“DO NOT CONGRATULATE:” Putin Does a Victory Lap — Over Rex Tillerson

As the WaPo reported, when Donald Trump called Vladimir Putin yesterday, he ignored his aides’ instructions not to congratulate Putin for winning reelection. He also ignored their instructions to condemn Putin for trying to kill Sergei Skripal.

Trump also chose not to heed talking points from aides instructing him to condemn Putin about the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom with a powerful nerve agent, a case that both the British and U.S. governments have blamed on Moscow.

That story is all the more interesting given the circumstances surrounding the call. The US readout of the call, posted only after Russia revealed it took place, doesn’t say that the White House initiated the call. The call … just happened.

President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. The two leaders discussed the state of bilateral relations and resolved to continue dialogue about mutual national security priorities and challenges. President Trump congratulated President Putin on his March 18 re-election, and emphasized the importance of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. The two leaders confirmed the need for the United States and Russia to continue our shared efforts on strategic stability.

But if you’re going to call someone — anyone — after they’ve just won an election, you’re going to congratulate them. Trump even called Turkish president Erdogan last April after he won a referendum to make authoritarian changes to the Turkish Constitution.

And, as the Kremlin readout makes clear, it was the White House’s idea to make the call. It’s right there in the title, and the first words emphasize the congratulations Trump offered Putin (unless I’m mistaken, the readouts of other leader calls don’t emphasize that the counterparty initiated the call).

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States Donald Trump at the latter’s initiative.

Donald Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin on his victory in the presidential election. [my emphasis]

Given all that — given that Russia lorded over the way Trump simpered up to Putin — I’m particularly interested in this paragraph of the Russian readout (the second-to-last). [Update: Clarifying that I meant to refer to the Turkish, South Ossetian, and Jordanian congratulatory calls provided in Russian.]

It was agreed to develop further bilateral contacts in light of the changes in leadership at the US Department of State. The possibility of organising a top-level meeting received special attention.

Russia basically says that “it was agreed” (an interesting use of the passive voice) that the US and Russia could start cozying up together now that Rex Tillerson is out of the way!!! It’s as if this call was not just Trump bowing to Putin, but Trump checking in after firing Tillerson just one day after Tillerson — in his last speech save his farewell remarks — condemned Russia for attempting to assassinate Sergei Skripal. Here’s what Tillerson said right before he got fired:

The United States was in touch with our Allies in the United Kingdom ahead of today’s announcement, including in a call between Secretary Tillerson and Foreign Secretary Johnson this morning. We have full confidence in the UK’s investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack that took place in Salisbury last week.

There is never a justification for this type of attack – the attempted murder of a private citizen on the soil of a sovereign nation – and we are outraged that Russia appears to have again engaged in such behavior. From Ukraine to Syria – and now the UK – Russia continues to be an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens.

We agree that those responsible – both those who committed the crime and those who ordered it – must face appropriately serious consequences. We stand in solidarity with our Allies in the United Kingdom and will continue to coordinate closely our responses.

I’m actually not all that surprised Trump congratulated Putin; it’s consistent with his past behavior. The more alarming victory lap in this phone call pertains to Putin’s victory lap over Rex Tillerson.

I’m including this exchange from yesterday’s Trump presser, as another example of how much Putin has Trump cowed. Note Trump’s emphasis on some purported arms race. Yes, Putin is waggling his new nukes around. But the more interesting arms race involves cyber.

Q How was your call with President Putin?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory — his electoral victory.

The call had to do, also, with the fact that we will probably get together in the not-too-distant future so that we can discuss arms, we can discuss the arms race. As you know, he made a statement that being in an arms race is not a great thing. That was right after the election — one of the first statements he made.

And we are spending $700 billion this year on our military, and a lot of it is that we are going to remain stronger than any other nation in the world by far.

We had a very good call, and I suspect that we’ll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control, but we will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have. And also to discuss Ukraine and Syria and North Korea and various other things.

So I think, probably, we’ll be seeing President Putin in the not-too-distant future.

Update: CNN reports that Trump is furious that it leaked that he had ignored his aides’ instructions. But I don’t rule out Trump leaking it himself. It’d give him a good excuse to fire HR McMaster (so Putin could receive another simpering call from Trump and lord over that Trump is firing the people he doesn’t like).

91 replies
  1. aubrey mcfate says:

    Trump’s locution, “the arm’s race”, suggests verbatim parroting of Putin. To my American ear, I ask “what arms race”? I haven’t seen reference to an “arm’s race” since the 80’s.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yes. I’ve got a question in to a friend asking specifically about the connotation of it in Russian. That’s an area where the Russian and English Kremlin statements are different.

        • aubrey mcfate says:

          I don’t see any difference between the English and Russian. The English refers to “coordinated efforts to curb an arms race”, which is unspecific but idiomatically correct. Russian does n0t have articles (“a”, “the”). My comment above was just making the point that Putin was presumably speaking English to Trump and referring to “the arms race, the arms race”, so Trump parroted him (ever heard Trump refer to “the arms race” before?). Mine was the pretty banal point that you can tell who talked to Trump last by the way he talks.

  2. Trip says:

    Edward Snowden‏Verified account @Snowden

    The ballot stuffing seen today in Moscow and elsewhere in the Russian election is an effort to steal the influence of 140+ million people. Demand justice; demand laws and courts that matter. Take your future back. 9:37 AM – 18 Mar 2018
    Did Trump make the romantic call from his pink princess phone, in the residence of the WH? And I love how Kelly is angry about the leak but not the content.

    Also noted: no one expressed anger over the Kremlin announcing the call, FWIW.

  3. cat herder says:

    Will we ever find out what Trump’s being blackmailed with? What the hell do they know? This behavior is way more than can be explained by a simple man-crush. Trump would have turned on Putin by now if it were just that.

    • matt says:

      If Trump was as brazen with his sexual exploits in Russia as he was here… there’s a lot more than a “pee” tape.  I’m not sure Putin would threaten exposure on money laundering or financial ties that would imply his own entanglements.

      • Trip says:

        There are threats beyond exposure, but as far as exposure, there would have been built in degrees of separation for plausible deniability.

      • jayedcoins says:

        I still think it could be financial, even if Putin has exposure, because who has more to lose? Trump cares about his name and the ostentatious branding and exposure that comes with it. He clearly cares about that more than anyone else in history has ever cared about anything.

        Somehow, Trump and Co. made for damn sure that his tax returns weren’t dug up and leaked; meanwhile, the efforts around keeping Daniels and McDougal quiet seem pretty half-hearted and slapdash, if for nothing more than the simple fact that they haven’t worked. Nevermind the numerous other sordid tales surrounding Trump’s sexual misconduct that has just been patently in the open — the Access Hollywood tape, the allegations from Ivana, the Stern radio appearances, or the public comments about his own daughter’s physical appearance and sexuality.

        But those tax returns… somehow, those are locked down. Even though the WH leaks like a sieve, even though DJT himself can’t shut the fuck up long enough to keep from saying things that are stupid, embarrassing, disgusting, or all three…

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Hard to imagine that Mueller’s team has not already been pouring over Trump’s tax returns.  The info would be essential in assessing his exposure to blackmail and where and how he might have been rewarded for his conduct.  Not to mention, it would be essential in determining whether other misconduct occurred, such as money laundering.  That has long seemed to be the issue that might yield the highest investigative return.

  4. Willis Warren says:

    We already know what tRUmp is being blackmailed with. The Russians bailed out his failing businesses with laundered money. TNR did a massive report on that.

    • matt says:

      Is it a crime to accept a real estate purchase from a Russian oligarch?  Is there a dirty money test?  Unless, you mean Trump was laundering his own money from illegal proceeds- with the Russians?… the more I think about it, Putin’s help in the election may just be a thank you, for helping his cronies convert their wealth over the years.  In that case, any Kompromat is an insurance policy that Trump does not expose Putin’s oligarchs… and to @jayedcoins point- why his tax returns are “locked down.”

  5. cfost says:

    Reminds me of a line from an early Genesis album: “You, sir, are a simpering fop!”
    The treatment worked with Donald, not so much with Rex.
    Trump is either indebted to his loan shark benefactor, or he is a coward who secretly admires criminal authoritarians, or he is a Manchurian. Either way, he is not a good thing for humanity.
    Average folks better start paying attention or soon they’ll be scrounging for food like a German in 1945.
    Or a Russian in any number of years.

  6. Trip says:

    So is Tillerson gonna spill any beans to Mueller? Or will the collective cowardice and complicity of the GOP consume him? How much gloating did Trump and Putin share on Rex’s firing, like that of Comey?

    When McMaster is fired, will he keep his mouth shut too?

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Tillerson was regarded as having good knowledge of Russia from his time as head of ExxonMobil. He was seen as being favorable to better relations with it. What he may have learned about Russian election meddling might have changed that. At a minimum, though, Tillerson was responding to what appears to have been an attempted state murder of a former double agent living in a foreign country. From a diplomatic perspective, it is not behavior an American SecState could credibly countenance in public (regardless of what he may know or we do in private).

    As you say, Putin was basking in the subservience and adoration from his feudal subject. That should scare the pants off of everyone inside the Beltway charged with doing something about it.

    Perhaps it’s time to order up a few copies of the Swayze version of Red Dawn. Come to think of it, Putin won’t need to land paratroops along the Front Range. He can step off the plane at Edwards, or tell the Don to get himself to Moscow whenever needed. I wonder what tribute the Don has promised Vlad.

    • Tracy says:

      I was surprised he (Tillerson) even had the knowledge about what a Sec’ty of State should say in circumstances like this–that is, I was floored when he made the statement about the Skripals. The rumors were that he was Putin’s boy.

      • Trip says:

        He was part of the Koch, Exxon, oil industry push; The project with the Kremlin which would have created great profit, was slated to happen, and then didn’t.  But the Koch end explains deconstructing and eliminating government at the State Dept. as well. Putin awarded him honors as someone could make him more rich. But Tillerson’s loyalties would lie with his old industry rather than with the Kremlin, IMHO.

        • matt says:

          I always wondered of the Kochs were connected to the Exxon/Tillerson Black Sea oil exploration.  I know they collaborated on climate change denial propaganda, but are they linked financially to Exxon?

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    On a separate but related note, I assume that Trump is hiding more than his extra-marital sexual exploits with his many NDAs – although those exploits might move the decimal point to the right in any pre-nup agreed pay-out he would owe Melania.

    Trump likes to talk to captive or paid audiences. He likes to brag. It’s the sort of thing he might do before and after sex. Lot of potential topics to worry about there, I suspect. Some might relate to what Mueller is investigating.

    • Trip says:

      Meanwhile Page Six is hammering junior every day, via Vanessa’s “friends”.  Trump should be trembling with what Melania knows and experienced.

  9. aubrey mcfate says:

    My Senators are Warner and Kaine, the former on the Intelligence Committee, the latter on Foreign Affairs. I’ve called and written asking them to investigate the circumstances of Tillerson’s firing.

  10. tryggth says:

    Slightly different question.
    In order to maximize internal US discord, is it in Putin’s best interest to drop a dime on Trump before Mueller does?

  11. Skippy says:

    I say rule out Trump leaking it himself

    Choosing to ignore all-caps advice from his national security staff makes him look bad

    Trump cares nothing for substance, only for appearance, so he would never embarrass himself like that

  12. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Am I the only one that thinks that it really doesn’t matter what Putin has on Trumpty because Trump, the Republican “base” and elected Republican office holders at all levels are part of a long cultivated fascist coup that has been gestating since the early 1930’s. At this point, given what we know and how we got to know it, it seems to me that the only unanswered question is where is the military gunna come down.

    • matt says:

      That neoliberal coup with roots in the 30’s, has penetrated our two mainstream political parties.  Trump is just an historical accident.  I don’t think were at the point of military intervention in domestic unrest… yet.

      • Larry says:

        Yes but I think only because the domestic unrest has happened yet.  Once it does, the armored mobile sonic cannons and soylent green bulldozer garbage trucks emerge from Underground Kansas led by a Don Johnson lookalike and his dog.

    • Larry says:

      I can see your 1930s supposition. There has been a rising and falling trendline of rightwingedness since at least then.  I’ve thought of November 22, 1963 as the launch of an effective actual semiconscious coup.  I think the [so far] ultimate accelerator toward a more completed rightwingedness was September 11, 2001.  Deal with that cause as you may.  But The Grand Donald’s Klan regime seems to be the beginning of the epitome of rightwingedness.  Wondering what else it could be the beginning of.  The Beguine?


  13. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    “…the only unanswereed question is where is the military gunna come down.”

    And when.

  14. Grodon says:

    “Condemn Putin for trying to kill Sergei Skripal”

    – Independent analysis is just being started now, so there’s no “evidence” – unless you still believe in Colin Powell’s anthrax vial prop and Tony Blair’s various lies in the run up to Iraq 2.

    – So Russia kills a retired, long released and irrelevant spy, with a nerve agent that can be “traced” back to “Russia”.

    – Pure coincidence, but of note. The poisoning is 8 miles from the UK’s Porton Down chemical weapons site. One of Skripal’s handlers was Christopher Steele.

    – The US was involved in the official disposal of Russian chemical weapons back in the day.

    – This agent can be manufactured anywhere. By oligarchs, by other governments, criminals.

    – We don’t know the condition or status of Skripal or his daughter, let alone their stories. Why no press access?

    – There’s a *lot* more money to be had by blaming Russia than the death of Skripal. NATO weapons, sanctions to boost American oil/gas – the usual.

    Given how the UK, US and EU pushed fakery in Iraq 2, Libya, and Syria, let’s wait for a modicum of independent, credible analysis.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, this is basically a load of crap. perhaps you don’t have a clue what the word “evidence” means. Your statement might – might – have value if you used the term “conclusive proof”, but saying there is no evidence is absurd. The official UK government statement on the matter is “evidence”. The fact that US specialists consulted concur is “evidence”. The statement by the formerly Russian scientist who developed and perfected the Novichok line of nerve agents saying that, while other countries could theoretically produce Novichok, only Russia would be able to produce the refined product used on the Scribal. That is “evidence” too.

      This matter doesn’t have dick shit to do with Powell and his UN presentation. Also, you are aware of medical privacy laws, are you not? Or are you as uninformed on those, and the national security reasons for not relating their conditions, as you are on the meaning of “evidence”?

      • Trip says:

        The presumption is that the Kremlin is and has always been innocent. When, really, another level of evidence (not conclusively proven, as you say) is that this mimics the modus operandi of past actions by the Kremlin and its assassins. Also in that the Kremlin will never, ever admit responsibility, will create plausible deniability, but the acts hang in the air as cautionary tales to others.

        I like how the author has somehow determined that this man is “irrelevant”.  By whose standards?

      • Grodon says:

        Let’s go with “conclusive proof” from an independent, competent 3rd party. It would be great as well if the Porton Down staff’s report would be made public and discussed.

        Medical privacy can be waived by the patient in the UK? Do they want to talk, can they talk?

        Iranian scientists produced “novichoks” under the auspices of  the OPCW in 2016.


        I know as well as you and most posters here that there are many examples of international crimes and hoaxes that have been carried out under a “national security” blanket. It took years to extract Blair’s lies.



        • bmaz says:

          There are no “Independent competent third parties”. This is a ruse. There is the OPCW, which does not, to date, concern themselves with the Novichok series of agents, which is exactly why Russia still dabbles in them. So, what you see is what you are going to get.

          And, no, neither the UK, US, nor any other sane country puts their best CW scientists up for the prurient interests of citizens that are inclined to be truthers on everything instead of operate with relative common sense.

        • seedeevee says:

          “There is the OPCW, which does not, to date, concern themselves with the Novichok series of agents, which is exactly why Russia still dabbles in them.”


          Hey bmaz, Did you used to write copy for Colin Powell?  I see great similarities in your style

      • lefty665 says:

        Hi bmaz, Please help a non lawyer understand the difference between evidence, accusations and proof. For example, did accusations that Hillary was running a pedophile ring out of a pizza joint in D.C. constitute ‘evidence’ or ‘proof”? My reaction was no they did not.  May and others also used the weasel word “assessment” as in “it is our assessment that…” same as in Brennan’s IC “assessment”. Neither offered proof, conclusive or otherwise, but how were they evidence with no substantiation? Are naked assessments or accusations evidence?  Do they become evidence if proclaimed by someone in a position of authority? If so, what about Trump’s accusations that Hillary is a crook, or Joe McCarthy’s accusations of lists of commies in the State Dept? Are they evidence? Doesn’t seem likely to me.

        For some of us non lawyers, me at least and a couple of folks I’ve asked, evidence seems to require some substantiation. Is that wrong, naive, not informed of legal jargon, or or or?  Help please, I’m confused.

        FWIW, the local English doc from the ER has stated that there was no indication  of nerve agents in anyone (roughly 40 people). Nor were there any symptoms in medical staff  without protective who gear treated those exposed. The OPCW is currently involved in the investigation, and it will take several more weeks for them to obtain results. It is also curious that the folks at Porton Down reportedly had extensive negotiations with May’s folks and would not agree to a Russian attribution, only that the Novichok agents were originally developed in the Soviet Union.  Are those things evidence?  So far all I can tell for sure is that we do not know enough to draw conclusions, and that many of the people who purport to having the knowledge (evidence?) are not forthcoming with it.  It is my assessment (evidence?) from decades of experience that usually means there is something rotten in Denmark.


        • bmaz says:

          I’ll tell you what, why don’t you go do your own dictionary search. You have been here long enough to know better, and know the distinction in terms, you are just being a contentious asshole. Naw, enough with that.

          I am actually surprised you managed to post such a lengthy baloney comment without referencing the “Red Queen”. Your crap grows old.

        • lefty665 says:

          Actually I did.  “Evidence – the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.”  May’s accusations and the US position have neither facts or information that implicate the Ruskies. They are not evidence in any rational sense of the word. They are bullshit as were your responses both to Grodon and to me.

          “Red Queen” has never been part of my vocabulary, so my not using it is not a surprise. My comments were not partisan in any way, they were simply skeptical of unsupported propaganda. In this case mostly British.

          Your TDS is getting worse and is aging badly.


        • bmaz says:

          Oh, I am sorry, I guess I confused you with “Way Out West”. That is because it is increasingly hard to tell the difference. Secondly, clearly you did not grok the definition of “evidence” if you looked it up. But though I have done this for a living for decades, please “Lefty” tell me what “evidence” means, because I am here to tell you you are full of shit.

          Lastly, take your “TDS” comment and shove it.

        • matt says:

          Why not just make the statement that you don’t agree and leave it at that?

          Your ranting has nothing to do with the discussion for which Gordon makes a valid point- there is no way to prove in 48 hours that Vladimir Putin ordered the Skripal hit.

          I’m betting you’ll tell me to “go to hell” or call me an “asshole troll,”  but it’s you that mucked up this comment thread and reflect an amateurish tone.

        • bmaz says:

          Mind your own business gun boy. Leave the moderation of this blog to those that are appropriately placed to do so, and that is not you. And, yes, go to hell.

        • seedeevee says:

          bmaz is evidence that tired old xenophobes will always find a way to cover their own incompetence with bluster and fingers-in-the-ears nananaisms.

        • Bruce Stewart says:

          Projecting much?

          (I’m generally opposed to feeding trolls, so moderation is welcome to send this to the bit bucket as you see fit.)

        • Tracy says:

          Hi, Lefty, an editor here. The word “accusation”  is defined by Webster’s as “a charge of wrongdoing, delinquency, or fault”; “evidence” is “something that furnishes or tends to furnish proof”; and finally, “assessment” is an “appraisal or evaluation, as of merit.”

          You’re welcome!

    • Trip says:

      Even IF, for the sake of devil’s advocacy, we say that the Kremlin had nothing to do with the poisoning, what point is there to congratulate Putin on rigging the election?  Not mentioning the poisoning nor the election interference or other cyber issues.

      • matt says:

        If anything this last few days tells us, it is that the election meddling was more of a homegrown Alt-Right conspiracy than cartoonish evil Dr. Putin

        • Trip says:

          It’s hardly homegrown alone, when you have Cambridge Analytica and international players in the game, like Bibi, Putin, to name only a couple.

          What has it to do with my question, anyway? How is Putin the savior of the world, suddenly, that our president should always walk on eggshells, flatter him incessantly, and pretend that Putin didn’t rig his own election?  How is that people like you forget that Trump is a cartoon character? Trump isn’t a master of diplomacy, he isn’t a master of business, he’s rabidly misogynist and racist, non-democratic, and yet he is the brilliant strategist with Putin? There’s no there there except that Putin is deserving of worship. Are you for real?

        • matt says:

          Trip, I’m not worshiping Putin- a sleazebag for sure.  Where did you get that idea?

          As you say, 2016 election meddling goes deep into many international players and geopolitical interests… and many homegrown ones…

        • Trip says:

          The worship part emanates from Trump. Then you need to ask yourself why. Why is every other leader subject to criticism? But Putin is off-limits?  Putin has not demonstrated a great alliance with the US. He rigged his election, as even noted by Snowden. As the leader of the supposed “free world” and icon of democracy, Trump reaching out to congratulate someone caught not giving the populace choice in his country should not be considered a “great leader” and one worthy of an impromptu call without advisors, and also IGNORING advisors who have experience with Putin’s machinations.

        • matt says:

          Putin and the Oligarchs are Trumps best customers… and may continue to be in the future.  The congrats makes total sense from Trumps “real estate mogul” point of view- and since when does he ever listen to advisers?

        • matt says:

          I’m not sure I understand… Truly, I’m no fan of Trump.  I just meant is MO is not to listen to anybody… or to listen to the loudest voice in the room- probably the hardest political job on planet Earth, now- to advise DJT.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Digby’s summary of the Cambridge Analytica disclosures:

    With each day, however, it’s clearer that the secret of Trump’s success is cheating. He, and those around him, don’t have to be better than their opponents because they’re willing to be so much worse.

    Cheating.  It’s Donald Trump’s defining characteristic.  He cheats at golf. He cheats in the way he hides his baldness and his false teeth, his weight and his health.  He cheats when he buys and sells properties, as does when he runs away from his obligations to his lenders, customers, suppliers, and employees.  He calls that good bidness. Lord (and maybe Bob Mueller) knows whether he cheats on his taxes. He did it with his election.  Which pretty much means he’s doing it right now.

    • JD12 says:

      Trump is definitely a prolific cheater, but he gets away with it so he’ll never stop. His casinos were just ponzi schemes that were given legitimacy by bankruptcy courts. Real estate is even better for cheating because there’s no enforcement, like the recent story of Kushner ignoring rent regulations.

      The entire GOP is getting really bad under the Kochs with their neoliberalism. To them rules don’t matter, winning or losing is about competition and nothing else. Democrats have been slow to catch on, they’re still trying to play by the rules.

  16. Bay State Librul says:


    You’ve coined a new ROI (Return on Investigation)

    What are the month-to-date (MTD) results?

    Mueller to Don (ouch)


  17. Grodon says:


    Their are credible, 3rd party inspectors/analysts – the OPCW – or do you think they aren’t capable?

    “Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have begun working at the scene of the nerve agent attack on the Skripals.

    A team started work on Wednesday at the Mill pub in Salisbury, which the former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, visited with his daughter, Yulia, before they collapsed on 4 March.

    The inspectors arrived in unmarked vehicles and street clothes before disappearing behind metal police barriers at the back of the pub. Ambulance incident support vehicles arrived and stood by.

    Theresa May has asked OPCW to investigate the use of the nerve agent novichok in the attempted murder of the Skripals.

    The OPCW chief, Ahmet Üzümcü, said it would take two to three weeks to complete laboratory analysis of samples. He said they would be sent to the organisation’s main laboratory in The Hague and then to designated labs for analysis.”


    • bmaz says:

      So, you did NOT really read my response, as least as to the point as to OPCW, did you??

      No, you clearly did not. But press on Russian truther!

      And what weill you bark when OPCW finally, after all these years, concerns themselves with the Novichok series of agents? What will be your Russophile defense then?

    • bmaz says:

      Also, seriously piss off for so blithely writing off the lives of the Skripals. What kind of truther jackass are you? Move along.

      • Zac says:


        Just to clarify, are you suggesting that the OPCW favors Russia or is negligent? It’s the official implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention.

        If so, you’re providing a textbook example of cognitive dissonance. Grodon provided links that seem to be evidence that your claims, regurgitated from others, may not be true.

        Instead of addressing the issues he raises, you suggest the intergovernmental org, with 192 member states, officially responsible for these types of situations is to blame. You then proceed to ad hominem attacks.

        Seems like a poor strategy to debate a topic or to convince others you are the rational party. You come off as the “truther” who refuses to acknowledge their confirmation bias.

        • bmaz says:

          “Just to clarify”, who are you, “Badbisco” or “Zac”? You are sockpuppeting here, which is a clear violation of our terms of service. Why can you not have a consistent voice, is it because you are full of shit?

          And, contrary to your manure, I did not make any such statement about OPCW. Take your false “cognitive dissonance” and shove it. Get back to me when you understand the parameters of the OPCW, and how they have been implemented over a very long time.

        • matt says:

          Sockpuppet?  I thought that term, (like Drumpf) was banned for not meeting the intellectual and literary standards of EW.

          Actually, I take that back… creating a verb with it is pretty funny- “sockpuppeting.” I’m going to have to add that to my lexicon.

        • Trip says:

          From the Independent:

          Russia has said it will cooperate with the OPCW’s investigations, but attacked the organisation just four months ago after it found ally Bashar al-Assad had used sarin in rebel-held areas in Syria.
          Foreign ministry officials called an OPCW report biased, “unprofessional and amateur”, claiming that civilian deaths in Khan Sheikhoun may have been “staged”.
          Russia blocked UN Security Council action against its Syrian allies, then proposed changing the rules for inspectors at the Hague-based watchdog in ways that Western diplomats said would undermine its work.

        • Trip says:

          Sounds convincing /s:

          Russian politicians have contradicted each other, with some claiming that Novichok stockpiles were destroyed and others claiming that it was never developed in the first place.
          The state-owned English language Sputnik website quoted Igor Morozov as saying: “Russia has not only stopped the production of nerve agents, including Novichok, but also completely destroyed all their reserves. This was done in accordance with international agreements under the control of OPCW international observers.”
          But deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax news agency: “I want to state with all possible certainty that the Soviet Union or Russia had no programmes to develop a toxic agent called Novichok.”

        • bmaz says:

          And OPCW depends on signatories declaring known agents. The Novichok series is not. So, exactly how, at this point, is Russia going to “cooperate”??

        • Trip says:

          They can’t even keep the story straight. Whether they got rid of it, or never had it to begin with.

          Look, our government lies and connives. As Does the Kremlin. Somehow that last part gets left out of the equation.

      • thelaughingman says:

        I don’t mean to spread Russophobia or use it to discredit opinions I disagree with…but its not beyond the realm of possibility that “Grodon” is just a Russian troll.

  18. Grodon says:

    OK – let’s recap

    – I post what a link to a legitimate story (AFAIK) that Iran produced “novichok” under the auspices of the OPCW in 2016 in response to a parroted BoJo claim that only Russia could produce novichoks.

    – I may have been harsh in regards to Mr. Skripal and his daughter by suggesting neither he or his daughter had no obvious “spy” value to warrant an assassination resulting in world condemnation That he was recruited by Christopher Steele back in the day is one hell of a coincidence. By the way, speaking of deaths, the UK just provided the Saudis billions of dollars worth of weapons with which to wipe out millions more Yemenis. Canadians are stepping up as well thank God, and of course, the USA.

    – As to Syria, it would have been very helpful if the OPCW had actually obtained the samples at the time, or had a true chain of custody of the samples they received weeks after the April 2017 incident – and not samples that were “supplied” by Turks, White Helmets (UK), Al Qaeda, ISIS or the CIA. I believe this was Russia’s contention.

    – Russiagate is a program to build up massive war/NATO spending, to push war itself, and silence the left and anti-war right. In the UK, this is manifested by the attacks on Corbyn. In the US, the Dems can’t give the Pentagon enough money. The last boost in 2017 of an extra $70 billion or so would have paid for Sanders’ free tuition program.

    Signing off. Sun’s going down in Moscow (Minnesota).

    • matt says:

      Minnesota, eh?… similar latitude and weather to Moscow- explains your affinity for Russians and your obvious presence here as a Russian Troll.

      Just kidding.  I’ve been called names too by BMAZ- for inflaming his righteous sensibilities.  I agree with you that scapegoating Russia (too much) takes the focus off our own serious threats to democracy.

      • bmaz says:

        Let’s do it. Take your best shot, because it is likely to be a short lived one. I have been here from the start, and will be after you. So, let’s go Matt.

        • Just Looking says:

          Intended this for bmaz.

          Just because the entire US record of policy and action vis a vis Russia is for Russians a story of unbridled US corporate-military ambition aimed at putting all of the world’s people and resources at the service of  US-dominated (for now) mega capital you’re right, I ought to forget all that, and assume, like you, that Putin is a fool and the Russians so hopelessly inept they always leave a clue saying “Made In Russia’ – how else to account for the ‘evidence’ of hacking malware sprinkled with little bits of “From Russia With Love” chiseled into the code? Or imagine this conversation “Yes Vlad. We’ll use polonium. No traces there !”  Years later: “Yes Vlad. We’ll use that nico-whatever because it has our ‘type’ stamped right on it.”

          This entire Trump/Russia affair is the most pathetic, manufactured farce in modern history – one giant psy-op that morphs daily as this or that portion of the consensus narrative falls apart and some new outrage is immediately slammed into the breach.

          The US cannot resolve any of its (or the world’s) existential challenges and maintain its imperial military-security/fossil fuel complex – and I do not include under ‘resolve’ solutions that involve consigning most of the global population to the scrap heap.



    • cat herder says:

      The Skripal event was clearly another instance of asymmetric warfare – think about it! He’s a Russian, right? He would have had access to Russian stuff like nerve agents in the past… I bet he pocketed a little bit way back when, then poisoned himself with it later just to make Putin look bad.

      This is like whatever you call the opposite of Occam’s Razor: The least likely, most outlandish fantastical fevered imaginings is the correct answer.

      • bmaz says:

        So, your theory is that this man secreted some secret Novichok from back in the day (which would be degraded by now, of course) and then magnificently kept it at full strength and then offed both himself AND his beloved daughter to do…….what??

        There are a LOT of things unexplained so far. Not sure this is a good direction to plow, but okay.

    • cat herder says:

      “That he was recruited by Christopher Steele back in the day is one hell of a coincidence.”

      Wait, what? Steele was the UK’s Russia expert at the time. It would be ‘one hell of a coincidence’ if they had NO connection. Unless you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  19. Larry says:

    I don’t doubt that Trump is actually sucking up to Putin, even constantly. Yet the specific term ‘arms race’ was widely used for decades during the years Trump (and myself) were gaining our impressions and a lot of our vocabularies about the world and its then current events. So Trump, with his current diminished cognitive and mental word-processing problem, could very well be reverting to his earlier recollections about the subject. OTOH, I wouldn’t be shocked if Trump is so cowed by the extortion Putin holds over him that he’s repeating Putin’s words to stay in his best possible graces.

  20. Rapier says:

    RE:   But I don’t rule out Trump leaking it himself. It’d give him a good excuse to fire HR McMaster 

    The news, or leak if you will, astounded me because so few people would know about the brief. Talk about putting your head on the chopping block. I mean leaks come fast and furious there but this one really stands out especially because of it specificity.

    Then yesterday.



  21. Col. B. Bunny says:

    Trump wasn’t simpering. He chose a good time to have more useful discussion. Normal courtesy.

    Putin didn’t lord it over Trump.

    Where do you get this garbage?

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