Elon Musk's Magnificent Twitter Purchase

That’s these guys, and it’s a pretty common refrain among their tribe. It does create a consistent, cohesive narrative, you have to give them that, and they have been on the beat for a long time. Aspects of it certainly make a lot of sense. More or less, that’s why someone like Aaron Mate is on Russiagate so much. That’s their bias, and that’s always a question, but everyone’s got a bias. Mate has done a lot of valuable reporting on Russiagate on Real Clear Investigations and elsewhere and knows as much about it as anyone. Many others outright ignore such issues. If anyone can find a factual inaccuracy in his reporting on it, I’m interested. It is my wont to check such things, and I’ve never caught him out. That being said, I mostly tune out when they start on about Ukraine yet again. Mostly. I respect these guys and I do listen to them.


Thanks for the background info. I’ll try to keep an open mind. In any case, though, all three of those guys seem quite knowledgeable, and they can’t reasonably be expected to provide references for everything said in a 92-minute video.

I still haven’t quite finished it, but I’m on the home stretch. For the rest of it, and for the sake of finishing it, I think I’ll leave the Notepad alone for now. :slight_smile:

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Mate and Taibbi I can listen to. Blumenthal is very socialist, which isn’t all bad as he looks out for workers, but he has a shitty view of the China/Taiwan situation.


Yeah Blumenthal is on the extreme edge of these types, Taibbi has a lot more irons heating. I’m sure none of them would care to get into a war with China over Taiwan (totally sure actually though Taibbi may have a more nuanced view, not really sure about that), par for the course.


Well, I went back on my word again. I just can’t get away from that Notepad file. Going back to this portion of the transcribed part of the Matt Taibbi video originally posted upthread by @tempogain:

I think that in the above-referenced statement, Rep. Schiff seemed to be echoing words that Timothy Morrison–former Special (or Deputy?) Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council–said during the first Trump impeachment proceedings (from around 1:20 to around 2:29):

(boldface added by me)

From Wikipedia:

I’m still not completely certain about the thesis of “greasing the skids for a proxy war with Russia,” but now it doesn’t seem as difficult to imagine as it seemed before I took a look at the above-posted information. The “strategic competition” part rings a bell. But this is a different Russia.

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I think it’s a leap too far to make that conclusion, what we can reasonably conclude based on what we know (and some of this might seem obvious) was we were on the side of Ukraine.

By “we” I mean pretty much everybody in the West, not just Obama but Republicans, the rest of NATO, probably the rest of the US allies like 5 eyes, Israel and the lot of them. Which means everybody was involved trying to figure out how to deal with Russia (who were the bad guys in this) National security division, CIA, State Dept, US embassies in Ukraine all working together and with Ukrainians to try and push Russia out of Ukraine.

Hillary Clinton seemed clued in through an advisor Alexandra Chalupa at least as early as 2015. The only one it seems who wasn’t clued in seems to be Trump who hilariously in retrospect and at complete odds with the Washington establishment was going around asking why we couldn’t have better relations with Russia.

But I don’t think the goal was a proxy war with Russia. Russia was the bad guy and the bad actor in this so portraying them as such would appear to me to be normal to me.


If I recall right (pretty sure I’ve seen him on TV doing it), not so much quoting as echoing.

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Agreed, and Russia seems to be trying to do something similar to what it did in Chechnya and Syria.

But I’m not looking forward to a second Cold War.

Yeah, “echoing” is a better word. I’ll replace “was quoting” with “seemed to be echoing.”


Returning to the Matt Taibbi/Max Blumenthal/Aaron Maté video, I was going along with them pretty well, but then they sort of lost me from about 1:12:43 to about 1:13:11

(boldface type provided by me)

From Wikipedia:

(boldface type added by me)

I don’t know the best way to say this without running the risk of seeming overly emotional, but I’ll try: I don’t have a sister, but if I did, I’d object to her dating this Putin fellow. Something about him, some je ne sais quoi or other, troubles me. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the cut of his jib. So far, though, the three gentlemen in the referenced video don’t seem to have much of a problem with him. But again, that’s just the impression I’ve gotten so far. I still haven’t finished the video.

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There have been some questions around Bellingcat, and they’ve crossed swords with Mate and the Greyzone in the past on the issue of reported chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Here’s one article on them

I’ve never gotten a great handle on the whole Syria story, I know vaguely but I’d have to go back over it to see exactly. I will watch this later, it looks like it might be good

Greyzone are greatly in favor of diplomacy and accommodation with Putin’s Russia for sure, and they often receive criticism on that basis. Looking back at the video I see Blumenthal is complaining that Bellingcat could be criticized on the same basis for having a pro-Western bias. There are certainly a mess of Western-government-funded think tanks and the like with impressive names that serve up propaganda that gets uncritically accepted by the media, which makes the argument understandable to me. I’d have to look into Bellingcat more specifically but it does have something of that flavor. That is not to say they can’t do any good work, the one you mention seeming like a very good example, but I think it should also be noted that believing Putin is horrible doesn’t mean we can’t ask questions about or criticize any organization at cross-purposes with him.


That makes sense, and I’d add in passing that my own country’s government also has a dark side.

I’ll have a look at the UnHerd article and the Syria video.

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So I guess I got that one wrong. I thought they got the name from this old story:

Edited to add: Further down in the UnHerd article, there’s a link to the Wikipedia article about “Belling the Cat.”

Edit no. 2: Just finished Ms. Dejevsky’s article, and it seems to me that it didn’t hit Bellingcat very hard. She criticized them, but not too harshly.

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I’m watching the Aaron Maté interview now. I apologize for jumping in with criticism so early in the video. I’ve only started to view the interview, and it seems already I have a quibble with his account of events. I suppose I should have waited, but I figured I’d better post this before I forget it, especially since I’m hungry.

From the video of the interview of Aaron Maté from about 1:20 to about 1:28:

The above agrees with the Wikipedia article on the missile strikes:

The following language from the interview sort of agrees with the Wikipedia article on the chemical attack (from about 1:34 to about 1:37):

But Mr. Maté seems to have missed a few spots between the first time when OPCW “gets in” and the time they actually “do an investigation.” From the Wikipedia article on the chemical attack:

The Wikipedia article on the chemical attack also says that the OPCW tried again to inspect on April 17. Wikipedia quotes the the OPCW’s director:

Apologies for the rather dramatic boldface above, but using small arms fire and an explosive device does seem to be a rather novel way of revoking an invitation.

Now, personally, if I’d been on that team, then after the episode with the small arms fire and the explosive device, I’d have had enough inspecting to last me awhile. But the chemical attack article says the team tried again on April 19, but once again, was unable to gain access. The article further states:

The Wikipedia article says the inspectors finally got access and collected samples on April 21 and 25.

I need to go score some breakfast, or brunch, or something, and then I’ll come back and look at the rest. Hopefully the rest of the video will be smooth sailing. :slight_smile:

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Right, but Mate’s reporting on this has specifically been about the OPCW reports after its searches and what Mate alleges was a cover-up to falsely show the gassing occurred and support the Western bombing which had already taken place, based on the evidence that the OPCW did find. The delays by the Russians in letting the search team in aren’t really relevant in that discussion, whatever they might tell us, and regardless of whether you agree with him on the OPCW issues. There is a lot of uncertainty about what actually happened, that seems for sure. I’m reading through his reporting on Greyzone on it, looking for what else I can dig up.

Further down the rabbithole. In this talk they start to discuss Bellingcat around 13:00 (linked)

Postol refers to this debate he had with Bellingcat’s founder, listening now

Gotta love the Internet, eh?

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I just got a bunch of inappropriately-timed sleep, so I’m behind the curve here. But I’ve had coffee, so I’ll guess I’ll get back to the interview video in the other thread. I’ve heard about the allegation that the chemical attack never really happened, and I’m not prepared to knock that, because I don’t know enough about it. But I’ll go check it out.

Edited to add: I’m not gainsaying Mr. Maté, but I just thought I’d post a link to Bellingcat’s response:*

*Or should I say “one of Bellingcat’s responses,” since what I posted has “Part 3” in the title? This thing is starting to look like it might yield a Ph.D. dissertation, or maybe several competing ones.

Mystery, evidentiary disputes, allegations of coverups, and a high level of passion: the thing is starting to put me in mind of a certain event which occurred when I was ten years old, and which can be identified by three letters of the alphabet.

Edited to add again:

On the page of Bellingcat’s rebuttal to the false flag accusation about Douma, I found this, which is from the website of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights:

I’ve pasted the image, which can be enlarged by clicking it:

In case the reader doesn’t want to click the image, this is from the text therein:

Even if I were to grant that the Douma event was staged, the idea that events alleged in the above image constitute a mere pack of lies would put quite a bit of strain on my credulity.

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Sure, but are you saying in that case the US bombing response to Douma was justified?

This got pretty hot at the end. Interesting that this was a previous incident, and they both were staking out similar positions. That tells you something about both sides I think. After a bit of looking, I’d tend to agree with the “too good to be true” analysis of Bellingcat from the article above. It seems they’re state-funded too. Greyzone is predictably on the same side of any issue as well. They have done good reporting on these events with the OPWC and Douma, among other areas though. Most places won’t touch it. Not to mention, our intervention in Syria was clearly disastrous so hard to fault them too much for their stances in this case.

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Long answer:

Now, we may be getting somewhere. No., I don’t think we should have attacked Syria. I was tempted to favor it–I do have a side that I shouldn’t be proud of, one that bears monitoring–but I don’t think our exercise of raw destructive power helped anything.

Militarily, I think we should have stayed out of it. I’m not savvy enough to know what acts we could have performed otherwise, but whatever we could have done or tried, short of war-like acts (bombs, rockets, etc.), preferably passive acts, which might weaken the government without directly harming the people, would have been acceptable to me.

I just now read that we give Syria about three quarters of a billion dollars a year. I don’t even know if that’s true, but if it is, I think we should audit that money to see where it goes. If it’s not going to food, medicine, medical care, and other areas that help the people, then I think we should stop that aid. Or if part helps them and part doesn’t, I think we should withdraw the part that doesn’t help the people, if that’s possible without affecting the part that does help them.

I don’t think I’ve ever bothered to look up the term isolationism to get a precise idea of what it is, but I’m not sure I need one. I’m pretty sure that the way I think and feel about what our relationship with other nations ought to be, could be characterized as isolationism. I agree with George Washington that we should not have any permanent, binding alliances, which is to say that we should not voluntarily give other nations a substantial say in the destiny of our people.

Short answer:

No, I don’t think we should have attacked Syria.

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Right. I raised the question because it was the Douma attack specifically in question, and not that any attacks had occurred. I don’t think Greyzone is denying the latter, though they are rather quiet on the point. I can see an argument for military action like this to deter a country from using chemical weapons. Blumenthal made an interesting and kind of gutsy point in one video on Oz TV, maybe some will disagree. The interviewer asked him if there should have been military action to stop the use of chemical weapons, and he answered no, saying he doesn’t see how they’re really any worse than other weapons. It’s true that is hard to argue that blowing people to pieces with high explosives is really better, as horrible as chemical weapons are. Anyway more to the point, it seems hard to say they knew what had happened when they ordered the retaliation after Douma. That is something in itself.

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I don’t know everything about those guys’ beliefs, but I suspect I probably have a pretty good deal in common with them in areas that have to do with what should and shouldn’t be done.

I do agree that our government is a sneaky son of a gun, and that we ought to keep an eye on it, especially when it starts preparing to use weapons for abstruse reasons (please see both senses of abstruse, 1 and 2).

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