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United Sanctions of America

Written By: - Date published: 9:46 am, August 10th, 2018 - 99 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Donald Trump, International, Politics, Russia, Spying, us politics - Tags: , , ,

The US State department has announced significant sanctions against Russia for the assassination attempt against Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy.

Skripal and his daughter Yulia were hospitalized and treated for a nerve-agent attack in March. Both survived, but local resident Dawn Sturgess died on 8 July after she and her partner Charlie Rowley were exposed to Novichok after finding a small perfume bottle in which the nerve agent was contained.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert accused Russia of violating international law. Having come to that conclusion, US federal law (the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991) requires the State Department to act. The sanctions will go into effect on August the 22nd, however the ruble has already plunged in response to the announcement.

The strangest thing about this situation is the silence from Donald Trump.

The prolific tweeter has not said a dicky bird about the sanctions.

Its safe to assume he’s not in favour of anything that harms Russia, but he cannot overrule the law in this matter, so he appears to have decided to pretend its not happening.

James Clapper, a former intelligence chief who believes Russia nobbled the 2016 election, might know why:

“I have been trying to give the president the benefit of the doubt,” Clapper said last month “But more and more … I really do wonder if the Russians have something on him.”

And what the Russians have on Trump is most likely a money trail. Dollars to donuts they are threatening to expose his financial links to Moscow, which, Trump having denied they exist, would almost certainly lead to moves for his impeachment.

In the meantime, his son Donald Jr, is edging closer to charges of Russian collusion himself. The President did Trump Jr no favours when he recently tweeted:

“Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”

This contradiction of the original defence that the meeting was about child adoption was meant to help his son. Its had the opposite effect.

With the UK Police apparently close to naming the Russian agents suspected of carrying out the Novichok attack, and his own State department showing worrying signs of independence, it gets harder and harder for Trump to say Putin is a good guy. The best!

But if he isn’t able to act as Russia’s point man in Washington, what use is he to Moscow? Why would the Kremlin continue to protect him?

So for the first time in years, Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America, is lost for words.

99 comments on “United Sanctions of America ”

  1. Anne 1

    How is Putin’s Russia likely to respond to the latest sanctions? That is the question.

    Will they return the favour by slapping sanctions on America’s allies?
    Will they eventually cut off oil supplies to European countries?
    Will they slap travel bans on certain countries?
    Will they dump Trump and drop him in the nearest lion’s den?
    Or will they merely withdraw a few more spies diplomats from their embassies in the US and elsewhere.

    The last one I suspect would ultimately be the most dangerous. More poisonings anyone? And maybe even greater interference in the USA and other Western countries leading to… I hate to think.

    • D'Esterre 1.1

      Anne: “The last one I suspect would ultimately be the most dangerous. More poisonings anyone? And maybe even greater interference in the USA and other Western countries leading to… I hate to think.”

      It would be a good idea if you refrained from commenting on a situation about which you clearly know nothing.

      • Anne 1.1.1

        You supercilious creep.

        Think you are so superior that no-one but your ilk (whatever that may be) are entitled to comment? You are correct. I’m no expert on the subject. Never claimed to be. Neither, I suspect, are you.

        Note Clever Dick: I said “will” not “would”. Last I checked one is allowed to indulge in light hearted speculation if feeling that way inclined.

        If you’re so damm clever then you tell us what Putin’s Russia is going to do in response. Come on tell us. We’re all waiting with bated breath – including MFAT.

        • D'Esterre 1.1.1.1

          Anne: “You supercilious creep.”

          Hmm. Yes, I’ve noticed that you’re given to insults, seemingly as a substitute for an argument. Or when a response to you has hit a nerve.

          Obviously you’re a graduate – or at least a former student – of the Michael Reed QC School of Courtroom Behaviour.

          “You are correct. I’m no expert on the subject. Never claimed to be. Neither, I suspect, are you.”

          You don’t need to be an expert; there aren’t too many of them on this site, after all. But you could get yourself much better-informed than you evidently are at present: just don’t run away with the idea that the western msm – especially the US and UK outlets – are the wellspring of useful and pointful information on Russia. Or on anything much except natural disasters. Yes, I do know more about this topic than you do. And it shows.

          “Note Clever Dick: I said “will” not “would”. Last I checked one is allowed to indulge in light hearted speculation if feeling that way inclined.”

          Not seeing the distinction here. Perhaps you could restrict your “lighthearted speculation” to topics with less serious implications for the rest of us.

          “If you’re so damm clever then you tell us what Putin’s Russia is going to do in response. Come on tell us. We’re all waiting with bated breath – including MFAT.”

          By that very statement: “Putin’s Russia”, you mark yourself out as ignorant. If you believe that, you have absolutely no idea what’s going on in Russian politics. Tragically, you share that ignorance with the Washington and UK – and EU – Establishments. You at least, being a member of Joe Public, have an excuse.They do not.

          As to Russian responses? Barring American airlines from its airspace is probable. That would be a serious inconvenience to other countries as well. Such as Japan and Korea: air corridors to Europe overfly Russia. As you’d know if, like us, you’d flown to Europe from there.

          Also it may go ahead and cut off exports of rocket engines to the US, although it’s consistently been reluctant to let terrestrial politics interfere with space exploration.

          Perhaps it’ll refuse to continue supporting the International Space Station. I don’t think that the US’d like that, given that they apparently can’t keep even a helium-filled balloon afloat unaided.

          “…even greater interference in the USA and other Western countries…”

          The Yanks’ (and the Poms’) idea of interference is citizens of western countries getting to hear Russian views. Remember that you cannot have a globalised world and insulate yourselves from foreign views. Even if uncle Sam appears to think it possible.

          Anent the issue I raised above, that of insults being substituted for argument, I’ve noticed that this site is particularly plagued by it. Some may think of it as robust debate; it is not. An insult is an insult, nothing more.

          • Anne 1.1.1.1.1

            If you choose to respond to contributors with a different point of view to yourself by insulting them, then you can expect to be insulted in return.

            Simple as that.

            • te reo putake 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Good point, Anne. One thing that’s worth noting is that the level of vitriol here at TS has dropped in recent times and, as far as I can tell, nobody has been hit with the ban hammer for weeks. So generally, people are debating ideas, not each other. Which is good.

              So, new day, it’s the weekend, sun’s shining, why can’t we all just get along?

              • veutoviper

                Agree re Anne’s comment. Would be great if we could all just get along – but still have differences of opinions but in a respectful way, otherwise it could be very boring! LOL. Yes things have been better for the most part without the hammer although ‘an unnamed male’ seemed to get the chop some weeks ago for no specified time – and no explanation vis a vis the changed procedures being proposed some months ago (about March/April IIRC) . I don’t recall any final info as to whether these are now in place – unless I missed this.

            • D'Esterre 1.1.1.1.1.2

              Anne: “If you choose to respond to contributors with a different point of view to yourself by insulting them, then you can expect to be insulted in return.”

              I pointed out a self-evident fact: that you know nothing about this topic. Not an insult.

              You responded by calling me a “supercilious creep” and “Clever Dick”. Both insults.

              If you wish to show that you are in fact not ignorant on this topic, fire away. Just “Basta!” with the insults: it doesn’t advance the debate in any constructive way.

              [You do realise that telling someone that they “know nothing” is an insult, right? No more, thanks. TRP]

      • Richard 1.1.2

        It would be a good idea if you refrained from commenting on a situation about which you clearly know nothing.

        If everyone applied that rule there’d be no such things as comments sections.

        • D'Esterre 1.1.2.1

          Richard: “If everyone applied that rule there’d be no such things as comments sections.”

          Well, they’d certainly be shorter. And more to the point.

  2. adam 2

    Good to see the left has its own conspiracy theorists, funny have to use the right to help construct one, but at least some on the left are trying.

    I’d like to see proof the Russians actually did make, then use the chemical involved. You know like definitive proof. Been lacking for a while now things like that. Like evidence in other chemical attacks, lite on the ground with proof that one side or the other actually did it.

    Because let’s face it, wild speculation and believing any old bullshit the state pedals is generally what leads to wars.

    • marty mars 2.1

      Do you believe people went to the moon? Evidence or proof enough to convince you? What proof would suffice in this instance?

      • adam 2.1.1

        Are you a flat earther marty mars?

        What a silly straw man argument that is. Don’t you agree?

        Proof in this instance is not the circumstantial stuff we are getting. Proof, like who made it, how it was delivered, and why did a bottle of perfume just appear and kill a women?

        Too soon?

        It’s been months and all we have is circumstantial theories. There is now a murder here, so more needs to happen, than some muppet going to the press with – “I think”. If “I think” was enough to convict people then open air prisons would be the only option.

        • marty mars 2.1.1.1

          Well I suppose when real spy trade craft is known by a dude down here we really have hit peak something. Even the fact that you think you’d ever get a single clue is fanciful. You’ll never know so follow your preconceived ideas like the rest of us mate.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh noes, I can see Peak Pegasus has been reached entering the English lexicon.

          • adam 2.1.1.1.2

            Not in a million years if it’s supporting warmongers marty mars. Not in a million years.

            Edit: So your saying your happy to let people suffer for preconceived ideas, you get how caillou’s an idea that is?

            Also your OK with no evidence and then using that to be violent and start a war.

            There is a criminal investigation going on marty mars, someone died and possibly was murdered by these events. And in the interests of public safety, hell yes we deserve to know. A state who thinks it’s better than its people is a tyrannical state.

            • marty mars 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Lol I thought it was a waste of time and thus it has proved to me. Peace.

              • adam

                Please don’t bother in future if that all you going to do.

                Peace, I wish you supported it.

                • marty mars

                  [Best left out, Marty. TRP] I tried to have a decent interaction with you and you act like bloody rick from the young ones including feigned innocence. [Same.TRP].

                  • marty mars

                    I’m sorry Adam that was really rude of me. My apologises to you.

                    [Did a quick edit. No harm, no foul. TRP]

                    • marty mars

                      Thanks trp. I’ll try to do better ☺

                    • veutoviper

                      Don’t beat yourself up, mm. Understand your frustration etc leading to your original wording above; and good edits etc by TRP. I too ‘have been there done that’ and your now edited comment sums it up accurately. I have given up and now ignore that commenter – even this type of comment from him, when he butted in on a tongue in cheek reply of mine to you, LOL. https://thestandard.org.nz/julian-assange-journeys-end/#comment-1505640

                      A friend who reads but doesn’t comment here is threatening to do a montage of the ridiculous names etc I have received here on TS, particularly from that person, as they are so far off the mark!

                      I also strongly recommend your intended action that you stated over on another post today at 12.33pm. I chose that course of self-imposed ban a long time ago and have absolutely no regrets as free speech certainly does not apply to some posts/authors when people disagree etc with them. Its good to have you back and don’t want to see you go the same way as “another unnamed male” did yet again a few weeks ago.

                    • marty mars

                      veutoviper – I really appreciate your comments – thanks so much. Kia kaha!

                      I’m at work today and as I said to someone – the journey is the beauty not the destination. I will continue to be a work in progress 🙂

                    • veutoviper

                      Love it!
                      Excuse the indirect references but I found that sometimes it pays not to name people and use indirect hints etc as some authors etc set catch names, words to monitor comments more closely. Then the S..t hits the F… The allegations/names I was called when I mentioned a certain author in a comment which was caught that way will certainly be in the montage! LOL

                  • adam

                    edit: pointless. Just go with the abuse from the start if you can’t defend your point.

        • greywarshark 2.1.1.2

          adam
          Superman?
          Supercilious.

          • Anne 2.1.1.2.1

            Hi greywarshark,

            My comment @1.1.1 was directed at D’Esterre. 🙂

            “supercilious”

            behaving or looking as though one thinks one is superior to others.
            “a supercilious lady’s maid”
            synonyms: arrogant, haughty, conceited, disdainful, overbearing, pompous, condescending, superior, patronizing, imperious, proud, lofty, lordly, snobbish, snobby, overweening, smug;…

            You have to admit there are a handful of commenatators here who, from time to time, exhibit one or more symptoms of the above. Mostly (but not always) in relation to womankind. Sadly. we’ve lost some excellent women commenters because of it.

            • greywarshark 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Anne
              I still think adam is often supercilious. I don’t think you are. I’m not sure why you have replied. Greetings anyway. And have a good weekend.

              • Anne

                @ grey.
                Sorry, I happened to used the self same word at 1.1.1 in reply to D’Esterre. I thought you might have thought my reply was to adam. My mistake in haste.

                And I agree adam is one of the culprits.

          • adam 2.1.1.2.2

            So you liked the straw men arguments marty mars put up did you? As for being superior, if that means I don’t support the wholesale unthink support of jingoism as a state of being – then yeah feel free to call me what you want.

    • left_forward 2.2

      I agree with mm adam (or at least why he asked you to explain) – are you demanding ‘definitive proof’ in the sense of something that Trump would be happy with, or do you really mean something not fake?
      Why do you think that the evidence of the chemical attack may be lite on the ground – what evidence do you have to support your concern?

      • adam 2.2.1

        Yes the evidence presented to the public so far is little more than circumstantial theories. If you have somthing more than that I’d be happy to read, please no crazy conspiracy theories – no fan of thoses.

        • cleangreen 2.2.1.1

          Agree with youn adam the proof is not there that Russia did this.

          it was so flimsy to say Russia produced this batch when they had no proof or evidence so I believe in inocent until proven guilty otherwise we are a kangarroo court.

          I believe this was a enemy of russia that committed this and are trying to cause a war against russia to pursue.

          I hate war so I give every chance to show solid proof of guilt.

          Then it would not be up to global actions to decide what to do not just threaten war.

          What are these people thinking???

    • Liberal Realist 2.3

      +100 Adam.

      The thing is, there is no proof and none has been offered. Only unsubstantiated claims and and accusations.

      UK/US MSM in overdrive pounding the ‘Russia did it’ narrative is a sure sign something is off.

      This whole saga smells like a sad attempt at creating casus belli. As the saying goes, Cui Bono?

      Craig Murray has written a few very good analyses on the Skripal affair – recommended reading.

      https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/07/the-holes-in-the-official-skripal-story/
      https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/07/dawn-sturgess/
      https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/07/the-amesbury-mystery/
      https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/07/wheel-out-the-skripal-story-again/

  3. Adrian Thornton 3

    Why Are Liberal Media Outlets Not Questioning Russiagate?

    Here is some crazy examples of the Russia hysteria infecting many liberals and liberal media like some sort of zombie apocalypse…

    Maddow’s Tears – Let the ratings flow™

    https://theintercept.com/2017/04/12/msnbcs-rachel-maddow-sees-a-russia-connection-lurking-around-every-corner/

    • D'Esterre 3.1

      Adrian Thornton: “Why Are Liberal Media Outlets Not Questioning Russiagate?”

      Why indeed. It puzzles me greatly that a purportedly Left-wing – and presumably liberal – blogsite would uncritically print this anti-Russia stuff. Do commenters here not realise that Yankee hysteria about Russia is founded on that country having been “Communist”? And therefore about as Left-wing as it’s possible to be? As opposed to that great Right-wing bastion of neoliberalism and free enterprise: the US of A. Where have you all been?

      It’s astonishing.

    • left_forward 3.2

      What – are you saying that media examining the evidence of Russian interference in US elections is hysteria, because of some vague opinions expressed on Youtube?
      People have been charged, owned up and indicted in courts over this – are you saying the US justice system is in hysteria too?

      • Adrian Thornton 3.2.1

        @left_forward

        The only fact that I do know is that the man who you are all so quick to defend the reliability of is a known right wing war monger and a straight out lair, other than that fact what other hard facts have you seen?

        The same man that directly enabled the deaths and misery of hundreds of thousands of human beings.

        Here is your poster boy for the truth….

        Robert S. Mueller
        Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation (under Bush)
        2003

        “Iraq’s WMD program poses a clear threat to our national security, a threat that will certainly increase in the event of future military action against Iraq. Baghdad has the capability and, we presume, the will to use biological, chemical, or radiological weapons against US domestic targets”

        https://usiraq.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000681#mueller

      • D'Esterre 3.2.2

        left_forward: “What – are you saying that media examining the evidence of Russian interference in US elections is hysteria, because of some vague opinions expressed on Youtube?”

        Hahaha! Media “examining evidence”: is that what you call it? What evidence would that be? Uncritically printing and broadcasting propaganda, more like. And, in the case of US msm, making it up as they go along. Are you claiming in all seriousness to believe this stuff? Of course it’s hysteria.

        “People have been charged, owned up and indicted in courts over this – are you saying the US justice system is in hysteria too?””

        To whom are you referring? Manafort? He’s charged over dealings in the Ukraine. Not Russia: you do realise, don’t you, that they’re different countries? Who else? Names please.

        And here you are: no doubt one of the Lefties who spend their days having conniptions over the fate of black criminals, yet when it’s dealing with Russiagate, you decide that the American justice system is above reproach? Good grief.

        As a member of this household has just observed: “I mean bloody Mary! Alleged leftists now claiming that the FBI is the epitome of integrity and justice!” Indeed…

        • left_forward 3.2.2.1

          The hysteria and conniptions are all with you mate – throw in paranoia as well.

          • greywarshark 3.2.2.1.1

            left-forward
            Sounds like RW playing the eye-of-the-storm bit, calm amongst the rabble.
            Such a well-worn meme. But always good for a new wearing.

          • Adrian Thornton 3.2.2.1.2

            I think if one sat back for a moment and dispassionately observed the western media coverage of this event, one would find that the conniptions are coming directly from that source, the media itself…and on the face of it seem to either purposely or not produce a weird unfounded paranoia of Russia, who are actually no better or worse than the other super power free market oligarchie…. the USA, and let’s face it, both are fucking terrible.

            • left_forward 3.2.2.1.2.1

              Russia’s interference in the us democratic election is undeniable no matter what angle you choose to take. Is the protection of democracy not important to you?

              • KJT

                Ironic really, after the USA’s covert and overt interference with Democracy,in much of the world. And the redistricting, restriction of voters, if not outright fraud, and buying of politicians in the USA.

                One wonders how much, “behind the scenes” pressure is put on our own Government to allow US corporate hegemony, for one.

                Any Russian influence on US “Democracy” is obviously minimal, compared with establishment Democrats own goals, and Republican vote gerrymandering.

              • D'Esterre

                left_forward: “Russia’s interference in the us democratic election is undeniable no matter what angle you choose to take.”

                Produce the evidence on which you are relying, so as to make that assertion.

                “Is the protection of democracy not important to you?”

                That’s an excellent example of the complex question fallacy, or the loaded question.

          • D'Esterre 3.2.2.1.3

            left_forward: “The hysteria and conniptions are all with you mate – throw in paranoia as well.”

            Hysteria and paranoia rules in the US and UK msm. And in our media as well, since they uncritically reprint and rebroadcast what comes in from overseas. Nary a peep of critical analysis; and as far as I can recall, our news media has been like that for the whole of my life: at least since I was old enough to read. No TV when I was young.

            As for conniptions over the injustice of the US justice system’s treatment of black men: yup. Seen it here, and in the aforementioned msm.

      • D'Esterre 3.2.4

        left_forward: “People have been charged, owned up and indicted in courts over this – are you saying the US justice system is in hysteria too?”

        Remember that it is the FBI doing the investigating. The FBI has “form” for how it does this stuff. It is notorious.

        The FBI is America’s political police, and has never been squeamish about using intimidation and perjury to achieve its goals. Note that it only recently began filming interrogations.

        Their method is to overcharge the target while dragging out their investigation for as long as possible, exhausting the target’s financial and psychological strength until they agree to a plea bargain to make the nightmare stop. As an added sweetener, a drawn-out investigation increases their chances of getting something on which they can base an obstruction charge.

        It doesn’t matter if they seriously expect to find cogent evidence of the original crime; they’ll just start the investigation and sooner or later the target will make a mistake. It’s fundamentally not much different from entrapment, and doesn’t serve the public interest in any meaningful way, because the ‘crime’ wouldn’t have occurred if not for the FBI and their investigation. Take just about any scummy police and prosecutorial tactic, chances are it was pioneered at the federal level and filtered downwards from there.

        This is legal criminality. It’s what the FBI is for and always has been.

        Mueller’s strategy has always been very obvious – to attack people associated with the Trump campaign in order to undermine the administration. Very likely he believes in his own bullshit, but even if his investigation doesn’t turn up anything actionable, it will weaken Trump by demoralising and incapacitating his subordinates. There is always the possibility that some of the defendants will be successfully pressured into perjuring themselves.

        This is the calibre of the US justice system; no Leftie worth their salt would be caught dead even accepting its actions uncritically, let alone supporting its judgements and conclusions.

        All countries have their political police, but America differs from NZ in that the political police here have no arrest powers. You’ve no doubt seen that “never talk to the police” video; well, that advice goes double for the FBI.

  4. Steve Bradley 4

    Gotta keep in mind that the Trumpeters are there to action the world dominance fantasies of that section of the US capitalist class. Simple. Like a school-yard bully, Trump and his fan club want to slap any serious opposition, be it China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, et al. But they also want to split and divide any hint of the opposition uniting in common cause.

    No question Trump likes to deal with countries through their leaders, one on one, in real time. He thinks he knows when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.

    Currently the only uniting of a section of the opposition,in a multi-polar world,is the EU saying to the US that the current deal with Iran is working. Leave it alone.

    But to carry on the gambling metaphor (this is capitalism, after all) if you had to put up some money, you’d be betting that EU-based capital will not be prepared to face down US sanctions over a matter of principle and/or profitability.

    Suficient numbers of ordinary citizens can call a halt to this slide to destruction if and when we get mobilized. But we are running out of time on multiple fronts.

    • D'Esterre 4.1

      Steve Bradley: “Like a school-yard bully, Trump and his fan club want to slap any serious opposition…”

      In fairness to Trump, that’s for the most part not what he was saying on the campaign trail. He’s neither a pollie nor a diplomat; he’s a businessman, and thus far, his tactics with countries such as north Korea and Iran look like negotiating strategies. It remains to be seen how successful they’ll be.

      As to Russia, being a businessman, he clearly saw detente and trade as a useful path to pursue. And didn’t we all: greatly to be preferred to Clinton’s warmongering. However, once he acceded to the White House, the Washington Establishment obviously put him right: it needs the Cold War hysteria so as to provide an excuse for the funding of the military. The US economy has been on a war footing since the end of WW2; large sectors of it depend upon the maintenance of current levels of military spending, and would fall over without it.

      “…to carry on the gambling metaphor (this is capitalism, after all) if you had to put up some money, you’d be betting that EU-based capital will not be prepared to face down US sanctions over a matter of principle and/or profitability.”

      Ha! Yes, the EU nations are largely pusillanimous when facing Yankee bullying. However, come the winter, or even before that, EU citizens are likely to get restive over the effects on them of further Russian sanctions. Don’t forget that, while the political elites of the EU may profess eternal love for uncle Sam, the citizens in general have a much more conditional view. If not outright dislike.

      “Suficient numbers of ordinary citizens can call a halt to this slide to destruction if and when we get mobilized. But we are running out of time on multiple fronts.”

      Yup. Not much hope of that with most of the people who comment here, is there?

  5. Violating international law? Messing with other countries politics and sovereignty?
    Well, Russia would be out on its own if it didn’t…how about American and UK sanctions against these countries (for starters)

    The United States of America, can America bring in sanctions against itself?
    Israel,
    Saudi Arabia

    yeah, nah, I guess not…
    .

  6. D'Esterre 6

    Siobhan: “…how about American and UK sanctions against these countries (for starters)

    The United States of America, can America bring in sanctions against itself?
    Israel,
    Saudi Arabia”

    Exactly. The rest of the world could bring in sanctions against the US (and its partners in crime). But unlikely: you’d be lucky to find a pair among any of the EU types (Or the rest of the so-called 5Eyes countries). Honourable exception: Austria. Maybe Hungary…. possibly Italy.

    Leftists of the world unite: it’s time commenters here stopped uncritically backing uncle Sam, and started taking a more sceptical view of what the msm is telling them.

    • Ed 6.1

      “it’s time commenters here stopped uncritically backing uncle Sam, and started taking a more sceptical view of what the msm is telling them.“

      100% agree.

  7. SPC 7

    Given the array of sanctions on Russia already, including American, over Ukraine/Crimea this is not that significant.

    More interesting is the world observing Canada exercise its right of free speech on human rights in Saudi Arabia and then being subject to economic consequences, loss of investment etc.

    Apparently in the Trump era, economic bullying is becoming normalised as a means of leverage to force compliance in bi-lateral relationships. It’s always been there, but so much more twittering in your face nowadays.

    • Adrian Thornton 7.1

      SPC, Great point on Canada/Saudi Arabia…not to mention Saudi Arabia/US/UK/Yemen.

    • D'Esterre 7.2

      SPC: “Given the array of sanctions on Russia already, including American, over Ukraine/Crimea this is not that significant.”

      I’m not so sure about that. See this: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/russia-sanctions/

      You’ll note from the article that America gave up on its brief attempt to bugger up Oleg Deripaska’s existence.

      The concerning bit is the attempt to introduce an Iraq-style inspections regime. It makes the current period look more and more like the lead-up to 2003. And – given that we’re talking about a large, nuclear-armed polity, the population of which is determined to protect its sovereignty – we ought all to be concerned.

      • joe90 7.2.1

        Surely you could cite someone other than a self described race realist who also happens to think it’s female Jews who dislike Russia more than anything, at least among Western journalists

  8. James Clapper Jr, eh?

    He certainly gets around,… remember that midnight meeting between him and high ranking NZ officials after he arrived in the early hours in an (unmarked ? ) airplane, and the ensuing raid on Kim Dotcom ? …. you know,… the one who pled guilty to using NSA surveillance to spy on the U.S population?

    And then Key was caught out lying some time later over Cortex / XKEYSCORE etc?

    [ ‘Following the June 2013 leak of documents detailing the NSA practice of collecting telephone metadata on millions of Americans’ telephone calls, Clapper was accused of perjury for telling a congressional committee hearing that the NSA does not collect any type of data on millions of Americans earlier that year. One senator asked for his resignation, and a group of 26 senators complained about Clapper’s responses under questioning. In November 2016, Clapper resigned as director of national intelligence, effective at the end of President Obama’s term ‘ ]

    Just a thought…

    • D'Esterre 8.1

      Wild Katipo; “James Clapper Jr, eh?

      He certainly gets around,… remember that midnight meeting between him and high ranking NZ officials after he arrived in the early hours in an (unmarked ? ) airplane, and the ensuing raid on Kim Dotcom ? …. you know,… the one who pled guilty to using NSA surveillance to spy on the U.S population?

      And then Key was caught out lying some time later over Cortex / XKEYSCORE etc?”

      Heh! Yeah, I remember all that. Anyone who believes Clapper’s take on anything – except perhaps what day of the week it is – needs to be reminded of all that history.

  9. Brutus Iscariot 9

    This McCarthyist obsession of TRP’s is becoming more than a little cringeworthy.

  10. AsleepWhileWalking 10

    Russians are highly adaptable people. They’ll find a way around this nonsense.

    Besides aren’t they the only available suppliers of oil/gas to Turkey or some such? I recall a pipeline. Perhaps the US has forgotten.

  11. D'Esterre 11

    Te Reo Putake: “… Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy…”

    No. Skripal was a British spy. Ethnically Russian, but a spy for the British.

    “Skripal and his daughter Yulia were hospitalized and treated for a nerve-agent attack in March. Both survived, but local resident Dawn Sturgess died on 8 July after she and her partner Charlie Rowley were exposed to Novichok after finding a small perfume bottle in which the nerve agent was contained.”

    Whatever happened in Wiltshire, it wasn’t a “nerve gas” attack. This is what a nerve gas attack looks like:
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/06/national/crime-legal/aum-shinrikyo-guru-shoko-asahara-hanged-mass-murder-reports/

    The Poms can shriek all they like about the evil Russians carrying out a gas attack. Well: they would say that, wouldn’t they? This is Old Blighty – longstanding Russophobe – we’re talking about here. But in light of what happened in Japan all those years ago, the Wiltshire incidents don’t – if you’ll pardon the pun – pass the sniff test.

    “The sanctions will go into effect on August the 22nd, however the ruble has already plunged in response to the announcement.”

    This is a disastrous development; the US chucking its weight around on the basis of no evidence, and over an issue which doesn’t concern it in the slightest. It isn’t any business of the US; for it to come over all holier-than-thou over this, is the apotheosis of hypocrisy, given its flagrant breaches of international law over many years. Ditto the UK, of course: no plaster saints there, either. I’d expect an author on this blogsite to report such proposed sanctions with some empathy for the unfortunate citizens who will be affected.

    “James Clapper, a former intelligence chief who believes Russia nobbled the 2016 election, might know why:

    “I have been trying to give the president the benefit of the doubt,” Clapper said last month “But more and more … I really do wonder if the Russians have something on him.””

    The Yanks are so paranoid about Russia that they regard even unexceptionable business contacts – of which there have been many, by many businesses, since 1991 – as verging on treasonous. Which from our viewpoint looks barking mad. Because it is. I’d be astonished if Trump didn’t have at least some business dealings with Russia over the last almost-30 years. Given that McCarthyism rules there, such that rationality has pretty much disappeared, anyone who’s had business dealings in that part of the world will be running for cover. Trump included.

    I’m a longtime politics-watcher. From what I’ve seen, Trump is no worse than pretty much any of his predecessors, going right back to the 1950s. That’s not saying much, of course: they’ve all been variably awful.

    Being neither a pollie nor a diplomat, he’s rougher in his speech and manners than, for instance, Obama and Clinton. And he has Twitter, which gives us immediate insight into what he’s saying. We no longer have to wait decades for official documents and records to be declassified, as was the case as recently as Obama’s time.

    We need to judge US presidents by what they do, not what they say. On that score, at least Trump hasn’t started another war. And I’ve not heard that he has a “kill” list, as did Obama, apparently.

    In general, the media, being liberal, favour Democrat presidents and give them an easier time of it than they do Republicans. Remember the roasting George W got? Also Bush Snr and Quayle. And Reagan before that. Clinton copped a going-over from the Republicans, but the msm cut him a great deal of slack over his domestic and foreign policies. Remember who was distally responsible for the catastrophic crash in US house values, which itself was one of the factors contributing to the GFC.

    It seems to me that, like many Left-wing commentators, both here and elsewhere, you’ve got a serious case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. There’s probably no cure, unfortunately, but leave Russia out of it.

    • Anne 11.1

      No. Skripal was a British spy. Ethnically Russian, but a spy for the British.

      For many years he was “a former Russian spy” then MI6 turned him.

      “James Clapper, a former intelligence chief…

      … “I have been trying to give the president the benefit of the doubt,” Clapper said last month “But more and more … I really do wonder if the Russians have something on him.””

      I’ve been wondering the same thing. Funny that.

      You need to learn to stop making snap judgments about people because you are often wrong.

      • D'Esterre 11.1.1

        Anne: “For many years he was “a former Russian spy” then MI6 turned him.”

        No. He was in GRU, co-opted by MI6 in 1995. Military intel: not the same as espionage.

        He is a British spy, that is why he was exchanged and went to Britain. His being a British spy is the salient point here.

        • SPC 11.1.1.1

          GRU is foreign military intelligence. Espionage is simply a term for “intelligence” gathering. Thus no surprise that some of those in GRU were placed in embassy’s.

          He is clearly both, a former Russian spy and former British spy.

          The real question is whether two claims that have been made join together, do two Russians seen on camera arriving in the UK have a connection to the GRU?

          • joe90 11.1.1.1.1

            A former Russian intelligence officer.

          • D'Esterre 11.1.1.1.2

            SPC: “Espionage is simply a term for “intelligence””

            Actually, no. Intelligence-gathering doesn’t entail espionage. Espionage is a distinctly different enterprise. Probably a lot more of it, back in the 90s.

            “He is clearly both, a former Russian spy and former British spy.”

            No. A British spy.

    • Liberal Realist 11.2

      +1 Very well said.

    • Mate, nowhere in the OP does it say “nerve gas”. Novichok is a nerve agent, and the best current guess is that it was transported from Russia in a perfume bottle. Nothing to do with the recently deceased Aum sect.

      I’m kinda keen to get your definition of McCarthyite too. Not sure you understand the concept.

      • D'Esterre 11.3.1

        Te Reo Putake: ” nowhere in the OP does it say “nerve gas”. Novichok is a nerve agent, and the best current guess is that it was transported from Russia in a perfume bottle.’

        “The agent A-234 is also supposedly around five to eight times more potent than VX.[63][58]

        The agents are reportedly capable of being delivered as a liquid, aerosol or gas via a variety of systems, including artillery shells, bombs, missiles and spraying devices.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novichok_agent#Description_of_Novichok_agents

        So yes: gas. Aerosol too.

        “I’m kinda keen to get your definition of McCarthyite too. Not sure you understand the concept.”

        Heh! I think that the one who doesn’t understand it is you. I was alive during the first round of McCarthyism; evidently you weren’t. But here’s somebody else who understands it as I do:
        https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/26/the-rise-of-the-new-mccarthyism/

        • te reo putake 11.3.1.1

          Yeah, so nothing like the OP. I’m critiquing two apparently twinned powers from a distance in a third country. I’m not focussed on Russia, but then neither was McCarthy. My perspective is that Putin and Trump are ridiculously wealthy businessmen who happen to be leaders of their countries. Russia is a mafia state and America is showing some similar characteristics.

          The leadership of both appears to be criminal. The difference between the two is that Putin’s better at it.

          That has nothing what so ever to do with McCarthyism. McCarthy wasn’t much bothered about the Russians per se. It was reasonably well known at the time that there were Communists in Russia. It was commos at home that McCarthy was after.

          So, not an apt comparison.

          • D'Esterre 11.3.1.1.1

            Te Reo Putake: ” I’m not focussed on Russia….”

            Au contraire: that’s how your post reads. And the previous one some time ago, headed with inaccurate Russian. In fairness, it does look as though you’re imputing the worst possible motives to Trump, and Putin is the fall guy to hand. Trump Derangement Syndrome, as I commented somewhere above.

            “My perspective is that Putin and Trump are ridiculously wealthy businessmen…”

            I’ve called you out before on this claim about Putin. He has only ever worked in the public service: nobody in any country gets rich from this career path. Especially not in the USSR, or in Yeltsin’s Russia. Or in the years since. These are western media claims only; not supported by any evidence. As usual…

            “Russia is a mafia state….”

            No it isn’t. Again: claims made by western media, on the basis of no evidence. And by exiled criminals. There wasn’t a mafia during the USSR years. But during the years of the western puppet Yeltsin, there was certainly a problem with the mafia. It comprised Georgians, Chechens, Armenians, some Central Asians, and Jews. Reportage here at the time characterised the Russian mafia as Jewish; certainly there were Jews among the mafia at the time, but they weren’t predominant.

            Since Putin came to power, he’s put real heft into offing the mafia. With considerable success. Nowadays, organised crime levels are about the same as in western countries such as the UK, US and Australia (which has had a significant problem, going back many decades).

            “The leadership of both appears to be criminal.”

            No. No evidence for that at all. I’m well aware that western news media – in particular UK and US outlets – sling around wild accusations of this sort. But always they’re evidence-free.

            “That has nothing what so ever to do with McCarthyism.”

            I wonder if you read the Consortium link I posted above? I’m of the view that Consortium commentators are a voice of authority and credibility in this matter.

            A definition for you. From Wiki, but it’s succinct :
            “The term McCarthyism is applied to the persecution of innocent people using powerful but unproved allegations. It refers to U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy’s charges of communist subversion and high treason in the U.S. federal government in 1950s.”

            That’s what’s going on in the US at present: it’s exactly the same dynamic. And it’s precisely what commenters here and elsewhere – including you – are doing.

            “McCarthy wasn’t much bothered about the Russians per se.”

            Yes. He was. And among other things, he also wanted British ships trading with Red China to be bombed. He believed that public health services such as vaccination, water fluoridation ans mental health programmes were communist plots, designed to brainwash or poison the people. He was truly unhinged. But sadly he’s left an indelible mark on the US body politic.

            • te reo putake 11.3.1.1.1.1

              “The term McCarthyism is applied to the persecution of innocent people using powerful but unproved allegations …”

              And this is where your facile argument falls down. The billionaire Putin and the multi millionaire Trump are far from innocent and not persecuted by anyone, let alone me. Trump may end up prosecuted, rather than persecuted, but that’s nothing to do with me.

              Senator Joseph McCarthy had the force of law and the powers of the state in his witch hunt. I don’t. Being chided in a relatively obscure blog is not equivalent to being hounded out of work and home in a series of show trials.

              The misuse of the term is abusive. Don’t do it again, please.

    • SPC 11.4

      The sanctions are automatic – in line with the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.

      There are two tranches of sanctions required under the 1991 law, applied one after the other.

      All it requires is acceptance of Russian use, which Trump recognised some time back (possibly not aware that this would later result).

      A quite separate measure, legislation proposed, would target Russian banks – the Russians have said they would respond if this came to pass. As they note it is the more significant measure. Economic warfare was the term they used.

      In this regard it will be of interest how they respond to American economic warfare on Iran, as it will impact on their business relationship/investment there.

  12. Philj 12

    Russiamainia is a distraction from the multitude of crimes being committed in the name of democrazy. Lol.

  13. peterlepaysan 13

    It is very unlikely that the russians do not know who carried out the attack on the skripals and (presumably) left behind a perfume atomiser full of novochok.

    It is unlikely that the novochok was manafactured in russia.

    Apparently chemical analysis can determine where novochok (or how?) was made. Something I find questionable, however the russians have demanded samples to prove their innocence.

    A sample was left lying around (how very convenient , and unfortunate,) but now is nowhere to be found.

    Now the usa sanctions russia on the above evidence.

    Something smells.

  14. corodale 14

    It’s just NATO puppet masters pulling rank. The last cry of a dying beast?

    • corodale 14.1

      Wander how Russia might reply? Give China and India approval to occupy Syria and Yemen? Might be a bumpy start to a longer term peace strategy.

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