The Saker blog now also in Russian!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mark Sleboda vs a typical BBC Presstitute

Dear Mark,

I want to use this opportunity to send you a sincere big bear of a hug!  Your replies were perfect.  I also want to express here my admiration for your restraint.  We both know that for you and I each death, each person wounded in this ugly war is a wound on our soul, but for that BBC presstitute it's just an opportunity to make yet another snide comments expressing his full contempt and hatred for the people we love.  As Alexander Slozhenitsyn once said about another such arrogant russophobic liar "за это надругательство над всеми погибшими и подавленными — пусть его рассудят Небеса!"

Warmest regards to you and your loved ones,

The Saker

What Makes Strelkov Feel "Melancholy" - Military-Political Situation Report, July 20, 2014

Note: this article is dated July 20th because it took 2 days to translate it. I think that this is a *must read* for all those who wonder about the nature of the ugle behind-the-scenes infighting between various Russian groups about the future of Novorussia. A huge "thank you!!!" to all those who helped translate this most interesting text.

The Saker
What Makes Strelkov Feel "Melancholy" - Military-Political Situation Report, July 20, 2014 

by Boris Rozhin aka "Colonel Cassad" 

Some genuinely do not understand why, for some time now, along with his usual military briefings, Strelkov has been making fairly pessimistic statements. In reality, the reasons here are fairly transparent.

The Change in the Russian Political Line

In May-June, when the political line that changed in April (the question of military intervention was taken off the agenda on April 24) progressively started to influence the operational-tactical situation on Donbass, the hostilities also gradually gained momentum, leading to a scenario in which an irregular militia was forced to fight against a regular army. At the stage when the seizure of power in Donetsk, Lugansk and Slavyansk occurred, this scenario was not initially planned for – everyone was betting on the recognition by the Russian Federation and the intervention by the Russian army.

After the commencement of hostilities and the change in the political line, the agenda became dominated by the question of tacit assistance. So you can understand it from Strelkov’s example, all he had during the three months of fighting in Slavyansk was 2-2.5 thousand men (wielding light arms and heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, ATGMs (many of them non-functional), a few MANPADS, and so on), only 3 tanks, as well as an IS-3 monument taken off the pedestal, several BMPs and BMDs, 4 or 5 Nonas, and several 12.7mm and 23mm calibre antiaircraft guns. This is about the size of one column from the Voyentorg “military supplies store” that the Junta now records almost daily.

That is about all that Strelkov received sitting in Slavyansk for 3 months, and the meager size of this aid was apparent from the amount of equipment that was taken out of Slavyansk at the end and by the very modest trophies that the Junta was able to demonstrate [after taking Slavyansk] (1 BMD, a batch of inoperative ATGMs, a few automatic rifles, and several mortar shells). That is about all that kept Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Nikolayevka, Semyonovka, Krasniy Liman, and other settlements from falling into the hands of the enemy, despite the manpower ratio of 1 to 3.5-4.5 in favour of the Ukrainian army. In other words, it must be understood that, from the standpoint of weaponry, aid was coming in, but in the amounts entirely insufficient to fight an enemy grouping totaling up to 10-12 thousand men, even without taking into account the tanks, the artillery and the air force.

Strelkov's Appeals for Assistance
That is why, with the development of hostilities and the outpacing rate of the enemy’s concentration of its forces, Strelkov started openly to make complaints, the general sense of which could be boiled down to the message that the aid was insufficient. Nevertheless, the curators of Russian policies in Donbass (and this was, first and foremost, Surkov, who was given partial reigns of control over Russian policies in Donbass, while, at the same time, Volodin was pushed to the side) fairly calmly contemplated how the Junta slowly, but surely enveloped Slavyansk, closing the ring of the operational encirclement.

Equally as calmly, they contemplated the enclave in Soledar (which has been defended by the Junta spetsnaz forces – 150-200 men – since the beginning of March), where over 1 million units of light arms were kept, making their way into the hands of the Militia for money (the trade started approximately at the end of April – beginning of May, when the sides of the conflict were noted massively to be armed with old weaponry). In fact, Strelkov himself wrote in the spring that they were forced to buy weapons from the Junta officers.

Also, over the 3 months period, no intelligible assault was organized on the tank base in Artymovosk, despite the fact that even pessimistic estimates suggested that there were 20-25 battle-worthy tanks, without even taking account the possibility of repairing other more-or-less preserved units at the expense of the non-functional ones. Over the months, no one bothered to take the base, let alone create a group to de-blockade Slavyansk by conducting strikes against the columns of the Junta enveloping the city, which would have enabled the Militia to continue to retain Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and so forth.

Despite the fact that Slavyansk was being encircled and was, finally, encircled, no one in Donetsk moved a muscle to assist. Sheer heresy was started to be written about Strelkov’s briefings, to wit “if Strelkov is melancholic, success is not far behind,” even though, looking at his briefings now, they objectively reflected the worsening situation near Slavyansk. The reasons why Strelkov was ignored are fairly obvious – while he fought in Slavyansk, negotiations between Surkov’s people and Akhmetov’s people were being conducted through Donetsk. Moreover, in the city itself, a conspiracy to surrender the city to the Junta was developing. You can read about the political underpinnings of these processes here, where they are covered in greater details: Colonel Cassad LiveJournal.

Strelkov's Breakout from Slavyansk and Its Significance

On July 2nd, the battles for Nikolayevka commenced, leading to the loss of control over the last significant highway that enabled supplies to flow to Slavayansk. Strelkov grew more “melancholic,” as it became obvious that Slavyansk, along with him and the garrison, were written off, and that no one was going to come to their aid. On July 2nd-3rd, when street battles still persisted in the surrounded Nikolayevka, where Motorola’s unit continued their heroic resistance (even despite the betrayal of two field commanders who stripped the irflank of defences), a decision to break out of the encirclement was adopted in Slavyansk; it must be understood that this decision had both a military and a political component – Strelkov was warned from Moscow that a surrender of Donetsk was being prepared.

In the night of July 4th-5th, the Militia effected a successful breakout, sustaining only minimal casualties. In doing this, Strelkov thwarted the secret negotiations being conducted between Surkov’s people and the people of Akhmetov and Kolomoiskiy (through Kurginyan’s people). The gist of these negotiations was an attempt by near-Kremlin circles to coordinate with the Ukrainian oligarchs the question of a “large Transnistria,” to be fashioned out of the Lugansk and the Donetsk Republics, at the head of which would have been Oleg Tsaryov, with a part of the financing flows feeding the South-East being locked on him.

In these contacts were implicated the mayor of Donetsk, Lukjanchenko (who has since fled to Kiev), the speaker of the Novorossiya Parliament, Pushilin (since dismissed from his position of his own volition), DPR minister of State Security, Khodakovskiy (since dismissed from his position as a minister, with Batallion Vostok having been transformed into a brigade and operationally subordinated to Strelkov’s staff), and police general Pozhidayev (the local command of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was purged almost immediately after the arrival of Strelkov’s brigade in Donetsk). All these people were, in one way or another, connected to Akhmetov. Antjufeev was sent to cleanse the upper echelons of DPR, following which a series of dismissals took place.

The Secret Collusion is Thwarted and the Hostilities Explode

As soon as Strelkov’s retreat from Slavyansk scuttled the secret negotiations, hostilities across the entire front sharply activated – Ukrainian oligarchs, who were contact with Moscow, immediately became the targets of a mass media campaign. Following contacts between Kolomoiskiy’s deputy, Korban, and a person from Kurginyan’s circles, the campaign against Kolomoiskiy in the Ukrainian mass media took on wide-scale proportions, including even traditional SBU [Ukrainian Security Service] leaks, such as the discussion about the preparation of a harassment campaign against Lyashko, the goal of which was to turn the Nazi radicals against one of their sponsors.

At the same time, open declarations by Kolomoiskiy, Filatov and Korban that time had come to confiscate Akhmetov’s property were no longer finding support in the mass media. The Junta mass media en masse defended Akhmetov, who had already given up Mariupol to the Junta and was preparing the groundwork for Donetsk to be surrendered. After the negotiations were thwarted, the Junta completely ceased to have any scruples about destroying cities and the infrastructure (there was no longer any chance that they could be obtained without battle through a collusion with the curators of Kurginyan and co.), as control over Donbass could only be established in a military manner.

Immediately following this, almost right away, the Militia gained access to a fairly significant number of tanks, BMPs, artillery (D-30 howitzers and Govzdika self-propelled artillery systems), and MLRS. To make the point clear, in one week the Militia obtained more heavy armour and military equipment than over the entire preceding three months. This immediately led to operational successes – the “Southern Cauldron” was formed, and the Junta offensive that began on July 1st, became bogged down on all directions by July 13th-14th. It is quite obvious that if the aid that has been provided in July had come in May, in the same quantities, then the battles would have now been taking place somewhere in the vicinity of Izyum, rather than near Donetsk.

Insufficient Piecemeal Military Assistance

At the same time, even despite the ongoing material and technical assistance, which was provided, and continues to be provided, the Junta’s rates of accumulating manpower and military equipment are still higher (without even taking into account the material, technical and organizational assistance from the United States and from NATO). That is why, due to the overall numerical superiority in manpower and military equipment, the Junta regrouped and continued its offensive despite the defeat, attacking the weaker sections of the front (the Militia simply has insufficient manpower and military equipment to defend everything equally well).

For clarity – Strelkov broke through to Donetsk from Slavyansk with 1 tank, 3 Nonas and several BMDs/BMPs. To his aid came 4 tanks, 3 Gvozdika self-propelled artillery units and several BTRs/BMPs; somewhat earlier a few Grad MLRS turned up near Donetsk. All this equipment is spread over the wide front that stretches from Snezhnoye, through Donetsk, to Gorlovka, and, from there, to Mozogovoi’s zone of responsibility. Whatever Strelkov could spare for Mozgovoi, he has sent off to him. At this time, his military equipment is tied up in the battles for Marinovka (DPR) and the airport, while also ensuring the defence of Donetsk and Gorlovka. He just does not have sufficient forces for anything more.

In fact, his continuing pessimistic statements arise from an objective assessment of the real balance of forces at the front. Fantasies of the “a bullet is dumb, but a bayonet is true” and “so what if the enemy has a lot of tanks and aircraft, we will break them with our fighting spirit and prayers” kind naturally can have no effect on the difficult operational situation. And that is why Strelkov’s “melancholy” is essentially a way to convey through the public (where he enjoys widespread support) to the government that he needs more weaponry and military equipment. It is understood that requests like this are also passed on through closed channels – in a more objective and less emotional manner. But this is just one aspect of the problem.

The Political Dimensions of Strelkov's "Melancholy"

The second aspect of Strelkov “melancholic” statements is a political one. The failure of the defeatists’ faction in the conspiracy to surrender Donetsk did not at all lead to their elimination. It is not difficult to glean from the continuing informational campaign against Strelkov that his presence in Donetsk obviously inhibits the plans of the collusion with the oligarchs and the Junta with respect to the future of Novorossiya.

Strelkov wants to continue fighting and to advance on Kiev, but to do this he requires men and arms, which he receives in insufficient quantities. And because this idea enjoy widespread public support, it is not possible to conduct open negotiations about the future of the “larger Transnistria” with the Junta and the oligarchs. In essence, Strelkov is not allowing to die the idea of the “larger Novorossiya” – an idea which Surkov and co. already wrote off, for the most part, in the spring.

In other words, Strelkov is a political hindrance in the way of the attempts to effect a political exchange of Ukraine for DPR and LPR. And that is why he will continue to be blamed for all mortal sins (today, the provocateur Kurginyan, in Dorenko’s best style, gave birth to the idea that Strelkov allegedly wanted to shoot down Putin, and, if we follow his reasoning, ended up hitting the Boeing), so as to clear the scene for a future collusion with the Nazi Junta about the future of DPR and LPR.

At the same time, military aid to DPR will be apportioned so as to keep the resistance from collapsing entirely (the version of complete abandonment of DPR and LPR appears to the Kremlin to be too burdensome), while simultaneously trying to chop off the assistance channels organized by the public – resources of informational support for DPR and LPR are being blocked, accounts are being closed, including through collusion between Russian banks and SBU and its curators. Junta’s provocation with the Boeing has already been picked up by the Russian faction of defeatists, who are, in effect, playing into the hands of the Junta propaganda machine by floating suppositions that Strelkov and the Militia stand behind the downing of the aircraft.

The Attack on DPR - from Without and from Within

In other words, the attack on DPR is, essentially, two-fold – on the one hand, there is the United States, its satellites and the Junta, and, on the other hand, the Russian comprador-defeatists and their mass media servants, such as Kurginyan. The floating of the idea about Putin, whom Strelkov allegedly attempted to kill, is necessary to create the conditions for someone in the highest echelones to give the go-ahead for the cessation of support to Strelkov. In other words, the necessary picture is being painted for the highest leadership of the Russian Federation, equally as much as for the public.

The gist of the operation is the following: (1) discredit Strelkov in the mass media (start taking note of those who participate in this campaign – by considering this wave you will be able easily to determine which of the talking heads are tied to Surkov and those who are preparing the groundwork for collusion with the Nazi Junta – they are the ones who constitute the mass media infrastructure of the real fifth column, and not the liberal buffoons who are usually represented as such); and (2) prepare the groundwork for his replacement.

If to implement this plan it would require the surrender of Mozgovoi or a part of the territory around Donetsk, this possibility cannot be excluded because it was exactly in this manner that, very recently, they tried to prepare the groundwork for the “heroic death of Strelkov in Slavyangrad.” The “heroic death of Mozgovoi in Lisichansk” might become a very convenient opportunity to continue attacks on Strelkov, who, they would argue, was unable to support him – with all of his 4 tanks.

Their ideal option is to subordinate the military command of DPR to Surkov and Co., so as to preclude any independence, and then to start negotiations with the Junta. While Strelkov, and such field commander as Mozgovoi, are alive, these plans have plainly stalled, and the defeatists are forced to spend time and political capital on Strelkov’s elimination. For Strelkov, the attack is obvious, and that is why, same as he did before, he continues to communicate to the society and the government, through public means, the simple idea that it will be impossible to backstab him that easily (i.e. that he will not go gentle into that good night [Note: original – he will not go silently to be sacrificed]) and that to win this war real aid is required, therebu appealing to the “war faction”, which provides real (rather than token PR) deliveries of aid and which is interested in spreading the insurrection beyond the boundaries of Donbass.

The Fork in the Road Demands Decisive Action

Understandably, he is not a lone wolf and that there are structures in Moscow that support him – otherwise, he would long ago have been buried somewhere near Slavyansk. And the generalized essence of all this fuss in Moscow consists in the fact that the options proposed by Strelkov are simple and clear, and Strelkov formulates them pessimistically – either the war is conducted more actively on the territory of Ukraine, or a capitulation and the transfer of the hostilities onto the territory of the Russian Federation will follow. And over the backdrop of the “all is lost, all has been given up”-style hysterics, this evaluation indicates a realistic fork in the road, which has been obvious since May.

Strelkov does not say “all is lost” – he says that the trend is unfavourable. And the development of the situation continues to confirm his conclusions. The defeatists’ faction, which increased its influence following the decision in April not to intervene militarily, is still trying to occupy two diverging chairs of war and capitulation, in the hopes of achieving an agreement with the Nazi Junta (which Strelkov is preventing) and the Ukrainian oligarchs. They hope, in the end, to secure an outcome that can be represented over the backdrop of the declarations made in February-March 2014 as something other than a complete surrender.

In this scenario, Strelkov, whatever his own views may be, has long ago become a symbol for those who wish to continue the fight either for the entirety of Ukraine or at least for a part of it. Strelkov’s opponents, on the other hand, have long ago written off Ukraine and are now attempting to find a way to escape this situation, so as not to cause unrest in Russia proper, even if, over the long term, the surrender of Ukraine will have the most catastrophic consequences for Russia itself.

And while this confrontation continues, Strelkov will continue to feel “melancholic” and “sad” until the moment when the choice between the two obviously unpleasant decisions is made. Or until the moment of his death, when both unpleasant decisions will be realized at once.


July 22nd combat SITREP by Juan

1. Donetsk, Lugansk and surrounding towns and villages being bombarded ceaselessly by Uke forces using every weapon in their possession, Grad, Hurricane, Tornado and Smerch MLRS and arty up to 20.3 cm.

2. In last 4 days over 300 civilians in the aforementioned areas have been killed and a like number and more wounded. Civilian and industrial areas completely devoid of any Army of Novorossiya facilities and troops are targeted as is infrastructure such as gas, water and electric services.

3. Shoot down of MH17 has focused all world eyes on the aircraft. The Ukes are using this to unleash an assault on the civilians of Novorossiya with unprecedented savagery. Entire MLRS volleys are being fired in to cities, towns and villages away from the prying eyes of the press.

4. The Cauldron has not been reduced. Although the remaining two battalions of airborne and armor troops have been decimated and have lost most of their equipment and transport both are still dangerous.

5. The Ukes are pressing Army of Novorossiya very strong. There has been a noticeable change of tactics in some areas of fighting by the Ukes, obviously a change of command or advisors.

6. Heavy fighting around both Lugansk and Donetsk Aerodromes. Neither side seems to have an advantage.

7. Situation in and around Slavyansk and Kramatorsk is grave. Little food and water, some electric in certain areas. Many roads blocked by Uke block posts. Military age men and some women are still being arrested.

8. The fate of the Militsiya detachments from Slavyansk and Kramatorsk arrested after Strelkov withdrew are still unknown. No information or contact to any of their families since 05 July afternoon.

9. Travel by private vehicle in areas of Novorossiya from the Kherson Oblast/Novorossiya border is dangerous. In the countryside at some small road intersections there are one, two or three civilian cars and trucks with the occupants shot dead.

10. At one intersection of two country dirt roads two cars are shot. Lying beside one of the cars are three local villagers, one man and two women, obviously shot to death while trying to either help the wounded occupants of a car or trying to remove the bodies. Locals are terrified and rarely leave their villages. Crops are untended.

11. One small natsgardia/right sector unit of 8 was ambushed in Kherson/Novorossiya Border area by unknown assailants and their bodies left neatly arranged along the forest path, weapons and equipment removed by unknown personnel. Near the ambush sight a young woman was found dead. She had been outraged and murdered.

12. Civilian travel in east and southern areas of Kherson Oblast can be dangerous. In the areas north of the Krimea/Kherson Oblast border numerous patrols of natsgarda/right sector.

13. Vehicles and the few trains coming to Krimea from Kherson Oblast are searched for valuables and most of the military age men detained and taken 'to the office'. They either pay a large bribe to be allowed to continue to Krimea or are press ganged in to Uke service and sent to the fronts.

14. The refugee situation in Krimea is difficult. No one is left without succor that need it. As in reports from Cassad and Strelkov there are many entire families of refugees fleeing to Krimea, arriving in cars and vans packed with personal belongings, food and drink, vehicles often with the tell tale 'special' license number arrangements. Russia tells all they will be moved to other oblasti in Russia. Many of this category of refugees demand to be housed 'near the beaches', demand refugee status and demand services.

15. 35000 refugees are in Krimea alone, over 300000 refugees have fled to Rostov Oblast and many moved to other oblasti. It is estimated that a like number of refugees are staying with family and friends in Russian Federation. Another 50000 have fled west to Ukeland.

16. In the area around the MH17 crash scene the Ukes are using the local truce for the crash investigation to move and gather units for an assault designed to split Donetsk from Lugansk. OSCE and foreign press on sight fail to see armored columns gathering in the general area.

17. Novorossiya is being hard pressed. The Ukes are using their overwhelming numbers of armor, arty and MLRS to 'mob' the Army of Novorossiya. Opinion is the situation is in balance and could tip either way, victory for Novorossiya or total defeat.

Why I removed the post about RT's DDoS

Dear friends, 
I decided to remove the post about the DDoS attack on RT because while the outage appears to be real, the claim from AntiLeaks I mentioned was old. Since the post was written with that claim assumed to be current there was no way to only correct the post. 
I will keep you posted if I find out more details about what happened yesterday. 
My apologies for the screw-up. 
The Saker 

Monday, July 21, 2014

From Gaza to Donetsk

I spent most of the day recovering from my latest flu (feeling better today, thanks) and watching the latest news.  And I noticed that the footage coming out of Gaza and Novorussia was almost identical. RT just showed some families bathing in a lake near Donetsk who had to run for their lives because the Ukrainian Nazis decided to launch an artillery strike on the lake (go figure).  Then the next report was about kids murdered by the Israeli Nazis while they were playing on the beach.  The more I think about it, the more similarities I see between these conflicts.  Oh sure, Russia and Palestine are different, but the similarity I see is not between the victims, but between the methods and motives of the perpetrators.  The kind of random, stupid, useless and yet systematic murder of civilians in which the Nazis are engaged in Gaza and Donetsk is exactly the same one.  And Emperor Obama regularly takes to the air to tell us that the perpetrators are only defending themselves.  Another similitude is the "crime" committed by the victims: all they want is to be left in peace to live on their own land as they wish.

What is being murdered day after day after day in Gaza and Novorussia is not just children or civilians.  It's decency, honor, freedom, dignity, truth, memory, kindness, compassion and beauty.  They could not murder the Creator, so they take out their revenge on His creatures.  What is being murdered today in Gaza and Novorussia is, I sincerely believe, simply humanity. 

The Saker

July 21st Iraq SITREP: Bloody Monday

Quote of the day, Bhadrakumar on the Malaysian Plane Tragedy: The alacrity with which Obama scrambled to take early lead in the propaganda war over Moscow on Ukraine almost makes it appear he was expecting such a horrendous tragedy to happen
Thought of the day: Pity Sherlock Holmes did not have a case called the “dog that barked before the crime”

20th July: Government air strikes on Daash held Hawija have killed 10 civilians. Women and children are amongst the dead.
20th July: The Shia militia Asa’ib Ahl al Haq has seized 22 men (most likely Sunni) near Baqouba in Diyala on suspicion of being rebels. Their fate remains unknown.
21st July: Daash terrorist attack and seize the Mar Behman Monastery near the Christian town of Qaraqosh, south east of Mosul. The terrorist forced the monks to leave the monastery wearing only their robes. The monastery dates back to the 4th Century and is a pilgrimage site. The monks are now safe with the Kurds but the relics at the monastery might be destroyed by Daash terrorist who refused the monks to carry any of them.
21st July: Three mortar rounds fired by insurgents fall within 60 meters of the Imam Al Askari (as) Shrine in Samarra.
21st July: Australian authorities have identified the Australian national suicide bomber who targeted a mosque in Baghdad on Thursday the 17th, as 18 year old Abu Bakr. The Australians are concerned as over 150 Australians are fighting in Iraq and Syria
21st July: Turf war between Daash and Naqshabandi order heats up: Abu Hisham a Palestinian “Mufti” of Daash is killed by unidentified gunmen in Saadia, Diyala.
Fighting between Daash and Ansar al Sunnah break out in Saadia over who will pay allegiance to whom (so many Caliphs these days, dime/Rolex a dozen). Six men from Ansar al Sunnah are killed and five from Daash. Daash is believed to have instigated the clashes after executing a leader within Ansar al Sunnah.
21st July: Daash uses explosives to demolish six houses belonging to security personnel in Metaibij, Diyala.
21st July: Tribal fighters in Sinjar, Nineveh have fought and taken control of the town from Daash rebels
21st July: Some sort of understanding has been reached between Baghdad and the Kurdish authorities in control of the Kirkuk oil fields. It allows the Kurds to pump 25000 barrels/day that had been secretly agreed upon by the federal government and Kurdish ones over a year ago. The provincial government was not informed of this arrangement. The understanding also calls for the repatriation of Kudish, Arab, and Turkoman workers to the oil fields.
21st July: Khanaqin in Diyala is preparing make shift camps to accommodate more than 4000 families displaced by Daash’s advance. The local authorities are complaining of very little assistance coming from the government in Baghdad. Muqdadiyah has another 800 refugees to look after.
21st July: Daash continues to harass and attack government troops on the border of Kirkuk, Salah id Din and Diyala. Daash fighters attack troops in Muqdadiyah from the northern towns of Nofal and Twakul in order to relieve pressure being applied to militants in Al Atheem.
21st July: Fighting between Peshmerga forces and Daash/rebel fighters in Jalawla, Diyala is continuing. Peshmerga fighters engage rebels in the centre of the town and kill eight after a 5 hour long gun battle.
21st July: Daash has released photographs of its troops performing drills in Mosul All are wearing Khaki long shirts and are marching in step. Child soldiers are also seen armed and in training.
21st July: Kamel Ameen, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Human Rights urges the government in Baghdad to open channels with rebel groups affiliated with Daash in order to negotiate terms or develop a mutual front against Daash. He says that the conflict should not be seen purely in military terms.
21st July: Maysan in eastern Iraq sets up a camp for displaced Iraqis with 1000 tents with water and electricity. The refugees are from all over, even from Fallujah and not just minorities.
21st July: Hoshyar Abdullah, Kurdish MP of the Change Bloc calls the exodus of Christians a “Humanitarian Disaster” for Iraq.
21st July: Tragedy strikes a family in Dili Abbas village in Diyala. Mortar shells fired by insurgents kills three and injure four members of their family.
21st July: Daash rebels attack and kill Emad al-Ubaidi, a Sahawa (Awakening) leader in Diyala and injure his bodyguards
21st July: Five car bombs are defused in Baghdad, thank God.
21st July: An explosion in a shelter used by Daash/rebel fighters causes the building to collapse and kills 12 of them. The building located in Jurf al-Sakhar, Babel was filled with explosives and it is not yet clear what purpose it was serving.
21st July: Louis Raphael Sacco, the Patriarch of the Catholic calls the Daash rebels as worse than Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu Khan (Don’t agree on the Mongols being bad at all). The Patriarch also expressed surprise that in an age of atheist somebody (Daash) is persecuting Christians, Shiites or Sunnis, and Yezdis for having faith.
Pope Francis referred to the actions of Daash as “a persecution of Christians in the cradle of their faith.”
Ban Ki Moon refers to the exodus of Christians as a crime against humanity.
21st July: Never a bad idea to be high in Baghdad: Police in Baghdad bust a smugglers ring importing pills from Lebanon into Iraq. The arrests were made in Diwaniyah to the south of Baghdad, with 30000 pills being seized.
21st July: The Bani Sa’ad tribe in Thi-Qar province has formed a brigade to fight Daash led rebels in Diyala. The tribe has done so following the call made by Sistani.
21st July: Atta’s/Government claims for the day:
Government airstrikes in Anbar destroy 7 vehicles and kill 50 rebels, rebels have also been targeted in Salah id Din and Nineveh provinces.
59 Daash/rebel fighters are killed in government air strikes in Fallujah
The Iraqi air force has carried out air strikes in and around Mosul and Tal Afar killing 47 Daash/rebel fighters
12 vehicles belonging to Daash/rebels are destroyed and rebels killed in Mosul in government air strikes
Security forces kill 5 Daash/rebel fighters and destroy their vehicle in al Khasfa, Anbar. The fighters were carrying a large amount of weapons and ammunition.

Related News:
18th July: The Israeli Army crosses the border with Syria in Sheba Farms and detains goats belonging to a shepherd when it is unable to locate the shepherd
21st July: The spread of Takfir: Militants in Libya behead a Filipino worker for not being a “Takfiri” Muslim
21st July: Israel strikes at a hospital and uses phosphorus rounds on civilians in Gaza
21st July: Syria’s FM, Al Muallim, thanks the friends of Syria to help it fight “terrorists” with special thanks to Russia nad its people
21st July: Nasrallah tells Khalid Meshaal of Hamas “Hezbollah and the Lebanese resistance stand firmly on the side of the Intifada and the Palestinian people's resistance, and support Hamas’ strategy and the just conditions it has set to end the conflict.”
Nasrallah is to address a rally on Friday in support of Palestinians on Al Qods day
21st July: Protestors in Belfast refer to the BBC as the “British Bullshit Corporation” in frustration of the news agencies biased coverage of the atrocities being committed in Gaza
21st June: The UN reports that Iran has eliminated its stock of 20% plus Enriched Uranium in compliance with an agreement linked to the nuclear negotiations
21st July: President Assad of Syria has not yet appointed Farouq Sharaa to any post within his government. Seventy two year old Sharaa was a regime loyalist who was reported to be critical of the regime crackdown on armed rebels. He was a Sunni politician from Daraa.

Further reading:
Bhadrakumar criticizes the Indian government on its cowardly stance on Gaza. He has linked the massacre in Gaza to the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre in Punjab:
An excellent piece by Bhadrakumar:
Bhadrakumar at his best “The US president Barack Obama has earned the dubious legacy of destroying three sovereign countries so far during his term in office”:
Taking on the MSM:

The Russian military finally speaks!

Finally!  The Russian military has decided to speak out about some of what it knows about what happened to MH17.  It was a typical Russian event: the interpreters were nothing short of *terrible* (I speak as a former military interpreter myself), the visual aids were badly designed (the shape of a SU-24 bomber was used to represent a totally different SU-25 close air support aircraft), and there was no Q&A.  See for yourself:

Still, a few very interesting things came out of this press conference.

First, the Ukies have been caught lying about their military aircraft in the area of the disaster.  They had claimed that no UAF aircraft were in the area.  The Russians have shown the recorded radar tracks which reveal the following: there was what appears to have been a military aircraft (with no transponder) flying below 5000m which suddenly began climbing just before MH17 was hit by some kind of missile.  This unidentified aircraft then stayed and observed as MH17 fell to the ground.  The Russians added that a SU-25 armed with a R-60 air to air missile could have shot down MH17.  Maybe.  But what is certain is that the civilian radars did detected this strange Ukie aircraft.

Now, these radar tracks are from *civilian* radars.  The Russians apparently are not willing to share the data from their military radars.  This is why this mysterious Ukie aircraft 'appears' at 5'000m altitude and then 'disappears' again, but you can be certain that their military radars, especially on their A-50 AWACs did track that aircraft before and after its strange maneuver.  Again, I think that the Russians hope that the experts will come to the correct conclusions on the basis of what they have shown today and that they will not have to reveal more.  But we can be certain that they have the full picture and that they know exactly what happened.

Second, the Russians are challenging their American colleagues to show the images they claim show the launch of the BukM1 rocket.  They also point out at the interesting coincidence that an US experimental launch detection satellite was exactly over the area at the moment of the tragedy.  Clearly, they are tossing the world experts some kind of lead here, but I am not sure what this is.

Third, the Russians have shown their own space-based imagery which shows that one battery of BukM1 had been moved just prior to the incident (See for yourself here).  It will be interesting to see if the Ukies explain what is shown on these picture and, if yes, how?

As a public information this conference gets a C+ but as a lead for experts I would give it a much higher A-.  We know have hard proof that the Ukies lied at least twice.  They lied about the footage of the Buk missiles being moved back to Russia (the footage was taken in Ukie-occupied territory) and they most definitely lied when they denied having any military aircraft in the area when in reality they had one in the immediate proximity of MH17.  That is a huge lie which the Ukies will have a very hard time dismissing.

As I said in my first post about MH17, I have no hope whatsoever that the western plutocracy will ever admit that the junta did it.  Ditto for the corporate presstitues of the MSM, but I do hope that the world will see this tragedy for what is clearly was: a deliberate false flag on the part of the Nazi junta in Kiev.  As David Chandler correctly points out about 9/11, the proof of a cover up is in itself already a proof of a conspiracy.

The Saker

Just a thought, not even a hypothesis

A number of bloggers and media outlets have suggested that maybe the Ukies had tried to down President Putin's Il-96-300PU which externally looks like a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777.  I am frankly dubious.  Yes, the junta in Kiev is evil and crazy, but not suicidal and such an attack is an act of war which would trigger an absolutely devastating retaliation from Russia.  Besides, even though their liveries look similar, the Il-96-300PU is a four engine aircraft whereas the Boeing 777 has two engines.  See for yourself:

President Putin's Il-96-300PU

Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200ER

Liveries don't make much of a difference on radar anyway, but engines are a very strong radar signal reflector.

A far more likely hypothesis would be that the Ukies wanted to shoot down just any Russian civilian airliner not necessarily Putin's.  Shooting down a Russian airliner would be consistent with the pattern of systematic provocation which the junta has been engaged in since months already and which included the kidnapping and beating up of Russian journalists, the assault of the Russian embassy in Kiev, the regular artillery strikes across the border and even one instance of a Ukie Air Force Su-25 straying into Russian air space.  It so happens that Russia does operate a number of Boeing 777-300ER every similar to the Malaysian one.

Aeroflot Boeing 777-300ER

I am personally inclined to think that this was no error and that the Ukies knew exactly what aircraft they were shooting down.  But if we assume a case of mistaken identity, then I say that their real target was not Putin's presidential l-96-300PU which, according to the FSO has not overflown the Ukraine in a very long time anyway, but a Russian civilian airliner like the Aeroflot Boeing shown above.

There is also the very real possibility that MH17 was not shot by a BukM1 at all, but by a Ukrainian SU-27, at least this is what the pattern of damage on the debris seems to be showing.  Of course, we will have to wait to see if this information is correct.  The Russian military has declared that Russian signal intelligence had detected the radar associated with a BukM1 operating in the "track" mode right at the time when the Malaysian Boeing was hit.  Is that compatible with the notion of a Ukie interceptor shooting down MH17?  Yes, absolutely, in fact, it would have to be part of the plan.  Think of it - the Resistance has no fighters or interceptors, only one single Su-25 close air support aircraft.  But it does seem to have at least some BukM1s (though whether they are operational or not is unknown).  If the Ukies did use a Su-27 to shoot down MH17 it would make sense for them to switch on the engagement radar of the BukM1 just to be able to point the finger to a BukM1 battery as the source of the attack.

Right now I have the feeling that the Russians are hoping for the international community and the various investigating teams to come to the correct conclusions without any Russian input.  I am not at all sure that this is the right approach, but then I have been frustrated to tears with the Kremlin's communication policy for a long time already.  Just listen to Putin's latest statement about MH17:

I don't know about you, but to me Putin looks nervous and even sick.   Does he not act as if he was guilty or afraid of being caught?  I know, I know, there is zero chance of Russia being guilty of this crime, but to many, especially in the West, appearances matter more than facts and this latest appearance is, in my opinion, a total disaster.

I always "marvel" at how incompetent Russians are in public communications and how they systematically fail to appreciate how important appearances can be.  In contrast, the USA, which Chris Hedges correctly calls the Empire of Illusion, has a superb appreciation for the importance of the superficial and uses it against its enemies with devastating effectiveness.

In conclusion of these musings, I will like to repeat here: the tragedy of MH17 is being used by the Kiev junta not only to conceal its recent defeats, but to also conceal the murderous attacks against civilians all across the frontlines.  Right now, as the world discusses the fate of MH17 the Ukies have open fire with barrages of heavy artillery on Luganks and Donetsk and in every town and village and they are murdering scores of civilians in an apparent retaliation for their recent setbacks.  This is the big story, not MH17.  This is why I want to suggest to you all that we wait until some hard facts come out about what really happened, and that we refrain from discussions ad nauseam of every hypothesis or rumor.  Since what I posted above is exactly that, then let's keep the topic of MH17 to the comments section below and let us keep the other posts MH17-free at least until we have some hard facts to discuss, okay?

I wish you all a great week, kind regards,

The Saker

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 20th Iraq SITREP by Mindfriedo: Exodus

20th July: The Iraqi Security Forces have opened up another from against Daash and are now making a push westwards towards Fallujah. The army claims that “98% of Ramadi is now clear of terrorists.”
20th July: Maliki calls on the world to unite against Daash after the exodus of Christians in Mosul. He claims that the “true face” of the rebels is apparent and that there are genuine rebels, just fanatics. He has called the exodus of Christians a destruction of Iraq’s century’s history.
20th July: Maysan province in the south and east of Iraq (Shia territory) has expressed its willingness to accommodate the displaced Christians of Mosul
20th July: Iraqi President Jalal Talibani is back in Iraq
20th July: Daash launched a mortar attack on the civilian neighborhood of Al-Askari in South Kirkuk, wounding 9 women and children
20th July: Micro Civil war: An open war is starting between Daash and the Naqshabandi army in Saadia district of Diyala province. Daash had earlier targeted a meeting of Naqshabandi fighters using an IED killing three and wounding four. A former Ba’athist general, Jamal Ghanawi, was killed in the bombing. The Naqshabandi army is reportedly forming assassination/death squads to target the local Daash leadership.
A Saudi commander of Daash in Saadia, Diyala, Abu Faris Al-Aoaini, is killed in a road side bomb attack
20th July: Massoud Barzani tells Al Jazeera that the Kurds have no choice but to declare independence. The future of Iraq is too uncertain. “And his life is probably too short.”
20th July: Daash fighters steal wheat from Tikrit (500 tons) and drive it to Syria. They have also kidnapped a police officer.
20th July: Erbil police has denied that any car bombs had entered the city. Rumours had spread earlier when Facebook users had listed the make and license numbers of cars that were going to be used.
20th July: Maliki (current Prime Minister) has held a meeting with Ibrahim al-Jaafari (former Prime Minister) regarding the choosing of the future Prime Minister and government formation.
20th July: Arshad Salhi, head of the Turkoman Front, has told Kurdish news sources that his community is the most affected by the upheaval in Iraq and has blamed this on a conspiracy by unnamed politicians. He has also requested the President of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, to accommodate displaced members of the Turkoman Community.
20th July: Containing Blowback: Saudi Arabia is planning to counter through its Ministry of Islamic Guidance the message being preached by Daash. Friday sermons and Imams of Mosques will be required to point to the youth the error of Daash’s thinking and ways.
20th July: Khodair al- Khuzai, the Vice President of Iraqi Kurdistan, has met with Maliki to discuss security and political developments in Iraq.
20th July: The Price of Faith: US$450 is what it costs to remain a Christian in Daash administered Mosul city. The other options are conversion or exile. Meanwhile the UN has pledged to help Christians displaced by Daash.
20th July: Daash has claimed responsibility for yesterday’s bombings in Baghdad
20th July: Iran has stopped sending fuel trucks into Iraq unless and until the Iraqi Government can guarantee the safety of Iranian citizens in Iraq. As of now Iraq cannot guarantee the safety of its own citizens.
20th July: Tribal forces allied to the government in al-Dhuluiya, Diyala nab three foreign fighters/terrorists
20th July: The offices of the Sharqiya Satellite Channel in Mosul have been seized by Daash
20th July: Atta’s/Government claims for the day:
25 Daash/rebel fighters are killed in Mosul in government airstrikes
11 Daash fighters are killed in Baqouba

20th July: China and India are the largest buyers of Iranian Crude Oil. Together they buy 65% of Iranian exports
20th July: The main Shia block in Bahrain is expected to be suspended for three months
20th July: The BBC improves its headlines “Gaza suffers deadliest single day.”

Short Analysis, Iraqi Militias are now Iranian policy in Iraq:
The deputy Foreign Minister of Iran, Amir-Abdollahian, stated that “Iraq’s armed and popular forces will defend every inch of the Iraqi territory with full fervor and based on religious duty.”
The experience of fighting Islamic Jihadists through popular militias and National Guard units in Syria is going to be applied to Iraq.
On the 29th of June, Iran’s IRGC General Massoud Jazayeri told Iranian television “it is ready to provide them with our successful experiments in popular all-around defense, the same winning strategy used in Syria to put the terrorists on the defensive... This same strategy is now taking shape in Iraq – mobilizing masses of all ethnic groups. ” (
Hopefully, the Christians of Iraq can also be used as a proxy force by Tehran to fight Daash and its allied rebels in Iraq. The Christians can defend their town and villages with the government’s support. And any crazy policies of Daash can be shot down with $4.50 bullets, instead of 450 green backs. Something similar has already happened in Syria, with Syrian Christians fighting Islamists alongside the Syrian government.

Short Analysis two:
If anyone suspects of how smart the Iranians are, please read this article:
This excerpt is of particular interest:
American and Israeli electronic warfare experts, who visited the combat zone, have concluded that Iran had probably decided to use the Lebanon conflict as the testing ground for its military, intelligence and electronic capabilities in preparation for a future clash with the United States and Israel in a potential anti-nuclear conflict.
We all know that the United States and Israel test better and more effective military equipment in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, and other conflict zones. But here the Iranians are doing the same. This may seem fascinating to you and me, but must be scary for these other two.

Further Reading:
Daash is finding appeal in East Asia

A few questions worth looking into

Dear friends,

I am still sick, so I cannot write much, but I am listening to interviews and reading analytical reports.  I have a couple of questions I would love to get answers to:

1) did the Ukie ATC ever explain why MH17 was told to take a route to the north of the normal route and at a lower altitude?
2) does anybody know if the transponder of MH17 continued working up to the moment of impact of the missile which hit it?
3) how are these events seen by the Malaysian media, which side does a majority the Malaysian media blame for what happened?

If you come across anything which could reply to these questions I would be most grateful.

Thanks a lot and kind regards to all,

The Saker

A Soldier's Mother in Western Ukraine

[For subtitles click the "captions" button next to the "settings" wheel on lower right corner of your screen]

Alexander Borodai 19 Jul press conference about Malaysian #MH17 crash

[For subtitles click the "captions" button next to the "settings" wheel on lower right corner of your screen]


Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 19th Iraq SITREP by Mindfriedo: Daashing Christians in Iraq

Quote of the Day (Courtesy of Robert Fisk), Jonathan Whittall of the Médecins Sans Frontières referring to his job of providing medical aid to Palestinians in Gaza being akin: “to patch(ing) up prisoners in between their torture sessions “

18th July: The Iraqi Government is coordinating with French authorities is trying to reclaim Iraqi assets of the previous regime in France.
19th July: The representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Nikolai Meladanov, visits Najaf and meets with Ali al-Sistani. He later tells reporters that Sistani stressed on the formation of a government that was acceptable to all Iraqis. Meladanov also visited three other Shia Marjas in Najaf: Mohammed Said al-Hakim, Bashir al-Najafi, and Muhammad Isehaq al-Fayyad.
19th July: Baha al-Araji, an MP with the Sadr al-Ahrar political bloc has asked the Kurdish authorities to expedite their nomination for the post of President.
19th July: The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of President Jalal Talibani has selected Fuad Massoum as its Presidential candidate. Massoum is believed to be close to Jalal Talibani.
19th July: Amnesty International is reporting of gross Human Right violations by Daash. Daash militants have been cited as carrying out sectarian kidnappings and murders of Shia civilians in areas that it captured.
Amnesty also singled out the Iraqi government for indiscriminate air strikes and shelling of Daash held areas and of the death of 100 detainees.
Amnesty has asked the region of Iraqi Kurdistan to open up its border crossings. The Kurdish autonomy government placed restrictions on non Kurdish Iraqis along its border.
19th July: Human Rights Watch has released a statement highlighting the kidnappings and murder of Daash rebels. The victims have been primarily Turkoman Shias, Yazidis, Christians, and Shabak Ethnic groups.
19th July: In response to Jordan hosting the yet to be named group of opposition parties to the Iraqi Government, the Iraqi government is considering the cessation of oil shipments to Jordan. Iraq has been supplying oil to Jordan at US$10/barrel. The opposition group called for the overthrow of Iraq’s government and consisted of former Ba’athist, current Islamists, former army men and Iraqi Sunni politicians.
19th July: Amer al- Kenani, an MP of the Ahrar block (Sadr’s party) has told Kurdish press that the State of the Law Coalition of Maliki may be contemplating some other candidate for Prime Minister. State of the Law Coalition is Prime Minister Maliki’s party and holds the largest number of seats in the house. Maliki won the election with 700,000 votes.
19th July: Daash has released guidelines for the type of “Abaya” or cloak that can be sold by shopkeepers and worn by women. Manufacturers have been asked to approach the “Centre of Calculations” to determine these specifications. All non Daash specified apparels will be confiscated in 5 days time.
19th July: The DI of Daash had issued a decree asking Christians in Mosul to either:
Become Muslims
Pay Religious Tax
The Christians of Mosul chose “d) None of the above” and have left Mosul in mass.
Daash had earlier removed all Christian Doctors and Nurses from their jobs and prevented them from working.
19th July: Iraqi armed forces have taken back control of Nofal and al-Sodor villages in Diyala. Ten Dassh/rebel fighters were killed in the assault on these villages. Some of the rebel dead are non Iraqi Arabs.
19th July: A Suicide bombing at a police checkpoint in the south of Baghdad has left 7 dead and wounded 19. Baghdad was hit by five car bombs in mostly Shia neigbourhoods killing 26.
19th July: A mortar attack on a security post of the Peshmergas in Jalawlaa, Diyala leaves 5 Peshmergas injured/dead
19th July: Daash terrorists are preventing Christians leaving Nineveh from carrying their possessions and money. Their properties are being looted by Daash.
19th July: Atta’s/Government claims for the day:
Government air strikes have destroyed 3 vehicles and 7 Daash/rebel fighters near Baiji refinery

19th July: More “proof” that Daash is American: Daash is suing Al Qaida. Five Islamists in Jordan have taken Abu Mohammed Al Maqdissi (cleric sympathetic to Al Qaida) to Sharia court for claiming that the DI of Daash (Daulat Islamia) was un-Islamic.
19th July: Iran has said that it is willing to allow commercial/passenger flights over its airspace after the shooting down of the Malaysian Airliner in a possible false flag operation carried out by the pro US Ukrainian government.
19th July: Samir Zaitoun of the Tawheed Brigade (an anti regime militia) in Syria claims that half of the foreign fighters in Aleppo have got disillusioned and left in the last year. He states that most of them expected a “whirlwind” Jihad over the summer.
19th July: Iran has edited parts of the Oscar winning film “The Message” that it felt distorted historic facts. The edited version is more in keeping with the Shia Hadees narrative.
19th July: The Iranian nuclear negotiations have been extended till the 24th of November 2014. Meanwhile, the centrifuges keep spinning.

Further Reading:
Understanding Kurdistan: When the Kurds win, everybody else looses, except Israel:
An analysis of the current situation in Iraq

Small announcement about minor stuff and open thread

First, Alexander Borodai has made an important press conference.  I hope to have the subtitled video available soon.
Second, the main story is not MH17 but the murderous attack of the Nazis on Lugansk which, contrary to BBC claims, has not been taken.  However, scores of civilians have been killed in repeated volleys of MLRS rocket strikes by the Nazi forces.
Third, the Nazis in Israel are also using the MH17 as a cover/distraction to kill Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Fourth, I am, yet again, sick with the flu (yes, I know, again...) which one of my kids brought back home, so I will leave you today with an open thread.

2 Questions for all:

1) can somebody confirm to me that red-tipped Buk missiles are dummies used for training and not missiles equipped with a warhead?
2) is is true that the Resistance forces only seized red-tipped missiles?

Thanks and kind regards to all,

The Saker

US Senate *Unanimously* Passes Resolution Supporting Israeli Assault on Gaza

By Chris Carlson for the International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group
Following a similar resolution passed last week by the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate voted Thursday night to support Israel’s ongoing invasion of the Gaza Strip.
No dissenting vote was cast, and no mention was made of the hundreds of Palestinian civilians, most of whom are women and children, that have been killed by Israel in the past ten days.
Senate Resolution 498 was authored by Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), with additional support by Ben Cardin (D-MD) and son of former Republican party politician Ron Paul, Rand Paul (R-KY).

Paul is urging the Senate to pass his own bill, S. 2265, which would end all U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority until Hamas is barred from the new Palestinian unity government, among other stipulations.

The resolution was passed on the very same night Israel launched its current ground offensive into the Gaza Strip.

The United States and Israel, this past week, signed an agreement under which $429 million of American taxpayers’ money "will be transferred immediately to Israel" to further fund the Iron Dome missile system, which has recently come under scrutiny by prize winning Israeli defense and aerospace engineering expert Dr. Moti Shefer.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Memories, recollections, guesses and speculations about MH17

Intro and caveat

I think that any analysis of the events surrounding the downing of MH17 should begin with the following admission: no matter what, the AngloZionists will blame Russia.  Just like 9/11, there is no way, no amount of evidence, which would affect the unanimous chorus of Imperial doubleplusgoodthinkers in their conclusion that obviously it could only have been "the Russians". So don't expect to come across The Proof which will prove that the Empire is lying because if 9/11 proved anything it is that even hard, undeniable truth can be easily ignored by the elites and their media.

Second, I have to begin my "kind of analysis" with the following disclaimer: my information on air defense issues is about 25-30 years old which means that not only could my memory fail me, but things might have changed a great deal since I last was exposed to them.  Finally, the place from which I observed air defense happening was a rather peculiar one: from a underground army command center's air defense room which included a live fused (civilian+military) image of all the air traffic over an entire continent.  I never got anywhere near a SAM site in my life, and I sure have never seen one being operated.  Still, there are a few things which I know which might be relevant to this case. 

If I got something wrong, or if things have recently changed, PLEASE CORRECT ME.

How air defense normally works

The control of airspace is done by two completely different networks: a civilian and a military one.  The civilian one is the one people think of when they hear ATC (air traffic control).  These are the folks who manage flight plans, who talk to pilots on different altitudes, who track the aircraft during the flight and make sure that there is enough distance between them.  Depending on an airplane's altitude and what it is doing, it remains in contact with different ATCs but they all work together.  One more thing: the radars used by civilian ATC are very primitive, all they can "see" is a bearing.  What helps them is that all aircraft have a so-called "transponder" to transmit a special message which indicates their ID, speed, altitude and course.  The ATC then superimposes that info on his screen to get a pretty accurate idea of what the aircraft is doing.  The important thing about all this is that the military is normally patched straight into that data and that it can use it to supplement the data military radars acquire by themselves.  In other words, a military air defense network "sees" and "knows" everything that a civilians ATC knows and sees.

The task of military air defenses is dramatically different from the civilians ATC: the military expects to deal with aircraft who will do their utmost to remain undetected and once detected, the military air defense network has to figure out a way to hopefully shoot-down the enemy aircraft.  As a result, the kind of technology used by the military is very different.

The first "layer" of a military air defense network will be long range detection radars.  Their task is to try to detect an airborne target as far as possible. Although one type of radar can do this alone, typically data from different radars (including airborne ones) is fused to create a single picture.  Already at this point the air defense command post will be patched in into the civilians ATC and it will have all the flight plans, airline names, aircraft types and expected flight routes.  The air defense command post's first task is to separate civilians (considered neutral) from possible hostiles.  These 99% of flights are routine and regular, the folks in charge have a very good idea of what a normal sky looks like, they see the scheduled civilians aircraft doing their thing and they easily track them.  Some military radars even have the capability to detect the kind of aircraft they are seeing on their radar simply by analyzing the radar signal bounced back (typically by the aircraft's engine).  If a target is ambiguous, the military can use a very different type of radar to track that target: this target acquisition radar will operate on a different frequency, it will have a much narrower beam, and it will provide the operator with much more info about the aircraft even if the aircraft does not have a working transponder (which would be most unusual for a civilian airliner).  Again, modern armed forces have the means to fuse the data from any different radar types (including airborne radars) to calculate a solution to identify and track a target.  The next step is the send a special signal, like a password, to check if aircraft might not be one of your own.  Civilian aircraft are not capable of this kind if "electronic handshake". Finally, if the military air defense command post believes that the target his hostile, it selects the best radar and missile combination to engage the target.  Typically, this is done yet again by a highly specialized radar which sends a burst of energy to the target which is reflected by the airborne target and which is then caught either by a ground-based radar or even by the missile itself (that is called TVM track-via-missile) which then can guide itself to the target without emitting any signal (alternatively, the missile can use his own active guidance system which sends and receives radar signals).  Advanced air defense networks, such as Russia's, can automatically chose the best radar for each task, the missile most likely to hit, the number of missiles needed for the task, the most threatening target, the mode of engagement, etc.  These systems are highly integrated and highly automated, which also means that they are much safer than more primitive systems (more about that later).  They are also highly redundant which in practical terms means that if, say, in an ideal environment a missile system like the Buk M1 is just one part of a much bigger network of systems, it can also operate almost autonomously if needed (again, more about that later).  Now we need to look at the "who had what" on the day of the tragedy.  First, let's look at 

The Russikies and their capabilities.

While, obviously, they don't share with me the details of their moves, it is a pretty safe guess to say that, especially considering the war going on right across the border, the Russians literally had it all on that day: civilians radars, of course, but also long range radars (ground based and airborne), lots of advanced advanced surveillance (long range detection) radars, lots of tracking and fire control radars numerous radio and signal interception stations.  Since all the data from this integrated network of systems could be fused at the higher level command posts we can safely assume that the Russian side had something like "20/20 radar vision": just about as good as it can get.  There is no way the Russian shot down this aircraft by mistake.

What about the Ukrainians?

Here the reality is dramatically different: almost all of the Ukrainian air defense equipment is hopelessly outdated, far in excess of its normal shelf life.  The Ukie air defense systems have not trained with live firing for dacades.  Unlike the Russian who use contracted professionals on all crucial levels, the Ukies are known to be using conscripts simply due to a lack of funds.  To illustrate the bloodly mess the Ukie air defenses are, it is enough to recall here how gross incompetence, mismanagement and outdated equipment resulted in the downing of the Siberian Airlines civilian aircraft in 2001.  Since then, things in the Ukie air defenses have only gotten much worse.  Still, the Ukies did have an ATC which at the very least should have reported that a civilian airline had a flight plan which would follow the points XYZ.  I just cannot imagine a Ukie officer giving the order to shoot at an aircraft without checking for the available flight plans.  Also, as far as I know, nobody ever reported that the transponder on the aircraft did not work and, if so, then that means that the Ukie air defense crew should have been receiving a clear signal identifying the aircraft.  Let me add here that you can purchase special receivers and antennas which can receive transponder signals on the market and that they are comparatively cheap (1000 bucks range I think).  Lastly, but still an option, a Ukie air defense operator could have simply lifted the phone, called the ATC and asked who such and such aircraft was.  And even without that: when you see an aircraft flying right around 550 knots at 10'000m in a straight line in a civilian air traffic corridor, you can kinda guess that this is not a military aircraft on a bombing run.  So regardless of the state of disrepair of the Ukie air defense forces, there is just no way that they could have mistaken this airliner for a Russian military jet flying on a combat mission.  Oh, and did I mention MH17 was flying on  west to east course, not from Russia, but towards Russia?  Bottom line here for me is this: there is no way the Ukies could have shot down this aircraft by mistake.

The Novorussians now

Well, here again we truly have a dramatically different picture emerging.  First, the Novorussians have no ATC.  Second, 99% of their air defense systems are either MANPADs (man portable) or heavy machine guns.  I did see footage of some kind of air defense radar and command post, but I suspect that this was simply one surveillance radar left by the Ukies.  No data fusion here, no integrated air defense network, no long range missiles.  Except for the few Buk M-1s which they did get as a trophy when they took control a Ukie base a month or so ago.  The fact is that I am still unsure whether they really got anything operable systems at all (the Ukies claim that their soldiers had disabled them, but that might not be true).  But we probably have to assume that they got their hands on a least one operational vehicle with its own surveillance radar, engagement radar and missiles.  As I mentioned earlier, modern states would integrate the Buk into a full air defense network, but since in war time this might not be possible, it is possible for the Buk to detect, acquire and engage a target all by itself.  Frankly, I find it very unlikely that the systems the Novorussians got their hands on would have been operational.  I find it even more unlikely that they would also have the people to operate them.  Still, just to cover our bases, we have to assume that with Russian aid these systems could have been more or less fixed, and that a crew could also have been sent from Russia.  Unlikely? Far fetched?  Yes.  But, alas, not impossible.

Still, there is the flight profile issue.  The real threat for Novorussians comes from close air support (low level) and from reconnaissance (medium level) aircraft.  Not those flying at 10'000 meters.  Also, a Boeing 777 is much larger than an An-26, Su-25, Su-24 or even Su-27.  Also, ask yourself, IF you had such a capable and advanced air defense system as the Buk, would you waste it on a poorly identified target?  Probably not.  Still, I think that at least in theory the Nororussians could have shot down this aircraft.  Now let's look at the famous

Cui bono?

Well here at least the reply is unambiguous: only the junta in Kiev could have benefited from this tragedy.  For the Russians and the Novorussians, this is something between a real pain and a disaster.  Just when the Novorussians were winning without any overt help from Moscow and just when Moscow was gradually successful in denouncing the human costs of Poroshenko's murderous policies - suddenly the entire planet focuses just on one downed aircraft and the imperial corporate media blames it all on Russia.  As for Poroshenko, this disaster is God-sent: not only has everybody forgotten that much promised "surprise" turned out to be a disaster, he can now kill scores of Novorussians with no risks of that being reported in the corporate media.  Not only that, but that gives the Ukies a golden excuse to ask for ""protection" from their "aggressive and threatening neighbor".   Again, the only party who can benefit from this disaster is the junta.  So, in summary, we have this list of candidates:

1) A deliberate or mistaken Russian attack: superlatively unlikely
2) A mistaken Ukrainian attack: most unlikely
3) A deliberate Ukrainian attack: most likely
4) A mistaken Novorussian attack: possible
5) A deliberate Novorussian attack: most unlikely

I don't know about you, but to me #3 is the one blinking red.

Now let's look at some of the crazy rumors which we have heard today.

a) one or two Ukie military aircraft shadowing MH17 before it was shot down.
b) at least one parachute after MH17 was shot down.
c) an air-to-air attack.
d) an attempt as shooting down Putin's aircraft.

I don't know if any of these above are true, but what I do notice is that all of them, if true, only 'fit' scenario #3: a deliberate Ukie attack.  Nobody claimed that MH17 was shadowed by Russian fighters and the Novorussians don't have any anyway (they only have one Su-25).  If somebody was shot down (the parachutes) then it was most definitely not a Russian Air Force aircraft.  Ditto for an air-to-air attack.  As for shooting down Putin's aircraft, this seems far fetched to me, even for the crazy freak show in power in Kiev.  However, I would not put that kind of trick passed Uncle Sam who can always blame it on the Ukies.  What is sure is that the US wants Putin dead.  So maybe?

The current version of the Novorussians is an interesting one: they say that a Ukie Su-25 shot down MH17 and that they then shot down the Ukie Su-25.  Actually, this is not the most unlikely possibility.  Of course, this also means that if the Novorussians attempted to shoot down a Ukie Su-25 they might have missed and the missile might have continued towards the MH17 especially if its radar had gone active.  So a Novorussian mistake is still a "possible", at least in my mind.  If, and this is a big IF, this was a Novorussian mistake, I don't feel that we can blame them very much.  The one undeniable fact is that this disaster happened in Ukrainian ATC space and they, the Ukie ATC, had the primary responsibility to keep MH17 in a safe air corridor and not the Novorussians who had neither the technical means nor the legal obligation to do so.  Also, just a few days ago the Ukies had announced that they were closing the airspace over the combat zone to an altitude of 9600m (if I remember correctly).  If the Novorussians heard this, they could have easily concluded that MH17 was a military recon flight flying towards Donestk from Dnepropetrovsk.  Besides, I am not at all sure that the radar on the Buk M1 can differentiate between 9'600m and 10'000m or, if it can, that the operator would have been aware of the difference this could mean.

Again, keep in mind my caveat above.  I am not, repeat, not a specialist of air defenses.  But I did do some air defense and monitoring work in my past, and on the basis of that experience and of what I have heard so far is here my guess:

I would say that at this point in time I am 90% in favor of the deliberate Ukie attack theory.  The remaining 10% I would give to the mistaken Novorussian attack version.  I am more than willing to change my mind if I get new facts.

Stuff we should look for

First, the black boxes.  Even when hit, most pilots have the time to say something and that something is usually recorded and radioed.  Depending on the frequency used, that "something" should have been heard by PLENTY of receivers, not only the Ukie ATC.  But at the very least, we should have the voice and data recorders from the last minutes of MH17.

Second, Russian radar tracks.  That is a problem.  The Russian military is one of the worst offenders in terms of secrecy and short of a direct order by Putin, they are likely to be most uncooperative.  Still, these guys probably have it all: ATC chatter, pilot messages, transporter signal, exact location of the missile(s) launched, point of impact, etc.  As I said, they most likely had a 20/20 vision of the air space over Donetsk.  The trick is to get them to share it, especially with the corporate media and the "independent" experts all already clamoring that the Russians are tampering with the flight recorders.  Still, things are changing in Russia, possibly after the PR disaster following the Soviet shooting down of KAL 007 (which most definitely was a US spy mission and deliberate provocation), they are more willing to share data.  A spokesman for the Russian Air Force has already disclosed that they had recorded the signals of a Ukie BukM1 battery surveillance radar at the moment of the tragedy.  He even identified the exact Ukie unit involved.  Hopefully, as this scandal snowballs, the Kremlin will order the Russian Air Force to make more data public.  Not to convince Uncle Sam and his EU minions, of course, but at least to convince the rest of the planet.

Speaking of Uncle Sam and his EU minions.  They also know.  The US and NATO maintains a 24/7 surveillance of Ukie and Russian air space at least to the Urals, possibly even on the other side (though I am not sure).  I bet you that Obama was told who done it within 2 hours of the tragedy happening.  That info was probably shared with the Echelon countries, but not with the rest of NATO, but even they probably know thanks to their own intelligence capability (Banderastan is chock-full of EU spies not a single one of which was ever caught by the Ukie SBU since independence!).  So here again we have a 9/11 kind of situation: everybody knows, but nobody will admit it.

The last question then

There is an obvious last question which we need to ask: if the Ukies did it, could they have done so without the US knowing about it?  The answer, in case anybody had any doubts about this, is absolutely categorically and emphatically not.  No way Jose, not this regime, not one which is 110% dependent of, and submitted to, Uncle Sam.  In other words, if this was a deliberate Ukie attack, then this really was a deliberate US attack.  Not quite a "false flag", but a sneaky dirty trick, a longtime US specialty.  The typical US way works like this: organized and planned by Uncle Sam, paid for by the Saudis, executed by the Israelis.  At least that is the historical record for US dirty tricks.  That is also most likely how 9/11 was done.  Why bring in 9/11 several times at the risk of infuriating the doubleplusgoodthinking crowd yet again?  No, not just for the heck of it, but to remind everybody that the folks who killed 3000+ people on 9/11 would not hesitate for a nanosecond to kill "only" 300 or so, especially if the risk of getting caught is negligible, which in this case it is.  If in the case of 9/11 it is the entire Establishment which by stupidity or by cowardice which was made an accomplice of the crime, in this case the folks who did it will have the support of a rabidly russophobic Establishment which will not care one bit about the truth as long as it allows it to further flame the flames of hatred against Russia.

A provisional conclusion of sorts - Lasciate Ogni Speranza

This crime will never be properly investigated nor will the culprits ever be punished for it.  Oh sure, there will be plenty of books in the future who will reveal it all in minute details but, as Michel Parenti always reminds us, history is not only written by victors, it is also written by the elites, the oligarchs, the banking establishment, the 1%ers.  If anything, 9/11 has proven that our society is completely indifferent to facts and proof.  Our society is ruled by ideological dogma and political expediency.  In the case of MH17 the accepted dogma is that the Novorussians are the bad guys and the political expediency says that this latest crime cannot be blamed on the "heroic Euro-Ukrainian freedom fighters" or, even less so, on Uncle Sam.

Just as I wrote this last sentence above, I decided to check my  favorite Imperial Mouthpiece and, sure enough, I read this: "US President Barack Obama has said a surface-to-air missile fired from a rebel-held area in east Ukraine brought down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17".  See, it is that simple!  How needs flight recorders of radar tracks anyway?!  If the US President said so, then it is so.  Any other interpretation is a criminal delusion bordering on terrorism.  Who needs proof when we got both Poroshenko and Obama saying that the Russikies did it?

I am disgusted beyond words by both of these ugly, evil, clowns.

Well, I hope that that some of you will have found the exercises above useful, regardless of all my caveats.  I wish my recollection of working with air defenses was better and I wish my knowledge was not 25 year old.  As always, this is the best I can do and I share it to you, my friends, in the hope to resist the imperial propaganda machine the best I can.  If there are those amongst you who have a more recent and possibly more hands-on knowledge of these topics, I beg them to share that knowledge with the rest of us.

Kind regards and many thanks,

The Saker