A SLUR TOO FAR? Many outlets headlined Putin in their Panama Papers stories. The Guardian maybe the worst: “Though the president’s name does not appear in any of the records, the data reveals a pattern“. Nor was my new favourite opiner on things Russian bothered by the fact that Putin’s name appears nowhere in the 11.5 million documents! Amazing! For the obsessed its all Putin everywhere. Even when he isn’t there. It appears that the WMSM is backing away as scorn mounts: could this be the long hoped-for tipping point when people understand that the coverage by the WMSM of Putin (and Russia, Ukraine and Syria) is nothing but propaganda? Wikileaks suggests “Putin attack was produced by OCCRP which targets Russia & former USSR and was funded by USAID & Soros“. But – a further stage in Putin Derangement Syndrome: “Has Wikileaks Been Infiltrated by Russian Spies?” As an anti-Putin measure I think it will backfire. Nonetheless this leak (or hack) will have big effects, but not in Russia.

RUSSIAN NATIONAL GUARD. A reorganisation of already existing Russian security forces provides an occasion for the BBC to show us how to spin the news.

LITVINENKO. As my readers know I never bought the conventional story about Litvinenko. Now a formerly high-ranking French policemen says he was murdered by a US-UK operation designed to discredit Putin and Russia: “Litvinenko has betrayed his employers, Berezovsky and the MI6, and has pocketed large sums of money”. Read it. Possible and it does account for the fact that everybody in the story worked for Berezovskiy. I still think that he poisoned himself through carelessness.

SYRIA. Syrian forces, with Russian air help, took Palmyra last week. The area is now being cleared of explosives (with help from these Russian robots. And here’s another Russian military robot – this one armed). Operations continue gradually but relentlessly. The current state of play discussed: Assad cannot be left out of the picture, the fiction of the “moderate opposition” is collapsing; Daesh is on the back foot.

US IN SYRIA. Washington’s – what’s the word? nothing so incoherent could be described as a “policy” – activities? surpass parody. LAT informs us “In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA“. Daesh eats American. CENTCOM tells us that Daesh began in Syria (utter nonsense). Obama’s flunkys cook intelligence reports. Watch this spokesman grudgingly admit that maybe it’s a bit better that Palmyra be Damascus’ hands than in Daesh’s. How does Lavrov keep a straight face?

TURKEY-RUSSIA. And, for another example of confusion we turn to Turkey. A Turkish-owed ship was arrested after ramming the working bridge to Crimea. (The bridge is moving right along). An RT film crew in Palmyra discovers documents linking Daesh oil trade and looted antiquities to Turkey. The man who killed the parachuting Russian pilot has been arrested (on other charges) in Turkey. Erdoğan will “support Azerbaijan to the end“. And yet, during his photogenic visit to Washington he said he wanted to restore relations with Moscow.

MH17. The information that Kerry claimed he had is still so inscrutable that not even the father of the only American killed can see it.

UKRAINE. Its descent continues: its GDP is 60% of what it was in 1990 and still going down. After Condoleezza Rice suggested that Ukrainians could take comfort in being better off than Liberians, someone did the comparison: not that much better. Even readers of the NYT learn that it is a “corrupt swamp“. And this time The Guardian did find a name to write about: Poroshenko is named in the Panama Papers. Another vignette (imagine the WMSM coverage if this had happened in Russia). And the Netherlands PM says Ukraine can never be a part of EU. Population agrees.

KARABAKH. Azerbaijan’s President visits Washington, Kerry assures him of “U.S. support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity” but also of a “concern about violence”. Three days later Azeri forces attack Karabakh. As I predicted in 2012, they didn’t do very well – not that hard a prediction, the Karabakhians are fighting for house and home. Anyway, after very modest gains there is a ceasefire brokered by Moscow. Karlin discusses. The Azerbaijan Foreign Minister is quoted as saying that everyone should return to his barracks – evidence that Karlin is correct to conclude that it was really a defeat for Baku.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Website: Russia Observer