chomsky has done no more to end wars and US hegemony than the kid standing alone on a street corner with an anti-war sign. Could Chomsky have issued the warning to his higher ups about Pat becoming so outspoken that it would undoubtedly do harm to the neocon and zionist plans?  It is a distinct possibility.

Pat Tillman should be remembered. Not as patriot and not as a war hero but as someone who can wake up from the lies, albeit a little late. He is an example to parents and grand-parents that once you give your blessing for your man or woman/child to enter the machinery of war, it can not be taken back.

Did Pat die in vain? Yes, just like all the others of the last 100 years who believed the leaders and the propaganda and marched off to war so the blood money could be made.

If the real story of Tillman prevents a few of our young  from aiding and abetting the enemy within, then maybe his death was not meaningless. It is up to us to make sure the other side gets told.

Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe. ”
                    ― Arundhati Roy
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How the Ukrainian crisis will eventually bring down the AngloZionist Empire

THE VINEYARD OF THE SAKER - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 10:59
There are many theories out there about what exactly caused the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Some say that it is Ronald Reagan with his Star Wars program.  Others say that this is the war in Afghanistan or the Polish union Solidarnosc.  Other popular theories include the failure of the Soviet economy, the drop in oil prices, the inability to produce consumer goods, the yearning of many Soviets for western-style freedoms and incomes, national/ethnic problems, a hypertrophic military-industrial complex, a massive and corrupt bureaucracy, the corruption of the CPSU and its nomenklatura, the personal treason of Mikhail Gorbachev and many other theories.  While all of these factors did contribute to weaken the Soviet system, I do not believe that they brought it down, not even combined together.  What really brought down the Soviet Union was something entirely different: an unbearable cognitive dissonance or, to put it more simply, an all-prevailing sense of total hypocrisy.

But before I make my case about the role of hypocrisy, let me first clarify why I don't believe that any other of the theories I listed above make sense: simply because the USSR survived much, much, harder times.  Frankly, the entire period from 1917 through 1946 was much worse than anything which happened during Brezhnev's "stagnation" or after.  And yet, not only did the Soviet Union survive, it almost single-handedly defeated the biggest military machine Europe ever created - Hitler's Wehrmacht - it also deterred the Anglosphere from its plans to attack it at the end of the war.  Then it more or less won the "space race" (with the very notable exception of the race to the moon which the USSR lost on 24th of October 1960), built what was arguably the most powerful conventional military force on the planet while enjoying an internal economic boom. By any measurement, the USSR was a formidable power during a very long period.

But then something went very, very wrong.

Personally, I am inclined to blame Nikita Khrushchev who, in my opinion, was by far the worst leader the Soviet Union ever had.  

Though this is controversial, but I believe that Khrushchev and a clique of supporters murdered Stalin by poisoning him, and then engaged in a massive propaganda campaign to justify their action and legitimize their rule.  It all began with Khrushchev's (in)famous "secret speech" at the 20th CPSU Congress and it continued throughout most of Khrushchev's rule.  Khrushchev, who personally hated Stalin, used every truth and untruth possible to literally demonize Stalin.  Worse, Khrushchev objectively joined forces with the many Trotskists worldwide who had been spreading the "Stalinism" myth for decades.

Let me immediately clarify that I am not at all an admirer of Stalin whom I consider to be a bloody tyrant and a absolutely ruthless, if personally charming, dictator.  But I will say that Stalin was most definitely no worse then Lenin, Trotsky or Khrushchev and that as a statesman his was far more skilled then any other Soviet leader.  As for Khrushchev himself, he was the protégé of Lazar Kaganovich, one of the worst scumbags in Soviet history, he was also an eager participant in many bloody repressions, and generally a comprehensively immoral, unprincipled and outright evil person.

Anyway, with his anti-Stalin campaign Khrushchev basically told the Soviet people that what used to be white yesterday is henceforth to be considered black and that what was black is now white.  On a deeper level, that also showed that the Soviet Union was ruled by complete hypocrites who had no personal beliefs and who stood for nothing except for their own power.

The poison of disillusionment and cynicism injected by Khrushchev and his clique acted slowly, but surely, and by the time Leonid Brezhnev came to power (1964) it had already discreetly permeated all of Soviet society.  By the 1980 it was omnipresent at all the levels of society, from the lowest and poorest to the top party officials.  I don't want to go into all the details, but I will say that the fact that almost nobody stood up to defend the Soviet system in 1991 and in 1993 is a direct result of that poison's erosion of the Soviet society.  By the 1990s everybody knew that even if the ideals of Communism were good (which some still did believe while some did not), the modern Soviet society was built on a gigantic lie which nobody was willing to fight for, nevermind die for it.

That rot of disillusionment and cynicism is also what defined the 1990s and the "democratic nightmare" of the Eltsin years. People now say that this was the time when "every young Russian boy wanted to become a Mafia Don and every Russian girl a prostitute" - not quite literally true, of course, but generally true nonetheless.   It is only with the coming to power of Putin that this poison began to weaken and that the Russian society began to re-discover true ideals and a belief in values worth standing up for.

How does that all apply to the AngloZionist Empire and the Ukraine?

It is quite obvious, really.  I tend to agree with Alexander Mercouris, Mark Sleboda and Mark Hackard when they say that the USA, ruled by incompetent and poorly educated politicians (rather than by professional diplomats or real statemen) probably expected Russia to roll-over and accept a Banderastani regime in power in the Ukraine.  And when Russia refused to accept that and pushed back, the AngloZionists made their initial miscalculation even worse by dramatically increasing their rhetoric and by insisting that black was white and white was black.

For the AngloZionist a neo-Nazi armed insurgency which seizes power in contradiction with an agreement it had signed less than 24 hours before is a "legitimate representative of the Ukrainian people".  The Baderists are philosemites and democrats, while the people in the eastern Ukraine are either Jew-hating extremists or Russian agents.  When the folks in the western Ukraine engage in a campaign of terror, murder and looting, that is an expression of democracy, when the people in the east seize SBU buildings it is terrorism.  When Yanukovich was faced by protesters the US demanded that he not use any force at all, not even cops with sidearms, when the junta leader Iatseniuk faces protesters, he is acting with praiseworthy restraint when he sends in tanks, artillery pieces and combat aircraft.  The referendum in Crimea is illegitimate because it was allegedly conducted at the point of a gun, while the proposed upcoming Presidential election will be legitimate even though they will be organized and conducted by bone fide neo-Nazis and even though two candidates get assaulted and cannot campaign.  I could continue to multiply the example here ad nauseam, but you get the point: what the AngloZionists are declaring urbi et orbi is basically that black is white, the earth is flat, 2+2=3, up is down, etc.  They are doing exactly the same than what Khrushchev did in the USSR: they are showing their own people that they believe in nothing and stand for nothing except their own power.

Not that the American people need much convincing, I would add.

In my admittedly subjective opinion the level of disgust of most American people with the Federal government is already sky high.  Sure, most people feel impotent and believe that there is nothing they can do about it.  When they vote for peace, they get more war.  When they vote for less taxes, they get more.  When they vote for more civil rights, they get less.  There is an entire generation of Americans out there which is as disillusioned and as disgusted with their own rulers as the Soviets were with their rulers in  the 1970s and 1980s.

Interestingly, there is definitely a strong anti-regime movement of American patriots out there.  These are folks who have the wisdom to differentiate between, on one hand, their country, their people, the ideals upon which the US society was originally built, and, on the other hand, regime in DC and the 1% of the population whose interests this regime works for.  Amazing, no?  The Soviet Union had its formal nomenklatura while the USA has it own, informal, one.  About 1% of the population in each case.

You want more uncanny parallels?  Sure!  How about

1)   A bloated military budget resulting in an ineffective military
2)   A huge and ineffective intelligence community
3)   A crumbling public infrastructure
4)   A world record in the per-capita ratio of incarcerated people (US GULag)
5)   A propaganda machine which nobody trusts any more
6)   An internal dissident movement which the regime tries to keep silent
7)   A systematic use of violence against the citizens
8)   An increase in tensions between Federal and local authorities
9)   An industry whose main exports are weapons and energy
10) A population fearful of being spied on by the internal security services
11) A systematic assimilation of dissent with espionage and terrorism
12) A all-prevailing paranoia about internal and external enemies
13) A financially catastrophic over-reach of the empire across the planet
14) An awareness that the entire planet hates you
15) A subservient press-corps of presstitutes who never dare to ask the real questions
16) A sky-high rate of substance abuse
17) A young generation which believes in nothing at all
18) An educational system in free-fall (the Soviet one was much better, btw)
19) A disgust with politics by the general public
20) A massive and prevailing amount corruption on all levels of power

These are just a few examples which apply as much to the USSR of the 1980 as it does to the 2014 USA.  There are also plenty of differences, of course, no need to list them here as they are quite obvious.

My main point is not that the USSR and USA are the exact same, but only that the similarities between the two are becoming uncanny and numerous.

In conclusion and to put things simply: what the AngloZionist are openly and publicly defending in the Ukraine is the polar opposite of what they are supposed to stand for.  That is an extremely dangerous thing to do for any regime and the AngloZionist Empire is no exception to that rule.  Empire often crumble when their own people become disillusioned and disgusted with massive discrepancy between what the ruling elites say and what they do and as a result, it is not so much that the Empire is faced with formidable enemies as it is the fact that nobody is willing to stand up - nevermind die - in defense of it.  Just look at the following sentence:

(in the Ukraine) "Barack Obama and the Democratic Party stand for racism and Fascism"

Amazing, no?  But it is true, even though this short sentence has enough tensions inside it to explode the brain of many Americans, especially Democrats.  I put the "in the Ukraine" in brackets to provide the context but, of course, the context does not matter one bit.  You cannot be for liberal policies at home and for Fascism abroad.  Nor can you be an anti-racist who supports racism, it don't matter one bit were that racism is located.  Values truly held are applicable to all and everywhere.  You cannot oppose torture in country 'x' but favor it in country 'y'.  That is plain ridiculous.  So let me restate the sentence above this time without the context in brackets:


"Barack Obama and the Democratic Party stand for racism and Fascism"
Blows your mind, doesn't it?

And, of course, the very same can be said of McCain and his party:


"John McCain and the Republican Party stand for racism and Fascism"
Still painful, no?

How about this one:

"The EU stands for racism and Fascism"Or, even better:


"The ADL and the Weisenthal Center stand for racism and Fascism"
Or this one:

"Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch stand for racism and Fascism"
Pretty amazing, no?

Now try combining any of the above with this one:


"Putin and Russia stand for democracy, freedom and human rights"
Ouch!  That one would really hurt a lot of American and Europeans.

Of course, this is not how the events in the Ukraine, or any other event, is presented in the official public media and the zombified public discourse.  But neither was that the case in the USSR.  Still, not all people are stupidified zombies - though some, of course, are - and they do their own, quiet, little thinking in their own heads.  Sometimes they toss ideas around with their friends.  In the Soviet Union the "Petri dish" for politically incorrect discussion was usually the kitchen.  In the USA it might be near the barbecue.

Of course, we are not going to see mass demonstrations in the streets of Washington DC, most people are going to keep this kind of "crime thoughts" private or for a small circle of trusted friends, but let me remind you all that since we are making comparisons between the USSR and the USA, there was no "occupy the Kremlin" movement in the USSR while the Occupy Wall Street movement in the USA was very large and widely spread across this huge country.  Nor has there ever been a Soviet equivalent of the huge 1990 anti-WTO protests in Seattle.  So the American public is nowhere nearly as passive as some think.

The Ukraine is far away from the USA, and only 1/6th of Americans can place it on a map.  But the consequences of the very high visibility involvement of the US regime and the AngloZionist Empire will be dramatic, if delayed in time.  Already nobody in his/her right might would give Obama his Nobel Peace Prize again.  So even though the formidable western propaganda machine is way more capable and sophisticated than anything Goebbels or Suslov could have dreamed about, it cannot hide reality forever.

This is why the Empire is so desperate for some kind of victory in the Ukraine.  If it cannot be respected any more, it needs to be at least feared.  But if the Ukraine explodes and Russia gets Crimea and the East (which appears increasingly likely) then the AngloZionist won't even be feared anymore.  Once that happens, the life expectancy of the Empire will become very, very short.

So yes, knowing the truth does make one free, and the truth is the most powerful empire-buster ever invented.  It brought down the USSR and it will bring down the AngloZionists too.  It is just a matter of time now.

The Saker
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Bunkerville Was Not the BLM's First Rustler's Roundup

freedominourtime - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 10:28





The raiders arrived at dawn. Contract cowboys backed by BLM rangers and other heavily armed law enforcement personnel fanned out across the desolate but alluring Nevada countryside to confiscate livestock owned by a family who – under a controversial claim of sovereignty -- had allowed them to graze on public lands without paying fees to the federal government.
“They have been overgrazing and damaging the land for years,”  asserted BLM spokesman Mike Brown, who also pointed out that the family – the last holdouts in the region – had been fined millions of dollars for trespassing on public land. In defiance of federal judicial rulings and the “consensus” of their representatives, the family persisted in claiming that they had a right to graze cattle on land their ancestors had settled many decades ago. The dispute had been going on for decades, and the institutional patience of the federal government had been exhausted.

A previous roundup nearly resulted in tragedy when a member of the family doused himself in gasoline and threatened to set himself on fire. The 59-year-old man, who had no previous criminal record, was tackled, beaten by law enforcement officers, arrested, and prosecuted on terrorism-related charges. 
After spending several years in prison, that supposed terrorist, Clifford Dann, was allowed to return to the tiny, ramshackle homestead he shares with his 82-year-old sister, Carrie, who is the same age their elder sister Mary was when she died in an accident while repairing a fence in 2005.
Like the Cliven Bundy family, their distant Nevada neighbors, the Dann family spent two decades fighting in federal courts to defend their property against the depredations of the federal government. As members of the Western Shoshone nation, the Dann family had inherited land that was protected by the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley and the U.S. Constitution – parchment barricades against aggression that were quickly reduced to ashes by the flame of elite ambitions.
When the United States assimilated northern Mexico following the aggressive war of 1846-1848, it exacerbated the regional tensions that would lead to the War Between the States. Nevada's continuing status as a quasi-colony, rather than fully realized state, is a lingering echo of that conflict.
Rustlers' roundup: The BLM seizes the Dann family's horses.Such statehood as Nevada enjoys resulted from partisan machinations by Republicans who wanted additional congressional seats in the event that the election of 1864 was thrown into the House of Representatives
Statehood was rushed along with the help of an enabling act promising that Washington would sell off surplus lands beyond what would be necessary for the construction of military bases and similar facilities.
The promises made to statehood advocates proved to be as ephemeral as assurances of marriage and strict fidelity offered to a reluctant young woman confronted by an irrepressibly libidinous suitor. Washington's treatment of the Western Shoshone was immeasurably worse.
Although the territory that would become Nevada was included in the cession made through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico never had a permanent presence there, and the Shoshone, quite understandably, never considered themselves to be Mexican subjects. The territory acquired huge strategic significance after the war began, owing to its abundance of silver and its location astride transportation and communication routes from California to the East. This is why Article 2 of the Ruby Valley Treaty specified that in exchange for leaving travel routes “forever free, and unobstructed,” and for allowing stage and telegraph routes to continue “without hindrance, molestation, or injury,” the US Government promised that the then-extant boundaries of the Shoshone bands would remain inviolate.
The Ruby Valley Treaty, like all such measures, acknowledged the supposed authority of the US President to consign the Indians to reservations when he considered it “expedient for them to abandon the roaming life, which they now lead, and become herdsmen or agriculturalists....” Those reservations were to exist within the boundaries of their ancestral lands, which once again were promised to them in perpetuity. The Shoshone were likewise promised annuities from the United States, and “compensation and equivalent for the loss of game and the rights and privileges hereby conceded.”
Those promises, like all others extended to American Indians, may as well have been written on the wind in disappearing ink. The late Mary Dann (left) with her sister, Carrie. “The Shoshone kept their end of the bargain,” recalled Western Shoshone National Council Chairman Raymond Yowell. “The United States did not. As more and more emigrants settled on ourlandsd, he promise of peace wasn't enough for the United States. Instead of dealing with us as a sovereign nation, the United States implemented a scheme to acquire title unlawfully.”
In 1946, the Regime in Washington created a pseudo-judicial body called the Indian Claims Commission (ICC), the purpose of which was to dispose of outstanding land claims. The 1946 act permitted that Commission (it is axiomatic that any body called a “Commission” was created to facilitate fraud) to recognize as authoritative tribal spokesman any “identifiable group” within a given tribe, no matter how unrepresentative it might be.
In 1951, one tiny Shoshone band, the Te-Moaks (descended from a signatory of the 1863 treaty) filed an ICC claim on behalf of the entire nation. Eleven years later the ICC settled that claim by ruling that the Shoshone claims had been extinguished through “gradual encroachment” of American settlers. Furthermore, the Commission ruled that the “taking” had occurred on July 1, 1872 – a date used to establish the value of the land, long before discovery of gold and other valuable minerals had occurred. In 1979, the Commission offered the Shoshone a $26 million settlement – an amount equivalent to about fifteen cents an acre for the same land commanding $2.50 an acre when purchased by gold mining interests.
When the Shoshones refused to accept the settlement – which had been reached ex parte – the Department of the Interior paid that money to itself, absorbing it into an Indian trusteeship bureaucracy that was riddle with corruption and fraud.
About a decade ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sponsored a measure that would have “settled” the longstanding dispute with a one-time payment of $26,000 to each member of the Shoshone tribe. That bill was never enacted, and the money remained unpaid – which suited the Dann family just fine. They had never agreed to surrender their land, had never signed any documents, and insisted on exercising their right to raise livestock on land that had been peacefully and productively used by their family for generations.
In 1974, the US Government sued the Dann family, claiming that they had committed “trespassing” by grazing their horses and cattle on land that legally belonged to them. Successive rulings by federal judges upheld the Government's claims. 
The Supreme Court declined to hear the Dann family's appeal, insisting that the matter was closed when the federal government paid itself $26 million to consummate the theft of the Shoshone lands. The Feds would eventually claim that the impoverished Indian family owed nearly $5 million in grazing fees and interest.
The BLM staged its first cattle rustling raid against the Danns in April 1992. At about 4:30 in the morning, the ranch lands were invaded by a column of vehicles that decanted a platoon of BLM Brownshirts. Not intimidated by the bullying display, Carrie plowed through the picket line and cast herself into a cattle chute to prevent hireling cowboys from loading her stolen cattle onto a truck.
“My land has never been for sale,” Carrie told Eureka County Sheriff Ken Jones, who rather than defending his constituent's rights was aligned with the invaders. “It's not for sale now, it's not for sale tomorrow, either. And that's the way it is, Mr. Jones.” BLM Brownshirt during seizure of Dann family livestock. As would happen more than twenty years later at Bunkerville, the BLM backed down and withdrew, restoring the stolen cattle to their rightful owners. But this gesture was purely a public relations ploy.
When the raiders returned the following November, Clifford used a vehicle to block a road, cutting off a convoy of BLM trucks carrying the family's livestock. Sitting down in the bed of his pickup, Clifford immersed himself with gasoline and threatened to set himself on fire unless the federally licensed rustlers relinquished the stolen animals.
Feigning sympathy with the Dann family's plight, Sheriff Jones told Clifford that the cattle weren't being confiscated and invited him to see for himself. When Clifford stepped down from his truck, he was surrounded by a thugscrum of BLM Brownshirts, some of him sprayed him with fire extinguishers, others surrounding the 59-year-old man and assaulting him.
“Get him down! Get him down!” exclaimedSheriff Jones. “Break his f**king arm if you have to!”
Carrie ran to help her brother, only to be seized from behind by a BLM agent.
“You're hurting me – I've got a bad shoulder!” cried Carrie.
“Then be a good old lady and quit struggling,” sneered BLM special agent Terry Somers, his voice dripping scornful condescension.
The stolen livestock escaped – but Clifford did not. Beaten and bloodied, he was taken into custody. Four months later he was sentenced to nine years in prison for “assaulting an officer with gasoline” – that is, for being seized and beaten by BLM agents after he had poured gasoline on his own body. As he pronounced sentence, Federal Judge John McKibben pointedly said that the severity of his ruling was intended “to send a message to journalists, activists, and the Western Shoshone.”
Defending her rights: Carrie Dann. With their brother behind bars, and their supporters understandably intimidated, the Dann sisters weren't able to resist as several subsequent federal raids systematically deprived them of their stock, much of which was left to die of neglect by the BLM.
For decades the BLM had accused the Danns of damaging the delicate Crescent Valley ecosystem by “overgrazing” their herds – even though BLM commissar Somers admitted in 1994 that there was no evidence to sustain that charge. Once their grazing lands had been denuded of cattle and horses, the BLM leased it to a Canadian conglomerate that gouged huge open-pit mines out of the landscape and left the countryside contaminated with lead, mercury, and cyanide.
It should be recalled that the Department of the Interior placed the value of the Shoshone lands at fifteen cents an acre. It charged gold mining companies up to $2.50 an acre for leasing the lands that had been stolen from the Dann family. Gold mining is a worthy undertaking – when it is carried out through honest, mutually beneficial commerce, rather than government-abetted theft.  The Dann family and the Western Shoshone, acting out of desperation, made a futile effort at redress by filing a grievance with the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the United Nations, an organization that is utterly worthless when it isn't being aggressively harmful. In the meantime, the BLM directed its malevolent attention at non-Indian ranchers in Nevada. The remains of horses seized by BLM from the Dann family. In 2001, BLM hired contractors to steal the cattle of Nevada ranchers Ben Colvin and Jack Vogt, whose argument against paying grazing feeds was similar to that made by the Danns, to wit: The US Government had no legal and constitutional authority to claim ownership of the range land. 
The BLM and Forest Service likewise pilfered cows belonging to rancher Wayne Hage, who like the Danns spent decades fighting the Feds in court. Last year, in what must be regarded as little short of an epoch-shattering miracle, a federal judge ruledthat those agencies had conducted a criminal conspiracy against Hage and recommended that their administrators face criminal prosecution.
Unlike the Bundys, who are materially comfortable but not opulently wealthy, the Danns -- like many American Indians -- are desperately poor. Their ancestral claim to the land is stronger than that of the Bundy family, but this didn't prevent the Feds from stealing their livestock and leaving them destitute.
Despite the significant differences separating the Bundys from the Danns, both families are involved in what can accurately be described – without the unfortunate ideological baggage – as an anti-colonialist struggle. The US Government had no legal right to ratify the theft of Western Shoshone lands, nor does it have the constitutional authority to occupy and claim to own more than eighty percent of Nevada's territory.
Cliven Bundy and his family were hardly the first Nevada ranchers to confront federally licensed cattle rustlers who operated under the protection of militarized law enforcement agents. They were, however, the first to fight back.






Dum spiro, pugno!
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New comments and moderation policy adopted

THE VINEYARD OF THE SAKER - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 20:02
Dear friends,

Thank you all for your inputs.  By general consensus, the new moderation and comments policy is now adopted.  I will post a note about that in the left sidebar.

Now, back to business (-: finally! :-)

Cheers,

The Saker
Categories: Blogroll feed

Personal announcement: New moderation policy plan adopted

THE VINEYARD OF THE SAKER - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 17:54
Dear friends,

The following comments moderation policy has now been adopted:

1.  Comments must contribute to the interest of a thread, a post or of the blog.  Just venting or totally inane comments will not be allowed.
2.  Comments must be respectful. Criticisms are welcome, but they must be fact based on logically outlined.  Name calling does not qualify.
3.  Off-topic comments are allowed, but have to offer something of interest to the readers. For example the recent posts about MoA are of interests to many, even if off-topic, thus they should stay.

The main intention for me is not to censor any form of speech, but to make it interesting and enjoyable for people to read the comments and participate in an intelligent exchange of ideas.

Now I need to tackle a more complex issue: racist comments.

I must begin by stating what I subjectively consider to be racist for the purpose of this blog:

1) the idea that humans differ from each other in essence.
2) the idea that your genetic makeup restricts your freedom of choice.
3) the expression of irrational hostility to an ethnic group or race.
4) the denial that all humans are equally precious to God or that some humans deserve a special status not granted to others.

And, just to clarify, here are a few examples of what I do not consider racism:

1) Criticisms of religions, tribes or ideologies because a person has to make a choice to belong to a religion, tribe or a political movement.  Thus it is absolutely legitimate to criticize Judaism, the Jewish tribal identity or Zionism.  It is, however, not legitimate to criticize somebody born Jewish just for that fact.  Nobody chooses his/her ethnicity.
2) The opinion that races are different in certain aspects; saying that Blacks have a lower IQ then Whites is a hypothesis which must be proved or disproved based on facts.  Facts, whatever they are, are neither racists nor non-racist.  They just are.
3) It is not racist to state that one is of the opinion that Italians and Greeks tend to be louder than Norwegians, it is not racism to state that Hungarians are taller than the Japanese or that Argentinians are more musical than Iraqis.  In all these cases what is being asserted is that races, nations, ethnicities are different in some aspects, but not in essence.
4) It is not racist to say that the gas chambers were never used to kill Jews, that Stalin was about to attack Germany when Hitler preempted him with his own attack, or that the Turks never committed a genocide of Armenians.  These are historical topics which should be freely investigated and either affirmed or disproved, not censored.

(Just for the record and to be clear: I endorse none of the examples I have given above to illustrate my point)

In other words, there are race or ethnicity related opinions which can be controversial or which some of us mind find offensive, but which still are part of the realm of legitimate speculation and investigation. 

For the purpose of this blog I will try to stick to a narrow definition of racism because I do want to avoid censorship of ideas as much as possible.

Frankly, I will try to use common sense first and foremost.  I think that for 99.9% of you this should make no difference at all.  But a few trolls, freaks or paid provocateurs will now be shown to the door.

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker
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Ukraine SITREP April 21, 1932 UTC/Zulu

THE VINEYARD OF THE SAKER - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:31
The situation in the Ukraine continues to be characterized by complete chaos and a gradual and steady strengthening of the resistance in the East.

Following the attack by pro-regime forces on a resistance checkpoint in Slaviansk over the week-end Foreign Minister Lavrov has accused the revolutionary regime in Kiev of breaking the terms of the accord.

One could argue that this attack was decided by the Right Sector (that is the conclusion that the Russian-speakers have come to based on the weapons and documents they seized) and that the cannot control them.  That is probably quite true (even though the Right Sector has denied being involved).  But the regime also declared that the demonstrators which are currently occupying the Maidan square in Kiev have a permit and are there legally.  Truly, whether the regime does not want to enforce the terms of the agreement or whether it cannot do so make very little difference to the Russian-speakers in the East: they still have to bury the same number of people and they still face the same threat.  Take a look at what Right Sector thugs did to a Russian-speaker yesterday: (no translation needed)


And this is just one example amongst many.

Another telling video is the one of the man trying to stop an armored vehicle by standing in front of it: (again, no translation needed here either)


To be really honest, I have the feeling that a negotiated solution is pretty much impossible at this point.  The East really has nobody to negotiate with.

At this point in time I see the following developments taking place:

1) The resistance in the East get more weapons, more men, more checkpoints, better communication, better organization and discipline.
2) Most cities in the East will organize some kind of referendum.
3) The government in Kiev will nothing done at all.
4) The Right Sector will continue to try to attack all those who dare disagree.
5) The Ukrainian military will not assist the regime in Kiev
6) The West will remain eyes wide shut and defend the regime and everything it does or does not do.

If the above is correct, the the East might as well forget any notion of federation and they should secede.  If they do that, they would probably have to join Russia just for their own safety.  As for Russia, if the East secedes and asks for protection, it will have no choice other than to provide either troops or some kind of security guarantees.  Either way, the West will have a hysterical fit of truly monumental proportions and NATO will even probably organize some grand maneuver to show how determined the West is to resist should Moscow decide to invade Poland, Germany or even Portugal.

As for the regime in Kiev, it is really in complete disarray.  Sometimes, this become outright comical.  It actually went as far as publishing on open letter of the Ministry of Internal Affairs praising the Berkut police for their courage and asking them to help defend the Ukraine.  If these neo-Nazis are now trying to get the help from the very same Berkut which they attacked, stabbed, stoned, shot at, defamed, burned, humiliated and even disbanded - this means that they are really desperate.

As for the West, it has discredited itself with the East to such a degree that I would find it hard to imagine that anybody would take its promises seriously.

If I am correct, we should now enter a phase of decay and break-up.

Stay tuned,

The Saker
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Killers & their inspiration in Syria. Elections called. US debates 'game changer' weapons

pennyforyourthoughts2 - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 12:27
Syria- can't forget Syria. 
And now there are two updates!!!!
 
Hoping you did not miss the fact that  Syria has removed or destroyed 80% of it's chems
and all expectations are that Syria will have 100 percent removal in short order.
A bit of a round up-

The NATO media wants us to believe Syria is locked into a civil war... The situation in Syria has never been that simple. To define what has been going on in Syria as a civil war is newspeak. Double talk. In Syria there has been a destabilization. Backed, aided, supported, abetted, nurtured, created by NATO.
And  just recently studied by those that brought these fighters into play- This study was funded in part by Canadian taxpayer dollars- Probably trying to figure out if the taxpayer expenditure was getting good results in spreading extremist ideology, globally. Canadian-funded study explores how foreign fighters in Syria use social media And if not how to improve the situation.
More on the study in this article: Two Thirds of (foreign) Rebel Fighters In Syria Are European Citizens
Two thirds of the rebel fighters in Syria are citizens of European countries, says a report of the London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation. According to the report, entitled "Greenbirds: Measuring importance and influence in Syrian Foreign Fighter Networks'", around 10% of the foreign fighters are from Eastern Europe, Bulgaria included.
The largest share of foreign fighters comes from the UK - 17.9% of fighters in Syria were from the UK, based on their database of 190 fighters identified from their social media accounts.

There is also a considerable number of citizens of France – 11.6%, Germany – 11.1%, Sweden – 10%, 8.9% from Belgium and 6.3% from the Netherlands. The report claims that there is a total of 5.3% citizens of Australia, Canada and the US. The investigation said that they created a database of the social media profiles of 190 Western and European foreign fighters. More than two thirds of these fighters are affiliated with Jabhat al-Nusrah or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, according to the report. The database revealed that more than two-thirds of the fighters are affiliated with Jabhat al-Nusrah or the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) – two groups that are said to have connections to al Qaeda.***Keep that Al Qaeda connection in mind when you read the final story in this post!

So, it really is a global army of mercs drawn from every corner of the world
And what is very interesting is that the inspiration for this global army of fighters comes from the West.
Which seems strange, on the surface, but  maybe not so much?
Here is the report/study I am quoting from- PDF format
Take the time to look through that report.. interesting
 
The two inspirational leaders?
Ahmad Musa Jibril


Ahmad Musa Jibril is a Palestinian-American cleric
born in Dearborn, Michigan, in the United States
in 1972. He spent a portion of his childhood in
Madinah, Saudi Arabia, where his father was
a student at the Islamic University.Jibril then returned to the United States and completed high
school before also enrolling at the Islamic Universiy
in Madinah, reading for a degree in Shariah. He later
completed a JD and LLM at Michigan law school.
In 2004, Jibril and his father were convicted on a string of federal
offences, including ‘42 charges of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud,
money laundering, failure to file income tax returns and felon-in-
possession of firearms and ammunition.’
 Musa Cerantonio
Musa Cerantonio is a 29 year old Australian cleric of
Irish and Italian heritage. He converted to Islam from
Catholicism at the age of 17 and has spent time
studying Islam in the Middle East. He has hosted
numerous English-language shows on Iqraa TV
which is based in Egypt and broadcasts via satellite
around the world.Two of his most important shows are ‘Our Legacy,’ which covers Islamic
history and civilisation, and ‘Ask the Sheikh,’ a live call-in show where viewers are able to ask him questions relating to Islamic jurisprudence.

Although he has an account on Twitter, Musa Cerantonio is not an
active user of the platform.
Hmmmmm a Saudi with a dirty past and and Italian/Irish convert? Strange.

Syrian election date set


A June 3rd/14 election date for Syria has been set- No word yet on if Assad will run.
But let’s put it this way, his popularity is so high in Syria who could run against him and win?
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (centre L) talks to soldiers during his visit to Maaloula town, northeast of Damascus April 20, 2014, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA. Assad on Sunday visited Maaloula, an ancient Christian town recaptured from rebels last week, state media said, as he seeks to persuade minorities that the government is their best protection against hardline Islamists.

Last but not least- White House Debates ‘Game-Changer’ Weapon For Syria
“The introduction of manpads could be a game-changer in Syria, like it was in Afghanistan in the 1980s with Stinger missiles,” an Arab official tells TIME, adding that he believes the Obama Administration has begun discussing the idea more seriously. Other sources say the issue is being debated at the White House, but that strong doubts remain about the wisdom of providing missiles to the rebels.
The issue is newly relevant amid recent reports that Syrian fighters are now using U.S.-made anti-tank weapons against Assad’s forces. Experts say it’s unlikely those weapons could have wound up in Syria without U.S. approval. Al qaeda with manpads! Why not Obama, been there done that before!

Updates begin:

1st: State Department nonsense via Fox news- Obama administration: 'Indications' chemical weapons used, again, in Syria

I went through this latest chemical weapon use more then a week ago:

First on April 11-  4 alleged chemical attacks being investigated by US/UK/Israel in Syria

Then again on April 13 - US is looking into new Syria chemical weapons claim

I suspect the US is pushing this psyop because Syria is going to hold an election June 3rd/2014
See above (highlighted) Obviously Mr Assad is going to win, hands down, because the Syrian people are fully supportive of him and their military.

What I really want to point out is the statement from the  ill informed Jay Carney and I quote

Jay Carney - noted that under last year's deal, 65 percent of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles have been removed for destruction, and "that process continues."

Mr Carney- 80 percent have been removed( see top of this post) Get your facts straight, please.

The Armenian community in Syria support Bashar Assad and the Syrian army

In his opinion, Bashar Assad is the preferred candidate of the Armenian community in Syria.
“The Syrian government troops have recently achieved serious success. The chemical weapons destruction process is expected to finish by the end of the month.80% of chemical weapons have been destroyed as of today,” Hayk Kocharian said. Gosh, even Hayk knows 80 percent of the weapons are gone and it should be 100 percent by month's end
Quick someone tell Jay Carney ;)
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Putin playing long game over Russian kin in Ukraine

pennyforyourthoughts2 - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 11:25
Interesting title and an interesting analysis 

 Russia's decision last week to sign a peace accord on Ukraine does not mean that the Kremlin is backing down, rather that President Vladimir Putin is prepared to be patient in pursuit of his ultimate objective.That aim, his own reflections and those of people close to his way of thinking seem to indicate, is one day to re-unite Russian speaking peoples, including those living within the borders of Ukraine, within one common home.I am really not so sure that this is the Russian objective. It seems some western analysts believe or want us to believe that, but, why should we?

As a skilled tactician, Putin knows that to push too fast to achieve this ambition could be damaging for Russia - as demonstrated by the Western threat of tough sanctions and Europe's rush to wean itself off Russian gas supplies.Signing the four-way agreement on Ukraine in Geneva last week, and thereby showing the West that it was willing to compromise, made tactical sense for Russia.Putin the tactician. A common western claim.

With another four years before he needs to seek re-election, and the strong chance of winning another 6-year term after that, Putin can take his time, giving him an advantage over his Western rivals whose policies are driven by more short-term imperatives."Now the main thing is to keep the powder dry and be prepared for the eventuality that the crisis in Ukraine is going to last a long time," said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, a journal which has the Russian foreign minister on its editorial board."Agreements will be broken and then made again. Russia, for once, is not on the defensive, it is advancing. That means it doesn't have to get flustered and can keep ploughing its furrow."Putin's long game means he is unlikely to actively seek to involve Russian in an armed conflict over Ukraine any time soon.Very important because the talking heads drone endlessly on about troops at the border. Imminent invasion etc. But, if Putin is in for the long haul why would have have to actively seek out armed conflict?
UNLESS, certain parties who are very interested in armed conflict keep pushing the issue- NATO

But equally, it means that European states will have to adapt to a long-term future when persistent sanctions complicate their trade relations and with the threat of disruption to their Russian gas supplies hanging over them constantly.Why do European states have to adapt to that 'long term future'? They can simply not participate in the sanctions.

PUTIN'S TACTICS
The Kremlin's official objectives in Ukraine are limited: protecting Russia's own security, countering NATO expansion, and helping Russian-speaking residents of Ukraine if they come under threat of persecution. Russia denies any plans to invade.Omitting the rehashing  of the Geneva Agreement.... and the shooting mentioned in yesterday's post
Shooting near Slavyansk Ukraine/ Sniper reports

Still, people close to the talks said they were notable because it was the first time, in multiple attempts, that Russian's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has sat down for discussions on Ukraine with a mandate to do a deal.It appeared to me that Sergei Lavrov has attempted to 'do a deal' on a number of previous occasions-
By showing it was prepared to talk, the diplomat said, the Kremlin relieved the diplomatic pressure that was building, and bought some time before further sanctions were imposed.

"Talks and compromises are just part of his (Putin's) tactics," said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity and stressed he was expressing his private opinion. "He wants to have Ukraine."Anonymous diplomats making inflammatory claims are very unhelpful. It seems to be a reinforcement of negative stereotypes- So far all I have seen in this situation is US refusal to negotiate or to get their coup/technocrats operating at some credible level. Admittedly that would be difficult. Maybe the US doesn't even care about the credibility of the technocrats in Kiev?

Russia's offer of compromise could widen differences inside the Western coalition assembled against the Kremlin, something that would only benefit the Kremlin.

There are already differences between the United States, which is hawkish on sanctions, and a more cautious Europe where many countries are determined to avoid a costly confrontation.If European leadership was less pea brained they would send the US packing back across the Atlantic

A COMMON FUTURE

Behind the standard, official Kremlin line on its objectives in Ukraine, when Putin or his associates offer up occasional glimpses of what he is thinking, evidence emerges of a more expansive set of aims.

On Thursday, during a question and answer session that was televised live, Putin at one point reflected on how during tsarist rule, large parts of eastern and southern Ukraine belonged to Russia and were known as Novorossiya - literally, New Russia.

"All these were territories which were handed over to Ukraine in the 1920s by the Soviet government. Why they did that, God knows," he said.Those remarks were a brief interlude in a programme which lasted just short of four hours and covered dozens of topics, but they were noted by Kremlin-watchers as highly significant.I noticed the western media jumped on this Novorossiya recounting. And this brought me back to the story about Ukraine have no defined borders. As a nation state. Ukraine has no demarcated borders?

"Now the aim is Novorossiya," Andrei Illarionov, a former economic advisor to Putin who is now a critic, wrote on his blog, setting out what he believes is the Kremlin's thinking. "It is the historic mission of the Russian person."
Andrei may believe he knows what the Kremlin is thinking, but, does he?
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, when asked to elaborate on what Putin had meant by his comments on "Novorossiya" and Tsarist-era borders, declined to comment.
The thesis of a Russian nation divided by artificial national borders has been developed by people who are close to Putin's way of thinking. These include senior figures in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Putin displayed his closeness to the church on Saturday night when he appeared at an Easter service in Moscow's Church of Christ the Saviour, and received a personal blessing from Patriarch Kirill, leader of the church.

"Millions of Russian people live, and continue to live, in Ukraine, several million Ukrainians continue to live in Russia," said Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the church's external relations department and one of the patriarch's closest aides."We have a common language, a common culture, we have a common past and I believe deeply that we have a common future," he said in comments posted on the church's Internet site.

"The political state of affairs which replaces simple common sense, interferes in people's fates, destroys them, and like a knife cuts through human relationships, tearing the ties between peoples, is, after all, only temporary in nature."I really like that last paragraph 

 
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One more thing about the "Saker correspondents" project - USA correpondents

THE VINEYARD OF THE SAKER - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 23:53
Dear friends,

I realized that I was missing on a good opportunity here to involve some correspondents from the USA.

While I myself currently live in the USA, I think that I might very much need the help from US correspondents, but not from this or that state or region, but from different specializations.

While it makes little sense to compare Fox News in San Diego and Boston, the USA can be very diverse in terms of professional strata.  What I would be very interested in is in those amongst you who have a professional or personal interest in the following area of study:
  • US Fiscal & Monetary polices
  • US Foreign Policy
  • Congressional Politics
  • Big Corporations
  • Banking, Credit, Insurance
  • Investment, capital venture, hedge funds
  • US foreign investment
  • US foreign aid
  • US Navy
  • US Army
  • US Air Force
  • US Marine Corps
  • Military academies
  • Intelligence agencies
  • US Space programs
  • US international trade
  • IMF
  • World Bank
  • Defense industry
  • Diplomacy
  • "Democracy promotion" (NED & Co)
  • Energy (oil, nuclear, etc.)
  • Ecology
  • Imports/Exports
etc (too many to list)

Basically, I am interested in the "big stuff" which involves lots of money and, therefore, special access to power.  I am also interested in the instruments of power themselves.

Important note:

Now, this might be obvious, but I have to state this very clearly here: I do not want anybody with any current security clearance (no matter how low) applying for this project and I want to make it absolutely clear that the only source of information I will accept is publicly available information.  I am am mostly looking retired professionals, students, sharp hobbyists, public journalists or reporters, academics, etc.  If somebody ever sends me anything classified even at a very low level I myself will immediately inform the authorities.  That is common sense and basic self-protection.  I do not need any trouble with Uncle Sam.  I need 100% transparency and 100% legality.  Nothing less will do.  I don't like this regime, but I will not disobey its laws.

This being made clear, I also believe that somebody smart kind find out what he/she wants by using open source information.  It its classified, it is of no interest to me.  What I am after is a good understanding of how the US functions, its system, evolution, the factors which affect it.  You get the idea.

If you have a passion for, say, the World Bank or the US aerospace industry, you probably read specialized magazines and you probably visit specialized websites.  Magazines or websites which I do not read.  Then you can definitely help me out.

So, same concept as geographical correspondents, but applied to professional areas of expertise.

If you are interested, please drop me an email confirming that you have no current security clearance and a short bio or description of your interests.

Many thanks in advance and kind regards,

The Saker
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Update on the "Saker correspondents" idea

THE VINEYARD OF THE SAKER - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 17:31
Dear friends,

A few days ago I posted an idea to create a network of "Saker correspondents".  Here is what I wrote:
I think that it might be extremely useful to create a group of "correspondents" of this blog.  Here is what I mean by that:
I need local folks to go through the local Internet resources (not the big national news, those I parse myself) to seek out interesting stuff and then simply send me the links.  Though a commentary or evaluation of these links could be helpful, the links alone would be helpful enough.  Here are the languages which I can read more or less decently: very easily: French, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, and English, of course.  With some difficulties Portuguese, and Dutch.  Slowly and preferably with the help of a machine translator,  I can also understand a text written in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Afrikaans, Slovak and Macedonian.
Also, there are four languages which I don't know at all and with which I would really need a person willing to translate or even just summarize interesting articles in the local Internet (in order of priority): Arabic, Chinese, Farsi and Hebrew.
Should that work, my goal would be to completely bypass the AngloZionist media and to offer the readers of this blog information from the small news sources which are little known but which are trying hard to become more visible.  Sure, we all know about RussiaToday, PressTV or TeleSur, but who knows what kind of interesting stuff is published on the local Internet in Omsk, Isfahan or Cochabamba?
Tlaxcala does a great job of translating "alternative" information in many languages and IPS tried to being local information sources.  But for the former does not use local correspondents or specialize in English-language information while the latter has, shall we say, a "not always adequate political agenda" with some pretty darn big blind spots.
So here is my idea: if some of you are interested in becoming "Saker correspondents" we could have your just scan the local press in your area (it don't need to be in Timbuktu - the local press in France or Romania might be very interesting too) and send me the links.  I could then either publish the full article if it is worth it, or just post a few links so those interested can read it for themselves, or simply read the stuff myself to help me understand a region or a current event.  If there will be Arabic, Chinese, Farsi or Hebrew speakers willing to be "Saker correspondents" then they would work somewhat differently: they could email me and say, "the local website has a reader's forum where one guy just posted his impression after a 3 day trip to the town of X and he is describing something interesting.  Do you want a summary or full translation?"  Depending on the place, situation and source I would have to decide whether this is worth the correspondent's effort.
Alternatively, you could bypass me completely and contact each other directly and jointly decide to try to get the local information sources to the English-speaking world, either through my blog or through any other outlet you like (God knows there are many very good ones today).  Then my role would be just to help put you in touch with each other and then you could work without intermediaries.
Just think about it.  All I know is that there are regular readers here from all over the planet, with lots of languages and excellent expertise and education.  Not to flatter you all, but there is *a lot* of brainpower available which we could put together if you guys are interested. As of today, I got replies from the following countries or regions:
  • Hawaii
  • Canada
  • Scandinavian countries
  • Balkan countries
  • France 
  • French speaking Africa
  • Benelux
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Czech Republic

Which is pretty good, but I still have a DIRE NEED of the following regions:
  • Latin America
  • China
  • India
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Lebanon
  • Israel
  • KSA
  • Far East Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Russia
  • The Ukraine
  • Maghreb
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Turkey
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Korean Peninsula
  • Vietnam
  • Indonesia
  • English speaking Africa
  • Portuguese speaking Africa
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • Mexico
  • Cuba
  • Central America
So, please, if you live, come from, travel to, or are in frequent contact with any of those countries and if you can volunteer a little time each week to reply to a question, scan the local Internet, maybe translate a short article or check an information - please email me and let me know.

You can write to me using an alias, pen name or nick - I don't need to know your real identity.  If you would like to write sort articles about developments about you area of responsibility and if I find them to be interesting for this blog, I will publish them here and give you full credit for it under whatever identity you prefer.

I hope that many of you will reply and that we can set up a pretty decent network of correspondents.

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker
 
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Shooting near Slavyansk Ukraine/ Sniper reports

pennyforyourthoughts2 - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 17:14
Happy Easter to those so inclined and thanks for the good wishes
Been reading about the shooting...  outside of Slavyansk.
-We clearly have local (pro-federalist) victims. As many as five.
-We have sniper reports.
-We have cars that left with shooters and potential victims?
-And, we have the western/NATO media spinning on the same message that "We don't know what really happened" . That in itself is very, very curious. Because NATO media always knows.
The know Assad, Hussein, Qadafi and Putin are all Hitler.. They knew Saddam had WMD's.
The NATO media 'knows' that the uprisings in Syria & Libya (Tunisia) are yearnings for democracy.
Recently the NATO media has been very sure about those papers in Donetsk, too. Though they were an obvious hoax originating with some backwater outfit in Ukraine
Of course today we see a change in the storyline, but, who is going to pay any attention to the truth trickling out after the masses have drowned in lies.
The NATO media knows who is bad and who is good, and repeatedly tells their receptive audiences all the things that need to be suggested to sell a specific agenda

April 21/14- Just two more points of interest

Regarding the shooters? I thought about this last night- The coup government is not issuing denials. (the Ukrainian Interior Ministry acknowledged the incident) they are just sort of spinning it. So there was definitely a provocation of sorts, planned, and most likely carried out by mercenaries- hence the deflection

Regarding the media? -Nothing to see here. So move along. In line with the deflection coming from the coup government. Did members of the media play a role in contaminating the crime scene? I will bet they did!
The media has been so thoroughly embedded with the NATO war state that so called journalists, acting as spooks are commonplace.

Therefore, I find it odd that  the NATO media just doesn't know

Local resident reacts as he look at the bodies of victims of a gunfight overnight near the city of SlavianskThe gunfight in Bylbasovka, ( 119,000 populace) a village on the outskirts of the separatist-controlled town of Slavyansk, broke out just four days after the EU and the Ukrainian, Russian, and American governments signed a "de-escalation" deal in Geneva designed to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. According to the Ukrainian interior ministry, fighting began when unidentified men in four vehicles opened fire at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian activists at about 2am on Sunday morning, killing at least three people. The activists returned fire, destroying two cars and injuring and killing an unknown number of attackers, the statement said. About 12 attackers are believed to have escaped with their dead and wounded in their two remaining vehicles, though the ministry said it did not know how many of them were hurt.
"They drove right up to the barricade and started shooting from the vehicles," said one man who declined to give his name. "Those who could get away did so. But they killed my friend. He was 22."
The man, who was visibly distraught, said the activists manning the checkpoint were peaceful protesters armed only with sticks. "They promised a ceasefire for today, and then they do this. Why?" he said.  Other locals said the position had been surrounded by snipers in black camouflage before pro-Russian "self defence" units from Slavyansk arrived to return fire.  Could there have been snipers? Who shot at both sides? I don't know? It wouldn't be the first time these types of reports have been made.

 Bullet holes in the rear vehicle appeared to have been fired from close to the ground from a position to its rear and left – the other direction from the barricade. BUT
 The cars appeared to have been moved since they caught fire, with residue from burnt tires and glass from what appeared to be shattered rear lights found closer to the barricade.Both Russia and the separatist militia in control of Slavyansk have blamed the attack on Right Sector, a far-right militia group that was prominent in the February revolution in Kiev.Since the Ukraine has no military to speak of. Their fascist thugs in Right Sector and Svaboda would act as  their military. And Kiev can't and won't disarm their thugs.
Mr Ponomarev, the self-declared "people's mayor" of Slavyansk, said he wanted Russia to send weapons, food and medicine if it was unable to send troops. "So far I am only appealing through the media. We have no direct links [with Moscow]," he said at a hastily called press conference in Slavyansk's occupied town hall.
Although he said he favoured a peaceful solution to the crisis, he ruled out any negotiations with the Kiev government, calling it an "illegitimate junta." "We are not the aggressors, they are. We're on our own land. We're not sending people to Kiev or Lviv," he said.
Asked how he thought the situation could be resolved peacefully without negotiation, he said "maybe Russia will help us"Mr Ponomarev makes a good point, it is not the federalists that have sent people to Kiev or Lviv
BTW: Kiev still has protestors active. Still believing they are going to get accountability from the coup government.
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Request for comments about my moderation policy

THE VINEYARD OF THE SAKER - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 17:09
Dear friends,

I have decided to take the opportunity of a lull in my Sunday afternoon to seek your advice as to what to do about my comments policy.

After quite a few years of relative obscurity, this blog has seen a sudden and massive explosion in readership.  For years I was getting about 1000 visitors per week, now it regularly gets over 20'000 visitors per day from literally all over the world.  With that influx of visitors, a lot of weird, sick and outright deranged also showed up - that is normal, even 1% of 20'000 is still 200 and my sense is that the freaks are even much less than that - possibly 20 or about 0.1%.  That really ain't much, but that is enough to be a real pain in the ass, pardon my French.  These freaks fall into several categories.

1) Your typical garden variety trolls
2) Obsessive compulsive racists
3) Monothematic delusional folks completely fixated on Jews
4) Nazis
5) Plain old idiots who simply cannot make sense

In the past, when my blog had few visitors I had a 100% freedom policy.  Except for commercial spam, I would literally allow anything no matter who stupid or insulting.  Then a little over a month ago I got really fed up with some exceptionally dumb Nazis so I decided to kick them out.  Or rather then banning them, I began sending any moronically racist or Nazi post to the trash.  When I asked for your inputs only one person got angry at me.  Everybody else told me that they fully supported that decision and that I had waited enough.  This new policy definitely helped and some of the worst offenders packed and left.

And yet I still get way, waaaaaaay to much comments about Jews and while I do not get many Nazis any more, I still get some world class idiots posting their nonsense.  So I am not sure what to do next.  

One thing I could do is drop my normal policy of "there is no such thing as off-topic on this blog" and require comments to remain generally pertinent to the topic at hand.  But that would also mean losing the opportunity of having some very interesting off-topic comments posted.  Or I could use my discretion and decide that off-topic comments I find worthwhile publishing and which not.

I could try to set up some pretty sophisticated and detailed posting guidelines,  but that would be very time consuming and still probably leave loopholes.

Or I can ask you to trust my judgment and basically toss out anything I would find too offensive or too stupid.  What I do not like about this option is that it sort of implies that every comment that I would allow would then get my implicit endorsement but that would be completely wrong.  If, say, somebody posts a comment saying that Russia should try to vaporize the USA in a preemptive surprise nuclear strike I would categorically disagree with that, but I cannot say that this is not a legitimate comment in a threat discussing Russian options to stop US aggression.  But if I do let such a comment through, would that not look like an implicit endorsement?

Bottom line - I need some advice from you all.  I consider this blog as much yours as it is mine, and I want it to meet your expectations.  I do not want to allow freaks and morons to pollute it, but I don't want to censor it either.  So, please, post your suggestions here or email me.

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker
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Just One of Many Sermons You Won't Be Hearing on Easter Sunday

kennysideshow - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 10:18

The Sermon on The Mark
Barry Crimmins

To grasp how hard it is to express antiwar sentiment in mainstream America, consider this: Mark Twain couldn’t get “The War-Prayer” published while he was alive.

Even worse, it wasn’t just any Mark Twain who couldn’t get this crucial tract into print. It was 70-year-old Mark Twain. Legend emeritus Mark Twain. The Mark Twain who had done world concert tours performing symphonic oratory to rapt overflow audiences. It was steamboat captain, journalist, essayist, minter of maxims, travel-writer beyond compare and author of novels who will live until the damned human race inevitably eliminates itself, Mark Twain who could not get “The War-Prayer” published.

Many of Samuel Clemens’s very important political works have been dismissed by scholars and critics who’ve attempted to transmogrify his natural grief over personal loss into a sad and public departure from reason. And why was he crazy? Because (among other injustices) he railed against the needless infliction of violence upon the cannon fodder dispatched to fight needless wars—as well as the grief and suffering of their loved ones, caretakers and survivors. Pretty crazy, huh? For such a weak argument, it certainly has been durable: it began while he was alive remains in disservice today

Obviously Twain’s life was full of grief because Twain was a human and sooner or later being a human is going to hurt—a lot. Twain lost dear friends, parents, siblings, children and his wife over a span of decades. Twain’s personal suffering undoubtedly helped fuel the extremely lucid outrage he eloquently expressed in “The War-Prayer” but it was frst and foremost the work of a great student and teacher of, and participant in, history.

Nevertheless his publisher passed when Mr. Clemens submitted this mordant satirical indictment of the militaristic lunacy, public cowardice and religious hypocrisy that, to paraphrase the great man, precedes war, must precede war, cannot help but precede war. How much shame did that publisher swallow when he said “no thanks” even after reading the following from the Prayer’s preface?
. . . the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety’s sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.The cock had crowed three dozen times on Twain before “The War-Prayer” was rejected so perhaps the publisher was simply considering his own personal safety’s sake. Newspaper and magazine editorialists, political cartoonists and public speakers that aimed lemmings cliff-ward with thunderous pro-war messages had already all but shouted Twain from the stage. He was admonished to return to his role as the humorous yarn-spinner whose true messages were easier to miss.

Twain was savaged for not meeting expectations. They wanted to laugh and instead were challenged to think. And feel. And then maybe laugh. He was joking in his “Seventieth Birthday Speech” when he said “I am not here to deceive; I am here to teach.” But in “The War-Prayer” he wasn’t kidding—he was teaching advanced truth, insight, compassion and sanity. As one who’d single-handedly seen more of the world than most of his critics combined, he understood deteriorating global and national circumstances and wrote
with passion and vigor in an attempt to save what he himself would soon lose: life.

“The War-Prayer’s” custard-pie in the face of piety in the name of mass murder didn’t strike many of his critics the right way. Just squarely. Perhaps they were upset over the cleaning bills. The grief/loss-of-reason dispensation Twain’s detractors employed to keep so much of his later work sitting in darkness duplicitously urged us to remember, “His earlier works were great and so let’s recall the happier Mark Twain.”

And slowly, that is what he became. The carefree man who wrote lighthearted tales like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court—they were perfect vehicles for Mickey Rooney and Bing Crosby to rollick across the silver screen into provide distraction from the grim realities of a world of economic depravity and militaristic expansion. Hollywood rewrote a happy ending for 1949’s Connecticut Yankee because it would have been un-American to have Bing sing and dance his way through a stark warning about the technological depravity of new and more awful killing machines —especially at the dawn of the nuclear era and the mushrooming munitions profiteering it promised. Worst of all was a ridiculous bio-pic called The Adventures of Mark Twain, in which Frederic March chose to depict Clemens as a wide-eyed rube who couldn’t understand why anyone took much notice of the tales he scribbled. By the time I was growing up in the 1960’s Twain had been robotized and turned into an attraction on Disneyland’s Main Street. He’s held the position for half a century.

Despite repeated attempts to sanitize Mark Twain’s already pure messages, some of us still read his works that sass the ever-oppressive status quo. A status quo that’s been unbearable for a landslide majority of human beings ever since Twain took up their cause long ago. His allegedly glum summations have provided booster shots of hope at the most unexpected times. When “The War-Prayer” was discovered by my generation during the Vietnam War, we found someone we could trust who was over 30. Over 130!

“The War-Prayer” is the final word on war. It truly is a holy work because it peacefully resists the frothing madness required to stand on an altar to promote war. It mocks the brainlessness of nationalism and challenges people of any land to take a truly brave stand by separating themselves from the parochial mob to join anyone from anywhere smart and courageous enough to work toward resolving differences with reason rather than violence.

Even after learning how he was muffled, if not silenced, and knowing that many of the great works of his later life are still universally dismissed, even though mostly unread, I chose a course that even the premiere navigator of American letters couldn’t safely negotiate. But as they like to say in the war movies, I’d go to hell for that guy. Although it’s more fun going with him and so that’s why I always tuck a volume or two of Twain into my suitcase before I hit the road to take my argument for the improvement of the human condition onto the stage, page or airwaves.

I’ll never achieve even a fraction of what Mark Twain accomplished but I can aspire to emulate his bravery when it comes time to be one of “those rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness.” Since first reading “The War-Prayer” I have wandered in a “wilderness of flags” for over 35 years. I have performed and written material in the ever-darkening shadow of a Stars and Stripes that has been dragged through the mud, blood and treachery of one unjust war after the next.

At times I’ve inoculated myself from an audience’s silence and/or jeers by thinking, “It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.” My audiences just wanted some laughs, but not the kind that come from understanding the buffoonery, arrogance and depravity that’s led to wars from Southeast Asia to Central America to the Middle East. Damned expectations!

It is a joyous and rare day when another “War-Prayer” passage does not impale my heart, “..tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander un-friended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it—for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!”

There’s never a day when I fail to think of the author of the greatest spiritual offering since the Sermon on the Mount and realize that regardless of what a century of jingoists would have you believe, Mark Twain was anything but a lunatic, because there was perfect sense in what he said.
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