World view – Friday

Thursday GMT

WorldWatch2

For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

58 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  September 14, 2018

    Three hundred thousand troops are participating in the week-long Vostok training exercises currently underway in Russia’s far east. As well as over 80 warships & supply vessels, 3,000 aircraft & 36,000 tanks & AFV’s.

    Vladimir Putin says Russia’s armed forces will continue to be strengthened, as they undertake their largest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union. But that there is no cause for concern by other countries because their exercises as always are for a purely defensive war.

    For the first time, Chinese troops joined the week-long exercises on Thursday.
    More …

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/putin-attends-russias-vostok-2018-war-games-180913152916164.html

    • Pink David

       /  September 14, 2018

      ” As well as over 80 warships & supply vessels, 3,000 aircraft & 36,000 tanks & AFV’s.”

      That’s cool. It will be the worlds largest open air military museum.

      • Gezza

         /  September 14, 2018

        Yup. The tanks and AFV’s are, anyway, unless the Russies or the Chinese can knock out or neutralise the enemy’s air attack capability – which I wouldn’t rule out. They’re working on it. Or the Chinese certainly are. I expect they’d share. The US & other Western Allies have launched economic attacks on both of them already (well, the US has launched economic attacks on allies too).

        The invincible M1A2 and Merkava can both be put out of action without great difficulty in the right circumstances, Before ISIS was even an unrecognised list of unemployed, demobbed former Iraqi army officers and potential cooperative military police, but instead were banged up, jobless and penniless, and resentful in US military re-education camps, Iraqi insurgents had started blowing them upside down and killing their US crews with simple IEDs built from unexploded US ordinance.

        Take the air defences out, keep out of the city streets, at least in a tank to tank battle they’re still probably evenly matched with what NATO’s got – and being Russian-made, probably more durable and less maintenance intensive I would expect.

        • Pink David

           /  September 14, 2018

          “Take the air defences out, keep out of the city streets, at least in a tank to tank battle they’re still probably evenly matched with what NATO’s got – and being Russian-made, probably more durable and less maintenance intensive I would expect.”

          US doctrine has been, for quite some time, never to be in a tank to tank battle. A tank is simply one part of a much larger system. Tank vs tank is really something for gamers.

          • Gezza

             /  September 14, 2018

            If they ever went for any country in Europe they need fast mass troop transport & air cover. Get 50,000+ armed men right into on or more key cities immediately. That many can subdue the unarmed population immediately. Now they are hostages. To attack those troops from the air is then nigh on impossible without the US or other tiny air forces immediately antagonising the invaded nation. I’m not sure what their “defensive” strategy is though.

            • Gezza

               /  September 14, 2018

              Having said that, this is what the Swedes worry about – the Russians are literally just across the water. I don’t know if & how often the Swedes train for this, but I’m assuming they do.

            • Pink David

               /  September 14, 2018

              What you are describing is almost the Battle of Hue, during the Tet Offensive, abet at a smaller scale. I don’t think the Russians are really that fanatical on the offensive.

            • Gezza

               /  September 14, 2018

              I actually can’t see them mounting an offensive war either. They don’t need to. They aren’t an economic powerhouse nor likely to be in the future. They just want to needle the US in various places whenever they can and keep making them spend lots of money on their military – seeing they’re going to anyway. tRump’s probably irritating Putin by getting the US’s NATO spending down. Putin & China cosying up, especially given China’s expanding political and economic reach, and various other catch up initiatives in China are interesting though.

  2. High Flying Duck

     /  September 14, 2018

    Russia is basically rubbing it in that they poisoned people on UK soil and can’t be touched for it.

    “the men even admitted they may have ended up at Sergei Skripal’s suburban home by accident while looking for the cathedral, which has a 400ft spire and is 25 minutes in the other direction.

    The pair also refused to say why they booked into an east London hotel 127 miles away – or why it contained traces of novichok – and failed to explain why they appeared to have no luggage when they hastily travelled home to Russia.

    Body language expert Judy James told MailOnline the men appeared to reciting ‘a script’ while others said their description of Salisbury and its landmarks bore a remarkable resemblance to the city’s Wikipedia page.

    Kremlin-funded broadcaster RT even suggested the suspects weren’t trained killers – hinting they were gay lovers on a romantic break because they had ‘little beards, short hair cuts and tight pants’.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12124965

  3. High Flying Duck

     /  September 14, 2018

    • High Flying Duck

       /  September 14, 2018

    • Blazer

       /  September 14, 2018

      ‘At 6:45 a.m., the first members of an Israeli hit squad land at Dubai International Airport and fan out through the city to await further instructions. Over the next nineteen hours, the rest of the team—at least twenty-seven members—will arrive on flights from Zurich, Rome, Paris, and Frankfurt. They have come to kill a man named Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, a Hamas leader whose code name within the Mossad—the Israeli intelligence agency—is Plasma Screen.

      Most of the operatives here are members of a secretive unit within the Mossad known as Caesarea, a self-contained organization that is responsible for the agency’s most dangerous and critical missions: assassinations, sabotage, penetration of high-security installations. Caesarea’s “fighters,” as they are known, are the elite of the Mossad. They rarely interact with other operatives and stay away from Mossad headquarters north of Tel Aviv, instead undergoing intensive training at a separate facility to which no one else in the agency has access. They are forbidden from ever using their real names, even in private conversation, and—with the exception of their spouses—their families and closest friends are unaware of what they do. As one longtime Caesarea fighter recently told me, “If the Mossad is the temple of Israel’s intelligence community, then Caesarea is its holy of holies.”

      ‘Four Iranian nuclear scientists — Masoud Alimohammadi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan —were assassinated between 2010 and 2012. Another scientist, Fereydoon Abbasi, was wounded in an attempted murder.[1][2] Two of the killings were carried out with magnetic bombs attached to the targets’ cars; Darioush Rezaeinejad was shot dead, and Masoud Alimohammadi was killed in a motorcycle-bomb explosion.[3] The Iranian government accused Israel of complicity in the killings.[3][4] In 2011 and 2012, Iranian authorities arrested a number of Iranians alleged to have carried out the assassination campaign on behalf of Mossad (the Israeli intelligence service). Western intelligence services and U.S officials reportedly confirmed the Israeli connection.’

      good guys vs bad guys…all done in the best possible..taste.

  4. High Flying Duck

     /  September 14, 2018

    So those hearings to discredit Kavanaugh have gone great for the Dems:

    “Looking for a way to distinguish himself on the second day, Booker resorted to publicly releasing these allegedly secret documents, with a theatrical flourish about how he was risking his Senate seat by supposedly violating Senate rules. The only problem? His self proclaimed “I am Spartacus” moment was predicated on a lie because Republicans had already cleared those documents in question for release.

    In another blow, the documents revealed that Kavanaugh was actually opposed to racial profiling. But Booker refuses to let his big moment go. Once it was revealed that he did not in fact break Senate rules, Booker scrambled to actually break them by releasing some documents that had not yet been cleared. He then went on a publicity tour to insist that he had really broken the rules. Like George Costanza, Booker was being a “bad boy.” A New Jersey outlet summed up his political escapades as “strange.”

    Fellow 2020 contender Kamala Harris was less theatrical in her presentation, but her attempts to steal the limelight involved the same brand of fiction. Her line of questioning alleged, with zero evidence, that Kavanaugh had a conversation about the special counsel investigation with a lawyer tied to President Trump, immediately grabbing headlines, as observers wondered, what information does she have?

    But the gambit proved be a fraud the very next day when she failed to produce any evidence that Kavanaugh had spoken to anyone at the Trump connected law firm about the probe. Her hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, panned her hearing performance by writing that her “viral grilling of Kavanaugh ends with a thud,” while a CNN commentator characterized her original questions as “unfair” and “puzzling.”

    Like Booker, Harris was forced to come up with another play to rile up the base, and it too has ended in embarrassment. Trying to stoke liberal women groups, Harris took a clip of Kavanaugh describing the position of a plaintiff on birth control and deceptively edited it to make it sound as though the judge himself held those views. For her stunt, the Washington Post unceremoniously awarded Harris with Four Pinocchios.”

    http://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/406464-are-cory-booker-and-kamala-harris-the-best-democrats-have-for-2020

    • Gezza

       /  September 14, 2018

      I reckon the audience for The tRump Show & all its spinoffs is diminishing thru sheer boredom with the endless outrageous Twitter ranting from the big whiny kid himself & the irrelevance to most people of these sideshows.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  September 14, 2018

        I think you may be right, although volume of reporting on him has not dropped, so it may just be you?

        I thought he’d upped his game overnight though with the claim that official death numbers from Puerto Rico were a Democrat plot to discredit him. Turns out that while it was a completely douche bag, tone deaf comment there is some nuance around the figures:

        • Gezza

           /  September 14, 2018

          Sorry. Hit by the Random Wilkinson WordPress Effect again. See my comment in reply below.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  September 14, 2018

          What was different about the GWU study was that it looked at death certificates and other mortality data from September 2017 through the end of February 2018. It fed that data into a mathematical model that also adjusted for age, sex, and migration from the island, and ultimately found that there were an estimated 2,975 excess deaths related to Hurricane Maria, or 22 percent more deaths than would have been expected during that period in a year without the storm.

          And it also provided a clearer picture of who died. The risk of death, they wrote, was 45 percent higher for people living in poorer areas. It was also higher for the elderly.

          Researchers at GWU issued a statement Thursday after the Trump tweets standing by their study, calling it “the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date.” Indeed, though it doesn’t give us the names of the dead or how they died, the study does appear to be the most comprehensive statistical attempt to measure the deaths from the storm in part because it was able to include the deaths from January and February.

          https://www.vox.com/2018/9/13/17855414/trump-hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-death-toll

          The trump tweet is pretty much on par for his tendency to be vengeful even on the most sensitive issues: like Puerto Ricans watching their family members and neighbours die waiting for help from the US federal government.

  5. Gezza

     /  September 14, 2018

    Doesn’t matter. The figures I’d go for would be the AMA’s, but only the tRump Rump Base & his hateful enablers would bother to quibble over them. He was a douche-bag about it at the time & has just been a douche-bag about it again. That’s what most people see & remember. The problem the US has is that whatever LASTING benefits tRump might bring to US society & their economy (& that may yet turn out to be, effectively, none, or outweighed by unforeseen negative consequences/blowback) they all know that he is always going to be & have been a douchebag, throughout his tenure – and that will stick more firmly than Nixon being crook and McCarthy being a deviant prick.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  September 14, 2018

      concur – and have said the same for the last two years.

      But I’d correctify your last couple of lines to point out that trump is not only a douchebag but a crook (unindicted coconspirator in federal crimes) AND a deviant prick as well (comments about dating his daughter if she weren’t; Access Hollywood; etc.)

      • Gezza

         /  September 14, 2018

        Ok, but I’d just make a small suggestion that sometimes it could be a wiser approach to just suggest an addition than to “correct” me.

        • Gezza

           /  September 14, 2018

          The sun’s out here at last, Joe. My psychic energy levels are high this morning. So … just saying. Corky will know what I mean.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  September 14, 2018

        Hardly deviant, Joe. Refreshingly normal if un-PC I would say.

        • Gezza

           /  September 14, 2018

          Most refreshingly normal men don’t go around grabbing women by the pussy and boasting about it, Al. If you think that’s normal, why not ask Mrs Al if she’d mind you popping downtown for 30 minutes to give it a bash & when she says “Sure, no problems Sweetheart, that’s normal” sprint into action & report back on how that experiment with normality went?

          • Joe Bloggs

             /  September 14, 2018

            Alan if you think that grabbing women by their pussies is “refreshingly normal” then you’re a deviant as well as a lemming – a deviant lemming-for-trump.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  September 14, 2018

          Guy talk rather than action wasn’t it, G? Deviant would be other targets rather than those nature intended.

          • Joe Bloggs

             /  September 14, 2018

            other targets rather than those nature intended

            Like trump’s thing for his daughter Ivanka

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 14, 2018

              Are fathers not supposed to notice their daughters are attractive now, Joe? What planet do you live on?

          • Gezza

             /  September 14, 2018

            Guy talk rather than action wasn’t it, G?
            Do you mean he was lying, Al?

            Who said he was lying, Al?
            Was it tRump?

            Why would you believe that. He’s just told you he’s a liar?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 14, 2018

              No, you’ve told me he is lying often enough, G, not him. But when it suits you you want to believe him? Deviant.

            • Gezza

               /  September 14, 2018

              Ya make me grin Al.

              Your libertarian free market ideological obession that gives you such an overwhelming anti-liberal, anti-progressive, anti-left bias it bounces off the walls means that you will contunually completely ignore all tRumps excesses & rampant breaches of common decency, ethics, morailty & probity – and you still have the baboon-like bare-assed effrontery to try to pretend your views are objective.

              Ludicrous.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 14, 2018

              Simple fact is I ignore what he says and watch what he does, G. You should try it. Will do wonders for your sanity and judgement.

            • Gezza

               /  September 14, 2018

              But when he does what he says & you approve, you don’t ignore what he says: you trumpet & applaud his petty ephemeral triumphs like the dopily braying donkeys I see on both sides of The House in Kiwiland these days.

              And when he lies, which is constantly, or when he gratuitously insults people, or countries, which again is constantly, and when he starts economic wars, & imposes petty sanctions on bodies that could hold him & the US accountable for their war crimes (because they should be), & when he doesn’t do what he says he would – like The Wall – or when he arms & backs apartheid regimes, and Dictators or dodgy Russian Presidents, & Fundamentalist dictatorial Muslim regimes – you only ignore what idiotic bollocks he says about these things.

              I listen to all of what he says (or as much as I can), & I watch what he does, & I also watch what is happening in response to it, in the US & elsewhere, & I wait & I scan a wide field, becos a lot is happening, & becos it’s obvious he’s got no fucking idea what can happen & no ability to even realise he can’t just bully & bluster & tweet & solve some shit that will happen because he could on The Apprentice.

              He’s making America detested & threatening economies everywhere in pursuit of US control of the world order. You really think that is going to be allowed to happen? You really think a double-standard, Amerika Uber Alles shit heap like the US has become over the past few decades is what everybody wants. You’re dreaming.

              There’s nothing wrong with my sanity or my judgement. I think it’s yours that are impaired. I’ve already explained why, there’s no need for me to repeat myself. I’m off to see what else might benefit from my attention now. You can fire off your last blank here if you like?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 14, 2018

              Tldr; Take a valium.

            • Gezza

               /  September 14, 2018

              That wasn’t even a blank. It was a misfire. Get your money back on that one. It was wasted.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  September 14, 2018

          And if you’re claiming that being an unindicted coconspirator in federal crimes is “refreshingly normal” for a president of the USA, then you’ve completely lost the plot, rosebud.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  September 14, 2018

          Then there was trumpy’s claim he had a hundred photos of Mueller and Comey hugging and kissing. Really? Is that sort of claim “refreshingly normal?” for a president to come out with?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  September 14, 2018

            You don’t seem to have a problem with lesbians, Joe. You deviance antenna only works with Republicans?

  6. Joe Bloggs

     /  September 14, 2018

    Looks like Manafort has finally copped to a sweetheart deal with Mueller. Wonder what revelations will come from trumpy’s campaign chairman.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 14, 2018

      Prob not got anything to lose by banking on a Presidential pardon now he’s been convicted. I’m guessing you’ll be disappointed yet again, Joe.

  7. Joe Bloggs

     /  September 14, 2018

    Feinstein needs to put the good of the country first and release the document she has on Kavanaugh.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dianne-feinstein-brett-kavanaugh-document_us_5b9a90eee4b01151973bca90

    • High Flying Duck

       /  September 14, 2018

      If they are down to digging up sexual shenanigans at high school I think you can wrap the nomination in a bow and put it under the tree.
      As per my post above, the “bombshells” to date have proven to back Kavanaugh’s version of events and have left the Dem’s looking a bit desperate.

  8. Patzcuaro

     /  September 14, 2018

    Nike “just does it” by closing at its all time high.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 14, 2018

      Strange. Apart from sponsored sports stars most Nike clothing is worn by people who loik like they stole it.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  September 14, 2018

        Look

        • Gezza

           /  September 14, 2018

          OK.

          • Gezza

             /  September 14, 2018

            All I can see is the word “Look”, Al?

            It hasn’t changed or anything. No marching ants. No flashing on or off. Nothing else appeared.

            One of your more oddball comments, I must say.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  September 14, 2018

              He missed the asterisk. But I think you knew that as you’d ‘loiked’.

            • Gezza

               /  September 14, 2018

              Not my uptick. I didn’t read anything above that instruction to “Look”.

              He’s not been posting anything much else worth reading today, so I just stopped reading his burps – until that. I thought that, with his background in IT, maybe finally something interesting actually worth seeing was going to suddenly appear there – at least.

              Are you telling me that, even there, he just fucked up? Again?
              Something missing from the diet?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 14, 2018

              Take that valium and have a lie down, G. You have been over-excited.

            • Gezza

               /  September 14, 2018

              Too late. Keep on punching at the shadows thru the blur, Sir Alan.

              I am no longer in the vicinity.

              I’m already in the limo on the way back to the manor, trophy in hand. 🏆

              I win again.
              Toodle pip
              🐧 Sir Gerald 🐧

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 14, 2018

              Sad to see your (fine?) mind come to that state of delirium, G. Please loik after yourself and avoid the pink elephants.

            • Gezza

               /  September 14, 2018

              Sending my man back to take you to a professonal for evaluation, possible concussion by the look of it Sir Alan. Try and remain quiet until he gets there. Trained vet.