30 August 2008
Hilary Clinton accomplishments, or not, as the case may be
Eat all you want & stay thin!
29 August 2008
Whatever happened to the Georgian navy?
In case you are wondering what happened to the Georgian navy, then wonder no more. It was destroyed by the Russians as this video shows. Basically the navy was no more willing to fight than the army, and the sailors abandoned their ships and fled. The Russians just strolled in and destroyed the Georgian navy missile boats at their moorings.
Internet Scams: Harry's Place & Jenna Delich?
I promise that this will be the last posting on the feud between Harry's Place and Jenna Delich. The only reason why I am referring to it again is that a rumour is going around the web that the whole thing was a put-up job between the two sides, with a view to raising their respective profiles. This rumour arrived in my in-box by way of two separate e-mails and the idea has also attracted a bit of gossip in one of my comment boxes.
Your friendly old Exile is not convinced that there was any actual conspiracy, but the whole affair has certainly turned out to be one of win-win for the main participants, to say nothing of those who lined up to support one side or the other. You don't believe me, I can tell, so let's take a look at this in more detail.
Harry' Place is now a money blog. I am sorry for those HP Saucers who haven't twigged that yet, but liberty really is the right to tell dipsticks what they don't want to hear. The blog takes Google Ads and a new arts section was set up a while back to carry a few more of them.
We have to speculate, but it seems inconceivable that Harry's Place gets less than 100,000 uniques a month. Click through adverts usually attract between one and three percent of the visitors, so at a rock-bottom minimum, the saucers click on a 1,000 adverts a month. How much each advert pays is likewise a matter of speculation, but it is going to be a minimum of 10p a pop, and probably much higher for adverts on a premium site like Harry's Place. Nevertheless, taking the 10p figure, that is still an extra hundred quid a month that David T., the blog's owner, can trouser away - and probably much, much more.
Think of the extra hits that Harry's Place is now getting as a result of this feud. The blog will almost certainly have doubled its daily hit rate, so on the financial level alone the affair will leave David feeling even more self-satisfied than usual.
On the prestige level, Harry's Place has been left strutting around like a dog with two dicks, and the air of sanctimonious self-righteous gittery that always infests the site has become truly noxious. The blog's owner will probably be transformed from a loud mouth into a rent-a-mouth dealing with all things anti-Semitic, and the number of speaking gigs that will accrue should gladden his heart.
Funnily enough, the same is pretty much going to be true for Jenna Delich. She has gone from being a completely obscure teacher at an FE college that nobody had ever heard of into a symbol of the fight against zionist tyranny. Or how one lone woman stood up the smears of a powerful internet machine. Make no mistake, as we pointed out last night this woman was smeared, and smeared badly by Harry's Place. She can be expected to haggle those experiences into some gigs of her own. Media interviews, guest speaking, her options are less than David's, but if she manages things right she should emerge laughing.
What about your friendly old Exile? Well, this blog has seen its stat porn become very wankable indeed over the past few days. The Exile is never going to get 100,000 hits in any month, but we should reach at least 3,500 uniques this month, which will make August 2008 the second best month ever for the blog.
All in all, we really do need more of these internet barnies, don't we? Everyone gets to take the moral high ground as sides are chosen, and then we all walk away feeling happy.
This blogging lark is good fun, believe you me.
28 August 2008
Why Harry's Place had to be supported
Following on from last night's posting, Harry's Place is now back on-line and no doubt feeling even more sanctimonious and self righteous than usual. The fact that many bloggers who normally could be expected to rally to this clear cut freedom of speech issue either ignored the events of the past 24 hours, or actually supported the attempt to knock HP off-line is something that should give HP pause for thought. Both Neil Clark and Lenin's Tomb were amongst those who just ignored the matter for most of the day, although the Tomb then posted on the matter late yesterday evening. That said, earlier in the day the Tomb's author did comment briefly on a forum, but only to let people know that HP was on its own. Other sites took the opportunity to stick the boot in by reminding people of just how one-sided the HP commitment to freedom of speech is. All in all, support for Harry's Place was nowhere near as total and solid as it should have been, given the attack that it had suffered.
Why so many people dislike HP is not hard to fathom, as the site is often little more than a smear machine disguised as a blog. When the machine decides to go after someone it uses all the talents that people thought had died with the late Dr. Josef Goebbels to try and discredit them. The aim, quite simply, is to stifle debate around certain issues by trying to discredit their proponents.
Jenna Delich had to misfortune to become a victim of the smear machine, so let's look at what happened to her in more detail. As we pointed out yesterday, she sent out a link to an article by a Joe Quinn that had been reposted on David Duke's site, to a University and College Union discussion board.
David T. of Harry's Place then felt able to headline his posting on the subject with the words "UCU and the David Duke fan". Nowhere in the text which followed is the allegation that Jenna Delich is a David Duke fan actually defended, but that doesn't matter because the smear is in. Just to make sure that the more bovine readers get the message, the lie is told that the Joe Quinn article only appeared on the Duke site, thus "It is therefore reasonable to infer that Jenna Delich reads and takes her information on world events from neo Nazis." Actually, the Quinn article was first posted on his own site, and then reposted by Duke as well as a few others, but to admit to that would make the neo-Nazi smear meaningless - even the readers of Harry's Place would be able to work that out - so it was better to offer up a small porkie in the hope that nobody would check.
Next, the machine posted a photo of Jenna, with the sub-heading "Sheffield-based academic, Jenna Delich - links to far right websites associated with the Ku Klux Klan". The fact that la Delich had linked to an article via one website had suddenly become "links" to "websites," but that is par for the smear machine's course.
Finally, the smear machine gave out just enough information about Jenna Delich so that its stooges who had bought into the smear that she was a "David Duke fan" who only "takes her information... from neo-Nazis," and who "links to far-right websites," could take over. It is now being reported that Jenna Delich has received hate mail and death threats. Of course that is not the fault of Harry's Place. They did not tell people to do that. Harry's Place doesn't do that - all it does is set the stage.
The Harry's Place smear machine has past form at all these noxious activities. Neil Clark can testify that the readers of Harry's Place were encouraged with a nod and a wink to write to the Guardian with a view to getting him sacked. Johann Hari knows that Harry's Place accused him of "making things up". That latter comment was deleted following a threat of legal action, but it was up long enough to serve its purpose. The stooges then took over and spread the smear far and wide.
So, on the basis of freedom of speech, your friendly old Exile has been forced to defend a blog that makes shit up about people with cavalier abandon and then sits back whilst its brain-dead readership tries to either intimidate them, get them to lose their jobs, or both at the same time.
Harry's Place do not deserve anyone's sympathy, but we do have to stand by that gleaming principle that debate should be free and open to anyone who can work a keyboard. For that reason alone Harry's Place had to be supported, even though by their smears they were trying to deny that freedom to others.
That simple truth sticks in this writer's throat as well as making his piles itch, but it doesn't alter the fact that the principle had to be defended.
27 August 2008
Russia recognises Abkhazia & S. Ossetia
Russia has recognised the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, leaving the Americans and their puppets in London to fume impotently on the sidelines. In London, David Milliband the Foreign Secretary has whimpered that this action was "unjustifiable and unacceptable," but it is unlikely that anyone will take much notice of a little pillock on his gap year who took time out last year to adopt another child. Whether that came about as a result on an inability to get it up, or a failure to shoot anything other than blanks is unclear, but either way few are going to take an inadequate like that seriously.
Russia is so far the only country to have recognised the two new states, but it looks as if Belarus will follow suit over the next few days. It is to be hoped that Moscow will be bending ears in Africa, Asia and Latin-America to encourage as many countries as possible to extend their recognition to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Their future membership of the United nations will be decided by the body's General Assembly of which there are currently 192 members, so just under a hundred states need to vote in favour of seating the S. Ossetian and Abkhazian delegations. Getting that number of recognitions isn't going to be easy, since most of the third world has secessionist problems of its own, but the chance to stick the boot in the west may just turn out to be too good to miss.
Stick around, folks, as the gang in London are made to look even more useless than they do already.
Harry's Place is off-line
Harry's Place is off-line as of yesterday, reports A Very Public Sociologist. An emergency replacement site has been cobbled together and is now live. Modernity Blog seems to be carrying the events as they unfold, and readers might want to take a trip over there to see the latest developments.
The short version is that HP ran yet another of their pro-Israeli smears and their victim, a certain Jenna Delich, has decided to complain to either their ISP, or to the company that holds their domain registration.
The slightly longer version is that Miss Delich sent out a link to a piece by a Joe Quinn, which had first appeared on Quinn's website on the 29th June 2006. Later that same day, a site run by David Duke, the American Ku Klux Klan figure, reprinted the article and it was the link to the reprint that Jenna Denich sent out.
That was enough for the Harry's Place smear machine to roll into action. It didn't matter that this was all about an article which Duke had not even written. All that mattered was that a critic of Israel had linked to David Duke's website. That was all the smear machine needed, because now other sites are claiming that she "cites David Duke in support of a boycott of Israel," and that is just not the case.
There are a series of interlinked issues that are at stake in all of this. The first is that Jenna Delich has every right to be outraged at the Harry's Place treatment of her. She should have demanded a right of reply, and pointed out the nature of the smear. Had she done that we would all have cheered her to the rafters, and then fought each other for the right to be the father of her babies.
The problem is that she didn't, with the result that we have a freedom of speech issue, and on that basis alone we have to support Harry's Place and its rancid crew. It is to be hoped that once Jenna Delich calms down from her quite justifiable outrage she will see the issue clearly and will cease attacking Harry's Place via its domain registry.
We might add that there is also an issue of common sense, and that is something that the rancid crew seems to lack in large measure. Why, in the name of God's left testicle, did they have their site registered and hosted in the UK? Only Harry's Place could be that stupid.
We had all this nonsense over the Craig Murray affair, and the lesson from that was clear: register your domain and have the site hosted as far away from the UK as it is possible to get. Harry's Place, the Nu-Labour site to beat them all has now been screwed over by the very rules and regulations that Nu-Labour did so much to put in place. On that level it couldn't have happened to a nastier gang of Nu-Labour arsewipes.
On the other, if Harry's Place can be kept off-line then we are all under threat. So let's put aside our distaste for their politics and support the principle that is at stake here:
Blogging men of all countries unite! You have nothing to lose but your keyboards!
26 August 2008
What is the Taliban's strategy in Afghanistan?
Why are the Taliban doing so well in Afghanistan? A couple of years ago the warmongers were convinced that victory was just around the corner, so what has happened since 2006 to change things so dramatically?
The first is time. The guerrillas used the period between 2001 and the end of 2005 to recruit new fighters and wait for the enemy to start making mistakes. The mistakes came thick and fast. Some were just acts of cultural stupidity such as trying to educate girls. For the western warwanker all that was a sign that Afghanistan had turned the corner into modernity, and maybe it was for some of the inhabitants of Kabul as well, but for the bulk of the population it was about nothing more than trying to impose an alien set of values on their society.
The west may like to think that the government in Kabul is a democratic entity, but the problem is that President Hamid Karzai has to govern via the regional warlords who are more concerned with keeping their provinces under their thumbs than they are with democratic niceties. Thus Karzai has felt constrained to pardon three rapists and allow any number of other crimes to go unpunished just to keep these men inside the tent and pissing out. The problem is that every time they shoot outside the tent the local peasants get covered in a slash stream - and that helps recruit yet more men to the Taliban cause.
If you add to that the American talent for killing civilians by the bucketload, a talent that was on display only the other day when they managed to slaughter roughly a 100 Afghans in one air strike, then the reason for the Taliban resurgence becomes pretty obvious.
Looking at the fighting over the past couple of years and it starts to look as if the Taliban are strategic geniuses. Actually, they are just waging the war that Afghanistan has always waged against the foreign occupiers. The key to losing Afghanistan is Kabul, which is why the Taliban are trying to put a stranglehold on it. The nice thing from their point of view is that Kabul is not essential to their war strategy. If they are defeated in the battles that are currently raging less than twenty miles from Kabul city centre then they just go back into the hills and keep their war going from there. However, if they can cut Kabul off from its supplies, then they know that the city will likely fall. If that happens then the west will have lost its only base inside the country and the war will be over.
What the Taliban are doing is fighting brutal battles in Helmand Province in the south to keep as many troops as possible away from Kabul. At the same time they are concentrating their other forces in Wardak Province, in an attempt to capture the town of Maidan Shah. By all accounts it is a shit hole of place, but it does sit on the road to Kabul. If it falls then supplying the capital will be almost impossible. If the Taliban can then push on the few miles into the hills that surround Kabul and keep the few roads into it blocked, then the city could fall within days through lack of supplies.
It really is too early to say with certainty that the Afghan endgame is now being played out, but from the reports that your friendly Exile has read over the past few days, it does look as if the Taliban are going to try to mount a push for victory sometime soon.
25 August 2008
Maggot Thatcher goes dribbly
It's official: the creature known as Maggot Thatcher has reached the happy daft stage in its existence. There's no word yet as to whether it has to have its arse wiped whilst it lies there dribbling, but even if that stage has not yet been reached, it won't be long a-coming.
Gloating at the creature's misfortune is all very well - and your friendly old Exile has to admit that you would need a heart of stone not to laugh at the thought of it forgetting its husband's death and having to be reminded of it daily. The thought if it reliving its grief every fucking day is one that will please millions, but it doesn't alter the fact that a reckoning is still pending between us and the class that did so well out of its time in office.
As we head into the fourth decade of life without any control whatsoever over the bastard jobs that we are now forced to do, always assuming that we haven't shrugged our shoulders and got used to a life on the social that is, the notion that this is all the fault of the Maggot is one that needs to be challenged.
The Maggot represented a class, and the reckoning will have only been paid in full when members of that class have been reduced to the level where they have to pimp their daughters to put food on their tables.
Until that day dawns then the reckoning is still outstanding.
John McCain looks set to win the November election
Can John McCain win the American Presidential Election in November? The omens look increasingly likely that he will, or rather that the Democrats once again will gift the election to him. The brilliant polemicist, Michael Moore, has this to say about the Democrats' love affair with defeat:
Beginning with their stunning inability to defeat the most detested politician in American history, Richard Nixon, and continuing through their stunning inability to defeat the most detested politician in the world, George II, the Democrats are the masters of blowing it. And they don't just simply "blow it" - they blow it especially when the electorate seems desperate to give it to them.Moore's essay pretty much sums up why the Democrats blow it, so I don't need to repeat his arguments here. What I do want to look at is one Republican strategy that has worked time after time and which the Democrats have never been able to counter. What the GOP does is take the Democratic candidate's strongest card and create doubt in the minds of the punters about its validity.
Four years ago the Democrats had John Kerry as their candidate. Kerry's strongest card was that he was a genuine Vietnam War hero up against a man, George W. Bush, who had spent the war skulking in the Texas Air National Guard. Faced with this unpalatable fact, the GOP created a front organisation called Swift Boat Veterans For Truth which chipped away at Kerry's war service. The fact that just about everything that this group said has turned out to either be a lie or a wild distortion of the truth, is neither here nor there. What it did during the election was to create a doubt in the minds of about 35 percent of the electorate who went away thinking that there was "some truth" in what the Swift Boaters were saying.
That is not to say that all that 35 percent then voted for the Chimp, because obviously they didn't. However, that is not what the campaign was about. It was about creating just enough doubt in people's minds about Kerry's strongest issue so that his weaker issues became more important.
The Democrats could have responded in a variety of effective ways. They could have said that Kerry's record spoke for itself, invited an investigation into it, and then taken the fight to the Chimp by banging on again and again that here was a man who spent the war years in a drunken stupor out in Texas. They didn't, and it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Michael Moore reached which is that the Democrats basically suffer from a lack of balls when it comes to rolling around in the shit.
As far as Barack Obama is concerned, a similar thing looks likely to happen. Obama's strongest card is that he represents young America, the future in other words, against John McCain who speaks for the past. So the Republicans are now attacking the notion that he is, in reality, even an American. Or if he is an American, he's a secret Muslim, which amounts to the same thing. They haven't set up a front group as they did four years ago because the growth of the internet means that any number of stooges will run these smears for them, as the comments to this post show, but the claim that Obama is lying about his place of birth or his religion is straight out of the Swift Boat script and will probably have the same effect.
Obama's campaign is replying to all this in the way that Kerry did four years ago, and as then it will probably turn out to have the same lack of success. The issues that can be used to attack McCain are there and waiting. His alleged collaboration with his North Vietnamese captors all those years ago have been bubbling around for a while, just waiting for someone to pick them up and run with them. His short temper and seeming memory lapses - the other day he couldn't remember how many houses he owned - are ready made issues for an aggressive Democrat campaign, but they are pretty much being ignored.
So the GOP will make the running, it will set the agenda, and John McCain now looks likely to be the next president of the United States.
23 August 2008
BBC job rejection letter
Do you need to lose weight? Heaven knows there are plenty of ways to do it, but probably the easiest is with a course of diet suppression tablets like decaslim. Now, if you click on the link that I have just given you it will take you to a review site where Decaslim is put through its paces. What the reviewers have found is that Decaslim has no side effects and it will suppress those dreaded hunger pangs. It's a stimulant free, all natural product, which comes with a satisfaction guarantee.
How does it work? Well if you are watching the old calories then you will have heard all about the "superfoods" supplements that are all the rage at the moment. Each Decaslim tablet combines the ten most effective superfood ingredients in one easy to swallow formula that is so effective that many people take it as a daily multivitamin.
How much does it cost? The normal retail price is $99.00, but you can get this course for just $39.00 by clicking on the link that I gave you at the top of the posting.
22 August 2008
Will Russia face a Georgian guerrilla war?
Russia has announced that her forces will evacuate most of those chunks of Georgian territory that they currently occupy by the end of today. That is at least a week too late, as the regime in Tblisi now seems to be firmly back in the saddle and fully in control. If only Moscow had not allowed its men to move out of South Ossetia, or had reigned them in earlier, then the situation would have been very different.
To make matters worse, Moscow has announced that she will keep 500 troops in a four mile buffer zone, within Georgian territory, that will run all along the South Ossetian - Georgia border. There is no reason for Russia to do this as it will not protect either South Ossetia or the Russian troops within it. The only possible reason for this zone is to remind the Georgians that they lost the war. The problem is that the Georgians already know that, so what is the point of the zone?
The problem here is that Georgians have started thinking in terms of mounting a guerrilla war of their own to get the Russians out of their country. By the time they finally get their act together the Russians should have gone, but that zone is a perfect invitation for trouble. It is unlikely that it will provide enough sea for a guerrilla force to swim in, but it is certainly large enough to provide a tempting target for Georgian irregulars based across the border to mount raids on.
If only Russia had restrained both herself and her troops, then by now Georgia would probably have collapsed into internal strife. Had that happened then she would have been of no use at all to the forward march of American capitalism. The Russian desire to stick the boot in was understandable. However, doing the Slavic version of the clog dance on Georgia's head may turn out to be America's salvation if it saves the regime in Tblisi.
Who still supports the lost cause in Afghanistan?
You have no idea how much I love the wankblogs, especially on a slow blogging night when I can't think of anything to write about. A quick trawl around the spurt sites and bingo - my posting pretty much writes itself. Let us consider this load of old tosh from my favourite wankblog of all, the Drink Soaked Hand Shandyists for War. It's supposed to be an attack on a Seamus Milne piece in the Guardian about Afghanistan:
The death toll is rising because the Taliban, engorged with opium wealth, have decided to go all-out in their bloodcurdling campaign of terror against the Afghan people, whose crime is their persistence in defying the Taliban by their mere happiness with the reality of more than 20,000 of their villages obtaining rural development projects, and 1,080 civil-military cooperation projects, and 4,000 kilometres of new roads where only 50 kilometres’ worth existed in 2001, and the rehabilitation of electrical power systems, and the construction of schools over the past five years sufficient to enrol 6.4 million children, including 1.5 million girls, and the reduction in childhood mortality since 2001 by 26 per cent, and the provision of health-care access to 80 per cent of the population, up from eight per cent back when the Imperialist West was behaving the way Milne wanted.Got that? One sentence that runs to a whole fucking paragraph - can't you just imagine the writer frantically tapping away one handedly as he pulls his pud with the other? I'll bet he just about finished as he finished, if you know what I mean?
What can we say about this wankfest? The Afghan guerrillas are waging war on the Afghan people... How many times have we heard that from imperialism's little dogs as colonised people fought to free themselves from foreign control? The natives are really, really happy being kicked around by the white men, and if it wasn't for those damned outsiders, why, they would dance on the streets with joy at being occupied.
Then we have a list of all the goodies that the white men have given to the natives. Again, this line is straight out of the Little Imperialist's Christmas Annual. The line here is that of course the natives are happy at all the goodies - who wouldn't be?
Well, maybe some middle class metrosexual would be happy, but most normal people wouldn't. That's because most normal people would suss that along with the goodies comes the foreign troops, the foreign control and the attempt to impose a foreign way of doing things on the locals.
It used to be the right that made those claims, but now the toy-town left has got in on the act; either way it's still bollocks. As Afghanistan spirals out of imperialism's loathsome clutches, sooner or later the occupying forces are going to have to call a conference and cobble together some type of regime that will be Taliban dominated, but which will allow the westerners to get their armies out with a minimum of fuss.
Just about everyone knows that this is how the adventure will end, including Seamus Milne, because that is basically what his article was about. The only people who don't are those sad-arsed losers who continue to wank dementedly over a cause that is already lost.
21 August 2008
Did America jets kill ten French soldiers in Afghanistan?
The ten French soldiers who died in Afghanistan may have been killed by the Americans, reports Le Monde. The survivors claim that they waited four hours for air support and when it came the pilots blasted their positions, killing the ten men.
The Americans have a habit of flying high to avoid taking casualties, so have certainly killed more than their fair share of Afghan civilians over the years, but if this report is true then this would be the first time that they have wasted their allies in the same cavalier fashion.
As Alex points out in the comments, the Americans do have previous form when it comes to killing their allies in Iraq, but I think that this is the first time that they may have done it in Afghanistan.
How can we repair the damage to Britain's education system?
Summer is almost over and it is at this time of year when photographers compete with one another to grab shots of pretty teenage girls as they bounce up and down, almost jumping out of their panties with joy. Yes, it's GCSE and A-Level results time again, folks.
Everyone and his brother is complaining that these examinations have become easier over the years, to the point where they have no academic meaning any more. This year we have the added bonus that the examinations boards are cheerfully messing up the final marks, and parents are going insane as they work the 'phones to try and ensure that their offspring get what they deserve.
The idea that examinations have become easier to pass comes with a pretty heavy load of empirical evidence. When this writer had the misfortune to read for a Certificate in Further Education in the late 1980s, the lecturers at Garnett College were over the moon that O-Levels were on the way out, and that GCSEs were on their way in. When it was pointed out to them that O-Levels led to A-Levels which led on to degrees, and that the GCSE did not have that relationship, this was cheerfully agreed to be the case. The solution put forward was to alter A-Levels. When it was pointed out that there would be a knock-on effect on degrees, the reply was that they would have to alter as well.
Well, it has come to pass, hasn't it? The only thing that wasn't foretold twenty years ago were the changes that would come to the higher education sector, as polytechnics and colleges of higher education received permission in 1992 to degrade the name university.
What is the rationale behind all this nonsense? The right will claim that it has to do with leftist egalitarianism. Now that is pure bollocks, but it won't stop the claim being made. Actually it has nothing to do with left-right politics and everything to do with the middle class parents of thick kids wanting to ensure that their sprogs get a degree - even if it has been so degraded that all they can do with it is become a social worker.
The game was given away by Andrew Adonis and Stephen Pollard in A Class Act, when they interviewed former members of the John Major cabinet and were told, off the record, that it was middle class pressure that forced the government to allow the polytechnics to become "universities".
Go back still further and your friendly old Exile cannot remember any working class demands to abolish the 11-Plus examination. Unions did not strike, demonstrations were not mounted, mothers did not protest, for an end to that 11-Plus. The reason for that is that contrary to myths and their makers, working class parents do not particularly give a stuff about school education. Sure they want their kids minded, but that is not the same. That is not to say that we as a class are anti-education, but it is to say, as was argued here, that we recognise school education as being little more that a con to provide jobs for the lower middle class.
The pressure that led to the abolition of the 11-Plus came from the same type of chancers who pressured the government in the 1990s to increase the number of universities: the middle class parents of thick kids. It wasn't that those parents objected to working class children going to grammar schools; their fear was that their children would fail to make the grade and would end up in a secondary modern.
So, what is your friendly old Exile's modest solution to the problem that the British middle class has created? Here we go. . .
1. Reduce the School leaving age to 14, as this blog has long advocated, on condition that the little shits pass a secondary school examination that covers English, maths and basic information technology.
2. Restore the 11-Plus and divide the secondary schools into two streams. If that is too radical, then a series of examinations can be run by the primary schools, but the end result should be the same: grammar schools and secondary moderns.
3. Abolish GCSE and A-Level examinations and replace them with the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The IB system is run by the Swiss, and schools have to be licensed by them to offer it. In other words Tory politicians, cannot pander to the suburban scrote vote by messing around with the system. Grammar schools can offer the IB middle years programme and all junior schools the IB Primary.
4. Cease funding "universities" and start fund the universities properly. In England and Wales that means Oxbridge, London, Durham, the redbricks and the glassplates. If you are too fucking thick to get into even Lancaster or East Anglia then you really have no claim on a university place.
5. Restore the system of student grants and payment of students' fees.
The charge of elitism will be levied at these simple polices, and the writer pleads guilty. However, their adoption would not alter by one iota the two basic socialist principles of economic collectivisation and equality of outcome. In other words, an educational system such as this would lead to higher standards, but not necessarily to greater economic inequality.
The reverse could actually be true. Think of the tens of thousands of middle class jobsworths who could be made redundant and think of the resources that could then be put into re-industrialising Britain. All those 14 year olds are going to want unskilled and semi-skilled jobs. Others will want an apprenticeship, whilst the ten percent or so who go to university will form the professional caste's next generation. Not all of them , of course, because some will be quite happy to treat work as a necessary evil and be contented by the fact that their time at university has helped to make both them and their country a slightly more civilised place in which to live.
As we said, a fairly modest set of proposals that should be implemented immediately.
20 August 2008
Leon Trotsky's House
Today being the 20th August, a day when Trots go into mourning at the martyrdom of St. Leon The Loser, let's post a few photos and have a laugh at their expense.
Leon Trotsky arrived in Mexico in January 1937 and spent the last year of his life in Coyoacan, Mexico City. The artist Diego Rivera used his influence with the government to arrange for Trotsky to remain in the country. However, the friendship between the two men became somewhat strained when it emerged that Trotsky had introduced Rivera's wife, Frida Kahlo, to the horizontal dialectic...
Before Trotsky had properly settled into his new home, the Communist Party of Mexico decided that instead of giving him a house warming party they would kill him instead. They made various fruitless attempts to do this, the most celebrated being the one led by the artist David Alfaro Siqueiros in May 1940. He and twenty men dressed themselves in police uniforms, and were let into the front door by one of the guards, Robert Sheldon Harte, who was actually a Soviet agent. From the garden they then riddled the house with automatic gunfire. Trotsky and his wife survived by diving under the bed, but the bullet holes can still be seen to this day. Note the one just above the bed.
In June 1940 Harte was found dead and Trotsky had this plaque mounted just inside the main entrance. He never knew that the man he honoured was actually working for the other team.
After the May attack the house was turned into a fortress, but that didn't stop over enthusiastic attempts to kill the occupant, as the bullet riddled front door will testify.
Eventually, a Spanish born Soviet agent named Ramon Mercader del Rio managed to infiltrate the house, and on the 20th August 1940 he smashed an ice-pick into Trotsky's head while he was sitting at this desk. He died the next day. In theory the desk has remained untouched since that event, but note the differences between the 1989 photograph on the left, and the 2007 version on the right.
Trotsky's body was cremated and his ashes placed in this tomb, which is to be found in the garden. The story is told that for many years afterwards, members of the Mexican Communist Party would meet up in a nearby cantina every 20th August. After filling their bladders they would climb over the wall and form a semi-circle around the tomb. The comrades then had a nice long piss...
The house quickly became a Museum, and when I first saw it in 1989 it was still just the original house, with everything kept just as it was when Trotsky died. The visitor knocked on the door and a young woman curator opened it to admit the person. Then she went back to reading her book. The visitor could wander around at will, even to the extent of using Trotsky's lavatory - which still flushed, by the way, as I can testify after having used it. The same clothes still hung in the same closet, just as they had ever since that 20th August.
By the early 1990s a lot of money had been spent on the museum and the above extension was built.
You are wondering what happened to the ice-pick, aren't you? Yes, that's the one, right there in the photo above, complete with dried blood still sticking to it. If you want to see a larger version, please click here. The Spanish text explains that the item was kept in a police museum, but the Mexican Secret Service agent who had handled the murder investigation removed it for fear that someone would try and steal it. Sure enough, someone did steal the copy that he put in its place, so the original was kept at his house until his death. It is now the property of his daughter.
Trotsky's house is located at Viena 45, Colonia del Carmen, Coyoacan, Mexico City. It is closed on Monday, and open the other days from 10.00am to 5.00pm. Visitors are requested not to laugh too loudly.
19 August 2008
New Weaponry for the South Ossetian Militia?
Anybody want a nice collection of tanks? Perfect condition, never seen action. Formerly owned by the Georgian government, until abandoned by their soldiers and now the property of Russia. Actually they will probably be passed along to the South Ossetian militia, but at the moment they are guarded by Russians, as the photo above shows.
As Russian forces withdraw into South Ossetia, Moscow has voiced fears that Georgia may use the appearance of a power vacuum to foment trouble along the border.
Not using those tanks they won't!
Georgian troops were not ready for battle, say Americans
The Americans who were training the Georgian army are starting to admit that the army was nowhere near combat ready when it was sent off on its doomed invasion of South Ossetia. Only the 1st Infantry Brigade had been trained up to western standards and that was the one that was helping to occupy Iraq. The other four infantry brigades, each numbering about 2,000 men each, were in various stages of training when they were ordered to go off and attack South Ossetia.
Their communications quickly collapsed, and the troops dumped their American supplied rifles, preferring instead the trusty old AK-47. That is perhaps understandable when you consider just how many of the Georgian soldiers are actually illiterates who have to mark their names with an "X" when collecting their pay. If you have a peasant army, as both the Russians, South Ossetians and Georgians obviously have, then it makes more sense to give them peasant -proof weapons that they can use, as well as teaching them the tactics that a peasant army can assimilate.
Consider for a moment the fact that the South Ossetian militia managed to prevent the Georgians from taking Tskhinvali until the Russians arrived; and those militiamen are a far more ragged and ill-disciplined bunch than even the Georgian regulars. So it isn't that peasants won't fight, it is that they have to be trained and equipped to fight in their own way. Simple weapons, coupled with even simpler tactics. This works for the Afghans and Iraqis and it worked for the South Ossetians.
Even had Georgia finished training her troops it is unlikely that she would have won her war. A western trained and equipped army sitting on top of what is basically a third world country is always going to be an elite force. Once it has been ground down in combat then replacements cannot be produced at the drop of a hat. Unlike their militia enemy who can train men for combat in days.
Given this background, it now seems even more incredible that the Georgians sent this force into battle in the first place. What on earth were they thinking about?
The answer seems to be the one that this blog put forward right at the start of the war. An economic crisis and rising opposition to the government forced desperate men to look around for an escape. They were given a nod and a wink by the Americans and told to try their luck.
At the time of writing there is no other explanation that makes any sense at all.
18 August 2008
Exile's bacon saved - thanks to you
I need to thank Jason Purseglove, Cipriano Mera and Anthony Burrett for their donations. Jason in particular deserves a double mention because he stumped up £20, which was more than I ever imagined anyone would. All told the six people who contributed sent in a total of £60.00, so my bacon has definitely been saved.
The wife has started smiling at me which I admit is a troubling development. I mustn't grumble since I never really knew what happiness was until I got married - and then it was too fucking late. To be fair I hadn't spoken to her for days before the donations arrived - I don't like to interrupt her flow. Seriously, she's OK when she's dressed to kill - a pity that she cooks the same way.
So thanks again to all of you. I have taken the liberty of sticking up a donation button on the top right-hand sidebar, for those of you who have not contributed anything and are no doubt feeling suitably guilty. . .
As for the blog, we are now back on normal postings. The crisis is over, thank God, and future postings on the South Ossetia theme will be intermingled with my usual posts on other topics.
Has Russia really lost the propaganda war with Georgia?
Having been defeated comprehensively in the war that she started, and with an army that ran like frightened rats from Gori before any Russians even came close, the general consensus seems to be that Georgia has won the propaganda war against Russia. The BBC argues that the Russians "have not yet learned how to play the media game," and that is certainly one factor that is at work. The Guardian for its part reports that the Georgians not only paid a top ranked public relations firm €500,000, but they did it with the clear instructions "to brand Georgia as a western wannabe, a Nato and European Union aspirant, emphasising everything from its fabulous food and drink to its liberties and democratic politics".
As the same Guardian report shows, the Russian agency merely "facilitates international media access to Russian policy-makers and advises the Russians on their media strategies". In other words the Georgians are paying top whack to get their message out, whereas the Russians just wanted a company the would organise publicity when and if the Russians wanted it.
In other words what seems to have happened is that the Georgians gave their agency broad terms of reference, plenty of money and then left them to get on with it. The Russians got an agency that would do things for them when Moscow wanted things to be done. The big difference here is that the Georgian agency swung autonomously into action as soon as Georgia mounted her attack. The Russian outfit waited for instructions from Moscow.
The Russians have had some success and their friends have been busily engaged in patiently rebutting the Georgian lies, but the problem is that they do it as if they are writing for an academic seminar. Those who are spreading myths for Georgia have a better understanding of how the modern media works.
Take Neil Ascherson's load of old wank as a case in point. In the first of twenty-two paragraphs the analogy is drawn with Czechoslovakia in 1968 and not until the ninth paragraph is it admitted that Georgia actually started the war in the first place. That admission only comes as a throwaway, and then we are off again, this time by being invited to feel sorry for the Georgian refugees.
Quite where Czechoslovakia ever fitted into the narrative seems unclear, until we realise that what the reader is being encouraged to do is to forget that Georgia is the aggressor in all of this, and to think of Russia as the great lumbering bear, that is coming to eat us all up.
So what we have here is a simple narrative, probably put out by the Georgian PR outfits originally, which is now being repeated throughout Britain and in all the media. The point is that it is not being repeated by paid hacks, it is being put out by characters, like Ascherson, who are either true believers, have a vested economic interest in maintaining western hegemony, or a combination of the two.
The working class blogs provide very little competition for this gang, but let's do our best. We need a simple narrative all of our own: the Georgians started it and cannot complain because the Russians finished it.
Let's face it: our narrative has the advantage of being the truth.
Now the social work filth are going after fat bastards
I can't believe that this is for real. It could only happen in Nu-Labour Britain.
As part of their drive to demonstrate to working class people who is in charge, the lower middle class vermin who both control and work for the councils have decided that the next attack that will be waged against us will use the excuse of obesity. Yes, well, I can't believe it either, but that is the kite that they are flying right now. The fact that the world seems to be full of fat bastards and their number is rising doesn't enter into it. As this piece makes clear, this is not an attack on middle class fat bastards, just our type. As usual it will be done via our children. Yes, that's right, the fuckers want to take overweight kids into care.
What's all this about? Put simply, it's about more jobs for more social work filth, that's all. The so-called Labour Party that should be defending us from odious little class war attacks like this is controlled by this type of maggot so obviously it wants to provide more jobs for creatures of its own ilk.
As we have said time and time again on this blog, the working class disengagement from politics may have been a perfectly rational response to Blair and his gang, but now the strategy will not work. The enemy is taking the fight to us, by trying to force us to behave as they want as a sign of our submission to them.
It's time to start giving these fuckers grief, people. We need to form organisations on every estate that will take the fight to them. We can do it via the council chambers, but we can also do it on the street. These fuckers are only hard when they have a gang of coppers behind them. On their own they are as soft as shit, as I have demonstrated time and time again.
15 August 2008
Final appeal for donations
Let me start off by thanking Martin Meenagh and an anonymous contributer for their donations.
Gentlemen, you may not realise this, but you are helping to save my bacon. A few more such donations, and I might be able to avoid the wrath of my awfully wedded wife. As this is the final call, allow me to explain what is going on. . .
On Sunday I was offered a job driving a wagon up through the mountains to pick up a load of something or other. The equivalent of £50.00 is not to be sniffed at, even though I knew that driving up those roads in a lorry that was going to be overloaded, with dodgy brakes and lights that didn't work was going to be hairy, especially if the fog came down which it usually does at this time of year. How did I know the wagon was going to be like that? Basically because that's what all Mexican wagons are like.
I rejected the job partly for that reason, but mainly because I was so wrapped up in the South Ossetia reporting. I may have sort of mentioned to the wife that the blog was earning some money again, and it is possible that I could have said that money would come her way this week. If that is so, and the wife certainly claims that this conversation did take place, then that it is the first of my problems: she has a memory like a fucking elephant.
The other problem is that my dear little black widow spider is a fairly typical example of what happens to women when they become wives. Being too young to become a Gestapo officer and having failed to get her application in on time for work at Guantanamo Bay, this little angel of death spends her days breaking not only my balls, but those of our two sons as well.
Thus it came to pass, on Tuesday as a matter of fact, that my eldest lad had a quiet word in my ear and told me that if the blog didn't actually make anything this week, then I was on my fucking own as he was spending the night when the volcano erupted elsewhere.
OK, fellas, here's the deal. We are all in a very real sense in the same boat, aren't we? (If you are reading this and unmarried, please go off and get married because it is just unfair to the rest of us that you are enjoying yourselves when the rest of us are suffering.) Anyway, this is the final call for donations, and here are the reasons why you should donate:
1. I did work my balls off this last week and thus I saved you a lot of effort.
2. I got the big picture bang to rights. If you followed my postings you were as well informed as anyone.
3. My wife is a harridan and we are thirty quid down on what I would have pulled had I driven that damned lorry last Sunday.
I think that here you have three pretty good reasons why you should rally to the cause.
Sorry, but I still cannot get the Paypal button to work here, but the one at the bottom of this posting functions.
South Ossetia & the British Working Class
On one level the war over South Ossetia was an old fashioned land grab, but on another level it reflected, in however vulgar a form, a fight between the forces of post-modern globalisation and its enemies.
Again, on one level, Georgia was turned back by Russia, but on another level globalisation was defeated by a combination of pre-modern and modern forms of organisation. Russia with its nationally based capitalist system and ideology is obviously the modern example, but let's not forget all those tribally based Cossack hosts and Ossetian militia groups - to say nothing of the Chechen and other militias that arrived to join in the fun.
Russia may have arrived to relieve them, but had Moscow decided not to get involved those groups would still have gone into action, and given the numbers that were piling in each day, it is not too much to speculate that in the fullness of time they would have defeated Georgia.
Globalised capitalism is the beast that threatens all of us. In response to it, people across the world are falling back on older traditions and forms of social organisation. As this blog argued three years ago:
As states collapse, their peoples are not suddenly becoming docile consumers of the latest Western pap: older loyalties are re-emerging, and beliefs and values that the West thought long dead and buried are emerging into the daylight once again. In a world that has gone mad an individual’s family will provide his basic support. Extend the family to cousins, uncles and the like and you have the makings of a clan. Extend it still further to take in the clans who live around yours, probably those clans who share the valley with you, perhaps those who are engaged in similar economic activities to you; then you have the beginnings of a tribe. As the state collapses these loyalties will become more and more apparent.South Ossetia and Abkhazia both go a long way towards proving those points. So does Iraq, come to think of it, as well as Afghanistan.
As a northern British working man, this writer looks on in horror as quite serious people argue that the great northern towns and cities should just be abandoned because globalised capitalism, which wrecked them in the first place, can no longer extract a profit from them. The same horror is felt when reading the words of this creature of Rupert Murdoch who has quite wittily come up with a Neil Kinnock Test. The wheeze is to ask his Nu-Labour chums if they approve of the Tory victories against the Kinnock led Labour Party in 1987 and 1992? Most of the fuckers do, because most of the fuckers are of the pretty element in society that believes that we should all keep our noses firmly jammed up the arseholes of whoever is in charge. Kinnock for all his faults and flaws tried to represent the class that he was born to in the fight against those who wished to destroy it. The point here is that the human maggots who helped to reduce us to penury by cheering on the Tories in those years are the same human maggots who cheered on Georgia's doomed war of aggression. They are the enemy of all of us.
Our friends are a mixed bunch of tribal and religious warriors, leavened with the nationally based capitalists in places like Russia. We are the geographically rooted working people of Britain, based mainly in the wrecked industrial cities.
So, working men of all countries unite? Hardly a good slogan, these days. Why don't we all take a long, cold look at our common enemy, think about what we will do to him in our various independent, sovereign countries, and then draw on a far older set of ideas? Genghis Khan was the speaker, and this is what he said:
The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.Now then, we need to organise locally in our towns and on our estates. We should use the issues that will rally our tribe, and then keep pressing them. We must ignore the divisive social issues that we are indifferent about, anyway. (Yes, in case anyone is wondering, that is a dig at the fools who think that you can attack Catholicism and expect working class Catholics to still rally when called). Above all else, we should cease criticising our friends who are fighting the same enemy, but with different ends in mind for their lands.
At the end of the day, the only argument between British working men, Cossack irregular cavalrymen and Iraqi militias should be over who gets first go at the wives and daughters.
What lessons should Russia learn from her S. Ossetian mistakes?
Russian troops are being withdrawn from Georgia according to the Robert Gates, the American Defence Secretary, so that appears to be that as far as the conflict is concerned. It does leave the question open as to why they were there in the first place, because having Russian troops roaming about inside Georgia has certainly given western Russophobes a talking point, so why did they do it?
The answer that we can give is pure speculation, but it may turn out to involve nothing more complicated than the fact that they could. The Georgian army ran like frightened rabbits all the way from Gori to Tblisi when faced with nothing more substantial than a rumour that the Russians were coming. Given that situation on the ground, you can just imagine quite junior Russian commanders deciding to mount "forward patrols" just to ensure that their fronts were clear - or whatever the excuse was that they thought up to enable them to go and do a bit of sightseeing and freelance looting in Georgia. If you couple that with the official Russian desire to wreck as many Georgian military bases as possible, then you can quite conceivably imagine a situation where soldiers are wandering about, and it is going to take a couple of days to get them all back.
Whatever the reason, it was a major mistake on Russia's part that allowed it to happen. Your friendly old Exile can think of three good reasons why Moscow should have done its utmost to prevent those incursions.
The first is that as we have already mentioned, it provides an excuse for the globalists to use Russophobia as agitprop. To a certain extent it really doesn't really matter what second-rate minds, teaching third-rate students at fourth-rate "universities" argue. So when the likes of Mark O'Attila Hoare start rambling on about how Putin ordered the 1999 Moscow bombings that led to over 300 deaths, a ramble that he presents as fact, but which is based on nothing more than a third-hand account of a drunken conversation in London, then the rest of us can just sit back and smile. That said, not all such propagandists are as bovine as Mark O'Attila, so Russia should avoid giving them free ammunition to use against her. As O'Attila's writings show, they are quite capable of making shit up all on their own.
The second reason why Russia should have kept out of Georgia proper has to do with the political crisis that should be racking the country at the time of writing. Georgia lost a war and lost it badly. The economy is wrecked and political institutions may not survive the post-war storm. People should be looking for the guilty men, aided of course by an attentive opposition that wants to take power. None of that is happening because the Georgian government can use the presence of Russian troops on Georgian soil to divert attention. By the time all those troops have left, probably over the weekend, then the American aid will have started flooding in and the situation may stabilise.
If Russia had only kept her army out of Georgia then she would have bought herself instability in the country, and instability is something that she could have used to her own ends. A general wants to mount a coup, but needs funding? The Swiss bank account is ready. A politician has mounted a series of demonstrations that may lead to something, but the government is claiming that he is too close to Russia? President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin will jointly condemn this anti-Russian individual. The possibilities are endless, but for any of them to work, what Russia needed was the one thing that her actions have conspired to prevent: post-war political and social turmoil in Georgia.
Finally, as this blog reported last Friday, any number of Cossack hosts and Ossetian and Chechen militiamen have just flooded into South Ossetia to join the local militia that was already there. Together they now seem to be roaming around Georgia having the time of their lives. On one level this is understandable, since the Georgians are widely disliked. Furthermore, Georgia has been in receipt of millions of dollars of American aid, and that has helped create a fairly large parasitic middle class. The place probably looks like one giant supermarket to the peasant boys from the mountains, so now is their chance to go and grab that 30 inch TV that will look really great on the mud wall of their hut back home. That and killing a few of the men before having their knobs polished by the women that is.
It is the Caucasus, when all is said and done, but since Russian troops are mixed in with those irregulars, once the full scale of their activities comes out then Russia is going to carry a lot of the blame for what they did. It may turn out that Russian troops were actually not at fault, and as we saw on Wednesday, there are reports that at least one Russian unit advised people to keep out of site when the Militias arrived, but that is not the point. Had Russia stayed out of Georgia then it would all have been the fault of the Georgian government, and an army that ran before it was even attacked. Russia could have just sat back and watched it all on TV, secure in the knowledge that it wasn't their problem.
None of these problems are exactly insurmountable for Moscow, but it does irritate Russia's friends that she created them for herself. Hopefully, the lessons will be learned before the next conflict arises.
14 August 2008
What does the post S. Ossetian future hold for the world?
Seamus Milne has a piece up in today's Guardian which has caused quite a stir, at least judging from the comments that it has elicited. Milne argues that there was a certain inevitability to the South Ossetian Conflict, given the breakup of the old Soviet Union. Peoples "who were happy enough to live on either side of an internal boundary that made little difference to their lives feel quite differently when they find themselves on the wrong side of an international state border," is how he puts it.
Meddling by the USA in Russia's near abroad has certainly not helped matters, but I think that Milne is wrong to lay all the blame at Washington's door. The sad truth is that international relations hates a vacuum and Russia allowed one to be created when she basically withdrew within her still massive borders for the decade of the 1990s. Blaming the USA for doing what just comes naturally to all states is a waste of time, so the question that we really need to ask is what will become of the international states' system in the future?
It is a fact that America and her allies have used the past few years to expand their system of globalised capitalism by attacking first Yugoslavia, then Afghanistan and Iraq. It may be argued that Afghanistan is a special case, but that argument cannot be made against the other two who were attacked simply because their governments were not acceptable to Washington. Now Russia has returned the favour, albeit with more justification, since Georgia broke the agreement that she had with Russia concerning the use of force in South Ossetia. That said, Russia has announced that South Ossetia and Abkhazia will not be returned to Georgian sovereignty, so a parallel can be drawn with the Kosovo aggression, at least in its outcome.
So the question is, will the world continue to see aggression after aggression, which will lead to a world in turmoil, or can we recreate the states' system that existed before?
If we are to recreate that system, then it means accepting that states are sovereign entities and interference in their internal affairs is out of the question. Obviously it will be honoured in the breach, since states always meddle. That said, if a regime is in control of its national territory, as the government of Iraq was prior to 2003, then the meddling can be kept to a minimum and the system will continue to tick over without too many major international problems.
This writer knows which system he prefers, but has America been brought around to accepting that the old order was the best for all of us in the long run? If there are any long term benefits to Georgia's lunatic adventure of last week, then awakening America to the need for a world in order might just be one of them.
Why not donate to the blog?
I want to thank Zoran Milutinovic for his £5.00 donation. His is the first donation, but hopefully not the last.
Sorry to be a pain, folks, but if you want the analysis that you have received over the past few days to continue, then it means that I have to carry on dedicating long hours to the work. Just yesterday I spent three pretty tough hours on this posting, all to refute the Georgian propagandists' claims that Russia had broken the ceasefire. As you can see from today's main posting, the Georgian lie machine is pretty damned good at getting its fantasies out. There are not many people analysing their lies and then holding them up to the cold light of truth. I happen to be one of them.
Any contribution, no matter how small will be received with the thanks of this rather weary blogger - and you get to see your name published on the blog!
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America sends aid to Georgia: Trots start to panic
I don't believe it. Now the Trots are fantasising about a Third World War that could start in Georgia. Lenin's Tomb - which I admit is slightly above average for a Trot site - is bleating that the USA is going to use her airforce and navy to deliver relief supplies to Georgia. "You don't need hawk airjets and naval vessels to deliver relief supplies," pontificates the blog's owner, who then goes on to yelp that "America is saying that it will place its military forces right in Georgia..."
Well, the Americans don't actually use Hawk trainers. Now they do have a variant, called the T-45 Goshawk which they use for training pilots, but that's all it is used for. I doubt if any of them are used on actual carriers, and even if they are, I doubt if any carriers will be sent to Georgia.
You do need naval vessels to deliver supplies quickly and efficiently and most countries use them for emergencies like this. The BBC report which got this Trot in such a tizzy explained pretty clearly that the Americans are already using transport aircraft to ferry supplies into Georgia and that over the next few days "naval forces" will ship in a lot more. No mention is made of a carrier group, possibly because the idea only exists in the febrile mind of this Trot. Besides, getting a carrier group through the Bosporus would be more trouble than it is worth. Come to think of it, no mention is made in the report of American "military forces right in Georgia" either, but never mind. This is the world that the Trots inhabit, and reality rarely impinges.
What are the Americans up to? Probably just what they say, with the added proviso that the Georgian government has just lost a war and the Americans need to prop that government up. So along with the humanitarian supplies will come quite a bit of new kit to replace that which the Georgians managed to lose over the past few days.
All of this will have been cleared with the Russians, and the chances are that a quiet little deal has already been struck that will see Russia keeping South Ossetia and the Americans not losing Georgia as an ally.
Further evidence for the reality of a deal came out of Washington when the Americans basically slapped down Mikhail Saakashvili when he announced that the USA would take over Georgia's airports and ports as part of the supply operation. America will do no such thing, said the Pentagon, pointedly.
If this theory is correct then the adults are most definitely back in charge of events, and the rest of us can just be grateful for that. As for Lenin's Tomb, its owner can go back to dreaming about neither Washington nor Moscow but somewhere over the fucking rainbow, which is all a Trot is good for.
Why do so many people fall for Georgian propaganda?
Why are western new media falling for the Georgian propaganda lines? Just about everything that the Georgians have said so far has turned out to be a lie, so the question is apt given those circumstances.
Exiled Online, has argued the case that Georgia is just better at modern agitprop than their Russian adversaries. The website makes the point that Georgia is as nasty as anywhere else in that region, but it has to be admitted that above the clan-living peasant mass there is a ruling elite that understands the demands of the western media and how to play to them.
We live in a world of 24-hour news, but that does not mean that the audience for that type of programming has become more discerning. What has happened is that with a plethora of channels the audience's attention span has dwindled almost to the level of a lobotomised goldfish. He who gets in the best sound byte, delivered in English, is the one that gets remembered. If the sound bytes can be arranged to flow thick and fast then after a while people forget that yesterday's byte was a load of tosh because the news cycle has moved on.
As Exiled Online reports, almost within minutes of Georgia's act of aggression starting last Thursday night, her president was working the 'phones to every influential American that he could think of, to try and convince them that his country was the victim in all of that. Soon afterwards he started working CNN and the BBC, always with the same mantra: "Georgia is the victim, Russia is the aggressor, please help us". Over and over again that line was repeated throughout Friday.
By Saturday it was obvious that Tshinkvali might just have been wrecked thanks to Georgia's attacks, so the line switched to civilian casualties of Russian air raids, then to non-existent attacks on Georgia's oil pipeline. To anyone with a level of intelligence slightly above that of the village idiot, this last idea was risible. If the Russians had attacked the pipeline they would have destroyed it. The pipeline was undamaged, ergo it had never been attacked.
These lies did not become redundant because they were nailed: they just ceased to have any utility because the Georgians had gone on to claim another tissue of lies that were being carefully reported in the 24-hour western media.
To be fair to that media, they need stories and the Georgians were only to happy to feed stories to them. The Russians for their part came over as a bit stodgy, and it took time for the Russian version of events to come out.
However, that does not fully explain the story of Georgia's propaganda success. There are two other factors which Exiled Online did not consider, but which we can look at now.
The first is that people who work for the media have a vested interest in the continuation of the economic system that gives them their goodies. CNN may criticise individual politicians, but it does not go after the system that gives all of them such a nice life. Russia may be a post Communist state, but it is not a globalising post Communist state. In some small way Russia is still seen by opinion formers as a threat, precisely for that reason.
Secondly, Mikhail Saakashvili may come over to people like me as a rancid little pretty boy, but he plays rather well with western media types, many of whom are rancid little pretty boys themselves. He knows how to speak the metrosexual dialect - as a Georgian thug, of course, he is just mouthing the words - but you don't expect a genuine metrosexual to get that, do you? So they give him the benefit of the doubt, because after all, he is fighting for their values, so he says.
Luckily for the rest of us this war is now over, but we need to remember that it was the tactic that Bush and Blair used to gull the USA and the UK into the war against Iraq. It worked then and the Georgians did their level best to ensure that it worked for them.
13 August 2008
Have the Russians taken Gori?
Hysterical claims are being made that the Russians have taken Gori. They haven't, but that is not stopping the claims from being made. So what's going on?
The quick answer to that question is that the Russians are basically inside their lines, the Georgians are huddled in Tblisi, and militiamen are roaming the area in between.
We need to remember that the Georgian government is frantically throwing petrol on the flames in the hope that western intervention may yet save their wretched skins. Their army abandoned Gori without a fight and fled like frightened rabbits to Tblisi. Had they behaved like an army should then their civilian population would not today be under threat from the militias who are now roaming freely in the undefended parts of Georgia.
Georgian propaganda has been helped by a Russian column of about 50 to 70 vehicles that has been spotted driving along Georgian roads. A BBC crew caught up with it and did what journalists are supposed to do - they asked the lead driver where his column was going? The man replies that they "just drive, drive drive". By that time the column had turned off the road and had stopped in some fields.
As you can see from this video, which was a shot by another BBC crew who did not join the convoy, the vehicles were moving at a slow pace and were being overtaken by civilian traffic that was also on the road. Many of the vehicles were soft-top trucks that were mixed in with armoured personnel carriers and at least one anti-aircraft battery. This was not an armoured spearhead advancing onto Gori, what we saw was a resupply column that had managed to get lost and then turned off into the fields to figure out what they were going to do next.
If the Russians really were attacking Gori they would not have sent a mixed bag like that to do it. Tanks would spearhead the drive, closely followed by infantry in their APCs. Anything on the road that did not belong to the attacking formation would be blasted to kingdom come with careless abandon.
Very well, but what is going on in Gori? There is still no clear evidence that anything is going on there, but based upon this Reuters video, South Ossetian militiamen - and probably quite a lot of other militia groups from outside the territory - are now now doing their thing in the villages just to the north of the city. If you watch the video closely you will see that many of the armed men that are shown in it are wearing trainers and blue jeans. Sorry, people, but those are militia groups and not the Russian army.
The Guardian's reporter has added his own voice-over to the video and he states that Russian forces may have arrived in those villages early this morning, but only to warn people that the militias were on their way. They seem to have told people to hang white flags from their windows and keep out of sight. Then they withdrew and the militias moved in.
As this blog reported last Friday, Cossack hosts and various militia groups were flooding into South Ossetia to join the local militia who were already there. We said then that those "irregulars are an example of what could turn out to be a messy and long drawn out conflict, even after the regular armies have finished damaging everything around them," and it looks as if we were right.
So, a Russian column gets lost as irregular fighters from all over the region get stuck in to the revenge routine. The Georgian government is stirring the panic as part of its strategy to try and encourage outside intervention even at this late stage.
It is all very messy and pretty much what we predicted last Friday. What it is not is a Russian onslaught to take over Georgia.
Update, 14-August-2008, 12.45am:
Russian troops did take over an abandoned Georgian military base just outside Gori, which they proceeded to wreck. Some of the soldiers then seem to have gone for a wander in the city proper. Whether those men were from the column that was spotted around the nearby villages is still unclear, but what is clear is that this operation was not part of any dastardly plan to occupy Georgia as a whole.
How was the South Ossetia coverage for you? Worth a donation?