Puppet Masters


France is still undecided whether it will sell Mistral warships to Russia

© Reuters / Stephane Mahe
The Mistral-class helicopter carrier Vladivostok is seen at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire
A 400-strong Russian crew is manning a French-built Mistral-class warship as it conducts sea trials. It comes after Paris announced the possible cancellation of the contract due to the conflict in Ukraine.

The Vladivostok left the harbor of Saint-Nazaire in western France on Saturday for the ship's fifth training and trial trip. The warship is manned by some 400 Russian officers and sailors, who had arrived in France to learn how to helm this kind of vessel.

The number of crew far exceeds the 170 necessary for Mistral-class ships, but the Russians are preparing to have at least two ships eventually and are therefore preparing more sailors to man them.

The trial was meant to start Wednesday, but was postponed by several days for technical reasons. The Vladivostok is scheduled to have a total of six trials, before it is handed over by the French shipbuilders to Russia later in November.

Comment: See also: France suspends delivery of the Mistral warship to Russia


Idiocracy come true: The worrying state of US officials' knowledge of geography

Some terrorists somewhere over there in, uh... the Middle East, that you should be very afraid of.
Everyone makes mistakes. Freudian slips, misspellings, we forget things...we're all human. However, when the world's most powerful army wants to 'help out', but can't quite remember where, it should be a cause for concern.

A top US official said on Wednesday - ahead of President Obama's announcement of the strategy to be taken against the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria and Iraq, that "Saudi Arabia and Syria share an extensive border." How do they plan to help the world fight terrorism...?
Seems like 'the Middle East' exists as a name in order to skip over the boring details of its geography. "Syria is Iran's route to the sea," came the ominous warning from Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Comment: And these are the people ostensibly deciding U.S. foreign policy. Now that is scary.


Putin: New round of sanctions 'odd', any response will not harm Russia

© RIA Novosti/Alexei Druzhinin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
The latest list of sanctions looks "quite odd" in view of the peace drive including a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, Russia's President Vladimir Putin said as the EU's restricting measures came into force Friday.

Speaking after a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Putin said that Russia has not ruled out responding with tit-for-tat sanctions. At the same time, he said, those measures would only be implemented if they did not harm Russia, and if they would help protect the country.

"The government is thinking about that. But if they are to be imposed, this will be to create better conditions for ourselves," Putin said.

As for trade partnerships and cooperation in sectors targeted by the EU sanctions, Putin said that "there is always an alternative" in case somebody "does not want to work with Russia."

"There are some things that are negative, but if we consider the problem in its totality, there is more positive than negative," Putin said, adding that sanctions open up opportunities for Russia's manufacturers.

Putin has criticized attempts to "destabilize" the situation in Ukraine rather than solve it. Putting the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Igor Plotnitsky, on the list of people sanctioned may jeopardize the peace talks in Ukraine, Putin said.

Comment: The current 'cease-fire' may have bought some time for Russia during the NATO summit in Wales, and prevented a potentially deadly mission to take Mariupol by the NAF, but it's looking like something new and major will have to take place before the situation in Ukraine sees any real change. Ultimately, that probably means regime change in Kiev, but how that is achieved is anybody's guess at this point.


Supporting terrorists: EU to give Ukraine another €8bn to help 'reform'

© Reuters
European Parliament President Martin Schulz
The European Union is to provide Ukraine with €8 billion to carry out reforms, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz said Friday.

"We are convinced that this Agreement (EU - Ukraine Association Agreement) will promote further economic growth and modernization of the Ukrainian economy. Eight billion euro will be transferred to Ukraine to stabilize the economy. But this support is not unconditional. It is based on the expectation that the country will continue to follow the path of reformation," RBC quotes Schultz.

The required reforms would include electoral law, a comprehensive constitutional reform, elimination of corruption, and the respect of human rights and minority rights, Schultz explained.

Comment: Good luck! We've all seen how Kiev feels about fulfilling its commitments: Enough is enough: Gazprom puts Ukraine on gas prepayment plan after 'chronic' failure to pay debt. What are the chances Kiev just uses this money to continue their genocide in Novorossiya?

In turn Aleksey Ulyukayev, the Russian Minister of Economic Development said that if Ukraine proceeds with the EU Association Agreement as of November 1, Russia will respond with the introduction of import tariffs on Ukrainian goods.


SCO leaders support Putin's peace plan for Ukraine, call for peaceful diplomacy

© RIA Novosti/Michael Klimentyev
Heads of the SCO member states during the signing of joint agreements following the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit at Navruz Palace, Dushanbe.
Heads of state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization say that the crisis in Ukraine is spilling beyond the borders of the country and needs immediate action, while stressing that the only solution to the conflict lies in dialogue and consensus.

Comment: This is the only rational way to deal with the conflict. Unfortunately, Putin is up against many forces that would rather see the world burn. He needs all the support he can get.

At a press conference following the summit President Putin said the leaders had touched upon various issues of international politics, including those connected with the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, and added that the approaches to this settlement proved to be similar.

"We are very satisfied by the fact that the approaches to basic directions of cooperation appear to be identical or very close," Putin told reporters.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has confirmed that he, together with the leaders of Russia, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, supported a peaceful settlement in Ukraine within the guidelines of the plan suggested by President Putin. "The only long-term solution to the problem is in political dialogue and consensus. It is necessary to emphasize the importance of the Minsk summit that took place on August 26. The step-by-step plan of conflict settlement proposed by President Putin has become an important document on the way of peaceful resolution of the crisis. We call upon all sides to strictly observe the letter of these documents," Nazarbayev said.

The Dushanbe declaration also supports active measures to fight terrorism, extremism, separatism and drug trafficking, and leaders of the SCO nations expressed their readiness to assist all sides engaged in countering these threats. In its economic part the document provides for growing cooperation, trade and developing of the hi-tech sector as well as for mutual effort to ensure the food and energy security of the bloc.

Comment: All of which are closely tied with Western influence (i.e. CIA/Mossad) in the Caucasus.


Crazy Yats accuses Putin of planning to destroy his country

© Reuters / Yves Herman
Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk
Fighting flared near an airport in eastern Ukraine on Saturday in breach of a fragile eight-day ceasefire as the prime minister accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of planning to destroy his country.

Comment: These have become the typical remarks of the ponerized politicians in Ukraine with their constant denial of objective reality.

Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said only membership of NATO would enable Ukraine to defend itself from external aggression.

Comment: NATO is the aggressor and invader, Yatseniuk suffers from stockholm syndrome.

Dissecting West's propaganda of "Russian aggression"

Kiev and its Western backers accuse Moscow of sending troops and tanks into eastern Ukraine in support of pro-Russian separatists battling Ukrainian forces in a conflict that has killed more than 3,000 people. Russia denies the accusations.

Comment: Proof of these accusations? Satellite images of combines in a field of grain.

US propaganda fail: Satellite images of alleged Russian artillery in Ukraine come a-cropper

A ceasefire negotiated by envoys from Ukraine, Russia, the separatists and Europe's OSCE security watchdog, has been in place in eastern Ukraine since Sept. 5 and is broadly holding despite regular but sporadic violations, especially in key flashpoints such as Donetsk.

On Saturday afternoon, a Reuters reporter heard heavy artillery fire in northern districts of Donetsk, the largest city of the region with a pre-war population of about one million. He saw plumes of black smoke above the airport, which is in government hands. The city is controlled by the rebels.

Eye 1

If you want a war, then use a tried and trusted technique: How the US is arming both sides of the Iraqi conflict

Recall a week ago we wrote "US Begins Delivering F-16s To Iraq This Week, A Decade After It Wiped Out Iraq's Air Force" in which we said:

... the US will deliver the first of 36 F-16 fighter jets to Iraq in what Baghdad's envoy to the United States called a "new chapter" in his country's ability to defend its vast borders with Iran and other neighbors. ....the US earlier in March provided Iraq with some 100 Hellfire missiles as well as assault rifles and other ammunition. Then in April the US sent more arms, providing Iraq with 11 million rounds of ammunition and other supplies.

It is unknown how many of these have fallen into Al Qaeda/ISIS hands (we do know that at least one Iraqi Black Hawk chopper was captured during the rush for Mosul). What is known is that as PBS Frontline reported two weeks ago, while the administration has denied arming Syrian "rebels", i.e. the same ISIS militants that have crossed the border and are now fighting in Iraq...

... the reality is that it has. From: "Obama Says Not Arming Syrian Rebels, Syrian Rebels Say He Is"


Defense industry to benefit most by the "war on ISIS"

© Ethan Miller—Getty Images
An MQ-9 Reaper drone takes flight at an Air Force base in Nevada.
Makers of munitions and unmanned aircraft top the list of private-sector beneficiaries.

It's far too soon to tell how the American escalation in the sprawling, complex mess unfolding in Iraq and Syria will play out. But this much is clear: As our military machine hums into a higher gear, it will produce some winners in the defense industry.

New fights mean new stuff, after all. And following the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan - and the belt-tightening at the Pentagon imposed by steep budget cuts - military suppliers are lining up to meet a suddenly restored need for their wares. Presenting his vision for expanding the confrontation with the terrorist group ISIS in a speech to the nation on Wednesday night, President Obama outlined a program of intensified airstrikes designed to keep American troops away from the danger on the ground. So defense analysts are pointing to a pair of sure-bet paydays from the new campaign: for those making and maintaining the aircraft, manned and unmanned, that will swarm the skies over the region, and for those producing the missiles and munitions that will arm them.


​ISIS and moderate Syrian rebels strike truce... with Al Qaeda's help - reports

© Reuters/ Osama Al-dulaimi
The militants of Islamic State have reportedly struck a deal with moderate Syrian rebels not to fight each other and focus on toppling the government. Some reports say the deal was brokered by the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda branch in Syria.

The IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL, is preparing its forces in Syria for likely bombings by the US, which now considers itself at war with the extremist movement. In addition to spreading out from their known facilities, the group that took over portions of Syria and Iraq to build a caliphate is apparently seeking to safeguard itself from attacks of other armed groups in the war-torn country.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based conflict watchdog, the IS has signed a non-aggression pact with moderate fighters, who control the Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood of Damascus.

Under the deal, "the two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy to be the Nussayri regime," AFP reported. "Nussayri" is a derogatory name for the Shiite Alawite sect, to which Syrian President Bashar Assad and many of his officials belong.

According to Orient Net, the truce is meant to stop fierce fighting that engulfed the neighborhood for over 40 days and was brokered by the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate that has frequently clashed with the Islamic State, which itself splintered from the terrorist network to pursue an independent struggle for power in the region.

The moderate rebels who signed the deal include four distinct groups, including the US-backed Syria Revolutionary Front, reported Charles Lister, an analyst at the Brookings Institute. The SRF was considered moderate enough to merit the West's support and a part of the Free Syrian Army, a loose coalition of secular and moderate groups fighting to topple the Assad government with the blessing of Washington.

Eye 2

UK not playing ball: Islamic state claims execution of UK hostage David Haines, releases video

Islamic State jihadists have released a video which they claim shows the beheading of a 44-year-old British aid worker, David Haines, who has been held hostage since his abduction last year.

The masked man in the latest video released across social media on Saturday night claims that Haines was killed because of UK Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to arm Kurdish forces in order to battle the jihadist group, according to reports.

"This British man has to pay the price for your promise, Cameron, to arm the Peshmerga against the Islamic State," the executioner said, according to liveleak.

"My name is David Cawthorne Haines," the hostage reportedly said before the execution.

"I would like to declare that I hold you, David Cameron, entirely responsible for my execution. You entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State, just as your predecessor, Tony Blair, did, following a trend amongst our British Prime Ministers who can't find the courage to say no to the Americans."

The footage could not be immediately verified. However, the video footage was similar to that of the executions of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, by Islamic State militants.