(Pershing II missiles being transported away from a US base in Heilbronn)
Will John Bolton rescind it? By all accounts he was the maniac who’s convinced his Boss Tweet to pull out of the INF (Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty). Bolton will be in Moscow today and tomorrow and will discuss (cough) the issue with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, National Security Advisor Nikolay Patrushev, FM Sergei Lavrov, and possibly Vladamir Putin on Tuesday.
The INF was negotiated between Reagan and Gorbachev on December 8 1987, ratified by Congress in May 1988, and came into force on June 1, 1988. Hence, the above photo.
But in his Oct. 22 ‘Trump says US will withdraw from Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty’, Alex Lantier writes that:
“Admiral Harry Harris, who recently stepped down as commander of the US Pacific Fleet to become the US Ambassador to South Korea, became an aggressive proponent of renegotiating or scrapping the INF treaty. Last year, Harris said that he considered arms control “problematic,” as the INF treaty limits “our ability to counter Chinese and other countries’ cruise missiles, land-based missiles.”
Testifying to the US Senate this March, Harris made clear that scrapping the INF treaty was critical to trying to re-establish full US military dominance of the Pacific Ocean. “We are at a disadvantage with regard to China today in the sense that China has ground-based ballistic missiles that threaten our basing in the western Pacific and our ships,” he said. “We have no ground-based capability that can threaten China because of, among other things, our rigid adherence … to the INF treaty.”
He references Obama’s ‘Pivot to China’ military doctrine having caused China to build intermediate-range missiles to hit aircraft carriers in the South China Sea where ‘maneuvers’ are afoot nearly constantly. He mentions Obomba’s pledging a cool trillion bucks to modernize the US nuclear arsenal, and so on.
Trump has trumpeted that Russia has been abrogating the treaty for a long time, and wonders on Twitter why Obomba hadn’t pulled out of the INF when he was prez, as has China had been building similar missiles.
“Trump’s attempt to blame Moscow and Beijing for his decision is a transparent political fraud. The US repudiation of nuclear arms control treaties is part of a longstanding, aggressive foreign policy aiming to exploit US military supremacy in the aftermath of the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union to counterbalance the effects of its accelerating economic decline in world affairs. The 2001 repudiation of the ABM treaty was part of the Bush administration’s turn to war, including the illegal invasions and occupations of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, to dominate the Eurasian landmass.”
That pullout resulted in the creation of the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) which the Wiki notes had its “its origins in the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) which was established in 1983 by Ronald Reagan” (Star Wars)
Now according to RT today, these are The Rules:
“For nearly two decades the two states have taken turns claiming the other is violating the treaty, which bars both of them from producing all land-based ballistic and cruise missiles – not just nuclear-tipped ones – with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km. The Pentagon – citing its classified intelligence –claims that Russia has developed an intermediate range missile for the Iskander-M launcher, the existence of which Moscow has never acknowledged. In turn, Russia insists that the launchers that form the US missile defense shield in eastern Europe are themselves capable of firing intermediate range missiles, and should be destroyed under the terms of the agreement.”
“Appointed only in March, Bolton has become arguably the most influential US foreign policy architect, and is a long-time critic of arms control treaties. According to senior staff sources who spoke to the Guardian and the Washington Post last week, he personally persuaded Trump to quit INF. Stateside reports indicate that despite Trump’s customarily hazy pronouncements, Bolton will definitively signal US intentions to leave – a six-month notice is required to leave the indefinite-term agreement – during the Russian visit.
Trump has also been quoted as having said: “We are going to terminate the agreement and then we are going to develop the weapons” unless Russia and China agree to a new deal” at a campaign stop in Elko, Nevada, and “Unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and they say, ‘Let’s all of us get smart and let’s none of us develop those weapons,’” Trump said, “but if Russia’s doing it and if China’s doing it and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable. So we have a tremendous amount of money to play with our military.”
Adding a hella lot of irony and abject hypocrisy into the mix, Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review had plans for the same missiles…and a lot more nukes (not that the HuffPo exposé doesn’t include plenty of bullshit).
Ah well, here it is: breaking:
‘Trump threatens to build up US nuclear arsenal until Russia, China ‘come to their senses’, via RT
“Russia has not adhered to the agreement,” neither in form or in spirit, Trump told reporters outside the White House on Monday, before departing for a campaign rally in Texas. The US has “more money than anyone else by far,” Trump added, implying an arms race wouldn’t come as a burden. “You can’t play that game on me.”
The treaty, which went into effect in June 1988, was a major achievement of Cold War detente and helped defuse nuclear fears in Europe. If Trump goes ahead and withdraws from the INF, that would leave the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) as the last obstacle to uncontrolled nuclear proliferation. The treaty will expire in 2021, and Washington has not yet decided on renewing it, Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said during his visit to Moscow.”
When else was Peace given a chance recently? When Herr Trump wanted rapprochement with North Korea by way of denuclearization, of course. Who tried hardest to derail that? Elected Democrats, of course, plus whichever version of the deep state one imagines. So the sanctions are still on because: not fast enough progress? Never mind that Moon Jae-in was elected on the basis of his platform for possible reunification with North Korea, and desiring that the US declare the war on DRPK over.
But of course there was the D team squawking about the #Treason Summit at which Putin and Boss Tweet met to defuse tensions because: #RussiaGate. The summit prompted loads of gay porn (at the link), remember?
Ha, I’d included ‘‘Detente Bad, Cold War Good’ former UK ambassador Craig Murray, July 17’, and a host of other similar essays plus an interview with Prof. Stephen Cohen (‘Putin apologist’). But this took the cake:
“Mega-Lulz for Bernie Sanders who’d Tweeted: “Yesterday was a good day for Putin and the oligarchs in Russia. But it was a bad day for people in the United States and all over the world who believe in democracy and who are trying to understand what world our idiot president lives in.” Gawd bless him, The Bern knows who he is, and he ain’t ashamed to show it. Nossir. Not being in Putin’s Pocket takes precedence over deconflicting nuclear war, discussing nuclear weapons reductions…
What will be the next moves on the Devil’s Chessboard, and will they be in concert with Trump, his generals, and Wall Street’s weapons manufacturers? Perpetual War fills their coffers; a multi-polar world will not be permitted by Amerika, even as many posit Amerikan Hegemony is in its death throes, thus, at its most dangerous.
Please feel free to toss in any of the things I’ve omitted in (by now) lethargy and nausea. I expect we’ll hear more on Joltin’ Bolton’s trip to Moscow soon.
@AmbJohnBolton Oct 11 “On October 20th I’ll be travelling to Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia to meet with my counterparts and other senior officials to advance American interests on a range of security issues.”
Just in three hours ago: ‘EU warns Trump of nuclear arms race risk after INF withdrawal move’ The Guardian; Some European leaders oppose US withdrawal as John Bolton visits Moscow to discuss treaty
Oh, lord luv a duck:
“The decision to withdraw from the INF has been widely criticised as a mistake by US nuclear experts, who say it will benefit Russia more than the US, arguing that Russia will now be unshackled in its development of short- and medium-range ground-launched nuclear missiles, while the US is unlikely to find allies willing to host such missiles on their soil.
They say the same goes for the Pacific, where China’s development of medium-range missiles has been cited as one justification for freeing the US from the INF’s constraints.”
Sorry if this diary ain’t ready for Prime Time’ I don’t have time to make it so..
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)
In the end, this is actually aimed at China.
The effect on Russia will be minimal; their hyper-sonic glide delivery systems make any U.S. deterrence obsolete.
The U.S. knows this; this is all theater…
I’m assuming an educated/informed commentariate here…
i agree it’s largely aimed at china, but it’s also about ginning up fear of china and russia once again, thus creating another level of nuclear arms race, *and allowing* the US to built more ‘low-yield’ missiles for ‘sustainable’ nuclear war (for whom?), which they’ve already been building since obomba w/ his ‘pivot to china’.
but srsly, as there is no commentariat here lately, i hadn’t been adding what i’d found here, just at c99%. you might be interested in the additions, but i hadn’t put this in yet, nor andre damon’s piece from today.
‘Trump’s missile treaty withdrawal: “Prepare for nuclear war”, andre damon, wsws.org, 24 October 2018
on thing i learned recently is that if a site is behind a paywall, right-clicking a link and choosing ‘private window’ obviates it. but of course, closing the private window later is also important. nice to see you, v.
come to think of it, i thought i’d read that russia had built a prototype of the hypersonic glide missile, as has china. the other part of the withdrawl is aimed to pretend russia is the nation who broke the treaty, not amerika.,and if they did it was in response to epic provocation, same for china.
the EU felt safer with the INF intact…fearing a missile attack by…whom?
my, how times change…
Any idea why your commentariate has dissolved?
Have you considered another target?
Best as always
what do you mean by ‘have you considered another target’, v?
‘dissolved’ is a good term for it, though. i do know the reasons many aren’t here any longer, including: age, infirmity, homelessness, doing more beneficial things in their communities, plus the Q: what did blogging ever do to change things? some i have no idea about, like shoot that arrow and a few others, although i know his partner resented the tie he’d spend online. some erstwhile commenters i still hear from via email…
i do cross-post obviously to c99, fwiw, but the issues i care most deeply about aren’t seemingly what others care most about.
now consider yourself; don’t you enjoy commenting at larger venues so that your comments will be seen more widely, even if i cover similar issues? but really, please explain ‘another target’.
and thank you for your best, same to you and miz V.
speaking of which, a Q: are your comments at ian’s place held in moderation? i’ve given up trying to comment, as mine can be held in moderation for 36 hours or so, and yet…there seems to be an approved list.
not sure what the glide missile tech is but talking about this stuff in terms who can *really truly* kick who’s ass is…well, not de-escalating, is it? at some point the bluff must be called.
how do we get millions of people to care, or at least go along with, whether or not our missiles are bigger than their missiles? why does who “controls” the S China Sea have the slightest thing to do w/me? we might as well be fighting over never never land for all the benefit any of us will see from any of this. maybe we are fighting over never never land?
nice Bern quote. and this bit of honesty from Trump: “So we have a tremendous amount of money to play with our military.” Like Trump’s money, that’s not their money. it’s ours.
I did see a sign at dumpster behind a strip mall where I was clearly not the 1st person to duck in to respond to nature: “Please stop taking a dump here! Defecation is a crime! We will report you to the police!” ruh roh, somebody’s been leaving their John Boltons behind.
if society can’t make enough toilets, it can always just get ride of its assholes.
wake up sheeple! “no dumping allowed” is the 1st step to genocide!
i’d also thought of russian pragamtism i remember, maybe from ‘the west wing’? amerika spent millions to create a pen for astronauts that would write in space, while the cosmonauts used…pencils.
lol, you’ve reminded me of a MASH episode in which hawkeye’d reminded us that what the world wants is…toilets. real flushing toilets, not just pits in the ground to squat over, and yes: in which to leave their boltons.
i suppose that V’s premise is that while amerika/nato spends shit-tons of money on its military, russian (arguably defensive) weapons are far superior.
well, the bern. zionist, not quite neocon; how can ya solve a problem like…the bern?
but next stop is: NATO’s operation #trident juncture: the war for the riches in the melting arctic circle (against The Bear) really does signify that weapons matter.
great to see you, darlin’; sorry it’s the end of a log honeydew day.
In response to your response to V – I suppose there was a time that relative to now the wheelings & dealings of pressured props all gandered had the effect of giving re-electable cover to constituencies’ reps’, but it seems to me we be in plausible cover territory today, whereby the framing of events is a cover not for congressional yeas for discretionary nuclear human grown hormone but believable enough that it makes sense when the weary roll over in bed.
lol. i’ve read it three times. is this the short version: blogging’s a yawn cuz: it’s all the same anyhoo? but i sure do admire ‘nuclear human grown hormone’. even ‘groan hormone’ would work, eh?
i just added this to a newer diary; i’ll drop the link then come back to flesh out a bit of it later.
‘US Leaving INF to Jump-Start Fielding of New Artillery-Launched Intermediate-Range Capable Systems’, andrei akulov, strategic culture
oh, and if i missed your meaning, please correct me1
also: do you have any idea on v’s ‘different targets’; do wish for others?
Can’t say I do.
and did i take your earlier comment even close to correctly?
well, we could talk about ‘teledildonics’, the possible futures of human relationships and the intersection of AI and sex: would it be infidelity?
or these from my favorite tankie on twitter:
or leaving obomba and trump out of this list:
“Not sending everyone involved in Watergate to prison was a mistake, with the pardoning of Nixon being the original sin here. The same people involved in Watergate (minus Nixon, of course) were involved in Iran/Contra, then they were the people involved in Iraq.
Hilary Clinton and George W. Bush (who, I notice, Democrats have rehabilitated) are monstrous war criminals who should be in prison. Max Boot is an enabler of war crimes”
or the recent Dem mail bombs: false flags or not?
O! wendily, wendily. For one to know if another’s take is correct, one must know if the take of the take bears integrity. Finally new use of “political correctness”. My apologies belatedly, and in advance of what’s to come. I reckon I am guilty of expound-splaining as ones’ of redundant blogarrhea do do… albeit with my having forgone the clichéd link to an on the subject essay of mine own, though certainly rife with pretension (‘mine own’, in-deed). With what shall we win, well why not go on, true take, true take. Too is the take of C des Cs’ twittling worthy of such similarly deeper consideration.
For, you see, I was talking about my burgeoning belief that it is, in fact, only the plausibility that TPTB actually believe that repairing &/or buttressing their credibility is necessary as such. It is where I came up with (warning, near-narcissistic self-referencing of an essay in effect) ‘manufacturing plausible consent’. I swear to Bejeezelbub Lucichrist that it is not just a portmanteau but a very real theory of my own, still yet incomplete, which is why I probably do not link to it. If I may quote the late junkie, WSB: It’s full of holes, it’s full of holes. Prolly cuz I forced it together with plausible deniability… but, no, I think I still think that they belong under the same analytical frame.
In short: they can do what they want, so at best the propaggrandising is long-already of indirect influential intent, seeking to maintain merely the canard that they gotta keep up appearances. The irony is that they only feel the need to keep up appearances of appearances. Who in the last quarter century or maybe longer has done anything to stand in the way?
dunno who WSB is, but i reckon both that plausible consent might be that one part of such might have to be ‘close too the truth’, then build from that to the propaganda truth.
what bothers me as well is all the ‘plausible dissent’ that’s anything but: squawks against DT, but only for show.
but as arthur silber notes: ‘the power of narrative’ is The Thing. and with media consolidation over the decades, hollywood-teevee agitprop, and now the atlantic council coupled w/ facebook (and google?) to toss out anything that’s ‘dangerous’ to war, empire, and justice…we The Rabble are pretty much in the soup.
but when your essay is more fully baked, i hope you bring it here. if urther hope that i/we would be able to grasp your meaning.
did you know that germany’s military is fully 20% of operation #tridentJunctue in the arctic circle?
““The NATO manoeuvres in Norway are preparing for such a “very large, high-intensity operation.” A spokesman for the German Defence Ministry said that the Bundeswehr was “deliberately taking on a pioneering role.” As part of “Trident Juncture”, the Bundeswehr was practicing for the leadership of multinational combat units. “This is a demanding task, especially when troops from many nations are to cooperate on a larger scale,” the spokesman continued.
Meanwhile, the German government has also acknowledged that the operation is not only very large, but also very expensive. The supply and relocation of troops to Norway alone is costing €90 million.” (wsws.org)
Indeed. The US is like the Republican Party of the Earth in many ways, most particularly here as it regards other countries’ being able to look good by comparison.
As such, my resident-land’s decision in 2011 to moratori-orise mandatory military service — notwithstanding the sometimes made use of civil service option therein — has implications here. The arguments for and against conscription, however long a period it entails, had been made here more cogently, as one might expect arguments to go when made by do-good Democrats. For this reason I don’t expect people outside of Germany to fully grasp the implications of such services. People just know or have heard of them and therefore you hear things like “Actually, many countries make your serve.” Indeed, the service has its advantages, but typically we are always stuck with an either/or proposition. Nobody would ever suggest we put our guns down altogether. Kind of like Christians who will nod in emotional intelligence at their leaders ‘turn the other cheek’ but are much more like Peter when it comes to the idea of surrendering all swords. Don’t get me started on US Dems oh-so self-evident belief in better gun control every time a whacko goes whacking. The idea that gun control might have a reach beyond private Joe Plumbers and include Private Ryan may as well be as bat-shit crazy as the whacko what just done gone whacking. “No army? Come on. The adults in the room are talking. How do you expect to win any elections with that kind of talk?”
Back to Deutschland über vieles: The crux of the issue had spun around whether or not there should be a professional military. Germane of course was the country’s having been the ones to have made explicit a final solution that involved in no small part a professional force of arms. The post-war mandatory military service, which involved but a year or two of training, both in the west and the east, was the way to keep from having the killing machine become a vocation with the same interests as any other job, i.e. being enabled to carry it out. When you couple this recent change with the fact that there was never any equivalent concern regarding the arm’s industry and the fact that this country pales only in comparison to Uncle Sadistic Lady Liberator, being the Euro leader in exports not just in auto-mobiles, don’tcha know, well, then.
it sounds as though the debate might be more nuanced, but ‘other services’
might be akin to obomba’s pitch for instituting a 2-year Vista conscription. but no, i reckon i can’t, many likely can’t grasp what’s afoot in germany.
sounds from headlines that mutti merkel won’t run again after her CDU party lost in recent elections? or is that why? i had an odd conversation about german nationalists on the rise, with a c99 woman living in dresden.
we may have been talking past one another, but for her the issue seemed to boil down to: ‘why should we accept immigrants (even in diaspora caused by the hegemon, i’d reminded her), but hadn’t mutti been attacked for trying to be reasonable about it? or did she change her mind under pressures; i’ve forgotten.
Ds and gun control: fooking brilliant. how about the hundreds of billions of armaments the US sells every year, and endless wars they back for resource plundering and profiteering? how about the actual facts as to how many millions of guns are already owned by amerikans? a *ka-pow* nation.
“who has done anything in the last quarter century?”
that’s why blacks are in prison.
and the good of things like civil rights & the ADA came about b/c of the integration of the country into the war-making operation of the state. I don’t think I need to go into this in re WW2, but disability rights’ movements began with Vets of the Vietnam War.
The accident & happenstance of warfare threw all these people & they came back wounded and fucked up all to hell to this shithole of a country & fought tooth & nail to eke out crumbs from the master’s table. how dare a dog bark!
i’m wont to generalize, but everything good about this country, except Moby Dick, comes from black people. certainly the impetus & methods for social movements, like bus boycotts. our helot population.
anyway, I’ve spent my morning thinking of David & Goliath.
of kids throwing rocks. how evil it is for kids to throw rocks. at the IDF.
at ICE. at Starbucks. pure evil. I think this white-bearded old Satan, who, saving your worships, is no whoremonger, has found his vocation. tis no sin for a man to labor in his vocation.
teaching the kids how to aim.
as St. Clair points in his weekend CP piece, which I thought was great in toto, there are over 5 “fallow” residences per homeless person in the US. all bank-owned & sitting there rotting. we all know the cops are here to keep people from just going in & taking a nap in a safe, quiet place with a bathroom. w/o paying a fuck ton of their lives for it.
the fat of the land. the wealth of the land used to keep poor people from just walking around & plucking the goddam fruit off the vine.
anyway, except for like food stamps, EBT/SNAP, most of the social services round here is church-based and church-funded. I don’t need to say that there are “good” people handing out needles here. and cash. to run & staff the day center, med clinic, food bank, etc., etc.
but these crumbs tossed under the table to us dogs is there to obscure the fact that there is no lack. no lack of food, no lack of housing, etc., etc.
people would rather staff food banks & require an army of social workers & behavior modifiers and field an army of banks than walk up to punk ass bankers & rip their fucking contracts up in their faces.
kids, when it comes to window smashing, start with the banks. hulk smash. drive out the bankers.
“field an army of banks.” there is that too, new banks opening all the time. no lack of $$ to hire bank tellers & people who sit around counting money.
but I meant “army of cops.”
And in spite of the very selectively nuanced lip service you’ll get on the campaign trail, it is plausible to liberals that the vast majority of black people in prison are scary super predators. Unfortunately, post-race America means that those who are not in prison are damn-near default motivated by the same carrot stick as most others: chase the reward of wealth and status or if all else fails do anything but become an outcast. The rest are desperately poor and/or homeless or in jail. And I don’t believe it qualifies as a generalisation to say that everything good about America comes from black people given that when one includes both direct and indirect influence it is all but perfectly true, barely an exaggeration.
precisely. no Ishmael w/o Queequeg. oh wait, he’s not African. and is also, you know, fiction.
but we might be leaving out women.
among men, there’s nothing greater than the mother of men-Walt W.
everybody we know that is “famous”, except some artists, esp musicians, everyone of them is nothing more than an expert at taking credit for someone else’s work & ideas. “Caesar & Antony ever do more in their officer than in their person.” ain’t that the g.d. truth? (not saying Caesar wasn’t a motivated seller of his own B.S. how else does one have authority or power except by getting other people to do stuff on one’s behalf? people pushing buttons in bunkers are not really doing something different just b/c drones now also blow up things when ordered to do so.) we all go to work & sign away all rights to our labor, above all intellectual property.
we are also fortunate enough to have some memory of the natives. even if it’s a lot of BS, like Disney’s “Pocahontas.” in the nightmare menagerie of the US psyche, the indian is haunting our imaginations for a reason. but b/c of mass murder & internal exile, aka segregation, the influence of native culture on the US psyche is far less than the African-American.
I mean, the villain is not the native, it’s the super predator. that is, in the nightly-news-sated, suburban soccer mom psyche. it’s not the CIA bringing crack to their babies.
still, and OT, 60% of global food staples today come from foods cultivated by native Americans…ummm….so can we blame their bison hunting for our burger worship? but seriously, how does one measure such contributions to humanity? do natives get even 10% of the credit for the “good things” about US culture & history? but, taking the good with bad, there’s tobacco, Lucifer’s leaf. pure evil. can we also blame natives for the invention of that true friend of labor & management, the smoke break? did the natives successfully addict 90% of their populace to tobacco? well, did they have full market penetration of their product? I do wonder if any of the natives had the bright idea of banning drug use, prohibiting it under severe penalty. see how primitive they were? they didn’t come up with Narc Anon did they? (beside, people smoking stuff growing from the ground cuz they like it & it makes ’em feel better is a load of primitive commie bull.)
anyway, clearly I don’t think capitalism & its ownership fetish is the best prism for discussing these things. however, Monsanto types are very interested in questions like who “owns” the Platonic form of the Halloween pumpkin, aka its DNA. as capitalists are very interested in who “owns” the most Victimhood. come forward & proudly confess to being capitalism’s greatest Victim. and earn a dump truck load of money. (oh god, I just had a vision of a “the price is right” kind of show where instead of bidding on how much you know of the regional variations in price in a box of Rice-A-Roni, you bid on how convincing people’s confessions & disclosures are of how they have been raped by Big Capital. the bonus prize is a cushy Professorship for one lucky winner.)
Dear Mr. 9,
As proud, relatively new sole owner of the former firm that bestowed upon humanity (and, as with so many serendipitous scientific breakthroughs, sometimes dropped upon remarkably human-like Communists) such miracles as Agent Orange, DDT, PCB, recombinant bovine growth hormone, inter alia, we remind you that the name Monsanto [lit. “our Lord & Savior”] remains under copyright despite the therein named firm’s dissolution upon acquisition by Bayer AG on 7 June 2018. We hereupon ask that you cease and desist employing explicitly or alluding to, either orally, digitally or in print (in addition to the above-named patented materials and their copyrighted nomenclature and the entity that created them) any of the following terminology as well as that to which it refers: Bacillus thuringiensis, Bt, Bacillus thuringiensis, or later tater(s).
Respectfully not yours,
Armee der Legal Eagles für die Bayer AG (gm)
while we here at bayer…have our roots in aspirin and zyclon b.
the ghost of IG farber
and the indigenous, first nations (esp. women) in canuckistan, i’ll add, are far over-represented in prisons, as well as amerikan indigenous the cdc claims…are killed by police more often than blacks. (never could find that claimed backed up, myself, though.)
but especially AIM flips the zoris off anglo-amerikans. but “get back if yer black…white is right” ring a bell?
William S. Burroughs
head thwok! thank you, aliceleester. welcome to the café, including w/ helpful initials decoding.