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Fri, 26 Aug 2016
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Puppet Masters


Putin: Russia has no ambitions or obsession with being a superpower

© Michael Klimentyev / RIA Novosti
Russia has no "imperial ambitions," and the image of "bare-chested man on horseback" is not meant to cultivate the image of strength, but rather to promote a healthy lifestyle, Russia's leader Vladimir Putin told CBS's '60 Minutes.'

"We have no obsession that Russia must be a superpower. The only thing we do is protecting our vital interests," Putin told CBS's Charlie Rose. "Nuclear weapons and other weapons are the means to protect our sovereignty and legitimate interests, not the means to behave aggressively or to fulfill some non-existent imperial ambitions."

Russia's president met with the American journalist in the state Novo-Ogaryovo residence near Moscow. While thanking Putin for inviting "us to your home" on a "lovely Russian afternoon," the reporter touched on the president's love for his country's culture and history.

"Moscow has fewer of the major sights and landmarks compared to St. Petersburg, but they are all of exceptional significance to Russia," Putin, whose native city is Russia's "northern capital," said. "I am sure that the vast majority of Russian citizens have great love and respect for their motherland," Russia's leader added, saying that the national culture and history are worth being proud of.

Comment: See also: Sott Exclusive: Full unedited text of Vladimir Putin's interview with Charlie Rose: What CBS left out


Checkmate: Putin outmaneuvers Western psychopaths at UN

© AP Photo/Amanda Voisard
In this Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, photo, provided by the United Nations, US President Barack Obama, left, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin toast during a luncheon hosted during the 70th annual United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's message at the UN General Assembly was stark; either sovereign states get together in a broad coalition against all forms of terror, and the principle of statehood is respected as enshrined in the UN charter - or there will be chaos.

This UN General Assembly revealed that the Obama administration's perpetual newspeak does not cut it anymore. A review of UN speeches by both Putin and Obama is almost painful to watch. Putin acted like a serious global statesman. Obama acted like a poseur flunking a screen test.

Putin's key talking points could not but be easily accessible to the Global South — his prime audience, much more than the industrialized West.

1) The export of color — or monochromatic — revolutions is doomed.

2) The alternative to the primacy of statehood is chaos. This implies that the Assad system in Syria may be immensely problematic, but it's the only game in town. The alternative is ISIS/ISIL/Daesh barbarism. There's no credible "moderate opposition" — as there was not in NATO-"liberated" Libya.

3) Only the UN — as flawed as it may be — is a guarantor of peace and security in our imperfect, realpolitik geopolitical environment.


Sott Exclusive: Full unedited text of Vladimir Putin's interview with Charlie Rose: What CBS left out

© Presidential Press and Information Office
The day before his much-anticipated address to the UN General Assembly on Monday, CBS broadcast Charlie Rose's interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin for its season premiere of 60 Minutes. Understandably, the interview was cut and edited to fit in the 20-minute slot available in the program. But now that the full transcript has been made available on the Kremlin website, it's fascinating to see just what was cut. We're including the full transcript below, with comments identifying which parts were not included in the final broadcast, or as special online clips.

From single sentences to entire exchanges, some of the exclusions are noteworthy. For example, practically the whole of Putin's commentary on the Minsk agreements was not aired. Nor were Putin's pointed comments on Libya and Syria, his observation that the U.S.'s actions in those countries was a blatant violation of international law, and his suggestion that "somebody wants to use either certain units of ISIS or ISIS in general in order to overthrow al-Assad and only then think about how to get rid of ISIS." Other exchanges, such as Putin's views on sanctions and gay rights, were broadcast online, but not in the final program.

You can view what CBS chose to broadcast on their website, and read the relevant transcript of their translation, here.

War Whore

France admits backing out of Mistral deal with Russia due to NATO pressure

© Stephane Mahe / Reuters
Two Mistral-class helicopter carriers Sevastopol (R) and Vladivostok are seen at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, western France
France pulled out of the Mistral deal with Russia because of the external pressure from NATO, the members of the French Senate's International Affairs Committee have admitted.

"We experienced significant pressure from the East-European countries, not to mention the Baltic states, within the NATO Parliamentary Assembly," the Committee's spokesman Robert del Picchia said during a debate in the Senate on September 23.

"Poland had indeed threatened to break off negotiations [with France], which covered 50 Caracal helicopters worth $ 2.5 billion, if we delivered the ships," he added.

The Senate released the transcript of the debate on Tuesday.

Comment: So much for 'sovereignty' in Europe. France capitulated to NATO, but don't believe for a second that it answered to pressure from the weaker eastern European states; as with every other nixed deal these last two years, the call undoubtedly came from Washington. The whole world is being pressured to exclude Russia, but no matter how hard the U.S. tries, they aren't going to be able to stop Russia's rise to prominence on the global political scene... Egypt is set to buy the Mistrals with a Russian loan, which means Russia will likely have some influence over how they're used!

See also:

Business and diplomacy fail: France will lose $250million euros on Mistral resale deal with Egypt

Star of David

Avigdor Eskin noted Putin and Obama both ignored Israel in UNGA speeches

Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama ignored Israel's issues when speaking to the UN General Assembly, Israeli publicist Avigdor Eskin told Radio Sputnik.

Putin and Obama both ignored Israel's conflict with Palestine in their speeches to the UN General Assembly, Israeli political figure Avigdor Eskin told Radio Sputnik.

"Now everyone in Israel can notice that Russian President Putin and US President Obama, not one of them even said a word about the Israeli local conflict with Palestinians," Eskin said.

Eskin added that this could be because the refugee crisis has eclipsed the Israel-Palestine conflict, as the refugee crisis and the conflict in Syria has overtaken that issue in scale. Putin has also become "number one" in Israeli media, according to Eskin, because of his speech.

Light Sabers

The verbal sparring of Putin and Obama at the UN

© Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Obama and Putin got involved in a verbal sparring match, trading political punches at the UN General Assembly. Though none of the leaders mentioned each others directly, it sounded like a real duel. Who sounded stronger? You decide.



No figures can express the suffering, sorrow of life in Gaza

"If there is any reason for our existence, at least it should be our capacity to inform about a story while it is happening, in a way that nobody can say: "We did not know, nobody had told us anything"
~Robert Fisk
© International Solidarity Movement
I don't know if pain can destroy or fortify, I only know that pain changes everything. I also know that the recollection of such suffering shall remain, has to remain in my memory. At the beginning of the Israeli aggression, the first days of last July, I had promised myself not to forget the names of the children that were killed, those who I photographed horrified in the nightmare's morgues in Gaza under fire.

In that moment I didn't know that it would be impossible to keep that promise. More than 500 names of children, destroyed by bombs should be now pronounced by my voice, one by one. However, I do not forget, I can not nor want to forget.

The crimes and brutality do not deserve forgetfulness nor forgiveness, only rage. An unmitigated rage that drives us to act, to fight to prevent that their murders go unpunished, so that death won't be in vain, even though the death of children always is. They are gone, we cannot bring them back to life, but we can, have to punish their executioners.

It is 10 am and several drone's fire impact onto a house in Deir Al Balah while a Bulldozer recovers the remains of a family, buried under a one-ton bomb dropped by a F-16, those that leave craters, smoke and smell of death, where before were homes, affections, dreams, lives.

The ambulance fills with wounded persons in seconds, a man enters carrying a small body of a child about six or seven years old, the boy lacks the right calf, his foot is hanging from a tendon or a shred of skin, I don't know, I don't want to look, but I do.

Comment: The people of Palestine have suffered through three wars in the past several years. It is a life of never ending terror and suffering ignored by most. Those who are silent are complicit.


Citizens targeting police officers is creation of media, not reality

Television news media is creating a false symmetry of violence.
© rinf.com
News stories of officers being attacked and killed while in the line of duty have become regular features of the nightly news broadcast, but does this increase in coverage reflect an increase in reality? My analysis suggests no.

A count of stories of police officers killed in the line of duty shows that media attention to these killings has increased dramatically since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Between one-third and one-half of all of the news stories that the legacy networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) have done on this topic over the last 10 years have appeared in the last year. Fox News has run more stories on this topic this year than it did over the four previous years combined.
Actual incidences of fatal violence against police officers perpetrated by civilians, however, have not been on the rise. Data on police officer deaths compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund shows that the year since Michael Brown's death has not been especially dangerous for police officers, at least when it comes to the danger of being maliciously attacked by another person. According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund's data, in the year following Brown's death, 43 police officers were shot and killed, which is significantly less than the average of 54 police officer shooting per year over the last 10 years. Looking back even further, policing is much safer now than any time in the last 45 years.
The impression that civilians are targeting officers, then, is a reflection of media coverage, not reality. This is a phenomenon called agenda setting, a process by which the media put an item on the public agenda.

Comment: The collective news media today is like the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in Nazi Germany. If you control the flow of information to citizens, you essentially control what and how they think.

Gold Seal

Pepe Escobar: Defeating ISIL without help from Russia and Syria is impossible

The threat from terrorism was, of course, one of the main issues of President Obama's address to the General Assembly. He also called for a united fight against ISIL - but the Syrian government remains one party he is not ready to unite with. Pepe Escobar, from the Asia Times, believes taking on and defeating ISIL without Russia and Syria is impossible.


The collapse of Saudi Arabia is inevitable

On Tuesday 22 September, Middle East Eye broke the story of a senior member of the Saudi royal family calling for a "change" in leadership to fend off the kingdom's collapse.

In a letter circulated among Saudi princes, its author, a grandson of the late King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, blamed incumbent King Salman for creating unprecedented problems that endangered the monarchy's continued survival.

"We will not be able to stop the draining of money, the political adolescence, and the military risks unless we change the methods of decision making, even if that implied changing the king himself," warned the letter.

Whether or not an internal royal coup is round the corner - and informed observers think such a prospect "fanciful" - the letter's analysis of Saudi Arabia's dire predicament is startlingly accurate.

Like many countries in the region before it, Saudi Arabia is on the brink of a perfect storm of interconnected challenges that, if history is anything to judge by, will be the monarchy's undoing well within the next decade.