Cui Bono? David Leask, Ben Nimmo and the Attack on Ordinary Scottish Nationalists 1068

We know for certain that the Integrity Initiative targets Scottish Nationalists, because two of its luminaries, otherwise unconnected to each other, David Leask and Ben Nimmo, collaborated on a massive attack piece in the Herald identifying individual SNP supporters as “Russian Bots”.

Ben Nimmo works for the Atlantic Council, funded inter alia by NATO. He is also on a retainer of £2,500 per month from the Integrity Initiative, in addition to payments for individual pieces of work. For his attack on Scottish Nationalists Nimmo was therefore paid by the Atlantic Council (your taxes through NATO), by the Integrity Initiative (your taxes) and by the Herald (thankfully shortly going bankrupt). Leask claims to have received nothing but a cheese sandwich from the Integrity Initiative, but has briefed them in detail on Scottish nationalism, attended their seminars, and they have included Leask’s output in their “outcomes” reports to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (on which more in a few days’ time).

I took apart Leask and Nimmo’s horrendous attack at the time, revealing among other things that one of Nimmo’s criteria for spotting a Russian bot or troll was use of the phrase cui bono.

Nimmo’s role as witchfinder-general for Russian Bots appears very remunerative. His August 2016 invoice to The Institute for Statecraft, apparently the 71st invoice he had issued to various neo-con bodies that year, was for £5,000.

It is interesting that rather than sort code and account number, his invoice gives IBAN and BIC, used for payments coming from abroad.

There is a very important aspect of the detailed minute of David Leask’s briefing for the Integrity Initiative, which CommonSpace cut out of the extracts which they published. Leask says that the Integrity Initiative are “pushing at an open door” with the SNP leadership and the editors of The National, who he characterises as reliably anti-Russian and pro-NATO:

YATA – there would probably be a lot of studenty anti-NATO responses. But that might be more of a reason to do it. But SNP reversed NATO policy when it realised what Russia was up to (under influence of Nordic/Baltic allies)
 Mainstream politicians don‟t want to challenge the fringe normally but they’re starting to. Stewart McDonald (defence spokesman) pitching NATO – “friends in Norway, Balts etc are in it”. SNP foreign policy chiefs have very anti-Kremlin, anti-RT, pro-Ukraine rhetoric.
 Immigration not an issue in Scotland.
 Pushing at open door – allies in Scotland about disinformation. Putin may want to sow discord among Scottish nationalists. Pro-independence sister paper had headline complaining Russian trolls attacking Sturgeon.
Yes campaign had attacks on servers and cyberactivity, thought it was the Brits but then concluded it was probably Russians.
 SNP going to Ukraine – to reassure allies they are not pro-Russian.

I am afraid Leask is not wrong. The continual willingness of the SNP leadership to endorse Britnat anti-Russian rhetoric without question is a nagging worry for many nationalists. Precisely the same department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which funds the Integrity Initiative, funds the Westminster Foundation for Democracy which paid for this joint Britnat/SNP leadership group event at the last SNP Conference, featuring a Ukrainian politician also used by the Integrity Initiative.

Read that carefully, and note that it is not just a discussion on the Ukraine – no harm in that – but one which is openly anti-Russian. The very title, on countering Russian disinformation, is literally straight out of the Integrity Initative’s handbook. Two SNP MP’s took part, including the foreign policy spokesman.

Remember that meeting was on the conference fringe at which I was not permitted to hold a meeting on preparing for Indyref II. An awful lot of Nicola loyalists tell me that, in appearing at present to be much more interested in keeping the entire UK in the EU, rather than striking for Scottish Independence, the leadership are playing a brilliant tactical game.

Other explanations are available.


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1,068 thoughts on “Cui Bono? David Leask, Ben Nimmo and the Attack on Ordinary Scottish Nationalists

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    • Radar O'Reilly

      I do feed trolls, Smiling citizens elect the European Parliament
      The happy European Parliament elects the Commission President.
      The feared EU Council (Consilium) adopts a list of candidate commissioners, to eventually form The European Commission.
      There are a few translators etc, a civil service smaller than Derbyshire County Council.

      and who is the EU Council? a collective body that defines the European Union’s overall political direction and priorities. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states. And who elects these heads of government, back to smiling citizens.

      The full EU Commission, including the new Commission President(*) and the new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, then needs to be approved in a single vote of consent by EU Parliament. they eventually co-decide policy & legislation by trilogue.


      (*)previous candidates “announced” for the 2019 Commission President have included the kindly Maroš Šefčovič, (I think he has now withdrawn) and the ‘holy’ Christine Lagarde, a French lady who was schooled near Fort Meade in Maryland, apparently! (a bit irrelevant to “become a candidate” as it is now a fairly secure process of the expected candidate being elected by & from the largest transnational party elected by the citizens in the EP)

      the BIG QUESTION is wtf is going to happen next May 2019 (new EP) and next October/November 2019 (new EC & Commission President) and wtf will their actual policies will be?

  • Robyn

    The Independent and a few other sites are reporting, ‘A state-funded Russian television channel has sent out chocolate models of Salisbury Cathedral as a festive gift’ which sounds like a supremely dumb thing to do.The source is apparently ‘Independent news outlet Dozhd’. I’ve found the Dozhd site but have to rely on ‘translate’. Even so, I couldn’t see any reference to the story. Can anyone shed light on this bizarre story?

    • pete

      The story was featured on the web site A site that appears to have its oldest story dated April 2018, so a newcomer to the world of news and probably – judging by the drift of the stories they feature – a right wing organ that appears to have fallen for a hoax.

  • Sharp Ears

    This solicitor, Sophie Khan, was speaking on the radio this morning on the increasing use of tasers by British police. There are instances of one being used against a man of 77 and a child of 13. Also on dogs. What are we coming to?

    A report on the Sky News website –
    Police fired Tasers at children as young as 13 and dozens of dogs in last three years
    Campaigners are urging police to stop firing the 50,000-volt stun guns at young and elderly people, who face greater health risks.

    • Ken Kenn

      When I used to go to the local Conservative Club for a game of snooker there was always a picture of Thatcher hanging on the wall.

      I was very young and naive then so I didn’t complain.

      When I found out later what she was like I complained and got barred.

      I’m still rubbish at snooker though – but the beer was cheaper than the Labour Club.

      Pluses and minuses?

      “When the facts change – I change the facts.”

      What Theresa May will say in the future on Brexut>

  • michael norton

    U.S. and Turkish soldiers conduct the first-ever combined joint patrol on Nov. 1, 2018, Manbij outskirts, Syria

    Population about 100,000, probably the biggest city in Rojova

    • laguerre

      “Population about 100,000, probably the biggest city in Rojova”

      …and one of the least actually peopled by Kurds, well outnumbered by other ethnicities (Arabs and Circassians). So not really part of Rojava, and likely to return to Syria after the war. That’s why the Syrians are there.

      • Deb O'Nair

        The US have been using the cover of protecting the Kurds to deny the Syrian government control over large parts of the north east of the country. Much of the area is not even Kurdish but does contain lots of natural resources, which is why Turkey is now gleefully eyeing it up, using the complete opposite rationale of the US as it’s cover. The cheek of the Kurds, who represent less than 10% of Syria population, to now ask Damascus for help when they have been fighting to deny Syria 35% of some of it’s richest land is startling.

        • Laguerre

          You haven’t appreciated how ambivalent the Kurds have been about what the Yanks have done. They’ve always been dickering with Asad, because they knew they’d have to make a deal with him in the end. That moment is just arriving quicker than expected. The Turks aren’t going to take that land; they wouldn’t be able to keep it. Erdogan’s aim is to prevent Turkey’s Kurds from having any hope of independence.

  • michael norton

    Syrian govt forces ‘raise flag’ over key area of Manbij as YPG calls to protect it from Turkey
    Published time: 28 Dec, 2018 09:23
    Syrian government forces have entered the northern city of Manbij, Damascus announced in response to a call for intervention by Kurdish militias. The move comes after Turkey amassed troops on its southern border.

    Happy Christmas, the perfect gift for Syria.

  • N_

    The Liverpool Echo has a piece on the John Haase story, in which of course they paint Michael Howard as being as pure as the driven snow.

    I am not sufficiently up to the moment to know what they’re saying between the lines, but if anybody isn’t aware of the background on Michael Howard here it is.

    Howard was Home Secretary and later the leader of the Tory Party and he has had a lifelong involvement in organised crime. Having direct family connections with criminal figures such as his uncle Harry Landy (who paid for his parents to come to Britain from Romania in the first place) and his cousin Simon Bakerman, and an “interest” in horse-racing (part of the gambling sector), Howard helped the criminal “faces” John Haase and Paul Bennett get out of jail (that must have earnt him a bob or two), took a large bribe from Tiny Rowland in the Harrods case, and so on. Some may also relish the fact that his wife Sandra Howard née Paul used to shag both John F Kennedy and Frank Sinatra. (Seriously.) Woe betide any journalist who interprets Ann Widdecombe’s statement that Howard had “something of the night about him” as anything other than “anti-Semitic”.

    Meanwhile there is Peter Mandelson, another politician about whom there are “dark arts” and “Beelzebub” jokes as if organised crime were something amusing. We don’t even have to go to his famous stay on Nathaniel Rothschild’s yacht with Oleg Deripaska. Mandelson is about as “in your face” as a British politician could be, for example being publicly known as an associate of James Palumbo who owns the “Ministry of Sound” entertainment business which runs clubs where a great deal of drugs are sold. Everybody would know the meaning of that relationship were it to be in Moscow, Zagreb, Madrid, Bangkok, Taipei, Marseilles, or almost anywhere else in the world other than in Britain, homeland of social deference.

    • Jo

      Jeez….actually training these people for potential SAS …MoD….intelligence employments…infiltration agents maybe note has been an increase in private contractors working anonymously along side national police forces eg France……?

    • sc

      Paid stooges and unpaid people with time on their hands who relish a fight and are alerted to things to react to?

      If we are going to keep up the ‘Dangerous Russian Hackers’ line of scare mongering we should be a lot more careful not to get into exactly the same behaviour as we are claiming for Russia. And this public/private/tax payers money/smears and fake news stuff should stop completely. It leads to absolutely reasonable distrust of journalists and academics if some of them are part of secret networks acting for a purpose they don’t disclose.

      As someone working in software development I can not see why the Russian scare even exists. I have seen no convincing evidence singling out Russia and I think we can get the same funding opportunities and public anxiety by stating truthfully that we need to defend against online attacks (influencing, data stealing, promoting fear and hate) from all kinds of sources, criminals, teenage hackers, foreign governments, our government, advertisers … Russian criminals and state could well be among the perpetrators, but so are our own and likely plenty of others.

      • Radar O’Reilly

        Excellent points there sc, I think the cybersec pro’s, with their Mitre fed STIX overlay to the interwebs, could, (but haven’t yet to my knowledge) attribute accurately the source of much malware.
        Look at the attacks on Kaspersky, Gene doesn’t understand the PNAC MAGA chant “we will be dominant in the new technologies”

        I guess “Russia/Ukraine” hacker-kids in their bedrooms was a fairly easy attribute early on in the history of malware, due mostly to their excellent schooling in math. For the more recent crypto-ransomware, some is ‘eastern’ but I also had some thrown at me (and my boss) when “cui bono” certainly implicated Gloucestershire & Maryland, or tier pardners, the largest bunch of mathematicians on the planet according to Tom Lehrer.

        One very recent RU/UA ‘super-hacker’ was actually solving the very hard reverse crypto of cryptowall family, restoring peoples PCs, magically. Turned out that he was simply paying the ransom and getting the key from somewhere else Kiyv/Tver/Harrisburg, profiting from the transaction as a ‘middle-man’

        Waving of the wrong flag is not just possible on the web, it’s happening every few minutes!

        • sc


          I can well believe that cybersecurity pros have methods that might allow attribution of things … or even a mole in a team that is doing the work. And that they might not want to tell us the details.

          But without details they are replying on trust. We’d believe them because we have experienced them as reliable … there have been too many untrue or unlikely assertions for that. Lack of trust is one of the long term consequences of the Iraq dossier. And the ‘Only a conspiracy theorist could believe that we do Special Rendition’ speeches. Setups like Integrity Initiative also undermine trust.

          If we don’t know how they are attributing things to Russia, we can’t decide whether the method is convincing or could be manipulated. And we also don’t know whether any similar level of investigation has been applied to any other country, or what it would find if it was.

  • Sharp Ears

    Mark Lamont Hill was sacked by CNN for making supportive comments on Palestine and thereby criticizing Israel. Here is his brilliant speech which he made at the UN and Prof Michel Chossudovsky’s opinion on CNN and the influence of the ADL on US politics.

    You Only Get Fired for “Telling the Truth”: Marc Lamont Hill Fired by CNN for “Criticizing the Israeli Government”
    By Mark Lamont Hill and Prof Michel Chossudovsky
    Global Research, December 27, 2018

  • remember kronstadt

    What Maggie really thought…

    “Your people come over to us. I wish they wouldn’t. They come looking for housing and services. It’s the same in Northern Ireland. If there was a vote tomorrow they would vote to stay with us. They have better conditions in Northern Ireland and in England.”

    “If we don’t defeat the IRA, I don’t know what I’m going to do, we can’t have the border open as it is now.

    “I can’t seal the border, there is no way we can patrol the 500 miles … Everywhere there is an open border.” Useful advice to Brexiteers?

    “biggest concentration of terrorists in the world” and “despite technological and other surveillance we lose them”.

    During the extraordinary exchanges, just released into the National Archives in Dublin, Thatcher said she was “not winning the battle with the IRA”; that sending in troops had been “useless”; and she had “lost” unionists in Northern Ireland.

    1988 exchange with taoiseach

    Well, if Scotland wins its independence I hope england isn’t going to be invaded by sunlight theives – re-build the border now!

    • giyane

      Mrs Thatcher was a retro-Victorian criminal who pocketed resources which socialism had dedicated to the nation. She resented outsiders benefiting from those resources not because of being outsiders but because she fundamentally resented socialism. That primeval jealousy is at the heart of all Tories. A fact that normal decent people find impossible to comprehend.

      May resents our benefiting from the police, the law, the Nhs, knowledge, imagination, freedom of speech , movement or religious opinion. And she momentarily showed us madness when she flared up at Juncker in public in Brussels.

      The deep state of the UK will ensure that whoever takes over from May in the new year is endowed with the same jealousy, malice, and general ignorance as these dreadful females.
      Gavin or Gove both display the required rustic ignorance in abundance . Happy 2019

        • giyane

          I spend a lot of time sitting patiently with people who are talking a language I don’t understand or talking a language they don’t understand. It’s frustrating. But in the case of May and Juncker Mrs May was being appallingly aggressive on finding herself as the foreigner, the odd one out. Rejection is hard. Our generation was brought up on it because our parents had stiff upper lips and that’s how it was. If someone can’t cope with rejection, they shouldn’t put themselves up to negotiate with people who are talking French.

          As they say in Kurdistan, the corrupt are not in a position to accuse others of corruption.
          Alcohol and self-opinion are matters of lifestyle choice. Mrs May bent the rules on immigration by expelling the Windrush generation, is currently using british armed forces to assist violent terrorists across the globe including the saudis, is lying to the public about UK borrowing and as Craig has pointed out, used dirty slander against the Scots.

          And yet she still regards herself as better than Juncker and ticks him off for communicating in French.

          • MaryPau!

            I regard MYSELF as better than Juncker. Seriously, have you read his track record as Luxembourg PM? This is a man who fixed it for Luxembourg to give major tax breaks to multi nationals and had to resign as PM for authorising spying on his colleagues. As a die hard supporter of the Euro, he advocates discussions on European monetary policy should be held in secret and said, “when it becomes serious you have to lie.” He seems to have a serious alcohol problem and got his job as a result of of a political fix at EU level. He is a blethering windbag who represents everything that is wrong with the EU. Mrs May shouted at him because he misrepresented their discussions when talking to the press, not for the first time. He is a serious liability to EU progress and the Sooner he stands down the better for everyone and the EU.

          • Radar O’Reilly

            Juncker wasn’t spying on his colleagues. Amazingly his resignation story from Luxy politics was due to him trying to make the LUXEMBOURG GLADIO NATO STAY BEHIND ARMY to disband. In discussions with the Luxy spy-chief (who squirrely recorded these on his wrist-watch) it was explained that GLADIO, Luxembourg Ltd. wasn’t going to stop until they received the correct stand-down codes . The situation is therefore much more nuanced with Juncker apparently against NATO, in some small policy matters, such as removing terrorists from his own country. I wonder why he is sometimes painted in a negative way by the UK/NATO press?

      • Deb O'Nair

        “That primeval jealousy is at the heart of all Tories. A fact that normal decent people find impossible to comprehend.”

        I was once in Tesco on Christmas Eve some years ago, eyeing a massively discounted joint of meat in the ‘end of use-by-date’ fridge and I was aware of a woman standing over my shoulder. When I picked up the joint she curtly said “you’re not buying that are you?” to which I replied I was, she then tried to knock it out of my hand before marching off in a huff. I couldn’t say for sure if she was a Tory or not but she was in a full length fur coat, had an upper class accent and had all the charm of one. “Typical Tory” I though to myself before gleefully skipping to the checkout. What annoyed her the most was not the bargain she missed but the sense of her entitlement being usurped by an ‘oik’.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Can your believe the BBC’s version of the Skripal fiasco, as illustrated with a cropped photo of Papa with his daughter Yulia where she has been replaced by a fake one of her, the woman with the ugly scar on her neck, after she allegedly recovered in hospital, and then disappeared.

    I was taught photos don’t lie.

    • michael norton

      I now understand, the BBC/U.K. government, needed some time to work out how to put a “slant” on this incredibly important news.

      The consequences of President Trump’s surprise announcement to withdraw all US troops from Syria are now being seen on the ground.

      Manbij is a strategically important town in northern Syria that until today was under the control of US-backed Kurdish forces.

      The Kurds – who led the fight against IS – see Mr Trump’s decision as a betrayal.

          • michael norton

            I am not sure why the U.K. government, keep rubbishing Donald Trump, if we do exit the E.U. we will need, even more, to get along with America.

          • flatulence'

            Trump is awesome. Who wouldn’t join in USA’s shenanigans and suck his mushroom for better tariffs? Seriously, don’t know how he isn’t a two time peace prize winner. As if North Korea wasn’t enough, he goes and brings peace to Syria! By halting invading it.

      • giyane

        Erdogan is Daesh . Don’t forget gadafI was being hosted in Paris shortly before his Cameronisation . Trump put evil eye on Boris Johnson by saying he’d make a good pm. erdogan thinks he can screw trump with the Kasoggi scandal. But something tells me trump’s not going to betray the Kurds.

        • laguerre

          Whatever Erdogan is, he is not Da’ish, though he may have some degree of sympathy there. Da’ish is the Saudis, who, you will remember, are at daggers drawn with Turkey.

          • michael norton

            Laguerre, any idea of the ethnic make-up of Da’ish

            Would less than half be either Iraqi or Syrian, with the rest from anywhere, I’ve seen it suggested lots from France and Belgium, some from Russia, some from China.?

          • michael norton

            Erdogan: Reports of Damascus taking control of Manbij, Kurdish-held town bordering Turkey is ‘psyop’
            The statement that Syrian government troops have entered Kurdish province Manbij, a northern city in the focus of a stand-off between Turkey and Syrian Kurds, is ‘psychological operation’, according to the Turkish President.
            Damascus announced the deployment of troops to Manbij earlier on Friday in response to a call by Kurdish YPG militias. President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey suggested it may be an attempt by Damascus to put psychological pressure on Ankara.

            “We know that Syria is in a psychological action. We know that there is a situation like waving their own flag there. But there is nothing definite there yet,” the Turkish President said as cited by Anadolu news agency.

            Erdogan must just beginning to understand, that Trump has made Erdogan a patsy, U.S.A. wants to put an end to the Erdogan Empire.

          • Rowan Berkeley

            Erdogan’s party is ultimately an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan). Daesh is Salafi. The two ideologies are different. The Sauds contrived Salafism as an antidote to the MBs, who were being funded by the Qataris, and as an effort to steal the thunder of AQ by engaging in straight sectarian warfare, to which AQ was opposed – Remember Zawahiri’s letter to Zarqawi?

          • giyane

            so why did Erdogan allow d aesh to travel in obama-supplied Toyota 4×4 s through Turkey and why did he take d aesh stolen Kurdish oil from his fellow d aesh bargain in a convoy of tankers?
            Why did he train d aesh in Turkey and house them when the going got tough.
            Saudi Arabia has been giving free hajj including hotels to any jihadi on any side not too sure if any hajj paid by any of the aforementioned would forgive them for what they did.
            the distinction between any of the head-chopping fascist brigades exists only in the minds of their apologists.
            Syrians Somalis and Palestinians curse them all in one breath As brainwashed terrorists from usukis

          • laguerre


            “Laguerre, any idea of the ethnic make-up of Da’ish”

            I don’t have much more knowledge than what can be discovered by Google. I was nearly taken by Da’ish in 2017 – that would have been local disaffected Sunni Iraqis. A Syrian friend was actually taken by Da’ish a year or so earlier, and he described them as “slitty-eyed”, I suppose Uyghurs.

            Apart from local Syro-Iraqis, that looks like Uyghurs, Chechens, Europeans, and particularly Tunisians. Tunis is a big source of Jihadis.

          • laguerre


            “so why did Erdogan allow d aesh to travel in obama-supplied Toyota 4×4 s through Turkey and why did he take d aesh stolen Kurdish oil from his fellow d aesh bargain in a convoy of tankers?”

            I don’t think Erdogan was initially opposed to Da’ish, but he is now. Oil is money, so they do it. By the way, the Syrian oil is not Kurdish, except for one or two wells on the margins of the field. The field on the Khabur is centrally located in Sunni Arab tribal territory, and will revert to Syria at the end of the game.

          • JohninMK

            One possible reason for Erdogan to allow an estimated 40,000 terrorists of various types through Turkey, even though his ‘enemy’ Saudi was funding them, is that he wanted to pick over and claim the carcass of Syria once Assad was gone.

            Once those terrorists had captured Aleppo, a major manufacturing location, all the factories were stripped and the contents trucked up into Turkey.

          • giyane


            ” but he is now.”

            I’m amazed at your naivety. The essence of all terrorism is that they are equally at home in the shelter of civilisation, like London or Istanbul, or in a dungeon occupied by criminals, or trashing powerless civilians through force of arms. A little beard trim, a voice shave, and some CIA dosh makes your international gangster very fashionable in the right place at the right time.

            If it doesn’t make your flesh creep, seeing Erdogan the murderer of journalist Jackie Sutton, accusing Bin Salman, you must have thicker skin than I have. I see Erdogan as a rotting carcase fit only for the vultures, Trump, Cameron and Macron.

          • Laguerre


            “I’m amazed at your naivety.”

            Ah, yes, only partisans 200% committed to belief in the Kurds can be mature adults.

          • michael norton

            The Khabur Valley, which now has about four million acres (16,000 km²) of farmland, is Syria’s main wheat-cultivation area. The northeastern part is also the center for Syria’s oil production.

            I expect the Syrians will be quite keen to recover their good agricultural land, their fresh water supplies, their oil and their gas, their cement plants, all will be needed, for rebuilding Syria.

          • laguerre


            It’s the oil mainly, the only oil in Syria, and Syria can’t afford to import oil. They were buying it off Da’ish, and other rebels before them. It’s why the Yanks were so keen on grabbing it for the Kurds (though in Arab territory mainly), but that policy seems abandoned now.

      • Charles Bostock

        Anyone with any knowledge of the history of France since 1945 would probably agree that French politics and the French administration are unique in Western Europe for the degree of corruption, cynicism and illegality displayed.

        Where else in Western Europe would the police have got away with what occurred during the Algerian protests in Paris in 1961 when several hundreds of Algerian protesters were killed by the police and dumped in the Seine?

        In which other West European country than France would Vichy collaborationists like Rene Bousquet and Maurice Papon, who participated actively in the deportation of Jews to the death camps, have achieved high office during the IVth and Vth Republicss (prefect of Paris police, Budget Minister….)?

        Has there been a single President of the French Republic since Georges Pompidou not involved in financial scandal, whether pertaining to himself or to his party?

        Various British Ministers have resigned over the years, usually over breaches of “protocol” or for sexual reasons; their number bears no relation to the number of French Ministers who have resigned from office or had their collars felt by the law after leaving office, very ofteb for financial shenanigans.

        France is the country – the fifth largest economy in the world, a nuclear and military power and with the official state motto of “liberte, egalite, fraternite” – where 9 million people live under the poverty line (official French figures).

        And the most heavily-taxed country in Europe with the highest percentage of employed people working in the public sector (perhaps the latter explains the former).

        When Italy and Greece break the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact as regards the 3% deficit rule, they are punished or at the very least subject to loud criticism from Brussels. When France breaks that rule, however – and not for the first time, by the way – Brussels shows great indulgence.

        And I have not even mentioned foreign policy………

        Perhaps the people who spend all their time slamming the UK for this, that and the other in the ludicrously named “alternative media” – including those living in France – should take their heads out of their arses and look around a little, they might realise that the UK’s not that bad a place after all?

        (Cue for some imbecile to tell us that the obesity rate is less in France thaN in the UK)

    • laguerre

      “President Micron allowed another budget deficit exemption, exceptional!”

      Britain would do better to profit from let-outs, rather than getting angry and walking off in a huff. UK researchers have long learnt how to do it right to benefit from European research grants, which are about to be closed down, because UK politicians prefer anger to solutions.

        • laguerre

          You don’t know much, do you? Like all Brexiteers, you’re angry, indeed letting your anger at the unworkability of Brexit get the better of you. Like the woman official on R4 this morning blaming the French for not doing enough to stop the migrant boats crossing the Channel. My feeling was: why should they? It’s Britain withdrawing from the European treaties which provided the basis for cooperation, not the French. If Britain wants out, why expect other countries to continue to do service for Britain? And that’s apart from the fact that it was British (amongst others) actions in the Middle East which provoked the wave of refugees in the first place.

          • Charles Bostock

            As often, Laguerre, when you are lost for a proper, fact-based argument you resort to the smear – for the record, I am not a Brexiteer (and have in fact said that previously on this blog).

            The point here is that your constant bigging-up of France (and latterly President Macron) and running down of the UK flies in the face of reality and appears intended to mislead readers. Your offence is all the greater because you apparently live in France and know the way things really work there.

          • Charles Bostock

            And to show your academic rigour, you reply to someone’s post about France (yet again) breaching the provisions of the Eurozone’s Stability and growth Pact by talking about EU research grants and then after I step in to reprimand you for your peculiar partiality you swiftly move on to the refugees crossing the Channel.

            When you’re not smearing, you’re all over the place, aren’t you.

            A bad case of what Orwell called “transferred nationalism”.

          • laguerre

            The difference between Britain and France is that Britain is in a deep, existential crisis, and France isn’t. So pretending it’s the other way round is pointless. I’m not bigging France up; I just detest the rabid Francophobia which is so prevalent here.

  • Isa

    I hope you all had a happy Christmas , especially you Craig and many thanks for the excellent pieces and analysis you write .

    after a few days of Anglo Saxon news detox in Portugal I find this pearl of utter ignorance by Carole Cadwalladr . Utter ignorance or utter malice . It’s astounding .,
    The Yeltsin Russia that was only good to neo cons and and western fraudulent criminals like Browder .

    “Dear RT, I can’t be bothered to fight with you today. Instead, here’s a Christmas tale. A memory of Russia..before Putin. And how it felt there back in ’92. Before a generation of oligarchs & politicians robbed you blind. Love the country. Hate the autocrat. счастливого рождества”

    • remember kronstadt

      ‘ And how it felt there back in ’92.’

      I hope she means ‘how I felt’ otherwise she would be extrapolating her experience/mood to a nation? She may also believe that the sun circles her also – a belief bubble that won’t be popped.

    • Dungroanin

      She gets her just desserts in the comments below that tweet.

      Anyways if people here have not yet availed themselves of James Corbetts series on WW1- it is well worth it for what exactly is going on a hundred years later.

      Including such passages as
      ‘On September 2, 1914, the head of the War Propaganda Bureau invited twenty-five of Britain’s most influential authors to a top secret meeting. Among those present at the meeting: G. K. Chesterton, Ford Madox Ford, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, Arnold Bennett and H. G. Wells. Not revealed until decades after the war ended, many of those present agreed to write propaganda material promoting the government’s position on the war, which the government would get commercial printing houses, including Oxford University Press, to publish as seemingly independent works.’

      The IoS/II is not knew and neither is their target.

      • N_

        H G Wells advocated the mass murder of individuals and ethnic groups he considered to be “inferior”. For all the mealymouthed apologies for him trotted out by the British Library and others, what I just said is no exaggeration. He clearly does it in his 1901 book Anticipations.

        Even today, hardly any British opinion former has the guts to recognise and describe this openly genocidalist mass murder merchant for what he was.

          • sc

            life’s too short. I thought as someone kindly listed people they asked, maybe they’d save me the trouble and state the people who agreed, if known. If I followed everyone’s link’s and links to links I’d get nothing else done …. I’d be disappointed in some of that list if they did write propaganda.

            Maybe sometime I’ll have time to check.

    • SA

      “I don’t have the time myself, but can’t help but think to make this article more balanced someone should research/catalogue all the nonsense this so-called journalist has published and posted on social media and had to retract because it was made up. Blondielightning (talk) 17:31, 31 July 2018 (UTC)”

      From the talk section on her wikepedia page.

      • Isa

        I saw that one as well and my jaw dropped both from the sheer imbecility of thinking the Russians were flying drones in Gatwick and the deranged detachment from reality and utter insensibility of calling it a “ drone strike “ . Was I her editor ( well , nothing good to say about viner , Cadwalladr guidelines are those of the paper and editor , but did that rag have any morals and editorial sense , I’d make Cadwalladr create a private twitter account without a reference to the paper so not to further embarrass it . I’d also have sacked Luke Harding and more … but that would make it a newspaper , not the panflet it has Become .

  • michael norton

    We invite the Syrian government forces to assert control over the areas our forces have withdrawn from, in particularly Manbij, and to protect these areas against a Turkish invasion.

    — Rojava Defense Units | YPG (@DefenseUnits) December 28, 2018

    Some seem to think Americans are still in Manjib, that will be difficult for them, especially if they are special forces, accussed of killing Syrians.

      • michael norton

        SA thanks, I expect that Rojova will return to Syria, there is no other peaceful answer.
        I am pleased things seem to be working out for Assad and his people, I really hope he allows all Syrians to participate in their joint future and the recriminations are kept to a minimal level.
        They probably have a good future.

      • laguerre

        I was surprised by the speed with which people are rejecting the Americans. I thought it would be much slower.

        What is certain is that Trump can no longer retract. America in Rojava is finished.

        • SA

          Typical of US nonesense foreign policy. They chose to back the Kurds, who lean towards Marxism in a country with a relatively small minority of Kurds and who had not been suppressed there, whilst ignoring their blatant suppression in Turkey, their NATO ally. The Kurds on their part failed to see the blatant incongruity of this stance hoping to achieve a statelet by taking land with many Arabs and assyrians and other minorities that would not accept their dominance in the long term, all to fulfil the imperial design. They also rather stubbornly refused to hand over Afrin to the SAA and lost it and are now beginning to understand what Realpolitik is about.

          • giyane


            What could Merkel possibly mean by ‘ the New World Order ‘ ? And what is Germany’s role in it?
            For the last 8 years Germany has been the school prefect who has been kicking the shit out of Syria for the neo-cons. In neo-con terms this means the school staff, i.e. the neo-cons, turning a blind eye to institutional bullying, carried out not by just one bully but gangs of bullies, Al Qaida, Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh. Meanwhile 2 members of staff, i.e. Russia and China have become concerned that while the staff smoke and joke in their common rooms, the entire school will get taken over by the bullies. Mrs Merkel sees their interference as retrograde and unauthorised by the NATO / UN new world order.

            Humans find it extremely hard to resist being given a green light by authority to do something wrong. Germany unfortunately have form in this area and Mrs Merkel is fully aware of the Nationalistic nature of her call to fascism. The neo-cons, otherwise known as fascists, actually believe that a mistake has occurred through democracy in the US and ther election of Donald Trump, and that soon, by the collective group-think of the fascist populace , the neo-con fascist idea will be restored to power.

            Mrs Merkel directly stated that democracy was inappropriate as a tool in the progression of the New Fascist World Order. Well, if you’re going to have to retire to your gypsy caravan for 30 years, you might as well go out with a seig heil salute. Thankfully in reality the world has changed , the neo-con swamp is now growing trees, Britain has rejected the EU/ US fascism in Syria, the US electorate has rejected the neo-cons and the EU electorate is rejecting the neo-con new world order as envisaged by the EU. Instead , the electorates have come to understand that Russia and China have managed single-handedly to reverse the neo-cons plan to make a global, fascist world order in which the West totally dominates and controls a diminished East.

            Most of us consider Russian and Chinese victory over the neo-cons a job well done.
            IMHO, Turkey, which actually did the dirty work of the neo-cons by trashing Syria using NATO proxy terror, will probably be made to carry the can by the neo-cons for implementing their fascist plans.

          • J Galt

            Absolutely right Giyane, the Swastika bedecked German Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe have been rampaging through Syria for 8 years while the freedom loving Yanks and jolly decent Brits have merely tut tutted from the sidelines – you see it on the telly every night.

            Morgenthau was right the entire German population should have been exterminated in 1945!

          • giyane

            J Galt

            I did say it was a joint effort nobly ignored by thone in charge. The post WW2 rules on illegal colonial invasion has created layers of proxies some killing some planning the killing while the big boys maintain their innocence.

            Your sarcasm is wasted on me. I’m just intrigued by the idea that the German public can be wooed by the grand dream of Big Brother. Scary but a very good reason for pressing ahead with brexit.

          • Dungroanin

            G &JG
            Get a room, have a dummy with Mutti’s photo on it – have your despicable fun defiling it in private.

            She survived the putsch by the neocon billionaire funded alt-right CA goons – and is going out on her own terms. Taking a bit of cold revenge on the morons involved – Macron and May amongst them.

            The greatest leader in Europe and the western World in the last 50 years – a woman too – architect of reunification without abject failure. A scientist and a humanitarian.

            Yet here you are yabooing like drunken skinhead louts on the street – common cowardly thuggish behaviour. Enjoying your weird public mutual onanism?

  • Sharp Ears

    Sad news that Amos Oz has died. He advocated a two state solution for the Palestinians and for that was denounced in Israel as a traitor.

    BBC News – Amos Oz: Acclaimed Israeli author dies at 79

    His brother David, a fervent Zionist, is married to Janner’s daughter, the rabbi.

    David was with the UJIA previously. I see May was with them at a lunch in September.

    • SA

      Although people now seem to look favourably at the two states solution, it is pure nostalgia. The two state solution was non viable the way it was presented and meant to be a distraction and also to show how ‘unreasonable’ the Palestinians were in rejecting it. As we now know there is only one equitable solution and that is a single state in Palestine for the benefit of all its citizens.

    • Dungroanin

      From the contrived ZH article (because it conflates Microns words too)
      ‘ “In an orderly fashion of course,” Merkel joked, attempting to lighten the mood. But Merkel has always had a tin ear for comedy…’

      I think that is a brilliant takedown on May’s demented attempts to keep trying to change what kind of brexit she just agreed to!

      Also i refer you to this report
      Putin and Merkel having a detailed phone call on the developments on THEIR Astana peace plans for Syria. The last paragraph
      ‘The statement also said that the two sides discussed the United States’ plans for withdrawing its forces from Syria.’
      Probably ‘ ha ha ha ha …’ i’m sure her sense of humour isn’t completely stereotypical.

  • N_

    British police are likening the journey across the English Channel by migrants to trying to “cross the M25 at rush hour on foot”. That gives a clear indication of what’s coming next.

    Sometimes in Britain it really hits you in the face when you realise just how far-right and racist the person you’re talking to actually is. I remember talking to one guy, a self-employed tradesman in Kent who had a scary image in his head (without any personal experience that he mentioned) of “a six-foot tall black guy coming at you with a knife”, who spoke with glee of the prospect of a ship full of migrants being denied access to an Australian port even if it sank with major loss of life. You could imagine him punching the air with joy if his TV screen had shown him pictures of drowning Vietnamese boat people. He had it in his head that murdering non-white foreigners by folding your arms and saluting a national flag was courageous.

    This is why Brexit won the referendum. This is why Brexit won the referendum. This is why Brexit won the referendum.

    Every Channel story now is about Brexit. The Channel will become an archetype, red in tooth and claw.

    • michael norton

      The Home Office has been criticised for posting a message on social media urging EU nationals to apply “if they want to stay in the UK” after Brexit.

      The tweet, sent on Thursday, tells EU citizens that they will need to confirm their status to “continue living in the UK after 31 December 2020”.

      It sets out how they can register for settled status and the cost involved.

      It is going to be brexit, brexit, brexit for the next few months.Apparently, the French are shitting themselves because they are almost completely broke but will be told to make up half the money Britain will no longer be coughing up to the Elite in Brussels.

      • laguerre

        It has to be a joke, doesn’t it? Britain walking off in a huff from the EU, but still expecting the French to cooperate in stopping migrant boats from leaving the French coast.

        • Charles Bostock

          Why should anyone call it a joke, I wonder.

          Is Laguerre saying that leaving the EU should put an end to bilateral cooperation in all spheres?

          That, in my opinion, flies in the face of common sense – and reality. It is the the approach of a catastrophalist and UK-disliker.

          • laguerre

            It’s Britain withdrawing from the Treaties. New ones will have to be negotiated. In between times, there’s nothing. Expect ten years of negotiation, that’s what Ivan Rogers says.

    • flatulence'

      “Channel migrants: Home secretary declares major incident”

      Wonder how many are lost at sea. Wonder if France are supplying the rubber dinghies.

        • flatulence'

          Well I don’t know about the French people, they seem like good people. Those in power though might take the opportunity to drown a few thousand migrants/refugees, either that or they become the UK’s ‘problem’. Equally, if not more likely, UK would supply the dinghies though, with the added benefit of generating migrant crisis hysteria and controlling the timing.

          • N_

            Gustav Le Bon, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1895):

            “Whatever strikes the imagination of crowds presents itself under the shape of a startling and very clear image, freed from all accessory explanation (…) A hundred petty crimes or petty accidents will not strike the imagination of crowds in the least, whereas a single great crime or a single great accident will profoundly impress them (…) It is not, then, the facts in themselves that strike the popular imagination, but the way in which they take place and are brought under notice. It is necessary that (…) they should produce a startling image which fills and besets the mind.”

            Thirty seconds of video of a dinghy landing on the Kent coast and some dark-skinned people getting out, or a mugging, or a migrant saying in broken English that everyone from his village has come to England because England is where the great pickings are, and things could change overnight.

        • michael norton

          Apparently people try to move from Italy, into France, they don’t like it there, French police too violent, so they try to make it in to the United Kingdom.
          But Italy and France are the second and third largest economies of Euroland, can it really be that bad, worse than Africa?

    • able

      What is so bad about France that these migrants are so “desperate” to get here? Is it the food? Do they have an aversion to garlic?

      [ Mod: ‘able’ = ‘Anon1’ ]

        • laguerre

          If it were true, which it isn’t, it would be because of the collapse of sterling. When you go to France, you have to pay more for your euros.

          • SA

            Why do you say it is not true? It is from personal experience and nothing to do with the depreciation of the pound versus the Euro which is recent and only in the region of 10-15%. I am talking about goods with comparable products.

          • laguerre


            My experience is precisely the reverse. I find the prices in UK fearsome, higher than I pay in France. I can’t think of anything cheaper in London than in Paris. You’ll have to quote something. Buying things of British taste in France, which the French don’t buy, would naturally be more expensive.

          • SA

            Fillet Mignon 18 euro a kilo, UK £11, Lamb starts at 25 euro a kilo in UK it is about £18 for expensive cuts. Batteries start at 8 euros which you can buy here for about £2.60. as examples.

          • laguerre

            Sounds like you’ve bought around Les Halles. In the rue de Montorgueil, visited by the Queen, the prices are very high. Here in Nanterre, they aren’t.

          • laguerre

            I was able to confirm at the butchers finally today, and you are right about the price of filet mignon. Your figures though only show a price 40% higher, not “2-3 times” as you state. Well, good meat is expensive. And of course an annual season ticket in Paris is four times less than the similar in London. Good wine is less expensive. Swings and roundabouts, I suspect.

        • N_

          A big reason that many migrants choose Britain rather than other nearby countries is that the main language in Britain is the one used in most US films and on most US news channels. In important respects it’s the world language.

          Imagine if Britain spoke a Celtic language and France spoke English.

          • Dungroanin

            N_ , no disrespect, your statement is almost 100 percent correct except for one word.

            If you change your fifth word from ‘many’ to ‘SOME’.

            We are btw talking of hundreds who because of failure to purchase false passports are ending up stuck on the european beaches. Remember millions come and go as tourists and students – almost all ‘illegal’ immigrants arrive that way. Just some desperate ones are forced to do it the hard way.

            And most illegal/asylum immigration to Europe does not end up directed towards the UK.

      • giyane

        Sharp Ears

        All these tweet smears seem a bit teenage to me. I have in my mind an image of Donald Duck climbing the seemingly infinite rungs to the top deck of a cruise ship only to get kicked off at the top.
        By the time these teenage tweeters have climbed all the rungs of russophobia to the top of the british establishment, they will see that Russia and China are the adults in the room so far as Syria is concerned. An entire generation of British diplomats who preferred to appease the OBama/Clinton US neo-cons, unlike Craig, have already found their swamp draining down.

        If all they can think of doing about their mis-spent lives funding and shilling Islamist Terror, is to harass Jeremy Corbyn with silly, childish tweets, I think he and Julian will find the oomph within themselves to survive their silly games.

        • Ken Kenn

          The main points about Corbyn and particularly Assange is that I would bet that nearly all these journalists in their younger years were on the left in one way or another.

          What the above two names remind them of is their idealistic youth.

          There are many ( I’ve met some of them in the past ) who were on what was called ‘The Hard Left’ and the same are now populating the MSM on TV and some have held High Office.

          Basically as the saying goes they have sold out. Some have become cynical and the Observer and the Guardian are populated by these older types of journalists and some have taken the money.

          There are indeed ” useful idiots ” but at least they are useful to someone or something whereas on the BBC and many other alleged media truth telling outfits they are just “idiots” and are of no use to anyone with the exception of Twittering nonsense. Unverifiable nonsense.

          Therefore, every time Corbyn and Assange appear in the media they embarrass these journalists because the pair remind them of everything they used to believe in when they were young and idealistic.

          Also don’t forget a lot of the younger journalists were brought up under Thatcher and her followers. They know little about anything else politically.

          Might be the reason why a lot of them drink?

          If I were like them I would.

          • Blunderbuss

            It is said that people become more right-wing as they get older but there are exceptions. Tony Benn never became right-wing. I’m not sure about myself. I support Jeremy Corbyn and public ownership so that makes me left-wing. On the other hand, I support Brexit and I don’t believe in man-made climate change so that makes me right-wing.

          • SA

            Sorry Blinderbuss but not believing in man made climate change diesn’t Make you right wing, it makes you a badly informed person who does not want to see. No personal offence intended.

      • SA

        The real revelation about the II is that it clearly showed how the so called Free Press has now been completely infiltrated by the establishment something we all suspected for a long time but we now have direct proof of.

        • Dave

          The climate hoax is a Globalist creed and so both non-Trotskyite “left and right” can sensibly be against it as its intended as a global reason/cover story for global governance aka the dictatorship of the 1%.

          • SA

            Dave I have to repeat myself here but changing names and typos:
            Sorry Dave but not believing in man made climate change doesn’t Make you right wing, it makes you a badly informed person who does not want to see. No personal offence intended.

          • SA

            To expand on above. How can climate change be a globalist hoax? Who is benefiting from continued accelerating consumption of fossil fuels and who is benefiting from promoting this idea that man made climate change is a hoax? Why the same globalists you seem to be against. Or do you mean to tell me that Big Oil and Big Military Industrial Complex are really all for curbing the use of energy to benefit the planet? Please examine the internal inconsistencies of your stance before answering me.

          • Dave

            Tony Benn was an “Internationalist” and “Socialist” and his espousal of British Parliamentary democracy was a form of “socialism in one country”, a sentiment that could be equally shared by a “Nationalist” and “Socialist”.

            That is both Internationalism and Nationalism are both nationalist creeds, but Nationalism is often associated with Chauvinism whereas Internationalism promotes Patriotism. There is overlap, but both creeds are distinct from imperialism and Globalism.

            Hence why you have a situation developing in which “extreme left and right” are deemed as enemies of Globalism.

          • Dave

            SA have you ever heard of double-speak and humbug? Those who promote the hoax don’t practice what they preach. The same Globalists confuse “peace” with “perpetual war” and promote (without shame) “humanitarian military intervention and genocide to save lives”!

            Understand the motive, global governance, and then consider the world, universe and everything and recognise its just human vanity to believe our puny efforts can determine climate.

          • Garth Carthy

            To Dave and Blunderbuss:
            Do you not think the use of fossil fuels to make profits for the super-rich is a “globalist creed”.
            I can’t for the life of me, comprehend how anyone can support the deniers of anthropological global warming.
            Massive funding is poured into the campaign to deny anthropological global warming by the big oil corporations and others with vested interests.
            Surely, anyone with any common sense can see that even without the threat of global warming, continued use of fossil fuels can only rapidly deplete unrenewable resources.
            Then there is the issue of the alarming rates of pollution that affects our health and our food chain.

          • michael norton

            Many countries are making a good fist of de-carbonizing, the U.K. is a leader, more off-shore wind farms than any other country in the world.
            France thinks it does not have to bother because 80% of its electricity comes from ATOMIC means, which they call “green”, yet they pollute countries across the World with their mining and making of yellow cake.
            They use up huge amounts of fresh water, depriving the locals of fresh water, desiccating large expanses of land, making it useless for any other purpose, then there is the horrific mountains of nuclear waste, no idea what to do with it.
            They are complacent at other people’s grief and destitution.

          • SA

            I know very well what humbug means. However think of it this way: So the globalists want us to believe through a hoax that man made climate change is real, their purpose, if they succeed being for everyone to curb the use of fossil fuels. Then what and how will those globalists benefit from this if they depend so much on fossil fuels in order to get extraordinarily rich and in nations dominated by globalists to continue their war to control these energy resources. Please explain this to me to convert me: I am all ears.
            But also what you miss is that these so called globalist are faux globalists, all they want to globalize is the control of the 0.01% not even the 1% over all of us and the world’s resources. They do not want to globalse human fraternity and freedom and share of prosperity and resources.

          • N_

            @SA – “who is benefiting from promoting this idea that man made climate change is a hoax? Why the same globalists you seem to be against.

            Greenery is the main propaganda theme of capitalist globalism. What other propaganda themes top it?

          • Dave

            SA there is a separate debate about ownership, but if I need coal to keep warm, whether my coal supplier is publically or privately owned is not my priority concern.

            Many elderly die in winter due to the cold, but at least it stops “global warming”!!! I.e. look at the science separate from political and economic considerations.

          • michael norton

            President of France Emmanuel Macron, in the guise of “Greenman” decided to stiff the working poor by repeatedly putting up the tax on fuel.
            Look how that turned out for France, it is devastated now, like a third world country, even people from Iran don’t want to settle in France?

          • SA

            Your post is a conflation of three separate issues obliquely related to the science of global warming. Yes we do need heating but we need to find a form of heating that does not produce excess CO2 and pollution. We have some progress in this direction, still in its infancy like renewable energy, wind, waves and solar energy that should be developed and quickly. In the short term this may be costly but in the long term will save the planet,
            Many Saharan countries and ME countries have endless potential to become self sufficient in solar power and yet these same countries are either spending most of their national income in importing oil or fighting wars or having wars fought on their behalf to maintain the predominance of oil. And all the corporations and governments in the west do very little in pushing this so that these countries could be self sufficient without the politics of oil If you do not understand the politics of oil you will never understand the reason why depite scientific evidence, the most advanced countries in the world are still perusing the policy to destroy the planet, it is easy and it increases their dominance . The fact that they can convince some people also to become climate change deniers, like you and Blunderbuss only enhances their narrative and not that of the rest of humanity.

          • SA

            Last post was meant for Dave.
            N_ There is greenery and there is pseudo greenery and I though you surely must be able to distinguish between the two? Of course all the oil companies, the textile companies, the big corporations and outsourcers have a PR branch in order to practice ethical employment, sustainability and other soothing policies which they can boast of. We all know that this is the way they pretend to be concerned about resources and human beings whilst we also all know that their underlying concern is only profit.

          • Blunderbuss

            To paraphrase: “Man-made climate change must be real because fossil fuel companies oppose the theory”. This is a political argument, not a scientific one.

          • Clark

            Yes Blunderbuss, but you went through your “scientific” objections with me, and it turned out that all you had was a series of bluffs, each of them misleading by its superficial plausibility.

            That you now proceed as if that hadn’t happened makes you not merely “a badly informed person who does not want to see. No personal offence intended” but a wilfully misinforming person who wants others not to see. I therefore personally take offence on behalf of humanity.

          • Clark

            Britain was doing comparatively well at reducing its carbon emissions by generating its base-load electricity from natural gas, but successive UK governments permitted its long term gas storage capacity, officially a “strategic resource of the UK”, to fall into complete disrepair, for the profit of the private company they sold it to.

          • Clark

            michael norton, 09:38:

            “then there is the horrific mountains of nuclear waste, no idea what to do with it”

            It’s remarkably easy not to make mountains of nuclear waste. Just don’t put U238 in your reactors. But everyone puts in twenty times as much U238 as U235, the actual fuel.

          • Dave

            SA @ 10.51
            You admit a time lag between ending use of ‘fossil fuels’ and finding their replacement and say “this may be costly in the short term”. I.e. let people die of the cold to save the planet!

            You disparage rich oil barons, but are happy to see rich Tory landowners get richer from public subsidy derived from allowing inefficient wind turbines on their land to blight areas of natural beauty!

            The problem with solar panels in the Sahara (as with the Severn estuary barrier) is the impact of extreme weather on the infrastructure. i.e. steaming hot in the day and freezing cold at night. Hence the infrastructure and repair costs, due to wear and tear makes them uneconomic, unless you add the sales pitch, but “they save the planet”!

            There are many alternatives to ‘fossil fuels’ of which I am unaware, but common sense tells me there are. But we continue with old technology/methods due to vested economic interests. If you replace something at short notice you cause economic dislocation and unemployment e.g. the spinning jenny, and so there are practical reasons to continue with ‘fossil fuels’ that benefit us all, not just the rich.

          • Clark

            If only there were some ‘Globalists’ who lived up to their name! We need a global electricity grid, because the Sun is always shining somewhere, and we need global scale liquid fuel synthesis for motive and portable power. We need global frugality of resource appropriation to conserve natural systems upon which we are dependent. We need global scale research just to understand those systems, let alone the increasing impacts human activity is having upon them.

          • Blunderbuss

            @Clark 11:39

            No, I’m a better informed person than you. I listen to both sides of the argument but you only listen to one side because you have pre-judged the other side as “bluffs”.

            If you take offence because I disagree with you, that is your problem not mine.

          • Clark

            I take offence because you deceive.

            I do not accept that you “disagree”. That claim is merely more deception, and I object.

          • Clark

            I object because you claim I “only listen to one side”, but you know that I considered and looked into every counter-argument you raised.

            I listened attentively to the “other side” as related by you yourself. Not only was each argument simple to refute scientifically, the overall case has no resemblance to a scientific one.

            Scientifically, you could propose a rival hypothesis on the basis that it accounts better for available evidence, but instead, your pattern and style of attack indicate commercial objectives. This appearance is probably just inherited from the sources of the arguments you have been deploying.

          • Blunderbuss

            @Clark 15:01

            There is no point in debating with you because you “know” you are right.

          • Clark

            “I would be deceiving if I pretended to believe something I do not believe”

            Like you “believed” that all the lost polar ice would reform over winter, and then immediately upon challenge “believed” that if the 30 million year old polar icecaps are lost, it is insignificant anyway.

            I do not accept that you believed either. Quite clearly, you merely grasped at them in pursuit of something else.

          • Blunderbuss

            @Garth Carthy 09:30

            “Do you not think the use of fossil fuels to make profits for the super-rich is a “globalist creed”.”

            It may well be but I want to nationalize coal, oil and gas and use the profits to improve public services.

            “Surely, anyone with any common sense can see that even without the threat of global warming, continued use of fossil fuels can only rapidly deplete unrenewable resources”.

            Fossil fuels will run out eventually but there is no need to end their use prematurely by imposing “green” taxes to push up the price. This is what the Gilets Jaunes protests were about.

            “Then there is the issue of the alarming rates of pollution that affects our health and our food chain”.

            Which particular pollutants are you concerned about?

          • Clark

            We do not even know what effects various pollutants are having. For decades, scientific research has been increasingly funded, and hence directed, by commercial concerns. I remember that ‘industry’ funding of universities was a flagship policy of Thatcherism.

            We know that the extinction rate of species is around a thousand times the background rate. We know that the total biomass of large animals has fallen some 60% in recent decades, and studies of insect populations have shown shocking declines. We know some of the reasons why. Some pollution makes itself obvious, for instance plastics on Midway Island:


            I don’t remember anyone predicting background contraceptives and antidepressants in our drinking water, nor sex-changed organisms in estuaries. CO2 was predicted to have massive effects, including effects upon the climate. Even with those predictions being confirmed, emissions continue to rise.

          • Clark

            Probably the 60% doesn’t include domesticated animals, which contribute to the problems. Go and look it up, oh self-proclaimed better-informed one who always says there’s no need to slow down or change course.

          • Clark

            Depletion of the ozone layer was addressed. Do you think an epidemic of skin cancer would have been preferable, and completely natural anyway?

          • Blunderbuss

            @Clark 18:11

            “Probably the 60% doesn’t include domesticated animals, which contribute to the problems”.

            Are you claiming that methane from domesticated animals contributes to global warming and methane from wild animals does not?

          • Blunderbuss

            @Clark 18:15

            “Depletion of the ozone layer was addressed”.

            Addressed by whom? I thought depletion of the ozone layer was attributed to chlorofluorocarbons, not to fossil fuels.

          • Clark

            I’m saying that things had settled to a natural balance over a very long time, when suddenly human industrial and technological activity started producing uncountable changes, from the tiny to the enormous. We don’t have nearly sufficient research workforce to understand even which natural systems we’re changing.

            We need to put the brakes on while we reallocate effort, from doing stuff intensively to maximise profits, to understanding what we have to work with, what limits we have to work within. It’s all just part of growing up, but old Mother Nature isn’t known for her mercy.

          • Clark

            Yes, CFCs.

            “The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. It was agreed on 26 August 1987, and entered into force on 26 August 1989, followed by a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989. Since then, it has undergone eight revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), 1998 (Australia), 1999 (Beijing) and 2016 (Kigali, adopted, but not in force). As a result of the international agreement, the ozone hole in Antarctica is slowly recovering. Climate projections indicate that the ozone layer will return to 1980 levels between 2050 and 2070”


          • Blunderbuss

            @Blunderbuss 21:13

            Really? is now redundant. It was a response to something which has been deleted by mods.

    • N_

      What exactly has happened? Has the electricity been turned off, or does the embassy have block heating? Friends should get him a portable gas heater.

    • laguerre

      France is in a certain degree of shit, far less than Britain is. Britain is in long-term shit over Brexit. If May succeeds in ramming Brexit through, there’ll be long-term bitterness over the divisions, let alone the economic problems inherent in impeding our own access to our markets. Britain chartering ferries off the French to provide enough coverage for the slowed-down crossings? You wouldn’t credit it the ludicrous quality of that, if it weren’t in all the major media.

  • N_

    The government is paying for extra ferries, to go to ports that aren’t Dover. Observations:

    1) The contracts weren’t put out to tender. Wouldn’t that usually be unlawful? Sounds like a case of “Crisis time! Let’s loot the treasury!” – a bit like when a pub gets damaged in a fire and the police get given loads of free alcohol.

    2) Sounds great for Trinity College, Cambridge, which owns Felixstowe. First, they will ensure their own food supply. Second, they’ll make millions in the process. Win-win! Never mind the starving Morlocks!

    • laguerre

      The ferry companies selected are not much British (France’s Britanny Ferries, Danish DFDS, UK’s Seaborne Freight). Are we talking about kickbacks?

    • SA

      I wish the situation in Manbij was as clear as we would like it to be. I think there is maneuvering there and fear that there may have been a trap set for the SAA and Russia. Here is Al Masdar news, which operates from Lebanon and all their headlines see to indicate that Turkey, their surrogates and the US are playing a game of deception. This and the Christmas day raid by Israel suggests to me that the SAA defenses and strategies are being tested and that something sinister is afoot. It is a quickly changing situation but thanks for your optimism.

        • JohninMK

          There are major delegations from Turkey in Moscow currently, including Erdogan. It looks as if the Turks do not want to do anything that might cause a repeat of their military killing Russians. It looks to be by co-incidence but there is also a Kurdish delegation in Moscow as well. This is where the future of Syria is being decided. We have a pretty clear idea what the Russians want, it will be interesting for the future of the region just how influential they actually are.

          Depending on those discussions will be what happens in Manbij. It is highly unlikely that anything will happen until those talks have concluded. All forces are either now in, or getting into, position ready to obey the commands from on high.

          If nothing else the Turkish Army’s moves seem to have forced the SDF/Kurds to accept, based on their Afrin experience, that a pact with the Syrian Government was the safest route forward.

          The latest word from the area seems to indicate that rather than the immediate disbanding and absorbance into the SAA that the SDF will be allowed to continue until the fighting is over. Bit like not repeating the US mistake in Iraq when they disbanded the Army there.

          There looks to be a discussion underway as to whether the SDF will be allowed to keep all the US ‘gear’ they now have, Mind you I’m not sure how the US could take it back. Also some of it is dependent on US maintenance and parts so it may have a short life anyway.

    • michael norton

      So Iran wants to be friends with Russia, Lebanon wants to be friends with Russia, Syria is friends with Russia, Jordan ( now it feels which way the wind is blowing) wants to be friends with Russia, perhaps even Saudi?

      America was feared of the Arc that will run from The Gulf of Persia, through Iraq, through Syria and Lebanon into the Eastern Mediterranean, where Russia has an airforce base and a naval base.
      Let’s see if America can stop the Methane pipeline

  • N_

    Sussex police sound as though they have had their fingers rapped hard!

    Gatwick chaos: Sussex police chief ‘absolutely certain’ about drone:
    “The head of Sussex police has said he is absolutely certain a drone was flown over Gatwick airport, admitting that contradictory statements from other officers at his force ‘amplified the chaos’ caused by the incident.”

    So he is “absolutely certain”, and moreover the statements “amplified the chaos”. Strong stuff.

    I wonder what has happened to those “other officers” who dared say the emperor was wearing no clothes there may not have been any drone flights over the airport. If they’re not all gagged by now, or in labour camps, perhaps one could come forward and confess on video “I too was a doubter, a wrecker, a saboteur of the people’s monarchistic state’s heroic communications effort”.

    • Dungroanin

      My post xmas CT meanderings appear to be standing up.
      No drones except official drones.
      No sightseers and eyewitness passengers and ground crews.
      A media circus and diversionary arrest.
      A brief presence of ‘military’.
      -all for a few hours of secret air traffic-
      Then just like that back to normal!

      They really think we are that thick.

      Harding’s minders do, they make him carry on stuffing his own head in the loo and pulling the chain! He writes more crap today.
      “Skripal – a “big, sporty guy”, as Suvorov describes him – better resembles the typical GRU officer. A former paratrooper, he served undercover in Afghanistan and China before being posted as a “diplomat” to Malta and Spain.”

      ‘Served undercover’, a ‘big, sporty guy’ in countries where he obviously ‘didn’t’ standout.

      He obviously has no self awareness or is amoral – a psychological pathology of some sort.
      Hello Luke – Mannafort/Assange meeting, Luke? Novichok Luke? Police evidence Luke?
      Is there anyone in there? Luke, Luke … the Farce is with you!

      • Blunderbuss

        @Dungroanin 15:24

        “A brief presence of ‘military’.
        -all for a few hours of secret air traffic”

        Do you mean some stealth bombers slipped through unnoticed while the airport was closed down?

        • N_

          Factor in that Gatwick airport recently changed hands. Is it a coincidence when shortly before a nightclub changes hands it gets shut for a night for unexplained “security” reasons?

          I am quite sure there is private sector involvement in security at Gatwick, even if I don’t know which companies. Shall I guess? All right, then – Magal Security Systems, the I__aeli firm.They provide security at US nuclear facilities (weapons and energy plants), many airports, and Buckingham Palace.

          • Blunderbuss

            ” Is it a coincidence when shortly before a nightclub changes hands it gets shut for a night for unexplained “security” reasons?”

            Is this to install bugging equipment which can later be used to blackmail MPs and other VIPs?

  • michael norton

    Yellow Jacket movement stated as a protest against rising taxes on fuel, that Macron claimed were needed because of Global Warming.
    Seventh weekend of protests, now ongoing, all over France and Macron still in hiding at his Mediterranean castle, perhaps?
    For a month and a half, their actions succeed. The days spent on the roundabouts, toll free galore, operations unchanged banners: the routine in the mobilization of the Yellow Jackets.
    But the play is not in its end for city planners, who rely on this Act 7 to return to the front of the stage.

    So if France can be brought to her knees because the government of the rich choose to impose Elite Global Warming taxes on the working poor,
    other governments will surely take note, it is not going down very well, people need to live and they do not want Austerity and they do not want to be cold.

    • laguerre

      The gilets jaunes and their pickets are down to the numbers you can count on the fingers of one hand. The telly love to go and interview them, but it’s hard to film them without showing how few there are.

      • michael norton

        I think the French unemployement rate is double that of Britain
        About nine percent for France
        about four and a half percent for Britain.

        • laguerre

          That’s fake. The Brits, particularly the Tories, have put a lot of effort into concealing the real level of unemployment. You know how they do it, I don’t need to tell you. The French, on the other hand, are relatively honest, and calculate quite differently.

          • Blunderbuss

            Yes, sign on for a zero hours contract, don’t get any money, but still count as employed.

    • Dungroanin

      The French have revolution in their blood – the Dauphin would be new sun king and his global robber masters really thought they could finally get back their power over the country. As well as dethrone Merkel and replace her with the Microdot (the idiot can’t evem control his boyfriend, living in a state apartment and having access all areas and dressing up as a policeman).

      Macron will not survive the year. He will go the way of Sarko and May , leaving a smear on the windscreen of peoples rising across Europe yet again.

      • laguerre

        Very difficult to get rid of a French president. They’re generally there until the next election. You didn’t even know that basic point, but still you claim to give us the secrets of French politics. I should think Macron hasn’t lost too much out of the gilets jaunes affair. What they’re complaining about isn’t his fault, as they say it goes back forty years, the desertification of the provinces in relation to Paris (v. similar to Brexiter complaints), and Macron has only been there one. If he’s bright, he can handle it. The main problem is that he doesn’t have an established party organisation behind him, and he’s been losing a few ministers (somewhat like Trump, who however has lost a lot more).

        • Dungroanin

          “Very difficult to get rid of a French president.”
          It used to be very difficult to get rid of kings too I recall

          You are right – i do not know the French constitution or what powers exist that could ‘remove’ a directly elected President – maybe some one will enlighten us.
          I don’t even know what would happen if he died in office – would there be a new election?
          What if he resigns? What if he commits a crime? What if he decides to have another election to prove he is wanted by the majority of people?

          I do know enough to know that as soon as his make believe party loses their parliament he will have the codependancy problem for whatever of his term remains.

          And I don’t think he is ‘bright’ – he seems to have been hot housed and mentored from an early age, to get him to where he ‘suddenly’ arrived.

          • laguerre

            Macron is bright, contrary to your thought. You don’t get into ENA (Ecole Nationale d’Administration, which educates most French leaders), if you’re not, though you also have to be white and middle class. The 2017 elections were very well organised, not merely the presidential, but also the parliamentary, where he got a majority from a standing start of zero. The main fault is that he moved too fast, being young, as my Parisian friend says. He can recover from this problem, if he is intelligent. One reason is that, like for May, there is no well-placed rival. The established parties are in disarray.

          • Dungroanin

            Crickey LG where did you get your glasses from, such a lovely shade of rose?

            Sorry – have you actually looked at his career and biog?

            Ecole nationale is the french version of eton-oxbridge-civil service.

            Of course he fast tracked that and his banking straight into politics and media darling along with the identity political destruction of french politics. It is as plain as a nose – he was flimflamed into power. As was his made up party. Which he named after himself.

            The old powers didn’t fade into common obscurity when democratic socialism took over. They bide their time. And never give up.

            Macrons not the saviour.

      • N_

        Macron does seem to like his “security officers”. There is Alexandre Benalla, who as you rightly say played dress up as a policeman so he could beat people. Then there is a bodyguard that the Daily Mail calls “particularly stylish” – but don’t worry, he was “hand picked” (hur hur) by Brigitte. Macron had a good time on St Martin in the Caribbean too.

        Got to wonder how long this can go on.

        • N_

          At least Macron hasn’t gone all “Serge Gainsbourg” (different sexual orientation, I know) yet and appeared wearing a Rolex, or all “Vladimir Putin” and worn a (much less vulgar) Patek Philippe or Breguet Marine. Indeed the Merci watch that Macron wears is very tasteful!

        • Dungroanin

          I don’t have a problem with him being gay or whatever. C’est la vie as they say in american or summat.

          That whole french period drama, Versailles, was a means of bigging up a metrosexual french centrist technocracy.

          Zoot Alors!

  • JohninMK

    Looks like Russia got its way and many lives have been saved. If correct huge diplomatic coup for Russia. Next stop Afghanistan?

    Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai 17m17 minutes ago

    The highest level officials meeting in #Moscow regarding #Manbij is concluded. It seems #Kurds are saved (and will be disarmed where the #SAA will be present). #Turkey values its relationship and gains from #Russia #Iran more than the promises given by #USA.

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