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Friday, December 30, 2016
Stephen Lendman Reports President Putin’s Response To Obama’s New Sanctions
Stephen Lendman Reports President Putin’s Response To Obama’s New Sanctions
It is clear enough who is the real leader of the world. That person is not in the White House.
Putin’s Response to Obama’s New Sanctions
by Stephen Lendman
Both leaders are polar opposites – a mensch in Moscow on the right side of history compared to a US menace in Washington waging war on humanity. [Mensch means a person of dignity and honor. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensch ]
In response to Obama’s new sanctions, a same day article quoted Sergey Lavrov, saying Russia “cannot leave unanswered insults of the kind, reciprocity is the law of diplomacy and foreign relations.”
He recommended Putin respond tit for tat while blasting Obama’s deplorable action. It seemed certain, but didn’t happen. Putin took the high ground, in stark contrast to his disgraceful US counterpart, issuing a statement, saying:
“We regard the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship.”
“This runs contrary to the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people. Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia and the United States, this is also damaging to international relations as a whole.”
“As it proceeds from international practice, Russia has reasons to respond in kind. Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.”
“The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for US diplomats.”
“We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays.”
“Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.” [ The Russian Orthodox Church uses the old Julian calendar for religious holidays, which puts Christmas on January 7.]
“It is regrettable that the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner. Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.”
“My season’s greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people.”
“I wish all of you happiness and prosperity.”
Judge for yourself. Who’s the mensch and who’s the menace? Which way will Trump go?
My personal yearend greetings and thanks to President Putin for for doing the right thing consistently on major geopolitical issues. I proudly support his preeminent world leadership.
A Final Comment
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova explained that Obama’s expulsion order disrupts the lives of 96 Russian nationals – 35 diplomats and family members.
Some targeted diplomats only arrived in America two months ago. “It is not clear how they could have participated in (alleged) activities that, according to the secret services, took place in the spring of 2016,” Zakharova explained.
They have until January 1 to leave – Obama’s happy new year greeting.
There might be more to Obama’s provocation than meets the eye. See my column:http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/12/30/what-is-the-obama-regime-up-to-paul-craig-roberts/
What Is The Obama Regime Up To? — Paul Craig Roberts
What Is The Obama Regime Up To?
Paul Craig Roberts
Obama has announced new sanctions on Russia based on unsubstantiated charges by the CIA that the Russian government influenced the outcome of the US presidential election with “malicious cyber-enabled activities.”
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a report “related to the declaration of 35 Russian officials persona non grata for malicious cyber activity and harassment.”
The report is a description of “tools and infrastructure used by Russian intelligence services to compromise and exploit networks and infrastructure associated with the recent U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. government, political and private sector entities.”
The report does not provide any evidence that the tools and infrastructure were used to influence the outcome of the US presidential election. The report is simply a description of what is said to be Russian capabilities. https://diplopundit.net/2016/12/29/dhsfbi-issues-joint-analysis-report-grizzly-steppe-russian-malicious-cyber-activity-read-report/
Moreover, the report begins with this disclaimer: “DISCLAIMER: This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.” https://diplopundit.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/jar_16-20296.pdf
In other words, the report not only provides no evidence of the use of the Russian tools and infrastructure in order to influence the US presidential election, the report will not even warrant the correctness of its description of Russian capabilities.
Thus the DHS report makes it completely clear that the Obama regime has no evidential basis for its allegations on the basis of which it has imposed more sanctions on Russia.
What is going on here?
First there is the question of the legality of the sanctions even if there were evidence. I am not certain, but I think that sanctions require the action of a body, such as the UN Security Council, and cannot legally be imposed unilaterally by one country. Additionally, it is unclear why Obama is calling the expulsion of Russian diplomats “sanctions.” No other country has to do likewise. During the Cold War when diplomats were expelled for spying, it was not called “sanctions.” Sanctions imply more than unilateral or bilateral expulsions of diplomats.
Second, it is clear that Obama, the CIA, and the New York Times are fully aware that the allegation is false. It is also clear that if the CIA actually believes the allegation, the intelligence agency is totally incompetent and cannot be believed on any subject.
Third, President Trump can rescind the sanctions in 21 days, a third reason that the sanctions are ridiculous.
So why are President Obama, the CIA, and the New York Times making charges that they know are false and for which they have not produced a shred of evidence?http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/29/opinion/president-obama-punishes-russia-at-last.html?_r=1
One obvious answer is that the neoconized Obama regime is desperate to ruin US-Russian relations past the point that Trump can repair them. As the New York Times puts it, “Mr. Obama’s actions clearly create a problem for Mr. Trump.” The question the New York Times says, is whether Trump “stands with his democratic allies on Capitol Hill or his authoritarian friend in the Kremlin.”
Can Trump’s foreign policy be controlled by false allegations? According to the New York Times, Trump has relented and agreed to being briefed by the CIA about the Russian hacking now that Republicans such as Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham have lined up with Obama and the CIA in accepting charges for which no evidence has been presented. However, a briefing without evidence would seem simply to further discredit the CIA in Trump’s eyes.
As I have emphasized in my columns, facts no longer have a role in the United States and its empire. Allegations alone suffice, whether in court cases, interrogation centers, foreign and domestic policies, or classrooms. The US even bases its military invasions on false allegations—“weapons of mass destruction.” Indeed, the entirely of US foreign policy since the Clinton regime has been based on nothing but false allegations.
The Russian government should have learned by now, but perhaps Moscow still thinks that facts matter in Washington’s decisions.
Possibly we should consider that more is going on than meets the eye. Perhaps the propaganda about the Russian cyber threat to democracy is being used to prepare American and/or European populations for an incident. The CIA has morphed into a “deep state” that uses disinformation and propaganda to align decisions of Congress, the executive branch, and foreign governments with secret behind-the-scenes agendas. Many books, such as Stephen Kinzer’s The Brothers and Douglas Valentine’s CIA As Organized Crime have described some of these secret agendas.
In order to deter Trump from restoring normal relations with Russia, an incident would have to be severe and irreversible. Rather than accept defeat for their agenda of US world hegemony, the neoconservatives are prepared to take high risks. The willingness to take risks is demonstrated by the public effort of the CIA Director to discredit the president-elect.
As expected, Putin’s response to the latest provocation is low key as the “sanctions” appear to be meaningless on the surface. However, in the event that something dangerous is below the surface, the Russian government might want to consider putting its military forces on alert.
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Neocon Panic and Agony
• DECEMBER 17, 2016
There are clear signs that the Neocons running the AngloZionist Empire and its “deep state” are in a state of near panic and their actions indicate they are truly terrified.
The home front
One the home front, the Neocons have resorted to every possible dirty trick on the book to try to prevent Donald Trump from ever getting into the White House: they have
- organized riots and demonstrations (some paid by Soros money)
- encouraged the supporters of Hillary to reject the outcome of the elections (“not my President”)
- tried to threaten the Electors and make them either cast a vote for Hillary or not vote at all
- tried to convince Congress to refuse the decision of the Electoral College and
- they are now trying to get the elections annulled on the suspicion that the (apparently almighty) Russian hackers have compromised the election outcome (apparently even in states were paper ballots were used) and stolen it in favor of Trump.
That is truly an amazing development, especially considering how Hillary attacked Trump for not promising to recognize the outcome of the elections. She specifically said that Trump’s lack of guarantees to recognize the outcome would threaten the very basis of the stability of the US political system and now she, and her supporters, are doing everything in their power to do just that, to throw the entire electoral process into a major crisis with no clear path towards resolution. Some say that the Democrats are risking a civil war. Considering that several key Republican Congressmen have said they do support the notion of an investigation into the “Russian hackers” fairy tale, I submit that the Republicans are doing exactly the same thing, that this is not a Democrat vs Republican issue, but a “deep state vs The People of the USA” issue.
Most experts agree that none of these tactics are going to work. So this begs the question of whether the Neocons are stupid, whether they think that they can succeed or what their true objective is.
My guess is that first and foremost what is taking place now is what always happens when the Neocons run into major trouble: they double down, again. And again. And again. That is one of the key characteristics of their psychological make-up: they cannot accept defeat or, even less so, that they were wrong, so each time reality catches up to their ideological delusions, they automatically double-down. Still, they might rationalize this behavior by a combination of hope that maybe one of these tricks will work, with the strong urge to do as much damage to President-Elect Trump before he actually assumes his office. I would never underestimate the vicious vindictiveness of these people.
What is rather encouraging is Trump’s reaction to all this: after apparently long deliberations he decided to nominate Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of Defense. From a Neocon point of view, if General Michael Flynn was bad, then Tillerson was truly an apocalyptic abomination: the man actually had received the order of “Friend of Russia” from the hands of Vladimir Putin himself!
Did Trump not realize how provocative this nomination was and how it would be received by the Neocons? Of course he did! That was, on his part, a totally deliberate decision. If so, then this is a very, very good sign.
I might be mistaken, but I get the feeling that Trump is willing to accept the Neocon challenge and that he will fight back. For example, his reaction to the CIA accusations about Russian hackers was very telling: he reminded everybody that “these are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction”. I think that it is now a safe bet to say that as soon as Trump take control heads will roll at the CIA.
[Sidebar: is it not amazing that the CIA is offering its opinion about some supposed Russian hacking during the elections in the USA? Since when does the CIA have any expertise on what is going on inside the USA? I thought the CIA was only a foreign intelligence agency. And since when does the CIA get involved in internal US politics? Yes, of course, savvy observers of the USA have always known that the CIA was a key player in US politics, but now the Agency apparently does not even mind confirming this openly. I don't think that Trump will have the guts and means to do so but, frankly, he would be much better off completely dissolving the CIA. Of course, that could get Trump killed – messing with the Fed and the CIA are two unforgivable crimes in the USA – but then again Trump is already very much at risk anyway, so he might as well strike first].
One the external front
On the external front, the big development is the liberation of Aleppo by Syrian forces. In that case again, the Neocons tried to double-down: they made all sorts of totally unsubstantiated claims about executions and atrocities while the BBC, always willing to pick up the correct line, published an article about how much the situation in Aleppo is similar to what took place in Srebrenica. Of course, there is one way in which the events in Aleppo and Srebrenica are similar: in both cases the US-backed Takfiris lost and were defeated by government forces and in both cases the West unleashed a vicious propaganda war to try to turn the military defeat of its proxies into a political victory for itself. In any case, the last-ditch propaganda effort failed and preventing the inevitable and Aleppo was completely liberated.
The Empire did score one success: using the fact that most of the foreign forces allied to the Syrians (Hezbollah, Iranian Pasdaran, Russian Spetsnaz, etc.) were concentrated around Aleppo, the US-backed Takfiris succeeded in breaking the will of the Syrians, many of whom apparently fled in panic, and first surrounded and then eventually reoccupied Palmyra. This will be short lived success as I completely agree with my friend Alexander Mercouris who says that Putin will soon liberate Palmyra once again, but until this happens the reoccupation of Palmyra is rather embarrassing for the Syrians, Iranians and Russians.
It seems exceedingly unlikely to me that the Daesh movement towards Palmyra was undetected by the various Syrian, Iranian and Russian intelligence agencies (at least once source reports that Russian satellites did detect it) and I therefore conclude that a deliberate decision was made to temporarily sacrifice Palmyra in order to finally liberate Aleppo. Was that the correct call?
Definitely yes. Contrary to the western propaganda, Aleppo, not Raqqa, has always been the real “capital” of the US backed terrorists. Raqqa is a relatively small town: 220,000+ inhabitants versus 2,000,000+ for Aleppo, making Aleppo about ten times larger than Raqqa. As for tiny Palmyra, its population is 30,000+. So the choice between scrambling to plug the holes in the Syrian defenses around Palmyra and liberating Aleppo was a no-brainer. Now that Aleppo has been liberated, the city has to be secured and major engineering efforts need to be made in order to prepare it for an always possible Takfiri counter-attack. But it is one thing to re-take a small desert town and quite another one to re-take a major urban center. I personally very much doubt that Daesh & Co. will ever be in control of Aleppo again. Some Neocons appear to be so enraged by this defeat that they are now accusing Trump of “backing Iran” (I wish he did!).
The tiny Palmyra was given a double-function by the Neocon propaganda effort: to eclipse the “Russian” (it was not solely “Russian” at all, but never mind that) victory in Aleppo and to obfuscate the “US” (it was not solely “US” at all, but never mind that) defeat in Mosul. A hard task for the tiny desert city for sure and it is no wonder that this desperate attempt also failed: the US lead coalition in Mosul still looks just about as weak as the Russian lead coalition looks strong in Aleppo.
Any comparison between these two battles is simply embarrassing for the USA: not only did the US-backed forces fail to liberate Mosul from Daesh & Co. but they have not even full encircled the city or even managed to penetrate beyond its furthest suburbs. There is very little information coming out of Mosul, but after three months of combat the entire operation to liberate Mosul seems to be an abject failure, at least for the time being. I sincerely hope that once Trump takes office he will finally agree to work not only with Russia, but also with Iran, to finally get Daesh out of Mosul. But if Trump delivers on his promise to AIPAC and the rest of the Israel Lobby gang to continue to antagonize and threaten Iran, the US can basically forget any hopes of defeating Daesh in Iraq.
Our of despair and spite, the US propaganda vilified Russia for the killing of civilians in Aleppo while strenuously avoiding any mention of civilian victims in Mosul. But then, the same propaganda machine which made fun of the color of the smoke coming out of the engines of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov (suggesting that she was about to break down) had to eat humble pie when it was the US navy’s most expensive and newest destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, which broke down in the Panama canal and had to be immobilzed, while the Kuznetsov continued to do a very good job supporting Russian operations in Syria.
Over and over again, the AngloZionist propaganda machine has failed to obfuscate the embarrassing facts on the ground and it now clearly appears that the entire US policy for the Middle-East is in total disarray and that the Neocons are as clueless as they are desperate.
The countdown to January 20th
It is pretty obvious that the Neocon reign is coming to an end in a climax of incompetence, hysterical finger-pointing, futile attempts at preventing the inevitable and a desperate scramble to conceal the magnitude of the abject failure which Neocon-inspired policies have resulted in. Obama will go down in history as the worst and most incompetent President in US history. As for Hillary, she will be remembered as both the worst US Secretary of State the US and the most inept Presidential candidate ever.
In light of the fact that the Neocons always failed at everything they attempted, I am inclined to believe that they will probably also fail at preventing Donald Trump from being sworn in. But until January 20th, 2017 I will be holding my breath in fear of what else these truly demented people could come up with.
As for Trump, I still can’t figure him out. On one hand he nominates Rex Tillerson in what appears to be a deliberate message of defiance against the Neocons, while on the other hand he continues to try to appease the Israel Lobby gang by choosing a rabid Zionist of the worst kind, David M. Friedman, as the next US ambassador to Israel. Even worse then that, Donald Trump still does not appear to be willing to recognize the undeniable fact that the US will never defeat Daesh as long as the anti-Iranian stance of the Neocons is not replaced by a real willingness to engage Iran and accept it as a partner and ally.
Right now the Trump rhetoric simply makes no sense: he wants to befriend Russia while antagonizing China and he wants to defeat Daesh while threatening Iran again. This is lunacy. Still, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but somebody sure needs to educate him on the geopolitical realities out there before he also end up making a total disaster of US foreign policy.
And yet, I still have a small hope.
My hope is that the latest antics of the Neocons will sufficiently aggravate and even enrage Trump to a point where he will give up on his futile attempts at appeasing them. Only by engaging in a systematic policy of “de-neoconization” of the US political establishment will Trump have any hopes of “making America great again”. If Trump’s plan is to appease the Neocons long enough from him to be sworn in and have his men approved by Congress – fine. Then he still has a chance of saving the USA from a catastrophic collapse, but only as long as he remains determined to ruthlessly crack down on the Neocons once in power. If his hope is to distract the Neocons by appeasing them on secondary or minor issues, then his efforts are doomed and he will go down the very same road as Obama who, at least superficially, initially appeared to be a non-Neocon candidate and who ended up being a total Neocon puppet (in 2008 the Neocons had placed their bets on McCain and they only infiltrated the Obama Administration once McCain was defeated).
One way or another, we are headed for a crisis, the only open question whether the USA will come out of this crisis liberated or doomed.
Is Obama a Russian Agent?
Is Obama a Russian Agent?
I appreciate the insightfulness of Dmitry Orlov and The Saker. In this article, Orlov examines the effects of Obama’s foreign interventions and concludes that Obama has been more successful than a Russian spy in advancing Russia’s interests.
Is Obama a Russian Agent?
Our correspondent examines the evidence, which is alarming indeed ...
Sun, Dec 25, 2016 | 7,299 89
It's time for the Washington Post to seriously investigate these deeply troubling allegations (Click to enlarge)
Originally appeared at Club Orlov
Sometimes a case looks weak because there is no “smoking gun”—no obvious, direct evidence of conspiracy, malfeasance or evil intent—but once you tally up all the evidence it forms a coherent and damning picture. And so it is with the Obama administration vis à vis Russia: by feigning hostile intent it did everything possible to further Russia’s agenda.
And although it is always possible to claim that all of Obama’s failures stem from mere incompetence, at some point this claim begins to ring hollow; how can he possibly be so utterly competent… at being incompetent? Perhaps he just used incompetence as a veil to cover his true intent, which was always to bolster Russia while rendering the US maximally irrelevant in world affairs.
Let’s examine Obama’s major foreign policy initiatives from this angle.
Perhaps the greatest achievement of his eight years has been the destruction of Libya. Under the false pretense of a humanitarian intervention what was once the most prosperous and stable country in the entire North Africa has been reduced to a rubble-strewn haven for Islamic terrorists and a transit point for economic migrants streaming into the European Union. This had the effect of pushing Russia and China together, prompting them to start voting against the US together as a block in the UN Security Council.
In a single blow, Obama assured an important element of his legacy as a Russian agent: no longer will the US be able to further its agenda through this very important international body.
Next, Obama presided over the violent overthrow of the constitutional government in the Ukraine and the installation of an American puppet regime there. When Crimea then voted to rejoin Russia, Obama imposed sanctions on the Russian Federation. These moves may seem like they were designed to hurt Russia, but let’s look at the results instead of the intentions.
First, Russia regained control of an important, strategic region. Second, the sanctions and the countersanctions allowed Russia to concentrate on import replacement, building up the domestic economy. This was especially impressive in agriculture, and Russia now earns more export revenue from foodstuffs than from weapons. Third, the severing of economic ties with the Ukraine allowed Russia to eliminate a major economic competitor. Fourth, over a million Ukrainians decided to move to Russia, either temporarily or permanently, giving Russia a major demographic boost and giving it access to a pool of Russian-speaking skilled labor. (Most Ukrainians are barely distinguishable from the general Russian population.) Fifth, whereas before the Ukraine was in a position to extort concessions from Russia by playing games with the natural gas pipelines that lead from Russia to the European Union, now Russia’s hands have been untied, resulting in new pipeline deals with Turkey and Germany.
In effect, Russia reaped all the benefits from the Ukrainian stalemate, while the US gained an unsavory, embarrassing dependent.
Obama’s next “achievement” was in carefully shepherding the Syrian conflict into a cul de sac. (Some insist on calling it a civil war, although virtually all of the fighting there has between the entire Syrian nation and foreign-funded outside mercenaries).
To this end, Obama deployed an array of tactics. He simultaneously supported, armed, trained and fought various terrorist groups, making a joke of the usual US technique of using “terrorism by proxy.” He made ridiculous claims that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against its own people, which immediately reminded everyone of similarly hollow claims about Saddam’s WMDs while offering Russia a legitimate role to play in resolving the Syrian conflict. He made endless promises to separate “moderate opposition” from dyed-in-the-wool terrorists, but repeatedly failed to do so, thus giving the Russians ample scope to take care of the situation as they saw fit. He negotiated several cease fires, then violated them.
There have been other achievements as well. By constantly talking up the nonexistent “Russian threat” and scaremongering about “Russian aggression” and “Russian invasion” (of which no evidence existed), and by holding futile military exercises in Eastern Europe and especially in the geopolitically irrelevant Baltics, Obama managed to deprive NATO of any residual legitimacy it once might have had, turning it into a sad joke.
But perhaps Obama’s most significant service on behalf of the Russian nation was in throwing the election to Donald Trump. This he did by throwing his support behind the ridiculously inept and corrupt Hillary Clinton. She outspent Trump by a factor of two, but apparently no amount of money could buy her the presidency. As a result of Obama’s steadfast efforts, the US will now have a Russia-friendly president who is eager to make deals with Russia, but will have to do so from a significantly weakened negotiating position.
As I have been arguing for the last decade, it is a foregone conclusion that the United States is going to slide from its position of global dominance. But it was certainly helpful to have Obama grease the skids, and now it’s up to Donald Trump to finish the job.
And since Obama’s contribution was especially helpful to Russia, I propose that he be awarded the Russian Federation’s Order of Friendship, to go with his Nobel Peace Prize.
Entire World ‘Disgusted’ by Obama’s Disastrous Foreign Policy
Russian Foreign Ministry: Entire World ‘Disgusted’ by Obama’s Disastrous Foreign Policy
Finally, someone says it
The Barack Obama administration’s foreign policy over the eight years of Obama’s presidency “evokes aversion of the entire world,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday.
Russian Foreign Ministry: Entire World 'Disgusted' by Obama's Disastrous Foreign Policy
Finally, someone says it
Let us take a few moments to meditate on the last eight years.
The U.S. is still bogged down in Iraq.
The U.S. military is still protecting poppy fields in Afghanistan. It's been America's longest poppy field protection operation. And its longest war.
The first black president expanded AFRICOM and the shadow wars and classified drone operations in Africa.
He also destroyed Libya, the most prosperous, developed nation in North Africa. As expected, his justification for doing so was later revealed to be massive baloney bullshit.
He "created a secret drones program to kill terrorist suspects worldwide without public acknowledgement or due process. Under his watch, the US has expanded the field of battle in the "war on terrorism" to a dozen countries and constructed institutions and routines of surveillance and assassination – such as the so-called 'disposition matrix' and 'Terror Tuesdays' that will have serious consequences beyond his presidency."
Then there's Ukraine. Don't even get us started.
The "Asia pivot" is also working out great. So glad that we're now provoking the Chinese in an ocean called the South China Sea.
And of course, there's Syria. The Obama administration's greatest, most moderate success.
In general, everything is terrible.
Finally, someone has just come out and said it: Eight years of Obama has made the world vomit in disgust:
The Barack Obama administration’s foreign policy over the eight years of Obama’s presidency "evokes aversion of the entire world," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday.
"I think this man [Obama] and his team - naturally, speaking about the man we mean the team which has proved to be bad for all on the global arena," she said in an interview with the Sunday Evening weekly news roundup on the Rossiya-1 television channel.
Obama's legacy can be summarized as the normalization of Bush-era horrors, complimented by the perpetuation of endless, covert war and cowardly drone programs.
It's been a disgusting eight years. Thank god that there is at least one country left on this earth that isn't afraid to tell it like it is.
2015 President - EN from Roberto Petitpas on Vimeo.
2015 President - PT from Roberto Petitpas on Vimeo.
AVAILABLE IN FRENCH, ROUMANIAN, PORTUGUESE
2017.03.10 Maria Zakharova - MFA Press Briefing - EN from Roberto Petitpas on Vimeo.