Thursday 21st of March 2019

a race to the bottom...


Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia has developed and is testing a new line of strategic nuclear-capable weapons that would be able to outmanoeuvre US defences, in a possible signal of a new arms race between Moscow and the west.

Speaking in a nationally televised address to the country’s political elite weeks before the presidential election, Putin showed video and animations of ICBMs, nuclear-powered cruise missiles, underwater drones and other weapons that he said Russia had developed as a result of the US pulling out of the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty signed with the Soviet Union.

“You didn’t listen to our country then,” Putin said during the speech on Thursday. “Listen to us now.” Some of the weapons were already being tested, he added.

The existence of several of the weapons systems – like the RS-28 Sarmat, or Satan 2, nuclear missile – were well-known and their tests had been previously reported. What was new was Putin’s portrayal of Russia’s modernising arsenal as an adversarial response to US policy since 2001. 

The speech came in the same month that the Pentagon released a new nuclear arms policy, which followed a promise by the US president, Donald Trump, to develop an arsenal “so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression”. The policy envisioned low-yield nuclear weapons on submarine-launched ballistic missiles that could match similar Russian weapons.

Putin’s message was one of defiance. “I would like to tell those who have been trying to escalate the arms race for the past 15 years, to gain unilateral advantages over Russia, and to impose restrictions and sanctions … The attempt at curbing Russia has failed,” he said.

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boomerang diplomacy...


President Vladimir Putin's address to the Federal Assembly sends a message to both the people of Russia and to the West, Russian analysts and politicians told Radio Sputnik. According to the analysts, the president's speech evoked strong memories of Putin's 2007 address to Western leaders at the Munich Security Conference.

The message sent by President Vladimir Putin's annual state-of-the-nation address has been the strongest in the recent years, Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy chairman of Russia's upper-house foreign affairs committee, told Radio Sputnik.

Commenting on the Russian defense strategy outlined by the president, Dzhabarov suggested that it aimed "to throw a wet blanket upon some partners in the West, who rely on the use of force while advancing towards our borders and strengthening their weapons."

"The president made clear that it is absolutely unpromising to treat Russia this way; no one can intimidate us, so let's join together at the negotiating table," the politician pointed out.


According to Dzhabarov, "the president showed the entire nation that it should not fear for its safety amid increasing sanctions: Our Motherland is effectively protected by our army, our weapons."

"This is especially important today when the [Russian] people are on the stretch due to news from the West," the Russian politician noted. "The president reiterated several times that he was talking exclusively about defense. Our adversaries should know that Russia is always ready to repel an attack. If they strike at our allies we will regard it as an attack against our country and our answer will follow immediately."

Putin's Address a Logical Extension of his 2007 Munich Speech

Alexander Zhilin, the head of the Center for the Study of Applied Problems of National Security, echoes Dzhabarov: "[Russia] counts on the further modernization and creation of new types of delivery of nuclear munitions to a potential enemy," the security analyst told Sputnik. "The 'boomerang' is being improved, so that in case of any aggression against Russia, it may inflict irreparable damage on any aggressor."

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diplomacy, please...

Does anyone in the West understand what the real point of Putin’s comments about Russia’s new weaponry

The Guardian’s coverage (“Putin threatens US arms race with new missiles declaration”) shows us their masters see this as just another chance to cast Russia as a dangerous rogue state. The Times takes a similar line (“Putin unveils his super weapons to defy the West”). Elsewhere Putin’s speech is not only misinterpreted it’s also relegated to sidebars in favour of photos of snow (Telegraph), or dropped into the tiny print at the bottom of the page (New York Times). 

The western press has basically opted out of analysing this, so let’s do it for them. Why is Putin talking about the new generation of weapons? What does he hope to achieve?

First and foremost what Putin’s speech – just as all his previous warnings – are ultimately intended to do is avert a pending worldwide catastrophe. The US political class is too fluoridated, too driven by ideologues, too crazy to understand MAD any more. And its current policy, in concert with the EU and NATO, is one of continued unremitting provocation toward Russia, presented through the subservient and frankly stupid corporate media as “responding” to Russian “aggression”. 

Since the “aggression” in question is no more than Russia exercising its lawful rights as a sovereign nation, what the US/EU/NATO nexus is actually doing is demanding Russia return to the client status it occupied in the 1990s or face continued threats to its security both physical and financial. They are trying to wear Russia down, convinced that sooner or later, if pressure increases enough, Putin will fold, withdraw from Syria, agree to “co-operate” with Western interests and generally get in line. 

This policy only makes (very limited) sense if there is a possibility Russia will agree to these demands. But even a cursory understanding of the situation makes it obvious Russia literally can’t agree to what amounts to assisted suicide. It can’t. 

The US/EU/NATO are making threats with no prospect of success. The only rational thing to do is realise this and back off. But instead they apparently think the best thing to do is increase the threat and increase and increase it – in the vain and stupid hope that some day it will work, and with no thought being given to what they will do if it doesn’t. 

Despite some claims in alt news outlets, the US have no intention of starting a direct confrontation with Russia. Even they know this will be the end of life on earth. 

Their real delusion is not that they can win a nuclear war, but that they can continue to do what the are doing and avoid one.

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back in 1989...

Back in 1989, an Estonian writer visited the USA and came back with a few impressions. At the time, the USSR was being (or about to be) broken up. What we had imagined of the Soviet as an authoritarian regime, had relaxed somewhat a while back and people from countries such as Estonia had been free to travel and enjoy a large degree of freedom, intellectual discourse, education, cultural development and understanding that was completely lacking in the polarised self-importance of the USA:



Indian Summer in America
by Ülo Tuulik….
We are created in order to believe in something — otherwise life has no meaning. But has anyone tested the scales of truth, which weigh up the faith we are offered?
At present, the search for a reasoned and constructive dialogue at the highest political level is being conducted particularly intensively and decisively. For that purpose we are displaying exceptional good will and an ability to use the art of diplomacy in order to implement concrete measures for the prevention of a military catastrophe and essential improvement of exchanging information on the broadest scale.

America did not astonish me because I had seen it all before — in separate details. In various places I have previously come across very high standards of living and been carried away by beautiful high-rise buildings and graceful bridges; I have seen hundreds of different makes of cars; I have avoided bumping into strangers at twilight in African cities and been afraid of drug addicts in the Stockholm metro; I have observed worldwide craze for music; I have seen punks in Tallinn, pornography in Copenhagen and advertising in Paris, elegant gentlemen and underaged prostitutes.
But in the USA you can see all of that at once in one big city. Here nobody bothers with trifles — here, everything is en gros*.
*En gros? I suspect the author's borrowing from the french meaning "wholesale", was trying to express the concept of "gross. Totally gross, without refinements."

back in 2002...

In an interview with NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today” on Thursday, the Russian leader brushed off claims in the Western media that by introducing new nuclear-powered missiles, including the hypersonic Sarmat, he has signaled a new arms race. The alarmist rhetoric that fills Western news outlets is just another form of propaganda, Putin said.

My point of view is that the individuals saying that a new Cold War has started are not really analysts; they do propaganda,” he said, as translated by NBC. Putin blamed Washington’s 2002 withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) for escalating the confrontation. “If we are to speak of an arms race, then an arms race started precisely at that point”.

It was US President George W. Bush who withdrew from the ABM Treaty, which had been one of the main pillars of the détente and held for nearly 30 years. Bush argued that the treaty hindered the US’ ability to protect itself from “future terrorist or rogue state attacks.”

In the years following, the US has encircled Russia with its missile defense installations, extending its anti-missile shield to Romania and Poland, deploying for the first time a battery of Patriot long-range anti-aircraft system to Lithuania for war games. 

The US nuclear build-up on Russia’s doorstep triggered a response from Moscow, which deployed its newest Iskander systems to its Kaliningrad exclave, citing the threat posed by US missile launchers deployed in Poland and Romania. 

The path that led towards confrontation could have been avoided had the US agreed to cooperate on the development of anti-missile defenses with Russia – an offer repeatedly extended by Moscow. After Washington refused, Putin said he could not sit idle.

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And let's not forget Ronald's Star Wars....


The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was a proposed missile defense system intended to protect the United States from attack by ballistic strategic nuclear weapons(intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles). The concept was first announced publicly by President Ronald Reagan on 23 March 1983.[1] Reagan was a vocal critic of the doctrine of mutual assured destruction (MAD), which he described a "suicide pact", and he called upon the scientists and engineers of the United States to develop a system that would render nuclear weapons obsolete.

The Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) was set up in 1984 within the United States Department of Defense to oversee development. A wide array of advanced weapon concepts, including lasers,[2][3] particle beam weapons and ground- and space-based missile systems were studied, along with various sensor, command and control, and high-performance computer systems that would be needed to control a system consisting of hundreds of combat centers and satellites spanning the entire globe. A number of these concepts were tested through the late 1980s, and follow-on efforts and spin-offs continue to this day.

In 1987, the American Physical Society concluded that the technologies being considered were decades away from being ready for use, and at least another decade of research was required to know whether such a system was even possible.[4] After the publication of the APS report, SDIs budget was repeatedly cut. By the late 1980s, the effort had been re-focused on the "Brilliant Pebbles" concept using small orbiting missiles not unlike a conventional air-to-air missile, which was expected to be much less expensive to develop and deploy.

SDI was highly controversial throughout its history, and was criticized for threatening to destabilize the MAD-approach and to possibly re-ignite "an offensive arms race".[5] SDI was derisively nicknamed by the media as "Star Wars", after the popular 1977 film by George Lucas. By the early 1990s, with the Cold War ending and nuclear arsenals being rapidly reduced, political support for SDI collapsed. SDI officially ended in 1993, when the administration of President Bill Clinton redirected the efforts towards theatre ballistic missiles and renamed the agency as the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO). BMDO was renamed to the Missile Defense Agency in 2002. 


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Read from top...

the land of chess, not poker...

In the second quarter of 2012, Russia and its allies agreed to deploy a peace force in Syria as soon as the Geneva agreement was concluded.

But everything changed when France rebooted the war in July 2012. Although Russia had obtained recognition by the UNO of the Collective Security Treaty Organization in order to deploy Muslim soldiers, mainly from Kazakhstan, nothing was happening. Despite the calls for help from Damascus, Moscow remained silent. It was only three years later that the Russian Air Force arrived, and bombed the jihadists’ installations.

During the three years that followed, there were many military incidents which opposed Russia to the United States. For example, the Pentagon complained about the strange aggressivity of Russian bombers which approached the US coast. In Damascus, we sought an explanation for Moscow’s earlier silence, and asked ourselves if Russia had forgotten its engagements. None of that was true. Russia was secretly building a new arsenal, and moved in only when it was ready.

From the beginning of its intervention, the Russian army installed a system which did not simply scramble NATO commands, but disconnected them within a range of 300 kilometres around Lattakia. Thereafter, it deployed the same system in the Black Sea and at Kaliningrad. Apart from their new aircrafts, Russia used cruise missiles which were more accurate than those of the USA, fired by the navy from the Caspian Sea. Last month, on the battle field, it tested multi-purpose planes with capacities as yet unknown.

It has become clear, according to US generals on the ground, that the Russian army now has conventional forces which are more efficient than those of the USA. However, their Pentagon counterparts still have their doubts about this progression, so sure are they of remaining militarily superior. According to them, it is simply ridiculous to compare the two armies, since theirs has a budget eight times greater than the Russians. Yet never in all of military science has the performance of two rival armies been compared by the amount of their budgets, a fact that Vladimir Putin pointed out by noting the exceptional quality of his soldiers compared with those of the United States.

In any case, while the Russians are a little better in matters of conventional warfare, they are unable to deploy on several theaters of operation simultaneously, and Washington conserves its nuclear superiority.

The entry into war, on 24 February 2018, of the Russian infantry in Ghouta, is certainly the consequence of an agreement with the United States, who have agreed to halt their investment in Syria and therefore not to reproduce the strategies of harassment that they used against the Red Army in Afghanistan. It is also the sign that the Pentagon now fears that the Russian army could possibly give them a taste of their own medicine, elsewhere in the world.

It was precisely at this moment that President Putin chose to contest US nuclear superiority. During his speech before his Parliament, on 1 March 2018, he announced that Russia was in possession of a terrifying nuclear arsenal [Gus note: still withing the boundaries of the non-proliferation agrements].

All these programmes have been more or less known for years, but the experts believed they would not be operational for a long time. However, most of them now are. We have to ask ourselves how the Russian were able to prepare them all without the US Intelligence Services finding out. And yet that’s exactly what they were able to do with the Su-57, which they tested in combat three weeks ago, while the CIA believed that it would not be ready until 2025.

Vladimir Putin has revealed his new arsenal. The intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Sarmate (from the name of a old Russian people for whom men and women were equals), re-uses the « orbital head » technique which had already ensured Russian superiority during the 1970’s. The USSR abandoned this programme by signing and ratifying the SALT II agreements. However, the US Senate never ratified the Treaty, which made it null and void. With this type of missile, the warhead is placed into orbit, then re-enters the atmosphere and dives onto its target, with an unlimited range of action. The Treaties prohibiting the nuclearisation of space forbid the placing of a nuclear charge into permanent orbit, but not entering space during a part of its trajectory. At our current state of knowledge, it can not be intercepted during this period. The Sarmate can suddenly appear in the atmosphere and attack anyone, anywhere.

The Dague missile (Kinzhal in Russian) must be fired from a bomber in order to reach hypersonic speed in the atmosphere – it travels at five times the speed of sound. This incredible speed of course makes it impossible to intercept. It was tested with success three months ago.

Russia also possesses a motor which draws its energy from a nuclear power plant which has been miniaturised to the point of being able to equip a nuclear warhead cruise missile. Since cruise missiles have an unpredictable trajectory, and this motor has almost infinite autonomy, they are, for the moment, invincible.

This motor, placed on an underwater drone, enables it to carry a considerable nuclear charge at speeds many times faster than a classic submarine. Apart from its radioactive effects, the charge could trigger a tsunami 500 metres high off any ocean coastline.

Finally, Russia is attempting to develop a hypersonic projectile, the Avant-Garde, which would not only combine the characteristics of the Sarmate (passage in space) and the speed of the Dague, but whose trajectory could also be adjusted during its journey.

Russia’s new nuclear weapons have been conceived in order to render inoperative the anti-missile « shield » that the Pentagon has been developing all over the world, base after base, for forty years. It is not a question of superior force, but technical conception. The principle of the « shield » offers no possible defence against them.

Worse still, President Putin also announced the creation of a laser weapon whose characteristics he did not specify. It seems that it may be capable of intercepting certain US launchers.

For the moment, the chiefs of staff of the member-states of NATO refuse to believe a word of these allegations, since these weapons sound to them like science-fiction.

Russia is the land of chess, not poker, and History has taught us that it never bluffs about its own weaponry. It has often led us to believe that weapons under development were already operational, but it has never officially announced as « combat ready » weapons which were still being tested. The more than 200 new weapons used in Syria have convinced us of the technological advance of their scientists.

The immense progress of Russia has robbed the United States of its first-strike privilege. From now on, in case of nuclear war, the two major powers could hit one another with mutual strikes. The USA possess a considerably greater number of nuclear missiles, and Russia would be able to intercept many of them. Since they both have the capacity to devastate the planet several times over, they are both theoretically equal in this type of confrontation.

On the US side, the military-industrial complex has been broken down for the last twenty years. The most important aviation project in history, the F-35, was intended to replace the F-16, the F-18 and the F-22, but Lockheed Martin is unable to conceive the software it promised. The current version of the F-35 is in reality totally incapable of honouring its technical specifications, and the US Air Force is presently considering rebooting the production of its older aircraft.

It is true that President Donald Trump and his team have decided to attract new brains to the United States in order to relaunch the production of weapons and oblige the military-industrial lobby to respond to the needs of the Pentagon instead of continuing to sell it the same old wrecks. But it will take them at least twenty years to catch up.

The technical progress of Russia not only shakes up the world order by unexpectedly restoring a bipolar system, it also forces the strategists to rethink the conditions of war.

History has taught us that few men realise quickly enough the changes in the military paradigm. In the 15th century, when the French and English armies fought the battle of Agincourt, the armoured horsemen of France were destroyed by the English archers and arbalists, although they were inferior in number. However, the generals persisted in giving privilege to hand to hand combat, instead of combat at a distance using arrows and cannon-balls. So, for another century, we saw armoured horsemen being massacred on the battle-field.

For example, no tank battle has been waged since the defeat of President Hussein, in 1991, during Operation Desert Storm. And yet almost all armies were unable to interpret what had happened. The victory, in 2006, of small groups of Hezbollah Resistants against Israëli Merkava tanks, unequivocably demonstrated the vulnerability of this type of weapon. Rare are the states which have learned from this – except Australia and Syria, for example. Russia itself persists in producing these enormous rolling fortresses which are incapable of resisting their own properly-used RPG’s.

The Russian arsenal is invincible, at least if someone tries to fight them using old methods of combat. For example, intercepting hypersonic projectiles is unthinkable. But it may be possible to take control of them before they reach top speed. Military research will therefore concentrate on the control of enemy commands and communications. But in this sector too, Russia is in the lead.

Thierry Meyssan

Pete Kimberley


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the awfully stupid script for a bad sequel...

Today’s lead story, Russian Threat on Two Fronts Meets Strategic Void in the U.S., aims to keep ramping up twin hysterias over a new missile gap and fear of Russian “meddling” in the 2018 midterm elections.

The Times’s world-view begins to look like the script of a Batman sequel with Vlad Putin cast in The Joker role of the cackling psychopath who must be stopped at all costs! America’s generals have switched on the Batman signal beacon, but Donald Trump in the role of the Caped Crusader, merely dithers and broods in the splendid isolation of his 1600 Penn Avenue Bat Cave, suffering yet another of his endless bipolar identity crises. For God’s sake, The Times, shrieks, do something! The Russians are coming! (Gotham City’s Chief of Police Hillary said exactly that last week in a Tweet!

I think they misunderstood Mr. Putin’s recent message when he announced a new hypersonic missile technology that would, supposedly, cut through any imaginable US missile defense. The actual message, for the non mental defectives left in this drooling idiocracy of a republic, was as follows: Nuclear war remains unthinkable, so kindly stop thinking about it.

Mr. Putin’s other strategic position is also misrepresented — actually, not even acknowledged — in Monday’s NYT propaganda blast, namely, to discourage the USA’s decades-long policy of regime change here, there, and everywhere on the planet, creating a debris trail of one failed state after another. As a true-blue American, I must say these are two admirable propositions. Is it fatuous to add that atomic war is unlikely to benefit anyone? Or that the world has had enough of US military “meddling” in foreign lands?

Of course the shopworn trope of Russian “meddling” in the 2016 election still occupies the center ring of the American political circus. Today’s Times story includes another clumsy attempt to set up expectations that the 2018 midterm elections will be hacked by Russia, in order to keep the hysteria at code-red level. As usual, the proposition assumes that the alleged 2016 hacking is both proven and significant when, going on two years, there is no evidence of hacking besides the obviously amateurish Facebook troll farm. (And, by the way, how does that compare to the USA’s 2014 covert toppling of Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovych?) Talk about “meddling!”


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the italian job...


A recurring nightmare: U.S. missiles again in Comiso

by Manlio Dinucci


The plan was announced three years ago, during the Obama administration, when Pentagon officials declared: "In front of Russian aggression, the United States is considering the deployment of ground-based missiles in Europe" [1].

Now, with the Trump administration, the plan is officially confirmed. In the 2018 fiscal year the Congress of the United States authorized the financing of "a program of research and development of a ground-based mobile Cruise missile". It is a nuclear missile with an intermediate range (between 500 and 5500 km), similar to the 112 Cruise nuclear missiles deployed by the US in Comiso in the 1980s.

They were eliminated, along with the Pershing 2 ballistic missiles deployed by the US in Germany and the Soviet SS-20 deployed in the USSR, by the Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF), stipulated in 1987. It prohibits the deployment of ground-based missiles with a range between 500 and 5500 km.

Washington now accuses Moscow of deploying missiles of this category and declares that, "if Russia continues to violate the INF Treaty, the United States will no longer be bound by this treaty", ie the United States will be free to deploy ground-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe.

However, a decisive fact is ignored: the Russian missiles (assuming their range is intermediate) are deployed in a defensive position in the Russian territory, while the US intermediate-range missiles would be deployed in an offensive position in Europe close to the Russian territory. It is as if Russia deployed nuclear missiles pointed at the United States in Mexico.

As the US / NATO escalation continues, the deployment of such missiles in Europe is increasingly likely.

Meanwhile, in early February, Ukraine tested a ground-based intermediate-range missile, which was certainly produced with US assistance.

The new US nuclear missiles - much more precise and faster than the Cruise missiles of the Eighties - would be deployed in Italy and probably in Eastern countries too, adding to the B61-12 nuclear bombs that US will deploy in Italy and other countries since 2020. In Italy, the new Cruise missiles would probably again be positioned in Sicily, although not necessarily in Comiso. On the island there are two US installations of primary strategic importance.

The MUOS ground station of Niscemi, one of the four on a world scale (2 in the US, 1 in Australia and 1 in Sicily) of the satellite communications system that connects all US forces, even nuclear, anywhere of the world they are.

JTAGS, a satellite reception and transmission station for the US «anti-missile shield», which is about to become operational in Sigonella. It is one of five worldwide (the others are in the United States, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan). The station, which is transportable, is used not only for anti-missile defense but also for attack operations, launched from forward-deployed bases such as those in Italy.

In the “Nuclear Posture Review 2018" the Pentagon declares: "The United States commit nuclear weapons forward-deployed to Europe, to the defense of NATO. These forces provide an essential political and military link between Euro-pe and North America".

By linking us to their strategy not only militarily but politically, the United States increasingly transform our country into a forward-deployed base of their nuclear weapons pointed at Russia, therefore into a forward-deployed target at which Russian nuclear weapons are pointed.


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