Links April 2017

April 19, 2017

This post is hastily written because I’m busy with garden work. The links are incomplete, I just trashed one week of email news alerts which I simply cannot check in the little time that I’m still able to spend on the computer.

A few people cancelled the blog subscription after the last post, which rejected the Western media narrative about “a murderous tyrant (Syrian President Assad) who committed another warcrime.” It would be easier of course for me just to howl along with the pack, but that’s not my nature, I always tried to sing my own tune.

A tale of two cities

The difference of reports about fighting in Mosul to the reports about the Aleppo siege are stunning. Thousands of civilians have died in Mosul, many of them in US bombing raids, at least five hundred thousand are on the run. The suffering and pain in Mosul dwarfs anything what happened in Aleppo, but while the liberation of Aleppo from Islamist gangs was covered daily and called hell-hole, slaughterhouse, bloodbath, holocaust, warcrime, torched earth, etc., Mosul is barely mentioned and the enormous civilian death toll is apparently regarded as inevitable. The Islamic State is blamed for using civilians as human shields, US bombings are deemed absolutely necessary, the resulting “collateral damage” seen as unavoidable.

A tale of two atrocities

After the alleged nerve gas attack in Khan Sheikhun, Western media instantly condemned Syrian President (butcher) Assad and called for his removal. The USA first conducted a retaliatory strike against the Syrian airbase Al Shayrat, then spoke of the necessity to carry out an investigation. President Donald Trump’s approval ratings rose significantly, showing off US military might has surely won him sympathies at home (where is the US “anti-war movement”?).

It appears that Trump finally has given in to the “permanent government,” becoming just another figurehead for the economic, political, military elite who reigns in Washington D.C.

In case you missed it and you could be forgiven to miss it, because the event barely made it into Western news reports: The BRICS block (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) issued a joint statement, that illegal military intervention in Syria is unacceptable.

Another event to be underreported was a suicide bombing against civilians with even more victims than the mentioned alleged nerve gas attack.

As part of a swap deal brokered by Qatar, a bus convoy with hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children, who had been evacuated from Foua and Kefraya, a Shia enclave in Idlib under siege by Tahrier al-Sham and their (moderate) Islamist friends, was driving towards Aleppo. The bus convoy was guarded by the jihadist group Ahrar al Sham. Shortly before reaching Aleppo, Ahrar al Sham blocked the convoy for two days, keeping the families on the buses in limbo with little food and water.

People were desperate and hungry, and when someone was handing out crisps and sweets to children, they all ran toward him. At this moment, a blue truck, apparently delivering food, drove along the column of buses and, as it reached the crowd of children, exploded in a gigantic blast. Four buses and six other vehicles were destroyed, 127 civilians, 95 of them children, died. Nearly 300 other people were severely injured. 200 evacuees are missing, thought to have been kidnapped by the Islamists in the chaos after the bombing.

Normally a swap deal would be denounced as “ethnic cleansing,” and the suicide bombing would dominate the front pages for days, declared as a heinous attack by deranged terrorists and called rightfully a warcrime, with enough graphic footage of injured and dead children to give you nightmares.

But not in this case, because, according to CNN and other Western media channels, the victims were just “Assad supporters,” killed in a sectarian war between Sunni and Shia. CNN told its audience: “Dozens of supporters of president Bashar al-Assad are the latest victim of Syria’s brutal civil war.”

Instead of looking to blame a particular side, most stories in the mass media focused on the human tragedy of the situation, basically absolving blame and trying to frame the Islamists in a sympathetic light despite that a) the attack was killing much more children than what happened in Khan Sheikoun and b) the attack most likely was carried out by one of the Islamist factions.


Never mind the killed “pro Assad” children, Assad has to go, as the USA ultimately told Russia. Assad has to go, ending the stranglehold of his minority Alawite sect onto power and ending the disenfranchisement of the Sunni majority.

Unfortunately there is no Sunni leader who could come even close to Dr. Bashar al-Assad’s popularity and most Sunni citizens of Syria don’t feel disenfranchised and are supporting him. Syrians have voted with their feet, and 14 millions prefer to live under President Assad, while 4 million refugees live abroad, 1,5 million in Tahrir al-Sham (al-Qaeda) controlled Idlib and Turkish controlled northern Aleppo along the border, 1.5 millions in Kurdish cantons, below 1 million in IS territory.

This is the reason the West calls for a transitional government and for banning President Assad to stand in a subsequent election. Everybody knows that he would win this election.

Feline news:
https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/04/12/a-cat-halted-the-marlins-game-by-running-onto-the-field-leading/22037086/ Not fond of spectator sports, but this game I would have enjoyed.
http://news.trust.org/item/20170316194141-6h7pn/ Who buys cat food from Nestle and Mars anyway? (Purina, Felix, Friskies, Gourmet, Fancy Feast; Royal Canine, Pedigree, Whiskas, Sheba). Please treat your cat companion with something better!

Environmental news:
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-toshiba-accounting-board-idUSKBN17006K Jubilation!
http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1638.full Not surprising. Journalism for hire.
http://earthfix.info/news/article/trees-or-bees-growers-fungicides/ The inevitable problems of monoculture and large scale food production.

Economic news:

Media and technology news:
While the St. Petersburg subway bombing hardly was mentioned in Western media and if so with a certain amount of schadenfreude, the Stockholm truck terror had all the headlines. Well, “the Russians brought it upon themselves with their aggressive meddling in the Middle East,” one could read between the lines.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39617883?ocid=global_bbccom_email_16042017_top+news+stories Its on Facebook — how exiting!

Imperial news:
http://www.workers.org/2017/03/21/detroits-lights-out-whos-to-blame/ This couldn’t happen without serious consequences in a civilized country.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-aid-cuts-idUSKBN1752ME More weapons, less food. One has to set priorities.
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176264/ Why should they treat their own land differently?

Imperial conquest news:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/17/syria-mosque-airstrike-kills-dozens-of-civilians-near-aleppo Nothing to see here, because Russia and Syria were not involved.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/15/libya-national-army-oil-ports-sidra-ras-lanuf-russia-us Why Libyans yearn for a return of Gaddafi’s Jamahiriya, the West tries to keep the Islamists afloat. The warning about increased Russian influence shall prepare the public for another military intervention on behalf of the Islamic miscreants.
Even US-media cannot hide anymore the devastation and pain which the US-NATO regime change in Libya has caused. Yet, mentioning Gaddafi still has to be avoided and any reference to the situation in Libya before his murder is forbidden.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-39567632 This writes the BBC: “Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 Nato-backed ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.” The editor must have been asleep on the job to let this slip through.
http://news.trust.org/item/20170313181039-3p7o4/ Our (the West’s) Saudi friends cannot subdue the Yemenis despite having the third largest military budget in the world. So they just starve them to death.
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/03/21/reality-and-made-usa-famine-yemen Even the (so called) US progressives (liberals, left), who abandoned their most lofty ideals in support of Obama and Clinton, realize that something is not right with the US/Saudi war against Yemen. Not so fast, shout the apologists. The USA only supplies the weapons and bombs occasionally, and the war is not against Yemen but against Iranian influence in Yemen. Help me! And tell that the seven millions wo are starving, the 400,000 malnourished children, the ten thousand who have been killed until now.
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article141336388.html After Brasil and Argentina, Venezuela is next on the US regime change list in its South American backyard.
https://www.infowars.com/rebels-admit-responsibility-for-chemical-weapons-attack/ More infos about the Syrian gas attack.
http://necpluribusimpar.net/chemical-attack-syria/ Very detailed and in-depth analysis. Must read!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/syria-chemical-attack-al-qaeda-played-donald-trump_us_58ea226fe4b058f0a02fca4d This is from former weapons inspector Scott Ritter.
Uncategorized news:
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/egypt-2016-who-is-worse-mubarak-morsi-or-sisi/ Egypt is one of the nations with too many people and too little arable land left. There are not enough mineral resources to trade for food, large portions of the population will fall into poverty, many will starve.
The Sisi regime at the moment is succeeding in fueling the fear of a fate like Syria, Iraq, Libya, or Yemen, and this fear is greater than any will to change. On the name of the war on terrorism, the regime justifies any unpopular measures, while the Islamists wait for their chance. They will have no peaceful solution for Egypts problems, because there are no solutions. They will call for jihad and the young men will go to war in foreign lands, because that is the only way they can make a living. More refugees, more terror, more failed states.

News from cat paradise

This morning I noticed, that peach leaf curl has resurged. I probably sprayed the fungicide two weeks too early. Two weeks before it would have been most effective. Maybe the pouring rain has washed it away. The peach trees bloomed beautifully, but freezing temperatures in the last two days may have ruined the blossoms anyway — there will not be many self grown peaches this year.

After the shocking discovery I visited three hardware stores and gardening centers in nearby towns to look for the peach trees on offer there and every tree I found was infected with peach leaf curl, most of them looked even worse than the trees in my garden. I felt somewhat relieved because if that happens to professionals, my failing may be not as unforgivable.

I know, another year lost…

The cats are in good spirit and good health. It is cold and it rains at the moment, giving me the chance to photograph the complete cat family in the sitting room.
Two more pictures of Linda
And one of Miss Marple, who is now 19 years old
Happy birthday, my lovely old lady! Have a good time and enjoy your life.



  1. As the one who once in haste had a wrong argument with Mato, my profound gratitude for the most coherent and comprehensive and very eloquently, as usual, expressed reaction to the current “news” & events in the Middle East. I just came back from a couple of the Middle East countries not directly involved in any of the horrors taking place daily on the ancient soil, came back to the most vile aggressor in the world today, my long and current homeland. The incredible vile hypocrisy of resurgent McCarthyism overwhelm me here. I watch the Nazi-like propaganda machine of our esteemed imperialist media in daily action in recoiling horror. Mato’s oxygen mask gives me a temporary respite from all that at least for an evening. From my own feline, Timur, a Russian Blue to yours, grateful Meow!


  2. This comment makes my day. Thank you!


  3. Seriously Mato, when I wanna dig into middle east war and terrorism of all kind, I just read your newsletters ; You know I live in France and here the propaganda is soooo strong, don’t blame people for unsuscribing , they are jus inable to read between the news…unfortunately they are a sort of victims of the system ; Your blog was hard to find and your writtings are really welcome in those time of war, I’m not leaving this place anytime soon ! :) cheers and love from France !! Louis


    • and sorry for the mistakes, I didn’t read myself and somehow I can’t find how to edit my comment :/ cheers !! :)


      • Ne need to apologize. What you wrote was perfectly understandable. Your English is for sure better than the French of most Americans.


  4. Thanks again for your writing. Much appreciate everything. Also, the cats are adorable. Did I say I have a cat-sanctuary? 70 cats on 4 acres, and good neighbors. About peaches, I have 1 tree, “Makawao” peaches, a local variety, small but good. just getting ripe. Had a garden but feral chickens up-ended it. Only the trees remain, and some “Okinawan spinach” they disdain for some reason.
    My computer works only intermittently, so I don’t know if i can send this off. Still have to read your last 2 letters. Thanks again.


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