January 08, 2019

Sandcrawler PSA: How Not To Defect To Cuba

Gets an A for effort! At least she tried.

“On January 6, crew members at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport requested assistance from local law enforcement after a customer was denied boarding for indications of intoxication and became disruptive,” a spokesperson from JetBlue Corporate Communications says.

The resulting hysteria was caught on camera where the woman was heard screaming at staff and seen hoisting herself up onto the JetBlue counter.

“Who does that to a woman like me?” she screamed, before continuing to yell, “Get me out of here.”

It became even worse when she called the male staff member a “rapist” and threatened that she had a gun on her, claiming that she was homeless. Moments later, she grabbed her bag and walked off while other passengers whispered about her threats.

The lesson here, never try.

By Howie at 08:18 AM | Comments |

October 04, 2017

Sandcrawler Travel Advisory: Visit Exciting Exotic Karachi Pakistan!

Join the funin Karachi, were you can truly have the full Islamic experience!


No women! No wine! Bacha bazi all day long!

Pakistan's commercial hub Karachi has been serving as an attractive base for global jihadi groups such as al-Qaeda and its affiliates since the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

"Although the number of high-profile al-Qaeda members arrested in Karachi dropped after the first few years following 9/11, the number of the militant outfits in the metropolis and the arrest of al-Qaeda individuals has picked up since the group formally created al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) in September 2014, ' The News International reports.

The research report titled 'al-Qaeda in Pakistan: A metric problem?' has been published in a special edition of the Combating Terrorism Centre (CTC) Sentinel, a publication of the US military academic institution, analyzing al-Qaeda over the past 16 years since 9/11, which shows the global terror group's presence in the city has been growing in recent years. The data also points that in 16 years, the challenges posed by the group in the region have extended well beyond Afghanistan.

Hmm? American reports on Kremlintroll sites.

Anyway I didn't want that link to be clickable. But is Karchi a terrorist shithole? Um.... yeah...

By Howie at 07:30 AM | Comments |

September 14, 2017

He Doesn't See Us Azzam

Keep filming...


Something more recent.

There is chattert hat Russia used a FOAB on ISIS this week. Anyway maybe after this post Saint Petersburg will stop trying to hack me?

Yeah I know its an oldie....

By Howie at 08:20 AM | Comments |

May 25, 2017

In Mother Russia The Fire Puts Out You

Ypa! Everyone is safe. We drink now.

By Howie at 09:18 PM | Comments |

April 06, 2017

Meanwhile in St. Petersburg

Russian police arrested three and confiscated a bomb in an FSB raid and a man, either homeless or a custodian picked up a booby trapped flashlight.

Moscow Times:(if you click the Russians will send you spam, just saying don't decide your votes on it.)

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has defused a bomb in a residential building in St. Petersburg.

The building was evacuated on Thursday morning after a police search of one of the apartments uncovered a homemade explosive device, the city's Fontanka news site reported.

Three people were detained at the scene.

A homeless man lost his hand after picking up an improvised explosive device disguised as a flashlight outside one of the city's schools.

Children were not in the building when the explosion took place.

Update: Psych!
Authorities in St Petersburg decided not to evacuate an apartment building after it determined that an earlier reported explosion was actually a construction mishap that caused a piece of wall siding to fall, scattering debris and damaging a car.
Reports of an explosion spread on social media as photos taken from the scene showed the damaged 16-story building and the debris on the ground below.

At least one image showed black smoke and fire coming from the building near the damaged wall.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud pop before the siding fell from the building.

OK, there was a bomb found and three arrested. The rest is not so clear, not a school and also not a rigged flashlight bomb.

By Howie at 07:33 AM | Comments |

January 05, 2017

Obama's More Average America Policy Gets Results

I'm kind of fascinated by the press this Russian propaganda/WikiLeaks thing is getting.

After all Obama stated at the beginning of his term that American exceptionalism was ending. That we were surrendering the title Worlds Last Remaining Super Power. The result is as predictable as the sunrise.

Which I think is good on some level. I mean that title is like a target on your back. The world is much better off with several competing and cooperating large powers.

But the consequence of a less powerful or less influential America, to sharing power more equally is naturally that nations like China and Russia move in world standing by default.

So personally I like Cold War II, its sure beats the heck out of eternal WWIII that we've been going through.

But you have to expect that a more relatively powerful Russia will have more influence. Possibly even influence in our own media. Its not as if we're above broadcasting VOA worldwide nor doing our own hacking of Russia.

In the end the truth is we both have always attempted to influence the public opinion each other's populations. What effect that influence has is debateable. I doubt it changes much of anything.

Trump won basically the same way Putin wins. The way Obama won, and every other president for that matter, based on his Charisma as a person. Not to mention that natural see-saw effect of America, we love to switch over now and then.

But whatever, so long as eyes are on some imagined or real conflict between the big dogs it will work over time to put a lid on some of these smaller conflicts.

In fact given Trump's history of taking control of the narrative I'm not sure that this whole thing is not exactly what Trump wants. Possibly Obama is setting the state he wants when he takes office.

So that's my Kihnspiracy theory for the day.

I intend to stick with it. Anyway the threat of global nuclear annihilation si something I grew up with. It makes me comfortable.

By Howie at 11:25 AM | Comments |

October 27, 2016

Fame Fortune Celebrity, All That

Jester striketh out at Vladimir Putin.

He targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin specifically, who has denied backing the hacks against the US.

“Let’s get real, I know it’s you, even if by-proxy, and you know it’s you,” the Jester wrote. “Now, get to your room. Before I lose my temper.”

Hat Tip: Some internet guy in a silly hat.

By Howie at 09:41 AM | Comments |

July 30, 2016

Sandcrawler PSA: Cold War II

Why not. I mean I'd take Cold War II over WW III any day.

Be afraid very afraid if Cold War II goes wrong, well that's it. It can't go wrong. ifs MAD MAD I tell you.

By Howie at 10:17 AM | Comments |

April 13, 2016

Russians Buzzing American Warship

More here.

By Howie at 03:25 PM | Comments |

December 30, 2015

Reader Love Mail: Crimes of Putin Edition

A reader loves my post on Russia bombing ISIS and generally everyone in Syria, save Assad.

You piece of shit, do you have any idea of Putin's crimes and human rights violations. Amazing.
Yeah I do actually, I've also seen Russians tortured and murdered by Islamist.

So therefore the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and so much as that entails sending Jihadis to Jahannam. Knock yourself out Mr. Putin.

I'll not only get a kick out of watching it, I'll buy the flippin calendar if it helps.

Lets see which one... dum da ta dee.. dum tee dah dum..(shopping)


By Howie at 08:44 PM | Comments |

December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas ISIS From Russian Santa

Mr. Putin, so thoughtful.

We would also like to thank Mr. Putin for doing a solid this Christmas, because we can't depend on you know who to do his job.

By Howie at 10:29 AM | Comments |

December 02, 2015

Islamic State Murders Russian Spy

We have common cause with the Russians. Maybe not completely common interests, but we and the Russians stand on the side of civilization.

I will make a copy available for download by request shortly.

The video follows a familiar script, accusations, a confession, then the murder, much of the actual beheading is cut but enough is left to provide proof of the murder.

Here are some frame grabs.







The video is available here by request only for a limited time.

By Howie at 12:47 PM | Comments |

February 09, 2015

Meanwhile in Donetsk

Now I know how to say, "Oh Shit!" in Russian.

By Howie at 02:43 PM | Comments |

December 26, 2014

The Spice Vodka Must Flow!

Screw falling oil prices the commodity that really brings Russia to its knees is Vodka

Vodka powers Russia.

That’s the message Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Wednesday when he ordered vodka prices reined in.

Skyrocketing government-regulated vodka prices – up 30 percent in the last year to $4.10 for a half-liter bottle — means more bootleg alcohol will reach market. Unregulated vodka made by unscrupulous producers poses a potential health threat.

He who controls the Vodka controls Russia!

By Howie at 11:12 AM | Comments |

November 14, 2014

Lone Blogger PWNS Russia

Today Russia posted an image claiming it was of a Ukrainian Jet shooting down a Malaysian airlines jet.

Well either Putin is full of sh1t or ....... nature produced the very same cloud in the very same place twice in two years.

By Howie at 01:18 PM | Comments |

September 04, 2014

ISIS F*cks With the Wrong Guy?

No not Obama, Vladimir Putin.

Members of the Islamic State, a violent group of extremists presently terrorizing Iraq and Syria, have released a video threatening President Vladimir Putin and vowing to wage war in Russia’s restive North Caucasus.

Message to Putin

A video released by Al Arabiya and reportedly filmed in a seized airport in the Syrian province of Raqqa features an Islamic State fighter seated in a military jet, saying: “This message is for you, Vladimir Putin! These are the aircraft you sent to Bashar [Assad], and we’re going to send them to you. Remember that!”

Vladimir, are you just going to take that?

I mean no one will give a rats behind if you teach ISIS a good old Russian lesson. Just saying.

By Howie at 10:33 AM | Comments |

August 25, 2014

But What if, Gasp, Putin Was Right All Along?!?!?

Putin looked deep in to Barry's eyes and saw a naive putz.

The irony of the moment is tragic. But to some, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Many cautioned against the earlier insistence of the Obama administration (as well as other governments) that Assad must go, fearing what would take hold in the vacuum. One of those critics happened to be Russian President Vladimir Putin, who warned against US intervention in Syria in a New York Times op-ed last September.

He wrote: “A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilise the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.”

Um, yeah.

If you don't think we share common interest with Puti, I have one word for you, its Beslan.

By Howie at 12:30 PM | Comments |

July 17, 2014

Malaysian Airlines 777 and Two Su-22 Jets Downed Over Ukraine


A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, prompting a Ukrainian official to say that the flight carrying 295 people had been shot down.
The Boeing 777 was "shot down" by "terrorists" operating a Buk surface-to-air missile system, according to a Facebook post from Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.

The plane went down near the town on Torez in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, according to the post, as it flew at about 10,000 meters (32,000 feet).
"We do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said, according to his website.

This after two Ukrainian Su-22 jets were downed yesterday.
Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, said an Su-25 ground attack plane was downed on Wednesday evening.

Russia's defence ministry called the accusation "absurd", Russian state media reported.

Rebels in eastern Ukraine say they shot down two Su-25 jets on Wednesday.

Ukraine also alleges rockets were fired at its forces from Russian territory.

Russia as denied any involvement, but a deleted post by a pro-Russian rebel on the Russian language social network VK appears to claim to have downed the larger jet.

17.07.2014 17:50 (MSK) Message from the militia. "In the area Torrez just downed plane An-26, lying somewhere in the mine" Progress ". Warned same - not to fly in "our sky." And here is the video the confirmation of the next "ptichkopada." Birdie fell for waste heap, the residential sector is not caught. Peaceful people do not suffer. And also have information about the second downed aircraft, like the Su. "
Possibly the rebels have missiles capable to reaching the 30000 ft cruising altitude of the plane. But that takes a launcher based missile, rather than a so called manpad. But claims that such a launcher was in use by the rebels have been posted.

It appears to be a case of a trigger happy operator for the Ukrainian resistant getting greedy after a couple of successful shootdowns of the Su-22.

I've heard unconfirmed reports that up to 24 Americans Australians were aboard the 777.

Update: A recorded and translated conversation in which Pro-Russian separatists discuss the downing. Thanks to @webradius.

Igor Bezler: We have just shot down a plane. Group Minera. It fell down beyond Yenakievo.

Vasili Geranin: Pilots. Where are the pilots?

IB: Gone to search for and photograph the plane. Its smoking.

VG: How many minutes ago?

IB: About 30 minutes ago.

SBU comment: After examining the site of the plane the terrorists come to the conclusion that they have shot down a civilian plane. The next part of the conversation took place about 40 minutes later.

“Major”: These are Chernukhin folks show down the plane. From the Chernukhin check point. Those cossacks who are based in Chernukhino.

“Grek”: Yes, Major.

"Major": The plane fell apart in the air. In the area of Petropavlovskaya mine. The first “200” (code word for dead person). We have found the first “200”. A Civilian.

“Greek”: Well, what do you have there?

“Major”: In short, it was 100 percent a passenger (civilian) aircraft.

“Greek”: Are many people there?

“Major”: Holy sh__t! The debris fell right into the yards (of homes).

“Greek”: What kind of aircraft?

“Major”: I haven’t ascertained this. I haven’t been to the main sight. I am only surveying the scene where the first bodies fell. There are the remains of internal brackets, seats and bodies.

“Greek”: Is there anything left of the weapon?

“Major”: Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.

“Greek”: Are there documents?

“Major”: Yes, of one Indonesian student. From a university in Thompson.

Update: Its seems Vladimir's strategy was working pretty well, so long as nothing went terribly terribly wrong.

Um, Yeah.

By Howie at 01:48 PM | Comments |

May 16, 2014

Putin's Proton Blows

Simpsons-nelson-ha-ha-93-p-672x480.jpgI hate to rub in Russia's failure since they won't sell us rocket motors, wait a minute, no I don't.

CNN: A Russian space rocket launch went sour Friday, destroying the booster and its payload, Russian state media said.

Nine minutes after the Proton-M rocket lifted off in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on Friday, officials on the ground lost contact with the it, ITAR-Tass reported, citing an official from Russia's Federal Space Agency.

Friday's mishap marks the second time a Proton rocket has destructed after liftoff within a year and is one in a series of failures.
In July, an unmanned Proton rocket exploded after liftoff over Kazakhstan.

The rocket had veered off path, causing an emergency system to cut off propulsion.

The rocket, which was carrying a communications satellite into orbit, was about 100 miles high into its ascent at the time and burned up in the atmosphere, the agency reported.

But the agency also said that part of the rocket could be in a "non-intended orbit" and small pieces could fall down to Earth.

Russian Satellite Blues!

By Howie at 09:55 AM | Comments |

April 27, 2014

Return of the USSR?

Just a quick thought on the US vs Russia hub hub. I trust we're probably not going to nuclear war, but if you'll notice the Russian aligned powers are acting as one. In a similar manner as Russian clients behaved during he cold war.

The result, Nothing moves on Syria or Iran. Those issues are on the back burner. Even the Norks will take advantage.

Russia gaining clout and has thrown a wrench into any effort to get them to use their influence on Iran's nuclear program or on Assad's chemical weapons.

If the US and western powers cannot act as one, or continue to act weakly Putin continues to win and some bad situations continue to fester.

The more things change the more they stay the same. It might be to our benefit to dust off some of those old cold war strategies.

But does this disturb me? Not really. The two big dogs fighting will tend to suppress the other conflicts to a point. Besides I've lived through the threat of world destruction before. Ourselves and the Russians had enough sense not to do it. I can't say I trust some of the other powers that far.

Meh. Just don't nuke me ;-)

By Howie at 05:07 PM | Comments |

April 17, 2014

The Putin is Hitler and the Ukraine is the Sudetenland Thing Again

A few weeks ago I noted that historical analogies can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing when we learn the right things from correctly applying lessons learned from history to similar current events, and a curse when we make the wrong comparisons and thus draw the wrong conclusions.

Is Putin a modern day Hitler? We, especially in the US, tend to focus on Hitler's antisemitism and genocide when thinking about what made Hitler so bad. But WWII didn't start because Hitler was persecuting his own people. It started because he invaded country after country in order to 'protect' German minorities, to right the wrongs of maps that didn't mesh with his dreams of ethnic unity.

Given that, then, yes, Putin is a modern day Hitler. Over at Forbes, Paul Johnson agrees. But he takes the analogy one step further: The Western leaders are modern day Chamberlains:

What’s to stop Putin? The West is led by the modern equivalents of Chamberlain: President François Hollande of France is a political nonentity repudiated by his own compatriots; Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany have both ruled out the use of force to stop Putin from annexing Ukraine; and worst of all, President Barack Obama–the one man who has the power to stop Putin in his tracks–does nothing. He makes Neville Chamberlain seem like a bellicose activist.
Johnson goes on to say that we need to intervene militarily now, before it's too late. As I noted before, it's the same argument that Shirer made in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich -- had the Western powers intervened when Hitler sent troops into the Rhineland they would have nipped the problem in the bud before Germany had fully built up their military.

The question is ... what should our response be to Putin? Send the military into Ukraine to ensure that Putin doesn't invade is Johnson's idea. He thinks Putin wouldn't dare invade the remaining portions of Ukraine if US/NATO troops were there.

Me? I'm not so sure. If I understand correctly, the US has zero tanks left in Europe. I've no idea how many our NATO allies have but I can't imagine it would be enough to stop a land invasion through the Ukrainian steppe. We have air and sea superiority, but that only goes so far.

Also, the Ukraine isn't a member of NATO. We have no obligation to help it. If the Ukraine wanted our help, it should have signed on the dotted line years ago.

I guess there are two questions that I don't have great answers for: Should we even try to deter Putin from more land grabs so he won't try the same thing in NATO countries like Latvia & Estonia (also with large ethnic Russian enclaves)? And if we should try to nip this in the bud, then what are our feasible options given our weakened post-Cold War military stance in Europe and Europe's chronic under-spending on the military?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:03 AM | Comments |

March 19, 2014

It's 1938 All Over Again, and Obama is our Chamberlain, the EU our Daladier

I think the title of this post pretty much sums it all up.

The world is reshaping in unexpected (to me) ways. For awhile I had hoped that America could disengage, retreat and rebuild. Let the world sort out it's own problems. But now? I'm not so sure.

The lesson we thought we learned immediately after WWII was that we could have stopped Hitler early on without too much of a fight. But we talked and talked for years, until it was too late. The war came and pulled us kicking and screaming into it. Tens of millions died who would have otherwise lived had we stopped Hitler early on. (See Shirer's Rise & Fall of the Third Reich for the earliest and best defense of this position)

In the 1990s revisionists like Pat Buchanan began to tell us that the real lesson of WWII was that the US didn't need to get involved at all. That the real mistake was choosing sides. It's the Homer Simpson view of foreign relations: we tried and failed miserably, the lesson here: never try.

For some time given our experience in Afghanistan and Iraq I've been partial to that latter, non-interventionist view. We did good in these countries, for sure, but as soon as we left (or leave) the place falls apart. See the Homer Simpson quote above.

This has led to a general attitude on my part that goes something like: Sure, such and such bad thing in the world is a problem, but it's not our problem.

I still feel this way about the Muslim world. It's time for disengagement, not more engagement. Let them handle their problems, I'm through with trying to help. Call me back in 100 or 500 years when you've caught up with the rest of the world. Until then, good luck with that.

But what's going on in the Ukraine? It's far too similar to the Sudetenland crisis to not draw the analogy. Inaction and milquetoast responses by the EU and US far too similar to "Peace in Our Times" to not go there.

Putin isn't Hitler, and while it's easy to forget the past and therefore doom us to repeat it, it's also just as easy to learn the wrong lessons from the past and therefore doom us to repeat it as well.

So, while when making Hitler comparisons we tend to focus on the horrors of the Holocaust, we need to remember that we didn't fight Hitler to stop the holocaust. We fought Hitler because he invaded sovereign states.

But before we fought him, we let him take over Austria bloodlessly. Before we fought him we let him violate the Versailles treaty dozens of times (rearmament). Before we fought him we let him reoccupy the Rhineland even though Germany had "guaranteed" the borders as they stood. We allowed him to take the Sudetenland without a shot fired.

The next year he carved up the rest of Czechoslovakia -- still the Western European powers did nothing. Give diplomacy a chance, the public was told.

All those bloodless invasions were done in the name of uniting Germans abroad with the Motherland, rectifying the artificial boundaries imposed by old empires and post WWI mandates. Many in the West thought this wasn't such a bad idea.

Hitler acted, no one did a thing about it. The lesson learned was that he could act without impunity and no one would do a thing.

It wasn't until Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 that the UK and France responded. And by this time, it was too late: Germany had rearmed to the point that they had the largest, most modern, and most effective military in Europe.

Again, I don't want to take this analogy too far, but we need to remember that the Ukraine isn't the first sovereign country that Russia has invaded in order to put Russian speaking people's living abroad under the protection of Mother Russia. Just ask the people of Moldova how they feel about the Russian occupied "Transnistria" or the people of Georgia about the Russian occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

As Michael Totten notes:

That’s not one, not two, but three times Russia has pulled this stunt since the end of the Cold War. Putin is doing it to Ukraine because it worked in Moldova and Georgia.
And it has worked in Crimea. Putin acted, the West did nothing: the lesson here is that he can keep taking territory with impunity.

Again, I don't think Putin has some kind of grand plan for Russian lebensraum. At least, I hope not. But it seems clear now that that he does have plans for a Greater Russia. Something like the return of the Russian Empire. Perhaps his plans aren't maximalist (wanting the entire empire back), but neither is it minimalist (content with borders as they stand).

Historically, then, the question is who is right? Shirer, who says Hitler should have been stopped earlier, or Buchanan who says that Hitler wasn't our problem to begin with?

I'd like Buchanan to be right. I'd like the world to be ok without US involvement. I'd like Putin to be someone else's problem.

But I don't think he his. Sizable Russian speaking populations already live within NATO countries, especially in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Which means that if Putin has plans for the Baltic states, that we are obligated by treaty to come to their defense.

Which makes Putin our problem, whether we want it or not.

So, what's the red line where we say enough is enough? Is it Eastern Ukraine? Belarus (already effectively a Russian puppet state)? Kazakhstan?

I'm not saying we need to go to war with Russia over the Crimea, but if we continue on the path we are on with limp wristed responses that no one in Russia takes seriously then war may in fact come whether we like it or not. That is the irony of WWII: that the very actions meant to avoid war were the actions that led to it and made it much worse than it had to be.

We can put off action to the future, but we do so at the peril of that action being much worse for all parties involved.

Obama as Chamberlain.jpg

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:08 AM | Comments |

March 18, 2014

Everything's Comin' up Putin: Chechen Leader Dead

Hi, I'm Dokku Umarov. I'm in hell.

Putin is finally living the dream of sitting around in his underwear all day, eating a block of cheese the size of his head, annexing parts of a neighboring country with no repercussions, and his mortal enemy dead. Seriously, this guy is having a pretty good year so far.

Kavkaz Center:

The Command of the Caucasus Emirate officially announced the martyrdom of the Emir Dokku Abu Usman.

Dokku Abu Usman (Dokku Umarov) went to jihad in 1994, as soon as he learned about the invasion of Chechnya by Russian troops. He gave up his lucrative business in Russia and returned home.

Since then, Dokku Abu Usman was forced to leave Chechnya for several months only once, at the beginning of 2000 due to a severe wound. After treatment, he returned home and continued the Jihad....

In 2007, Dokku Abu Usman raised the banner of monotheism and proclaimed the Caucasus Emirate.

And now, he's dead and in hell. Thanks to Admiral Ackbar.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:12 PM | Comments |

It Begins: Ukrainian Soldier Dead as Russians Storm Base

Bang a gong, it is on:

Troops stormed a Ukrainian base on the outskirts of Simferopol on Tuesday, according to a Ukrainian military spokesman.
One Ukrainian officer was initially reported to have been wounded in the neck. The Interfax and Reuters news agencies reported that a soldier had been killed.
Kyiv has blamed Russia for the attack.
Normally Hitler comparisons are over-the-top rhetoric. In this case, though, the comparison works.

Oh, yeah, Russia has "annexed" the Crimea and Putin is -- literally -- laughing at the sanctions the US has placed on them.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:50 AM | Comments |

March 17, 2014

Crimeans "Vote" to Join Russia

This is looking an awful lot like an old-school Soviet "election":

Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to leave Ukraine and join Russia, election officials said Sunday, capping a heavy-handed campaign that blocked most voters from hearing a vision for any alternative to unification with Moscow.

Crimean election Spokesman Mikhail Malyshev said the final result was 96.77 percent to rejoin Russia and 2.51 percent against.

Only 2.5% against? Give me a break. Given a normal distribution of idiocy, at least that many should have accidentally voted no.

Part of the high vote for joining Russia might be explained by opposition groups boycotting the election. We might also cite intimidation as another factor explaining this. But still, even though we all expected the vote to go this way the numbers, as they stand, spell out one thing: FRAUD.

And how is President Obama treating what could very well be this generation's Sudetenland crisis? He's busy all day meeting with the PA President Abbas.

How I long for the good old days of the strong and robust foreign policy of Jimmy Carter.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:59 AM | Comments |

March 15, 2014

Big Anti-Putin Rally in Moscow (~50k Demonstrators)

I'd like to believe that anti-Putin sentiment was high enough that it would turn Russia from its neo-fascist policy of incorporating any land where there is a majority Russian speaking population. I'd also like to believe cheeseburgers have no calories. Yet, I guess it is a good sign that at least some in Russia's capital are speaking out.

The rally was yesterday and began at Pushkin Square, one of my old haunts back when I lived in Moscow. Of course, what drew me there was a pretty decent peroshki diner and McDonalds. It looks like it proceeded from there to the old "White House" -- the parliament (Duma) building.


What's so ironic here is that Putin keeps citing threats from Ukrainian "fascists" as the justification for taking Ukraine. It's almost like the guy never read anything about Hitler or, say, the Sudetenland at all. At the very least he's banking on the majority of his own people not knowing what fascism is or the history of the Third Reich.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:13 PM | Comments |

March 12, 2014

Confirmed: Russian Media About as Reliable as Taliban Propaganda these Days

So, the Russian media has been reporting that two US drones were shot down over the Crimea. What's so funny about this is that it sounds eerily similar to the kind of propaganda put out by the Taliban lo these past 13 years in which every day dozens of "crusader forces" are killed in "operations" which also destroy "many enemy tanks". In other words, the Russian media is pretty much just making stuff up at this point:

According to a Voice of Russia report that has now mysteriously vanished, two American drones were shot down over Crimea this morning, including a "heavier, two-engine drone." The story popped up on Reddit's world news front page, and has been floating around Twitter, too. But lest we think World War III broke out over the Black Sea this morning, there are plenty of reasons to think the report, which cites info from Novosti Kryma (News of Crimea), is totally false.

One is that the American military has no two-engine drones.

Well, at least they pulled the report off their website. So, what is it that the Russian people are being exposed to in its place?


Never underestimate the power of propaganda when that propaganda reinforces a preexisting underlying paranoia.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:49 AM | Comments |

March 06, 2014

Act of War: Russia Scuttles Boat to Blockade Ukrainian Navy

Photo src: Black Sea News (Russian language)

Reports from the Crimea indicate that Russia has scuttled one of it's own ships in order to prevent the Ukrainian navy from entering the Black Sea. Even if we suspend reality for a moment and pretend that the "self defense" forces in the Crimea aren't really Russian special forces, blockading the Ukrainian navy is clearly an act of war:

Ukraine Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Alexei Mazepa said Russian sailors pulled the anti-submarine vessel Ochakov out of a naval junkyard and sank it in the straits that connect the Black Sea with a body of water known as Donuzlav Lake. He said the act was intended to prevent Ukrainian navy ships from leaving a nearby base and going to sea.
Meanwhile, the Crimean parliament has green lighted a referendum asking the locals if they would like to become part of Russia:
Lawmakers in Crimea voted today for this mostly Russian enclave to become part of Russia and moved up a referendum to decide the matter to March 16....

When Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked two days ago about Russia annexing Crimea, he told reporters: “Only the people who live in a certain territory have the right to decide their own future.”

I especially like that last bit from Pres. Putin. If he's so keen on self-determination, why doesn't he let the Chechens and Dagestanis vote on whether or not they want to remain part of mother Russia?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:07 PM | Comments |

March 03, 2014

UN Demands Obama Give Back Nobel Peace Prize

Or, headlines we're unlikely to see. How's that smart diplomacy working out for us these days?

Ukraine says Russian forces controlling the strategic region of Crimea are demanding that the crew of two Ukrainian warships must surrender.
As per Drew M, it really doesn't matter who is in the White House now -- we're not going to intervene and the Russians really couldn't give a plying puck what an Obama, Romney, or George W. Bush administration thinks. They want the Crimea, they know we can't do a thing about it, so they're taking the Crimea. Beginning, middle, and end of story.

What this episode does, though, is offer us a moment of moral clarity. Whose vision of world politics is right? Those that think that talking is the same as action? Or those that think actions are what matter?

It also helps clarify the position of so-called "international institutions" like the UN. The UN was set up explicitly to end wars of aggression by one state against another state. How's that working out now?

Anyway, I hate gloating over being right about what is a legitimate tragedy but gloating is really all I have at the moment. Go read Drew M's thoughts. I tend to agree.

PS - When you've lost the Washington Post, you've pretty much lost all foreign policy credibility.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:51 AM | Comments |

February 24, 2014

Big Weekend in Ukraine

Wow, over the weekend President Viktor Yanukovych was impeached, an interim government put in place. And now a warrant had been issued for his arrest. He and his top aids have apparently fled the country.

I'm not sure about the charge of murdering peaceful protesters. It would seem the regime change, exile and new government was what was wanted. It seems there was a lot of violence and the last days of the regime. But maybe that will prevent him from attempting to return from his exile.

Anyway its good this has so far been resolved without civil war, civil wars suck. Just as the Syrians.

By Howie at 09:18 AM | Comments |

February 21, 2014

A Way Out in Kiev?

An agreement was signed between the Ukrainian government and protest leaders.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition protesters have agreed to an early presidential poll before the end of the year.

The German and Polish ministers met protesters in Kiev's Independence Square before announcing their leaders backed the deal.

The agreement was later signed by opposition leaders and Mr Yanukovych at the presidential administration headquarters in Kiev.

The 2004 constitution will be restored within 48 hours, and a national unity government will be formed within 10 days.

Constitutional reform balancing the powers of president, government and parliament will be started immediately and completed by September.

A presidential election will be held after the new constitution is adopted but no later than December 2014.

We pray this trend continues and the violence ends.

By Howie at 09:29 AM | Comments |

February 20, 2014

Ukraine Spirals Out of Control

Truce? No Truce?

CNN:About 100 killed, 500 injured in violence in Ukraine since this morning, protesters' chief medical coordinator says.

A shaky truce crumbled Thursday as gunfire erupted at Independence Square, the center of anti-government protests and an increasingly violent crisis that has left dozens dead and hundreds injured in recent days.

At least 100 people have died and 500 have been injured since Thursday morning, the head of the protesters' medical service told CNN.

The Ukrainian government has not released an updated figure, but the interior ministry said earlier that one police officer was among the dead.

It's unclear what prompted the gunfire just hours after the government declared a truce. But CNN crews at the scene reported that as security forces were moving away from the area, a group of protesters pursued them, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.

I included that last video because it claims to be the latest views and shows at least some areas to be fairly calm.

There are a lot of very recent uploads at Ukraine Live.

Live Feeds below the fold.

By Howie at 09:34 AM | Comments |

February 19, 2014

At First Pussy Riot Was All Like

But then they were all.....

Pussy Riot started off looking kind of silly. But then the police allowed themselves to get trolled. Problem handled but not very skillfully.

Update: Apparently RT had second thoughts about publishing the video and made it private.

Here's another copy. I've downloaded in case, you know, the Ministry of Information tries to hide it again. Embedded copy below the fold.

Update II: Wow the Russians must really be ashamed of themselves. (unlisted copy but you may link or embed. More where that came from)

By Howie at 10:51 AM | Comments |

January 21, 2014

If You See These Women Near Sochi, Russia ....



The thing is, Sochi is actually right smack dab in the middle of the Caucuses. The fact that the city is mostly made up of Christian Slavs & not Turkic Muslims has more to do with Soviet ethnic cleansing than with its location. I just hope the bribes to the Olympic Committee were sufficiently large for them to overlook the minor detail of locating a dozen miles from what is essentially a war zone.

Thanks to The Jester.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:59 PM | Comments |

January 10, 2014

"Separatists" Suspected in String of Russian Bombings

Is it on in Russia? Maybe:

The bodies of three men and explosive material were found Thursday in a vehicle in Maryinskaya in Stavropol province, Russia's Investigative Committee said on its website.

A day earlier, a vehicle containing a body exploded in Tambukan, in the same province, as police approached it, and two other bodies were found in other vehicles in Zolskaya Wednesday, the Investigative Committee said.

And who is suspected in the string of bombings?
No group has claimed responsibility for those attacks, but suspicion has fallen on Chechen separatist groups.
Chechen separatists.

You literally have to read another 10 paragraphs -- reading about these mysterious and unnamed "militants" several times -- before the article bothers to name the group in the very last paragraph. The paragraph they're banking on you not reading:

Chechen warlord Doku Umarov, leader of the Islamist Caucasus Emirate group, last summer called on his followers to do what they could to disrupt the games.
I guess we should be glad they named the group at all.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:33 PM | Comments |

December 31, 2013

Putin Vows to Annihilate Terrorists

As much as I dislike this guy Putin, I can't say I disagree with his sentiment:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to fight "terrorists until their complete annihilation", in his first comment on two suicide attacks in the southern city of Volgograd.

The attacks, on Sunday and Monday, claimed a total of 34 lives.

Thousands of police are patrolling public transport and checking traffic in the city following the attacks, which injured some 60 people....

Investigators believe a male suicide attacker bombed the trolleybus and are studying fragments of his body in an effort to identify him. Police sources say the attack on the station may also have been the work of a male bomber.

Identical shrapnel was used in the bombs, according to Vladimir Markin, spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee.

Analysts say the prime suspect for the attack is likely to be Doku Umarov, a fugitive Islamist militant leader from Chechnya.

Our prayers are with the victims.

Meanwhile, the semi-official website of Doku Umarov's group calls the suicide bombers "martyrs", without ever making an official claim that they were behind the two incidents of mass murder.

PS -- here's a bit of free advice to Alash Udugov: you are one dumb sonofabitch if you think the FSB is going to respect Canadian sovereignty and leave you alone. Friends of Udogov in Toronto would do well to pass this message along.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:06 PM | Comments |

December 30, 2013

Another Bombing in Russia

If you still think we have common cause with Russia over al-Qaeda, you're way effing wrong.

nother deadly blast has struck the southern Russian city of Volgograd, killing at least 14 people and further highlighting Russia's security challenges as it readies to host the Winter Olympics in less than six weeks.

An explosion hit a trolleybus near a busy market during the morning rush hour Monday, a day after a blast at Volgograd's main train station killed 17 people and wounded at least 35 others.

By Howie at 08:39 AM | Comments |

November 16, 2013

All's Well That Ends Well for Husband of Suicide Bomber in Russia

We've heard of the black widow phenomenon, but what do we call this guy? The black widower?

Nah, let's just call him dead meat:

Ending a nearly monthlong manhunt, security forces killed the husband of a suicide bomber who blew up a public bus last month in the city of Volgograd, Russian officials said Saturday.

Officials said the husband, Dmitri Sokolov, 21, was killed, along with four others identified as rebels, by security forces in Dagestan, a violence-plagued republic in the North Caucasus....

The bomber, Naida Asiyalova, blew herself up on a crowded No. 29 bus in the center of the city, killing six other passengers in a fiery blast that was recorded by the dashboard camera of a car traveling behind.

Sure, the Russians are undemocratic, autocratic, and each day becoming more and more fascistic ... but you know what? They know how to kill terrorists. And that's saying something.

Thanks to @intelwire

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:24 PM | Comments |

October 30, 2013

Two Bombs Explode in Makhachkala Dagestan

Islamic terrorists set two truck bombs in Dagestan today.

Two people has been killed, and at least 15 more have been hospitalized after a double explosion hit Makhachkala, the capital of Russia’s restive Dagestan region, according to the country's Emergencies Ministry.

The attack occurred outside two adjacent liquor stores on one of the city's liveliest streets. It appears to have been set off by remotely-activated charges, and fire appears to have spread to neighboring stores.

Of note is that Boston terrorists Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev spend a lot of time in Makhachkala.
As children, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar lived in Tokmok in Kyrgyzstan. In 2001, the family moved to Makhachkala, Dagestan, in the Russian Federation.

His father said that Tamerlan was with him in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, for six months and that they had done ordinary things, such as visiting relatives. His father also said that he and Tamerlan visited Chechnya twice, to see relatives there and to receive Tamerlan's new Russian passport.[18][98] While Tsarnaev arrived in Russia in January 2012, however, he only arrived in Dagestan around March, and his father arrived there in May...

But I'm sure whoever bombed Makhachkala today wasn't radicalized.

By Howie at 02:39 PM | Comments |

October 21, 2013

Terrorist Attack in Russia

Update: Here is video that appears to be of the attack.

Reports are the bomber was female, one 30-year-old Naida Asiyalova.

inside the passport image.jpg
She died in the 'suicide attack' alongside her victims. But this was not the same as earlier outrages when 'black widow' killers have been involved.

Asiyalova's husband remains alive and was named as Dmitry Sokolov, aged 21, a native of Krasnoyarsk.

Three years ago he went to Dagestan without notifying his parents, say reports, and he is known to have studied both Wahhabism and explosives.

He met and married Asiyalova in Moscow, it is claimed.

By Howie at 07:36 AM | Comments |