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John Chuckman



“Russian ‘dirty money’ is damaging UK security, MPs say

“Government must stop money laundering by ‘kleptocrats and rights abusers’, which is helping Putin subvert international rules”


Today is Hate Russia Day over at The Guardian.

Well, I know, they always hate Russia at The Guardian, but today features an especially loud and ugly outburst from this self-appointed source of “quality journalism” as the ads appealing to subscribers like to put it.

First, at the top of the front page, we have a big story about “dirty money” And “kleptocrats” and “abusers” exploiting the rules of the City of London, a world financial capital. Second, as if all that weren’t enough, The Guardian gives us, nearer the bottom of the front page, a link to an extremely long story called “Russia uncovered: writers on the World Cup host nation.” I dissect this second really gruesome effort below.

According to the first story, which reports uncritically some unsupported comments from a committee of anti-Russian MPS and even adds unrelated material to juice things up, Russians are using the financial facilities of the City of London to finance all kind of unholy deeds and activities and aggression.

Of course, a real newspaper reporting from such politicians would have asked some questions in order to get at some facts. But facts in this top-of-the-page item are strangely missing.

The idiotic story even manages, once again, to regurgitate the Skripal Affair which supposedly took place in Salisbury. That certainly has a lot to do with international finance in the City of London, but just in case you missed all the financial story’s suggested tie-ins to Russian dirt and intrigue and aggression, there it is, right before your eyes, attempted murder at the highest level.

Of course, the Skripal Affair is more an indictment against the workings of the British government and the British press than anything else. Two Russian citizens, held absolutely incommunicado for a long period, are said to have been attacked, with no evidence offered, using a poisonous substance, again with no evidence offered, that supposedly originated in Russia, yet again with no evidence offered. And the very circumstances of the attack and discovery of the “victims” are packed with implausibilities and contradictions.

So, in a sense, bringing up an alleged poisoning in a story about Russia’s unscrupulous use of public financial facilities in Britain does serve a real purpose. It tells us just how low and ridiculous the existing standards in Britain are for statements by government and by the mainline press on certain subjects.

The committee of politicians, of course, represents the same government that started a massive round of international diplomatic expulsions and public accusations against a head of state based solely on the inexplicable mysteries of the Skripal Affair.


For background on the Skripal Affair, readers might enjoy:


The finance story also carries the suggestion that Britain needs to employ all her diplomatic, military and financial resources to counter Russian aggression. Sounds like the good old boys in Langley, Virginia wrote some of their talking points. I guess that’s what they mean these days when they speak of the old “special relationship” between Britain and America.

Can you just imagine all the truly filthy money that passes through the City of London week-in, week-out? Saudi money? Money from Bahrain? Money from various juntas and dictatorships? Mafia money? Money from human trafficking? Money from drugs? CIA money? Money from bent politicians of every description? If you were able to cut out all the truly dirty lucre, the City of London would simply close down. But Russian money, there’s the real problem according to this propaganda from cheap British politicians supported by press like The Guardian.

Now, remember, this is a supposedly left-wing paper effectively supporting unsupported right-wing government assertions. As I’ve said before, The Guardian is truly an establishment publication which disguises its true identity with a myriad of what Alt-right types in America might call “precious snowflake” filler stories about minorities and women and the unfortunate, but the attitudes of those kind of paste-on poster campaigns are not carried over into the paper’s core business.

As if all that weren’t enough, The Guardian gives us nearer the bottom of the front page a link to a great long story called “Russia uncovered: writers on the World Cup host nation.” I dissect it, section by section, below.


“Observer writers and Russia experts go behind the spin to analyse the host nation’s social and political landscape”


Well, I don’t know what qualifies someone as an expert over at the Observer (a Guardian subsidiary), but this shameful piece of gutter literature is just one long set of attacks on the host nation for the upcoming World Cup, an event of which Russia is very proud about hosting and to which it is very much looking forward. The piece is a kind of Wikipedia article on the sins of Russia that you will be exposed to if you dare attend the World Cup.

Here are the section captions, which you only have to read to grasp the intent of this long, hate-filled piece:


1) Racism

‘Young fans see the dominance of far-right chants. Anyone who challenges it faces a threat of violence’

Absolutely no evidence is offered for this, just a picture of some nasty-looking young men and some assertions. Anyway, if you want to find some extreme right-wing, you’ve come to right place if you go to the United States. Militias, Aryan Churches, the Klan, etc. A huge Nazi Bund organization in Hitler’s day. See this:   Or, even more ghastly for open violence, the murderous settler gangs in Israel and the former bar room bouncer who regularly threatens minorities, Avigdor Lieberman, who is today Israel’s Defense Minister.

Of course, good old Britain herself has always offered a home to this element. There was Oswald Mosley’s British Fascists in the 1930s. There was a royal family that deeply admired Hitler, and that is almost certainly the real reason Edward VIII was made to abdicate with war approaching. You may find pictures of him and Wallis Simpson with stars in their eyes meeting Hitler. You might also enjoy this:  And there was arch- imperialist Churchill and the ruthless measures, including machine-gunning peasants, taken on behalf of the integrity of The Empire. You see, this kind of attack is possible against anyone, for such kinds of people live in every society.

The real question about such groups always is whether they have power in the government, as they very much do in Israel and in the United States.


2) Stadiums

‘The fabulous expense of this event has gone to some place other than good architecture’

I don’t mind criticisms of architecture. Indeed, I rather enjoy it when honestly done, and it’s something I indulge in myself, but here the nasty intent is clear by the context. What is architecture criticism, and unrelentingly negative architecture criticism, doing in a piece alongside the Russian Mafia and a voice from Pussy Riot?


3) Protest

“Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina: ‘The state controls all the big media but they cannot cut out the eyes of the people’”

Can you imagine quoting a woman, an authority on absolutely nothing, from an outfit like Pussy Riot, whose only claim to fame is getting themselves into trouble years ago for desecrating a church, on the state of politics in a vast and complex nation like Russia? Were they to do same kind of nasty act in a fundamentalist church in parts of the Southern United States, they might very well have been beaten or shot. It is roughly the equivalent, but even worse, of asking Jane Fonda in 1968 to give an expert opinion of American politics.


4) Media and censorship

‘It’s only going to get worse!’

Media censorship? This from the paper which allows no comments on the first story about Russian abuse of financial institutions and which quickly closed commenting on this list of clap-trap about Russia. This from a paper which ran government story after story about the supposed poisoning in Salisbury, the Skripal affair, without allowing comment and without seeking any expert outside view on the government claims? This from a paper which ran months of Joe McCarthy-style attacks on a very decent British politician, Jeremy Corbyn, over non-existent anti-Semitism in his party? This from a paper which supported Tony Blair’s stream of lies and killing, and which supports him still, every once in a while, trying to give him a new public voice with a feature?


5) Nostalgia

“Whether Soviet simplicity or the strength of the tsars, the best of times are in the past with a poster of Stalin”

Unbelievably, The Guardian sarcastically offers us an image of an old Soviet sentimental poster of Stalin happily with a gang of kids. As though Russians were just fools about the past or indeed longed for it to be repeated. My God, there are people in Britain who still enjoy reading or watching something about Henry VIII, a murderous tyrant, going on five centuries after his reign. And Stalin, like all tyrants, did accomplish some things admired even outside Russia, like building Russia up from a peasant society to an industrial power and leading the nation through the most terrible war in history to victory. You cannot just forget such epoch events, no matter how touched by darkness.

By the way, in the nostalgia section, The Guardian also drags in the Czars. Russia has made an effort to inform people of a long-term national historical institution which was completely vilified by the Communists. It is no different than France having museums about historical characters like Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI or Napoleon. And what is wrong with that? Of course, the suggestion here is that Putin is to be seen as a modern Czar. Ridiculous. Criticism of historical royalty coming from a nation that just spent a fortune on a “royal wedding” between a B-actress and an unbalanced, ne’er-do-well prince, as though it represented the grandeur of Britain, does strike me as a little strange.


7) The mafia

‘The gangsters want the World Cup to go well. They’ve already made money and will make more’

Yes, that is the way the items are numbered, perhaps indicative of the thought going into it.

Well, here’s the good old Russian Mafia. As though Mafia organizations weren’t a major force throughout Europe – in Italy with its Sicilian Mafia, its Camorra around Naples and other parts of Italy like Lombardy, the Corsican Mafia in France, still other mafias across the continent, and, of course, the multiple major crime families of the United States who run literally multi-billion-dollar enterprises. By the way, there is a significant Camorra branch operation in Britain. Israel has several Mafia crime families, some of which are active internationally.

But never mind all those other mafias, the Russian one is especially insidious and evil because it is, after all, Russian.


John Chuckman



“In Under 20 Years, All Currently Recoverable Gold Will Have Been Mined”


This is just silly. The fact is that over time…

Technology keeps changing the nature of what is a resource. Oil wasn’t a resource in 1800, for example.

Technology changes the needs and demands for resources by coming up with substitutes and even eliminating some uses entirely.

It changes the ways of finding more of a resource, as the recent undersea discovery of large rare earth deposits.

It changes the way of extracting a resource, so that what was thought impossible or too costly becomes ordinary, as with today’s very deep-sea oil drilling.

John Chuckman



“Why I Support RT (and So Should You)

“’It’s not about whether you “agree” or “disagree” with the Russia Today broadcast; more importantly, the principle of fair play in media access and reach is crucial for the health and future of democracy’ “


And without a doubt our recent history has proven the utter dishonesty and the undependable nature of major broadcasters in the West.

That would be true even if RT didn’t make the effort that it does.

At least when it comes to international affairs, certainly some of the most consequential and even deadly matters in the world.

Of course, the background reality is that there is so much dark and filthy work going on by America, with its close allies being dragged along, that reporting the truth might be made to resemble treason. After all, look at the way officials in Britain and America have attacked RT.

I include very much in my condemnation of Western broadcasters, Canada’s CBC. In foreign affairs, it has become as meaningless and dishonest as BBC or ABC or NBC or CBS, etc., etc.

John Chuckman



“Candace Owens’ Great Video Mocking the Russia Hysteria”


Her words on Russia are okay, but I don’t care for her overall tone. It’s literally a rehash of Barry Goldwater in 1962.

I see a legitimate role for government in national affairs.

Not a totally dominating one, but a moderate and helpful one. The best place to start slashing unnecessary government is the military, an unproductive and destabilizing force in society.

With no government activity for the people, we soon get some pretty awful stuff which can change the very structure of a society.

As globalization continues, which it inevitably will, government becomes increasingly important, too, in international negotiations, arrangements, and organizations. The Trump period will prove to have been nothing but a very noisy halt to progress, much resembling some madman throwing all his trash from his city balcony out into the street below.

Readers may enjoy:


John Chuckman



“’Nowhere near close:’ U.S. rebuffs Trudeau hope for quick NAFTA deal

“U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer cites ‘gaping differences’ after Trudeau says a ‘good deal’ is on the table”


This development really makes Trudeau and Freeland sound rather clueless.


Response to another comment:

There is the important point of keeping good and happy neighbors on your major borders.

I think that was unquestionably at work on the American side when the Agreement was first negotiated. America certainly was not giving stuff away, but Canada may just have received some degree of economic benefit in some of the Agreement’s terms to “buy” good will and security.

But America is a much-changed place since that time.

It is a far, far meaner place, and that is not just the effect of Trump, although he sure adds a great deal to the ugly tone.

Just look at America’s aggressive behavior all over the world. Against Russia. Against China. And the U.S. has burned down a good part of the Middle East. All of this new aggression goes back at least through three Presidents. It isn’t the individuals in office creating it, it is the power establishment they serve.

The old, sentimental U.S. of Jimmy Stewart movies is long gone. It was in fact always an illusion, but now America has stopped acting and pretending. Its power establishment, all of it, has grown quite openly ugly over the accurate perception of America’s relative economic decline in the world and over the country’s self-created financial and economic woes.

America is using the military and financial muscle that it has to bully its way to a more controlling position in the world, hoping to better control events for the future.

It is an extremely unfortunate time in which to be negotiating any kind of trade agreement with America. And I think all bets are off as to whether Canada can even succeed.

In general, big trade agreements concern more than just economics, otherwise there would be no need for elaborated negotiations and documents.

Indeed, no such agreements are true free trade.

If the parties wanted free trade, they’d just throw open the borders.

Formal “free trade” agreements create not free trade but an administered trade guided by sets of rules.

The administration of such ‘free trade” cannot escape the larger social and political environment of a country.

For example, there were a number of arbitrary American behaviors under NAFTA concerning such matters as softwood lumber and pork.

Even though the quasi-judicial mechanism of the Agreement’s administration, more often than not, found such American behavior was a violation, the U.S. often just ignored it. The behavior reflected domestic political pressure, and America responded by breaking the spirit and the letter of the Agreement a number of times.

In such a situation, there isn’t a lot you can do. Of course, either party, with proper notice, is free to withdraw from the Agreement. But accepting some loss owing to the other party’s violations would always seem better to a country like Canada than losing the entire Agreement.

A smaller country such as Canada can never really be totally secure from such actions by a much larger partner.

And now the larger partner isn’t pretending to be nice to anyone.

This, in my view, is a grave error for America’s own long-term interests, to say nothing of the world’s interests, but it nevertheless is the reality we face.

If Canada does manage to secure a new agreement, it will, to a certainty, be much diminished from the existing one. Good will in today’s America gets you a cup of coffee, if you also have two dollars.

John Chuckman



“Germany obtained novichok nerve agent sample in 1990s, reports say

“Development could help explain how Britain was able to analyse poison it says was used to attack former double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter


Oh, please, this suggestion is nothing more than a new distraction from one of the extreme implausibilities involved in the Skripal Affair. It is disinformation, based on a bit of real information, itself incomplete, and given no context.

The Czechs (and others) have made this stuff, as the government there has already told us.

Its formula was published years ago. I am sure military labs in many advanced countries, including Britain, have worked with it and have samples.

It is one of the jobs of military chemical labs is to investigate and classify the characteristics of potential chemical weapons, and the Porton Down facility, just a few miles down the road, cannot be any different in this respect.

You absolutely must administer an antidote for any nerve agent almost immediately – and there are many such agents, including Saran, VX, and Tabun. Saran, at least, is still heavily stocked in the arsenals of America and Israel.

You wouldn’t even know what antidote to administer at first, even if you suspected nerve agent, which no one did in the early period. And why would they?

The antidote must be administered in minutes, not a half hour or more later. It was that long until these people were discovered, sick on a bench, a place where still more time was consumed by emergency responders, including a local woman doctor who said she spent a half hour with the victims.

So then, the victims were eventually taken to a hospital, where they were treated how, no one having the least notion of such a poison?

And all the people handling the Skripals noticed nothing unusual in smell or appearance, and they themselves had no ill effects. One pin-point drop of nerve agent on the skin is lethal.

The Skripals are said to have been very sick, unconscious, with vomiting and diarrhea and breathing difficulties.

The emergency measures people strongly suspected a Fentanyl overdose. They are common in Salisbury.

Another strong candidate is food poisoning from the fresh shellfish pizza they had both eaten.

The whole story stinks to high heaven, still, after all this time, but the press makes no effort to investigate.

And, of course, it simply should not stink. All the facts could have been published quickly, but were not, and still have not been. Why not?

The British government simply blundered in, making public charges against a major government and taking punitive measures without one scintilla of anything a thinking person would call evidence. Almost laughable were it not such a serious matter.

And why can’t even a relative talk to them? Why can’t they be interviewed, under guard, if that is felt necessary? Bizarre.

The daughter left a whole world behind in Russia, including a fiancé, a job, and family, but no communication is allowed them?

Essentially, you are re-publishing government press releases.


 Response to another comment:

The entire business is a cover-up. Of just what? Who knows?

We don’t have the least idea what actually happened.

And the press makes no effort to find out. None, at all.

See my detailed post above.

John Chuckman



“There Is an Easy and Cheap Way for Russia to Secure Syrian Airspace — Without the S-300

“Russia’s empty talk of possible S-300s for Syria was a mayor fiasco but the cheapest and most realistic way of securing Syria’s skies was always by spamming many more short-range Pantsirs”


To my mind, there is a big and unwelcome note of back-pedaling propaganda here.

Some of the tone is quite objectionable actually.

Just as was the tone of the official Russian statements after the Israeli raid.

But it is difficult to understand just what game is being played. We have, for example, never clearly been told what the targets of Israel’s aggression were. Iranian? Syrian?

Just as our corporate press deliberately confused stories of the “provocation.”

The missiles fired were said to be Iranian and were said to have been fired first. This, of course, is the official Israeli version of events, something never to be trusted from a government which calls the mass ambush killing of civilians in Gaza “restraint’ and the work of “the world’s most moral army.”

That initial firing of missiles, as an act by Iran, never made sense because the Iranians would have no reason to do that, have nothing to gain, and frankly, the Iranians are just cleverer than that.

But in the press-trained minds of many in the West, functioning much like Pavlov’s dogs, once you mention “Iran,” anything unpleasant is accepted automatically. Just as once you mention “Israel,” anything unpleasant could not possibly be the case.

That state of public awareness is of course ridiculous, but that is the Twilight Zone world of foreign affairs today that has been carefully constructed by a hyper-aggressive American government, its disinformation agencies, and its press, always pretending to journalism while acting as cheer leaders.

Orwell’s words on the nature of big brother’s state, Oceania – which was actually intended as a dark, fierce parody of Stalin’s Soviet Union – apply exactly, “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.”

Other stories about the missile attack, which seemed more credible, said they were Syrian missiles, and were fired in response to Israel’s attack. Some of these stories also asserted that by that missile-firing response, now Syria had laid down a new set of rules for Israel. Who knows? Israel hasn’t confirmed anything about the responding missiles or their targets.

There was speculation about one of the Israeli targets actually being a senior Iranian military commander, but who knows? We have no good information.

Just as we have no good information on the relations between Iran and Russia inside Syria. Are they closely coordinating their efforts? Do they disagree on some matters? Are they even agreed on goals or are they each there because they invited to help Syria while each having its own reasons for doing so?

The nature of the situation and the nature of the threat Israel represents are what should determine the military hardware to be employed.

But the author of the article makes only some quasi-technical arguments about this or that air-defense system, but not about what best suits the situation in Syria, which, of course, he also may not completely understand.

The bottom line considerations in the whole matter, though, are pretty straightforward.

Syria has a right, and under international law, to protect itself from attack by Israel or anyone else.

Russia is an ally of Syria, one benefiting from important military bases and one who has invested a fair amount of treasure, and some blood, into helping it eliminate the phony-jihadi mercenaries dumped into the country by outsiders in an effort to destroy its integrity.

Those outsiders are primarily America, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France, and originally Turkey.

When you say Saudi Arabia these days, you are talking about a bizarre new associate of Israel’s, now really a close secret ally, owing to efforts taken out of fear of American invasion after 9/11, both of them concerned with protecting privileged positions in the region.

When you speak of the governments of America, Britain, and France, you are talking about governments under almost unbelievable influence of lobbies working for Israel’s benefit.

So, Israel is at the very center of the entire situation, even though in our press you would never know that. And Israel’s bloody-minded leader was talking to Putin just before the attack. About what, we’ll likely never know.

Of course, when someone gets “permission” to attack, defense mechanisms become somewhat irrelevant.


We have this:

and this:

plus a lot of confusion.

John Chuckman



“Trump is wrong over Iran, but Europe can’t afford to divorce the US

“No other US president has been as antagonistic to European principles. But there’s no alternative to a strong transatlantic partnership”


Oh, please, there is something between subservient, abusive marriage and divorce.

It’s called a respectful relationship.

But the United States has no understanding or tolerance for that.

“It’s my way or the highway,” quite literally is what everyone is told.

Trump has now surrounded himself with the most grotesque retinue imaginable – Haley, Pompeo, Bolton, Haspel, and others.

My God, any of these people born many decades earlier and in Germany would have been leading figures in the Third Reich, serving it happily. They really are that ghastly, the lot of them.

The United States no longer loses moral ground, it simply has none. Washington operates from a thick haze of lies and greed and brutality.

Many once thought of it as “Leader of the Free World.” Well, that expression today doesn’t even qualify as sarcasm.

John Chuckman



‘Want to avoid the royal wedding? Here’s an alternative TV guide”


Avoid the royal wedding?

Not if you read The Guardian.

Every single day, some new approach is taken for publicizing the non-event, many of them using a kind of indirect route but still achieving the same purpose.

On the front page, as I write this, are four stories, each featured with photos. Undoubtedly, buried in the bodies of other items too, are mentions or references.

And that’s how it is daily.

Really, sometimes I think of the contemporary Guardian as a made-over Daily Telegraph. Different tone, splashier look, but the same basic stuff.

And it’s not just in royal wedding matters.




“Sorry not sorry: is Canada apologising too much?

“Canada’s sorriest prime minister is getting on people’s nerves. ‘What else does he do, besides apologize for things that happened years and years ago’”


Trudeau is a big disappointment for many Canadians.

And despite a huge amount of public goodwill when he started out, he has achieved remarkably little of real substance.

His only great merit has been that he is not Stephen Harper, the thin-lipped, grimacing Conservative who preceded him – and whose electoral success was largely the result of the Liberal Party being in self-inflicted tatters for years. Harper ranks in the opinion of a great many Canadians as the most unpleasant personality ever to hold the office.

But you can “not be Stephen Harper” for only so long, then you really have to show what you are. So far, it’s not too promising, I am sorry to say.

John Chuckman



“Six of the best party cakes by Harry and Meghan’s wedding-cake maker


These look awfully good.

But, please already, give us a break on Harry and Meghan.

Boring drivel, every word. Insufferable posing, every photo.

John Chuckman



‘US Ambassador Nikki Haley tells UN ‘no country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has’”


The woman is a gorilla in designer clothes.


Response to a comment, “The arrogant cynicism of these people is beyond belief”:

Yes, it truly is.

We’ve passed from polite pretense in American foreign affairs into gross crudity.

Americans can now have no claims to moral superiority over any hateful tyranny you care to name.

Trump has surrounded himself with the most grotesque retinue imaginable – Haley, Pompeo, Bolton, Haspel, and others.

My God, any of these people, born many decades earlier and in Germany, would have been leading figures in the Third Reich, serving it happily. They really are that ghastly, the lot of them.

The United States can no longer lose moral ground, it simply has none. Washington operates from a thick haze of lies and greed and brutality.

Many once thought of America as “Leader of the Free World.” Well, that expression today doesn’t even qualify as sarcasm.

John Chuckman



Churchill Had Stalin Killed, US Bombed Russian Far East in 50s – Top Russian Official (Video – Mikhail Poltoranin)

“We hid this from the rest of the world?  –  We hid a lot of things. Actually, we live in a fog of historical myth…”


Astounding stuff, if true.

There have always been questions about the death of Stalin, of course.

But this set of assertions is something I’ve never heard of. They are to be taken seriously coming from such an expert on the archives.

If true, all the major Stalin biographers of recent years are in error.

Would it be possible to do a follow-up article on this?

A few more details would be appreciated.

As for Churchill, his reputation in the West has never reflected the true man.

He is the one who started the bombing of civilians in cities in Germany before Germany bombed England.

He was a true imperialist, a war monger, and a considerable racist.

He was quite ruthless in enforcing order in the Empire where he had anything to do with it. Nothing wrong in his mind with machine-gunning down restless natives.

In private, he laughed about meeting the average British voter on the hustings. Never mind all that sentimental clap-trap about democracy.

I believe from his memoirs he actually had rather a grudging admiration for Stalin in private.


Response to a comment:

Yes, I know Churchill fairly well, having read several of the major biographies as well as his own set of books on the war.

I’ve never heard anything like that about Roosevelt. He really was a very sick man when he died, supposedly of a stroke, although, I note there was a book saying he actually had cancer which he kept hidden.

But anything is possible with the powerful, as I’ve well learned.

In general, it is not sheer ability or heroism or principles which guide major leaders, it is greed for money and/or power or some blinding driving ideology, and they faithfully serve those who can offer them what they want.

All the modern European history since the Enlightenment, with rise of voting and rights, etc., has a good deal of falsehood to it. Money still rules in society, with the very odd exception here or there. And of course, some wealthy people are a little more generous in their attitudes than others.

Political structures are arranged so that, despite elections, nothing can go too far from where those with money want to see it go. Some societies, as in the US, are just more blatant about it.


John Chuckman



“Emily Thornberry claims public support for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad has been ‘underestimated’

“Shadow foreign secretary refuses to denounce Russia for vetoing UN Security Council resolutions”


You bet it has.

He has long had a popular following.

Syria’s Christians, too, regard him as a genuine protector of their rights, and he is.

Syria’s army has remained loyal despite six years of the most horrible war induced by outsiders supporting mercenary armies of fake jihadis to destroy the country.

Until the outsiders decided to start destroying this beautiful land, it was at peace under Assad.

Indeed, when you consider the totality of residents, say, in Israel, including of course the poor Palestinians held in perpetual bondage with no rights and endless abuse, Syria to an objective observer was a better place than Israel, despite all Israel’s blubbering about democracy.

And the series of massacres we see in Gaza underlines that even to a greater extent. This is the third wave of mass killings by the Netanyahu government, and that’s apart from all its hostilities carried out abroad, including being a major player in Syria’s misery.

John Chuckman



“Election success for Muqtada al-Sadr shows Iraqi voters shaking off foreign intervention

“Analysis: Nationalist populist has always rejected any external presence in his country, be it the UK, Iran or the US’



The country is still occupied.

And the CIA has built itself a massive fortress-embassy there.

Also, I do object to the Orwellian euphemism, “intervention.” It was an invasion, a massive, totally illegal invasion.


Response to a comment:

Americans support democracies they like, and they overthrow democracies they don’t like. They’ve done so many times.

The key words for America are not about “democracy,’ they are “we like.”

Dictators, kings, and tyrants are treated in an identical fashion. There are ones “we like” and ones “we don’t like.”

John Chuckman



“The Guardian Publishes Smear Against Isolated, Arbitrarily Confined Journalist Julian Assange”


The Guardian is shamelessly prejudiced in many things.

Despite its old identity of a sober left-wing voice, its current management has turned it into an establishment mouthpiece which fogs its trail with loads of silly articles about millennial angst and fluff.

It stands today squarely for a Tony Blair-type Labour Party, attacks the party’s actual leader, Jeremy Corbyn, countless times, and it ceaselessly runs mindless items on anti-Semitism in Britain.

It is virulently anti-Russian, showing no understanding at all. For days, it ran articles with no facts supporting the government on the phony Skripal Affair and on the phony gas attack in Douma, Syria. Commenting was excluded. It is slavishly pro-American, as was its criminal hero, Tony Blair. Virtually no article relating to Israel is ever open to comment.

Assange is without question one of the most honorable figures in our world, and of course The Guardian doesn’t like him. He made some of its heroes look bad, as in the case of Hillary Clinton, for whom during the election, the paper did daily rhetorical somersaults and backflips to praise and encourage.

Readers may enjoy:



John Chuckman



“’It’s a real celebration!’ Russia opens controversial 12-mile bridge to annexed Crimean peninsula

“Completed ahead of schedule, the bridge has cost £2.7bn”


There’s nothing controversial about it, at least for thinking people.

The bridge is a magnificent achievement. Its first day, it carried heavy traffic.

It’s brilliantly designed with four-lane highway and a double rail line. The engineering efforts to account for everything from strong winds to earthquakes are extraordinary.

It is also very symbolic. Apart from signifying that Crimea is now a permanent part of Russia, the project says Putin is a bridge builder. He’s actually built several important ones in Russia. But this one, Europe’s longest and finished in record time, is the topper.

While Trump is always photographed with his mouth open, grimacing and threatening people.

John Chuckman



“Solo: A Star Wars Story review – Han Solo origins film is boisterous bromance’


Beyond tiresome.

In creative terms, Star Wars has been the living dead since the first film.

And what a pathetically dull vision of space and other worlds.

Battleships and guns strapped to hips.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find the Pentagon offers quiet support here to fire-up young male minds for war.

After all, the Pentagon, some years ago, began paying the NFL to have the players come out and stand on the football field for the national anthem. It increases military recruitment.

Before that, the players just stayed inside until the game actually started.

Star Wars is, after all, Disney now. Long a source of the mother’s milk of fantasies making friendly and cozy the working of the American empire.


John Chuckman



“How huge dinosaurs nested without crushing their eggs

“Larger oviraptosaurs laid eggs in a stacked ring to keep eggs close without sitting on them’


I just love the pictures of the fossilized ring of eggs from China.

My God, they have done some amazing paleontology in China in recent years.

Things such as this and the discovery of dinosaur feathers.

Concepts of dinosaurs from the time I was a boy have changed remarkably. Their variety of types, their characteristics are a new world compared to the wonderful old murals of big reptiles by Charles R. Knight in old museums such as the Field Museum in Chicago.

John Chuckman



“Modigliani’s Nu Couché is a trite pastiche – and the buyers saw through the hype”

I don’t understand even that amount.

While I sometimes like Modigliani, this particular painting reminds me of commercial art, advertising art. A poster.

It’s, to my mind, very self-conscious, much like a figure suggesting why don’t you smoke Kools or drink Pepsi?

The distance between this and Ingres or Titian is close to infinite.

John Chuckman



“Assange BETRAYED: Ecuador Negotiates With UK to Hand Him Over

“Ecuador’s leadership continues alarming remarks that it may hand over Assange to authorities”


He is one of the most important and principled and thoughtful men of our time.

He made a lot of other people think and gave them something to think about.

He brought more truth to light than all the pathetic major Western corporate press put together.

A man dedicated to rule of law, democratic rights, freedom of speech, opposition to tyranny and oppression, and an inspiration to others.

If anyone deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, it’s Assange, but I know perfectly well the sniveling Norwegian Nobel Committee that hands them out would never do that.

But isn’t this to be expected in a corrupt society, which establishment Britain most certainly is?

Remember Doctor Stockmann in Ibsen’s moving play, “An Enemy of the People”?

Nothing has changed. Those who, in any way, threaten the comfort of those with power are considered a threat to society.

John Chuckman



“Should President Trump Have Moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?”


Trump is just trying to buy his 2020 election. Principles get tossed. Israel’s Lobby in America will see that he gets what he needs.

Trump’s decision is totally illegal under international law and has no sanction from the UN.

But that kind of thing has never bothered Israel, the world’s worst country so far as law-breaking and violating all principles of rule of law are concerned.

And the US anymore is not far behind. It has evolved into a truly ugly thing once outside of its borders. Extrajudicial killing. Torture. Coups. Mercenary wars. Pushing people around everywhere. Always ordering sanctions without any compliance with international institutions. Just a rogue state.

It almost makes me ill to my stomach to see someone using the friendly nickname “Bibi,” as this author does, for one of the world’s greatest mass killers (he’s into his third Gaza massacre plus lots of other bloodshed) and a figure of utter corruption, Netanyahu.

This article is replete with ignorant statements. It’s a mind-numbing collection of clap-trap propaganda for anyone who knows anything.

Just consider this absurdity: “the Middle East doesn’t just belong to the Muslims, it belongs to Christians and Jews alike.”

No, it belongs to the people who live there, the people of each country and community, including the great diversity of Syrians and the people of Gaza and the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

What we see in and from Israel is simply the ugly and dangerous principle of might makes right and absolutely nothing else.

You know that was the principle guiding all of our past dictators and tyrants.

Readers may enjoy:


Response to another reader’s comment:

Yes, well said.

We hear endlessly from lobby organizations about increasing “anti-Semitism” in the “West.”

Many of the claims, taken from data bases maintained by Jewish organizations, are likely spurious or counted in such a fashion that many would not agree. You have to analyze data before you just accept it as valid. someone with pre-conceived notions ticking off boxes on a form does not necessarily constitute valid data recording.

However, it is impossible that there would not be seriously negative feelings aroused in tens of millions of people by Israel’s barbaric and savage behavior right before cameras and witnesses.

There is no other appropriate description for what is going on in Israel than “Nazi-like.’

And there’s Trump’s ridiculous daughter, smiling and twirling around in a costly dress, at the front door of this new (illegal) embassy while people are shot down by the score as though they were unwanted wild dogs.

It is chilling beyond words.

And I think it is going to become something of a turning point. It is too gross and overwhelming, and there will be effects for the horrible government of Israel.



I note in this morning’s papers that the government of Israel has just threatened publicly to kill Gaza’s leader, the head of the Hamas Party, if he does not stop holding public demonstrations.

Well, “the Middle East’s only democracy” has spoken, and you had better listen.

I guess Israeli soldiers are fatigued by yesterday’s heavy work of wounding 2,400 people and killing 58, six of whom were children. Even “the world’s most moral army” has its limits.

John Chuckman



“I’m Just a Girl Who Likes to Tweet About Syria – I’m Real’ – We Chat with Sarah Abdallah, the Girl the BBC Loves to Hate

“… yes I am a real person. Yes, I’m the girl in the photos; these are my personal photos. Yes, I operate my own Twitter account (and all my other social media accounts) all by myself.”

Sarah Abdallah is a rather remarkable young woman.

There’s no question that in matters of substance here, Sarah has it right.

I look at some British papers daily on-line, and I am well aware of the various efforts made to “muddy the waters” as it were, just as with the ceaseless attacks on Russia, one of the only sane players in the region.

I also think that the equilibrium she demonstrates, as about what happened in Lebanon’s past, is at the level of some good statesman.

That is a fairly rare capacity, and it is very much needed for Syria’s ability to get through all the horrors they have had inflicted on them by outsiders – eg., by America, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France, and, originally, Turkey.

You really have to wonder how the leaders in some of those countries can get to sleep at night.

But apparently, they do. Of course, the usurper Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia helps himself get to sleep, it is said, by counting heads chopped off.

John Chuckman



“With Merkel’s Backing Putin Could Save the Iran Deal

“He can’t do it alone and China, France and the UK won’t be much help. That leaves Frau Merkel”


Well done analysis of the situation. Not sure about every detail, but overall well worth reading.

Chancellor Merkel, I fear, has a lot of residual resentments from growing up in East Germany.

And, at least when someone she likes has power in America, she is pro-American, although she well knows how they have hurt her with everything from spying on her private phone to creating all those desperate refugees with their idiotic bombing and turmoil all over the Middle East.

Hard to see her make much of a stand about anything like this, although I would love it if she did.

A turn for her would be wonderful for Europe’s future too.

It really needs to start moving in steps to de-couple itself from the US. There is no long-term future in being close-to-subservient to an increasingly belligerent and arrogant American state.

Germany and the best part of Europe definitely have the ability to become a competitive force in the world, equal or superior to the US.

And Germany and Russia have always been a marriage made in heaven, as a look at a map tells you. That has been a concept in many minds for a century or more.

And American awareness of the fact has influenced Washington for decades to try killing sensible economic links like sales of Russian natural gas. “F–k Europe” as a much-loved American State Department Neocon official said not very long ago.


Response to a comment, “Beware……Does Germany really have `clout` with Israel or is it the exact opposite?”


Good point. German guilt gets played upon tremendously by folks like Netanyahu.

Although, there are many little things at work here, too. Many Jews and Israelis living in Germany find the life so economically superior – the prices of goods and housing plus the range of work opportunities – to what they had in Israel that eventually a new consensus in attitudes could emerge.

Germany ain’t the same folks as three-quarters of a century ago, and Israel very much has demonstrated it is anything but the Promise Land.

You can only live in ancient myths for so long.


John Chuckman



“Why Trump’s presidency is almost identical to Boris Yeltsin’s Russian premiership

“Trump is often compared to other political figures from US history, including Richard Nixon, but perhaps the most striking parallel of all is not with a figure from the American past but with a Russian: Boris Yeltsin, post-Soviet Russia’s first president”


I thought this a good piece.

There’s some I disagree with, but it is definitely well worth reading.

Yeltsin was an interesting public figure, although without a doubt, a very destructive one.

But one can say that of many figures in history. In America, Lyndon Johnson is a strong example. Very able in political machinations, but a failed leader with his personal qualities of deviousness and greed driving him to disaster.

So, too, Trump, although a far less interesting and sympathetic figure. He’s actually a pretty twisted personality with his teetotaling ways – please remember, Hitler was a teetotaler – and his complete wrong-headedness in listening to the words of others. In that, he is like a very egocentric child.

The relationship with the daughter is also strange. She has been proven to be a not a very capable person. She’s not even charming, as both she and daddy very much think she is. She shares his ego, almost like the Greek myth where three sisters shared an eye.

Her and Daddy’s performance at a world summit was breathtakingly dumb. All the leaders have kids or grandkids they could have insisted on putting into official group pictures of leaders, but only Trump did it and only Ivanka was thick enough to smilingly go through with it with no sense of embarrassment over her performance in front of infinitely more qualified and experienced people.

The Trumps have proven to be genuine American grotesques.

There was an underlying appealing human quality in Yeltsin that is missing almost completely from Trump. One would likely have enjoyed sharing a bottle with Yeltsin while vigorously chatting away, as many did.

But we got Trump through the badly-failed American political system. A choice between Trump and Clinton? What kind of a “choice” was that?

America has just reached a stage of corruption I think with no turning back. Money is totally at the center of national politics, and big money means only big and powerful interests having any influence. It has pretty much reached the stage of a plutocracy which goes through an elaborate and costly play of elections, elections in which only the wealthy and influential have any role that counts. The ordinary voter is treated like the ordinary consumer, someone to be subjected to immense campaigns of advertising and marketing. The establishment wins no matter what the outcome because both parties vet candidates to be acceptable to imperial interests.

Now, Trump slipped through that vetting process as a genuine political outsider who only succeeded because the Democrats insisted on running the very much disliked Hillary Clinton. And Americans do like mavericks, which is what Trump seemed to be, but he has proven to be quite the opposite of a maverick.

The establishment took him by the hand very early and explained the rules of the game, which he has embraced enthusiastically, with virtually every maverick hint or suggestion from his campaign forgotten. Get along better with Russia? Get out of Syria, leaving it to the Russians to clean up? Why can’t Israel pay for its own defense? Why is the Middle East on fire? Those and other important questions are gone, leaving something which is almost pathetically laughable, a big-mouthed provincial who blunders around, posing for pictures with stern face and jutted jaw, while carrying out his establishment-set tasks faithfully.

The egomaniacal signatures on documents in almost Crayola-thick lettering ten inches high are held proudly before the cameras each time, as if to say, see, folks, I signed an order. He’s an embarrassment to many Americans of both parties, but so long as he does what he is supposed to do, he is tolerated by the people who matter.

Trump is making an unholy mess of the Middle East for that very reason of America’s money-drenched politics. He knows he will need a lot of money for any chance of success in 2020, so he caters to the likes of multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson to get it. And money does matter – for advertising, for polls, for marketing, for travel, for campaign-stop preparations, for clever organizational people, for speech-writers, for bands, for flags, for make-up, for photographers, and on and on. American elections have very costly production values.

So does good press, and I thought from the start the embassy move to Jerusalem, a completely unnecessary, clumsy, and complicating act, was about securing some more sympathetic press for the future. It is just a fact that virtually all of America’s high-end press and broadcasting are in hands very sympathetic with Israel. At any rate, there was nowhere to go but up from what he experienced in his campaign.

Adelson eats and breathes Israel. It is hard to understand why he spends any time in America except that it is where the source of his wealth is located and it is the location of politicians to influence on Israel’s behalf.

The proven psychopath, Netanyahu, is always ready to encourage and flatter, too, as with a new Israeli coin to be issued with Trump’s portrait commemorating the foolish embassy re-location to Jerusalem. It’s all a pretty sick way – real insider, money-driven stuff – to make policy affecting hundreds of millions of people in the Middle East.

Policy artificially constructed to benefit a few million in Israel against the interests of hundreds of millions of others is not sound and is mighty dangerous stuff, but for all one can see, Trump never gives it a thought, but then neither does a great part of the American establishment, some maybe being quite happy in private that Trump can take the flak for doing what they wanted done. Israel is a cozy partner with the American political establishment and powerful agencies like CIA.

In matters like that, Trump does act much like a drunken Yeltsin dancing around.

Trump’s situation is also complicated by the American establishment’s own perception of the country’s relative decline in the world – an inevitability given that “the American Dream” was built on the temporary circumstances of the post-WWII – and its determination of how to react, which is extremely aggressively, as though they thought it possible to bully their way through continued leadership in a changed world. A big-mouthed bully like Trump is only too glad to accommodate and act as though he is leading the charge.

Trump’s showy ego and empty knowledge enable him to play the role of vainglorious fool leading the enterprise. Things here get very muddled with the powerful role of the Neocons who advocate an aggressive America, the better to defend Israel. Trump is now thoroughly caught in a thick web of these interests. And one can have no trust in his ability to negotiate his or America’s way.

Trump also is a prisoner of American Nativism, people with baseball caps comprising his primary political base. It is odd that this group so embrace a billionaire wheeler-dealer from New York, New York City for many of them always having represented almost a symbol of Eastern putridness, but they very much do. Just as a lot of Christian fundamentalists embrace this worldly, cynical, and often quite immoral man (as a recently married man paying for sex with a porn star) and he has no church affiliation. This base support represents another dangerous situation, especially where matters of migration and religious identity are concerned. These are groups which do not care that Trump, the supposed super-Patriot, weaseled his way out of military service, so long as he salutes the flag and condemns (legitimate) shows of protest at football games. Facts don’t matter to people who don’t think.