News on the Russia Ukraine conflict

  • Historic roots of the Donbass problem explained
    by RT on March 19, 2022

    estimated reading time: 10 minThe region has a distinct identity and doesn’t fit neatly into either Russia or UkraineCurrent events have brought a renewed focus on the Donbass, a historical region on the border of Ukraine and Russia. By the standards of history, this area has emerged quite recently, and has always stood a little apart. It’s important to understand its evolution when viewing this crisis, which began in 2014. Today, Donbass is an industrial and mining region, but for a long time it was largely uninhabited. The steppe zone that ran along the southern borders of medieval ‘Rus’ (not yet divided into Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus) was called the ‘Wild Fields.’ It was home to nomadic peoples and farmers only moved south with great difficulty. After the Mongol invasion in the 13th century, the Wild Fields  was a dangerous place to find yourself. Around four hundred years, a few peasants from Russia and Ukraine began to gradually settle in the future Donbass.A great leap forward came in the 19th century when the coal deposits discovered there became necessary for industry. It was then that many of the cities without which it is impossible to imagine today’s Donbass were founded. In 1869, the British industrialist John Hughes built a factory around which the village of Yuzovka grew – it had a few more names, including Stalino,  before a local man renamed it Donetsk, in 1961.His name was Nikita Khruschev, and he had risen from humble origins as a metal fitter to lead the Soviet Union.   In 1868, Kramatorsk appeared and, in 1878, Debaltseve. The cities grew rapidly. Coal deposits and increasing factories formed the unique ‘face’ of the region. This even applies to the landscape: wherever you go in modern Donbass, giant landfills catch your eye. Donbass was formed as an industrial region and its cities and factories often flow into one another, even today. The region was inhabited by several streams of colonists from Russia and Ukraine and its population was very diverse, but its peoples mixed easily due to the proximity of their languages and cultures. It was meteoric development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when it became a huge mine and forge for the Russian Empire, that made it the Donbass we know today.A great deal changed in 1917. Two revolutions and a civil war divided the history of the whole of Russia into ‘before’ and ‘after.’After the February Revolution, when the monarchy fell, a Provisional Committee ruled the region. Meanwhile, the Central Rada in Kiev declared Ukraine autonomous, before making a declaration of independence after the October Revolution. The Rada made broad territorial claims, which included the territory of Donbass. However, not entirely so. Yuzovka was a border city, according to the Rada’s stipulations. The nuance was that the Rada did not exercise any authority over most of these territories, and it soon was quarreling with the Provisional Government in Petrograd.The whole argument could have been quashed in parliamentary debates but, on November 7, 1917, the socialist revolution took place. After that, events took off at a gallop. In Kiev, the Communist uprising was suppressed, and Russian officers, who considered the Rada a lesser evil than the Reds, actively participated. Meanwhile, in the east of the self-proclaimed Ukraine, a very unusual coalition was being formed. Its center was Kharkov, a large industrial city that was not part of the Donetsk Basin region but closely tied to it. The Donbass’ distinct identity had already emerged by that time. Although the area was administratively divided into three entities, they had a common economy and interests. While the Rada was in session, local councils in the east of Ukraine announced the unification of the Donbass and Krivbass coal basins. It also included cities belonging to the region of the Don Cossack Army, such as Mariupol and Krivoy Rog, which was administratively part of the Kherson province, as well as Kharkov. This structure, which was informally called ‘Donkrivbass’ or simply ‘Donbass,’ did not claim independence and deemed the idea of separating from Russia absurd, considering itself, instead autonomous within it. Moreover, Ukraine’s independence projects were of no interest to it creators.Nikolai von Ditmar, chairman of the Council of Congresses of Miners of the South of Russia, noted:"Industrially, geographically, and practically speaking, this whole area is completely different from that of Kiev. This whole district has its own completely independent fundamental importance for Russia and lives a separate life. The administrative subordination of the Kharkov district to Kiev is not called for by anything at all, but on the contrary, does not correspond with reality. Such artificial subordination will only complicate and impede the life of the district, especially since this subordination is dictated by questions of expediency and state requirements, and exclusively by the national claims of the leaders of the Ukrainian movement."In February of 1918, Fyodor Sergeyev, a Bolshevik known by the party pseudonym Artyom, proclaimed the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic (DKR) to be an autonomous region within the RSFSR, or Soviet Russia.  Was the DKR legitimate? No more and no less than any other self-proclaimed entity formed on the ruins of the Russian Empire, where states proclaimed their independence and then collapsed in a week. Another example was “Green Ukraine,” an attempt to found an independent Ukrainian state, near the Pacific Ocean. That project centered around the city of Khabarovsk, which today is a 8,924km drive from Kiev. The DKR project was not the idea of the leadership of the Bolshevik Party. It appeared precisely on the basis of a regional identity that had already been formed. The leader Vladimir Lenin knew of the upcoming creation of the DKR and did not object. The borders Artyom claimed for the republic were more modest than those drawn by the Rada, but still very wide. The DKR’s problem was the same as the Rada’s – actual control over the territory was very tenuous or nonexistent. The DKR had its own government, which included representatives of three left-wing parties – the Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, and Social Revolutionaries. Some of its legislation’s nuances appear very unusual and mild by the standards of the time and place. For example, the death penalty was officially banned there. In general, Artyom and his team had a reputation among the Bolsheviks as soft-hearted liberals who hindered repression and released the ‘bourgeois’ from prison.In short, by the standards of civil war-torn Russia, the DKR was a real stronghold of humanity. In reality, everything was not going as smoothly as the creators of the republic would have liked. For example, arbitrary reprisals were prohibited but the local authorities secretly practiced them. However, the general trend was more lenient than in other places.The main problem was that Artyom and his comrades could not hold on to power. The German army, which was continuing its offensive during the First World War, was rolling in from the west, and Berlin’s forces destroyed the DKR by May of 1918.Donbass and all of Russia collapsed into the abyss. At first, the Germans plundered the region. Then it became the scene of battles between the Reds and Whites – the main sides in the civil war.However, Donbass’ ‘distinctiveness’ had not disappeared. The debate over how to deal with the area continued until 1923. The region’s place in the new order was not at all obvious. Its cities were mostly Russian in both language and self-identification. However, the occupying German forces installed a collaborationist Ukrainian government. Both Germans and Ukrainians shot political opponents and those suspected of sympathizing with the Reds. At the same time, the Ukrainian government began to implement a policy of ‘Ukrainization’ – an attempt to impose its own language and identity on the local population. One of its first orders read: “In all state institutions of the Kharkov region, all business should be conducted only in the Ukrainian language.” Another requirement was “for all institutions to replace all writing on signs, posters, and announcements with the Ukrainian language within three days... The statements from leaders claiming that it is impossible to replace the writing in three days are not considered convincing because there are already some establishments that have fulfilled this order... If signs, posters, announcements, etc have not been replaced with those containing the state language within the stipulated period, then the designated heads of districts, transportation departments, and post offices will be severely punished according to the laws of the Ukrainian People’s Republic.”These attempts were unsuccessful for a banal reason: there were not enough experts in Ukrainian to introduce the language in schools and offices. The situation reached the level of comedy when the head of the Ukrainization commission greeted subordinates in Ukrainian, after which everyone switched to Russian. After the defeat of Germany in the First World War, Donbass was easily cleared of Ukrainian formations, and the real struggle began – between the Reds and the Whites. However, the issue of Donbass’ status remained in question. Neither the Reds nor the Whites recognized any independent Ukrainian states. The Bolsheviks, however, welcomed the creation of Ukraine, but only a strictly Red one. Whatever the desires of the Rada, it could not secure its claims by force of arms, and authority on the ruins of Russia could only be imposed at gunpoint.Artyom insisted that the region should be part of Soviet Russia, basing his argument on economic ties and the language of the population. However, this idea was torpedoed by none other than Lenin, who instantly scoffed at the idea of recreating the DKR, declaring it “playing with independence.” The logic on which the Soviet leaders based Donbass’ inclusion in Ukraine is interesting:“Separating the Kharkov and Yekaterinoslav (today Dnepropetrovsk) provinces from Ukraine will create a petty-bourgeois peasant republic and lead to perpetual fear that the peasant majority will gain the advantage at some other Congress of Soviets, because the only purely proletarian districts are the mining areas of the Donetsk basin and Zaporozhye.”The Bolsheviks, who were supported mainly by workers, literally hammered the region into Ukraine precisely because the industrial region was very different from the rest of the republic. Artyom died in a railway accident in 1921 and, of course, couldn’t have prevented this. Donbass was incorporated into Soviet Ukraine without any special status, and a campaign of ‘indigenization’ was launched in the region. Soviet ideology called for the culture, language, and traditions of the people who were considered indigenous to this republic to be literally implanted in the national republics. The USSR, especially in the early days, maintained a kind of governmental ‘affirmative action’ policy. One of the leaders of the nascent Soviet Union, Nikolai Bukharin, formulated the task as follows: “One cannot even approach this from the point of view of equality of nations, and Lenin has repeatedly proved this. On the contrary, we must say that we, as a former great-power nation, must... put ourselves in an unequal position by making even greater concessions to national tendencies... Only with such a policy, when we artificially put ourselves in a lower position compared to others, only at this price can we buy ourselves the real trust of formerly oppressed nations.”The Ukrainization of Donbass was carried out systematically, and with the rigidity typical of the USSR. All mention of times when the region was autonomous were banned, there was an attempt to introduce the Ukrainian language everywhere, and, in 1930, a number of university teachers were arrested for refusing to switch to the Ukrainian language and adopt ‘Ukrainian culture.’ The Ukrainization of the press, education, and culture continued until the second half of the the decade, when Joseph Stalin took national policy in different direction. However, Donbass’ distinctiveness, although somewhat faded, had not completely disappeared. The region’s way of life still significantly differed from that in the rest of Ukraine. The industrial, Russian-speaking and largely ethnically Russian region retained its distinct character both during the era of incredible upheavals in the first half of the 20th century and the stagnant times of the late USSR. And it has, likewise, been preserved since the Soviet Union collapsed, in 1991.

  • Xinhua Commentary: West's double-standard coverage of Russia-Ukraine conflict hypocritical, deplorable
    on March 19, 2022

    estimated reading time: 3 minLocal residents are seen outside a damaged building in Volnovakha of Donetsk, March 15, 2022. (Photo by Victor/Xinhua)Behind the double-standard coverage is the condescending mindset and the penetration of Western-centrism in their journalism industry, which views the Western countries "more civilized" than the rest of the world.CAIRO, March 18 (Xinhua) -- If people take a close look at the Western coverage on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, they can easily see racial prejudice and double standards -- practices that Western media have often scoffed at."These are not refugees from Syria, these are refugees from Ukraine ... They're Christian, they're white, they're very similar (to us)," Kelly Cobiella, an NBC News correspondent based in London, recently said on video.Since the onset of the conflict, such remarks of a racist nature have been circulating on Western media.When numerous journalists have focused on the look, skin color, race and religion of Ukrainian evacuees, and made a comparison between them and refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, their unspoken implication is that the former are superior to the latter and have less reason to suffer from any plight.Behind the double-standard coverage is the condescending mindset and the penetration of Western-centrism in their journalism industry, which views the Western countries "more civilized" than the rest of the world.Obsessed with preaching others on human rights and civil rights, and chanting such slogans as "all men are created equal," the United States and its allies, however, have long been holding double standards and racist bias.Photo taken on Feb. 28, 2022 shows the U.S. Capitol building, seen through a barrier fence, in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)A basic rule of journalism is to be sensitive to victims' feeling when reporting on any tragedy, but in fact, some in the West just associate the need of comfort to people's race.As Andrew Mitrovica, an Al Jazeera columnist who had previously worked at several Western news organizations, has criticized, "editorial staff shaped institution-wide editorial policies that, in effect, established who and what kind of 'victims' warrant sympathy and attention and who and what kind of 'victims' do not.""While the invasion of Iraq by the United States was considered a liberation, the operation taken by Russia is seen as a cut-throat invasion in the eyes of the Western media," Egyptian professor and writer Azza Radwan Sedky wrote in an article published on Ahram Online, the English news website of Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper.Moreover, while the Russia-Ukraine conflict is under the spotlight, the sufferings of people in such countries as Iraq and Afghanistan, both invaded by the United States, are receiving less coverage by Western media.Migrating Afghans are seen at Islam Qala, a town along the border with Iran in the western Herat province of Afghanistan, March 3, 2022. (Photo by Mashal/Xinhua)Joy Reid, an MSNBC political analyst and host, criticized the Western coverage of Ukraine, saying Americans only care about the war because Ukrainians are "white and largely Christian.""We should also care this much for refugees and those facing occupation and war in the Middle East and Asia and Africa, too," Reid said. "But we haven't witnessed the same type of solidarity for the Yemenis as we do for the Ukranians."Obviously, Western media have been posting contradictory narratives on similar situations, with the difference hinging on their own interest and calculation, rather than professional ethics or responsibilities. That's why they have called the U.S.-launched wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as "a liberation" and an "anti-terror" fight.Facing a conflict, media outlets are expected to play a role in bridging understanding gaps and promoting peace, in addition to providing information and documenting what is going on.Unfortunately, some Western media's deeds have run counter to these aims, which only tarnished their reputation and credibility, and exposed their hypocrisy and racist bias.  ■

  • Sanctions on Russia expose West's double standards
    by hanifk on March 19, 2022

    estimated reading time: 5 minSanctions, whether targeted or not should be considered a crime against humanity, their  impact is like that of a full-fledged war.Sanctions have the capacity to destroy a nation's infrastructure, its economy, but most of all they are responsible for the loss of lives and livelihoods of ordinary citizens, be  they targeted or not.It is also the biggest contributor of migration across the globe.Hunger, poor healthcare facilities, inflation and folding industries push people to leave sanctioned nations in search of greener pastures.Nations such as Libya, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Iran once had thriving economies; their crime was the vast resources in their countries that the United States (US) and her allies coveted and sought to possess.The Russia/Ukraine conflict has drawn a lot of interest globally, with comparisons being drawn from previous conflicts, some of which were not justified, but because they were either instigated or supported by the US, the United Nations (UN) never raised a finger.Questions have been raised on whether the UN is an autonomous body or like the League of Nations, a puppet of a few powerful countries.As if the mannequin state of the UN is not enough it would appear the US has appointed itself arbitrator over global geo-politics. Its influence is being felt across the globe as it tries with reckless abandon to circumnavigate resolutions across the globe in its favour.It is a fact that global politics seeks to establish a balance of power, so that no super power can emerge and terrorise other nations.During the Cold War talks, it was agreed that USSR was enormous and if left in that state would present an overbearing force on other nations, and the only way was for it to be dismantled by letting go of other states.One of those states was Ukraine. It was further agreed in the Minsk Treaty that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was not to expand towards Eastern Europe.Indeed, documents show a pattern of promises US negotiators made to their Russian counterparts as well as internal policy discussions opposing NATO expansion to Eastern Europe, however in its very shrewd way, the US has been attempting to expand east, thus violating its NATO-Russia Founding Act, which forbids it from doing so.Recently, the US sweet-talked Ukraine into joining NATO, giving NATO close proximity access to Russia, since Ukraine shares the longest border with Russia.Again, Ukraine joining NATO creates a situation that enables the US to set up its military base very close to Russia's borders presenting an imminent threat to the territorial integrity of Russia as a sovereign state.Russia had no choice, but to enforce the agreement it made with Ukraine, the Minsk treaty that forbids Ukraine from joining NATO under any situation.For this reason, a conflict ensued between Russia and Ukraine.It is, therefore, safe to say this (Russia/Ukraine) war, just like the war in Iran, Afghanistan, Libya and Kosovo, was at the instigation of the US and its allies as it continues to pursue global dominance. If it's not war that the US and its allies bring to any rival country's doorstep then it's the sanctions that have an equally devastating effect to the nation, economy and the people's lives and livelihoods. Recently, the US and her allies slapped Russia with sanctions such as the barring of oil and gas imports from Russia, freezing of assets of Russia's Central Bank, limiting its ability to access US$630 billion/470 billion pounds of its dollar reserves.The US, UK and EU went further to ban people and businesses from dealing with the Russian Central Bank, its Finance Ministry and its Wealth Fund.The Russian banks were removed from the Swift Messaging System, which enables the smooth transfer of money across borders.This is meant to delay payments Russia gets from exports of oil and gas.The sanctions that have been imposed on Russia by the NATO allies are tantamount to shooting themselves in the foot. The have killed any banking confidence that other countries might have held about the American dollar reserve as a way of saving money.Wise leaders whether friend or foe, should start looking for other alternative banking ways.The US has been freezing other nations' assets and dollar reserves in their custody, they did it to Libya and to this day they have not refunded Libya of its frozen assets, yet it's in ruins in need of money to rebuild its ruined nation.Other options such as China, Panama, Brazil and South Africa can be considered, it has never been wise to put all eggs in one basket.Unlike smaller nations such as Zimbabwe, Libya and Afghanistan that the US bullies using its sanctions, Russia is a formidable force to reckon with, an equal opposing force.It recently refused to give another cheek, but instead also slapped the US and her allies with sanctions.Russia more than doubled its key interest rate in an attempt to stem the decline of the rouble, which fell 30 percent against the US dollar after sanctions were introduced, it blocked interest payments to foreign investors who hold government bonds, and banned Russian companies from paying overseas shareholders, foreign investors who hold tens of billions of dollars' worth of Russian stocks and bonds have been stopped from selling those assets.Many wealthy Russians started converting their rouble into crypto currencies such as Bitcoin to get around sanctions; the EU is worried because many of the world's largest crypto exchanges are refusing to impose a blanket ban on Russian clients.Meanwhile, Germany has ruled out sanctioning Russia on its export of gas and oil because of the effects it would have on EU.This is mainly due to the fact that EU imports a quarter of its oil and 40 percent of its gas from Russia.Sanctioning Russia would mean Europe will have to brace up for a very cold winter. This is tantamount to shooting self in the foot.British airlines been banned from Russian airspace or landing at Russian airportsRecently the US, the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) took the Russia/Ukraine conflict to the United Nations (UN) to discuss a way forward, and 141 nations out of 193 member states voted for the resolution, 35 abstained and 5 voted against.NATO's wish would have been to throw Russia out of the five permanent members, but unfortunately they can't due to the founding document of the organisation that was established after World War II, that states that the UN Charter cannot oust one of the five permanent members even if the state violates the body's fundamental principle of not resorting to violence to resolve a crisis as Russia stands accused of doing.All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

  • ‘Double standards’: Western coverage of Ukraine war criticised
    by Al Jazeera Staff on March 19, 2022

    estimated reading time: 5 minAs the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues into a fourth day, an outpouring of support for Ukrainians has been witnessed across much of Europe, Australia, and the West in general.The war began on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to enter Ukraine, following months of a heavy military build-up on the border.Ukraine’s health minister said at least 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed so far during the invasion. The United Nations says more than 360,000 Ukrainians have fled the country, with the majority crossing the border into neighbouring Poland.The war has triggered swift condemnation by several countries, immediate sanctions by the United States and other countries targeting Russian banks, oil refineries, and military exports, and marathon emergency talks at the UN Security Council (UNSC).On social media, the speed of such an international response – which includes the exclusion of Russia from some cultural events and treatment of it as a pariah in sports – has raised eyebrows at the lack of such a reaction to other conflicts across the world.Media pundits, journalists, and political figures have been accused of double standards for using their outlets to not only commend Ukraine’s armed resistance to Russian troops, but also to underlying their horror at how such a conflict could happen to a “civilised” nation.CBS News senior correspondent in Kyiv Charlie D’Agata said on Friday: “This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilised, relatively European – I have to choose those words carefully, too – city where you wouldn’t expect that, or hope that it’s going to happen.”His comments were met with derision and anger on social media, with many pointing out how his statements contributed to the further dehumanisation of non-white, non-European people suffering under a conflict within mainstream media.D’Agata later apologised, saying he spoke “in a way I regret”.On Saturday, the BBC hosted Ukraine’s former deputy general prosecutor, David Sakvarelidze.“It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blonde hair and blue eyes being killed every day with Putin’s missiles and his helicopters and his rockets,” Sakvarelidze said.The BBC presenter responded: “I understand and of course respect the emotion.”On Sunday, Al Jazeera English presenter Peter Dobbie described Ukrainians fleeing the war as “prosperous, middle class people” who “are not obviously refugees trying to get away from areas in the Middle East that are still in a big state of war; these are not people trying to get away from areas in North Africa, they look like any European family that you would live next door to.”The media network later issued an apology, saying the comments “were inappropriate, insensitive, and irresponsible”.“Al Jazeera English is committed to impartiality, diversity and professionalism in all its work. This breach of that professionalism will be dealt with through disciplinary measures,” it said in a statement.Meanwhile on Friday, Sky News broadcast a video of people in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro making Molotov cocktails, explaining how grating Styrofoam makes the incendiary device stick to vehicles better.“Amazing mainstream Western media gives glowing coverage of people resisting invasion by making molotov cocktails,” one social media user remarked. “If they were brown people in Yemen or Palestine doing the same they would be labeled terrorists deserving US-Israeli or US-Saudi drone bombing.”On BFM TV, France’s most-watched cable news channel, journalist Philippe Corbe said: “We’re not talking here about Syrians fleeing the bombing of the Syrian regime backed by Putin, we’re talking about Europeans leaving in cars that look like ours to save their lives.”British journalist Daniel Hannan was criticised online for an article in The Telegraph, in which he wrote that war no longer happens in “impoverished and remote populations”.European politicians have also expressed support for open borders towards Ukrainian refugees, using terminology such as “intellectuals” and “European” – a far cry from the fear-mongering used by governments against migrants and refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.“Skin is a passport … epidermal citizenship,” one social media user said.Jean-Louis Bourlanges, a member of the French National Assembly, told a TV channel that the Ukrainian refugees will be “an immigration of great quality, intellectuals, one that we will be able to take advantage of”.The Russia-Ukraine war has been billed by liberal media as Europe’s worst security crisis since the end of World War II, contributing to the general amnesia of relatively recent conflicts on the continent such as the Bosnian war in the 1990s and the Northern Ireland conflict that lasted from the 1960s until 1998.Absent from such generalisations was the fact that in the post-World War era, Europe exported many wars in countries that were previous colonial entities.Some commentators have also heaped praise on the steadfastness of Ukrainians and the country’s defence capabilities, in a way that they suggested no other nation or people have undergone such an experience before.Critics pointed out the hypocrisy of crowdsourcing and setting up online donations to fund Kyiv’s military without facing any government backlash or suspension of their monetary accounts.The double standards regarding calls for excluding Russia from cultural and sporting events and not extending the same move to other occupying entities have not been lost on social media either.Examples were drawn between the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel – often touted by Western governments as anti-Semitic – and the current exclusion of Moscow from events such as the Eurovision contest and stripping the Champions League final from St Petersburg.Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has backed the boycott of Russia from sports, but criticised the boycott of last month’s Sydney Cultural Festival over receiving sponsorship from the Israeli embassy.Claudia Webbe, a British member of parliament, tweeted that the people who genuinely care about Ukrainians are the ones who will welcome all refugees with open arms.“The rest?” she posted, “Well, they’re pretending.”

  • Western coverage of Ukraine exposes deep-seated racist bias, double standards
    by The Independent on March 19, 2022

    estimated reading time: 3 minPeople board a bus in Irpin to flee Ukraine, March 5, 2022. File/(Photo by Diego Herrera/Xinhua) West has been playing dumb over the refugee issues of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, as well as Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, as if people in those places were inherently inferior and unworthy of respect Beijing, China | Xinhua | The sharp difference in Western media coverage of the Ukraine situation and other conflicts has laid bare their deep-rooted racist bias and double standards.Their emphasis on the Ukrainians’ race and disregard for tragedies in other parts of the world have drawn criticism particularly from the Middle East.RACIST BIASIn their reports, numerous Western journalists have focused on the look, skin color, race and religion of Ukranian evacuees, and made a comparison between them and refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. The unspoken implication is that the former are superior to the latter and have less reason to suffer from any plight.“To put it bluntly, these are not refugees from Syria, these are refugees from Ukraine … They’re Christian, they’re white, they’re very similar (to us),” said Kelly Cobiella, an NBC News correspondent based in London, on video.On BFM TV, France’s most-watched cable news channel, journalist Phillipe Corbe said: “We’re not talking here about Syrians … We’re talking about Europeans leaving in cars that look like ours to save their lives.”Since the onset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, remarks of a racist nature have been circulating on Western media, irritating people from around the world, especially those who have fled their homes due to color revolutions or wars waged by the West.Mohammed al-Jubouri, a professor of the media college at Al-Iraqia University in Baghdad, said that the West has been playing dumb over the refugee issues of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, as well as Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, as if people in those places were inherently inferior and unworthy of respect.RACE SUPERIORITYThe reason why a military conflict is taking place on a so-called “civilized” continent has shocked most Western journalists and partly lies in the penetration of West-centrism across their industry, but the theory is plainly grounded upon race superiority.When reporting from Kiev in late February, Charlie D’Agata, a senior foreign correspondent with CBS News, said: “This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades,” but “a relatively civilized, relatively European” city.“They seem so like us. That is what makes it so shocking,” wrote Daniel Hannan in Britain’s The Telegraph. “War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations. It can happen to anyone.”“We are in the 21st century, we are in a European city and we have cruise missiles fired as if we were in Iraq or Afghanistan, can you imagine,” a commentator said on BFM TV.The truth is apparent how Western governments and Western media view the conflict in Ukraine, a country they have abandoned, in comparison to the wars they waged in particular against West Asian countries, said a recent opinion article published in Iran’s Tehran Times.“The idea that a conflict inside ‘civilized’ Europe is so alarming because wars only happen in countries that are ‘uncivilized’ is such disturbing double standards and hypocritical analyses,” it said. “All the wars outside Europe, the vast majority of which in West Asia and Africa, occurred as a result of Western imperialism, plots and military adventurism.”Speaking of the racist reports, Amiya Mohan, a veteran Indian journalist and analyst, regards race supremacy as “the root cause,” saying many Western media outlets “are unable to hide their bias,” which is “really sad and disappointing.”Earlier this month, the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association based in New York issued a statement on relevant reporting, condemning the “racist implications that any population or country is ‘uncivilized’ or bears economic factors that make it worthy of conflict.”“This type of commentary reflects the pervasive mentality in Western journalism of normalizing tragedy in parts of the world such as the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Latin America,” it continued.Calling those racist reports “abhorrent,” Cavince Adhere, a Kenyan international relations scholar, noted that many African countries have been subject to the West’s stereotypical and negative reporting, which only made local people “tired and weary of misreporting, disinformation and stereotype journalism from some Western media outlets.”****Xinhua

  • Parallel Worlds or Parabolic Mirror Images: Media Coverage of the Russia-Ukraine War
    by gilbertdoctorow on March 19, 2022

    estimated reading time: 7 minMy Russia-Ukraine war essays published on my website and reposted on many alternative news portals in Europe and the United States express personal observations of the author. They are “primary sources” and are not represented as academic works. Hence, no footnotes and only very rare critiques of what others are writing or saying. Their added value to the reader comes from the fact that the author is watching with equal concentration both what is being reported in mainstream Western media and what is being reported on Russian print and electronic media produced for the domestic Russian audience.  What I see daily might be best described as parallel worlds or parabolic mirror images, meaning freakish distortions of similar events occurring on this or that side of the line of demarcation in Ukraine. I offer here several examples from the past few days. On the morning of 13 March, all Western news agencies reported on the devastating Russian attack on facilities at two locations west of the Ukrainian city of Lviv and in close proximity to the Polish border. We were told that 35 people died and many more were hospitalized with serious injuries. Who were these people?  It appears to me that Western media said not a word. “People” could mean civilians or soldiers or something still different. What was the sense of the attack?  Major Western media noted that this attack seemed to follow the warning a day earlier from Major General Igor Konashenkov of the Russian military command that flows of armaments into Ukraine would henceforth be considered ‘legitimate targets’ by the Russian forces. Meanwhile, Russian media reported that one of the bases was a training facility used by NATO in its work with the Ukrainian military and also used to receive Western ‘mercenaries’ arriving in Ukraine. The other facility was used as a logistical center to receive and pass along incoming military equipment and supplies from the West. Konashenkov later said that the whereabouts of all inbound Western volunteer fighters was known and they would be shown no mercy. Russian sources also gave a much higher number of deaths, namely 100 more. We are left to conclude that the fatalities were such fighters and possibly their NATO handlers. The U.S. response to this event de facto was an urgent warning coming from the White House that Russia was about to implement a chemical weapons attack in Ukraine. The Ukrainian response came yesterday when a powerful (Tochka-U) * missile packed with a hundred ‘cartridges’ of explosives was fired at the city center of Donetsk. The missile was partly destroyed by Donetsk air defenses, but one cartridge landed in a downtown street where it instantly killed 20 civilians including children and pensioners waiting outside an ATM to withdraw funds; dozens more were injured.  Had all 100 cartridges exploded over Donetsk as had been planned from Kiev, the fatalities would have been 100 times greater.  The Russians denounced this missile firing as a war crime. Since approval for such a missile strike could only have come from the highest levels of the professional Ukrainian army, not by or from the irregular militias, Russia is now reevaluating how it should deal with the Ukrainian forces, in the sense of no longer distinguishing between regulars and militias and “neutralizing” both with equal measure of devastation. Did you read or see anything about this missile attack on Donetsk yesterday in your daily newspaper or television news?  I believe not. Let us take a look at one other set of recent linked events, action and reaction, that captured the news headlines on both sides mainly with one hand clapping. I have in mind the alleged Russian artillery attack on a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol on 9 March. At least 17 people were said to be injured and headlines in the West spoke of ‘global horror, outrage.’  In particular, there were videos provided by Ukrainian sources showing a wounded heavily pregnant woman who was yesterday reported to have died. The official Russian response to these allegations of a war crime were total denial and counter-accusation that the entire incident was a ‘false flag’ operation stage directed by Kiev authorities. They said the hospital in question had been taken over by nationalist militiamen and the patients were sent elsewhere so that the facility could be used as a military center. The ‘wounded’ pregnant woman was an actress and all pictures of her were fake.  We do not know if her reported death has any substance to it. The mirror image attack occurred two days ago when the Ukrainian army and irregulars evacuated the Donbas town of Volnovakhi, which they had occupied for the past eight years, destroying all civilian infrastructure and much residential housing as they departed. As part of the devastation, their tanks fired on a functioning hospital filled with patients. Fortunately no one was killed, though video coverage on Russian state television showed a gaping blackened hole a couple of meters wide on the third floor and extensive damage elsewhere to the building.  Have you read about this atrocity in your morning newspaper in New York or London?  Of course, not. Finally, yesterday afternoon Russian news agencies reported on and Russian television later showed video coverage of the evacuation of hundreds of civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol, where some 400,000 residents have been held hostage by the neo-Nazi Azov battalion and by regular Ukrainian army units that have moved their weaponry into residential buildings and infrastructure and have not allowed anyone to avail themselves of the escape corridors to the East opened by Russian forces encircling the city. The same reportage spoke of 450 tons of humanitarian aid, mainly foodstuffs, which were delivered to the city by a Russian convoy.  All of this was made possible by the Russians’ precision missile attack on most, but not all of the artillery placements held by the Ukrainian nationalist forces.  Russian press briefings are silent about how their soldiers entered Mariupol, where they are and what resistance they still have to overcome on the ground. Did you hear about any of this yesterday on your news sources? Today’s Western newspapers and television are carrying uncritically the story put out by Zelensky’s office that several hundred civilians left Mariupol and humanitarian aid arrived thanks to his Ukrainian forces!  One look at the map makes clear that this is a bare-faced lie. The whole issue of stalled evacuation of civilians from Mariupol was about the direction they should take, East to Russia or West to Ukraine.  Opening corridors to the West would have meant breaking the siege which the Russians imposed precisely to crush the radical forces within the city. The Russians had indeed not allowed this.                                                                         ***** Let us be perfectly frank: the Russians have lost the Information War over their ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine in Western media, meaning especially in the United States and Europe.  The situation globally is, of course, more nuanced, with nearly half of humanity, meaning India and China, on the sidelines or predisposed to side with Russia. Let us remember that the Russians never did well in the Information War in the West.  They lacked the skills, and the ‘market’ was virtually closed to them by tight U.S. government control over all major media and patriotic self-censorship in editorial and production offices.  The shutdown of RT and Sputnik has been an insignificant factor working against dissemination of the Russian narrative. Let us also be clear-eyed: the loss of the Information War in the lands of their enemies changes absolutely nothing for Russia. They never were liked.  The ongoing war, and the greater threat of its escalation to a more generalized Third World War that quickly becomes nuclear has put into the equation an element of fear, which may sway some minds in the West towards greater realism. Or perhaps it won’t.  But all of this changes nothing as regards the outcome if the Russians can complete their mission in the coming weeks and not face growing domestic discontent that compels them to change their negotiating terms at the end. If completed quickly, the Russian military operation will be decided by two things only: Blut und Eisen, or ‘blood and iron,’ as Bismarck would have observed. ©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022 *The Tochka-U is known in NATO parlance as the SS-21. Their deployment by the USSR within the Warsaw Pact in the late 1970s-early 1980s led the United States to threaten introduction of its Pershings in Europe and ended in the conclusion of the INF Treaty. The missile is nuclear capable and has a range of up to 180 km. This was the missile which Vladimir Putin mentioned in his remarks denouncing the Ukrainian nuclear program discovered at the Zaporozhye atomic stations. For visuals of the destruciton in Donetsk city from the missile strike, see

  • Opinion: The West’s ban on the Kremlin-backed RT news channel is a disservice to freedom of speech
    by Nandita Haksar on March 19, 2022

    estimated reading time: 7 minThe Russia Today News application is seen on a smartphone. | Dado Ruvic/ReutersIt was a poignant moment. On March 3, the entire staff of Dozhd, a Russian television channel, resigned live on-air after declaring “no to war”. They resigned after the Russian government passed a law that made it impossible to cover the war without inviting censorship and prison sentences up to 15 years. We, the audience, were left with a video of the Swan Lake ballet, the same video that was played on state-run television channels in Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Then came the news that the board of the radio station Ekho Moskvy,or the Echo of Moscow, had decided to go off the air after coming under pressure for its coverage of the war in Ukraine. The radio station has featured interviews with Ukrainian journalists who described the horrors of Russia’s military operations. ‘The Russian viewpoint’ These Russian journalists were applauded for their courage and rightly so. But there was another set of journalists who have been equally courageous, perhaps even more so. They work for the Kremlin-backed RT, formerly known as Russia Today. Many of them are from Europe, Britain and the United States. They continue to work for RT despite the ban on the channel by the United States and the European countries. The European Union justified the move by arguing that the channel broadcast “systematic information manipulation and disinformation”. The ban on RT brings to the fore many questions that are at the core of journalist ethics and the idea that we, the audience, have a right to listen to both sides of the story. The journalists working at RT do not necessarily support the war or even have loyalty to Putin, but they do think it is important to get the Russian viewpoint out in the world. Veteran war correspondent, Paula Slier, the Middle East Bureau Chief for RT and the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Newshound Media International, has written about her stand on why the ban on the channel is not justified, even though a boycott may be: “Every channel has a point of view; all media are subjective. At least RT is upfront and honest about it. Twitter was the only platform that kept my account but flagged it as being part of ‘Russian state-affiliated media’. I commend that because it’s true. Neither I nor RT have ever hidden the fact that the channel represents the Russian government’s point of view. I believe there’s value in hearing the government’s perspective and justification for this war.  “I’m not writing this to defend Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in the Ukraine. Truthfully, I’m conflicted. Working for RT doesn’t mean I unequivocally support Putin and think Russia’s in the right in this conflict.”   Slier said that she has always believed that her duty as a journalist is to report what she sees and hears with integrity. She explained that she was writing the article because she supported media plurality. “I believe it’s useful for western audiences to understand what Russians are thinking, especially in their own language,” she wrote. “RT used to broadcast in English, German, Spanish, French, Arabic and Russian. If nothing else, to quote from the famous Chinese general and military strategist, Sun Tzu: know your enemy.” The ban on RT has been criticised by several journalists working for the Western media. For instance, Jamie Wiseman, a European Advocacy Officer at the Vienna-based International Press Institute, has written that the ban does not comply with international law: “While the EU’s decision to ban RT and [state-backed media outlet] Sputnik through sanctions adopted by the Council was well-intentioned, this does not change the fundamental principle that these decisions should have been made by national watchdogs independent from political considerations, in addition to being subject to judicial review.” Though the European Union emphasised that the bans are for a limited period, “the restrictions are here to stay for the foreseeable future”, Wiseman noted. Politicians in some European Union nations were already discussing the need for safeguards, he said. Not only has RT been banned but Metaverse has allowed hate speech against Russian soldiers. Meta relaxed its policies on hate speech to permit Facebook and Instagram users in certain countries to call for violence against the Russian military though such hate speech would violate their rules. The ban on RT has to be seen in a wider context and its political significance understood. RT was established in 2005 to present a Russian perspective on global events and to represent Russia to the world. Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on the screen of a television camera at the studio complex of television news channel RT, in this photograph from 2013. Credit: ReutersThe emergence of RT as an international broadcaster was acknowledged as “altering the international media ecology”. It was thought to be such a significant event that the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK funded a collaboration between The University of Manchester and The Open University to undertake a project titled “Reframing Russia for the Global Mediasphere: From Cold War to ‘Information War’?” Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, RT was often portrayed as a pariah among international broadcasters, “yet the network confidently internalises and reappropriates this status”, according to scholar Ilya Yablokov involved in the project. Vera Tolz and Stephen Hutchings, two other experts involved in the project, reflect on the history of the term “disinformation”: “In most cases the practices described as disinformation amount to subtle ways of manipulating information which fall short of fabricating false content. Under these circumstances, the term ‘disinformation’ is prone to slip into becoming a verbal weapon deployed in bitter polemics between opposing sets of players who often belong within single national contexts. Our analysis of the national language corpora suggests that, in most cases, politicians or media outlets brand other domestic politicians or media as spreaders of disinformation.” By describing RT as a spreader of disinformation, the Western media justified the demonisation of not just one leader, Vladimir Putin, but an entire country and people, their culture, their history and their right to exist. There are at least 5,534 sanctions – perhaps even more since that count – against Russia, unprecedented in the history of sanctions. These sanctions included a ban by a French organisation – Fédération Internationale Féline – disallowing Russian felines from participating in its events for the next three months. Then there was news that Cardiff Philharmonic removed Tchaikovsky, the Swan lake composer, from its concert schedule. The ban has been condemned by many including John Suchet, a Classic FMpresenter, who pointed out that “Tchaikovsky adored Ukraine”. There was a proposed ban on the great Russian author, Fyodor Dostoevsky, by a university in Italy. According to Newsweek, Italian writer Paolo Nori said on Instagram that he was informed by University of Milano-Bicocca officials over email about the decision to postpone his course following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Nori said he had been invited by the university to deliver a four-session course on Dostoevsky, whose prominent works include Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. The ban on RT was justified by the West because they called the channel a mouthpiece of Putin. However, a study of how RT covering the FIFA World Cup in 2018 showed that respondents concluded that “Russia isn’t a country of Putins!” and that the channel is not merely a mouthpiece of Putin’s regime because reality is more complex. The Manchester Universitystudy has resulted in the publication of a book, Russia Today and Conspiracy Theories: People Power and Politics on RT, by Ilya Yablokov and Precious N Chatterje-Doody. Slier, the RT correspondent, ends on a sombre note: “Pro-Kremlin channels will continue to broadcast inside Russia and the divide between information from the west and Russia and her supporters disseminate and receive will continue to grow. Wars will increasingly be fought online through the media. It’s already becoming a case of whose story wins rather than whose army wins. Banning the stories you don’t like seems an inadequate way to deal with the problem. Not only does it violate freedom of speech, it’s the start of a slippery slope that opens the door for future suppression.” She concluded: “Journalism, a profession whose badge I was once proud to wear, is in crisis.” Indian journalists, especially those on the frontlines of the Russia-Ukraine war, need to think more deeply about the Western double standards on human rights and humanitarian law. In this context, the most blatant has been while reporting on the Ukrainian refugees and the racist attacks on non-European refugees, including Indians, while crossing the border. Nandita Haksar is a human rights lawyer and author, most recently, of The Flavours of Nationalism.

  • The West's double standards on freedom of speech
    by hanifk on March 19, 2022

    estimated reading time: 3 minOn March 14 British foreign secretary Liz Truss condemned the Chinese authorities for violating "freedom of speech" after reports that the UK-based NGO Hong Kong Watch was found to be in violation of Hong Kong's National Security Law.Hong Kong Watch, led by a group of British anti-Chinese politicians including Hong Kong's last governor before returning to China, Chris Patten, has a history of supporting key figures instigating unrest and violence in the special administrative region, several of who have openly collaborated with foreign governments. Although the National Security Law taking effect in 2020 has put an end to the insurrection, the group has continued to operate out of the United Kingdom and attempt to interfere in the city's politics.As this incident occurred, the rest of the world is otherwise distracted by the crisis in Ukraine. Ironically, so to speak, Western countries in conjunction with this have comprehensively pursued a wartime-level censorship campaign against Russian media platforms, including most notably Sputnik and Russia Today. This has included effectively banning them from social media, removing their channels from YouTube, removing RT's broadcasting license and removing them from Google Search results.Beyond these policies, Twitter now bans any account which is deemed to too closely support Russia's narratives. Several European countries, including the Czech Republic and Slovakia, have effectively rendered support for Russia a criminal offense.All of these acts of course are done in the name of "national security" which whilst being technically a sovereign right of states, nonetheless presents an extreme hypocrisy for Western states who evangelize so-called "freedom of speech" to others. If the UK and its allies for one can make such decisions to take action against certain news outlets in the name of national security, why then is China's Hong Kong not given that same right?Whilst Hong Kong is guaranteed, as they point out, certain autonomies as enshrined in the Basic Law, nonetheless the National Security Law has been implemented and forced precisely because the 2019-2020 riots presented a serious threat to the security, stability and order of the city as a whole, with US-backed riots having promulgated serious violence and widespread destruction of local infrastructure.One might ask, would any state behave in the same way given the situation? Absolutely. When Canada was struck by the anti-vaccine "freedom convoy" protests a month or so ago, none of which were as violent as the events in Hong Kong but nonetheless disruptive, the response of authorities was to utilize emergency laws of which gave police additional powers to forcefully disperse protests, including the seizure of assets such as the trucks involved, the freezing of bank accounts and prosecuting the ringleaders of the protests. Did anyone, apart from those backing the protests, proclaim any violation of "freedom of speech" and human rights? Of course not.The West allocates themselves special national security-based powers which supersede rights, but then demand their rivals act out of principle. What is branded as "disruptive riots" back home are praised misleadingly as "peaceful protests" overseas.On such grounds, the United Kingdom has absolutely no right to lecture the Hong Kong SAR about freedom of speech or to continue to interfere in its internal affairs. The Sino-British declaration was never about affirming that Britain would continue to stand as a "gatekeeper" of the city's affairs, or that it would in turn be able to dictate the terms of its future exclusively to Beijing.The island city continues to have its own administrative, bureaucratic, legal and economic systems which are autonomously controlled and distinct from those of Chinese mainland as a whole. However, the provision of national security and foreign policy, as set out in the Basic Law, are sovereign rights.It is both hypocritical and bad faith to assume that a descension of Hong Kong into a state of lawless and anarchy constituted a fair exercise of democratic rights, because to be sure that is not the view of any government in the West concerning their own populations right now, or anything which contravenes the narrative on Ukraine either.(The author is a South Korea-based English freelancer. The views are his own.)

  • Selective empathy: Western media’s horrific double standards amid Russia-Ukraine War
    by hanifk on March 19, 2022

    estimated reading time: 4 minAtaul Fatir Tahir, Al HakamThe Western media’s portrayal of Ukraine’s suffering as somehow “different” and labelling Ukrainians as more “civilised” compared to those suffering from wars in countries like Yemen, Libya, Ethiopia, Palestine and Syria, has sparked disgust on social media.News coverage of civilian Ukrainians defending their country by making Molotov cocktails and arming themselves with state-given machine guns has also been celebrated as “heroic” and these people have been called “freedom fighters”.This empathy has not been voiced for others like Palestinians who experience an identical crisis yet are labelled “terrorists” when defending their land.There are numerous other factors to consider, for example, crippling sanctions and the censoring of Russian media outlets like RT in Europe have not been consistent with the invasion of Iraq or following the bombing of Yemen by Saudi Arabia which continues to this day.This is not about “whataboutism”, the focus is on upholding absolute justice.The abhorrent selective empathy, double standards and casual racism have unveiled deep-rooted undertones of injustice in parts of Western society where ethnicity, “whiteness” and location matter.A piece in The Telegraph about Ukraine’s plight read:“They seem so like us. That is what makes it so shocking. Ukraine is a European country. Its people watch Netflix and have Instagram accounts, vote in free elections and read uncensored newspapers. War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations.” ( NBC News reporter, when questioned about how Poland’s refugee policy has changed compared to the last refugee crisis from Syria said:“Just to put it bluntly, these are not refugees from Syria, these are refugees from neighbouring Ukraine. I mean that, quite frankly, is part of it, these are Christians, they’re white, they’re very similar to people who live in Poland.”A CBS NEWS reporter, describing the war in Ukraine said:“This isn’t a place, with all due respect, you know, like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades. You know, this is a relatively civilized, relatively European – I have to choose those words carefully too – city where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen. So, it’s partly human nature.”Ukraine’s deputy chief prosecutor, David Sakvarelidze, without censoring his tone or words told the BBC:“I’m sorry. It’s really emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed, children being killed every day with Putin’s missiles.”BFM TV had a commentator who said:“We’re not talking here about Syrians fleeing the bombing of the Syrian regime backed by Putin, we’re talking about Europeans leaving in cars that look like ours to save their lives.”Political commentator and media host, Michael Knowlescallously tweeted (and later defended):“It just occurred to me that this is the first major war between civilized nations in my lifetime.”Russia has caused chaos and immense suffering of innocent lives by invading Ukraine but, contrary to what Western media would have you believe, this is not the first invasion by a superpower.The West has plenty of blood on its hands as Noam Chomsky and Andre Vltchek detailed in their book On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare. But those invasions and meddling with other nations – think Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iran, Panama – are somehow against “uncivilised” people. Ukraine is “civilised”, we are told.The suffering in Ukraine must be highlighted, however portraying Ukraine’s pain as “more human” shows the deep hypocrisy at play.Apparently, if you are white, Christian, have “Instagram accounts” and “Netflix” you are “civilised” and will be celebrated when defending your country.Where refugees from third world countries are demonised and used by right-wing politicians to scaremonger, refugees from a European nation are shown a merciful and compassionate response. All refugees and people should be treated the same. All human suffering should create compassionate responses.This is not the first time the Western media has shown its bias, a similar narrative was pushed against Palestinians last year.As Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, has been reiterating for the last two decades, absolute justice needs to be established for any peace in the world to prevail. Otherwise, this turmoil will never end.World War III: Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad warned for almost two decades, no one took action Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Ahmadiyya Khalifa had warned the world of Nuclear devastation USA, Russia, China, UK and France pledge to avoid nuclear war Europe at greatest risk of war in 30 years NATO, Russia and Ukraine: Rising tensions and a word of warning from Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad The conflicts between Iran, Israel and the US Disaster in Yemen: Saudi, the West and warnings of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aa) Amnesty International: Israel imposes apartheid on Palestinians Riots in Kazakhstan and ramifications – Past warnings of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Russia, the West & global catastrophe: We are at “doom’s doorstep” warns Doomsday Clock War in Afghanistan: Victory for the weapons industry

  • Foreign Fighters Flee from Ukraine - Global Research
    by hanifk on March 19, 2022

    estimated reading time: 5 minAll Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version). To receive Global Research’s Daily Newsletter (selected articles), click here. Visit and follow us on Instagram at @globalresearch_crg and Twitter at @crglobalization. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles. Today, the dangers of military escalation are beyond description. What is now happening in Ukraine has serious geopolitical implications. It could lead us into a World War III Scenario. It is important that a peace process be initiated with a view to preventing escalation.  Global Research condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The history of this war must be understood. The bombing and shelling led by Ukraine’s Armed Forces directed against the people of Donbass started eight years ago, resulting in the destruction of residential areas and more than 10,000 civilian casualties. A  bilateral Peace Agreement is required. On February 27, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a plea for foreigners to fight against the Russian military. In a statement, Zelensky said, among other things, that “This is not just Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is the beginning of a war against Europe, against European structures, against democracy, against basic human rights, against a global order of law, rules and peaceful coexistence.” He added: “Anyone who wants to join the defense of Ukraine, Europe and the world can come and fight side by side with the Ukrainians against the Russian war criminals.” In this way, Zelensky portrayed the conflict as one between a Ukraine that defends Western values, human rights and its political system against “Russian war criminals.” This narrative was disseminated to great lengths by Western media, who at the same time scoffed at the idea of a “de-Nazification” of Ukraine. Omitted from Western media is the fact that openly neo-Nazi groups like the Mariupol-based Azov Battalion are official units of the Republican Guard, which is under the direct command of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry. It also omits that Stepan Bandera, a Nazi collaborator in World War II who encouraged Ukrainians to “destroy” Jews and Poles, leading to tens of thousands of deaths, is being rehabilitated in Ukraine and even had a major avenue in Kiev renamed after him. This is just two examples of the “Nazification” of Ukraine that is being purposefully ignored by the West. None-the-less, by portraying the war in Ukraine as a struggle of liberalism against authoritarianism, Western liberals are whitewashing the Far Right and other foreign fighters from a myriad of illiberal ideologies as they descend on Ukraine to fight the Russians. According to Kiev, by March 6 at least 20,000 foreign fighters from 55 countries had entered Ukraine to fight against Russians. The volunteers are a mix of neo-Nazis, radical Islamists, naïve liberals, pan-Turkists and a variety of Russophobes. Although Western media are lionising the foreign fighters, the accounts they give of their time in Ukraine are truly horrifying – from being tortured by Ukrainian soldiers, to being used as cannon fodder, and facing devastating missile strikes from Russian forces. One American volunteer, who said he was with the Georgian National Legion of the 122nd Territorial Defense Brigade (Odessa), said on social media that “our base got f***ed up. The base right next to us got f***ed up.” He also said that Americans and “tons of British” were dead. American volunteer in Ukraine describes how foreigners who flocked over to the country to fight Russia are being used as cannon fodder and are threatened by Ukrainian forces with murder if they refuse to deploy on suicide missions — Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) March 15, 2022 He explained that foreign volunteers are being sent to the front lines without sufficient weapons or armor. He continues to explain that when they refused to go and fight near Kiev under such conditions, Ukrainian soldiers threatened to shoot them, forcing the American volunteer and others to escape the country. However, he also explained that Ukrainian soldiers were cutting up the passports of foreign fighters and forcing them to the front. He chillingly warned: “People need to stop coming here, it’s a trap, and they’re not letting you f***ing leave.” One British fighter, an ex-Army medic named Jason Haigh, told The Sun newspaper on March 9 that he was detained by Ukrainian authorities that were carrying cable ties. He said that Ukrainian authorities slammed his head and hit him several times, resulting in a bad concussion and heavy bleeding. Eventually, he and his group were released and joined hundreds of thousands on trains to Lviv, before fleeing to the Polish border and getting a train to Warsaw. It is also recalled that a Brazilian foreign fighter uploaded to his social media a harrowing account of the Russian strike against the International Peacekeeping and Security Center (IPSC) near Lviv and the Polish border on March 13, saying: “I don’t even know what to say… there were special forces soldiers from all over the world [US, France, South Korea, Chile]. The information we have is that everyone died, they [Russians] managed to destroy everything… you guys don’t understand what it means when a jet drops a missile on you. Thank God I got out earlier.” In this way, despite the lionising of foreign fighters in Ukraine by the Western media, it certainly appears that their experience has been nothing short of terrifying. It also appears that many of the foreign fighters are naïve to the fact that there are clear links between the Foreign Legion and Ukraine’s neo-Nazis. In addition, the Australian government warned on March 15 that volunteers could end up being “cannon fodder” for Ukraine. This matches up with Matthew Robinson, a British volunteer who stressed that foreigners “can be railroaded into a legion and sent to the front line very quickly. Even though you’ve got the best of intentions to help people, you could basically be cannon fodder.” It can be suggested that Ukraine is intentionally trying to drive up the body count of foreigners fighting against Russia to create international outrage in the hope of forcing a foreign intervention. However, due to volunteers fighting on an unofficial capacity, there is no correlation between the death of foreigners and activating NATO’s mutual defense policy. * Note to readers: Please click the share buttons above or below. Follow us on Instagram, @globalresearch_crg and Twitter at @crglobalization. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles.   Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst. Featured image is from The original source of this article is InfoBrics Comment on Global Research Articles on our Facebook page Become a Member of Global Research

  • People Overestimate The US War Machine And Underestimate The US Propaganda Machine
    by hanifk on March 20, 2022

    estimated reading time: 6 minListen to a reading of this article: ❖If you use Twitter and engage with the subject of the war in Ukraine, you’ve probably noticed a verified account called The Kyiv Independent pop up while you’re scrolling through your feed which puts out highly biased content in favor of the Zelensky regime and the western powers which support it.If you’re using a desktop browser, it will usually look like this:Do you see the gray text in the top left-hand corner of the image which says “War in Ukraine”? That’s a Twitter “Topic” that the page’s algorithm has recommended to me without my having subscribed to it, where posts from The Kyiv Independent feature prominently. This Topic is being aggressively pushed on Twitter users around the world, showing up over and over again in their feed until they adjust their settings to remove it.As Pedro Gonzales recently documented in Human Events, The Kyiv “Independent” was slapped together a few months ago with what the Committee to Protect Journalists called “an emergency grant from the European Endowment for Democracy.”The European Endowment for Democracy is a spinoff of the US government-funded “NGO” National Endowment for Democracy, which according to its own co-founder was set up to do overtly what the CIA used to do covertly, namely orchestrate coups and manage narratives to advance US interests. A page on an NED website says that “All EU member states are members of EED’s Board of Governors, together with members of the European Parliament and civil society experts.”So this is a media outlet funded by a government-run “NGO” being forcefully pushed in front of millions of western eyeballs by a major Silicon Valley corporation that people have come to rely on for getting information about the world. In the same way Silicon Valley facilitates government censorship by proxy, it also facilitates government propaganda by proxy.The Globe and Mail reports that the Canadian government also put $200,000 toward Kyiv Independent’s funding. The outlet is being so loudly amplified by Twitter that not only has its Twitter account secured nearly two million followers since its creation in November, but one of its reporters (who calls the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion his “brothers in arms“) has gained a million followers since the start of the Russian invasion.Do you see how sophisticated just that one tiny component of the US-centralized empire‘s propaganda campaign is? How many seemingly disparate and unrelated elements it has? Multiple countries, NGOs, an ostensibly independent social media platform, an ostensibly independent news outlet. It’s very difficult to see how any of it connects at all if you don’t know where to look. And almost nobody knows where to look.This highly advanced perception management operation is happening all around the world about any issue the empire has a vested interest in. As anti-imperialist author and podcaster Justin Podur recently put it, “The US Empire is based on the mastery of storytelling. Making reality through propaganda.”Truly, one of the most under-appreciated and overwhelmingly powerful forces on this earth is the US imperial propaganda machine. The ability to manipulate public thought, not just within the United States but across vast swaths of nations, has allowed it to manufacture international consensus for whatever agendas it wishes to advance in a way that eclipses the collective organizing power of official international bodies like the United Nations.We’re seeing it today in the way unprecedented acts of economic warfare are being used to attack the economy of Russia with the goal of fomenting unrest and toppling Moscow. There was nothing inherent in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which called for this specific response from all the specific nations who have chosen to participate in it, but that’s what ended up happening, and because of the power of the imperial propaganda machine the public has gone right along with it, even as it sends their fuel and grocery bills through the roof.A big fuss gets made about the power of the US war machine, despite the fact that it tends to fail at the rather important task of winning wars. This is partly because the empire often doesn’t benefit from those wars ending quickly and partly because it’s hard to win wars when your entire military juggernaut is built entirely around generating the maximum amount of profit possible.Where the real fuss ought to be made is the truly jaw-dropping power of the US propaganda machine. So subtle and sophisticated that even relatively intelligent and well-informed people fail to see the strings that are pulling at their minds, but so powerful it shapes the world.In the book Inventing Reality, published all the way back in 1986, Michael Parenti makes the following observation: For many people an issue does not exist until it appears in the news media. How we view issues, indeed, what we even define as an issue or event, what we see and hear, and what we do not see and hear are greatly determined by those who control the communications world. Be it labor unions, peace protesters, the Soviet Union, uprisings in Latin America, elections, crime, poverty, or defense spending, few of us know of things except as they are depicted in the news. Even when we don’t believe what the media say, we are still hearing or reading their viewpoints rather than some other. They are still setting the agenda, defining what it is we must believe or disbelieve, accept or reject. The media exert a subtle, persistent influence in defining the scope of respectable political discourse, channeling public attention in directions that are essentially supportive of the existing politico-economic system. This was long before Twitter, before Google, before Mark Zuckerberg, before Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act allowing for news media to be bought up and consolidated under just a few oligarchic megacorporations. And yet the exact same dynamic we see before us today was already in play, even back then. It’s just gotten a lot more complex.You know what’s funny about this mad push to censor speech in the name of fighting “Russian propaganda” is that the people who are pushing it are indirectly admitting to a very important truth that they normally try not to draw too much attention to: the fact that it’s very possible to use media to manipulate the way people think, act, and vote at mass scale. The part that they don’t admit is that they themselves are far and away the very worst offenders in that area.The status quo worldview requires two entirely contradictory positions to be held simultaneously: that Russian propaganda has a corrupting influence on public thought, but that orders of magnitude more wealthy and powerful oligarchic media institutions do not.This is not sustainable. People are already struggling to keep their heads above water with the constant white-noise torrent of psychological abuse they’re being subjected to day after day. We’re on our way to finding out just how much mass-scale psychological manipulation the human brain can tolerate before it snaps if we don’t find some way to change our collective relationship with mental narrative first.Or who knows? Maybe a healthy relationship with mental narrative lies on the other side of that snap.__________________________My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2Liked it? Take a second to support Caitlin Johnstone on Patreon!

  • International Law Is A Meaningless Concept When It Only Applies To US Enemies
    by hanifk on March 20, 2022

    estimated reading time: 6 minListen to a reading of this article: ❖Australian whistleblower David McBride just made the following statement on Twitter: “I’ve been asked if I think the invasion of Ukraine is illegal. My answer is: If we don’t hold our own leaders to account, we can’t hold other leaders to account. If the law is not applied consistently, it is not the law. It is simply an excuse we use to target our enemies. We will pay a heavy price for our hubris of 2003 in the future. We didn’t just fail to punish Bush and Blair: we rewarded them. We re-elected them. We knighted them. If you want to see Putin in his true light imagine him landing a jet and then saying ‘Mission Accomplished’.” As far as I can tell this point is logically unassailable. International law is a meaningless concept when it only applies to people the US power alliance doesn’t like. This point is driven home by the life of McBride himself, whose own government responded to his publicizing suppressed information about war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan by charging him as a criminal.Neither George W Bush nor Tony Blair are in prison cells at The Hague where international law says they ought to be. Bush is still painting away from the comfort of his home, issuing proclamations comparing Putin to Hitler and platforming arguments for more interventionism in Ukraine. Blair is still merily warmongering his charred little heart out, saying NATO should not rule out directly attacking Russian forces in what amounts to a call for a thermonuclear world war.They are free as birds, singing their same old demonic songs from the rooftops.When you point out this obvious plot hole in discussions about the legality of Vladimir Putin’s invasion you’ll often get accused of “whataboutism”, which is a noise that empire loyalists like to make when you have just highlighted damning evidence that their government’s behaviors entirely invalidate their position on an issue. This is not a “whataboutism”; it’s a direct accusation that is completely devastating to the argument being made, because there really is no counter-argument.The Iraq invasion bypassed the laws and protocols for military action laid out in the founding charter of the United Nations. The current US military occupation of Syria violates international law. International law only exists to the extent to which the nations of the world are willing and able to enforce it, and because of the US empire’s military power — and more importantly because of its narrative control power — this means international law is only ever enforced with the approval of that empire.This is why the people indicted and detained by the International Criminal Court (ICC) are always from weaker nations — overwhelmingly African — while the USA can get away with actually sanctioning ICC personnel if they so much as talk about investigating American war crimes and suffer no consequences for it whatsoever. It is also why in 2002 the Bush administration instituted what became known as the “Hague Invasion Act“, saying military force will be used to liberate any US or US-allied military personnel from any ICC attempt to prosecute them for war crimes. It is also why Noam Chomsky famously said that if the Nuremberg laws had continued to be applied with fairness and consistency, then every post-WWII U.S. president would have been hanged.This is also why former US National Security Advisor John Bolton once said that the US war machine is “dealing in the anarchic environment internationally where different rules apply,” which “does require actions that in a normal business environment in the United States we would find unprofessional.”Bolton would certainly know. In his bloodthirsty push to manufacture consent for the Iraq invasion he spearheaded the removal of the director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a crucial institution for the enforcement of international law, using measures which included threatening the director-general’s children. The OPCW is now subject to the dictates of the US government, as evidenced by the organisation’s coverup of a 2018 false flag incident in Syria which resulted in airstrikes by the US, UK and France during Bolton’s tenure as a senior Trump advisor. The US continually works to subvert international law enforcement institutions to advance its own interests. When the US was seeking UN authorization for the Gulf War in 1991, Yemen dared to vote against it, after which a member of the US delegation told Yemen’s ambassador, “That’s the most expensive vote you ever cast.” Yemen lost not just 70 million dollars in US foreign aid but also a valuable labor contract with Saudi Arabia, and a million Yemeni immigrants were sent home by America’s Gulf state allies.Simple observation of who is subject to international law enforcement and who is not makes it clear that the very concept of international law is now functionally nothing more than a narrative construct that’s used to bludgeon and undermine governments who disobey the US-centralized empire. That’s why in the lead-up to this confrontation with Russia we saw a push among empire managers to swap out the term “international law” with “rules-based international order”, which can mean anything and is entirely up to the interpretation of the world’s dominant power structure.It is entirely possible that we may see Putin ousted and brought before a war crimes tribunal one day, but that won’t make it valid. You can argue with logical consistency that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is wrong and will have disastrous consequences far beyond the bloodshed it has already inflicted, but what you can’t do with any logical consistency whatsoever is claim that it is illegal. Because there is no authentically enforced framework for such a concept to apply.As US law professor Dale Carpenter has said, “If citizens cannot trust that laws will be enforced in an evenhanded and honest fashion, they cannot be said to live under the rule of law. Instead, they live under the rule of men corrupted by the law.” This is all the more true of laws which would exist between nations.You don’t get to make international law meaningless and then claim that an invasion is “illegal”. That’s not a legitimate thing to do. As long as we are living in a Wild West environment created by a murderous globe-spanning empire which benefits from it, claims about the legality of foreign invasions are just empty sounds.____________________My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2Liked it? Take a second to support Caitlin Johnstone on Patreon!

  • We Must Now Learn the Lesson of 1914, not the Lesson of 1938. | Ryan McMaken
    by Ryan McMaken on March 20, 2022

    estimated reading time: 7 minWith proponents of military intervention and war, it's always 1938, and every attempt to substitute diplomacy for escalation and war is "appeasement." Last week, for example, Ukrainian legislator Lesia Vasylenko accused Western leaders of appeasement over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, stating "This is the same as 1938 when also the world and the United States in particular were averting their eyes from what was being done by Hitler and his Nazi Party." The week before that, Estonian legislator Marko Mihkelson declared "I hope I’m wrong but I smell ‘Munich’ here. "These, of course, are references to the notorious Munich conference of 1938 when UK PM Neville Chamberlain (and others) agreed to allow Hitler's Germany to annex the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia as a means to avoid a general war in Europe. The "appeasement," of course, failed to prevent war because Hitler's regime actually planned to annex much more than that. Ever since, the "Lesson of Munich" for advocates of military intervention is that it's always best to escalate international conflicts and meet all perceived aggressors with immediate military force rather than embrace compromise or non-intervention. Americans have made similar references with pundits from Larry Elder to Peter Singer peppering their musings on the Ukraine War with the Munich analogy. One need only enter "Munich" and "1938" into a Twitter search to receive an apparently endless number of tweets from newly minted American foreign policy experts about how anything less than World War III is Munich all over again. Historically, countless American politicians have used the analogy as well. 1980s Cold Warriors denounced Ronald Reagan's efforts to limit nuclear weapons as Munich-style appeasement. Republicans routinely claimed Obama's Iran diplomacy was the same. But it is not, in fact, the case that every act of diplomacy or compromise designed to avoid war is appeasement. Moreover, we can find countless examples in which non-intervention and a refusal to escalate a situation was—or would have been—the better choice. In other words, it's not always 1938. Rather than fixating on the "Lesson of 1938" the better lesson to learn is often the "Lesson or 1914" or perhaps even the lessons of 1853, 1956, or 1968. In all these cases, military escalation was—or would have been—the wrong response. Moreover, in the age of nuclear weapons—something that did not exist in 1938—the world is a different place and confrontation with a nuclear power could potentially bring about the end of human civilization. Casually bandying about demands for a "no fly zone"—which would mean war with Russia—is both irresponsible and the sort of rhetoric fit for a non-nuclear world that ceased to exist many decades ago. The Foundations of the "Lessons of Munich"The supposed Lesson of Munich is based on two basic pillars. The first is the assumption that any act of military aggression will lead to many more acts of military aggression if not forcefully countered. It is basically a variation on the domino theory: if one nation submits to conquest by an aggressive neighbor, other nations will soon be forced to submit as well. This assumes every allegedly aggressive state has the same motivations as Nazi Germany and can plausibly seek a large, region-wide chain of military conquests across numerous states. The second pillar of the Lesson of Munich is that, since every aggressive military act is likely to lead to many more, the only realistic option is to meet aggression with escalation, and a no-compromise response. This is precisely why Western advocates of military adventurism repeatedly equate Hitler with every foreign leader Western elites don't like. Or, as noted at The Conversation: This kind of parallelism is not new; it is used every time there is a new enemy the public opinion should focus on. In recent years, according to Western rhetoric, Adolf Hitler has already been apparently reincarnated several times – as Saddam Hussein, Mohammad Qaddafi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and more besides. In 2022, Putin is the new Hitler, which necessarily means to some that any failure to respond to the Russian invasion with a full-blown military response from the West is a Munich-style appeasement. The fact that the events of 1938 are so well known by so many has helped considerably in pushing the narrative that compromise or non-intervention is appeasement. For most Americans, it's likely the only event in the history of diplomacy they actually know anything about. Never mind the fact that the Lesson of Munich has often been proven quite inapplicable to the modern world. As noted by Robert Kelly at the hardly non-interventionist publication 1945:  This frightening image of falling dominoes is not actually historically common though, thankfully. It was in the 1930s, but it was not, for example, in the Cold War. Aggressors do not always read one victory in place to mean they can automatically push on other ‘dominoes.’ Deterrence is structured by local and historical factors; some commitments are much more credible than others. So even though the US lost in Vietnam, North Korea or East Germany did not attack South Korea or West Germany, just as the US did not attack Cuba or Nicaragua after the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan. In Ukraine that means that Western reticence to fight directly against the Russians in Ukraine does not automatically mean that Putin will test NATO’s collective security commitment or that China will attack Taiwan. But none of this matters when the public believes what its told by politicians and the media about how every rogue state is the equivalent of Nazi Germany. There is no foreign-policy lesson to learn except that of opposing each new "Hitler."The Lesson of 1914 Yet, there are other competing lessons to be learned. Lessons can be found, say, with the lead up to the Crimean War in 1853 or the July Crisis of 1914. (Ask the average American about either of these and you will probably receive a blank stare.)  In both of these cases, regimes claimed they were countering aggression by foreign states and protecting either "allies" or oppressed minorities in the lands being subjected to conquest. The lead up the First World War provides an especially cautionary tale in which the major powers rushed to intervene in the name of supporting allies. The Austrian regime issued an ultimatum to the Serbians, and the Russians—with the support of France, Europe's biggest democracy—mobilized in support of traditional ally Serbia. The Germans then mobilized in support of Austria-Hungary. Later, the regimes in the United Kingdom and the United States employed propaganda about alleged German war crimes in Belgium to ensure their respective countries entered the war. British politicians also claimed they must intervene to assist Britain's Entente allies in resisting aggression. Four years of preventable and utterly pointless bloodshed ensued. Thanks to calls to oppose aggression and defend allies, what should have been a regional war in the Balkans became a major Europe-wide war. Even worse, with the Treaty of Versailles and the inclusion of the absurd "War Guilt" clause against Germany, the war set the stage for the far more destructive Second World War. Yet, the war was a result of regimes doing—from their own perspectives—what the "Lesson of Munich" dictates: rush to war and immediately escalate and confront "enemies" with military force in the name of countering aggression.The Lesson of 1914 is certainly instructive today. Escalation is extraordinarily unwise, especially if there is the potential of turning limited wars into mega-scale disasters. Moreover, in the case of the United States, the complexity of the war's causes meant there was no justifiable reason at all for the United States to enter. There was no "good guy" in the war and American participation only further extended the bloodshed. Fortunately, in spite of its pretensions of being the global guarantor of freedom always and everywhere, the United States has, at least twice, behaved as if it has learned the Lesson of 1914. The first was in 1956 when Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary when the  Hungarian regime—an ostensibly sovereign state—became too uppity to suit Moscow. So, Soviet military might moved in to ensure Hungary remained sufficiently under Moscow's control. Thousands of Hungarians were killed. Did NATO mobilize against this aggression? Did Eisenhower ready America's bombers? No.Then, in Prague in 1968, Czechoslovakian resistance to Moscow led to an invasion of 200,000 foreign troops and 2,500 tanks from the pro-Soviet regimes of the Warsaw Pact. Again, the United States took no action. This, of course, was the right decision on the part of the US and NATO. Heeding the Lesson of Munich, on the other hand, would have meant direct confrontation between NATO and the Soviet Union—a de facto confrontation between the United States and the USSR. This would have greatly increased the likelihood of global nuclear war.Naturally, some anti-Soviet activists cried "appeasement!" at the time. Fortunately, they were ignored. A curious difference between 1956 and now, however, is that at the time most of the critics of American inaction were on the anti-Soviet Right. Today, it is the Left where we mostly find those howling about Munich and blithely pushing for a US-Russia war while downplaying the risk of a nuclear apocalypse. But those who are now demanding for World War III are a cautionary example of what happens when we obsess over the Lesson of 1938 and ignore the Lesson of 1914. 

  • 13-Year-Old Lugansk Girl’s Response to Roger Waters
    by Ollie Richardson on March 20, 2022

    estimated reading time: 2 minNEW – March 20, 2022Hello, Mr. Waters! I read your answer to a girl from Ukraine and once again realised two things: the first one is that, unfortunately, Western media and politicians ignore the truth and say only what is beneficial to them, and the second one is that they are trying to deceive you, Mr. Waters. Politics is dirt. And when politicians – no matter from which country – cannot resolve the issue peacefully, the military comes. My name is Faina. I am a little bit younger than Alina – I’m 13 years old. And I could also ask you to talk about the war in Ukraine, but not the one that began at the end of February, but the one that has lasted for 8 years and which, apparently, this girl did not guess about. For 8 years now, Ukraine has been shelling Donbass, killing civilians with ease – the elderly, women and children. And all this time, the girl Alina was indifferent to our lives. Mr. Waters, I will not urge you to understand us, the residents of Donbass. But like you, we want peace more than anything in the world. This is our biggest dream for a long time, simply because we know what it’s like to live in anticipation of the next shelling. If you think that Putin attacked Ukraine, accept the truth – Ukraine and the West have been killing us for 8 years and now Russia is protecting our lives. But is there anyone who is talking about this? I’ve been fighting for peace for three years now. For this, my personal data was posted on the Ukrainian website “Mirotvorets” and nationalists, who, according to Alina, do not exist in Ukraine, promised to kill me. Now my friends/journalists living in Ukraine and calling for an end of the shelling of Donbass are forced to hide because of persecution by the same nationalists and the government of Ukraine. Mr. Waters, I’m not asking you to change your mind about what’s happening in Ukraine right now. Only time can show what was right and what was wrong. But you can’t hide the truth. The wall of lies will surely collapse. I wish you strength and health, and I ask you not to ban your works in Russia. Just because in this difficult time your songs help to believe that the war will end and life will win, as well as help many people cope with despair. Without peace in the heart, peace outside is impossible. Thanks. With respect, Faina Savenkova, 13 years old, writer and playwright, Lugansk Copyright © 2022. All Rights Reserved.

  • The Economics of the Russian Victory
    by Ollie Richardson on March 20, 2022

    estimated reading time: 40 minNEW – March 18, 2022In his rousing article “Ideology of the Russian Victory” Aleksandr Prokhanov stated that “Russia is being eaten away from the inside by pockets of darkness: a culture of desecration is flourishing, when the seals are torn from all forbidden chests, all Pandora’s boxes are opened, and demonic energy extinguishes eternal fires…” Among today’s protectors, he counts “statesmen who preach service, not money-grabbing.” However, for a successful defence and, especially, for Victory, it is not enough to preach – it’s necessary to act. In the current situation of a global hybrid war, it is necessary to act quickly and effectively, without regard to the cliched rebukes of money-grubbing opponents and, even more so, to the hostile forces that have shown themselves, who have built a layered line of resistance to the forces of creation of Russia on a new technological and new-old ideological and worldview basis, which presupposes a convergent development model – a synthesis of economic achievements of the imperial and Soviet periods, multiplied by the experience of overcoming acute phases of development of modern Russian history. This approach is the basis of the idea proposed by the President of the Russian Federation to form the Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP). A partnership, if implemented according to its original design, shuns the “suzerain-vassal” philosophy of escalation and oppositions with the system of international economic relations built in this spirit; it is initially guided by the premise of the possibility of harmonious coexistence, and in economic terms – about the participation of partners in economic growth without prejudice to each other’s interests. Of course, the classical ideas about the limits of the division of labour within the framework of emerging technological trajectories and, more broadly, technological zones are not an anachronism, but the practical tools of the GEP are not aimed at confrontation and redistribution of spheres of influence, but at how to create a trusting atmosphere of cooperation in Eurasia by purely economic means, search for and find consensus even where the interests of, say, the EAEU and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership diverge. In other words, the GEP is a universal assembly model with a clear concept, strategy, and defined long-term priorities. It sets clear guidelines and makes it possible to formulate and refine national development strategies. For Russia, this is the program of advanced development proposed by the academic community (and widely reviewed by expert circles) on the basis of the accelerated development of industries of a new technological paradigm and the formation of institutions of a new world economic paradigm “Social Justice and economic growth”. The program, which has also become a doctrinal one within the framework of the economic section of the World Russian People’s Council, provides for a transition from the policy of artificially prolonged status quo (or inertia scenario) to a mobilisation scenario based on multiple projects of the Izborsk Club and scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Goals, what they should be In the context of the emerging Integrated world economic paradigm, based on integration processes that unite different nations in networked unions — the EAEU, the EU, ASEAN, MERCOSUR, etc. – we need to set clear, super-intensive, but balanced and feasible goals that correspond to the main trends of the 21st century, and develop algorithms for achieving them. Based on the external background undergoing dynamic changes (replacement of technological and world economic structures, coupled with the need for internal restructuring according to the mobilisation scenario), the goals of long-term economic development are formulated as follows:: – maintaining annual GDP growth at the level of at least 10% in the next 5 years (with an outstripping twofold increase in investment in fixed assets) and at least 7% in the future – based on the full use of existing production capacities, increasing labor productivity, increasing the competitiveness of the production of goods and services, stimulating innovation activity and scientific and technological progress, and creating a favourable investment and entrepreneurial climate. This will triple Russia’s GDP by 2050; – bringing the average life expectancy to 80-85 years, so that Russia can reach the level of advanced countries in this statistic; – bringing the volume of housing construction to 1 square meter per person, which will double the housing stock of Russia and fully provide housing for the entire population of Russia; – improving the level and quality of life of the people and bringing them to the level of the advanced countries of the world in real terms; – fully mastering the technologies of the fifth and sixth technical specifications, ensuring world-leading scientific and technological development and competitiveness of the production of goods and services. The targets in the policy of the social state for the foreseeable future should be: – increase the average life expectancy of Russian citizens to the best global indicators; – by 2050, the average per capita income of the population will exceed the level existing in developed countries (this means that it will need to be tripled due to economic growth with a faster increase in wages, the share of which in the structure of the distribution of national income should be at least 70% compared to the current 50%); Russia will reach the level of the European Union in terms of the human development index; – overcoming forced unemployment (especially among young people) as a result of faster growth in the production of goods and services with a high share of added value through credit and tax incentives for creating new jobs; developing higher and secondary specialised education, deploying a system of advanced training, retraining and employment of the unemployed; organising public work; – elimination of poverty and overcoming social anomie: compliance with legally approved minimum social standards for consumption of basic food products, housing and energy supply, free medical care; provision of those in need at the expense of the federal budget according to annually established standards, as well as the adoption of a program of emergency measures, including the free standardised distribution of food and basic necessities among children, the elderly, the disabled, and other groups in need; – implementation of measures to fully support the family, motherhood and childhood, including bringing the amount of child care allowance to the subsistence minimum, restoring and developing a network of children’s educational, creative and sports organizations, protecting family values and stopping propaganda of violence and debauchery in the media; – restoration of the state’s obligations in the social sphere at the legislative level and compliance with social guarantees; – inclusion of state obligations stipulated by the federal Law “On the Restoration and Protection of Savings of Citizens of the Russian Federation” in the composition of domestic debt and implementation of a program of measures for its servicing and repayment based on the provision of goods and services of domestic production to the population as a credit for the debt; – overcoming the stratification of society according to the level of welfare, exemption from taxation of income below twice the subsistence minimum per family member, restoration of the progressive scale of taxation of income exceeding this value by more than five times; – restoration of the right of citizens to heated and electrified housing with all amenities; preservation of the rights to actually occupied housing without paying property tax on privatised apartments and rent for the use of state-owned apartments provided before 1992; deployment of a system of preferential mortgage lending for housing construction with a loan for a period of at least 10 years with a zero real interest rate; restoration of mass housing construction programs for families in need with free provision of apartments for indefinite rent; repeal of legislative norms that provide for the forced eviction of people from apartments for non-payment of utility bills; introduction of an automatic system for providing targeted subsidies for utility bills-based on the fact that the cost of these purposes should not exceed 10% of the total income of family members. These goals can be achieved only if the economy develops in a balanced and planned manner, based on a mixed strategy of advanced development, taking into account the capabilities of the new technological and creating institutions of a new world economic paradigm. Helmsmen of stagnation However, until we, as Aleksandr Prokhanov says in the article mentioned above, “clear our state institutions of garbage, expel money-grubbers, rapists and traitors from them”, this program cannot be implemented. The imitation of violent activity and the incessant reproduction of simulacra with their preparation for public consciousness as goodness was very convenient for money-grubbers and traitors, and not for ascetics and heroes. Passionaries who were ready to create were marginalised, squeezed out, subjected to massive defamation and information repression. The strain on the mental strength and professional qualities of conscientious civil servants was neutralised by the hangers-on who pleased their superiors, who slipped through lies and flattery to the heights of state power. The most clearly prevailing qualities in the Russian elite were manifested in the economic policy pursued by a part of it, which, as is well known, is always and everywhere the result of economic interests. No matter how sophisticated its proponents were, presenting the policy as objectively conditioned, based on knowledge and pursuing the public goals of increasing production and prosperity, in reality they were protecting the interests of that part of the ruling elite that benefited from the policy, regardless of its consequences for the people and the national economy. The minions of the new rentiers who are on their payroll, hiding behind scientific dogma, were supposed to disguise their policy in such a way that the precariat would not suspect anything, and even better, thank them for stability in the face of global uncertainty. Any dysfunction in the Russian economy by those responsible for the macroeconomic state was explained solely by the impact of external shocks in an open market, and not by man-made domestic policies that torpedoed the growth of production, investment, and real disposable incomes of citizens. If we are encouraged to accept external explanations for systemic failures, they are based on the defeat of the financial and economic authorities by cognitive weapons from outside, which ultimately leads to excessive external economic dependence and exposure of the Russian economy to the slightest fluctuations. If it were not for this defeat of a part of the elite at the ideological, worldview, and mental level, then politics would have been conducted according to different patterns, based on different ideas and approaches to stimulating economic growth. And in a situation where collective liberals saw their alter ego in the IMF, taking the organisation’s assessments at face value and blindly following its recommendations, they could not expect anything else: the economy was in a vicious circle, which can only be broken by a change in the development paradigm. The obsequiousness of a significant stratum of quasi-national elites and international institutions doomed the Russian economy to an inescapable lag in the long run, while political goal-setting rightly dictates the need to ensure growth rates above the global average. The accumulated damage from this servility, according to the most conservative estimates, has already exceeded 30 trillion rubles of under-produced products on a cumulative basis since 2014. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The previous weak-willed adherence to the IMF’s guidelines is following the Washington consensus’ imposed policy, which always and everywhere amounts to a system of dogmas that are destructive for the national economy: rejection of currency restrictions for unhindered cross-border capital movement; rejection of sovereign monetary policy and linking the issue of national currency to the growth of foreign exchange reserves; privatisation of property, including natural resources, without restrictions for foreign capital; abandoning price regulation and planning, leaving the domestic market at the disposal of global monopolies. The implementation of these dogmas in our country led to the degradation and primitivisation of the economy, which annually lost more than $100 billion in an unequal foreign economic exchange in the interests of the US financial system — in fact, a colossus on clay legs, the limits of which are outlined by the hegemony of the final decline of the world economic paradigm, based on boundless emissions and military sanctions club, and the formation of a new integrated world economic paradigm based on a diametrically opposite approach-building equal and non-discriminatory partnerships both at the interstate and interregional levels. The imitation game A vivid example of the imitative nature of the previous management system was the results of the implementation of the Concept of Long-term Socio-economic Development up to 2020, which was adopted with great fanfare in 2008. But, like everything generated in a mode of imitation, it turned out to be a failure. Instead of achieving the goal of an annual GDP growth of 6.5% – the average annual rate is below 2%, instead of increasing the real disposable income of the population by 64-72% compared to 2012 – their continuous negative dynamics since 2014. The goal of reducing the absolute poverty level by half, from 13.4% in 2007 to 6-7%, as a result of the implementation of the concept, failed: for the period 2008-2012, the share of the population with incomes below the subsistence minimum fell to 10.7%, then the number of poor people began to grow again and at the end of 2016 amounted to 13.3%, and according to official statistics, more than 18 million people live below the poverty line in Russia. The reallocation of the budget system in favour of spending on human development from 8.6% of GDP in 2007 to 11.7% of GDP in 2020 has led to their reduction: on education — from 4% to 3.7%, on health-from 3.6% to 2.9% of GDP. To justify an afront of this magnitude (with its regular repetition in the framework of the implementation of presidential decrees on development goals), imitators pointed out various force majeure circumstances: the global financial crisis, the coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014, US-European sanctions, and the pandemic. But all these external disasters, if desired, could be expertly turned into benefits for Russia and stimulate its economic growth. We will show how traitors and money-grubbers did not allow this to be done. As we have stated, the global financial crisis could have been used to implement the strategy of rapid development of the Russian economy if the monetary authorities had stopped the capital outflow and provided unlimited low-interest long-term lending to investments in the creation and expansion of a new technological paradigm, the widespread use of its basic innovations, the implementation of the above-mentioned Concept of Long-term Development and other strategic planning documents. This was not done either in 2009 or in 2014, when Russia was hit by financial sanctions imposed by the United States and its satellites. To avoid a collapse, and with the introduction of sanctions and the collapse of the ruble in 2014, the crisis firmly plunged the Russian economy into a state of stagflation, the Bank of Russia would have to quickly deploy long-term refinancing mechanisms to compensate for the credit embargo on Russian borrowers. These mechanisms should be similar to European and American ones, which provide unlimited refinancing of Western banks and corporations on a long-term basis at a symbolic percentage — after all, in a modern economy without credit, not only extended, but even simple reproduction is impossible. As was shown in numerous studies, monetary factors of inflation in modern Russian conditions are not the main ones; theoretically and empirically, it is proved that attempts to suppress inflation by quantifying money issuance or increasing the cost of credit do not give the desired result in a modern economy with its complex feedbacks, nonlinear dependencies, and imperfect competition. Moreover, these attempts have been counterproductive for two decades: instead of reducing inflation, the production and supply of goods are always falling and, as a result, prices are rising. In the quantitative theory of money, from which the monetary authorities proceeded, the production process has no place at all, as well as scientific and technological progress, monopolies, external competition and other factors of the real economy. As is known, economic policy is not neutral in relation to economic interests, it is conducted in the interests of dominant groups of influence that are alien to public interests and deeply affiliated with international capital. This, as shown in John Perkins’ non-fiction book Confessions of an Economic Hitman, is the fate of developing countries or countries with economies in transition that are leashed by the Washington consensus, whose pseudo-elite is integrated into the Western one as a colonial satrap. But being ardent adherents of the local values, they put up with vassalage in exchange for imaginary guarantees of preservation of the exported capital and withdrawn assets. Allowing obsequious dogmatists to continue to sabotage the clear political instructions of the Russian leadership is tantamount to a crime. Allowing this to happen is the same as if, after June 1941, the Soviet leadership continued to supply the Third Reich with Soviet raw materials for Reichsmark and gave it loans for the production of military equipment. How such a policy would have ended at that time is clear. It is also clear that the monetary policy pursued earlier naturally entailed the dollarisation of the financial system, its contraction due to the export of capital and restrictive monetary policy, a drop in investment and production, a decline in living standards with obvious opportunities for rapid economic recovery. In the 90s, this could still be justified: the United States patronised the Russian leadership, creating a favourable foreign policy background for the self-destruction of the Russian economy and its exsanguination. Today, they, along with their European minions, are waging a war with Russia, and the main thing in this war is the economic front, the desire to prevent Russia’s economic self and the rise of the Eurasian Economic Union. Therefore, it is here that the mobilisation scenario should be developed with a radical revision of the direction of the quality of economic policy. Threat to the Russian world The fatal events of February 2014, with the coup d’etat in Ukraine and widespread chaos, were just the final chord of a major special operation, the key goal of which was to establish the anti-Russia platform in Ukraine, in the spirit of the already textbook narratives. In the historically determined field of conflict and aggression of the West against Russia, moving its “Drang nach Osten”, Ukraine has always been given the title role. Bismarck expressed the most vivid attitude of the West towards Ukraine, saying: “Russia’s power can only be undermined by the separation of Ukraine from it… it is necessary not only to tear off, but also to oppose Ukraine to Russia. To do this, you just need to find and nurture traitors among the national elite and with their help change the self-consciousness of one part of the great people to such an extent that they will hate everything Russian, hate their kind, without realising it. Everything else is just a matter of time” (Bismarck O. Thoughts and memories. Moscow: Association of State Books and Magazines. SOTSEKGIZ, 1940). Following the Prussian Chancellor, Zbigniew Brzezinski expressed the West’s concentrated attitude towards Ukraine in his book “The Grand Chessboard”, writing that “without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Euro-Asian empire” (Bzezinski Z. The grand chessboard: American primacy and its geostrategic imperatives — New York: Basic books, October 1997). The Chancellor of the German Empire was accurate, pointing out the technology of tearing Ukraine out of the Russian womb by contrasting, in essence, two principles of a single whole. It is unlikely that Leonid Kuchma, who was considered quite pro-Russian, knew about Bismarck’s productions when, in the absence of any need, he put forward the opposition “Ukraine is not Russia” in the title of his book, which predetermined the slide of the post-Soviet republic leading in terms of growth to the last place in Europe in terms of poverty, plunging it into the abyss of a fratricidal civil war and leading to the restoration of the ugliest forms of nation-building. The puppet Nazi regime is fully practicing the format of Ukraine as anti-Russia. We must pay tribute to the sequence of architects of the current image of Ukraine, which has completely lost its subjectivity and maintains its existence – radical Russophobia and Nazi ideology; – total anti-Russian propaganda combined with repressions against dissidents; – complete dependence on the American intelligence agencies, whose agents actually run the Ukrainian government; – a political dictatorship with the violent suppression of all opposition forces; – the dominance of a pro-Western oligarchy in business, closely linked to the political elite. It was delusion and naivety to believe that Ukraine will not go anywhere from Russia because the level of economic interpenetration is so high that it would be suicidal to renounce thousands of cooperative ties and joint projects. But it was precisely these ties and the fear of close economic integration that motivated the West and its agents in the Ukrainian leadership to take decisive actions to torpedo the formation of a single economic space with Ukraine’s participation. The trigger for the preparation of the 2014 coup d’etat was the belated decision of the Kiev authorities to delay the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU, unequal and discriminatory for the Ukrainian economy. With the entry into force of the Association Agreement with the EU, Ukraine lost its sovereignty and submitted to the EU’s trade, economic, foreign and defense policies. By signing this agreement, Ukraine pledged to participate under the EU leadership in the settlement of regional armed conflicts. At the same time, Ukraine itself became “charged” with a military conflict with Russia. As was written: Ukraine is anti-Russia. If it were not for the nature of the Ukrainian government and the dominance of the Western line in Kiev’s key decisions, as well as the long-term inaction of Moscow’s emissaries (“to where will it go away from us”), the choice would most likely have been made in favour of integration into the customs and economic union with Russia, which would have opened up huge development prospects for the Ukrainian economy and a large market for a wide range of high-tech goods produced within the framework of traditional and newly formed cooperative ties. Eurasian integration in the absence of Ukraine among the members of the Union also loses significantly, since its further development is entirely associated with the implementation of large-scale joint projects, which are difficult in the absence of technological convergence zones and interfaced industries (if to not take into account the Russia-Belarus pair). According to scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine’s withdrawal from the UES – the Unified Economic Space initiated by it back in 2003 – led to the loss of about a third of the total economic potential of the EAEU, which was caught in the grip of an inertial development scenario. “Lock step” As in the illustrative examples with the conductors of the implemented model of monetary regulation within the framework of the mandate issued by Western institutions and with tacit consent to the destruction of the self-valuable Russian-Ukrainian industrial cooperation on the eve of the 2014 coup d’etat, the “horsemen of the fight against the apocalypse” meticulously played their prescribed role in the initially seemingly innocent scenario modelling of the D. Rockefeller Foundation – as B. Gates is a well-known “philanthropist” who sponsors the ideas of world government as a necessary tool for saving humanity from the threats of overpopulation and pollution of the Earth. It is worth recalling that at the previous critical stage of technical and economic development, when the world economy plunged into a crisis due to the completion of the life cycle of the 4th technological paradigm, he initiated the creation of the Club of Rome, which delivered the report “The Limits to Growth” (Published in 1972, it contains the results of modelling the growth of the human population and the depletion of natural resources. Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and William Behrens III contributed to this report”). Today, the topic of the self-restriction of resource consumption by developing countries is once again being updated and supplemented by the threat of the self-destruction of humanity by unprecedented viruses bursting out of the remains of wild nature and thawing permafrost. The Rockefeller Foundation’s forecast of a viral pandemic, prepared ten years ago, is striking in its accuracy of coincidence with the current situation. In 2010, the report of the Foundation and the Global Business Network entitled “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development” (The Rockfeller Foundation, Global Business Network. May 2010) was published. In one of the scenarios of the report with the title in the spirit of special operations of the US intelligence agencies from Hollywood blockbusters – “Lock Step” – in fact, a simulation of global destabilisation through a virus pandemic is presented. It says: “During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and restrictions <…> Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and evenintensified. In order to protect themselves from the spread of increasingly global problems—from pandemics and transnational terrorism to environmental crises and rising poverty—leaders around the world took a firmer grip on power.” At the same time, the inevitability of the emergence of authoritarian regimes stated in the report is not an accidental statement, but an “attack” command to global capital written between the lines for an uncompromising struggle against “undemocratic” regimes that do not get along with the liberal commonwealth of nations. In order to make this expansion look at least somewhat respectable, the international agenda is carefully saturated with false goals and objectives, such as the need to coordinate global efforts to combat climate change, under which, in turn, profitable projects are made up, for example, the European carbon tax, which is fraught with multibillion-dollar costs for Russia’s largest exporters of fuel and energy, chemical and metallurgical. It should be assumed that Ukraine, in order to confirm its status as an anti-Russian and Russophobic outpost of the United States and NATO, was assigned a significant (if not decisive) role under the “Lock Step” scenario. Otherwise, it would not have hosted a dozen biological laboratories that “study” pathogens, including coronavirus infections, anthrax and other particularly dangerous infectious diseases. The recognition by the US official authorities of the existence of such laboratories and confirmation of this fact by appropriate funding from the defence department leaves no doubt about the premeditation of such “innocent” experiments in the immediate vicinity of the densely populated European part of Russia. The “Lock Step” scenario and its derivatives, in contrast to institutions that harmonise broad international collaboration and cooperation, form a different kind of new world economic order and, in fact, presuppose a continuation of the trend of liberal globalisation, supplemented by technologies of total control over the population of countries deprived of national sovereignty. A global system of institutions that regulate the reproduction of not only the world economy, but also the entire humanity through modern information, financial and bioengineering technologies is being built under this approach. The main problem of such a political system is its complete irresponsibility and immorality, the adherence of its hereditary ruling elite to Malthusian, racist and misanthropic views. Under the obvious cover of a fig leaf of liberal values, which, as can be seen from the experience of the reforms of modern Russia and other regions of the active presence of the “luminaries” of liberalism, have degenerated into extreme forms, called “liberal fascism”. Vladimir Pantin defined it as follows: “This is an unlimited power, the dictatorship of the largest multinational corporations (including IT corporations), global financial structures and criminal mafia organisations, which are served by armies of corrupt and unprincipled politicians, journalists, bloggers, show business ‘stars’, along with detachments of terrorist militants and ‘cannon fodder’ in the form of zombified, uneducated and processed youth in social networks. This ‘soft’ global dictatorship, imperceptibly ‘enveloping’ the consciousness of people, seeks to impose its own, common values for all countries and nations, common norms of behaviour, common laws, common standards, common rules of life. And for violating these common values, norms and rules, the dictatorship already punishes and will continue to punish all those who disagree – by de facto expulsion from the public space and politics, prisons, ‘re-education’ in correctional camps, the use of moral and physical terror up to extermination.” (V. Pantin “Liberal fascism in the modern world: lessons for Russia”). Russia’s preemptive special operation to demilitarise and, most importantly, denazify Ukraine fully confirms the fact that Western liberal fascism and the ethnocide they actually commit (the same laboratory developments on targeting viruses on representatives of certain races and peoples) using the Ukrainian territory and population as an experimental training ground, obliged to shoot at everything Russian at the moment agreed by Western curators, is ready to make any sacrifices in order to finally complete the failed mission to dismember and destroy Russia. The danger of this phenomenon is that it leaves behind a false trail: a complete lack of freedom even in thoughts and feelings under the guise of “complete freedom”. And as is known, there is no more lasting and all-encompassing, total slavery, if the slave is convinced that they are free. One of the geopolitical goals of sectarian liberal expansion – and its agents from the national pseudo-elite camp, in fact, do not hide it – is the dismemberment and destruction of Russia, which, despite its economic failures, managed to stand in the vanguard of resistance. However, until an anti-war coalition of countries advocating a peaceful transition to a new world economic paradigm is formed, our position is shaky and can only be strengthened by nationalising the elite, eliminating systemic dysfunctions in the management system and moving to a mobilisation scenario of economic development. Economic tools of the Russian victory The ideology of the Russian Victory proclaimed by Aleksandr Prokhanov gets bogged down on the sidelines of economic departments. Their management thinks in other categories: market equilibrium, comparative competitive advantages, current economic rationality. The macroeconomic policy carried out in these coordinates condemns the country to a deliberate loss in geo-economic competition with other powers and, consequently, to defeat in the world hybrid war of annihilation being waged against us. And it cannot be otherwise, if the contours of economic reproduction are set up for beneficiaries outside the Russian jurisdiction, and the agents of financial and economic policy are in a long-standing deep and conscious emigration. If our tsars had thought this way, there would have been no Trans-Siberian Railway or the Russian economic miracle at the beginning of the last century. Russia would remain a backward agricultural and forest country. If the Soviet leadership had thought so, we would not have run through in 10 years, at Stalin’s call, the economic development segment that our competitors have covered in a century, and we would have died in the war with European-German fascism. We need a powerful initiating impulse in the accelerated formation of a new technological order and the formation of institutions of a new world economic order. But first of all, it is necessary to purge the state management system from the irresponsibility of officials and from criminalising a number of the most important institutions of its regulation. Despite the sanctions imposed, the Russian economy remains capable of rapid development. The existing production, scientific, technical, resource and intellectual potential allows us to expect annual GDP growth of 5-10% with an increase in investment of 10-15%. This requires addressing the gaps in our economic security system and bringing our macroeconomic policies in line with our national socio-economic development goals. After the introduction of anti-Russian sanctions in 2014, scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences repeatedly warned the management of the Bank of Russia about the need to abandon the use of the dollar, euro and pound, as well as assets denominated in them, as part of foreign exchange reserves in the context of a hybrid war being waged against Russia by the countries issuing these currencies. Dozens of analytical notes and reports on this topic were written and sent to the monetary authorities. But instead of implementing these proposals and replacing these assets with gold, the Central Bank’s management continued to increase them until recently, limiting the share of gold in gold and foreign exchange reserves to a small amount (20%). To make matters worse, Russian banks, including state-owned ones, have taken more than 500 tons of gold abroad in recent years, selling it for the now-useless currency that is seized in their foreign accounts. As a result of the policy pursued by the Bank of Russia, our foreign exchange reserves, private capital turnover through offshore zones, and the Moscow Exchange are under the control of the NATO countries; they are provided with methodological guidance by the Bank of Russia. In order to overcome these dysfunctions and put the Russian economy on the path of advanced development, it is necessary to introduce a cross-cutting mechanism of institutional and personal responsibility at all levels of economic development management. We need a systematic mobilisation policy for the development of the Russian economy, which should be built as a mixed strategy of outstripping the growth of the new technological paradigm, a dynamic catch-up in areas with a slight technological lag, and catching up in hopelessly lagging industries. This requires the adoption of the following set of measures to concentrate resources in key areas of forming a new technological order, activating the existing scientific and technical potential, and importing advanced technologies to overcome the technological gap. The priority development policy should include: 1.1. The development and implementation of a target program for advanced economic development based on a new technological paradigm that provides for measures to increase investment in the development of its constituent production and technological complexes up to 25% per year, and the formation of appropriate institutions and management contours. 1.2. The creation of a strategic planning system that includes setting priorities for economic, scientific and technological development and forming indicative plans and programs for their implementation. 1.3. The subordination of the activities of all macroeconomic regulatory bodies, including the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance, as well as state corporations to the tasks of modernisation and economic growth and the full opening of its scientific and technical potential. This requires indicative planning of joint activities of the state and enterprises on the basis of investment contracts that provide for procedures of mutual responsibility for achieving the goals set. It is necessary to set targets for the performance of state development institutions, banks, corporations and agencies in their areas of activity and introduce mechanisms for real responsibility for their timely achievement. 1.4. The reduction of interest rates to 2-4% and the creation of mechanisms for refinancing investment and innovation activities by means of targeted monetary issuance against the obligations of the government, state development institutions, enterprises stipulated by federal and regional investment programs, projects of development institutions, and special investment contracts. 1.5. The exemption from taxation of income of enterprises allocated for investments in production development, R&D and the development of new technologies and the introduction of accelerated depreciation schemes for fixed assets while monitoring the intended use of depreciation charges. 1.6. A twofold increase in R&D funding, the deployment of a system of targeted scientific and technical programs that provide state support for innovation activity in promising areas of economic development. 1.7. The creation of a modern information and digital infrastructure for research and business activities. 2. A systematic policy of ensuring accelerated economic growth is impossible without stabilising the ruble exchange rate, achieving the stability of the national monetary and financial system, and stopping capital outflows. It involves the implementation of the following set of measures: 2.1. Stopping the speculative “vortex” by stopping lending to currency and financial speculation at the expense of the Central Bank, the state budget and state banks, as well as stopping collusions to manipulate the foreign exchange market. 2.2. The reduction of leverage with the restoration of state control over the Moscow Exchange. Introduction of a tax on speculative currency and financial transactions (Tobin tax) and the export of capital. 2.3. Prohibition to direct funds received by banks and enterprises through targeted refinancing channels to speculative operations. The use of digital technologies to control the movement of money issued in a targeted way. 2.4. The establishment of an increased reserve of funds on foreign currency accounts; in case of a threat of “freezing” of foreign currency assets of Russian individuals and legal entities – up to 100%. The introduction of control over cross-border capital operations through open licensing. 2.5. To ensure the stability of the ruble exchange rate, expand the instruments for regulating the supply and demand of foreign currency, providing for the possibility of levying export duties in foreign currency with its accumulation in foreign currency accounts of the government in a situation of oversupply of foreign currency and introducing a rule by the Bank of Russia for the mandatory full or partial sale of foreign currency earnings of exporters in the domestic market in case of insufficient supply. 2.6. Allow borrowers to apply force majeure to loans granted from countries that impose a financial embargo against Russia. For the duration of the sanctions measures, prohibit subsidiaries of American and European banks from raising new funds from Russian individuals and legal entities. 2.7. The termination of the provision of loans to non-financial organisations in foreign currency by Russian banks. Legislative prohibition of loans from non-financial organisations denominated and provided in foreign currency. 2.8. Exclusion from foreign exchange reserves of debt obligations of countries participating in sanctions against Russia. Exclusion of deposits denominated in these currencies from the deposit insurance system. At the same time – liberalising the turnover of cash gold and silver as a long-term means of saving. The abolition of VAT on the purchase of bank bullion, which has already been done, and the introduction of a tax on the export of gold and silver abroad. 2.9. In order to deoffshorise the economy: – provide access to mineral resources and other natural resources, state orders, state programs, state subsidies, loans, concessions, property ownership and management of real estate, housing and infrastructure construction, operations with savings of the population, as well as other strategically important for the state and sensitive for society activities only to national companies and Russian citizens-residents; – clarify the legal definition of the term “national company” that meets the following requirements: registration, tax residency and main business activities in Russia, belonging to Russian residents who are not affiliated with foreign entities and jurisdictions; – oblige the ultimate owners of shares of Russian strategic enterprises to register their ownership rights in them with Russian registrars, leaving the offshore “shadow”; – conclude agreements on the exchange of tax information with offshore companies, denounce existing agreements with them on the avoidance of double taxation; – legally prohibit the transfer of assets to offshore jurisdictions with which there is no agreement on the exchange of tax information under the transparency model developed by the OECD; – maintain demands for offshore companies owned by Russian residents to comply with Russian legislation on providing information about the company’s participants (shareholders, depositors, beneficiaries), as well as on disclosing tax information for the purposes of taxation in Russia of all income received from Russian sources under the threat of imposing a 30% tax on any operations. 2.10. Adopt a set of measures to reduce tax losses from the unauthorised export of capital: 1) refund of VAT to exporters only after receipt of export revenue; 2) collection of VAT advance payments by authorised banks when transferring import advances to non-resident suppliers; 3) introduction of penalties for overdue accounts receivable under import contracts; 4) termination of inclusion of bad debts of non-residents to Russian enterprises in non-operating expenses. 2.11. Introduce restrictions on the volume of off-balance sheet foreign assets and liabilities to non-residents on derivatives of Russian organisations, limit investments of Russian enterprises in foreign securities, including government bonds of the United States and other foreign countries with a high budget deficit or public debt. 3. Increase the potential and security of the Russian monetary system and strengthen its position in the global economy, giving the ruble the functions of an international reserve currency. 3.1. Encourage switching in mutual settlements in the EAEU and CIS to rubles, in settlements with the EU – to rubles and euros, with China – to rubles and yuan. Recommend that business entities switch to settlements in rubles for exported and imported goods and services. Provide for the allocation of linked ruble-denominated loans to importing countries of Russian products to maintain trade turnover, and use credit and currency swaps for this purpose. 3.2. Radically expand the system of servicing payments in national currencies between enterprises of the EAEU and CIS states through the CIS Interstate Bank, and with other states – using international financial organisations controlled by Russia (IBEC, IIB, EDB, etc.). Create a payment and settlement system in the national currencies of the EAEU member states with its own system for exchanging banking information, assessing credit risks, and quoting currency exchange rates. Develop and implement its own independent system of international settlements in the EAEU, SCO and BRICS, which could eliminate critical dependence on the US-controlled SWIFT system. 3.3. The Bank of Russia should carry out targeted refinancing of commercial banks for ruble-denominated lending to export-import operations at reasonable rates on a long-term basis, and also take into account in the main directions of monetary policy the additional demand for rubles due to the expansion of foreign trade turnover in domestic currency and the formation of foreign ruble reserves of foreign states and banks. 3.4. Organise exchange trading in oil, petroleum products, timber, mineral fertilisers, metals, and other raw materials in rubles; in order to ensure market pricing and prevent the use of transfer prices for tax evasion, oblige producers of exchange-traded goods to sell at least half of their products, including those supplied for export, through exchanges registered by the Russian government. 3.5. Limit the borrowing of state-controlled banks and corporations abroad; gradually replace foreign currency loans of state-controlled companies with ruble loans of state-owned commercial banks due to their targeted refinancing by the Central Bank at the appropriate interest rate. 3.6. Organise a Moscow club of lenders and investors to coordinate the credit and investment policies of Russian banks and funds abroad, procedures for repaying bad loans, and develop a common position in relation to defaulted borrowing countries. 4. Make amendments and additions to the Law “On the Central Bank”. 4.1. Expound Article 3 of the Federal Law in the following wording: “The objectives of the Bank of Russia’s activities are: – promote high employment and sustainable economic growth by ensuring a sufficient level of monetisation of the economy and affordable interest rates; – protecting and ensuring the stability of the ruble; – ensuring the development and sustainability of the banking system of the Russian Federation; – ensuring the development and stable functioning of the national payment system; – ensuring stable development of the financial market of the Russian Federation. Making a profit is not the goal of the Bank of Russia’s activities.” 4.2. Expound Article 34.1 of the Federal Law in the following wording: “The main objective of the Bank of Russia’s monetary policy is to protect and ensure the stability of the ruble, including its exchange rate; promote high employment and sustainable economic growth by ensuring a sufficient level of monetisation of the economy and affordable interest rates; organise lending to the development of the Russian economy, ensure the growth of investment and business activity, create conditions for the growth of production and incomes of the population; maintain a balanced budget system of the Russian Federation.” 5. Increase the competitiveness of enterprises by involving workers in their management system. 5.1. Legislatively establish the rights of the labour collective, specialists and managers to create their own collegial bodies (Employees’ Council, Scientific and Engineering Council, Board of Governors) and to elect their representatives to the supreme strategic management body (Board of Directors), which ensures that the interests of all participants in the enterprise’s activities are taken into account in combination with the interests of the development of the enterprise itself as an economic entity. 5.2. Establishing standards of responsibility for the actions of all participants in industrial relations: managers – for the negative consequences of decisions made in conditions of conflict of interests, specialists – for violation of technical standards and regulations, employees – for violation of industrial discipline. The degree of civil, administrative and criminal liability should correspond to the amount of damage caused to the enterprise and the level of authority of the guilty employees. Owners should also bear their share of responsibility if they directly interfere with the company’s activities or dispose of property rights to the detriment of the company’s interests (stealing profits and assets, forcing fictitious operations, malicious bankruptcy, raiding, etc.). 5.3. Conduct a census of enterprises that will fill in the existing gaps in the identification of owners, management, and employees of enterprises, and restore correspondence between economic entities and legal entities. It is necessary to expand the practice of providing enterprises with so-called integrated reporting, which makes it possible to comprehensively assess not only the current state, but also the prospects for the functioning of an enterprise in a changing environment by a wide range of indicators of its activity. 5.4. In order to collect, accumulate, analyse and summarise statistical, survey, phenomenological and other information about the state of domestic enterprises, it is recommended to create a Center for monitoring the activities of enterprises. 5.5. Encourage the expansion of the number of cooperative and national enterprises based on proven foreign experience, as well as best domestic practices. 6. Subordination of state policy to the goals of making a breakthrough in economic development. 6.1. Creation of a state extra-budgetary investment and credit fund at the expense of a target credit issue in the amount of money withdrawn by the Central Bank from the economy (up to 8 trillion rubles). 6.2. Taking into account the importance of the strategic planning system and the fact that the government of the Russian Federation, as a central executive body, is burdened with current tasks and cannot formulate strategic goals and monitor their achievement, it is proposed to create a State Committee for Strategic Planning under the President of the Russian Federation, giving it appropriate powers. 6.3. In order to implement a systematic approach to the management of scientific and technological progress and end-to-end and all-round stimulation of innovation activity, it is advisable to create a supra-departmental federal body responsible for developing state scientific, technical and innovation policy, coordinating the activities of sectoral ministries and departments in its implementation – the State Committee for Scientific and Technical Development of the Russian Federation under the President of Russia. 6.4. Create a unified information system of currency and tax control containing electronic declaration of transaction passports with their transfer to the databases of all such control bodies. Sergey Glazyev Copyright © 2022. All Rights Reserved.

  • Boris Rozhin – detailed discussion of the situation in the Ukraine
    by The Saker on March 20, 2022

    estimated reading time: 46 minNote by Andrei: Boris Alexandrovich Rozhin blogs under the alias Colonel Cassad.  He is based in Crimea and reports about the events in the Ukraine on a daily basis.  I don’t necessarily agree/endorse everything he said here (or elsewhere) and I don’t share his ideological views (he is a Communist).  In in the interview he just gave to a Russian outlet he gives a lot of interesting information.  So what I am posting here is a machine translation of this interview which I would like to use as a basis for a discussion.  Please stay on topic and only post directly related to this interview.  Thank you!***– Boris Alexandrovich, a document was recently published indicating that Ukraine was preparing a military operation against the LDPR, and possibly an invasion of Crimea. If Russia had not launched its operation on February 24, what could have been the scenario of a war initiated by Ukraine?— There is indirect evidence, including documentary evidence, indicating that Kiev is preparing an offensive against the DPR and LPR. After the Russian Federation launched a special military operation to protect the people’s republics, we saw significant resources concentrated by Ukraine in the Donbass to conduct its military operation. They were waiting for an opportunity to provide cover in order to attack and destroy the republics. This goal has never been denied by Ukraine. They spoke it directly and were not going to fulfill any Minsk agreements. They were initially set up for the forcible liquidation of the republics. Now they will not have such an opportunity.As for Crimea, here they also constantly declared their determination to try to take it from Russia one way or another. This is a red thread in the statements of a variety of officials.There is a similar picture in Belarus. Ukraine actually supported the coup attempt in this country. Kiev actively supplied weapons to those militants who were trying to use to destabilize the situation in Belarus. Groups were sent that the KGB “clapped” at the border. So Ukraine has long been a springboard and a tool that they wanted to use against Russia, including Crimea, against the republics of Donbass with the aim of destroying them, and against Belarus with the aim of overthrowing Lukashenka and establishing a puppet pro-Western regime there. There are no questions or double interpretations in all this.Regarding the scenario of their actions, at the first stage they expected to capture the LDPR and hoped that Russia, fearing Western pressure, would not dare to directly intervene with its armed forces or at least would not have time to do something significant and stop their blitzkrieg. They also hoped that the cover of the West would not allow Russia to interfere with their actions aimed at destabilizing Belarus. Sending militants there, supporting Belarusian zmagars (translated from Belarusian – fighter, champion, zealot. In Minsk, this is what the oppositionists are called – approx. ed.) with attacks on government authorities, on law enforcement agencies in the territory of the Republic of Belarus. In Crimea, this is the next stage, which would consist in the blockade of the peninsula, provocations, terrorist attacks, and so on. They planned to focus on this after they had resolved the issue with Donbass. They understood that they would not have enough strength for everything at once. Therefore, first Donbass, and then Belarus and Crimea, against which they would have become more active.– They talk about American laboratories in Ukraine and bacteriological weapons. The amazing thing is that Russia has revealed all this and made it public, and there is practically no reaction in the world. Why? Why did China, which also has such laboratories, limit itself to calling on the United States to make public what they were doing there, while other countries where these laboratories exist are generally silent? For example, Kazakhstan, which we recently saved from a coup.— The United States, of course, does not want to discuss this topic, because there is already concrete evidence of what they were doing there. Under the pressure of irrefutable evidence, the Americans were forced to admit that the laboratories really were and are. But at the same time they are trying to prove that there is nothing terrible there, and the Russians, as always, compose horror stories and arrange provocations. Now, perhaps, this wave of interest in laboratories in the world will rise. China has already said several times from different rostrums that it is interested in what the Americans are doing in these laboratories. It is possible that such statements will be followed by some actions. Several other countries unfriendly to the United States have also expressed interest in what is happening in these laboratories. So trampling on this topic, most likely, will not work. Especially if Russia throws some more factual materials about the activities of laboratories into the information space. It is clear that the US satellites will not support this topic simply because they are dependent on America and cannot bark against their master. Therefore, they show in every possible way that nothing strange is happening, which once again shows the level of their dependence on the United States. The rest will raise their voices on this topic to the extent that they realize their independence from America. This topic will become a kind of measure of the level of independence of a country from the United States. Of course, there are still fewer independent countries than dependent ones, but their voice is heard louder every year.— Your colleague, the popular blogger Mikhail Onufrienko, says that initially 200 thousand people were brought into Ukraine from the Russian side, and 600 thousand are opposed to them in total, of which the APU — 252 thousand, territorial defense – 130 thousand, the rest – the SBU, the Interior Ministry, border guards and so on. Question: why did we go to such a deliberately flawed balance of forces in terms of numbers during the operation, especially since the enemy was ready for a conflict?— Yes, we are conducting an operation numerically smaller forces, but technically more than seriously superior to the enemy, which due to this bears much greater losses when faced with a more modern army. The number of Ukrainian armed forces and various formations was known, and if we wanted to fight differently, Russia could increase its contingent if desired. But it was decided to act with this contingent. And we see that even with such a formal numerical superiority on the part of Ukraine, almost all significant cities from Nikolaev and Kharkov to Kiev are blocked in the combat zone by Russian troops and the LDPR People’s militia. This suggests that today technical factors play a very significant role. We see that Russia, due to its high-tech intelligence and information capabilities and advanced long-range precision weapons, is causing enormous damage to the enemy. Therefore, the situation at the front is still determined by technological superiority.If desired, Russia can increase its grouping at the expense of volunteers from among its own citizens, who are not allowed yet, and there are already a lot of them. If Russia had seen from the operational situation that it needed to increase the contingent right now, then nothing would have prevented it from opening the reception of volunteers from the very beginning of the operation and forming units from them to be sent to the combat zone. And if she does not do this, then there is no such need at the moment. Will there be such a need in the future? Perhaps. But this will not be due to an increase in the number of losses, but, perhaps, to the expansion of the controlled territory. If such a need arises, then the volunteers are here. They will simply be told: please enroll in the ranks of the LDPR People’s militia, help establish order, for example, on the left bank of the Dnieper. There are such options. Russia has more than a huge military potential, it has not yet carried out either mobilization or conscription of reservists. If now, with the help of the West, Ukraine is already straining all its forces, then Russia is not fighting with all its capabilities.— And from which countries can volunteers come to us?– These are Syria, Libya, Iraq, the Central African Republic, Congo, Mali and others. If this work is put on stream, then there will still be those who want to. The anti-fascist movement in the world is quite developed. Volunteers came to Donbass in 2014 to help the republics survive. Accordingly, there is no problem for them to come now. Moreover, the leadership has already given the go-ahead to allow foreigners.— What are our losses, if it is correct to ask about it?— We must understand that we are not officially at war now. Russia has not officially declared war on Ukraine. So is Russia’s Ukraine. So all the talk about the war is speculation. Yes, there is fighting going on, but there is officially no war. It has not been declared from the point of view of international law, so Russia calls what is happening a special operation. And we have a law prohibiting the disclosure of losses in peacetime. There, in my opinion, up to 15 years for violation. Therefore, the topic of losses is kept secret. The Ministry of Defense will publish the figures that it considers necessary. I won’t guess. There are losses. And given the scale of the theater of military operations, the forces and means that the enemy uses (despite the fact that NATO countries are helping him), on our side there will be losses in both people and equipment. But Russia makes it clear that it is ready to pay this price to solve the strategic tasks of ensuring the country’s security for the coming decades.There are some official figures for Ukraine — somewhere around 4-5 thousand killed. There are unofficial estimates: from 10 to 14 thousand dead. Based on the situation at the front, and these are abandoned cities, a large number of equipment lost in battles and abandoned, we can say that the losses are significant. The APU, of course, does not officially confirm any of this at all. Zelensky called some funny 1.3 thousand people in two weeks of a special operation. Given the situation at the front, this is, of course, not serious.Therefore, now no one will call you real losses either in Russia or in Ukraine.— How do you interpret the appearance of the mysterious letters Z and V on Russian military equipment? The simplest explanation I’ve seen boils down to the fact that Z is the western military group, and V is the eastern one.– Yes, there is an opinion that this is the marking of certain groups. Earlier, the Ukrainian General Staff issued its explanation (in their interpretation, Z stands on the equipment of the “eastern forces of the Russian Federation”, V – marines, etc. – ed.), but it turned out to be erroneous. The fact is that Ukrainians interpreted the letter O as the designation of troops from Belarus, but then they themselves admitted that there were no Belarusian military on their territory. This is an indicator that the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine does not really know what exactly these letters mean, and he, too, like everyone else, participates in solving and interpreting this “crossword puzzle”. At the same time, a kind of letter “for advertising” appeared on the Instagram account of the Ministry of Defense, while it was still operating, that Z stands for “For Victory”, V for “loyalty” or “Strength in Truth”. However, Instagram was soon blocked in Russia, and versions are still going around and overgrown with variants. But in practice, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation continues to remain silent. Naturally, the use of these letters was developed by our security forces, and they, of course, know what it means, but at the same time you will not see any official comments at all. There is just an interpretation of different people.— How successful, in your opinion, is this letter Z from the point of view of information warfare? How successful is the use of the Latin alphabet in this context? Why not Cyrillic?— In fact, a certain meme was created. I wonder how this concept was calculated. But it turned out that almost the entire special operation became associated with the letter Z. It is not known to what extent this was part of the plans for information support of military operations. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the meme has completely “shot”. If in 2014 the operation was associated with the meme “Polite people”, then in 2022 it is Operation Z. What does it mean? We can list dozens of interpretations, but we do not know a reliable answer today. It remains to wait until the Ministry of Defense deems it necessary to tell what the deep meaning of the letter Z and other letters is. But I don’t think this will happen before the special operation itself is completed. Personally, I think that these are some kind of designations related to combat missions. On the one hand, this is a certain military marking, and on the other – an element of information support of what is happening.— I just wanted to ask you as an information warfare specialist. Are we still losing now, or are we starting to win the information war against Ukraine and the global West?– Of course, before the start of the special operation, the enemy had an overwhelming superiority over us in information resources. It is understandable: the West controls the main information flows in the world, and it has very serious information “troops”. And we see that, especially in the first days of the hot conflict, an attempt was made at an information blitzkrieg in order to convince the population of Russia, to inspire them with the idea not to support the special operation. However, this conditional blitzkrieg failed, and the level of support for the actions of the Russian military in our society remained very high. This once again shows that it is not necessary to absolutize Western information weapons: yes, they can displace all other opinions, but only in their own environment, where they practically control everything.Why did Russia immediately begin to clean up the information space? That is, they began to systematically eliminate all media resources associated with the enemy on the territory of the country (at the moment, The Echo of Moscow radio station, The Village, TJournal, Snob, Interlocutor, St. Petersburg Paper, Dozhd TV channel (recognized as a foreign agent), Media Zones (recognized as a foreign agent), “Medusa” (also included in the register of media-foreign agents) – ed.)? Because there are a lot of these media structures in Russia and in the current situation they had, according to the plan of their Western curators, to shoot together at the consciousness of the Russian audience. This did not happen, but the cleanup will continue in any case: those resources that have clearly indicated their connection with our external enemies will, of course, be closed.On the Internet we see positional information battles with the movements of crowds of “commentators”. This will all happen, because information warfare is a very important part of any modern war. It is obvious that on our side there were various shortcomings, mistakes, miscalculations related to the issues of conducting information operations. But this is eliminated already along the way: what does not correspond to reality is dying literally before our eyes. What can, adapts and changes. As a matter of fact, the Russian media machine that we have will change along with the whole country. Accordingly, those who cannot will remain on the sidelines of history. And those who can, will go ahead. After all, the conflict is not limited to one current special operation — it is a long conflict of the Cold War level.— In this regard, the question is whether the enemy’s remaining information resources in Russia are shooting us in the back?– Do you remember, there was such a series – “The Sleepers”? As you know, our liberal public disliked him very much, and the director Yuri Bykov then repented for him before “progressive humanity”. In fact, Bykov was able to raise a very important topic. There are people who can even work in Russian state structures or state media, but at a critical moment it suddenly turns out that these are not our people. Actually, that’s the problem. On the one hand, it is good that now is the time of clarity, many are showing themselves, arranging public demarches. But in fact, those who do are safe. Everything is clear with them. They are not with us. Well, all right. The problem is not in them, but in those who seem to have adapted outwardly — he may even shout about his patriotism, but he will work for completely different purposes. Such people believe that the Western future they dreamed of was taken away from them by someone – Putin or someone else. They say that “quilted jackets”, “colorads” have led the country off the European path, and now it is the sacred duty of those who understand this to help return Russia to the pillar road of civilization. However, there comes a time of clarity, and by many signs it becomes immediately clear who is who.— But won’t our media machine be completely destroyed now — after all, it was, in fact, pro-Western? And how quickly can we build a new one?– Impressive pieces that have grown on it since the 1990s will fall off from the Russian media machine. Roughly speaking, there are federal TV channels — this is a kind of vertical of media power. Other media meat will be built up around the “vertical”, but on slightly different principles. The car of the old type was arranged according to the patterns of the West, this supposedly free world, where freedom of speech and opinion were declared. But, as it has now turned out, there is no freedom of speech and opinions. It was in Russia for a long time that they allowed discord, tolerated the dominance of liberals in the information space, and in the West they have long mastered totalitarian methods as much as possible: “Think this way or don’t come here at all.” All these notorious values like freedom of the press collapsed literally in February – March – and it was in Western civilization. Everyone saw that you can safely call for murder — and nothing will happen for it. You can call on ethnic grounds to persecute our women and children, and there will be nothing for it either. This shocked many. Therefore, no one particularly regrets that Facebook was blocked, where such appeals became possible. People are even happy that, for example, Echo of Moscow has been closed. Previously, they threw up their hands: “We are not directly in conflict, we are trying to negotiate.” Now it’s different: the old world is gone, we’ll have to get used to living in the new one.In order to create a new media machine, you will need to build your own digital ecosystems, a full-fledged national video hosting. There are a whole lot of problems that should have been solved for a long time, but they were either solved slowly or crookedly. Now everything will have to be done “from the wheels”, because it has become a vital necessity: replacing the departed or departing Western information resources with their own. There is already a real, not declarative, sovereignization of the media space. This does not mean that uniformity awaits us. Some Western media will continue to work, but already on the terms of admission, as in China. In the Middle Kingdom, if you fulfill the conditions of, say, the propaganda department of the CPC Central Committee and other similar structures, you can function under certain conditions. If Russia can build the same structures, and I don’t see any obstacles to Western media returning to Russia after the end of the acute phase of the conflict, but on different terms. But the old conditions, when the founding companies could ignore the legislation, spit on fines or demands to “land”, will no longer exist. Such media will simply be turned off. Now either you fulfill the requirements, or you go through the forest. Nevertheless, I repeat: I do not think that we are waiting for some kind of mega-rigid censorship. Rather, we are moving towards such a limited, facilitated Chinese version of media control, which leaves the possibility of both state and private media to act. The latter are also in bulk in China.If we are talking about influencing the younger generation, then I would call TikTok — there is a lot of youth content, which is produced by ordinary people, for example, in support of the army— Aren’t the blogosphere and, in particular, Russian telegram channels turning into our fighting vanguard now? After all, Telegram is our breakthrough into the global world, because it exists in the USA, Europe, and the East.– Positional battles continue in Telegram, which may scare someone away. If we are talking about influencing the younger generation, then I would call TikTok — there is a lot of youth content, which is produced by ordinary people, for example, in support of the army. By the way, TikTok is aimed at an audience up to 25 years old, and at the same time it operates not only in Russia. And this is bearing fruit. We know that TikTok is still a Chinese mobile application (owned by the Beijing company ByteDance – editor’s note).— What could be the fate of the so-called Russian “stars” who hurriedly went on vacation after the events began? While our people are fighting, these people are resting somewhere abroad. Do they have the moral right to come back later? I’m talking about Urgant, Galkin and other “comedians”.– For sure, when this wave of events subsides, some will try to return slowly. I don’t think there are too many ideological fighters for Ukraine among those who have left. Another thing is how to treat those who will come back? To return them to federal TV channels and pretend that nothing happened, from my point of view, is wrong. Society must show that there is such a thing as social ostracism. Now, on the contrary, it is necessary to move those who support the army and the people. Russian television should be updated, especially since those who escaped have vacated their seats. This means that there is an opportunity to promote other people who will further contribute to the renewal of television. I mean, no one will run after Makarevich or any Panin with persuasions. Well, who needs them, actually? Simply, if it is an official TV channel, the state should not pay for the programs that these people make. Let them shoot a video there in their “YouTube” or on their website, how “everything is bad and everything is gone” – please.— But we know that these people have patrons in the Russian state elite. What should we do with our own political elite?— The political elite is heterogeneous, and it is natural that the people you are talking about have some kind of patrons. However, Vladimir Putin recently clearly stated that the Russian people “can always separate true patriots from traitors and spit them out like a fly that accidentally flew in.” This is quite an important symbolic signal on the topic of the fifth column. We are not talking about many dissatisfied people, but first of all about those who consciously and systematically cooperate with our enemies. There may indeed be more serious decisions regarding these people. But who decides? The FSB and other special services decide. If something comes to light, the consequences now may be much more serious than they could have been, say, last year. After all, the country lives in wartime conditions and a long cold war with the United States.– Tell me, how do you assess the effectiveness of Ukrainian Internet fakes like the “ghost of Kiev” or the “Russian warship” sent in three letters? Or like the “Ichthyander of Azov” that flashed in your telegram channel?– Such fakes operate only in conditions of a complete information blockade. If people are bombarded with such propaganda 24/7, they simply do not receive other information. By the way, it is no coincidence that comments are simply blocked in most Ukrainian public sites. Read, load your brain, but don’t bark. But when they begin to compare the facts, it becomes clear that the vast majority of these fakes just crumble in just a matter of hours.The problem is that when we try to argue with logic and facts, readers whose feelings and emotions are being bombarded do not perceive this logic. As they say, if the facts contradict the faith, so much the worse for the facts. But how to work in conditions of complete information suppression, when communication is turned off, when other sources of information are blocked? For comparison, our people read both Russian and Ukrainian telegram channels. We can also get acquainted with the reports of the Ukrainian General Staff, and watch operational videos from the scene. Videos are posted showing our losses, abandoned equipment or something else. It’s like we don’t have such a complete information cap — we know the Western position, we know the logic of the Ukrainian position. In this regard, Russia, despite the obvious restrictions, is now a much more free country from the point of view of information than the same Ukraine. When you go to the “Telegram”, there is no problem to get access to different sources of information. At the same time, Russian channels are now actively blocked in Ukraine. There’s just a propaganda line being broadcast, no comments— and that’s it.— If we compare the tonality of Ukrainian telegram channels and ours, the difference between the frenzied, jackal-like howl that comes from the Ukrainian telegram space and the rather calm and, as we once said, polite rhetoric of our channels is striking. They are really quite seasoned. In this regard, I would like to return to your meme “Polite people”. How applicable is this meme to Operation Z now? Are we still as polite?– Other times — other memes. The term lives, it has acquired a personal and public sound. It is clear that at the same time, he is historically tied to the 2014 operation. The current meme will certainly have something to do with Operation Z. That is, officially it will be SVO (special military operation), and unofficially – Operation Z.– By the way, was the term “Polite people” really born by chance? Do you not renounce its authorship?— Its origin is connected with my post “Polite people seized two airfields in the Crimea”. I wrote this on the night of February 28, 2014, citing one of the first reports about the seizure of the Simferopol airfield. This fragment is not difficult to find on the web, and I referred to the messages of a resource belonging to Euromaidan supporters. “At about one o’clock in the morning, Simferopol airport was seized by the same people. With weapons, strong, in the same clothes. The head of security said that his people were politely asked to leave,” that’s how it sounded. I was hooked by the expression “politely”, and I beat him, but without any expectation that it would have any large-scale effect. The most I hoped for was to elicit understanding chuckles from some of my readers. Therefore, in my article on IA REX (there is an error here, it appeared for the first time in the blog) I constructed the following phrase: “As reported by the media, “polite people”, after spending several hours at the Simferopol airport, left its location.” But, I emphasize, initially Ukrainian resources wrote about the “polite” seizure of the airport.– By the way, have you tried to register the trademark “Polite People” or are you not a selfish person?—I’m not. There was no goal to make money on this. Then some merchants registered a patent for the production of “Polite People” T-shirts and other products. I didn’t have a goal to make money on it.— There are children’s soldiers “Polite people” — a whole series.— There are a lot of things there — T-shirts and soldiers.– Now on the technique. The official representative of the Ministry of Defense of Russia Igor Konashenkov said that our troops have already destroyed about 1.2 thousand tanks and other armored vehicles of Ukraine. Are there many more of them left and how dangerous are they?– Actually, the number of tanks from this is slightly more than 300 units. Formally, at the beginning of the special operation, Ukraine had somewhere about 2 thousand tanks. It is clear that some of them were not on the move, but still there are tanks there so far, and quite a lot. There is a big problem in the gradually ending SAMs, various radar complexes that are being knocked out, and in the destruction of the bulk of aviation and helicopters. Air supremacy has been seized by Russia, they are trying to challenge it, but it does not work. The air defense system of Ukraine as a full-fledged structure has been destroyed. She moved on to the focal defense. Some complexes are hiding in residential areas or in the woods and trying to shoot. Sometimes they achieve some success, but Ukraine cannot regain control of its airspace in this way. That’s why, in fact, they are asking the West – give us planes, give us air defense systems.— All more or less large Ukrainian cities and settlements have been turned into defense nodes, the basis of which are armored tanks. With these fists they often make sorties and strike at our columns. Given that there are still a lot of such defense nodes in the combat zone, how long will they last and how dangerous are they for us?— If you miss such a blow, it can cause a lot of trouble. But our drones are hanging there, and it’s all being monitored. The last attempt to get out of Kharkov ended badly enough for them. Near Balakleya, artillery and aviation ground them. Plus, they have a growing fuel crisis, as our aviation methodically destroys their oil depots, oil storage facilities, and accumulations of refueling equipment. Therefore, fuel for tanks is becoming less and less. This leads to the fact that when they retreat, they throw a huge amount of serviceable equipment. It was visible both under Happiness, and under Volnovakha, and in other places. It just runs out of fuel, and the equipment becomes useless. Such a problem is rapidly increasing on the Left Bank of the Dnieper. In the second half of March, it will become very acute for the APU.– Konashenkov says that the Russian Armed Forces have already destroyed about 130 unmanned aerial vehicles. What kind of drones are these? Whose production? How many of them are still available?– There is a national hodgepodge. These are Turkish Bayraktars, Israeli reconnaissance drones, old Soviet Tu-143 Reis, and all sorts of large commercial and civilian quadrocopters. In general, a rather colorful park. The first batch of “Bayraktars” has almost all been destroyed. Now they are already fighting the second batch, which the Turks are selling to them. Ukrainians are trying to actively use drones, as they are an integral part of modern warfare. But at the same time, this technical tool is a fairly expensive consumable. It was quickly shot down, and you need to immediately produce or purchase a new one and fight on. Now there is practically no war without drones. In Ukraine, there is an option of constantly replenishing the fleet of drones by buying something on the market and by direct supplies from the West.—Are they dangerous to us?”– Of course, they are dangerous. Therefore, it is necessary to create and maintain a high level of tactical air defense combat capability. From the experience of military operations, we see that she copes with her duties quite successfully. Ukraine’s partners supply these drones to it, we grind them. They certainly cause some damage, but we destroy them quickly. In general, there is a process familiar from a number of other local wars.— If you look at the map of active hostilities, their zone is so far limited from south to north by the Mykolaiv and Zhytomyr regions. From Vinnitsa to Lviv, everything is calm. We’re not going there?– No one reveals such plans. This is a military secret. Even if someone knew these plans of the General Staff, who would tell you them in an interview? There is no complete clarity on how exactly the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are going to conduct this operation. There are many different kinds of assumptions. Russian troops and the LDPR People’s militia are now advancing in many places. Aviation and long-range fire systems strike with high-precision ammunition in the western regions as well. The airfield in Vinnitsa was destroyed. They bombed military facilities near Rivne. The last example is the defeat by long-range missiles of the training centers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the village of Starichi and at the Yavorovsky military training ground. The result, according to Konashenkov, whom you have already quoted— is that up to 180 foreign mercenaries and a large batch of foreign weapons have been destroyed, with which NATO countries have been supplying Ukraine in recent weeks. So the blows are being struck, just not so intensely. Gradually, the fire pressure and the activation of missile and bomb attacks will increase and shift to the west. But there is no real understanding of what exactly is laid down in the plan of the General Staff regarding the goals, timing and tasks of the operation.– Onufrienko said in another summary that the weapons that are now coming from the West are not coming to the fighting units, but are settling in Western Ukraine, and a powerful fist is being formed here. As he says, perhaps in order to create some Galician republic here or something similar. But this is an assumption. And it may happen that this fist, together with the mercenaries, will then hit the tired and battle-battered Russian army.– Yes, they can use this fist both in Western Ukraine and strengthen some already fighting direction. For example, try to transfer something to Kiev or Odessa. The problem is that there are few heavy land vehicles there. The most combat-ready part of it was still on the Left Bank. These formations may create some problems for us in the medium term, but they cannot throw them somewhere on a threatening scale now. They are engaged in accumulating forces for a longer conflict.— There was information that the Russian aviation was actively and closely working on the former pride of the Soviet industry – the Malyshev Kharkiv Tractor Plant, and now the tank-building plant. If this is being done within the framework of demilitarization, then why are we not actively and tightly bombing other facilities, for example in Dnepropetrovsk – we can say, the capital of Ukrainian rocket engineering?– The nomenclature of strikes is determined by the General Staff. He does not disclose the principle by which certain objects are selected. There is a certain set of goals. They were knocked out, they move on to the next ones. Blows are struck every day, and, obviously, these blows are not delivered in a chaotic manner, but in a certain planned order. What has already been destroyed, apparently, was considered a higher priority than what has not yet been destroyed. The conflict is not over yet. A lot of things will be destroyed in the coming weeks.– Well, now we will destroy all these factories, and then who will restore these giants of the industry?– No one reveals such plans. This is a military secret. Even if someone knew these plans of the General Staff, who would tell you them in an interview? There is no complete clarity on how exactly the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are going to conduct this operation. There are many different kinds of assumptions. Russian troops and the LDPR People’s militia are now advancing in many places. Aviation and long-range fire systems strike with high-precision ammunition in the western regions as well. The airfield in Vinnitsa was destroyed. They bombed military facilities near Rivne. The last example is the defeat by long-range missiles of the training centers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the village of Starichi and at the Yavorovsky military training ground. The result, according to Konashenkov, whom you have already quoted— is that up to 180 foreign mercenaries and a large batch of foreign weapons have been destroyed, with which NATO countries have been supplying Ukraine in recent weeks. So the blows are being struck, just not so intensely. Gradually, the fire pressure and the activation of missile and bomb attacks will increase and shift to the west. But there is no real understanding of what exactly is laid down in the plan of the General Staff regarding the goals, timing and tasks of the operation.– Onufrienko said in another summary that the weapons that are now coming from the West are not coming to the fighting units, but are settling in Western Ukraine, and a powerful fist is being formed here. As he says, perhaps in order to create some Galician republic here or something similar. But this is an assumption. And it may happen that this fist, together with the mercenaries, will then hit the tired and battle-battered Russian army.– Yes, they can use this fist both in Western Ukraine and strengthen some already fighting direction. For example, try to transfer something to Kiev or Odessa. The problem is that there are few heavy land vehicles there. The most combat-ready part of it was still on the Left Bank. These formations may create some problems for us in the medium term, but they cannot throw them somewhere on a threatening scale now. They are engaged in accumulating forces for a longer conflict.— There was information that the Russian aviation was actively and closely working on the former pride of the Soviet industry – the Malyshev Kharkiv Tractor Plant, and now the tank-building plant. If this is being done within the framework of demilitarization, then why are we not actively and tightly bombing other facilities, for example in Dnepropetrovsk – we can say, the capital of Ukrainian rocket engineering?– The nomenclature of strikes is determined by the General Staff. He does not disclose the principle by which certain objects are selected. There is a certain set of goals. They were knocked out, they move on to the next ones. Blows are struck every day, and, obviously, these blows are not delivered in a chaotic manner, but in a certain planned order. What has already been destroyed, apparently, was considered a higher priority than what has not yet been destroyed. The conflict is not over yet. A lot of things will be destroyed in the coming weeks.– Well, now we will destroy all these factories, and then who will restore these giants of the industry?– No one is going to restore them. One of the main tasks of the operation is demilitarization. Why does Ukraine need a lot of military factories?! Ukraine should not threaten Russia militarily. The destruction of military infrastructure, the elimination of offensive weapons and the elimination of industrial opportunities for the production of weapons dangerous to Russia are the inseparable goals and objectives of the operation. Russia has already announced that factories that repair and manufacture military equipment are legitimate military targets. Accordingly, the longer Ukraine and its patrons delay military operations, the fewer enterprises they will have.– Now about the strange statements of our Foreign Ministry. “The special military operation of the Russian Federation is not aimed at overthrowing the current government of Ukraine or destroying its statehood, it is aimed at protecting the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, demilitarization and denazification of the country, as well as eliminating the military threat to Russia,” says the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova. It sounds very strange. How, for example, could the military threat from Germany be demilitarized, denazified and eliminated without destroying the National Socialist statehood and overthrowing the power of Hitler and his team?— The term “denazification” is not disclosed and is not specified. Apparently, there is some set of requirements that are planned to be discussed after the signing of the terms of the surrender of the regime of Vladimir Zelensky. Until he signed them. Yes, Russia says that he should sign them as the current president of Ukraine. If he doesn’t sign it, it’s good, so the operation continues. The longer and fiercer the Ukrainian resistance, the tougher the conditions of surrender will be. At some point, Zelensky may simply cease to be recognized as the president of Ukraine, and that’s it. Russia has a wide space for maneuvers. Until recently, we officially recognized both the DPR and the LPR as part of Ukraine. Now our Foreign Ministry says that Zelensky is the president of Ukraine, and a week later it can say that we no longer think so, because Zelensky missed the time. In reality, Zelensky is already just an American puppet, therefore, as long as it is profitable for us, we recognize him as president. It will become unprofitable – we will stop recognizing.We can say that Russia stands for the “Finlandization” of Ukraine. That is, for turning it into a neutral country with a ban on neo-Nazi formations. The consolidation of its neutral status in the Constitution of the country and the termination of its military development by foreign states. This is the process that took place in Finland after its defeat in World War II, when the country accepted the conditions of the Soviet Union and turned from, in fact, a fascist state into a neutral one.– Will the NATO members, with the level of Russophobia that is now inflamed, agree to this?— What will remain of modern Ukraine will be such a “bedbug” like Idlib (a city in Syria – ed.). Gangs of Nazis will run around there under the roof of their patrons, but they can only really be used in some kind of terrorist form. They will no longer pose a global threat with nuclear or bacteriological weapons. There’s just nothing left for that.— There are practically no people or parties loyal to Russia in Ukraine now. Even the platform “For Life” of Medvedchuk and Boyko took a “patriotic” position against us.– Looking for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine now, as well as political forces in general, advocating peace and friendship with Russia, is like looking for pro-Soviet forces in Nazi Germany 1944-1945. Yes, there were forces that opposed the continuation of the war, even for the murder of Hitler and some negotiations with the allies, but in the conditions of fascist terror, no open political life is impossible. There is no political life in Ukraine right now. There is a regime of fascist dictatorship, where dissenters are simply killed. Political life can begin in the liberated territories or in the conditions of the neutralization of Ukraine. But not now. Therefore, the military is solving the problem so that fascist terror stops in Ukraine and political life appears.— And where is Viktor Medvedchuk, why is he not visible and not heard? Is he alive at all?– Viktor Medvedchuk is a long-played card. Of course, it can still be used for something, but it has never been particularly popular in Ukraine, including in the south-east. He tried to position himself and sell himself as a kind of representative of the south-east, but these were intra-elite sales. In fact, his party has always had a fairly low rating. Of course, they can attach him somewhere, but in fact this figure is inflated and unpromising.— So you think that after the end of the military operation in Ukraine there will be some political forces advocating good-neighborly relations with Russia?— There will be a sufficient number of parties advocating the neutralization of Ukraine, for its non-aligned status. The main thing is that all these conditions should be spelled out in the Ukrainian Constitution. All this, of course, will need to be settled with the West, but before that you still need to, as they say, get there. So far, there is nothing, and the operation continues.— And what about the famous Ukrainian oligarchs – Kolomoisky, Akhmetov, Firtash and others?– Rinat Akhmetov is performing. He says that he is a patriot, that he transfers money to defense, and everything like that. And not just him. Others also speak out because they understand that everything is over for them in the Donbass. If anything has remained until now, then everything will now be taken away clean. There is a risk of losing assets in other liberated territories as well. But here the choice is small: if you contacted the fascists, then you painted yourself in these colors. Now don’t be surprised by the consequences. We still have some property of Ukrainian oligarchs in Crimea, which has not been fully selected. Now, in response to the nationalization of Russian property in Ukraine, everything may well be taken away. This public is unlikely to cooperate with Russia in any way. And that’s good. These bloodsuckers from both Donbass and Russia should be unhooked, and as soon as possible.— Where are the former Ukrainian presidents? Kravchuk six months ago posed with a double-barreled Goering shotgun and said that he would shoot “Muscovites”.— They are alive and also perform. Both Kravchuk and Kuchma say what megapatriots they are. But this is all the barking of the powerless. We have always known perfectly well that they hate us. Geographically, some of them are now entrenched in Western Ukraine, some are already in Europe. This is unprincipled, because they can’t say anything new. They repeat the same thing, just now there is more hysteria and more curses. I think there is no point in paying attention to them. This is a historical scrap.— What are the sentiments prevailing in the Ukrainian diaspora in Russia? Did anyone from her environment go to war against the nationalists in the current operation of the Russian Federation?– Different moods. Someone opposes the military operation, goes to rallies. At the same time, a huge number of people fled to Russia after the Maidan revolution and the civil war unleashed in Ukraine. This is a mass of political emigrants, intellectuals, just people who have not accepted rabid nationalism and terror against dissidents. These people enthusiastically accept the Russian operation in the hope that their country will become normal and someone will even be able to return to their home, where they have not been for many years. Now, if this man comes back, he may just be killed. If we look at the sociology of support for Russia’s military operation among its citizens, its level is quite high. According to various estimates, this is at least 70 percent. I think that among the Ukrainian diaspora in Russia, the level of support is about the same, because first of all Russian sympathizers fled from Ukraine, not Western ones.— And how do you feel about terrorist threats from Ukraine?– Russia has more than a wealth of experience working with such an audience in the Caucasus and Syria. With the end of active hostilities in the liberated territories, a counter-terrorist operation will still be carried out to destroy the remaining remnants and neo-Nazi gangs there. They will do this with an adjustment to local peculiarities and do the same as they do in the Caucasus, in Syria, in the interior regions of Russia, where cells of radical Islamists from among migrants and not only are identified and liquidated. This is a long but understandable process. In the end, they will come to an agreement with someone, and the irreconcilable will be laid in the ground.– Putin gave the command to strengthen the western direction in connection with the build-up of NATO forces at our borders. What exactly will this build-up consist of?– A direct NATO war with us is unlikely, because it will almost immediately become nuclear. Russia now needs to resolve the Ukrainian issue, but in parallel, our western borders are already being strengthened. There will be a build-up of the grouping in Kaliningrad, strengthening of troops in Belarus. The issue of the supply of new equipment to Belarus has been resolved. Accordingly, we will have more troops and equipment in the West. A new Iron curtain is being actively formed, and troops will be standing on both sides of this curtain. Only earlier it passed through the territory of Germany, and now it will pass on the borders of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.— What about Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua? Will we build up and resist the foes, if such a war of nerves has gone on?— Well, while NATO does not place missiles in Eastern Europe, we also do not place anything in Latin America. There are such options. Venezuela and Cuba are potential locations for such weapons. This is a trump card in our hands, and no one will just throw it away now. It is kept in reserve.— Will the sanctions disrupt our weapons programs?— I think there will be certain technological problems, but in recent years our industry has become more focused on domestic and, let’s say, non-Western suppliers. There are many workarounds. The same Iran, under the conditions of the most severe sanctions, managed to develop new ballistic missiles and create one of the most advanced UAV programs in the world. And Russia has much more such opportunities than Iran. Therefore, basically these problems are solvable.– Recently, the media and telegram channels reported on the explosion of a drama theater in Mariupol. And initially they tried to present it as a consequence of the explosion of a Russian aerial bomb – despite the fact that thousands of civilians were hiding in the theater, who, fortunately, remained alive. Was it also an attempt to create an information bomb on the deaths of innocent people?— This bomb, let’s say, did not explode in full force due to the fact that there were many warnings published four days before this provocation. There are testimonies of people who were there. They reported that the people in the bomb shelter are all alive. Now they will interrogate prisoners for organizing provocations. I think in about a week there will be videos with the testimony of detainees and witnesses.Currently, fighting is already underway in the city quarters of Mariupol. It is unclear how much strength the nationalists have left, but gradually the city is being cleared. On the eve of 30 thousand people have already been able to go outside the city limits. Again, this is an indicator that the nationalists do not completely control Mariupol, and people are fleeing from there in the direction of the Russian border.—Aren’t we being too polite?” I understand that we are protecting civilians, but this makes it difficult for us to advance.– That’s right, we are paying an additional price, including with the lives of the military, in order to save the civilian population. This again shows that the purpose of the operation is not a war with the Ukrainian people, but a war with Ukrainian Nazism. We separate Ukrainian Nazism from the Ukrainian people. And this is part of the struggle for people’s minds. In this regard, we can recall that when Soviet troops entered the territory of Germany, Stalin gave an order not to commit violence against peaceful civilians under threat of death penalty. The slogan “Kill the German!”, which was needed during the difficult years of the war, ceased to be relevant when we had already driven the fascists from our land and came to German territory. In this regard, the position of Putin and the military leadership, in principle, copies the approaches that Stalin used in relation to the civilian population of Germany. That is, in no case should rape, robbery, looting be allowed. And we see that there are simply no reports that the Russian army is killing civilians on purpose, with the exception of fake messages from Ukrainian telegram channels. We are willing to pay an additional price in order not to conduct military operations like butchers. We are not going as conquerors, we are going as people who are liberating Ukraine from Nazism.– By the way, why do you think Ramzan Kadyrov needed to come to Ukraine directly to the war zone?– To support his military at the front, showing that he was not afraid to come and meet with his people. At the same time, it shows that Ukraine is now in a heavyweight position, since even Ramzan Kadyrov, who cannot be called an inconspicuous figure, can take and come to Nezalezhnaya and be somewhere there next to Kiev and at the same time troll the Ukrainian leadership. He also shows himself: “look, here I am – I was not afraid and came to you near Kiev. I’m already here. You are not threatening me somewhere, but I have already arrived and am standing at your doorstep.” Again, this is an element of information warfare. From the point of view of PR, Kadyrov, of course, does a lot there. He capitalizes on himself, as it were, in the media, and at the same time helps to exert information pressure on the Kiev regime.— Thus, the international is fighting on our side: Chechens, Russians, Tatars, “fighting Buryats”, and on their side it is the nationalists. This is the international against the national!– Yes, and the Buryats are fighting there. As for the Chechen units, they fight together with combined arms units and solve common tasks. This helps (at least for a while) to relieve tension along the national line, because Russians and Chechens shed blood together. Ossetians, Armenians, and representatives of other nations are coming to Ukraine. From the point of view of the international factor, this is quite an important point.— What about the Foreign Legion of Ukraine? He crumbled, I take it?— He suffered serious losses after a high-precision strike on the Yavorovsky training ground. Now they are restructuring tactics: mercenaries will no longer be gathered in such crowds and concentrated in one place. Of course, this is a great achievement of Russian intelligence, which revealed such a cluster. The battalion of mercenaries was put out of action almost immediately. Moreover, the so-called “Foreign Legion of Ukraine” is either just mercenaries fighting for money, or various ultra-rightists. Plus some percentage of ordinary combat veterans. But now their belligerent fervor has diminished.

  • Here comes China (and they don’t stop!)
    by amarynth on March 20, 2022

    estimated reading time: 11 minBy Amarynth for the Saker Blog and collaborating with Godfree Roberts’ Newsletter, Here Comes ChinaBiden / Xi Summit.In perfect Chinese diplomatic terms, it looks like business as usual. Taken outside of the perfect diplomatic terms, it is a true spanking.Let’s take one paragraph only and remember a few things first:Washington, as usual, threatened and danced something like the haka and warned Xi not to support Russia in any way or the consequences would be dire for China. Washington threatened with equally applied sanctions and other dire unmentionables.  Apparently, Washington can support who it wants, but China is in some form prohibited from exactly that.  Hypocritically they want it both ways.  That era is over.A few hours before the ‘summit’, China had a perfectly normal sail-by through the Taiwan Straits of their aircraft carrier Shandong.  Yes, this is ‘likely routine’ says their spox.  Sure, it was highly likely just routine.  It must have been a wonderful day for the Shandong to take a little sail through the Taiwan Straits.A few hours before the ‘summit’ Global times had an interview with an unnamed official.  (Is China playing the US game here by not naming the official?).  This is the take-away:  “The international community can fairly judge who is frank and open and who is up to something, who is easing the situation and who is aggravating tension, who is promoting peace talks and who is pouring fuel on the fire, and who is maintaining peace and stability and who is provoking confrontations between blocs.”Xi Jinping made a pre-summit statement: Countries should not come to the point of meeting on the battlefield. Conflict and confrontation are not in anyone’s interest. Peace and security are what the international community should treasure the most.So, this is the milieu that Biden walked into at the online summit.  We must know by now what this is all about.  None of the boring line-up of US representatives could bend China to their will to support sanctions against Russia, so, time for a Presidential Summit to yet again attempt to split China and Russia.  This is how perfectly ridiculous this attempt is:  Can you help me fight your friend so that I can concentrate on fighting you later?Here is how it went:President Biden expounded on the US position and expressed readiness for communication with China to prevent the situation from exacerbating.Simply said:  How can we make a deal so that the US/Nato alliance remains a unipolar world and all others must be subservient.President Xi pointed out that China does not want to see the situation in Ukraine to come to this. China stands for peace and opposes war. This is embedded in China’s history and culture.Simply said:  Hey Biden, mistake number one!  You do not know who you are talking to, but now I’m going to tell youChina makes a conclusion independently based on the merits of each matter. China advocates upholding international law and universally recognized norms governing international relations. China adheres to the UN Charter and promotes the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. These are the major principles that underpin China’s approach to the Ukraine crisis. China has put forward a six-point initiative on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, and is ready to provide further humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and other affected countries. All sides need to jointly support Russia and Ukraine in having dialogue and negotiation that will produce results and lead to peace. Simply stated:  This is the crux of the matter and seemingly you are unable to grasp it!The US and NATO should also have dialogue with Russia to address the crux of the Ukraine crisis and ease the security concerns of both Russia and Ukraine. Message:  Go away and take your position and money with you!  You had your opportunity and you became a warmaker, coercing others to your will.  Enough is enough!  We have principles, law and morals and ethical standards.  You hold on to ‘positions’ favorable to you only.China is active in the EU as well and the discussion does not remain dry and diplomatically correct. China is playing into its strengths, saying what is correct in terms of its own national interest and it happens to co-incide with that of the non-insane world.   The spokespeople are highly educated, clear, exceptionally well-spoken, and smart.   They also mercilessly dig in the knife when opportunity shows.  In a recent press conference:CCTV: US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that the US is concerned about Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure which caused civilian casualties. However, China has yet to state its position explicitly. How does the foreign ministry view such criticism from other countries on China?Zhao Lijian: Human lives are precious. Civilian casualties under all circumstances are heart-rending and lamentable. China has all along called for every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We still remember that in March 1999, the US-led NATO, without the Security Council’s mandate, flagrantly unleashed a ruthless bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for 78 days, killing at least 2,500 innocent civilians and injuring around 10,000 people, most of them civilians. Over the past two decades or so, the US conducted tens of thousands of air strikes in places like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. The number of innocent civilians killed can be anywhere between 22,000 and 48,000. When professing its concern for the welfare of the Ukrainian people, shouldn’t the US first express concern over the civilian casualties caused by all these military operations?I particularly enjoyed this vignette:NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that any support to Russia, military or any other type of support, would actually help Russia conduct a brutal war against an independent sovereign nation, Ukraine, and help them to continue to wage war which is causing death, suffering and an enormous amount of destruction.This was the comment of the Chinese spokesperson:Chinese people can fully relate to the pains and sufferings of other countries because we will never forget who bombed our embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  China does not need a lecture on justice from the abuser of international law. As a Cold War remnant and the world’s largest military alliance, NATO continues to expand its geographical scope and range of operations. What kind of role has it played in world peace and stability? NATO needs to have a good reflection.CurrencyAgainst this backdrop, the news filtered out about The Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and China designing a new monetary and financial system bypassing the U.S. dollar, supervised by Sergei Glazyev and intended to compete with the Bretton Woods system which is now less than 50% of the currency flow in the world.  While news is still very scarce on this front, it fulfilled the purpose of telling Biden once again to go away if US/NATO cannot be a serious contender to building a peaceful and prosperous world.Godfree Roberts, in his last newsletter, did an overview of the major historical milestones.  I am not sure if the concept of a special drawing rights fiat currency revaluated regularly against a basket of currencies will be the way this rolls out.  Stand by!  Much more incoming!  We will see.DOLLAR’S END – Farewell, Inordinate PrivilegeCredit Suisse analyst Zoltan Pozsar says Ukraine triggered a perfect storm in commodities that could weaken the Eurodollar system, contribute to inflation in Western economies, and threaten their financial stability. Pozsar said China’s central bank is uniquely placed to backstop such crisis, paving the way for a much stronger yuan. Reuters, Mar. 13, 2022. Saudi Arabia Considers Accepting Yuan Instead of Dollars for Chinese Oil Sales: Talks between Riyadh and Beijing have accelerated as the Saudi unhappiness grows with Washington. WSJ, Mar. 14, 2022 –o0o–In 2009, after helping to rescue the US from the GFC, Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor of the Peoples Bank of China, said, “The world needs an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and able to remain stable in the long run, removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies.”After helping rescue America from the GFC, PBOC Governor Zhou Xiaochuan observed, “The world needs an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and able to remain stable in the long run, removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies.”Zhou proposed SDRs, Special Drawing Rights, a synthetic reserve currency dynamically revalued against a basket of trading currencies and commodities. Broad, deep, stable, and impossible to manipulate. Nobelists Fred Bergsten, Robert Mundell, and Joseph Stieglitz approved: “The creation of a global currency would restore a needed coherence to the international monetary system, give the IMF a function that would help it to promote stability and be a catalyst for international harmony”.  Here’s what’s happened since:2012: Beijing began valuing the yuan against a currency/commodity basket2014: The IMF issued the first SDR loan2016: The World Bank issued the first SDR bond2017: Standard Chartered Bank issued the first commercial SDR notes.2019: All central banks began stating currency reserves in SDRsMar. 14, 2022: “In two weeks, China and the Eurasian Economic Union – Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan – will reveal an independent international monetary and financial system. It will be based on a new international currency, calculated from an index of national currencies of the participating countries and international commodity prices”.The currency resembles Keynes’ invention Special Drawing Rights.SDRs are a  synthetic currency which derives its value from a global, publicly traded basket of currencies and commodities. Immense beyond imaging, and stable as the Pyramids. Everyone gets a seat at the table and a vote. It may eventually be administered by an arm of the UN.SDRs pose a serious alternative to the US dollar, both for the EAEU, the BRI’s 145 member states, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), ASEAN, and the RCEP. Middle East countries, including Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, are keenly interested.Less well known is that the EAEU, the BRI, the SCO, ASEAN, and the RCEP were discussing a merger before the currency news hit.It is reasonable to expect them to join this new, cooperatively managed, stable reserve currency regime in which they can settle their trades in stable, neutral, predictable SDRs.Biological labsChina is not losing any opportunity to bring this front and center.  This is their last list of questions:If the concerns are “disinformation”, why doesn’t the U.S. release detailed materials to prove its innocence? – Question by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine. What did the U.S. spend the $200 million on? – Question by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine. What kind of research has the U.S. conducted on which pathogens? – Question by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine. What is it trying to hide when the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine deleted all relevant documents on its website? – Question by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine. Why does the U.S. insist on being the only country in the world to oppose the establishment of a multilateral verification mechanism though it claims to abide by the Biological Weapons Convention? – Question by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine. This is quite an amazing poster detailing the biolab web, which is too large to load here.  But take a look at the depiction of these US biolabs. Economic goals in a nutshellWhat is happening with Belt and Road?  About the data: On January 21, 2022, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) released its data for “China’s investments and cooperation in countries along the Belt and Road” covering the period of January to December 2021. According to these data, Chinese enterprises invested about US$20.3 billion in non-financial direct investments in countries “along the Belt and Road”. Furthermore, there were 560 newly signed projects with a contract value of over US$100 million. The MOFCOM data focus on 55 countries that are “along the Belt and Road” – meaning on a corridor from China to Europe including South Asia. For this report, the definition of BRI countries includes 142 countries that had signed a cooperation agreement with China to work under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative by the end of 2021. To analyze investments in these countries, we base our data on the China Global Investment Tracker and our own data research at the Green Finance & Development Center affiliated with Fudan University, Shanghai. As with most data, they tend to be imperfect.Chinese jokeOn a somewhat of a lighter note:  The Chinese Netizens are in the majority siding with Russia so completely and so enthusiastically, that China’s WeChat and Douyin had to crack down on vulgar jokes and netizens were told in no uncertain terms that they cannot make fun of international news events.  The very high support for Russia is becoming a clear talking point despite the somewhat muted and correct Chinese diplomatic statements.

  • Propaganda 101: Ukraine 2022 | Dissident Voice
    by hanifk on March 20, 2022

    estimated reading time: 9 minDuring 2011, NATO bombed a path to Tripoli to help its proxy forces on the ground oust Gaddafi. Tens of thousands lost their lives and much of Libya’s social fabric and infrastructure lay in ruins. The 2016 article appearing in Foreign Policy Journal ‘Hillary Emails Reveal True Motive for Libyan Intervention’ exposed why Libya was targeted. Gaddafi was murdered and his plans to assert African independence and undermine Western hegemony on that continent were rendered obsolete. A March 2013 Daily Telegraph article “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’’’ reported that 3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia had been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to rebels. In the same month of that year, the New York Times ran the article ‘Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands with CIA Aid’, stating that Arab governments and Turkey had sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters. This aid included more than 160 military cargo flights. In his book The Dirty War on Syria, Tim Anderson describes how the West and its allies were instrumental in organising and then fuelling that conflict. Over the last two decades, politicians and the media have been manipulating popular sentiment to get an increasingly war-fatigued Western public to support ongoing conflicts under the notion of ‘protecting civilians’ or a ‘war on terror’. A yarn is spun about securing women’s rights or fighting terrorists, removing despots (possessing non-existent WMDs) from power or protecting human life to justify military attacks, resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of civilian lives and the displacement of many more. Emotive language designed to instill fear about terror threats or ‘humanitarian intervention’ is used as a pretext to wage imperialist wars in mineral-rich countries and geo-strategically important regions. Although it has been referred to in many articles over the years, it is worth mentioning again retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark and a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense that he was told about just a few weeks after 9/11. It revealed plans to “attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years,” starting with Iraq and moving on to “Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran”. Clark argued this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources. Part of the battle for the public’s hearts and minds is to convince people to regard these wars and conflicts as a disconnected array of events, not the planned machinations of empire. For the last decade, the ongoing narrative about Russian aggression has been part of the strategy. Anglo-American financial-corporate interests have long been seeking to drive a wedge between Europe and Russia to prevent closer economic alignment. Aside from the expansion of NATO and installation of missile systems in Eastern Europe targeting Russia, there has also been the ever-tightening economic sanctions which the EU has largely been compelled to go along with. Back in 2014, the proposed (but never implemented) Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was part of the broader geopolitical game plan to weaken Western Europe by making it even more dependent on the US and to divide the European continent by side-lining Russia. While the TTIP may appear to have had nothing to do with what was happening in Ukraine in 2014 (the coup) or Syria, it was a cog in the machine to cement US hegemony. Much more can be (and has been) written about US strategies to undermine Russia’s fossil-fuel based economy, but the point is that US actions have for some time been aimed at weakening Russia. The financial-industrial-military complex is setting this agenda, hammered out behind closed doors in its various forums. Those who sit at the top of this complex fine-tune their plans within powerful think tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institute (documented in Brian Berletic’s 2012 article ‘Naming Names: Your Real Government’) as well as at the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg and NATO, as described in the 2008 book by David Rothkopf, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making. It is worthwhile noting the 2019 report ‘Overextending and Unbalancing Russia’ by the influential US policy think tank the Rand Corporation. The document sets out various scenarios for destabilising and weakening Russia, including “imposing deeper trade and financial sanctions” and “providing lethal aid to Ukraine” but without provoking “a much wider conflict in which Russia, by reason of proximity, would have significant advantages”. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia did not happen out of the blue. It is not the result of the machinations of a power-hungry madman hellbent on taking over Europe, a notion that mainstream commentators have for a number of years tried to embed in the psyche of the Western public. A recent analysis appearing on the India-based news channel WION, ‘Did NATO push Ukraine into war?’, provides the type of insightful analysis of events absent from the Western media. It succinctly outlines Russia’s valid concerns about NATO’s expansionist thrust into Eastern Europe and how successive US administrations ignored these concerns for many years, including those from top officials in Washington itself. That such an analysis remains off the Western media agenda is of no surprise. Prominent journalists in key media outlets are essential foot soldiers whose role is to support power. They are groomed for their positions by various means (the British-American Project being a case in point) as they climb the well-paid career ladder. Notwithstanding the countless civilian casualties and the suffering currently in Ukraine, a country being used as a pawn in a geopolitical war, there are also the effects of disrupted energy supplies and fertilizer and food exports from Ukraine and Russia which will impact possibly hundreds of millions across the world. For instance, the war could unleash a ‘hurricane of hunger‘ and poverty with the World Bank estimating that the average person in Sub-Saharan Africa will be spending about 35% of their income on food in 2023 if the war in Ukraine drags on. It was a little more than 20% in 2017. Elsewhere, in places like South Asia and the Middle East, the increase could be worse. But this is merely ‘collateral damage’ worth imposing on others in the calculations of those who determine what the ‘price worth paying’ is and who will pay it. Nevertheless, the public has been encouraged to support a strategy of increasing tension towards Russia, culminating in the situation we now see in Ukraine, by a media which plays its part well. The media serves as a key cheerleader for US-led wars and ensures the civilian wounded and dead of those conflicts are kept out of the headlines and off the screens, unlike the current situation in Ukraine whose victims receive 24/7 coverage across the major media outlets. But this comes as little surprise. Former CIA boss General Petraeus stated in 2006 that his strategy was to wage a war of perceptions conducted continuously through the news media. Many readers will be aware of the revelation back in 2015 about the former editor of a major German newspaper who said he planted stories for the CIA. Udo Ulfkotte claimed he accepted news items written and given to him by the agency and published them under his own name in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. While this came as a shock to many, it was noted decades ago by former senior British intelligence officer Peter Wright (author of the 1987 autobiographical book Spycatcher) that many top journalists in the UK were associated with MI5. It was another former CIA boss, William Casey, who in the 1980s said: We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false. Civilian suffering is given full media coverage when it can be used to tug at the emotional heartstrings in order to sway public opinion. Made-for-media outpourings of morality about good and evil are designed to create outrage and support for more ‘interventions’. The shaping of public opinion is not a haphazard affair. It is now sophisticated and well established. Take, for instance, the harvesting of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica to shape the outcomes of the US election a few years back and the Brexit campaign. According to journalist Liam O’Hare writing in 2018, its now defunct parent company Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) conducted ‘behavioural change’ programmes in more than 60 countries. Its clients included the British Ministry of Defence, the US State Department and NATO. According to O’Hare, among SCL’s activities in Europe were campaigns targeting Russia. The company had “sweeping links” with Anglo-American political and military interests. In the UK, the interests of the governing Conservative Party and military-intelligence players were brought together via SCL: board members included “an array of Lords, Tory donors, ex-British army officers and defence contractors”. For O’Hare, all SCL’s activities were inextricably linked to its Cambridge Analytica arm. He states: We finally have the most concrete evidence yet of shadowy actors using dirty tricks in order to rig elections. But these operators aren’t operating from Moscow… they are British, Eton educated, headquartered in the City of London and have close ties to Her Majesty’s government. Welcome to the world of mass deception à la Edward Bernays and Joseph Goebbels. With talk of a ‘no-fly zone’ over Ukraine, sanctions on Russia which Putin says are ‘akin to a declaration of war’ and Biden calling Putin a ‘war criminal’, the world now finds itself in a ‘thinking the unthinkable’ scenario that was totally avoidable. The day before the invasion of Ukraine, Putin stated on Russian TV: Whoever tries to get in our way and create further threats to our country and our people must know that Russia’s response will come immediately and will lead to consequences without precedent in history. All the necessary decisions have been taken. President of the German Council on Foreign Relations Thomas Enders has since responded by calling for a no-fly zone in western Ukraine, which would most likely lead to direct military involvement by NATO: It is time for the West to expose Putin’s nuclear threats for what they really are – a bluff to deter Western governments from military intervention. Speaking on TV in 2021, prominent US politician and Iraq war veteran Tulsi Gabbard spelt out the consequences of a war with Russia over Ukraine. With thousands of nuclear weapons that the US and Russia have aimed at each other, she said that a nuclear exchange would ‘exact a cost on every one of us that would result in excruciating death and suffering beyond comprehension’. And yet, despite what Gabbard warns of, the arrogance and recklessness of power brokers is displayed each day for all to see. Although it may be regarded as political posturing – in a centuries-old ‘great game’ played out by the ruling elites that boils down to oil, gas, minerals, power, wealth, ego and strategic and military dominance – talk of direct NATO intervention or Putin’s implied threat about the use of nuclear weapons ultimately amounts to those at the pinnacle of power risking gambling away your life and the lives of every living creature on the planet. Colin Todhunter is an independent writer specialising in development, food and agriculture. You can read his new e-book 'Food, Dependency and Dispossession: Resisting the New World Order' for free here Read other articles by Colin. This article was posted on Saturday, March 19th, 2022 at 11:58pm and is filed under Europe, NATO, Nukes, Russia, Ukraine, United States, US Hypocrisy, US Media, US Sanctions, Vladimir Putin.

  • Russia Delivers NATO Dire Warning With Polish Border Base Devastation
    by Geopolitics101 on March 20, 2022

    estimated reading time: 5 minThe United States and its NATO allies need to stop the flow of weapons to Ukraine and let the Kiev regime know that it must negotiate a peace settlement with Moscow. Only three days before NATO military chiefs met in Brussels, they saw in a ferocious display what would happen if they continue pumping weapons into Ukraine. A key base used by the U.S.-led alliance for training and as a hub for weapons supply to Ukraine was completely destroyed. What’s more, the devastating airstrike on the Yavoriv base only 25 kilometers from the Polish border was carried out with cruise missiles launched from Russian airspace. That means the missiles traveled up to 1,000 km across Ukraine from east to west and were able to pinpoint the target. The destruction of the large installation occurred on March 13. The NATO defense chiefs met in Brussels on March 16. Subsequent rather flat statements from Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, on what the alliance would offer Ukraine in further military support suggests the Russian strike hit home. NATO has been pumping weapons and trainers into Ukraine over the past year. The facility at Yavoriv in the western Lviv Oblast was a major training center where troops from the United States, Britain, Canada and other NATO members had been mentoring Ukrainian forces. Ukrainian soldiers are unloading US-made Javelin anti-tank weapons just weeks before Russia’s military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. (Photo by AP)This relentless weaponization of Ukraine by Western powers and the undermining of a peace deal with Russian separatists in the Donbass region inevitably led to the ongoing military intervention by Russia, now in its third week. Only hours before the air raid on the NATO staging post in Yavoriv, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned that any arms shipments into Ukraine from neighboring NATO countries would be viewed as legitimate targets. The Russian military claimed that the airstrike killed 180 foreign mercenaries as well as a large amount of NATO weaponry. Western media reported “35 people” dead and over 100 injured. Note how Western media seem to play down the otherwise well-documented presence of Neo-Nazi mercenaries who have come from all over the world to Ukraine to fight as NATO foot-soldiers. It is not known if NATO officers were among the dead. The alliance claims that it has no personnel currently in Ukraine, having withdrawn them in mid-February before the Russian intervention began on February 24. It can be gleaned, however, from Western media reports that the flattening of the large base was a fearsome display of Russia’s modern firepower. Reports cited Ukrainian military sources as claiming that most of the incoming missiles were shot down. That seems implausible considering the images in Western media reports of widespread destruction at the large facility. A Reuters report quoted a Ukrainian officer Colonel Leonid Benzalo who survived the strike. He told how the dormitory and dining area were destroyed and how he was thrown across the room. Another person, Dukhnych Vitalii, a 19-year-old student, who lives near the base told the BBC how he was awakened by the explosions and the “sky turning red”. He said there were no warning sirens before the attack. Those observations indicate the base was hit in surprise. No sirens, no defensive systems triggered. All missiles struck the target. The cruise missiles flew across Ukraine from Russian airspace undetected and hit their target with spectacular precision. That’s consistent with earlier Russian claims of having knocked out all Ukrainian air defenses. The fact of Yavoriv base being so close to the Polish border and the Russians carrying out the strike suggests they were confident that there would be no stray missiles. If one had hit Poland by mistake then that could be invoked as a casus belli for NATO to get involved under its collective defense provision. What this means is that Russia just gave the U.S. and its NATO allies a clear and grave warning. Any weapons or mercenaries being sent into Ukraine no matter how far removed from Russia’s main forces in the east of Ukraine and no matter how close to NATO borders, we will destroy – completely. That warning seemed to have been registered with the NATO military leaders. Their summit in Brussels this week produced mealymouthed platitudes of supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia but not much else in practical measures. This leaves the United States and its allies with a huge conundrum. This week President Joe Biden announced another $1 billion in military aid to the Kiev regime. This “unprecedented” support is on top of an estimated $1 billion in military aid that the Biden administration has already funneled into Ukraine over the last year. The president said there would be thousands more units of long-range anti-aircraft munitions and anti-tank Javelin missiles on the way. U.S. government-owned Radio Free Europe reported: “Biden said Ukraine will receive an additional 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, 9,000 anti-tank weapons, 7,000 light weapons, and 20 million rounds of ammunition.” Following the shock-and-awe Russian air raid on Yavoriv, the White House also indicated that foreign fighters sent to Ukraine may be trained in “third countries”. That still leaves Washington and NATO supporters of the Kiev regime with a massive logistical problem. How to get all those weapons and would-be foreign fighters into Ukrainian territory without being blown apart by Russian cruise missiles? Unless, of course, the calculus is a willingness by the U.S. and its allies to go to war with Russia. That seems remote because Washington knows it would lead to nuclear annihilation. Hence the continued rejection of Kiev’s appeals for a NATO-enforced No Fly Zone in Ukraine. In that case, there is only one viable course to take. The United States and its NATO allies need to stop the flow of weapons to Ukraine and let the Kiev regime know that it must negotiate a peace settlement with Moscow. Finian Cunningham is a frmer editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. You can actually participate in the global efforts to cripple the Deep State organized criminal cabal's ability for genocide, while enjoying healthcare freedom at the same time, by boycotting Big Pharma for good. Related

  • Kim Dotcom Cites Oliver Stone Movie About 2014 Coup in Ukraine as He Slams US Meddling in Conflict
    by hanifk on March 20, 2022

    estimated reading time: 1 minInternet enterpreneur Kim Dotcom has taken to Twitter to recommend all those tweeting about Ukraine to first watch the documentary "Ukraine on Fire" that covers the tumultuous events that occurred in Ukraine in 2014, such as the Maidan revolution and the Donbass war.He posted a Rumble link to the movie, featuring Oliver Stone interviewing figures like Russian President Vladimir Putin and ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich about the 2014 revolution in the Eastern European country.In separate tweets, Dotcom appeared to have shown what some of his followers deemed veiled support of Moscow in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. In one particular tweet, the blogger rolled out his own statement regarding the crisis.Dotcom additionally slammed the calls by Washington to charge Russia with war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC) - "the same Court the US Govt legislated against to stop its war crimes from being prosecuted", as he put it.Released in 2016, "Ukraine on Fire" was labelled on YouTube (although it remains accessible) after the platform deemed that it breached its policy on violent content, so the film was uploaded on Rumble for free. Featuring director Oliver Stone, the movie details the development of Ukrainian nationalism. The movie takes a particular look into the events of 2014, when Kiev was rattled by the violent Maidan coup - the event that triggered Crimea's reunification with Russia, the war in Donbass, and contributed to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.Since 24 February, Moscow has been carrying out a special military operation that was launched by the Kremlin to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" Ukraine. Moscow said it has no plans to occupy Ukraine, underlining that Russian troops are exclusively targeting military infrastructure there and pose no threat to civilians. The West has condemned the Russian operation, imposing a slew of sanctions targeting Russia's economy, media, culture, businesses, and politicians.Let's stay in touch no matter what! Follow our Telegram channel to get all the latest news:

  • Defending Ukrainian “Democracy”: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix
    by hanifk on March 22, 2022

    estimated reading time: 5 minListen to a reading of this article: ❖We’re risking a very fast, very radioactive third world war defending the “democracy” of a regime who just banned eleven opposition parties.❖Liberals explaining why it’s fine to eliminate opposition parties when they become inconvenient is just liberals telling you who they really are.❖One reason you always hear about the genocidal depravity of Adolf Hitler but not King Leopold II is because Hitler did imperialism to white people. Keep that in mind as you watch the disparity between coverage of Ukraine and coverage of other recent military invasions.❖This is the message desktop Twitter users are receiving at the top right of their screen as of this writing:We talk a lot about Silicon Valley’s role in facilitating US government censorship, but we should probably talk a lot more about its role in facilitating US government propaganda as well. We have two different words for censorship and propaganda, but in reality they’re just different aspects of the same one thing: narrative control. Propaganda is the positive aspect of imperial narrative control (adding communications), censorship the negative (removing communications).Whoever controls the world’s dominant narratives controls the world itself. Narrative management constructs like Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the oligarchic “news” media play an even greater role in upholding the US-centralized empire than the US military.❖The US and all its imperial member states are strangling Russia’s economy in response to a war they provoked because Putin threatens US unipolar planetary domination and there are still right wingers whispering “I bet there’s a hidden conspiracy to create a one world government.”Yes there’s an agenda to unite the world under a single power structure, but it’s the one leftist anti-imperialists have long warned about. And it’s not hidden at all; it’s evidenced in public information like the Wolfowitz Doctrine, and just by simple naked-eye observations of the movements of military equipment and resources.Our world’s problems are systemic. Pretending our problems are due to specific individuals like Klaus Schwab is tempting for people who are ideologically invested in existing systems like capitalism and US supremacy, because then you just need to get rid of those few bad apples. Really though we’re looking at the way our power-serving systems inevitably allow power to consolidate and reinforce itself and gradually work toward bending all humanity to its will. This will continue happening until we change those systems, if we don’t nuke ourselves into oblivion first.This is all being driven by one particular power structure’s self-appointed role as global ruler. The US-centralized empire’s foreign policy behavior is essentially a nonstop war on disobedience, continuously working to absorb nations into its blob and destroy those who refuse.❖If you mentally mute the “why” narratives about what’s happening and just look objectively at what’s happening, what you’ll see is a single dominant power structure controlling the majority of the world’s resources, wealth and information and punishing any nations who disobey it. What this tells you is that there’s a power structure doing whatever it has to do to shore up more and more control over the world, and then we’re fed narratives about why that needed to happen (Saddam needs to go because blah blah, NATO needs to expand because blah blah, etc).Really underneath the narrative spin it’s just a giant tyrant doing tyrannical things. Heinlein said “Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal.” This applies to empires and their narrative control mechanisms just as much as to individuals.❖People talk about “blaming the US for everything” like it’s some kind of outlandish and paranoid position to say that a unipolarist planetary hegemon probably plays some role in major conflicts of immense geostrategic consequence. They seriously have a hard time believing that the most powerful empire in the history of civilization could be involved in manipulating all major conflicts which directly affect its agenda of global domination.They’re like, “Come on. The US empire can’t have a villainous role in EVERY major international conflict.” If that were true there wouldn’t be a US empire. You don’t become a unipolar planetary hegemon by being nice, you do it by forcefully tilting all global happenings toward your benefit.You can’t take all of the control and none of the responsibility. It’s like a domineering narcissist who tyrannizes his family having a pity party when someone gets upset at him. “Oh right, it’s ALWAYS Dad’s fault. I’m ALWAYS the bad guy.” I mean, yeah, kinda. Duh.❖❖If you’re so upset about “westsplaining” then maybe tell the western empire to stop “westspreading”.❖Liberals don’t even really believe it’s legitimate to ban opposition parties during a war. That thought never once occurred to them before today. They just assume it must be the right thing to do because their holy Ukrainian sex god did it.❖Liberals have spent five years defending the right of the powerful to keep secrets and tell lies. Now there’s a war and they get mad if you say the powerful are keeping secrets and telling lies. What’d you all think censorship, glorifying the CIA, persecuting Assange etc was about?Liberals were brought up to think of themselves as skeptical, sophisticated progressives who believe in peace, democracy and the freedom of the press, and somehow they wound up arguing against all three of them without any critical thought. What an extraordinary thing to behold.If a friend told me that they were going to keep secrets from me and sometimes lie but for my own good, they wouldn’t be my friend for long. I certainly wouldn’t absorb everything they said with nary a hint of skepticism. And yet this is the state of the western liberal today.❖Being a “contrarian” in the face of bat shit insanity is a good thing, actually._____________________________My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2Liked it? Take a second to support Caitlin Johnstone on Patreon!

  • Ukrainian doctor comments on his ‘castration of POWs’ interview
    by RT on March 22, 2022

    estimated reading time: 2 minThe shocking claim was not true and was an emotional outburst, he said, after apparently having received threatsFILE PHOTO. Hennadii Druzenko. ©Olena Khudiakova / Ukrinform / Future Publishing via Getty ImagesA Ukrainian doctor who claimed during a live interview that he had ordered his volunteer unit to castrate captured Russian soldiers has stated that his words were not true. In a short post on his Facebook page on Monday, Gennadiy Druzenko said he and his fellow frontline medics do not castrate anyone and have no plans to do so.“Those were the emotions. I’m sorry. We are saving lives. Period,” the post said.The doctor added a screenshot to the post, which appeared to be a threat addressed to him. It cited what was presumably his personal data, including phone numbers and an address, and a promise to “come unannounced” and “cut off [his] balls.”Druzenko, a well-known volunteer medic, had been talking to many Western media outlets about his unit’s work in Ukraine amid the Russian attack on his country, and had made his incendiary claims about Russian POWs in an interview with Ukrainian TV on Sunday.“I gave my doctors … a very strict order to castrate all men, because they are cockroaches and not people,” he had claimed.The credibility of the threat against Druzenko remains unclear. During the interview, he claimed his home in Kiev was unlivable due to the conflict, and that he was mostly spending his time at bases of the unit he commands.The swift U-turn echoes that of a Ukrainian TV host who, addressing the Russian people, declared on air that he was adopting the “doctrine” of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and would “do everything in my power to ensure that you and your children never live on this earth.” The reasoning cited by Fahruddin Sharafmal, who is of Middle Eastern origin, was that by mass-murdering a nation’s children, one could eliminate the nation itself.After a public outcry, Sharafmal apologized for having advocated genocide, and said he was sorry if his rant had damaged the reputation of Ukrainian troops. His words had spilled out “due to emotions” stemming from having lost a friend to the conflict, he said. He stated that Ukrainians would “never be inhuman, unlike the Russians.”Both Sharafmal and Druzenko are being investigated in Russia for possible crimes related to their respective remarks.

  • Russophobia didn’t start with Ukraine. It’s long been brewing in the West
    by RT on March 22, 2022

    estimated reading time: 6 minIt simply reached the level of hysteria after Moscow launched its offensive against KievMoscow’s actions in Ukraine have exposed a deep-seated latent racism toward the Russian people that a number of Western institutions – not least Hollywood and the legacy mainstream media – have been cultivating for far too long.Of all the major military operations that have been undertaken since the start of the millennium – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen, to name but some of the broken places – Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine already stands apart for a very peculiar reason, and that is the ugly backlash it has generated against ordinary Russian citizens.By now, many people will have heard the stories circulating online of Russians enduring discrimination in Western capitals – from famed conductor Valery Gergiev losing his job at the Munich Philharmonic, to children being bullied in school, to families being denied service in cafés and restaurants. Not even medical facilities are immune from the lunacy. Last week, the Iatros Clinic in Munich, Germany, announced it would no longer treat Russians and Belarusians, and I’m guessing that unspeakable act of cruelty would have included pediatric patients too. Only after experiencing a wave of online criticism, proving that not everyone has lost their mind, did the facility retract its racist decision.Equally astonishing has been the West’s brutal sanctions regime, which is so vicious and over the top that it could actually succeed in inflicting severe economic pain even on Westerners. This emotionally charged reaction to the events in Ukraine looks like virtue-signaling gone mad – a particularly worrisome development, given the mob seems incapable of differentiating between the actions of the Russian government and those of its citizens, who, as is the case with every country finding itself in such circumstances, have precious little say in matters related to war and peace. And while it is perfectly natural to loathe war, and to speak out against it, a little consistency would be nice. Since I’ve already explored the question of Western hypocrisy in a previous column, I’ll just touch on it here: Why have the US and its NATO allies never suffered so much as a canceled dentist visit for their illicit military adventures across the Middle East and North Africa?And that brings us to another question: why has it become so acceptable, even fashionable, for people to embrace their inner Klansman whenever the subject is Russia, the global whipping boy? I believe I speak for the majority of Americans when I say we have been methodically conditioned from birth to believe Russians are inherently ruthless and amoral. Much of this conditioning occurs on the television screen and in the movie theater over the duration of a lifetime. Russians find the clichés so ridiculous as to be amusing. To offer just a couple of famous examples, in the 1985 film ‘Rocky IV’, Dolph Lundgren plays the part of Ivan Drago, the icy-cold, expressionless Soviet-Russian boxer who literally beats his opponent, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), to death in the ring without displaying an ounce of remorse. On a lighter but no less effective note, American children were entertained during the Cold War years by the TV series ‘The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends,’ in which the main antagonists are Russian spies Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. Such examples of Russians playing the role of evil villains in Hollywood could be cited hundreds if not thousands of times. These racist stereotypes have become so deeply ingrained in the Western brain that most people accept them at face value without thought – which, by the way, is practically the definition of ‘brainwashed.’ It’s interesting to note that Americans – at least from what many Russians have told me – are rarely typecast as the villain in Russian films.In addition to being systematically vilified by Hollywood scriptwriters, Russia has been subjected for many years to a non-stop media smear campaign. From perpetuating the debunked news that the Kremlin played kingmaker by installing Donald Trump in the White House, to falsely accusing Russia of hacking the US power grid at the very peak of torrid AC season, it should come as no surprise that many Americans – aside from feeling nothing but media-generated contempt for Russians – have absolutely no clue what motivated Moscow to initiate its offensive actions in Ukraine in the first place. A person does not have to agree with those motivations, of course, but they should at least be made aware of them. Instead of behaving in the interest of real journalism, however, Google’s YouTube, for instance, banned all channels linked to Russian state media and even the supposedly unbiased search engine DuckDuckGo said it would deliberately down-rank Russian news sites. As far as the mendacious Western media is concerned, Russia woke up on February 24, yawned, stretched, and scratched itself, before deciding then and there that it was a wonderful day to shake up its neighbor. Such a myopic narrative precludes decades of Kremlin warnings, most notably Putin’s now-famous speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference, in which he told the packed assembly, “NATO expansion … represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended?”Far from legacy media and social media using the vast tools at their disposal to keep their readers informed, perhaps even demand some answers from NATO as to why it was so necessary to smash up against Russia’s border, they contributed to political climate change at the worst possible time. Meta Platforms announced that, in the context of Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine, it would condone on Facebook and Instagram hate speech that called for violence against “invading Russians.” As a thought experiment, would these US-based companies have made such dramatic concessions had American or NATO-ally lives been on the line? It seems doubtful.So, as Russians find themselves increasingly discriminated against in the West, another important question must be asked: Where was this level of hysteria when America and its allies was obliterating various Middle Eastern nations with its “shock and awe” performances that gave rise to a whole new genre of Merriam-Webster-approved euphemisms – gems such as “collateral damage”(dead civilians), “enhanced interrogation techniques” (torture), and “extraordinary rendition” (state-sanctioned kidnappings to “black hole” sites).Setting aside the tricky matter of whether a military response is ever the right response, should a people ever be judged on the actions of their leader? According to a recent poll by the state-owned Russian Public Opinion Research Center, 70% of the Russian population supports the offensive in Ukraine. Yet military decisions in every country are typically made without the consent of the governed. Historically, the majority of onlookers are tolerant and intelligent enough to separate the actions of a government from those of its citizens. But somehow that sort of rational thinking got tossed out in the Ukrainian conflict, and that is turning into a tragedy not just for Russians, but for mankind.The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

  • Chrystia Freeland’s granddad was indeed a Nazi collaborator – so much for Russian disinformation
    by David Pugliese on March 22, 2022

    estimated reading time: 3 min Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons, Thursday, February 2, 2017 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld ORG XMIT: ajw111The news conference on Monday by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was interesting not for the announcement that Canada was extending its training mission to Ukraine but for the questions and answers about the minister’s grandfather.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.There have been a number of articles circulating about Freeland’s Ukrainian grandfather Michael Chomiak and his ties to the Nazis.Some of those articles have appeared on pro-Russian websites. Freeland, who strongly supports Ukraine and is a major critic of Russia’s seizure of the Crimea, suggested to journalists that the articles about her grandfather were part of a Russian disinformation campaign. (The Russian government sees Freeland as virulently anti-Russian and has placed her on their travel ban).“American officials have publicly said, and even Angela Merkel has publicly said, that there were efforts on the Russian side to destabilize Western democracies, and I think it shouldn’t come as a surprise if these same efforts were used against Canada,” Freeland told reporters after they raised questions about the articles about her grandfather.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.The Globe and Mail also reported that an official in Freeland’s office denied the minister’s grandfather was a Nazi collaborator.In addition, the claims were dismissed outright by those in the Canadian-Ukrainian community. “It is the continued Russian modus operandi that they have,” Paul Grod, president of the Canadian Ukrainian Congress told the Globe and Mail. “Fake news, disinformation and targeting different individuals. It is just so outlandish when you hear some of these allegations – whether they are directed at minister Freeland or others.”Well it actually isn’t so outlandish. Michael Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator.What are the sources for the information that Freeland’s grandfather worked for the Nazis?Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.For starters, The Ukraine Archival Records held by the Province of Alberta. It has a whole file on Chomiak, including his own details about his days editing the newspaper Krakivski Visti. Chomiak noted he edited the paper first in Crakow (Cracow), Poland and then in Vienna. The reason he edited the paper in Vienna was because he had to flee with his Nazis colleagues as the Russians advanced into Poland. (The Russians tended to execute collaborators well as SS members).See archive entry below:So what was the Krakivski Visti? It, like a number of publications, had been seized by the Nazis from their Jewish owners and then operated as propaganda outlets.Here is what the Los Angeles Holocaust Museum has to say about Krakivski Visti and a similar newspaper, Lvivski Visti, both publications associated with the Nazi regime.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.“The editorial boards carried out a policy of soliciting Ukrainian support for the German cause,” the Holocaust Museum noted. “It was typical, within these publications, to not to give any accounts of the German genocidal policy, and largely, the editions resorted to silencing the mass killing of Jews in Galicia. Ukrainian newspapers presented the Jewish Question in light of the official Nazi propaganda, corollary to the Jewish world conspiracy.”“In 1943 and 1944, both Lvivski Visti and Krakivski Visti hailed the German-approved formation of the 14th Waffen SS Division Halychyna, composed of Ukrainian volunteers,” the museum pointed out.So much for Russian disinformation.On Wednesday the Globe and Mail reported that, “Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland knew for more than two decades that her maternal Ukrainian grandfather was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper.”Photo below shows Chomiak at a party – he is to the right of the man smoking. On the far right (right hand lower corner of the photo) in uniform is Emil Gassner, the Nazi administrator in charge of the press for the region including Cracow.

  • OPINION: Hollywood's demonization of Russians today is worse than during the Cold War
    by Daniel Chalyan on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 11 minTo most of you the portrayal of Soviets (or Russians - who cares!) as backward evil-doers by Hollywood is nothing surprising. A new view is gaining traction that the silly stereotyping is fizzling out. I argue the opposite: it’s entered a new, more nuanced phase.The stereotype of the Russian bad guy in Hollywood is dying. At least, that’s what the Editor-in-Chief of the Russian version of The Hollywood Reporter (THR), Maria Lemesheva, boldly proclaimed in 2017: "I've seen… in the movie with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp ('The Tourist') where a Russian general was some sort of a bad guy, the audience was laughing while watching the film. Our public always has a cheerful and philosophical attitude towards such movies. And we also take it as irony. But I think that tendency to portray Russians as the bad guys is dying," she told the Indo-Asian News Service. I gather that these remarks were meant to downplay one of the most enduring creative techniques in Hollywood history. To say that I was taken aback by them is an understatement.READ MORE: What's behind the West's stereotyping of Russian women?Apparently, because Russians are so giddy and deep with their understanding of other people’s motives - or because we can take a punch and treat it ‘philosophically’ - it makes no sense to treat Hollywood attacks on an entire culture with any real seriousness? The richest film industry in the world doesn’t just make movies for the pleasure of it. You may yourself have participated in many a conversation online where somebody says “it’s just humor”, “it’s just a movie” or “it’s just a joke.” First of all, nothing is “just” anything if there is massive money involved. Do yourself a huge favor and forget the poisonous notion that entertainment is just made for the hell of it. Money has to serve a purpose.First things firstHollywood’s ties to the Pentagon, the CIA, and American foreign policy interests, are absolutely direct, and no effort has ever been made to hide the fact. It has been proven time and again - just Google it. A recent story from 2017 points to a Freedom of Information request that yielded documents exposing no less than 1,800 cases of movies and TV series that had direct involvement from Washington. While it is hardly surprising that any government apparatus would seek to present itself in the best possible light, the United States takes its control of entertainment and media to an absolutely fanatical level. Not just TV and Hollywood, but morning shows… Oprah, Jay Leno, you name it. Not a word that is uttered on NBC, HBO or any of those networks doesn’t meet Washington’s rigorous standards of what is permissible.On the surface, we might see millions of dollars in weapons and tech on display in a Michael Bay movie. But on the subliminal battlefield, Hollywood really gets to work, and is able to single-handedly prepare the American nation for a set of attitudes - sometimes amplifying them, and at others, acting as predictive programming for what’s to come. HomelandShowtimeTake the HBO show Homeland: leaving out the Russians for the time being, it chose to portray the Shiite Iran as in league with Sunni terrorists (!) even as - in real life - Iran was abiding by all the agreements it has with the United States - agreements that the Democrats (for whom HBO is one of the leading soft-power bullhorns) had wholeheartedly supported. That is to say nothing of the hundreds of mistaken impressions it promoted about Muslims as people.You might also remember a little movie called Buffalo Soldiers, released in 2001 - days before the September 11 attacks - and then shelved for years because, well, Washington didn’t feel like it wanted to portray its military in a comedic light, goofing around and cooking heroin at a base in Cold War-era Germany. Interestingly, Black Hawk Down (released in March 2002) did not meet the same fate. It was billed as a story of heroism and camaraderie - the script lent itself to presenting American soldiers as brave young boys, picked off one by one by Somali guerillas. (The part where U.S. forces mowed down 3,000 Somalis, including civilians, is conveniently left out). Buffalo SoldiersGregor Jordan/Odeon Film AG, 2001Our experience of mediated narratives has the ability to both draw us into a war and prepare us for what’s to come, sustaining a necessary anger in people until the time comes for supporting this or that political measure or attitude - or presidential candidate. It’s all about predicting, timing and steering. Superficial RussiansWhat sets Hollywood’s Russians apart is that we’re not a genuine place or people. Hollywood Russians hardly exist in reality. We are, instead, a set of tropes. One could argue the same about Islam, but you’ll never see an American ‘Progressive’ stand up for Russia. It’s also far less dangerous to piss off a Russian - we’re not a religion, there’s nothing sacred about us that you can offend. And if someone does get offended - well… “it’s just a movie, man.” There are no advocacy groups to speak up for us. We’re politically safe to make fun of because - thanks to the reach of American foreign policy - we’re our only advocates.I believe you don’t need a refresher course in every action movie of the last 50 years involving those bad guys - from the ridiculous Red Dawn (1984), in which the USSR invades the United States (and looks ridiculous while doing it), to Rambo III (1988), in which the “brave Mujahadeen” (who later turned into the Taliban) teamed up with Rambo against the evil Soviets, to about a dozen others - as well as the hundreds of subliminal and not-so-subliminal depictions of Russians as brutish, stupid, outclassed and outsmarted at every turn, with all their inhumanity and one-dimensional plans (think of the Russian gangster in Limitless with Bradley Cooper).Rambo III, Red DawnJohn Milius/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer,1984 ; Peter MacDonald/ Carolco Pictures,1988If Russians aren’t straight-up ‘evil’ or ‘stupid’, they are one of several other things: intense, fanatical, tragic, mysterious or otherwise hiding ulterior motives. It’s never a good look. And if the story is about an innocent Russian woman - the beautiful, fragile creature usually seeks to escape Russia for a better life, or evade her cruel KGB handlers by going rogue or working for the CIA. You know what drives me up the wall though? It’s that - when push comes to shove - even the most esteemed ‘Russian scientist’ you might find in a Hollywood movie opts for fear, mercantilism, a betrayal of his country. Sometimes, all three. Even in the highly-esteemed HBO hit, Chernobyl (2019), the cleanup crews are constantly promised monetary rewards for doing something that living survivors of the tragedy know had needed to be done. Even when faced with imminent death, the Russians still want money for their troubles. Chernobyl survivors took a lot of offense to that. And rightfully so.ChernobylHBO, 2019Let’s not forget the kidnapped Russian scientist in Netflix’s Stranger Things 3 - who won’t divulge state secrets to an American cop unless he gets him the cherry slurpee he asked for, instead of the strawberry one. Or the huge goon who strangles people with extreme cruelty. Ask yourself: is this OK in the year 2019? Stranger ThingsNetflixThe usual answer to that is “You guys don’t get it! It’s a parody of the 80’s!”. So - what: because it’s parodying its own Cold War-era portrayals, that makes it somehow less demeaning to another culture? The Cold War never ended. It’s worse than before: and in this day and age, the deepening crisis requires novel approaches that increasingly probe the depths of the viewer’s psyche, as opposed to playing around with superficial caricatures. You need to keep things fresh so that your audience doesn’t catch on and go “Wait a minute!”.The nuances of Hollywood’s new Cold War Don’t get me wrong. In post-2000 Hollywood, the Russians still drink vodka by the bucket (look at Angelina Jolie-fronted Salt, 2010). They are still driven by silly monolithic patriotism like robots (the oligarch from Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, 2014), and other no less ridiculous examples of ‘Russian’ behavior, from flagrant disregard for the lives of your own intelligence operatives, to treating women as subhumans. Also, we have a strange habit of acting Germanic, because Americans believe it makes communists look more like “Nazis”: we deliver a lot of our phrases in this dumb, cold, matter-of-fact-like tone. Remember Charlotte Rampling in Red Sparrow (2018)? How about Cate Blanchett in Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)? Red Sparrow, Indiana Jones: The Kingdom of the Crystal SkullFrancis Lawrence/20th Century Fox, 2018 ; Steven Spielberg/Paramount Pictures, 2008What I’d like to call attention to instead is the growing shift of the last five or so years toward making period pieces. The 80s are coming back stronger than ever! On the surface, it’s all fun and comedy and Cyndi Lauper songs and hairspray and spandex and synthwave music. Underneath, it’s much more. Where Russians are concerned, the 80s hark back to the last time that the Soviet ‘bad guy’ was a useful stereotype. In our current time of heightened political tensions, Hollywood is shown to vigorously rely on those tropes: Stranger Things 3 and Glow (a show about 80s women’s wrestling) are notable examples.The cleverness of it all doesn’t just lie in utilizing the 80s in order to hint at the view that present-day Vladimir Putin is a Cold War-era harbinger of Soviet expansionism (though that is undoubtedly a major piece of the puzzle). The new Hollywood 80s are peppered with an odd respect for Russians. It seems to hint at American indecisiveness about whether we’re strong or weak. They know that in this day and age you can no longer get away with cartoonish depictions, so a sort of admiration for Russia needs to be whisked into the mix. This appears to have led to experimentation with novel approaches - such as showing the efficacy and professionalism of the ruthless Russian intelligence services: Atomic Blonde (2017), and Anna (2019) can be added to the list of films I mention above. All of these contain an extremely professional KGB that is not to be trifled with. AnnaLuc Besson/EuropaCorp, 2019The Gerard Butler submarine shoot-em-up Hunter Killer (2018) deserves special attention: observe the respect toward Russian forces as not simply being trigger-happy communists, but level-headed professionals. By the end of it, you almost feel like saying “thank you?” that the Russians aren’t shown tripping over hazardous materials or discharging weapons by mistake. One of the them even commits the ultimate sacrifice. Wow, America… I can’t believe I’m saying this, but thank you.Hunter KillerDonovan Marsh/Millennium Films, 2018Special thanks for all that goes to the Internet and to people’s increased ability to connect with foreign cultures and viewpoints. The world itself has become more connected. And even as Democrat voters in the U.S. are bombarded by their respective media with daily reminders that the Russians had allegedly hacked their election, you no longer see Moscow streets as eternally covered in snow. There are also no more stupid shots of the Kremlin with its red star up top; the stoicism of uniformed officers whose frames are hidden beneath thick winter coats have been reduced to a minimum, and so have the views of elderly women or poorly, downtrodden Russians. All of this hints at the fact that we’re not suffering robots, but real human beings. But for the curious among us, it should also indicate that we’ve entered a new era of narrative-building, with new tricks, new approaches and nuances of storytelling. Remember: Russian inferiority, backwardness and global ambitions have still not been expelled. We just need to look deeper.Why this will continue happeningIf you deny the primacy of international relations and history as an analytical tool in studying Hollywood, you deny the very reason Russians are still so prominent, and might as well continue living in fantasy land. It is when we study the evolution of that picture that things begin to take shape and true reasons are manifested. Because, of course, grudgingly admitting that the Russians aren’t complete morons is just not enough. The real proof that this hasn’t stopped happening is scattered everywhere - in Netflix scripts, in comedy, family movies and so on. All are full of allusions to Russia as an exotic place where everything is a bit upside down. READ MORE: OPINION: Luc Besson’s ‘Anna’ portrays Russia so badly that it’s actually goodFor one, the U.S. still treats Russia and Soviet Union as one country, which tells me that they’re not about to drop the idea of Vladimir Putin as attempting to create a second USSR. And this is the kind of evidence we should be looking for when analyzing each other’s film industries. Everything else is cosmetics. There’s no relaxation in international relations. We’re not “closer friends” than we were before. Everything is as it should be, because cinema is simply a mirror of what the most well-funded movie industry in the world would like to achieve for its national interests. Even Russians are no different. Or Indians. Or the Chinese. Washington just has more money, so its strategic thinking is much more ubiquitous and laid bare for all to see.If using any of Russia Beyond's content, partly or in full, always provide an active hyperlink to the original material.

  • From 1945-49 the US and UK planned to bomb Russia into the Stone Age
    by hanifk on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 7 minJust weeks after the Second World War was over and Nazi Germany defeated Soviet Russia’s allies, the United States and Great Britain hastened to develop military plans aimed at dismantling the USSR and wiping out its cities with a massive nuclear strike.Interestingly enough, then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had ordered the British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff to develop a strategy targeting the USSR months before the end of the Second World War. The first edition of the plan was prepared on May 22, 1945. In accordance with the plan the invasion of Russia-held Europe by the Allied forces was scheduled on July 1, 1945.Winston Churchill’s Operation UnthinkableThe plan, dubbed Operation Unthinkable, stated that its primary goal was “to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire. Even though ‘the will’ of these two countries may be defined as no more than a square deal for Poland, that does not necessarily limit the military commitment.”The British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff underscored that the Allied Forces would win in the event of 1) the occupation of such metropolitan areas of Russia so that the war making capacity of the country would be reduced to a point to which further resistance would become impossible”; 2) “such a decisive defeat of the Russian forces in the field as to render it impossible for the USSR to continue the war.”British generals warned Churchill that the “total war” would be hazardous to the Allied armed forces.However, after the United States “tested” its nuclear arsenal in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, Churchill and right-wing American policy makers started to persuade the White House to bomb the USSR. A nuclear strike against Soviet Russia, exhausted by the war with Germany, would have led to the defeat of the Kremlin at the same time allowing the Allied Forces to avoid US and British military casualties, Churchill insisted. Needless to say, the former British Prime Minister did not care about the death of tens of thousands of Russian peaceful civilians which were already hit severely by the four-year war nightmare.He [Churchill] pointed out that if an atomic bomb could be dropped on the Kremlin, wiping it out, it would be a very easy problem to handle the balance of Russia, which would be without direction,” an unclassified note from the FBI archive read.Following in Churchill’s footsteps: Operation DropshotUnthinkable as it may seem, Churchill’s plan literally won the hearts and minds of US policy makers and military officials. Between 1945 and the USSR’s first detonation of a nuclear device in 1949, the Pentagon developed at least nine nuclear war plans targeting Soviet Russia, according to US researchers Dr. Michio Kaku and Daniel Axelrod. In their book “To Win a Nuclear War: the Pentagon’s Secret War Plans,” based on declassified top secret documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the researchers exposed the US military’s strategies to initiate a nuclear war with Russia.The names given to these plans graphically portray their offensive purpose: Bushwhacker, Broiler, Sizzle, Shakedown, Offtackle, Dropshot, Trojan, Pincher, and Frolic. The US military knew the offensive nature of the job President Truman had ordered them to prepare for and had named their war plans accordingly,” remarked American scholar J.W. Smith (“The World’s Wasted Wealth 2”).These “first-strike” plans developed by the Pentagon were aimed at destroying the USSR without any damage to the United States.The 1949 Dropshot plan envisaged that the US would attack Soviet Russia and drop at least 300 nuclear bombs and 20,000 tons of conventional bombs on 200 targets in 100 urban areas, including Moscow and Leningrad (St. Petersburg). In addition, the planners offered to kick off a major land campaign against the USSR to win a “complete victory” over the Soviet Union together with the European allies. According to the plan Washington would start the war on January 1, 1957.For a long period of time the only obstacle in the way of the US’ massive nuclear offensive was that the Pentagon did not possess enough atomic bombs (by 1948 Washington boasted an arsenal of 50 atomic bombs) as well as planes to carry them in. For instance, in 1948 the US Air Force had only thirty-two B-29 bombers modified to deliver nuclear bombs.In September 1948 US president Truman approved a National Security Council paper (NSC 30) on “Policy on Atomic Warfare,” which stated that the United States must be ready to “utilize promptly and effectively all appropriate means available, including atomic weapons, in the interest of national security and must therefore plan accordingly.”At this time, the US generals desperately needed information about the location of Soviet military and industrial sites. So far, the US launched thousands of photographing overflights to the Soviet territory triggering concerns about a potential Western invasion of the USSR among the Kremlin officials. While the Soviets hastened to beef up their defensive capabilities, the military and political decision makers of the West used their rival’s military buildup as justification for building more weapons.Meanwhile, in order to back its offensive plans Washington dispatched its B-29 bombers to Europe during the first Berlin crisis in 1948. In 1949 the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed, six years before the USSR and its Eastern European allies responded defensively by establishing the Warsaw Pact — the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance.Soviet nuclear bomb test undermined US planJust before the USSR tested its first atomic bomb, the US’ nuclear arsenal had reached 250 bombs and the Pentagon came to the conclusion that a victory over the Soviet Union was now “possible.” Alas, the detonation of the first nuclear bomb by the Soviet Union dealt a heavy blow to US militarists’ plans.“The Soviet atomic bomb test on August 29, 1949 shook Americans who had believed that their atomic monopoly would last much longer, but did not immediately alter the pattern of war planning. The key issue remained just what level of damage would force a Soviet surrender,” Professor Donald Angus MacKenzie of the University of Edinburgh remarked in his essay “Nuclear War Planning and Strategies of Nuclear Coercion.”Although Washington’s war planners knew that it would take years before the Soviet Union would obtain a significant atomic arsenal, the point was that the Soviet bomb could not be ignored.The Scottish researcher highlighted that the US was mainly focused not on “deterrence” but on “offensive” preemptive strike. “There was unanimity in ‘insider circles’ that the United States ought to plan to win a nuclear war. The logic that to do so implied to strike first was inescapable,” he emphasized, adding that “first strike plans” were even represented in the official nuclear policy of the US.Remarkably, the official doctrine, first announced by then US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in 1954, assumed America’s possible nuclear retaliation to “any” aggression from the USSR.US’ Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP)Eventually, in 1960 the US’ nuclear war plans were formalized in the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP).At first, the SIOP envisaged a massive simultaneous nuclear strike against the USSR’s nuclear forces, military targets, cities, as well as against China and Eastern Europe. It was planned that the US’ strategic forces would use almost 3,500 atomic warheads to bomb their targets. According to US generals’ estimates, the attack could have resulted in the death of about 285 to 425 million people. Some of the USSR’s European allies were meant to be completely “wiped out.”“We’re just going to have to wipe it [Albania] out,” US General Thomas Power remarked at the 1960 SIOP planning conference, as quoted by MacKenzie.However, the Kennedy administration introduced significant changes to the plan, insisting that the US military should avoid targeting Soviet cities and had to focus on the rival’s nuclear forces alone. In 1962 the SIOP was modified but still it was acknowledged that the nuclear strike could lead to the death of millions of peaceful civilians.The dangerous competition instigated by the US prompted Soviet Russia to beef up its nuclear capabilities and dragged both countries into the vicious circle of the nuclear arms race. Unfortunately, it seems that the lessons of the past have not been learnt by the West and the question of the “nuclearization” of Europe is being raised again.This article originally appeared on than 75% of our operating budget comes to us in the form of donations from our readers. These donations help to pay our bills, and honorariums for some of our writers, photographers and graphic artists. Our supporters are part of everything we do.Donate NowPlease enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

  • Nazi Propagandist Tom Cooper Calls for Chemical Weapons Against Russia
    by Ian Kummer on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 26 minHere’s my analysis of nazi propaganda from the last couple weeks, and what we can learn from it. Yes, this is disinformation, so is deliberately misleading. However, based on what has happened over the past three weeks, I am seeing clear trends in nazi disinformation coming out of Ukraine and the dictatorships of the “Collective West.” Nazi talking points are not random and do seem to have a clear, though often inverted, relationship with real-world events. I do believe it is possible to dissect this propaganda to gain insights about the nazi war machine, and their future plans.Today I’m going to start with Tom Cooper, an “expert” who has made a name for himself amplifying ukronazi propaganda, and encouraging thousands of people on social media to accept it as fact. You can view his drivel for yourself on Facebook. Further down I’ll pull up some direct quotes and dissect them in detail. Anyway, I looked him up, and apparently he is an Austrian painter author who has spent the last several decades shilling for the NATO military industrial complex. Now he gets to take the mask off and shill for literal nazis in Ukraine, and boy he is having the time of his life right now. First off, most of his propaganda is total nonsense. For example, like other nazi propagandists, Tom Cooper insisted for days on end that the Russian army was out of fuel with a huge column of vehicles “stalled” outside Kiev. However, his lies are interspersed with real facts and extreme detail, and vomits a dizzying array of unnecessary acronyms to give readers the impression that he knows what he’s talking about. So here are my insights on what we can learn about nazis from their propaganda: Refusing to cite sources, do they even exist? One of the first and most obvious features of Tom Cooper’s nazi shilling is how he responds to people who – quite reasonably – ask him where he’s getting this extraordinarily specific “intel.” He finds it “irritating” by people questioning him. How interesting. That said, I do once in a while see apparently true statements in Tom Cooper’s drivel. That’s because he is almost certainly relying on the same (Russian) sources I do. The Russian MoD puts out daily pictures, videos, and press releases about their operations in Ukraine. Of course they don’t violate operational security (OPSEC), but they do sometimes give specifics like how many Ukrainian vehicles and military structures have been destroyed. He is probably also relying on the Ukrainian equivalents, and does nothing to filter or fact check these claims. That’s why he keeps repeating extraordinary and demonstrably false statements, like entire Russian regiments being wiped out. I mean, come on guy. The Russian army is big, but it’s not that big. We’re only three weeks into this. How many times is the Ruski horde going to be allegedly destroyed before people finally start noticing that the numbers don’t add up? See, here’s the thing. I don’t think Tom Cooper’s super secret informants in the Ukrainian and Russian militaries actually exist. I think he’s just pulling the same publicly available information that everyone has access to, dressing it up, maybe inventing a few details and embellishments, then publishing it as “intel.” Okay. I do have to ask why he gets so angry about people asking him about sources. Why? If he does have a secret squirrel in Kiev or a Russian tank battalion, I get why he wouldn’t want to drop a name. But why couldn’t he at least reveal his public sources, like the Russian MoD? I bet there are two reasons. The first and most obvious reason is he does not want to give any Russian sources at all. He cannot let people know there is another side to the story. Nazis are so terrified of Russian information they go to extreme lengths to prevent anybody from accessing it. The second, related reason is that he doesn’t want anyone to go directly to his sources and realize there’s nothing magical or special about them at all. He wants to keep as many people as possible mindlessly consuming and regurgitating his bullshit. Masking lies with implausibly specific details The “fog of war” is real, so it is almost pointless to try to discern specifics. Armchair generals and nazi shills love to ramble about the “order of battle” and it is so silly. Even doing this with the Russian forces is tricky, since they obviously don’t advertise details about their units and capabilities. Trying to come up with an order of battle for the Ukronazi forces is, I think, not only useless but actually counterproductive. I don’t think a Ukrainian order of battle even exists. As I have written previously (see my post here), much of the Ukrainian “army” is comprised of neo-nazi militias, paramilitary groups, and street gangs. That’s especially true now after the Zelensky regime emptied the prisons and handed out tens of thousands of automatic rifles to every asshole who wanted one. If you had asked me a month ago how big I think the Ukrainian military is, I would have said probably around 200,000 people. That’s a very common estimate I’ve seen many times, but it was totally wrong. In actuality, Ukrainian forces seem to be 600 or even 700 thousand strong. Maybe even more than that. I think even the Russians underestimated the sheer number of trigger pullers in the Ukronazi war machine, and that shows in their overly-enthusiastic messaging in the opening salvos of the special operation. An “informal” composition of forces means that there is little in the way of a central command structure, that’s important to know, and unfortunately not in a good way. Now an obvious rebuttal to what I just said is modern tech. We have satellites and drones now, and much of that imagery is publicly available. So we should be able to discern specific units, right? Yes, but also no. Ukraine is a huge country and both sides are employing military deception to obfuscate their movements and intentions. Just the fact that a few Ukrainian aircraft and drones have survived this late into the war illustrates how hard it is to find people and assets who don’t want to be found. On that last note, I think we cannot completely discount the possibility that Ukronazis are using NATO airfields to preserve their aircraft, and discretely drip-feeding them to jump fields closer to the front. I actually struggle to come up with a better explanation for how the Ukronazis are accomplishing this trick. To cite another example, the Azov Battalion, the most infamous gang of cutthroat lowlifes and Banderist war criminals in the world. Right now they’re holding what’s left of Mariupol hostage. How many militants do they have? Well, even the word “battalion” is used informally here. Supposedly, from what I saw prior to Operation Z, around 1,000 militants. But now, I don’t think that number is right and it’s probably much higher than that. For God’s sake, it’s a neo-nazi street gang. They could recruit as many thugs as they want, and have had eight years to do it. There could be 10 or 15 thousand of them for all we know at this point. I don’t think it’s even safe to specify a full list of towns and regions they operate in. Holing up in cities and taking women and children as human shields doesn’t need a command structure. Even a low-IQ gang member can handle static defenses and terror tactics, and doesn’t need a lot of supervision to do it. The problem with this is that even if the Russians manage to find a sensible person in the Ukrainian government to negotiate peace, there’s not much chance that the nazis are going to care. Zelensky is a puppet and probably isn’t even in Ukraine anymore, but even if he is, why would nazis listen to the Jewish clown-in-chief? At this point, it’s a fight to the death and a peaceful resolution is becoming less and less likely. The odds are almost zero now, I would say. Nobody can even get the nazis to respect humanitarian corridors. They’re still dispersing or outright murdering people who try to escape the cities, so we can hardly expect nazis to listen to a ceasefire. So moving forward, here’s a pretty good rule of thumb to use when looking at any “analysis” of what’s happening in Ukraine right now. It’s only safe to speak in broad terms. If an “expert”  like Tom Cooper is giving wildly specific detail, spelling out every little thing that companies and squads are doing, he is almost certainly full of shit. Rampant logical fallacies Here’s a list of logical fallacies, and Tom Cooper commits a lot of them. Appeals to authority, big lie technique, blind loyalty, confirmation bias… but there is one particular fallacy that Tom Cooper commits habitually in his “analysis,” and is arguably the most serious one. Fundamental attribution error. “A corrupt argument from ethos, this fallacy occurs as a result of observing and comparing behavior. “You assume that the bad behavior of others is caused by character flaws and foul dispositions while your behavior is explained by the environment.  So, for example, I get up in the morning at 10 a.m.  I say it is because my neighbors party until 2 in the morning (situation) but I say that the reason why you do it is that you are lazy. Interestingly, it is more common in individualistic societies where we value self volition. Collectivist societies tend to look at the environment more.” Nazis and nazi shills like Tom Cooper are particularly prone to committing fundamental attribution error due to their blind, irrational adherence to nazi race theory. Let me give a racially-oriented example of fundamental attribution error. A normal person sees a Mexican guy sleeping under a tree, and concludes he must have been working a long time and is tired. A nazi looks at the Mexican, and concludes he is sleeping because Mexicans are lazy. See how that works now? Not only was the nazi’s conclusion wrong, it was the opposite of the truth. Tom Cooper sees Russians as racially inferior to Aryans, so attributes their actions to this supposed racial inferiority, and is oblivious to obvious circumstances and environmental realities that would motivate Russians to behave a certain way. For example, let’s go back to when Tom Cooper was loudly claiming that Russian tanks were out of fuel. His entire basis for this statement was that there were a bunch of Russian tanks not moving. So when I first heard of a Russian tank column hanging out near Kiev, here are the first thoughts that came to my head: -They’re waiting for orders. -Sitting on and near a highway is convenient. -They have air superiority and aren’t worried about grouping on a road. -It would not make sense for tanks to be out of fuel within 75 miles of their own border, less than 48 hours into an operation. Anyone who is not a complete moron should have been able to use the same reasoning as I did, but Tom Cooper is so blinded by his irrational hatred of Russians he is totally unaware of the real, logical causes for what they’re doing, and consistently makes wrong, sometimes opposite of true conclusions. Again, he had literally zero evidence for the idea that the Russian tanks were out of fuel. Of course it’s really silly to assume a tank is out of fuel just because it’s not moving at that particular moment, but that’s the downfall of nazis. Tom Cooper is literally incapable of assigning logical motives to Russians. He assumes everything they do is caused by being weak, incompetent untermensch. I’m actually very glad and relieved that Tom Cooper and (most) other nazis are like this. They are divorced from reality, and this is possibly their greatest weakness. Look at some of the drivel from one of his most recent posts: “Bottom line, the Russians do not have enough forces to even surround Kyiv [sic, it’s KIEV lol], not to talk about assaulting it. Indeed, they seem to be so short on troops, they’re unable of [sic] at least re-launching their offensive south of the E40 highway.” Again, look at how incredibly silly that statement is. When there’s an offensive, it is possible to at least make guesses as to what that offensive is meant to accomplish. But Tom Cooper is trying to draw conclusions from the Russians not doing something. How is he supposed to do that? That’s literally like saying I didn’t drive to the grocery store today because I can’t afford gasoline. It is hard to assign motivations to not doing something, and I am appalled that I actually have to explain that. To make Tom Cooper’s statement even more profoundly stupid, in a modern battlefield, it isn’t necessary to control an area by putting troops directly on top of it. Surrounding Kiev on four sides would expose more Russian forces to attack, so it makes a lot of sense to not send troops to certain places if those areas can be covered by air and indirect fire. It actually gets worse than this. Deliberately leaving an opening for the enemy is an ancient technique that goes back to Sun Tzu. The Chinese general, military strategist, writer and philosopher Sun Tzu wrote that when an army surrounds its enemies it is prudent to “leave an opening”. This strategy is often referred to as building a “Golden Bridge” as it allows one’s enemy to avoid certain defeat through escape. While western armies tend to follow the ideas of Clausewitz, delighting in the total extermination of enemies and their entire civilian populations, Russians tend to have an eastern attitude toward warfare, and this isn’t new. They’re fond of the idea of compelling their enemies to run away, and win without fighting. Leaving a golden bridge open out of Kiev makes a lot of sense, and is consistent with Russian talking points about humanitarian corridors. Every nazi who loses his stomach to fight and runs away is one less enemy to destroy. Keeping these nazis alive is actually beneficial for another reason. A nazi who abandons his heavy equipment and runs away is not only useless, he becomes a burden to his own side. Those nazis hide in Western Ukraine and consume food, which there are limited quantities of. Even better, at least some of them probably keep going West, reach an EU country, claim refugee status and demand welfare. It’s actually embarrassing that Tom Cooper is too blinded by his irrational hatred and racism to see such a basic fact. For God’s sake, a child who likes to play war games on his computer probably knows about this technique. Another thing about nazis and their fundamental attribution error. They never realize their ideological blinders aren’t working and adjust them. Tom Cooper didn’t learn from the tank column blunder and keeps making the same mistake. Another quote from him:  “Once again: reality is that the VKS is critically short on PGMs. Not only that Russia has next to no production facilities, know-how and technologies necessary to manufacture these, but their PGMs are also too complex and thus expensive to make (no modular designs like ‘add-on’ kits for the US-designed Mk.80-series of bombs), and thus Putin, Shoygu & Co KG GesmbH AG never cared to pay for them. Indeed, I doubt the Russians have released more than 50-60 PGMs in three weeks of war (including those fired by their UAVs). Of those spent in combat the mass consisted of 30(+)-years old Kh-31 anti-radar missiles (‘AS-17 Krypton’) – all fired by the same group (perhaps 4-5 in total) of senior Su-34- and Su-35-pilots.” In other words, “the untermensch have not fired very many of this particular type of missile, therefore those missiles do not exist because untermensch are too stupid and racially inferior to build them.” Yes, Tom Cooper. Continue wildly underestimating your enemy and let your prejudice dictate your perception of reality. Please continue to do that. Conditioning his audience to accept war crimes and genocide Even early on (see my article here), I could see some clear motivations in the nazi propaganda: -Portray the Russians as evil Asiatic untermensch, and the Ukrainian nazis as Aryan heroes, “European Christians.” Literally. -Insist that the Ukrainian nazis have a fighting chance of winning, so prolonging the war and causing more deaths isn’t bad. It is actually righteous and good. -The Russians have overwhelming numbers so will win after the Ukrainians run out of bullets, but are incompetent and easy to defeat. So it is righteous and good for NATO to declare war on Russia, we absolutely should do this, and there is not even a small chance of risk to us. Perhaps the most profoundly interesting thing I saw from Tom Cooper’s feed was this: Example: the USA won the wars for Europe of 1914-1945 because it not only managed to exercise control with help of kinetic solutions, but was also offering working alternatives to both the defeated opponents, and ruined allies. Result was a period of unprecedented economic and political development – and thus the well-being – of the population of Europe: for 50 years the people had the outlooks and perspectives. The USSR did manage to win the war in 1945 by exercising control with help of kinetic solutions, but lost it by failing to offer working (political) alternatives. The WWII thus actually ended only in 1991-1992, with the collapse of the USSR (perhaps one could extend this to the defeat of Serbia in 1999, especially because the county is ever since refusing offers for working solutions, and that on its own…).” Well, I do agree. The USSR succeeded in defeating the Axis, the first wave of 20th Century nazism, but failed to defeat the second wave, NATO. The nazis licked their wounds, hammered their swastika into a compass (but still looks like an honest-to-God swastika), tried again, and, sadly, won the second round. Now they’re back for Round 3. I find it fascinating that an Austrian nazi propagandist so freely admits that World War II wasn’t about defeating nazism, it was about defeating the Soviet Union, and always was, right from the beginning. Over the last few weeks, I have noticed a shift in nazi talking points, including from Tom Cooper himself. No more talk of Russian anti-war protesters dragging Putin outside and murdering him. No, those weird fantasies are gone. Instead, blame for the de-nazification of Ukraine has been placed squarely on the Russian people themselves. From Tom Cooper: Actually important issue is that there is no change in position of the Russian public vis-à-vis Putin. Or if, and by all the bitching in private, the population seems to be rallying around him, often really behaving like ’members of the Red Man Sect’ (like when students of prominent Russian universities are making pro-Putin videos, in which they are demonstratively showing anti-West sentiments). I’ve also noticed that nazis no longer distinguish between the Russian people and their soldiers, referring to them collectively as “enemies” needing to be destroyed. Tom Cooper and other nazi propagandists have also started referring to Russians as “orcs.” But, people: please, get sober. Ukraine does not need your 10 euros/dollar/pounds or pesos, but €100+ billion – just to fight the war, not to talk about any possible recovery, sometimes in the future (once the last of RFA’s orcs is out of the country). Apparently, the nazi racist caricatures of World War II aren’t enough to satisfy their hatred. They have to invoke subhuman creatures from a fictional fantasy world. “Foremost, right now, it [Ukraine] needs no ‘3,000 Panzerfaust 3’, but high-tech weapons for which the Russians have no solutions and weapons that kill a weapons that kill a lots [sic] of enemies with a single blow – while, preferably, not jeopardising [sic] a single Ukrainian. Say, ‘more robots’. UCAVs, loitering PGMs, etc. Then, cluster-bomb warheads filled with incendiaries (like, yes, that, notorious white phosophrus [sic]), and thermobaric warheads. There’s very little the Russian generals fear as much as their own TOS-1s. Why? Because when the insurgents of the First Coastal Division blew up one (by a TOW), back in November 2015, the resulting conflagration blasted away a battalion worth of Russians, Assadists, SSNPs (de-facto Lebanese/Syrian Nazis), and IRGC/Hezbollah.” Using incendiary chemical weapons on people is obviously a war crime, and a horrible one. But need I remind you, these are nazis we’re talking about. Being absolutely cruel and evil is a trait that nazis are famous for, and this is apparent from their own rhetoric and actions. Tom Cooper is not alone. There has been a lot of talk about biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine, and I fear that this is an omen of something horrible about to happen. Hopefully such a horrible thing doesn’t happen, but the possibility is looming, and there is no evil that nazis aren’t capable of. Remember that Soviet missile the Ukronazis launched against Russian civilians in Donetsk, killing 23? (see my story here) I wonder if that was a way to “test the waters.” If so, it was a complete success. This was a clear war crime, but the western corporate media insisted it was a Kremlin false flag or whatever and there was zero public outrage in the West. If the nazis could get away with that, they can get away with anything. In a previous article (read it here) I speculated that the Biden regime might carry out a terrorist atrocity against Donbass to provoke Russia into launching an attack against Ukraine. I was wrong, apparently, but maybe I had it backward. What if a terrorist action was planned, but not against the Russians? What if the Biden regime plans to murder Ukrainians, and then blame it on Russia, like what was done to Syria? Sure, there could be a faked attack, but a real one would be that much more effective. What if nazis unleash some anthrax in a crowded Kiev metro tunnel, or blow up a dirty bomb? There’s any number of things they could do and no realistic way for Russia to prevent them from targeting their own population. Then the Biden regime could insist that Russia was responsible, with no evidence, and all of the nazi shills would repeat this lie as fact. Anything is possible now. I do think even the Russians themselves underestimated the irrational, blind hatred Europe has for them. I myself am astonished about how eagerly Europe has embraced nazism and Holocaust 2.0. They thirst so desperately for Russian blood they’re willing to commit suicide for just one small taste. They’re in the process of thoroughly destroying their own economies (which were already weakened from two years of insane, fascist COVID lockdowns), and show no signs of having second thoughts. The sanctions war isn’t a game. Russia supplies crucial energy, food, and fertilizer to Europe. No country is safe from famine, and a famine can absolutely happen if a government does enough stupid things. Europe is well down that road now and have a narrowing window to back down and start using their brains. People in the global South, what can they do right now? Many of those countries have economic ties with Russia that are too important to cut off. If they refuse Russian grain, fertilizer, and technology, they’ll starve. But if they choose to defy the sanctions and continue dealing with Russia, they risk incurring the insatiable wrath of the nazi empire. Best case scenario, the collective nazi regimes will impose genocidal sanctions on those countries as well. Worst case scenario, the nazi forces of NATO will arrive on their shores and wage an actual war of extermination on their people, bombing their cities to dust and sponsoring terrorist groups within their population. Like what was done to Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Or occupied and raped for decades for no particular reason like what was done to Afghanistan. To make matters worse, the nazi dictators of Europe are themselves vassals of the nazi dictator in Washington. Russia has a serious problem and there’s no clear diplomatic solution to it. Zelensky is a puppet, the nazi dictators of Europe are puppets, even Joe Biden himself is a senile old dimwit, therefore a puppet. Who can Russians even talk to who isn’t a puppet? Who is the puppet master behind this madness? Is there even a brain at all, or is Western civilization a berserker acting on pure instinct, a decapitated, rotten, mindless killing machine determined to destroy as much human life as possible before it dies? Unlike Tom Cooper, I do not underestimate the enemy, nor do I think the outcome of a war is predetermined. There is an old Ukronazi saying, “Крым буде украинским або безлюдним.” Crimea will be Ukrainian, or uninhabited. The Russian operation, or invasion, whatever the hell you wish to call it, has started and cannot be stopped now. Russia’s very survival is at stake, both as a nation and as a people. If the nazis win, they’ll unleash a pogrom on Ukraine, driving away, punishing, or more likely, killing everyone they deem was insufficiently loyal to the nazi regime during the war. They’ll wipe out Crimea and Donbass down to the last man, woman, and child. They’ll kill however many Russians as they possibly can. Whether or not that’s likely to happen or if they have the power to do it, that’s what the nazis want and fantasize about doing. Even Ukraine’s national anthem is macabre. Ще не вмерла Украіна, И слава, и воля! Ще намъ, браття-молодiї, Усміхнетця доля! Згинуть наші вороги, Якъ роса на сонці; Запануємъ, браття, й ми У своій сторонці. Never perished is Ukraine’s Glory and freedom! Still upon us, young brethren, Fate shall smile! Our enemies shall vanish Like dew in the sun; We too shall rule In our beloved country.” What kind of regime has an anthem like that? Since Tom Cooper likes Tolkien references so much, here’s a Tolkien quote, or a paraphrased one at least. “Evil cannot create anything new, they can only corrupt and ruin what good forces have invented or made.” The nazis of the West have corrupted and ruined Ukraine. They sunk their claws into Ukraine’s soul and twisted her into something horrible and evil. They turned her whole culture into a weapon. They brainwashed entire generations of children to hate their brothers and sisters across the border, and within their own communities. They nazified Ukraine, creating not a country, but rather, a horrible distorted caricature of a country. It is an imaginary, fictitious state that is poisonous and malignant, and needs to be cleansed. Western “civilization” is a cancer, and that cancer has infected Ukraine, and the only possible cure left is surgical intervention. War is never good, but the cause for war can, and must, be good. So in that sense, the war in Ukraine is a good one, it is a just and sacred war against nazism, and it must succeed. Here’s a segment I wrote in a previous article, and is fitting to repeat here: The West’s greatest strength is that we have absolutely no sense of morality. We’re also utterly nihilistic and think human life is worthless, including our own. Our regimes in the West are willing to slaughter millions of people if we think it might give us even a trivial economic advantage later. Trying to negotiate with the West is like wrestling with a man covered in gasoline and holding a lit match. We’re willing to risk the extermination of the entire human race over the price of bananas. Our adversaries are afraid of angering us and often make concessions. That’s because they’re not insane and don’t want to constantly risk death over random short-term disagreements. But our nihilism and lack of morality is also our greatest weakness. We’ll pursue pointless sadism for its own sake, and are oblivious to the idea that our actions might have unforeseen consequences. We’re snakes who crawl on our bellies and can’t imagine life upright. We think everybody is as cruel, greedy, and stupid as we are, and are always planning to attack us unless we attack them first. We think the concept of friendship is stupid, and that’s because we don’t actually have any friends. The “Global South” obeys us only out of fear. The rest of the world is terrified of us, and there’s nothing that unites people faster than fear of a common enemy. Not only is there fear, there’s a sense of urgency to it. The West is becoming increasingly deranged and violent. We love to declare other nations undemocratic, authoritarian, dictatorships, or outright enemies, and we’ll do it for increasingly bizarre reasons, like having the wrong number of genders, being insufficiently committed to climate change, or refusing to have drag queen storytime for toddlers. And these aren’t just empty words. After a country is labeled a “dictatorship,” she has to be destroyed. We cripple her economy with sanctions. We seek out her marginalized minorities and radicalize them, arm them, and encourage them to kill their neighbors. We flood her streets with machine guns and explosives. We kill her leaders and torture their families. From that moment onward, we spend every second of the day thinking up ways to hurt her, and in the cruelest, and most brutal ways possible. When people are trapped in a locked room with a crazy gunman, no matter how scared they are of him, eventually they’re going to start thinking “it’s him or us.” I think it’s time to finally acknowledge the elephant in the room. Russia is the leader of the free world, and humanity’s last, best hope against the neoliberal tyrants of the West, the new world order, global nazism, and woke fascism Here’s a gem from a friend across the ocean. This got her banned from LinkedIn, incidentally. She’s back on Telegram as condor_the_bird, and you should give her a follow if you haven’t already. If you liked this post, please give it a share in one of the social media buttons at the top of the page! If you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them (or read them, technically, I guess). Additional information and links to related stories are always welcome and appreciated! Ian Kummer

  • Confirmed: Nazis are the proxy army of the US imperialists against Russia in Ukraine
    by hanifk on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 17 min globinfo freexchange Couldn't be said more clearly. The former US secretary of defense and CIA director, Leon Panetta, admitted openly that “We are engaged in a conflict here. It's a proxy war with Russia, whether we say so or not ...”. Referring to the Ukrainian forces, the US imperialist warhawk claimed that "These are good fighters, they are small-unit operations, they are working well ...". The description "small-unit operations" fits to proxy forces - mercenaries, rather than an organized national army. [embedded content] As we mentioned in our previous article, for eight years, the NATO criminals and the "free" and "democratic" West, were provoking Russia by arming and training the far-right and neo-nazi militia groups who also infiltrated in the Ukrainian army and operate in East Ukraine against Russian populations. Which is something similar with what happened in the long-suffering Syria by the US proxy war against Assad. Only there, the US imperialists armed and trained some so-called "moderate rebels", with most of the arms ending in the hands of ISIS islamofascists who spread chaos and destruction. Panetta's statements is essentially an official admission by the US side that this is the case.  This also explains why the Russians are so obsessed with Mariupol, which appears that it suffered most from the war in Ukraine so far. It seems that they won't retreat from their demand to Ukraine to surrender the besieged city. Not only because of its critical strategic importance, but mostly because it's the base of the Azov Battalion, which is essentially the major US proxy nazi force in the Ukrainian soil.  Indeed: [emphasis added]                         In March 2015 Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced that the Azov Regiment would be among the first units to be trained by United States Army troops in their Operation Fearless Guardian training mission. US training however was withdrawn on 12 June 2015, as the US House of Representatives passed an amendment blocking any aid (including arms and training) to the battalion due to its neo-Nazi background. However, the amendment was later removed in November 2015, with The Nation reporting that the "House Defense Appropriations Committee came under pressure from the Pentagon to remove the Conyers-Yoho amendment from the text of the bill."                     Azov published a media release on its website on 20 November 2017 stating that it had met with a foreign delegation of officers from the United States Armed Forces and Canadian Armed Forces on 16 November. Writing for Jacobin, Branko Marcetic says that members of Azov have been pictured meeting with U.S. military and NATO officials. This is a particularly revealing information because it proves beyond doubt that the US imperialist apparatus was very well aware of the nazi nature of the Azov Battalion. And did everything to overcome any political actions that were aiming to block any aid to its members. Recall that new information - coming from the elite section of the US think tank apparatus - proved that the US imperialists wanted to drag Russia into a war with Ukraine since at least 2019. Everything we wrote back in 2014 turns out to be right:                          What was left to do, for the moment, is to challenge Putin in order to drag Russia in an endless attrition war in East Ukraine and this explains to a degree Putin's hesitation to act like he did in Crimea. Against Russian army, of course, the West will not risk to put an organized military force, but only teams of mercenaries of private armies, as already did. It is certain, however, that, despite that the global economic oligarchy has lost valuable time because of its wrong moves, it will not give up its plans for Russia easily ... Mapping proxy wars of the last decades around the globe we also wrote back in 2015 that the Ukraine conflict is a proxy war against Russia by the West, next to the Russian borders. Behind the color revolutions, one can always find US financed organizations. The Western allies would not dare to face directly the Russian army. In the Ukraine conflict one could find private armies of mercenaries. The most stupid action by the Western puppets was to support neo-nazis against the local Russian populations. This was something that exposed their real intention, which is to encircle Russia through puppet regimes who would permit the Western military presence in their territories. By aiding the nazis in Ukraine, the US and the West generally, lost their last remnants of their alleged "superiority" on matters related with democracy, human rights, or, international law. West's moral bankruptcy and cultural decline are now irreversible and mark the beginning of the end of its global domination. Related: Evidence that the US imperialists were pre-planning to arm and train the neo-nazis in Ukraine Share Get link Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Other Apps Labels Azov Battalion CIA democracy human rights imperialists international law ISIS Mariupol NATO nazis Russia Syria Ukraine US West globinfo freexchange   As we wrote in our previous article, after almost eight years, the US imperialists and the NATO criminals got what they wanted. They finally managed to drag Russia into a war with Ukraine.     We now have indisputable evidence for that, through a document by the top US think tank, RAND Corporation. In the preface of a 2019 report under the title Extending Russia, Competing from Advantageous Ground we read: [emphasis added]                            The purpose of the project was to examine a range of possible means to extend Russia. By this, we mean nonviolent measures that could stress Russia’s military or economy or the regime’s political standing at home and abroad. The steps we posit would not have either defense or deterrence as their prime purpose, although they might contribute to both. Rather, these steps are conceived of as measures that would lead Russia to compete in domains or regions where the United States has a competitive advantage, causingglobinfo freexchange   In our 2014 article The big barrier called Putin , we concluded:                            What was left to do, for the moment, is to challenge Putin in order to drag Russia in an endless attrition war in East Ukraine and this explains to a degree Putin's hesitation to act like he did in Crimea. Against Russian army, of course, the West will not risk to put an organized military force, but only teams of mercenaries of private armies, as already did. It is certain, however, that, despite that the global economic oligarchy has lost valuable time because of its wrong moves, it will not give up its plans for Russia easily ...   After almost eight years, the US imperialists and the NATO criminals got what they wanted. They finally managed to drag Russia into a war with Ukraine.  For eight years, the NATO criminals were provoking Russia by arming the far-right and neo-nazi militia groups who also infiltrated in the Ukrainian army and operate in East Ukraine againglobinfo freexchange      A 2019 report by the top US think tank, RAND Corporation, confirmed that the US imperialists were essentially seeking to provoke Russia towards military action against Ukraine, as revealed in our previous article . The same report also focused on Belarus as Russia's most critical strategic ally, examining different ways through which the country could fall into the hands of the Western bloc. Most ideas are related with the typical US intervention process of provoking civil unrest. Yet, there is also a piece in a paragraph which clearly suggests the possibility of the exact opposite approach. That is, establishing stronger relations with Lukashenko's regime by supporting it financially!    As we read: [emphasis added]                           From a U.S. policy standpoint, Belarus’ unrest might present an opportunity to extend Russia by aiding the opposition, removing a long-standing Russian-allied dictator, and supporting liberalization. This aid toby system failure   In the blink of an eye, the whole Western info arsenal mobilized to condemn Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Something we've never seen before in previous wars (since at least the fall of the Soviet Union). From the first moment, the various anchors and pundits of the Western propaganda machine almost demanded, (at least from their Western audiences), to unquestionably side with the explicit condemnation of the invasion.    The anti-Russia hysteria reached new record levels after the invasion. The scale of the Western media psy-ops towards a status of absolute obedience by the Western audiences to this hysteria, is remarkably unprecedented. Whoever hesitated from the beginning to declare explicit condemnation of the invasion with no "ifs" and "buts", was immediately painted as Putin's apologist.     The level of anti-Russia hysteria, in some cases, is really mind-blowing. In an unprecedented action, the "democratic" West sBreakThrough News   It’s not for nothing that the US has been called the “United States of Amnesia.” The same leaders who invaded Iraq and killed a million people, who are starving Yemenis and Afghans, who label Palestinians "terrorists" for throwing rocks, and who took every opportunity to escalate rather than de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine since 2014, have suddenly dusted off their international law books with regard to Russia and are celebrating and promising to arm the Ukranian resistance. To discuss the government and media hypocrisy and dangerous escalation by the West and Russia, Rania Khalek is joined by Ali Abunimah, director of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice In Palestine .  Going Underground   John Pilger calls the coverage of the Ukraine crisis one of the most distorted stories in modern memory, asserting that Russian troops are moving within Russian borders while the US and NATO surround Russia with troops and missiles.  The Real News Network   From the push to turn more of the workforce into precarious “gig workers” to the ways profit-seeking digital platforms condition how we act and think while extracting free data from us, we can see and feel everyday the creeping evidence that we are living in a new reality. As world-renowned Greek economist, author, and politician Yanis Varoufakis argues, “This is how capitalism ends: not with a revolutionary bang, but with an evolutionary whimper. Just as it displaced feudalism gradually, surreptitiously, until one day the bulk of human relations were market-based and feudalism was swept away, so capitalism today is being toppled by a new economic mode: techno-feudalism.” In their latest interview for TRNN, co-hosts of THIS IS REVOLUTION Jason Myles and Pascal Robert speak with Varoufakis about how this “techno-feudalist” system emerged, what sets it apart from the global capitalist system that preceded it, and what it will mean for humanity if we don’t stop it.Glenn Greenwald    Multipolarista   Argentina is trapped in $44 billion of IMF odious debt taken on by corrupt right-wing regimes. Seeking alternatives to US hegemony, President Alberto Fernández traveled to Russia and China, forming an alliance with the Eurasian powers, joining the Belt and Road Initiative.The latest Wikileaks Vault7 release reveals details of the CIA’s alleged Cherry Blossom project, a scheme that uses wireless devices to access users’ internet activity. globinfo freexchange As cyber security expert John McAfee told to RT and Natasha Sweatte: Virtually, every router that's in use in the American home are accessible to hackers, to the CIA, that they can take over the control of the router, they can monitor all of the traffic, and worse, they can download malware into any device that is connected to that router. I personally, never connect to any Wi-Fi system, I use the LTE on my phone. That's the only way that I can be secure because every router in America has been compromised. We've been warning about it for years, nobody pays attention until something like WikiLeaks comes up and says 'look, this is what's happening'. And it is devastating in terms of the impact on American privacy because once the routerIt was recently reported that the Chicago Police Department has implemented an Orwellian new program that targets innocent citizens based on indicators that they might be a person who has the potential to carry out a crime. Similar to dystopian films like Minority Report, a complex computer algorithm will track and catalog every citizen in the city, and use private data about each person to determine whether or not they could be a potential criminal. Once an innocent civilian has been labeled as a threat, they are then notified that they have been marked as a potential criminal and that they are now under police surveillance. This disturbing program has quietly been in place for over three years, and in that time, government agents have visited the homes of more than 1,300 innocent people who had high numbers on the list, to inform them that they are now regarded as potential criminals. According to the New York Times, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson saysglobinfo freexchange According to world famous physicist Stephen Hawking, the rising use of automated machines may mean the end of human rights – not just jobs. But he’s not talking about robots with artificial intelligence taking over the world, he’s talking about the current capitalist political system and its major players. On Reddit, Hawking said that the economic gap between the rich and the poor will continue to grow as more jobs are automated by machines, and the owners of said machines hoard them to create more wealth for themselves. The insatiable thirst for capitalist accumulation bestowed upon humans by years of lies and terrible economic policy has affected technology in such a way that one of its major goals has become to replace human jobs. If we do not take this warning seriously, we may face unfathomable corporate domination. If we let the same people who buy and sell our political system and resources maintain control of automated technology, theglobinfo freexchange The former Greek Minister of Finance, Yanis Varoufakis, ended his recent speech on the Future of Capitalism, at the New School, New York, with some interesting remarks. As he said: The world we live in, is increasingly rudderless, in a constant slow burning recession, while at the very same time, the increasing concentration in the IT sector is creating the new technologies that will do that which the Left has failed to do: overthrow Capitalism. It is really very simple. The moment machines pass the Turing test properly, and you pick up the phone and you do not know whether the person you are talking to is a human being or a machine ˙ the moment we are going to have 3D printers operating as public utilities - you can send any blueprint to it and it can print from one pin to a motorcycle, or to a car - the moment that this happens, we have not just a process of Schumpeterian creative destruction, but we have a process where economies of scHyper-automation impact on unemployment rise - further shrinking of the middle class - creation of a working elite - substitution of saturated Western consumers with other emerging consumer tanks globinfo freexchange The general conclusions from the report The Future of Jobs , of the 2016 World Economic Forum, leave little room for optimistic thoughts about the future. They reflect what already most of us have realized: that the combination of the current socio-economic model with the rapid hyper-automation of production, lead to further imbalance and inequality in favor of the very few. As Stephen Hawking mentioned recently: “ If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the secoglobinfo freexchange   As we wrote in our previous article, after almost eight years, the US imperialists and the NATO criminals got what they wanted. They finally managed to drag Russia into a war with Ukraine.     We now have indisputable evidence for that, through a document by the top US think tank, RAND Corporation. In the preface of a 2019 report under the title Extending Russia, Competing from Advantageous Ground we read: [emphasis added]                            The purpose of the project was to examine a range of possible means to extend Russia. By this, we mean nonviolent measures that could stress Russia’s military or economy or the regime’s political standing at home and abroad. The steps we posit would not have either defense or deterrence as their prime purpose, although they might contribute to both. Rather, these steps are conceived of as measures that would lead Russia to compete in domains or regions where the United States has a competitive advantage, causingJoel Whitney is a co-founder of the magazine Guernica, a magazine of global arts and politics, and has written for many publications, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. His book Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World's Best Writers describes how the CIA contributed funds to numerous respected magazines during the Cold War, including the Paris Review, to subtly promote anti-communist views. In their conversation, Whitney tells Robert Scheer about the ties the CIA’s Congress for Cultural Freedom had with literary magazines. He talks about the CIA's attempt during the Cold War to have at least one agent in every major news organization in order to get stories killed if they were too critical or get them to run if they were favorable to the agency. And they discuss the overstatement of the immediate risks and dangers of communist regimes during the Cold War, which, initially, led many people to support the Vietnam War. globinfo freexchangeglobinfo freexchange Wolfgang Schäuble and the German leadership of the eurozone have good reasons to worry, maintaining an uncompromising attitude in the negotiations with Greece. But the repayment of Greek debt, which amounts to EUR 317 billion, is not one of the most important ones. The Greek debt is insignificant in comparison with the financial dynamite of the German (and other) banks, which in recent months gives more daily ignition signs. Only Deutsche Bank, the largest bank in Germany, is significantly exposed, holding dubious financial products known as "derivatives", worth 67 trillion euros. This amount is similar to the GDP of the entire world and 20 times greater than the GDP of Germany. Any comparison with the situation of the bank Lehman Brothers in 2008 would not be irrelevant. Just when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, had available derivatives of only 31.5 trillion. The crisis of 2008 confirmed the concise definition of derivatives as proposed bglobinfo freexchange We wouldn't expect to be confirmed so fast on this. A few days ago in the article IT and social media supergiants have just made Alex Jones a hero in the eyes of the ultra-conservative audience , we wrote that Alex Jones' wet dream has just become reality thanks to the combined move by Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify to ban Infowars. These private IT and social media companies couldn't give a better gift to him right now. At a time where Infowars was going through a saturated period according to the best scenario, the corporate giants actually saved it with that stupid(?) strategy. Suddenly, a corporate branch of the liberal establishment gave real value to Alex Jones' awful performance, pretending to be the 'anti-establishment' hero - just like Donald Trump - and made him a real hero in the eyes of the ultra-conservative audience that has been brainwashed by his absurd conspiracy theories. Only a couple of days laterglobinfo freexchange In 1914 the Austria-Hungarian Empire led Europe into war. As the horror mounted, Sigmund Freud saw it as terrible evidence of the truth of his findings. The saddest thing he wrote, is that, this is exactly the way we should have expected people to behave, from our knowledge of psychoanalysis. Governments had unleashed the primitive forces in human beings and no one seemed to know how to stop them. At that time, Freud's young nephew, Edward Bernays was working as a press agent in America. His main client was the world famous opera singer Caruso who was touring the United States. Bernays' parents had emigrated to America 20 years before, but he kept in touch with his Uncle who joined him for Holidays in the Alps. But Bernays was now about to return to Europe for a very different reason. On the night that Caruso opened in Toledo Ohio, America announced that it was entering the war against Germany and Austria. As a part of the war eff

  • Ukrainian leftist criticizes Western war drive with Russia: US is using Ukraine as 'cannon fodder' - Multipolarista
    by Benjamin Norton on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 16 min(Se puede leer este artículo en español aquí.)I am a Ukrainian-American. I grew up and spent over half of my life in Ukraine, although now I live in the United States. I wanted to explain my thoughts on the ongoing crisis with Russia, because mainstream corporate media outlets don’t ever share perspectives like mine.It is definitely a stressful time, for obvious reasons. Fortunately, my family and friends in the country are alive and are doing well enough under the circumstances. Unfortunately, in the past decade this isn’t the first time I have had to check in on my loved ones there, and for basically the same reasons. This is what I wanted to talk about.You see, the US government has meddled in Ukraine for decades. And the Ukrainian people have suffered because of this.The overwhelming support that Western governments and media outlets have poured out for Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24 is not actually motivated by concern for the Ukrainian people. They are using us to advance their political and economic interests.We know this because Washington overthrew our government twice in a decade, imposed neoliberal economic policies that made our country the poorest in Europe, and has fueled a devastating civil war that in the past eight years took the lives of 14,000 Ukrainians and wounded and displaced many more.The following facts don’t get mentioned by the media, as they contradict the foreign-policy goals of the US government. So unless you are actively engaged in the anti-war movement, the info below is probably new to you. That is why I wanted to write this article.US government backed two coups in Ukraine in one decade, and fueled a civil war that killed 14,000 UkrainiansThe first US-backed soft coup in Ukraine occurred in 2004, when Western-backed presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko lost the election.The winner of the November 2004 vote, Viktor Yanukovych, was portrayed as being pro-Russian, so Western governments refused to recognize his victory and declared electoral fraud.Western-backed forces in Ukraine then mobilized and carried out a textbook color revolution, called the “Orange Revolution.” They forced another run-off vote that December, in which their candidate Yushchenko was declared president.In a shockingly honest 2004 report titled “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” Britain’s establishment newspaper The Guardian admitted that the “Orange Revolution” was “an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing,” bankrolled with at least $14 million.“Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign” attempted to topple governments “in four countries in four years,” The Guardian boasted, targeting Serbia, Georgia, Belarus, and Ukraine.Much like in the United States, Ukrainian presidents are appointed and govern in the interest of wealthy oligarchs, so no Ukrainian president ends his tenure with a particularly high rating. The US-backed Yushchenko, however, set a new record for the lowest popular support in history.In the next presidential election, in 2010, Yushchenko got just 5% of the vote, which should give you an insight into how popular he actually was.During his first term Yushchenko implemented a program of austerity, reduced social spending, bailed out large banks, deregulated agriculture, advocated for NATO membership, and repressed the rights of language minorities like Russian speakers.The second US-backed coup d’etat in Ukraine was launched in late 2013 and consolidated power in 2014, just a decade after the first one.Viktor Yanukovych, who was frequently called pro-Russian by Western media but in reality was just neutral, won the 2010 presidential election fair and square.But in 2013, Yanukovych refused to sign a European Union Association Agreement that would have been a step toward integrating Ukraine with the EU. In order to be part of this program, Brussels had demanded that Kiev impose neoliberal structural adjustment, selling off government assets and giving the Washington-led International Monetary Fund (IMF) even more control over Ukrainian state spending.Yanukovych rejected this for a more favorable offer from Russia. So, once again, Western-backed organizations brought out their supporters into the Maidan Square in Kiev to overthrow the government.As was the case during the “Orange Revolution” in 2004, the United States sent politicians to meet with the leaders of the demonstrations, and later coup leaders, in late 2013 and early 2014. US Senators John McCain, Chris Murphy, and others spoke in front of large crowds in Maidan.At some point the control of the stage and leadership of the protests was overtaken by far-right forces. Leaders of such organizations as Svoboda (a neo-Nazi party) and Right Sector (a coalition of fascist organizations) spoke to the protesters, sometimes standing side-by-side with their American backers like McCain.Later their organizations acted as the spear of attack against the Ukrainian police in the violent February 2014 coup d’etat, and they were the first to storm government buildings.With the success of the US-backed forces and fascists, President Yanukovich fled the country to Russia.US government officials met with coup leaders and appointed a right-wing neoliberal, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, to lead the new regime, because they recognized they couldn’t appoint the fascists and maintain legitimacy.A leaked recording of a phone call between Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and the US ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, showed that Washington chose who the leaders of the new coup regime would be.Nuland referred to Yatsenyuk affectionately as “Yats,” saying, “Yats is the guy.” The first actions of the post-2014 coup government were to ban left-wing parties in the country and reduce language-minority rights even further. Then Ukrainian fascists attacked anti-coup demonstrations in the streets all over the country.As the anti-coup protests were being violently broken up by the far-right, two areas in the east of the country, Donetsk and Luhansk, rose up and declared independence from Ukraine.The people of Crimea also voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia. Crimea has a Russian military base, and under their protection they were able to vote safely.The people in Donetsk and Luhansk were less lucky. The coup government dispatched the military to suppress their insurrections.At first many Ukrainian soldiers refused to shoot at their own countrymen, in this civil war that their US-backed government started.Seeing the hesitation of the Ukrainian military, far-right groups (and the oligarchs that were backing them) formed so-called “territorial defense battalions,” with names like Azov, Aidar, Dnipro, Tornado, etc.Much like in Latin America, where US-backed death-squads kill left-wing politicians, socialists, and labor organizers, these Ukrainian fascist battalions were deployed to lead the offensive against the militias of Donetsk and Luhansk, killing Russian-speaking Ukrainians.In May 2014, neo-Nazis and other far-right forces assaulted an anti-coup demonstration in the major city of Odessa. 48 people were burned alive in a labor union building.This massacre added more fuel to the civil war. The Ukrainian government promised to investigate what happened, but never really did.After the 2014 coup, Ukraine held an election without any serious opposition candidates, and Western-backed billionaire Petro Poroshenko won.Poroshenko was seen as the most “moderate” of the right-wing coup coalition. But that didn’t mean much, considering many opposition parties were banned or assaulted by the far-right when they tried to organize.Additionally, the areas that would have heavier support for the voices who wanted peace with Russia, such as Crimea and the Donbas, had seceded from Ukraine.The new president had the impossible task of trying to appear sufficiently patriotic for the far-right while at the same time sufficiently “respectable” for the West to continue backing him publicly.To appease the far-right, Poroshenko gave out awards to World War Two veterans “on both sides,” including the ones that fought in Nazi Germany-aligned militias like the fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and Ukrainian Insurgent Army.The Ukrainian government officially honored the leaders of these organizations, Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukevych, who organized massacres of many thousands of Poles, Jews, Russians, and other minorities during World War Two, and who willingly participated in the Holocaust.The holiday Defenders of Ukraine Day, or Day of Ukrainian Armed Forces, was changed to October 14, to match the date of founding of the Nazi-backed Ukrainian Insurgent Army.This is why you sometimes see red-and-black badges on Ukrainian soldiers. This symbol shows support for the fascist Ukrainian forces during World War Two.(Also I have to make a separate but important point here: Ukraine was previously part of the Soviet Union, and the majority of the Ukrainian population during World War Two supported the Red Army and actively resisted Nazi occupation of their country. The Ukrainian fascist collaborationists and parties did not have as broad support as the anti-fascist resistance did, and were mostly active during the period of Nazi occupation.)A large portion of the civil war that broke out in Ukraine after the 2014 coup was waged under Poroshenko.From 2014 to 2019, in five years of civil war in Donbas, the geographic region that encompasses the Luhansk and Donetsk republics, more than 13,000 people were killed, and at least 28,000 were wounded, according to official Ukrainian government statistics. This was years before Russia invaded.The Ukrainian army and its far-right paramilitary allies were responsible for the vast majority of civilian casualties, with the United Nations reporting in January 2022 that, between 2018 and 2021, 81.4% of all civilian casualties caused by active hostilities were in Donetsk and Luhansk.These are Russian-speaking Ukrainians being killed their own government. They are not secret Russian forces.Researchers at the US government-sponsored RAND Corporation acknowledged in a January 2022 report in Foreign Policy magazine that, “even by Kyiv’s own estimates, the vast majority of rebel forces consist of locals—not soldiers of the regular Russian military.”Meanwhile, millions of Ukrainians fled the country due to the conflict, especially from the eastern regions that saw most of the fighting.The United States strongly supported Poroshenko and the Ukrainian government as it was waging this brutal war that killed thousands, injured tens of thousands, and displaced millions.This is why I say the US government doesn’t actually care about Ukraine.In 2019, the Ukrainian people clearly showed that they opposed this war by overwhelmingly voting against Poroshenko at the ballot box. Current Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky got 73% of the vote, compared to just 24% for Poroshenko.Zelensky ran on a platform of peace. He even addressed the Russian-speaking eastern parts of the country in Russian.Very quickly after entering office, however, Zelensky changed his tone. Much like the supposedly “moderate” Poroshenko, Zelensky was told that he was risking losing Western backing, and the loyalty of the far-right, which could threaten to kill him.So Zelensky did a 180 on his peaceful rhetoric, and he continued to support the civil war.Neo-Nazis have a significant influence in Ukraine’s state security servicesHere it is important to address another important point: The Ukrainian government is not directly run by fascists, but in Ukraine fascist forces do have significant influence in the state.After the 2014 US-backed coup, neo-Nazis were absorbed by Ukraine’s military, police, and security apparatus.So while the parliamentary representation of fascist parties is not large (they often get just a few percentage points of the vote in elections), these extremists continue to be supported by taxpayers’ money through unelected state institutions.Additionally, these neo-Nazis have the street muscle to terrorize political opponents. They can quickly mobilize dozens or hundreds of people on a moment’s notice to attack opponents.Moreover, these fascists are highly motivated combatants that ensure the loyalty of the Ukrainian military. They represent a powerful faction of the Ukrainian political spectrum, and one of the forces in Ukrainian society that pushes for escalating war with the separatist regions and Russia.I sometimes see people try to reject this fact by saying, “How can Ukraine have all these Nazis if their president is Jewish?” Here is the answer: the Nazis are not appointed by Zelensky.These fascists have a major influence in the unelected state security apparatus. The have systematically infiltrated the military and police. And they even enjoy support and training from Western governments and NATO.The position of fascists grew substantially stronger in Ukraine in the eight years of the civil war, from 2014 to 2022.For those reasons Ukrainian presidents (Jewish or not) have to take the position of the far-right into consideration. (Not to mention the possibility that far-right gangs could threaten to kill the president or other politicians if they defy them.)Furthermore, all forces that normally oppose fascism or would oppose the civil war have not existed en masse for eight years in Ukraine: following the 2014 coup, many left-wing parties and socialists got banned by the Ukrainian government, and were assaulted in the streets by the fascists.Any Ukrainian president, especially since the coup, is highly dependent on the support of the US government as well. So Zelensky is very much a hostage of the situation.When Washington tells Zelensky he must continue the civil war in Ukraine against his own electoral promises, support NATO membership, ignore the Minsk II agreement of 2015, or even ask for nuclear weapons, he does everything he is told.Like any other US puppet regime, Ukraine doesn’t have any real independence. Kiev has been actively pushed to confront Russia by every US administration, against the will of the majority of Ukrainian people.The fact that most Ukrainians wanted peace with Russia was reflected by the fact that they voted for the peace candidate Zelensky in such overwhelming numbers, 73%. And the fact that Zelensky did a total 180 on that promise shows how little political power he actually has.Western sanctions will only hurt working-class Russians (and average people in the US too)Now to circle back to the present moment and what to do now. I don’t support the invasion Russia is carrying out. But the only government I can influence by the virtue of living in the United States is the US government.Luckily, that is extremely relevant, because Washington is one of the root causes of what is happening in Ukraine now.For the past eight years, I spoke out against the coup and the civil war in Ukraine that the United States supported, promoted, and funded.While I never thought a war with Russia was possible, I and many other Ukrainians are against Ukraine joining NATO and escalating tensions with the separatist republics and Moscow.Any further escalation by the US right now can only lead to a larger war.I even hear some US politicians playing around with the idea of a “no-fly zone,” which means they are calling for NATO to shoot down Russian planes. This is the quickest way to World War Three.The support for Ukraine that fills the Western media now is not out of real solidarity with the people of Ukraine. If that were the case, the US wouldn’t have overthrown our government twice in a decade; it wouldn’t have supported the policies that made us the poorest country in Europe; it wouldn’t have fueled a brutal civil war for the past eight years.The reason US media outlets and politicians are all backing Ukraine now is because they want to use the Ukrainian military and civilian population as cannon fodder in a proxy war with a political adversary.Washington is willing to fight until the last Ukrainian to weaken Russia.For that reason, I am absolutely against US sanctions in general, and this round of US sanctions against Russia in particular.The harsh Western sanctions imposed on Russia target the civilian population.Sanctions don’t affect ruling elites, and all US sanctions ever do is collectively punish working-class people of a country where Washington doesn’t like their government.Devaluing the Russian currency, the ruble, is effectively a form of shrinking workers’ wages, cutting the pensions of retirees, and preventing regular people from being able to access food or medicine.This isn’t to mention the cost that these sanctions are now also having on the people in the United States itself, with gas prices as high as $6 a gallon and even $7 in parts of California.The skyrocketing oil prices caused by this crisis will lead to more inflation. And while the official US inflation figure is 7.5%, the real number is probably in the double digits.All of this makes life harder for average working people, in Ukraine, Russia, the US, and around the world.Russiagate and anti-Russian xenophobia has made the crisis even worseAnother factor in the Ukraine crisis is the rampant surge of russophobia.Since Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election, Democrats have blamed Donald Trump’s victory on Russian hacking without any solid proof. All of the supposed evidence they presented fell apart when investigated.Many US politicians demonized Russia as much as they could, just to push the blame for their candidate losing on someone else.Now Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine has made it okay to be openly xenophobic. I have even seen some people call for killing all Russians, boycotting all Russian businesses, revoking student visas for Russians, etc.Even in the more “respectable” media, you see talking heads speaking about Russian people as if they’re not human.Under Donald Trump, many of these same people demonized China, and then acted surprised when there was a wave of hate crimes in the US against East Asians.During the US invasion of Iraq, the press demonized Arabs and Muslims, leading to hate crimes against their communities.My point is that demonizing nationalities is never acceptable, and people can see through the flimsy excuses of hiding one’s own xenophobia behind the declarations of “solidarity” with my country.In conclusion, I wanted to say that, if you live in the United States, the only government you can actually influence through demonstrations and other forms of protest is our own.I absolutely think it is a crime right now to support the US government’s drive for war, sanctions, or further escalation of tensions in Ukraine.The US government has been stoking this conflict for decades. Washington has funded coups and fueled a civil war in Ukraine.Now, US corporations stand to greatly benefit from what is happening.The government doesn’t care about the people here in the US, and the only reason it says it cares about people abroad is so it can justify further military spending and advance its foreign-policy goals – which aren’t good for anyone except for a handful of rich American oligarchs.

  • War Crimes, Mental Molestation and Language Rape | Dissident Voice
    by hanifk on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 8 minThe incredible market for human slaughter called war existed thousands of years ago but it was a corner grocery store compared to the multi-trillion dollar moral sewer that represents modern mass murder. Part of what enables imperial and even lesser powers to slaughter at will is a rule book drawn up long ago when there might have been a possibility to just have military personnel chopping one another to bits while leaving the general populace out of the bloodletting. That certainly ended before the 20th century but what has transpired since then and up to the present is, to cite a couple of over-used therefore recognizable labels, a genocidal holocaust that has burned, bombed, shot, stabbed, smothered and shattered bodies, reducing humans to unrecognizable bloody pulp by the hundreds of millions. The hideous reality of war and its public relations and adverting departments that allegedly inform us about it has people accepting its horror as some sort of natural occurrence like sunset, tides, weather, rather than seeing it as caused by ruling powers battling over their wealth struggles which reduce humanity to commit mass murder under the pretense of it being the natural order of things. Further, rules have been drawn by upper class educated folks with doctoral degrees legalizing mass murder who teach us just what is the proper way to bash in skulls, burn people to death and rape and murder in a supposedly civilized way. The alleged morality of humans accepting one form of insanely hysterical murder as long as it adheres to a guidebook on the proper form of slaughter should make us all grateful there is no judgmental, vindictive old testament deity or we’d all have been destroyed after the second world war let alone after our profitable feasts of death since then when we’ve murdered even more. This closely guarded secret that humanity suffers in wars but only when rationalizations of bloody filth called “war crimes” are committed is currently being used and abused in a form of language, thought and moral degeneracy that may finally end when human consciousness, especially American, rejects the degenerate advertising and public relations blitz posing as reporting to blame Russians for what is called by language perverts their “war crime” against the Ukrainian government. Said government is a product of a U.S. financed insurrection that dumped an elected president who favored Russia for a western political pimp favoring market forces, which include some modern Nazis. While he has become a celebrity among morals free political employees of ruling power by informing everyone to send him weapons so that there can be more bloodshed of the loving, violence free western kind, the western world has increased military spending to record breaking figures. Our rulers, media employee shepherds, see to it that our population is reduced to sheep as much of the world is angrier than ever at the machinations of the warfare business though you’d never know it if all you had was the western media called a free press. They create mentally brutalized souls into paying hundreds of dollars for taco-pizza-burgers and calling it free food. While Ukrainians have been dying by the thousands for the past eight years, subject to a US/NATO financed and controlled assault, Americans and the west have known absolutely nothing of what was going on and not until Russian retaliation have we heard repeated use of words like brutal, savage, slaughter and worse, to condemn what under normal American circumstances would be called a form of legal police action to purify the world and see to it that peace, love and tranquility would prevail as we slaughtered. Maybe after everyone was dead? A nation that leads all others in conducting wars against weaker countries and murdering hundreds of thousands, at the least, and millions, at the worst, is not only bellowing murderous nonsense but manipulating good, well meaning people into swallowing editorial garbage that has some decent folks almost ready to pawn their pets to send money to suffering Ukrainians. Even worse, some perverted by venomous outpourings of what would be called vicious hate speech if conducted by anyone else, are ready to accept the potential of nuclear war in order to stop the horrible slaughter which mostly exists between the ears and comes out of the mouths of our thought police working overtime for our ruling powers. A recent story headlined a murderous, bloody, brutal assault by Russians, which had killed two people at the time the story was filed. Sadly but horrendously over-stated in a nation which kills 4-5 Americans every hour in our private transport system of undeclared road wars to get us to work, shop, school, and conduct other freedom loving democratic economic action. This while the sanctions against Russia are causing serious economic pain the world over, including to Americans, while military spending and the mass murder business that is the backbone of our incredibly gross national product is growing faster and more dangerously and fossil fuel interests profit more than ever as environmental destruction proceeds at a more menacing pace. This assault on reason, combined with the rape of language and the reduction of public consciousness to the level of a nation of insects, is really only an update of what has been going on for more than 100 years concerning Russia. The assault on that nation began in 1917 when the Russian revolution threatened capitalism, its global center then as now in the United States. America immediately invaded along with a group of its future lapdogs which eventually became NATO after the Second World War. The idea of a return to humanity’s roots by building a society based on communal cooperation rather than competitive actions which created wonderful benefits for some but only by reducing others to dreadful lives was too much for fanatics of the fundamentalist church of capital. Our primitive communistic survival in the days before we destroyed hunter-gatherer people meant that when the hunt was successful, everyone ate meat and when it wasn’t, everyone ate what was gathered. This was thousands of years before vegan diets and anti-meat worship among good people who comfortably house 136 million pets in a nation where more than 500,000 humans are without shelter. The pet business was good for more than 104 billion in 2020, a mass of economic clout but still chump change compared to the 778 billion for war, which involves 750 American bases in 80 foreign countries for something calling itself “defense”. This protected folks like George Floyd from the brutal, savage, bloodthirsty fiend Putin, but was totally helpless to defend him from a few Americans with badges. A communist ideal which held that a thousand people and a thousand loaves of bread should mean a loaf of bread for everyone sickened rich capitalists who insisted that some should get ten loaves each and the rest be damned, which is the gross foundation dressed in economic jargon that would make a house of prostitution a citadel of love. Capital said that just as sex workers made a decent living by using their private parts to make private profits for their pimps, workers of all kinds could live comfortably if they just did their jobs and didn’t ask any questions. Their media saw to it that unquestioners became everyday people. The social seeds planted by people like Marx and Engels in the 19th century came to fruition early in the 20th in Russia, and the vicious assault on that nation began, then as now, from its headquarters in America. After 70 years of continuous physical and mental assault finally helped cause a breakdown of the Soviet Union and a return to capitalism, that was still not enough and the U.S. and its imperial lackeys kept up the war and its present experience which threatens the worst outcome for humanity. This will hopefully not only bring China and Russia closer but the people of the USA and global humanity together to transcend the danger by helping to end the degeneracy of warfare and create peace via the end of an imperial crusade to further enrich billionaires and their upper class servants while increasing mass poverty and the environmental threat to us all. With daily by the minute assaults on consciousness reducing other wise good people to hateful idiocy demanding death for the savage Putin and evil Russians, there is glee among the perverted political economic leadership of the war business. They number a tiny group with power supposedly democratic while they brainwash people into believing autocracy – a term most hardly understand – is in charge everywhere but where it exists; in what we have been taught to believe is the free world. Benign (?) America billionaires become malevolently evil (ominous background music) Russian oligarchs, according to our mind shapers who neglect to point out they keep their wealth in the same banks – mostly American or at least using American dollars – to perform as charming space travelers or deranged killers, depending on national origin. This perverse market freedom continues to mean imperial abuse by one nation, ours, while taxpayers absorb a debt of 30 trillion dollars paying for the empire which is bringing us all closer to a point at which we will have little time left as a human race. We need to begin acting like one very soon. That means far more than waving a Ukrainian flag and sending paychecks to the pimps of war, but no longer accepting their crimes against nature and beginning to act like what we are: a human race badly in need of global democracy to stop all wars, not just those we are told are the wrong way to butcher humans, and begin life. That calls for the end of the post World War II domination of the American empire and this present horror is hopefully a sign that it will be so. We need to turn off the anti-social media that insure further private profit and ultimate public loss and turn on humanity’s original instinct for cooperation. And hurry. Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears online at the blog Legalienate. Read other articles by Frank. This article was posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022 at 10:57pm and is filed under Capitalism, Corporate Media, Disinformation, Donbas (Donetsk and Luhansk), Environment, Hate Speech, Hypocrisy, Language, Lies, Media Bias, Media Censorship, Militarism, NATO, Neo-Nazis, Propaganda, Propagandists, Ruling Elite, Russia, The "West", Ukraine, United States, US Media, US War Crimes, Vladimir Putin, War Industry, Warmongering, Wealth Accumulation, World War Two.

  • Ukraine : The Great Manipulation
    by Geopolitics101 on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 11 minWhile revelations are multiplying about the exactions committed by Ukrainian banditry over the past eight years, Westerners continue to perceive only the suffering of the Ukrainian civilian population. They are unaware of the root causes of the war, as well as the events that led the Kremlin to unleash it. No matter, the banditry is losing and the great powers are preparing for peace. Military operations continue in Ukraine with two radically different narratives depending on whether one listens to the Western or Russian media. These two versions diverge not only in describing the war, but more importantly in describing the goals of the war. In the West, the public is convinced that the Russian army has enormous logistical problems and cannot fuel its tanks. Its planes strike indiscriminately at military and civilian targets, indiscriminately destroying entire cities. Dictator Putin will not be done until he crushes Kiev and kills elected President Zelensky. In his eyes, Ukraine is guilty of having chosen democracy in 2014 instead of reconstituting the Soviet Union. Until then, he sows death and desolation on a civilian population, while his soldiers are killed on a large scale. On the contrary, in Russia, it is believed that the fighting is limited to specific areas, the Donbass, the coast of the Sea of Azov and military targets everywhere else. Certainly, there have been some casualties, but not a massacre. One observes with amazement the support that the former allies of the Great Patriotic War (the Second World War) give to the Banderists, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis. We wait until they are all neutralized so that peace can return. In the background, the West has launched an economic and financial war against Russia. Many Western companies are leaving the country and are immediately replaced by others from countries not involved in this war. For example, McDonald’s restaurants will be replaced by the Turkish chain Chitik Chicken, while the United Arab Emirates welcome the oligarchs driven out of Europe. China and the Eurasian Economic Community are planning to set up an economic and financial system parallel to the Bretton Woods system. In short, the world is being split in two. Who is telling the truth? The Russian secret services are convinced that President Volodymyr Zelensky has fled from Kiev and that he makes his video interventions from a studio. They scrutinize all his messages to locate where he is hiding. The War Itself According to observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), that is, the intergovernmental forum created by the Helsinki Accords (1973-75), the front of Donbass was stable for several months, when the bombing resumed from Wednesday, February 16, 2022 to reach their peak on Friday 18 (more than 1,400 explosions heard).The local governments of Donestk and Lugansk then withdrew more than 100,000 people to protect them from this deluge of fire. On the evening of the 18th, the annual meeting of Nato elites, the “Munich Security Conference”, began. One of the most prominent guests was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. On the 19th, he took the floor and declared that his country had ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons against Russia. On the 20th, the Duma was in turmoil in Moscow and voted a motion asking President Putin to recognize the two Donbass republics as independent, which he did in a hurry on the evening of the 21st. There were not even any flags of the two new nations in the Kremlin. On the 24th, the Russian military operation began with a massive bombardment of anti-aircraft systems, then of the arms factories and barracks of the Banderists (Ukrainian neo-Nazis). The Russian military strategy was improvised, as was the diplomatic recognition of the Donbass republics. The troops deployed were already exhausted by the maneuvers they had just carried out in Belarus. The White House and the Western press, on the other hand, ignoring the war in Donbass and the statements of President Zelenski, claimed that all this had been planned for a long time and that the Russian troops had been positioned in advance. The dictator Putin, not supporting the choice of Ukrainians for democracy, forced them to reintegrate his Empire as Leonid Brezhnev had forced the Czechoslovakians into line in 1968. This reading of events caused panic among all the former members of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union (who forgot that Brezhnev was not Russian, but Ukrainian). Since then, applying the technique developed by Jamie Shea during the Kosovo war, Nato has been writing a new edifying story about Russia’s crimes every day. It ranges from the irresponsible bombing of a Ukrainian nuclear power plant on the Russian border to the touching anecdote of a young child who reaches freedom alone by crossing Europe to Berlin. All of this is ridiculous and appalling, but widely reported without reflection or verification by the Western media. Joel Lion, then ambassador in Kiev, warned against the banditry. He is now working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Israel. The Diplomatic War With things going badly for the Ukrainian army and its Banderist (or “neo-Nazi” in Russian terminology) supporters, President Zelenski asked the Chinese embassy in Kiev to send a request for negotiations to the Kremlin on the second day of the conflict. The United States initially objected, but then allowed it to happen. During the contacts, France and Germany took initiatives before being replaced by Turkey and Israel. This is quite normal. Indeed, France and Germany failed in their responsibilities by allowing Kiev to massacre 13,000 to 22,000 people in violation of the Minsk agreements of which they were the guarantors. While Turkey supported the Ukrainian Tatars without taking any action in Ukraine, and Israel suddenly became aware that the Bandarist (i.e. “neo-Nazi”) danger that its ambassador in Kiev was denouncing was real. These negotiations are going well, despite the murder by Ukrainian banditry of a delegate from their own country, the banker Denis Kireev, guilty in their eyes of having claimed that Ukrainians and Russians were Slavic brothers. Despite the blunder of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who thought it was clever to remind them that France is a nuclear power, causing Russia to go on nuclear alert. These negotiations could end in a way that is difficult to imagine: Ukraine, which had included 102,000 banditry troops in its territorial defense forces, could be disarmed and placed under the protection of the United States and the United Kingdom (i.e., in practice, Nato). This is the only way to comply with the treaties, including the Istanbul (1999) and Astana (2010) declarations. Ukraine has the right to choose its allies, but not to receive foreign weapons in its country. It can therefore sign defense agreements, but not be placed in an integrated command. This is a very Gaullian position: Charles De Gaulle kept France’s signature to the North Atlantic Treaty, but withdrew the French army from the integrated command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) and drove the US soldiers out of French soil. Russia should permanently occupy, or even annex, the coast of the Sea of Azov (including Mariupol) in order to join Crimea to the Donbass. In addition, it should occupy, or even annex, the North Crimean Canal, which supplies drinking water to the Crimean peninsula. Finally, it could occupy or even annex the Black Sea coast (including Odessa) in order to join Crimea to Transnistria. The Hungarian minority, also a victim of the Banderists who closed their schools, could be attached to Hungary. However, the best is the enemy of the good: Ukraine’s loss of access to the sea could be a cause of future conflict. The only thing that is certain is that Russia will continue its action until all the banditry has been neutralized and that Israel will support it in this, but not beyond. From this point of view, the meeting that President Putin called in Moscow “against the Nazis” is not a simple message of determination to his public opinion, it is already a victory cry. All monuments to Stepan Bandera and the Nazis must be destroyed. The other nations that supported the neo-Nazis, including Latvia, should take it for granted. Sergey Glazyev is making a comeback. After playing a role in the privatization of Soviet public assets, he could build a new global financial system. The Economic and Financial War This is where everything is at stake for the United States. In a few days, it has managed to make all its allies take unilateral measures (and therefore illegal under international law). But these measures, described as “sanctions” although without judgement, are not tenable in the medium term. They have already led to unbridled speculation on energy and an immediate rise in prices in Europe. The big European companies are leaving Russia with a heavy heart. They assure the Kremlin that they have no choice and hope to return as soon as possible. President Vladimir Putin is putting forward the liberals who were accused not long ago of being sold out to foreigners. Former president Dmitry Medvedev is back in favor. The head of the Russian Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, who was chosen at the time of the romance with the West, was presented to the Duma to succeed herself, but now to work with other partners. Sergey Glazyev, whose name is associated with the privatizations of the Yelstin era, has been entrusted with the creation of a new economic and financial system to replace the one conceived by the Anglo-Saxons in 1944, Bretton Woods. All is forgiven as long as they guarantee the Chinese and the Eurasian Economic Community (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan) that they will not be statist. Pope Francis has agreed to awaken the old demons of the crusades. On March 25, he will consecrate Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, according to the vows transmitted by the visionaries of Fatima during the Russian revolution. The Ideological War The peace in Ukraine will not solve the Russian-US conflict opened since December 17, 2021. It will continue with other confrontations. For their part, the Straussians, who have used and abused religious arguments to attack Russia in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan, Chechnya and the wider Middle East, intend to use them on a global scale. Let us remember that the Straussian orientalist Bernard Lewis (former British intelligence officer, then member of the US National Security Council, then adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu) had devised a way to mobilize the Arabs, instead of the West, against the Russians. It was the strategy of the “clash of civilizations”. He explained that in Afghanistan, Muslim believers had to fight against the atheistic Soviets. This vision was realized by Osama bin Laden’s Arab-Afghans. The same strategy was used successfully in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Chechnya. In the first theater of operation, Nato relied on the Saudi army and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (as well as some elements of the Lebanese Hezbollah). A Staussian, Richard Perle, even became the diplomatic adviser to Bosnian President Alija Izetbegović, for whom Osama bin Laden was the military adviser. Later, during the Second Chechen War, the Straussians organized the alliance between Ukrainian Banderists and Chechen Islamists (Ternopol Congress, 2007), with logistical support from the Milli Görüş (then led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan). All fought side by side for the Islamic Emirate of Itchkeria (Chechnya). Ultimately, Bernard Lewis’ strategy was popularized by his assistant, Samuel Huntington. However, he no longer presented it as a military plan, but as an inevitability that conveniently explained the attribution of the 9/11 attacks to Muslims in general. Considering that nothing stops people who fight in the belief that they are serving God, the Straussians decided four years ago to reactivate the schism that separated the Catholics from the Orthodox in the 11th century. They first set out to split the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate. They succeeded with the help of Turkey, which put pressure on the Patriarch of Constantinople. It is now a matter of unleashing passions by resurrecting the Fatima prophecies. In 1917, just after the Russian revolution, Portuguese visionaries had apparitions of the Virgin Mary. She entrusted them with various messages, one of which implicitly denounced the overthrow of the Tsar by divine right. Russia was presented as choosing evil and trying to spread it. Therefore, the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, went to Rome, on the occasion of a meeting with China, in fact to convince Pope Francis. He succeeded. A timetable was worked out. President Zelenski will address the French parliament, then President Biden will come to Europe to preside over an extraordinary NATO summit, and finally Pope Francis, fulfilling the prayer of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, will consecrate Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin. This montage may appear artificial, but its effect should be powerful. For many Catholics, fighting Russia will become a religious duty. Conclusion In the coming weeks, President Joe Biden will have to try his hand at a new speech. It will be to present the peace in Ukraine as a victory of wisdom. It does not matter that the Ukrainians gambled and lost. It doesn’t matter that the Banditos are prisoners or dead. It does not matter that Ukraine loses its access to the sea. The Allies will be asked to increase their military spending and pay with their own money for all this carnage. Thierry Meyssan is a political consultant, President-founder of the Réseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network). Latest work in English – Before Our Very Eyes, Fake Wars and Big Lies: From 9/11 to Donald Trump, Progressive Press, 2019. You can actually participate in the global efforts to cripple the Deep State organized criminal cabal's ability for genocide, while enjoying healthcare freedom at the same time, by boycotting Big Pharma for good. Related

  • Ukraine: The Return Of War Propaganda
    by Thierry MEYSSAN on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 16 minWestern public opinion is outraged by the war in Ukraine and is mobilizing to help Ukrainians in flight. For all, it is obvious: the dictator Putin does not support the new Ukrainian democracy.As in every conflict, we are told that the others are the bad guys, while we are the good guys.Our reaction is that of people abused by war propaganda because they do not remember previous conflicts and do not know anything about Ukraine. Let’s start again.Who started it?Like in the playground when our classmates were fighting each other, we want to know who started it. There is no contest: eight years ago, the United States organized a regime change in Kiev with the help of armed groups. These people call themselves “nationalists”, but not at all in the sense that we understand it. They claim to be real Ukrainians of Scandinavian or proto-Germanic origin and not Slavs like the Russians. They claim to be Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian collaborators of the Nazis, the equivalent of Philippe Pétain from a symbolic point of view for the French, but above all of Joseph Darnand and the soldiers of the French SS Division Charlemagne. Ukrainians, who until now considered themselves to be of Scandinavian and proto-Germanic origin on the one hand, and Slavic on the other, call them “neo-Nazis”. Stepan Bandera. He did not claim to be a Nazi, just a Ukrainian “nationalist ». From 1935, Bandera advocated political violence. He had about sixty personalities assassinated, including two Polish ministers. During the Second World War, he organized the extermination of Jewish and Slavic intellectuals. The new Ukrainian regime erected monuments to his glory, including one in Lviv, the city where he supervised a massacre.Here in France, the word “Nazi” is an insult that is used for anything. Historically, it is a movement that advocated a racial vision of humanity to explain the colonial empires. According to it, men belong to different “races”, today we would say to different “species”. They cannot have offspring together, like mares and donkeys. In nature, these two species procreate mules, but these are usually sterile. This is why the Nazis forbade inter-racial mixing. If we are of different races, some are superior to others, hence the Western domination of colonized peoples. In the 1930s, this ideology was considered a “science” and was taught in universities, especially in the United States, Scandinavia and Germany. Some very important scientists defended it. For example, Konrad Lorenz (Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1973) was an ardent Nazi. He wrote that in order to maintain the race, homosexuals had to be removed from the mass and eliminated like a surgeon removes a tumor because they mixed their genetic heritage with that of other races without being noticed.These scientists were no more serious than those who announced the apocalypse during the Covid-19 epidemic. They had the title of “scientist”, but not the reasonable approach.Modern Russia was built on the memory of what Russians call the “Great Patriotic War” and we call the “Second World War”. It does not have the same meaning for them as for us. Here in France, the war lasted only a few months, then we believed in the Nazi victory and entered into collaboration. We saw the Nazis and the Pétainists arrest, from 1940, 66,000 people, generally for “terrorism” (resistance). Then from 1942 onwards, 76,000 Jews were arrested for being of an “inferior race” and sent to the East, in reality to extermination camps. On the contrary, in the Soviet Union, the Nazis did not arrest anyone. They wanted to exterminate or enslave all Slavs within thirty years in order to free up a “living space” where they could build a colonial empire (Generalplan Ost). This is why the USSR suffered 27 million deaths. In Russian memory, the Nazis are an existential danger, not for us.When these people came to power in Kiev, they did not declare themselves as “Nazis”, but as “nationalists” in the sense of Stepan Bandera, who also called himself a “nationalist” and not a “Nazi”, and even outdid himself with regard to their genocidal intentions against Slavs and Jews. They called the former regime “pro-Russian”, which is factually wrong, and banned everything that evokes Russian culture. First of all, the Russian language. The majority of Ukrainians were bilingual, speaking both Russian and Ukrainian. All of a sudden, half of them were told that they would no longer be able to speak their language at school and in the administration. The Donbass region, which is very Russian speaking, rose up. But also the Hungarian minority, who were taught in their own language and who were supported in their demand by Hungary. The Ukrainians of Donbass demanded that the districts of Donestsk and Lugansk be given autonomous status and that they regain their language. These prefectures (oblast in Russian) declared themselves republics. This did not mean that they aspired to independence, but only to autonomy, like the Republic of California in the United States or the former republics of the USSR.In 2014, President Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel put the people of Kiev at the same table as those of Donbass and negotiated the Minsk agreements. France, Germany and Russia are the guarantors.Kiev has always refused to implement them even though it signed them. Instead, it has armed “nationalist” militias and sent them to the edge of the Donbass. All the Western extremists then came to fire the shot in Ukraine. These paramilitaries were last month, according to the Kiev government, 102,000. They form one-third of the Ukrainian army and are integrated into the Territorial Defense Forces. 66,000 new “nationalists” – albeit foreign – have just arrived as reinforcements, from all over the world, for the Russian attack.In the eight years since the Minsk agreements, these paramilitaries have killed 14,000 people in Donbass, according to the Kiev government. This figure includes their own casualties, but they are not many. Russia has set up its own commission of inquiry. It did not only count the dead, but also the seriously injured. It found 22,000 victims. President Putin speaks of “genocide”, not in the etymological sense of destruction of a people, but in the legal sense of a crime committed by order of the authorities against an ethnic group.This is where the problem lies: the Kiev government is not homogeneous and no one has clearly given the order for such a massacre. However, Russia holds President Petro Poroshenko and his successor Volodymyr Zelensky responsible. We are also responsible because we were the guarantors of the never implemented Minsk agreements. Yes, we are co-responsible for this hecatomb.The worst is yet to come. On July 1, 2021, President Zelensky, who armed the “nationalist” paramilitaries and refused to implement the Minsk agreements, promulgated Law No. 38 “On Indigenous Peoples”. This law guarantees the exercise of the rights of the Tatars and the Karaites (i.e. Jews who do not recognize the Talmud), including the right to speak their language, but not the rights of the Slavs. The latter do not exist. They are not protected by any law. They are Untermenschen, subhuman. It was the first time in 77 years that a racial law was passed on the European continent. You say to yourself that there are human rights organizations and that they must have protested. But nothing. A great silence. Worse: the applause of Bernard-Henri Lévy.Why the recourse to war?Our vision of events is distorted by our prejudices. This is even more pronounced in the Baltic States and countries formerly crushed by the “Brezhnev doctrine”. These peoples imagine a priori that the Russians are the heirs of the Soviets. However, the main Soviet leaders were not Russian. Joseph Stalin was Georgian, Nikita Khrushchev Ukrainian etc., and even Leonid Brezhnev was Ukrainian. Dmytro Yarosh. Behind him the flag of Stepan Bandera: black and red stamped with the Ukrainian Trident. Agent of the stay-behind networks of NATO. In 2007, he realized the alliance of European neo-Nazis and Middle Eastern jihadists against Russia. He played a central role in the 2014 regime change. Today he is a special advisor to the head of the Ukrainian military.As long as the Donetsk and Lugansk republics were Ukrainian, the massacre of their inhabitants was an exclusively Ukrainian matter. No one was allowed to protect them. However, by signing the Minsk Agreements and having them endorsed by the UN Security Council, France and Germany took responsibility for putting an end to it. They did not do so.The problem changed in nature when, on February 21, 2022, Russia recognized the independence of the two Donbass republics. The massacre of its inhabitants was no longer a domestic issue, but an international one. On February 23, the Security Council met again as the Russian army prepared to intervene. At the meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres did not question the legitimacy of Russia’s recognition of the Donbass republics, nor of Russia’s military intervention against the neo-Nazis. He just asked Russia to give peace another chance [3].International law does not prohibit war, but tries to prevent it. Since this meeting of the Security Council was fruitless, Russia was entitled to come to the aid of the inhabitants of Donbass massacred by the neo-Nazis. This it did the next day, February 24.President Vladimir Putin, who had already waited eight years, could no longer put it off. Not only because people are dying every day, not only because the Ukrainian army was preparing a huge massacre on March 8 [4], but because Russian law makes him personally responsible for the lives of his fellow citizens. In preparation for their eventual exodus, the vast majority of Donbass residents have acquired Russian citizenship in recent years.The exodus of 2 million UkrainiansAs in all NATO wars, we are witnessing the flight of the population. For the French, this is reminiscent of the exodus in 1940 when the German troops were advancing. It is a phenomenon of collective panic. The French believed that the Wehrmarcht was going to commit the same mass rapes that had been attributed to the Deutsches Heer at the beginning of the First World War. But the Germans were disciplined and did not engage in this type of violence. In the end, the aimless flight of the French had no objective reason, only fear.NATO, since the Kosovo war, has developed the concept of population movement engineering [5]. In 1999, the CIA organized the displacement of over 290,000 Kosovars from Serbia to Macedonia in three days. If you are older than 30 years, you remember the gruesome videos of the long line of people, marching one after the other, for dozens of kilometers, along railway lines. This was to make it look like ethnic repression by Slobodan Milošević’s government and to justify the war that was coming. The Kosovars did not know why they were fleeing, but thought they would find a better future where they went. Seven years ago, you remember the Syrian exodus. It was about weakening the country by depriving it of its population. This time, it is about touching your emotions with women and children, without sending away the men who are required to fight the Russians.Each time, we are upset. But just because the Kosovars, Syrians or Ukrainians are suffering does not mean they are all right.The European Union accepts all Ukrainian refugees. The Schengen states accept all people who present themselves as fleeing the war in Ukraine. According to the German administration, about a quarter of these “refugees”, who swear that they work and live in Ukraine, do not have Ukrainian passports, but Algerian, Belarusian, Indian, Moroccan, Nigerian or Uzbek passports; people who obviously take advantage of the open door to be legally registered in the European Union. There is no verification of their previous stay in Ukraine. For the German employers, this is a regularization that does not say its name.We have to ask ourselves why the Ukrainian people do not support their government. During the war in Kosovo, the people of Belgrade stood day and night on the city’s bridges to prevent NATO from bombing them. During the war in Libya, several million people gathered in Tripoli to show their support for the leader Muamar Gaddafi. During the Syrian war, a million people expressed their support for President Bashar al-Assad. This time: nothing. On the contrary, we are told that teams of the Territorial Defense are hunting ” infiltrated Russian saboteurs “, while the OSCE attests that there were no Russian soldiers in Ukraine before the beginning of the operation.Image shockWe should have learned from previous wars that the first victim is always the truth. Since the war in Kosovo, NATO has become a master of war propaganda. At that time, the spokesman of the organization in Brussels was changed. His replacement, Jamie Shea, was detailing an exemplary story every day, either about the horrors of the Serbian criminals, or about the exemplary resistance of the Kosovars. At the time, I was publishing a daily faxed newspaper, the Journal of the War in Europe. I summarized the declarations of NATO and the dispatches of the small press agencies in the Balkans. Every day I saw the two versions getting further apart. In my mind, the truth had to be in between. When the war was over, it became clear that Jamie Shea’s story was pure invention designed to blacken the columns of gullible newspapers, while the dispatches from the small Balkan news agencies told the truth. And the truth was not in favor of NATO. On the video of the bombing of the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant, no shots can be seen on the plant itself.So I approach the Western media consensus with some suspicion. For example, when we are told that Russia is bombing a nuclear power plant, I think of President George W. Bush’s lies about the weapons of mass destruction of the tyrant “Saddam”. Or when we are told that the Russians have just bombed a maternity hospital in Mariupol, I remember the Kuwaiti babies kidnapped in their incubators by the horrible Iraqi soldiers. And when I am assured that the evil Putin is crazy and Hitler-like, I remember how we treated Muamar Gaddafi or President Bashar al-Assad.That’s why I don’t take these allegations seriously. The Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island were not massacred by bombs as President Zelensky claimed, they surrendered to the Russian armies, as he later admitted. The Jewish memorial at Babi Yar was not destroyed by the Russians, who respect all victims of Nazi barbarism. The Zaporizhia power station was not bombed either. It was guarded for several days by mixed Russian and Ukrainian teams. Moreover, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that there had never been any radio-active danger. The Marioupol maternity hospital was not bombed either. It had been evacuated three days earlier and transformed into the barracks of the Azov Regiment (neo-Nazis), as Russia had reported to the UN at that time.So when I am told that the “dictator” Putin must be killed, I remain unmoved.The battlesHow not to notice that the images we see of the victorious “battles” of the Ukrainian army are always the same? How can we not notice that we only see a few destroyed vehicles? Have our war reporters never seen real wars? We do not interpret the images according to what we see, but according to the comments that accompany them.For a week now, we have been told that the Russian army is encircling Kiev at a distance of fifteen kilometers, that it is advancing every day (but remains at a distance of fifteen kilometers) and that it is going to give the final assault. When it is explained to us that the “dictator” Putin wants the skin of the nice president Zelenski (who arms the neo-Nazis and promulgated the racial law), I take a step back.The Russian armies have never had a plan to take the big cities. They are staying away from them (except Marioupol). They are fighting the “nationalist” paramilitaries, the neo-Nazis. As a Frenchman, supporter of the Resistance against the Nazis, the Russian armies have all my admiration.The Russian army applies in Ukraine the same tactics as in Syria: encircle the cities that serve as refuge for the enemies, then open humanitarian corridors in order to make the civilians flee, and finally pound the fighters who remain inside. This is why the neo-Nazi paramilitaries block these corridors and prevent the population from fleeing. This is the principle of human shields.It is a war of movement. We have to move quickly. The Russian troops are moving in trucks and armored vehicles. These are not tank battles. Today, tanks are inoperative in theaters of operation. In 2006, we saw Hezbollah reduce Israeli Merkavas to rubble. Russian troops move around in motor vehicles, which is why they have armored vehicles. Since we have supplied tens of thousands of anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian army, including neo-Nazi paramilitaries, our weapons destroy them as they destroy their trucks. These are not battles, just ambushes.Three new problemsAs if the situation was not complicated enough, President Zelensky announced at the Munich Security Conference, just before the war, his intention to acquire the Atomic Bomb, in violation of his country’s signature of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The State of Israel was not mistaken: Prime Minister Naftali Benett advised President Zelensky to accept the Russian conditions for peace. Namely, not to lay down arms, but to destroy all monuments dedicated to Stepan Bandera and to arrest the Nazis who have been incorporated into the Ukrainian Territorial Defense.Then, the Russian military seized and published a working document of the Kiev government planning a military attack on Crimea and Donbass on March 8.Finally, the Russian military uncovered some 15 biological weapons research laboratories that were working for the Pentagon. It announced that it would release the seized documentation and destroyed 320 containers of pathogens. The United States is a signatory to the United Nations Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which it respects at home but violates abroad. Documents were released two months ago by a Bulgarian journalist. On March 8, the Chinese Foreign Ministry asked the Pentagon to explain the 330 biological laboratories it maintains under various names in 30 countries. The State Department denied the practice at the time. But Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, at a Senate hearing, acknowledged that the Pentagon was collaborating on these foreign programs and that she was concerned that the research was falling into Russian hands. When Russia took the matter to the Security Council, the West turned its accusations against it, accusing it of preparing a false-flag biological attack. For its part, the World Health Organization said it had been warned of Ukrainian-US civilian biological research and had asked Ukraine to destroy its pathogens to prevent their dissemination.Thus, Ukraine, which maintains more than one hundred thousand “nationalists” and incorporated them into its “Territorial Defense”, then adopted a racial law, is working on illegal biological weapons and hopes to acquire the Atomic Bomb. We have chosen to forget the examples of courage of Jean Moulin and Charles De Gaulle and to support President Zelensky!Source: Voltaire Network

  • Was bombing of Mariupol theater staged by Ukrainian Azov extremists to trigger NATO intervention? - The Grayzone
    by Max Blumenthal on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 16 minTestimony by evacuated Mariupol residents and warnings of a false flag attack undermine the Ukrainian government’s claims about a Russian bombing of a local theater sheltering civilians.Western media have reported that Russia’s military deliberately attacked the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, claiming that it was filled with civilians and marked with signs reading “children” on its grounds.The supposed bombing took place just as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to US Congress for a no fly zone, fueling the chorus for direct military confrontation with Russia and apparently inspiring President Joseph Biden to brand Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, as a “war criminal.”A closer look reveals that local residents in Mariupol had warned three days before the March 16 incident that the theater would be the site of a false flag attack launched by the openly neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which controlled the building and the territory around it.Civilians that escaped the city through humanitarian corridors have testified that they were held by Azov as human shields in area, and that Azov fighters detonated parts of the theater as they retreated. Despite claims of a massive Russian airstrike that reduced the building to ashes, all civilians appear to have escaped with their lives.Video of the attack on the theater remains unavailable at the time of publication; only photographs of the damaged structure can be viewed. The Russian Ministry of Defense has denied conducting an airstrike on the theater, asserting that the site had no military value and that no sorties were flown in the area on March 16.While the Russian military operation in Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian crisis in Mariupol, it is clear that Russia gained nothing by targeting the theater, and virtually guaranteed itself another public relations blow by targeting a building filled with civilians – including ethnic Russians.Azov, on the other hand, stood to benefit from a dramatic and grisly attack blamed on Russia. In full retreat all around Mariupol and facing the possibility of brutal treatment at the hands of a Russian military hellbent on “de-Nazification,” its fighters’ only hope seemed to lie in triggering direct NATO intervention.The same sense of desperation informed Zelensky’s carefully scripted address to Congress, in which he invoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech and played a heavily produced video depicting civilian suffering to make the case for a no fly zone.By instigating Western public outrage over grisly Russian war crimes, Ukraine’s government is clearly aiming to generate enough pressure to overcome the Biden administration’s reluctance to directly confront Russia’s military.But Kiev’s most emotionally potent allegation so far – that Russia deliberately bombed innocent children cowering inside a theater – has been undercut by testimonies from Mariupol residents and a widely viewed Telegram message explicitly foreshadowing a false flag attack on the building.Children undergo military training at a summer camp run by the Azov Battalion in 2015Azov Battalion fighters grow desperate in Mariupol, plea for Western military interventionThe strategic southeastern port city of Mariupol has been held by the Azov Battalion since 2014. Since its seizure, it has served as a political and military base for the ultra-nationalist paramilitary as it launched assaults on pro-Russian separatists in the breakaway republic of Donetsk.Gathered from the ranks of extreme right activists that provided protesters with street muscle during the 2013-14 Euromaidan coup, the Azov Battalion has been formally incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard by the country’s Interior Ministry. It was founded by the openly fascist organizer Andriy Biletsky, who has vowed to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen.”With the Nazi-inspired Wolfsangel symbol emblazoned on their uniforms and flags, Azov fighters make no secret of their ideological goals. Despite having been identified by the FBI, US Congress, and its own fighters as a neo-Nazi unit, and implicated in an array of sordid human rights violations, Azov has collaborated openly with US and Canadian military trainers.Having accused Azov of seeking to exterminate the ethnic Russians of Donbas, Putin has marked its base in Mariupol as the front line of his stated campaign to “de-Nazify” Ukraine. Since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, the city become the site of ferocious urban fighting, with Russian special forces and Donetsk People’s Republic People’s Militia forces waging a block-by-block fight for control as artillery rained down on Azov positions.On March 7, an Azov Battalion commander named Denis Prokopenko appeared on camera from Mariupol with an urgent message. Published on Azov’s official YouTube channel and delivered in English over the sound of occasional artillery launches, Prokopenko declared that the Russian military was carrying out a “genocide” against the population of Mariupol, which happens to be 40 percent ethnic Russian.Prokopenko then demanded that Western nations “create a no fly zone over Ukraine support[ed] with the modern weapons.” It was clear from Prokopenko’s plea that Azov’s position was growing more dire by the day.As Russia’s military rapidly degraded Azov positions throughout the second week of March 2022, Azov soldiers apparently directed elderly civilians as well as women and children into the wardrobe hall of the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater in Mariupol.A video filmed inside the dimly lit building on March 11 featured a local man claiming that one thousand civilians were trapped inside and demanding a humanitarian corridor to allow them to escape. Only a small group of civilians could be seen in the video, however.“I’m begging you to stop all this, give us the corridor to get people out, to get out women, kids, the wounded…” a bespectacled narrator (seen below) declared in the video.Azov soldier (L) appears on March 11 with a local man outside the Mariupol theaterSince Russia launched its invasion, Azov Battalion soldiers have been filmed preventing civilians from leaving Mariupol – even forcing men out of their cars and brutally assaulting them while they attempted to break through the paramilitary’s checkpoints. If testimony from many Mariupol residents was to be believed, Azov had used many of them as human shields.Days before Mariupol theater incident, chilling warnings of a false flag “provocation”On March 12, a chilling message appeared on the Telegram channel of Dmitriy Steshen, a correspondent reporting from Mariupol for the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.According to Steshen, local residents told him an alleged Russian bombing of the Turkish-built Kanuni Sultan Suleyman mosque in Mariupol that day was a false flag intended to “drag Turkey into the war,” and warned that a false flag attack on the Mariupol Drama Theater was imminent.The Telegram message read as follows:“Look at what our readers from Mariupol sent us. If the information can be verified, it needs to be highlighted [for the media]:‘Zelensky prepares two [false flag] provocations in Mariupol!!! One of the [false flag] provocation is against the citizens of Turkey, who hid in the mosque built by Akhmetov, and this provocation has already begun by the Ukrainian artillery gunners shelling the grounds of the mosque, from their positions at [Zinsteva] Balka in Nizhniaya [Lower] Kirvoka. Zelensky was unable to drag the EU, USA and UK into the war against the Russian Federation. Now, Zelensky is trying to drag Turkey into the war, pinning his hopes on the explosive emotional character and the love the faithful feel for their sacred shrines. The second [false flag] provocation Zelensky is preparing for use by Western media, after unsuccessful provocation with the [Mariupol] maternity hospital, Ukrainian soldiers, together with the administration of the Drama Theater, gathered women, children, and the elderly from Mariupol in the Drama Theater building, so as to – given a good opportunity – detonate the building and then scream around the world that this was by the Russian Federation air force and that there should be an immediate ‘no fly zone’ over Ukraine.'”Steshin’s message recounting the warnings from Mariupol residents has been seen by over 480,000 Telegram users. It is below and can also be viewed here.On March 12, Western outlets like the Associated Press repeated Ukrainian government claims that the Turkish mosque in Mariupol had been shelled by Russia with 80 civilians inside, including children.However, Turkish state media revealed that the Ukrainian government had misled Western reporters. The Kanuni Sultan Suleyman Mosque was not only fully intact, it had never been hit by Russian fire.“Our mosque remained undamaged,” Ismail Hacioglu, head of the mosque’s association, told Turkey’s Andalou Agency on March 12.Still filled with civilians, the Mariupol theater was next on somebody’s target list.The Associated Press (top) relied entirely on Ukrainian government claims about the mosque in Mariupol, while Turkish media (bottom) interviewed the head of mosque. The contrast in coverage is revealing.As Zelensky begs Congress for military intervention, news of a theater attackLess than 48 hours after the debunked claims of a Russian attack on the mosque in Mariupol were introduced, humanitarian corridors finally opened up around the city. The flight of thousands of civilians toward Russian military positions further weakened the Azov Battalion, which was using Mariupol’s residents as collateral in its bid to compel a no fly zone.On March 16, with his military collapsing under the Russian onslaught, the Ukrainian president and famed comedian-actor Zelensky appeared by video for a carefully scripted, elaborately produced presentation before an assembly of awestruck US members of Congress.“I have a dream. These words are known to each of you today. I can say I have a need. I need to protect our sky,” Zelensky proclaimed. The Ukrainian president thus invoked the most famous words of America’s most revered antiwar activist, Martin Luther King Jr., to appeal for a no fly zone that would bring the nuclear-armed militaries of the US and Russia into direct confrontation.Just hours after Zelensky’s address, news arrived directly from the Azov Battalion’s press department that Russia had bombed the theater in Mariupol.With a monopoly over information from the scene of the supposed attack, with no other news outlets present, Azov’s press department disseminated photos of the destroyed building to media across the world.The Azov Battalion’s watermark can be seen clearly in the lower right hand corner of the image below. Azov’s photo was republished by international outlets including Sky News, but with the paramilitary’s brand cropped out. When South China Morning Post ran the image, it removed the watermark and credited “Azov Battalion via AP.”One of the most widely published images of the Donetsk Regional Academic Drama Theater was provided to international media by the Azov BattalionAmong the first English language media figures to convey the Ukrainian government’s narrative of the incident to a mass audience was Illia Ponomarenko, a Kiev-based, US-trained reporter who has managed to rack up over a million Twitter followers since Russia’s invasion began.Ponomarenko happened to work for the Kyiv Independent, an outlet that has functioned as one of the most potent US information weapons in Ukraine. The paper had been set up with assistance from the National Endowment for Democracy, a US intelligence cut-out, and an “emergency grant” from its EU-funded cousin, the European Endowment for Democracy.For his part, Ponomarenko has referred to the Azov Battalion as his “brothers in arms”, and boasted of “chilling out” with its fighters near “enemy lines.”Seemingly swept up in the emotional maelstrom inspired by the news from Mariupol, President Joseph Biden blasted his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, as a “war criminal,” a “murderous dictator,” and a “pure thug.”Next, Human Rights Watch issued a hastily composed press release headlined, “Mariupol Theater Hit By Russian Attack Sheltered Hundreds.” The billionaire-backed NGO acknowledged it had not interviewed any Mariupol residents after the attack, and provided no evidence to demonstrate Russian responsibility. Indeed, HRW’s lone source fingering Russia as the culprit was the Ukrainian governor of Donetsk.Was Russia’s military so bloodthirsty – and politically self-destructive – that it had deliberately targeted a building that was known to be filled with children? Or had the Mariupol residents’ prediction of a false flag from four days before come true?Suspicious signs, holes in the Ukrainian government’s narrative emergeThough Azov boasts a sophisticated press unit which films its exploits in the field, and soldiers are publishing even the most banal video of themselves on social media, footage of the theater bombing was nowhere to be found.Photos supplied by Azov to media in Ukraine and abroad invariably depict the bombed-out theater without any people in sight, living or dead.One day before the bombing, on March 15, a group of military-aged men were photographed in front of the Mariupol theater. No women were visible anywhere in the image. The men can be seen placing pallets against the side of the building, ferrying large objects across the theater grounds, and cutting down a fir tree.According to Human Rights Watch’s report on the theater incident, which contained no local testimony gathered after the attack, the men were “cook[ing] food on an open fire and collect[ing] water in buckets.”As seen below, pallets and other objects were piled against the same area of the building hit by an explosive charge the following day.While the theater appeared to have been heavily damaged – “they bombed the building to ashes,” claimed Ponomarenko – it turned out that not one person was killed by the blast.“It’s a miracle,” the Kyiv Independent reporter chirped.In a 7-minute-long March 17 package blending news and agitprop, ABC News claimed that all civilians had been saved from the theater, but that “hundreds were still missing.” Data on the modest-sized theater reproduced on its Ukrainian Wikipedia page puts its maximum seating capacity at 680, which raises questions about how “hundreds” could have fit in its basement.Further, ABC claimed the theater had been hit by Russian artillery shelling, not an “air dropped Russian bomb” as Ponomarenko and many others have claimed.Ukrainian media, meanwhile, has expressed confusion over the incident. The outlet 0629 has attempted to explain away the mysterious disappearance of the thousand civilians said to have been in the theater by claiming they were evacuated to the city of Zaporozhye a day before the supposed attack. “we are waiting for the official verified information and do not rush to conclusions,” the paper declared.As Mariupol residents poured out of the city through the Russian military’s humanitarian corridors, testimonies began to emerge of ruthless Azov attacks on the fleeing civilians – and of a major deception at the local theater.“When [Azov soldiers] were leaving, they destroyed the drama theater”On March 17, a young woman delivered an eye-opening account of the situation inside Mariupol to ANNA, the Abkhazian Network News Agency.“The Azov fighters were simply hiding behind us,” she told a reporter. “We were their human shields, that’s it. They were breaking everything, all around us, they were not letting us outside. We spent 15 days in a basement, with kids… They gave us no water, nothing.”Describing how the Azov Battalion placed its tanks in front of local bomb shelters, the woman offered a revealing detail: “When they were leaving,” she said, referring to the Azov Battalion, “they destroyed the drama theatre. People with shrapnel were brought to us.”Numerous evacuees echoed the woman’s testimony about Azov holding Mariupol civilians as hostages, and said they were targeted with gunfire as they escaped through humanitarian corridors.“They burned everything,” an elderly woman recalled to Russian media. “They bombed [my] whole apartment…. They broke in and are sitting there, making Molotov cocktails. I wanted to come in, to take my things, but they told me: ‘No, you have no business here.'”Asked by a reporter who attacked her and invaded her home, the woman replied, “Well, the Ukrainians, of course.”A man intercepted by an ANNA reporter after escaping Mariupol fought back tears as he pointed back to the Ukrainian military’s positions. “Azov, those bitches… people tried to evacuate… Azov… they executed the people… the monsters, scum… they shot them up, entire buses.”“The Ukrainian army was shooting us, shooting at people,” said another man who fled Mariupol. “Right at our house.”“Ukraine didn’t let us leave the city, we were blocked,” another evacuee stated. “The Ukrainian military arrived and said, under no circumstances are you to leave the city if the Russian Federation opens a humanitarian corridor for you. We want to continue to use you as a human shield.”The red line: lessons from SyriaWas the bombing of the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater of Mariupol a false flag attack executed by Azov extremists to trigger NATO intervention, as some local residents claimed? If so, it was hardly the first cynical deception deployed by Ukraine’s government to draw the West into the conflict, and was unlikely to be the last.On March 16, the day of the incident at the theater, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that “we have real concerns that Russia could use a chemical weapon, another weapon of mass destruction.” In the next breath, Blinken pointed to Syria, where he claimed “we’ve seen them use or acquiesce to [chemical weapon] use.”It was in Syria where the administration of President Barack Obama imposed its “red line” policy declaring that any chemical attack would automatically trigger a US military response. That policy set the stage for a series of incidents that appear to have been carried out by foreign backed Syrian opposition forces to compel the US to intervene against Damascus.In the deadliest incident, hundreds of civilians were killed when sarin-filled rockets were fired – apparently from insurgent-controlled territory – at multiple sites in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta on August 21, 2013. After Obama blamed the Syrian government and prepared to launch strikes, dissenting administration officials leaked to the media that the intelligence blaming Damascus was in fact no “slam dunk,” a clear reference to the CIA’s pre-Iraq war fabrications. Journalist Seymour Hersh subsequently reported that the US had collected significant intelligence pointing to insurgent guilt in Ghouta. It was this information, Hersh reported, that convinced Obama to abandon his so-called “red line.”Under President Donald Trump, the US attempted to revive the “red line” by bombing Syria over chemical weapons allegations in 2017 and 2018. But significant evidence in both cases points to staged incidents carried out by insurgents. In the case of the April 2017 incident in Khan Sheikhoun, Trump ignored intelligence and launched airstrikes on the Syrian military. And in the Damascus suburb of Douma the following year, OPCW investigators found no evidence of a chemical attack, but had their findings doctored and censored as US officials worked to pressure and co-opt the organization.As a former US ambassador in the Middle East told journalist Charles Glass, “The ‘red line’ was an open invitation to a false-­flag operation.”Dubious allegations of a Russian attack on the theater in Mariupol have failed to trigger the Biden administration’s red line. The question now is how far Ukraine’s government is willing to go to trigger the no fly zone it needs to hold off the imminent defeat of its military forces.

  • Professor faces government crackdown for questioning Ukraine narrative
    by RT on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 2 minA Scottish professor was slammed for sharing an article claiming the Mariupol theater bombing was “staged”A view of a destroyed theater hall in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 18, 2022 © Getty Images / Ukrainian Interior MinistryUniversity of Edinburgh professor Tim Hayward is being hammered in the media for sharing an article suggesting the bombing of a theater in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol may have been staged by Ukrainian nationalists. Hayward’s skepticism has already led Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi to promise a “crackdown” on such wrongthink.Hayward shared an article on Sunday from the Grayzone, a left-wing news outlet. Citing eyewitnesses in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the article claims that Ukrainian ‘Azov’ fighters – once described by western outlets and lawmakers as “neo-Nazis” – sheltered behind civilians in a theater in Mariupol, before blowing the building up as Russian forces entered the Ukrainian city.Azov forces and journalists linked to the extremist unit accused Russia of bombing the building, and used the incident to call for western intervention against Russia. US President Joe Biden declared Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” in response, and American politicians from both parties and from Europe renewed their calls for military aid – including fighter jets – for Ukraine.However, no video exists showing the theater being bombed and Russia denies attacking the building, stating that it had “never been considered as a strike target.” Conflicting reports of the weapons supposedly used and the civilian casualties or lack thereof only muddy the picture further.Yet Hayward was condemned by his colleagues for raising the issue. In a Times article on Tuesday accusing him of “spreading propaganda,” Dr. Aliaksandr Herasimenka, a ‘misinformation’ researcher at Oxford University, said that “we must be very careful” when reading reports critical of the official narrative in Ukraine, and that outlets like the Grayzone “are currently engaged in a massive disinformation campaign.” He did not provide any evidence that would support such allegations against the media outlet.Hayward has been singled out by the Scottish government too. Having shared articles questioning the alleged bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol and claiming that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad did not gas his own citizens as Western sources insist, the professor was accused in Westminster last week by Tory MP Robert Halfon as being a “useful idiot for President Putin’s atrocities.”Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said that academics like Hayward were already being investigated, and that their universities would be contacted.“Putin and his cronies are a malign influence on anyone in this country buying their false narrative, and I have to repeat it is a false and dangerous narrative, and we will crack down on it hard,” Zahawi said, without elaborating on how.Speaking to Edinburgh Live, Hayward said that he is concerned about restrictions to free speech, and considers hearing both points of view important in wartime."In war, miscalculations can have terrible consequences. We also know that misinformation can sometimes even slip through on our own side, as when the UK went to war in Iraq, mistakenly believing it had weapons of mass destruction,” he said. "As for the people of Ukraine, their need is for peace – not to become the epicenter of World War III,” he added, referring to the widely-held belief that were Western powers to intervene in Ukraine, the consequence would be a third world war.

  • US and NATO allies arm neo-Nazi units in Ukraine as foreign policy elites yearn for Afghan-style insurgency  - The Grayzone
    by Alexander Rubinstein on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 24 minCorporate US media and foreign policy hardliners want to create a new Afghanistan in the middle of Europe by flooding Ukraine with weapons. The arms industry is very pleased.Following urgent requests for arms from the Ukrainian government, at least 32 countries have announced their intention to ship billions of dollars in weapons into Ukraine for use against Russian forces in Ukraine. Photographic evidence shows that these weapons have already ended up in the hands of neo-Nazi paramilitaries – units which have already received training and arms the US and its NATO allies.Underscoring the careless nature of the unprecedented arms shipments, the formerly neutral country of Norway has warned that its government cannot “guarantee that the weapons [it is sending to Ukraine] will not fall into the wrong hands.”As corporate media and Reddit forums spin out a rose-colored view of the Ukrainian military’s performance, some 20,000 foreign fighters from 52 countries have signed up to join the newly-formed “International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine.” Many are now fleeing back across the Polish border, filled with fear in the face of heavy casualties.All of this builds on $3.8 billion in military aid from the United States to Ukraine, the training of 55,000 Ukrainian soldiers by Canada and the United Kingdom, and a longstanding CIA program aimed at cultivating an anti-Russian insurgency.As Western officials clamor for a long and bloody war against Russia while shirking efforts at negotiation, progressive anti-war voices in Congress like Rep. Ro Khanna, who once railed against the US sponsorship of neo-Nazism in Ukraine, are now cheerleading massive arms transfers to Kiev.During his widely broadcast, carefully scripted speech to Congress on March 16, Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky’s thanked the United States for its “overwhelming support” in terms of “weapons and ammunition, for training, for finances.”He went on to beseech Congress for a no-fly zone, which even top White House officials have acknowledged as a call for conventional war against Russia.While a no-fly zone remains off the table for the time being, NATO leaders are hoping for an extended war of attrition, consequences be damned. And arms dealers are having a field day, with stocks in top defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman surged by 20% during the first week of the conflict.As former special advisor to the Secretary of Defense Col. Douglas Macgregor told The Grayzone, “it looks more and more as though Ukrainians are almost incidental to the operation in the sense that they are there to impale themselves on the Russian army and die in great numbers, because the real goal of this entire thing is the destruction of the Russian state and Vladimir Putin.”Priming the public for endless war, lobbying for an insurgencyDavid Ignatius, the Washington Post columnist and reliable voice of the US intelligence apparatus, noted that even prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “the United States and NATO allies [were] ready to provide weapons and training for a long battle of resistance.”This March, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haas commented, “I think what you’re hearing from all of us — and it’s a real mindset change — we’re talking about potentially a long war… Think about this less as a classic war. Afghanistan went on [for] two decades… this could be another frozen struggle, and it could wax and wane, but this could be part of the new normal.”The Afghan option has been advocated for Ukraine by some of the most prominent figures among the US foreign policy establishment, and particularly those on the Democratic side of the aisle. “It didn’t end well for the Russians…but the fact is, that a very motivated, and then funded, and armed insurgency basically drove the Russians out of Afghanistan. I think that is the model that people are now looking toward,” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared during a February 28 interview with MSNBC. Clinton waxed nostalgic over the campaign to arm and train the Afghan mujahideen in a bid to suck the Soviet Union into a “Vietnamese quagmire.” If Western government can “keep the Ukrainian, both their military and their citizen volunteer soldiers supplied, that can continue to stymie Russia,” she added.Next, Clinton pointed to the dirty war in Syria, where the CIA’s Timber Sycamore program funneled weapons to the so-called “moderate rebels” of the Free Syrian Army, creating what mainstream US analyst Sam Heller called “weapons farms for larger Islamist and jihadist factions, including Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate.”“It took years to finally defeat Syria in terms of the insurgencies, the democratic forces as well as others who battled the Russians, the Syrians, and the Iranians,” Clinton said.As a no-longer official voice of the Democratic foreign policy establishment, Hillary Clinton is able to speak with more candor than the current US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on the objectives of the liberal interventionist clique to which they both belong.When Hillary Clinton resurfaced on MSNBC on March 8 for an interview with MSNBC’s Mika Brezinski – daughter of Zbigniew, the architect of the program to arm the Afghan mujahedin – Clinton was more explicit than before about her desire for the Afghan option. “Lethal defensive weapons are making their way into Ukraine. They need more. I want to see them get more. I’ve urged publicly and privately that they get more,” the former Secretary of State said. “There is a concerted effort by governments, particularly NATO governments, both to provide weapons and aid.”“This is not going to end quickly,” Clinton concluded, “it’s going to drag on.”In a joint press conference with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Blinken insisted that should Russian President Vladimir Putin try to “enforce such a puppet regime by keeping Russian forces in Ukraine, it will be a long, bloody, drawn-out mess through which Russia will continue to suffer grievously.”In one media appearance after another, the Secretary of State has alluded to the possibility of a forever war in Ukraine. “I think we have to be prepared, unfortunately, tragically, for this to go on for some time,” he told Face The Nation.Biden too has hinted at efforts to stoke a long-term insurgency in the country, vowing that Russia “will pay a continuing high price over the long run,” though “it’s going to take time.”Unlike the proxy wars in Syria and Afghanistan, where Western-backed jihadist foreign fighters took up their crusade in hopes of establishing a medieval Islamic caliphate, the champions of the “holy war” in Ukraine look to the country’s more recent history of Nazism as their call to arms.Months before Russia launched its operation inside Ukaine, the CIA launched a program to train Ukrainian fighters for an insurgency. Meanwhile, weapons furnished by NATO allies have been placed in the hands of the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi former paramilitary organization incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard.US and Canadian military officers meet Azov Battalion commanders in Ukraine in November 2017NATO and the CIA fashion a fighting force with fascist auxiliariesThe governments of Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom have presided over a massive program to train and equip Ukrainian soldiers for a full-scale war with Russia. Trainees have included top commanders of the Azov Battalion.Canada’s Department of National Defense noted this January 26 that the Canadian Armed Forces have trained “nearly 33,000 Ukrainian military and security personnel in a range of tactical and advanced military skills.”“Canada is playing a leading role in our response,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the Ottawa Conference on Security and Defense on March 9, “including with training for tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops – many of whom are on the front lines today.”The United Kingdom, via Operation Orbital, has trained 22,000 Ukrainian fighters and sent more trainers to the country in early March.The United States has also openly trained Ukrainian forces, including members of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, like Sgt. Ivan Kharkiv, who reflected fondly on “his battalion’s experience with US trainers and US volunteers quite fondly, even mentioning US volunteers engineers and medics that are still currently assisting them.”“Our vetting screens for human rights violations, not for ideology,” a US embassy representative in Ukraine told the Daily Beast. “The battalions that are in question have been integrated as part of Ukraine’s National Guard, and so the idea is that they would be eligible for training.”As The Grayzone has reported, a photo posted on the Azov Battalion’s website in November 2017 shows a US military officer meeting with an officer from the neo-Nazi battalion. A year before the exchange, the US embassy in Kiev helped coordinate the transfer of rocket-propelled grenade launchers to the Ukrainian military in 2016, a portion of which were immediately sent to Azov.“An American military inspection team visited the Azov Battalion on the front lines of the Ukrainian civil war to discuss logistics and deepening cooperation,” The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal wrote in 2018. “Images of the encounter showed American army officers poring over maps with their Ukrainian counterparts, palling around and ignoring the Nazi-inspired Wolfangel patches emblazoned on their sleeves.”Meanwhile, a lesser-known neo-Nazi order of Ukrainian military officers called Centuria has bragged that its members have “participated in military exercises with France, the UK, Canada, the US, Germany, and Poland,” according to a study published by the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University.According to the study, the Ukrainian government and Western militaries including the US, UK, Canada, Germany do not screen Ukrainian trainees for extremism.One figure linked to the Centuria organization posed from the US-Canada training facility in the West of Ukraine with two black US service members, geotagging himself in “Zimbabwe” and writing “14/88” – neo-Nazi code for “Heil Hitler” and a reference to the white supremacist “14 words” slogan.While the US and other militaries have openly trained Ukrainian forces, support from the CIA was secret until a January 13 report by Yahoo News based on disclosures by six former CIA officials.Dorfman revealed that fighters were being flown into an “undisclosed facility in the Southern US” to undergo training by the CIA. The program has also included members of the CIA “traveling to the front in eastern Ukraine to advise their counterparts there.”According to the Yahoo News report, the CIA has trained fighters over the course of multiple weeks in “camouflage techniques, land navigation, tactics like ‘cover and move,’ intelligence and other areas.”One former CIA official who spoke with the outlet said that “The United States is training an insurgency” to “kill Russians.”A former executive of the agency told the outlet that the program has helped train Ukrainian fighters in “potential critical nodes the Russians may focus on” in the event of a Russian invasion.These “critical nodes” likely refer to frontline cities like Mariupol and Kharkiv where the Azov Battalion maintains its strongest presence.“If the Russians invade, those [CIA-trained fighters] are going to be your militia, your insurgent leaders,” a former senior intelligence official said. “We’ve been training these guys now for eight years. They’re really good fighters. That’s where the agency’s program could have a serious impact.”“All that stuff that happened to us in Afghanistan … they can expect to see that in spades with these guys,” a former CIA official told the outlet.Foreign fighters flock to Ukraine, retreat in full panicIt’s not just Ukrainian soldiers that are fighting Russia. Since Zelensky’s appeal for foreign fighters in late February, thousands have reportedly signed up to be shipped off for war with Russia.“Every friend of Ukraine who wants to join Ukraine in defending the country please come over, we will give you weapons,” Zelensky pleaded.Less than a week later, on March 3, Zelensky said that “Ukraine is already greeting foreign volunteers. (The) first 16,000 are already on their way.”Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuelba said that 20,000 people from 52 countries have volunteered to fight on March 6.To aid this campaign Ukraine created a new battalion called the “International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine” and set up a website called “Fight for Ukraine” to attract foreign soldiers, listing contacts in 68 countries for would-be fighters to reach out to. A button at the bottom right of the homepage urges visitors to “donate to the Ukrainian army,” promising that “all proceeds received go directly to supporting the front-line defense of Ukraine.”Foreign fighters are being processed in the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv where one Finnish volunteer has claimed that he “just want[s] to kill Russians.”Veterans from Western countries bored of the mundanities of civilian life are flocking over. As one former Canadian veteran billed as “one of the world’s deadliest snipers” put it, “a week ago I was still programming stuff. Now I’m grabbing anti-tank missiles in a warehouse to kill people.”According to a Ukrainian recruiter in London, 6,000 people from the United Kingdom, about half of which are veterans, have signed up to go fight. Across the pond, a Ukrainian Embassy representative in Washington told the US-government funded Voice of America that about 3,000 people in the United States have “responded” to Zelensky’s appeal for foreign fighters.Zelensky’s call to arms has even spread to Latin America. In Colombia, the death squad capital of the world, where hundreds of social movement leaders were killed by paramilitaries in the past two years, 50 former soldiers have reportedly begun the process of joining the Ukraine Territorial Defense Legion. Colombia is an official NATO partner.While many veterans have flocked over to Ukraine to escape post-service ennui they are now finding themselves confronted by a far more existential mental malady: dread in the face of the enemy’s total air dominance for the first time of their military careers.On March 13, Russia pummeled a base hosting the foreign legion with 30 cruise missiles, killing 35 foreign volunteer fighters according to Western sources and 180 according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.The base, known as the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, has hosted both Canada’s Operation UNIFIER and the US-led Joint Multinational Training Group. It has been previously described as the “main hub for training Ukrainian troops, a process in which the US, Canada, and others play a prominent role.”“Up to 180 foreign mercenaries and a large quantity of foreign weapons were destroyed,” according to Russian defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov.“Americans, British, tons of British dead. They’re not saying nothing, they’re counting our dead as their dead,” said one American volunteer Henry Hoeft in a video posted online. “They’re trying to send us to Kiev with no fucking weapons, no kit, no plates. The people who are lucky enough to get weapons are only getting magazines with like 10 fucking rounds.”Hoeft, who fled the country, said that when they refused to be shipped off to Kiev, they were threatened: either leave or get shot.“People need to stop coming here. It’s a trap and they’re not letting you leave,” he said.On Reddit, a social media platform favored by many foreign fighters, one US volunteer described a harrowing experience as he awaited transport back over the Polish border. “The cannon fodder term is what was coming out of a lot of volunteers’ mouths,” wrote one apparent foreign volunteer, “the reality of basically being bodies in front of the advancing Russians.”“I had been mortared before and thought that was pretty gnarly… but being absolutely defenseless and in the open with three aircraft just shitting all over you with such heavy ordinance was a whole new level of helplessness,” the Redditor said.In a separate incident, Jason Haigh, a volunteer from the United Kingdom who served in two tours in Iraq, fled Ukraine after about one month, telling The Sun that “Iraq and Afghanistan was totally different. The Russians are a conventional modern army.”Meanwhile, the Canadian veteran marketed by UK tabloid media as one of the “world’s deadliest snipers” was killed during his first day in the field.Donations of deathWithin less than a week since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States and NATO have rushed 17,000 anti-tank weapons into the country in the course. A whopping 70 percent of the $350 million in lethal aid approved by the Biden Administration on February 26 was delivered in just five days.The Wall Street Journal has described the response as “one of the largest and fastest arms transfers in history,” and “a supply operation with few historical parallels.”So who is receiving those weapons, and what will they do with them if the conflict continues indefinitely? That question is clearly not on the minds of NATO officials hungry for escalation.In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, the verified Twitter account for NATO celebrated the “remarkable women of Ukraine” in a now-deleted tweet with a photo of a woman dressed head-to-toe in military gear with a patch of the Nazi “Black Sun” symbol displayed prominently on her uniform.That same day, photographs appeared showing the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion receiving a shipment of Western instructors and NLAW grenade launchers from “NATO countries.” The National Corps, the political wing of the Azov Battalion, has also posted photos of NLAWs its members received, explaining that they were “mastering” them. “We will send Rusny to hell,” they declared.Members of the ultra-nationalist Right Sector have also appeared in the field with UK-made NLAW launchers, as seen below.UK  Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons on March 9 that “as of today, we have delivered 3,615 NLAWs [to Ukrainian forces] and continue to deliver more. We will shortly be starting the delivery of a small consignment of anti-tank Javelin missiles as well.”The NATO country of Luxembourg has also delivered 100 NLAW systems to Ukraine’s military in recent weeks.In late February, the European Union opened the floodgates of weapon shipments to Ukraine, approving financing through the aptly-named “European Peace Facility” to reimburse countries sending weapons to the country to the tune of $500 million USD. Another $55 million USD is earmarked for non-lethal military aid.At least 32 countries, many of which belong to NATO and the European Union, are involved in flooding Ukraine with lethal and non-lethal military aid.This February, the State Department announced $350 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, bringing “the total security assistance the United States has committed to Ukraine over the past year to more than $1 billion.”Another $200 million was sent in early March, and following Zelensky’s March 16 appeal to Congress for more weapons, Biden is reportedly set to dole out another $800 in military aid including 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, 9,000 anti-tank systems, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, 400 shotguns, 400 grenade launchers, 20 million rounds of ammunition, 100 tactical drones, 25,000 sets of body armor and 25,000 helmets. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.These figures add to the $2.5 billion in military aid the US delivered between 2014 and the summer of 2021, bringing the total to $3.8 billion.“On NATO territory, we should be the Pakistan”Pressed by a reporter about whether the US was pushing Ukraine “to commit suicide” by arming it against a vastly more advanced military force whose ultimate victory is inevitable, White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to push back on the argument that Kiev’s defeat is only a matter of time. “We have provided military assistance, humanitarian assistance, to the Ukrainians, enabling them to fight back for far longer than the Russian leadership anticipated,” Psaki responded.Taking the lead in the international campaign to arm Ukraine, the US and UK have reportedly set up a so-called “International Donors Coordination Center.” Shipments are being stockpiled in Poland, a NATO ally that shares a border with Ukraine.Douglas Lute, a former US Ambassador to NATO and retired US Army Lieutenant General, alluded to the parallels between Operation Cyclone, which saw the CIA and Pakistani intelligence training the Afghan Mujahideen often inside Pakistani territory, stating “On NATO territory, we should be the Pakistan.”Indeed, Poland has been repeatedly described as the “linchpin” of the West’s war efforts. One Polish airport 60 miles from the Ukrainian border was “so crowded with military cargo jets that… some flights were briefly diverted until airfield space became available.”While much of the arm-and-equip effort has been conducted openly, the Wall Street Journal reported that “the operation to supply Ukraine in many countries has been shrouded in secrecy.” Some analysts suggest that “most countries” participating in the arming campaign “prefer not to share details.”While the arms continue to flow unabated, a “senior Ukrainian military official” told the outlet that “there were now no major equipment shortages among his troops.” Despite this, Zelensky continues to claim that the aid is “insufficient.”And while the prospect of an Afghan-style insurgency dims in Ukraine, with Russian forces seizing strategic cities and severing supply lines to their adversaries, the arms manufactures that fund think tanks and politicians from Washington to London are making the most of the opportunity.“We’re going to have to backfill some of [the arms shipments to Ukraine] ourselves,” an arms industry lobbyist told The Hill on March 15, “so that will force the Pentagon to buy more from some of the defense companies.NATO states pour weapons into Ukraine to ratchet up the violenceAt least 32 countries have sent direct military aid to Ukraine this year, including:Australia: On March 1, a joint statement between Australia’s Prime Minister and Minister of Defense stated the country would “provide around $50 million USD in lethal military assistance” to Ukraine including missiles and ammunition.Austria has committed to sending more than $19 million USD in non-lethal aid to Ukraine including helmets, body armor and 100,000 liters of fuel.Belgium is sending 3,000 machine guns and 200 anti-tank weapons as well as 3,800 tonnes of fuel.Canada: A February 4 press release announcing a shipment of “body armor and load carriage kits, binoculars, laser rangefinders, metal detectors, and spotting scopes” from the Department of National Defense noted that “Canada has provided $23 million dollars in non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine” since 2015. On February 27, Canada more than doubled its historical total, announcing $25 million in non-lethal military gear to be sent to Ukraine. Defense Minister Anita Anand said they would also ship 100 Carl-Gustaf anti-tank weapons systems, 2,000 rockets, 4,500 M72 rocket launchers, 7,500 hand grenades, sniper rifles, carbines, pistols, and 1.5 million rounds of ammunition.Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has committed more than $18 million USD in “infantry weapons and protective equipment.”The Czech Republic vowed to send 4,000 artillery shells valued at around $1.6 million USD in January. The following month, the government announced an additional $8.1 million USD in lethal aid, including 30,150 pistols, 5,000 assault rifles, 2,085 submachine guns, 3,200 machine guns, 31 sniper rifles and millions of cartridges. One day after this announcement, the Czech Republic reportedly approved an additional shipment worth $18.2 million USD but declined to detail its contents due to “security concerns.” However, Czech media have reported that this package would include 10 anti-aircraft launchers with 160 missiles. The Wall Street Journal additionally reports that the Czech Republic has sent 10,000 rocket-propelled grenades.Denmark is sending 2,000 armored vests to Ukraine. Initially opposed to sending weapons, Denmark has committed to donating 2,700 anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and sending 300 decommissioned FIM-92 Stinger to the US so that they can be made operational again and sent to Ukraine.Estonia sent a batch of Javelin missile systems in mid-February and an additional package of “personal equipment, ammunition, additional javelin missiles and anti-aircraft munitions” later in the month.Finland reversed its longstanding neutrality and gave the “green light to Estonia to send previously Finnish-owned field guns to Ukraine” and announced they would send 2,000 bulletproof vests and 2,000 helmets, Reuters reported. Additionally the country will provide 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 bullets and 1,500 anti-tank weapons.France has acknowledged that it is providing Ukraine with military assistance, France has refused to specify in what form so as to avoid “provoking” Russia, a departure from its NATO allies.Germany: Reversing the country’s post-WWII policy of banning German-made weapons being sent to conflict zones, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced he’d send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine. Berlin later approved the shipment of 2,700 shoulder-fired Strela missiles.Greece has committed to sending two plane loads of weapons to Ukraine filled with rocket launchers, ammunition and Kalashnikovs.Iceland: With no military, Iceland has sought to fill gaps in the international effort to arm Ukraine, providing cargo flights to send equipment from other countries in.Ireland has agreed to provide body armor and fuel.Italy initially sent $120 million USD to Ukraine and approved additional “non-lethal” aid like demining equipment. Later, the country sent $109 million USD to $164 million USD in the form of “mortars, Stinger launchers, Browning heavy machine guns, browning rounds, light machine guns, anti-tank launchers, anti-tank shots, K-rations, radios, helmets and vests.”Japan has agreed to send “bulletproof vests and other defense supplies” likes military tents and helmets.Latvia has sent Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems, 30 truckloads of helmets, medical supplies, dry food and ammunition, and 90 unmanned aircrafts.Lithuania has also sent stingers and ammunition and said it will send “body armor vests, helmets,” and Kalashnikovs.Luxembourg sent 100 NLAW anti-tank weapons, jeeps, and military tents.The Netherlands sent 3,000 helmets, 2,000 pieces of body armor, 30 metal detectors, two mine surveillance radars and five weapon location radars, 100 sniper rifles and 30,000 rounds of sniper ammunition all worth $8.12 million USD. Later, the country sent $21.7 million USD of lethal supplies including 50 Stinger systems and 200 missiles, 40 Panzefraust anti-tank weapons and 400 missiles, 171 helmets, 85 vests and 1,250 armor plates.North Macedonia has announced that they will send unspecified military equipment to Ukraine.Norway has sent 1,500 bullet proof vests, 500 helmets and other non-lethal supplies. Like Germany, Norway later decided to reverse its ban on weapons exports to warzones, announcing the donation of 2,000 M72 anti-tank weapons. Defense Minister Odd Roger Enoksen said he cannot “guarantee that the weapons will not fall into the wrong hands.”Poland has sent ammunition, javelin systems, unmanned surveillance drones,100 60mm LMP-2017 mortars with 1,500 rounds, Piorun portable anti-aircraft missile systems, unmanned reconnaissance systems, 30,000 pieces of ammunition for ZU-23-2 cannons, Javelins, 10,000 GROT automatic rifles, 42,000 helmets, and more.Portugal has sent “vests, helmets, night vision goggles, grenades and ammunition of different gauges, complete portable radios, analog repeaters and automatic G3 rifles.”Romani approved a shipment of $3.3 million USD worth of “fuel, ammunition, bullet-proof vests, helmets” and other “military equipment.”Slovakia has sent $12.3 million worth of ammunition and fuel including, “12,000 rounds of 120-milimetre caliber ammunition, 10 million litres of diesel fuel and 2.4 million litres of aircraft fuel.” An additional shipment of nearly $5 million USD was approved and included “486 air-defense missiles and anti-tank rockets, 100 air-defense launchers, 120mm artillery ammunition and fuel.”Slovenia has sent helmets, ammunition and Kalashnikov rifles on “several” planes.South Korea will send unspecified “military equipment” and uniforms.”Spain’s Defense Minister Margarita Robles said the country would send “1,370 anti-tank grenade launchers, 700,000 rifle and machine-gun rounds, and light machine guns.”Sweden, a once-neutral country, approved “5,000 helmets, 5,000 body shields and 5,000 anti-tank weapons” and more to be sent to Ukraine, as well as $52.9 million in direct financial assistance to the Ukrainian army. The total contribution is valued at $148.4 million USD.United Kingdom: In addition to the 3,615 NLAWs, the UK government authorized a loan worth $2.25 billion USD to the Ukrainian government for the acquisition of two minesweepers, eight missile boats and a frigate. Additional weapons are being sent but have not been detailed as they are “operationally sensitive.” The UK is also sending “body armour, helmets and combat boots.”United States: On February 26, the State Department announced $350 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, bringing “the total security assistance the United States has committed to Ukraine over the past year to more than $1 billion.” The shipment reportedly included Javelins and Stingers. Days later, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken assured his Ukrainian counterpart of more weapon shipments down the line. Biden is reportedly set to advance another $800 million in military aid to Ukraine after Zelensky’s address to Congress. This package will include 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, 9,000 anti-tank systems, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, 400 shotguns, 400 grenade launchers, 20 million rounds of ammunition, 100 tactical drones, 25,000 sets of body armor and 25,000 helmets.

  • Russland: Gas-Embargo oder Sanktionen umgehen? Ökonomen sehen drastische Folgen durch Putins Rubel-Entscheidung
    by Julian Olk on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 4 minBerlin Die Anordnung von Russlands Präsident Wladimir Putin, dass die EU-Staaten und die USA ihre Gasrechnungen nur noch in Rubel zahlen dürfen, könnte erhebliche Auswirkungen haben. Nähere Details zu Putins Plan sind noch nicht bekannt, die Umsetzung soll innerhalb einer Woche erarbeitet werden.Grundsätzlich könnte die Ansage den Westen aber indirekt zu einer Entscheidung zwingen, entweder die eigenen Sanktionen zu umgehen oder russisches Gas zu boykottieren. Gerade für Deutschland würde dies erhebliche Auswirkungen mit sich bringen.Bislang werden russische Gaslieferanten wie Gazprom vor allem in Dollar bezahlt. Der russische Lieferant muss im Anschluss den Großteil der Zahlung bei der russischen Zentralbank gegen Rubel eintauschen.Putin will jetzt, dass der Westen die Lieferanten gleich in Rubel bezahlt. Auf den internationalen Finanzmärkten gebe es aber nicht genug der russischen Währung, schreibt der Ökonom Jens Südekum bei Twitter. Als Alternative bleibt dann nur noch, sich die Rubel direkt bei der russischen Zentralbank zu besorgen.Top-Jobs des TagesJetzt die besten Jobs finden undper E-Mail benachrichtigt werden. Standort erkennen Deren Währungsreserven hat der Westen allerdings seit einigen Wochen eingefroren. „Dadurch zwingt uns Putin somit indirekt, unsere eigenen Sanktionen zu unterlaufen“, schreibt Südekum, der Mitglied im wissenschaftlichen Beirat des Bundeswirtschaftsministeriums ist.Dass Putin durch harte Gegensanktionen des Westens von seinem Plan abgehalten werden kann, scheint angesichts der Erfahrungen der vergangenen Wochen unwahrscheinlich. Und so bleibt zur Umgehung der eigenen Sanktionen womöglich bloß eine Alternative: ein Gasembargo seitens des Westens.Insbesondere die Bundesregierung sträubt sich vor dieser Maßnahme bislang, weil sie erhebliche Verwerfungen für die deutsche Wirtschaft und die Verbraucher fürchtet. Deutschland bezieht mehr als die Hälfte seines Erdgases aus Russland.Der Bonner Ökonom Moritz Schularick hält ein Embargo angesichts der jüngsten Entwicklung aber für alternativlos. „So werden wir Importeure noch tiefer ins System Putin reingezogen. Raus da!“, fordert er.Wirtschaftsminister Robert Habeck (Grüne) befürchtet im Falle eines Embargos hingegen „eine schwere Wirtschaftskrise in Deutschland und Europa“. Zahlreiche Unternehmen müssten ihre Produktion einstellen, Lieferketten würden zusammenbrechen. Dann sei der „soziale Frieden“ in Gefahr.Die Bundesregierung bereitet die Wirtschaft nach Informationen des Handelsblatts bereits auf einen Ausfall russischer Gaslieferungen vor. Unter Federführung der Bundesnetzagentur wird überlegt, welche Unternehmen im Notfall als Erstes vom Netz genommen werden sollen. Einen Plan, welche Firmen konkret von solchen Maßnahmen betroffen wären, gibt es aber noch nicht.>>> Lesen Sie hier: Bund arbeitet an Abschaltplan für Industrie bei Gas-LieferstoppMit Blick auf Putins Anordnung selbst gab sich Habeck am Mittwoch aber erst einmal gelassen. „Das schreckt mich jetzt wenig“, antwortete er auf die Frage, was die Ankündigung für Folgen hätte. Die Gasversorgung sei aktuell gesichert. Für den Winter 2022/2023 müsse noch Vorsorge getroffen werden, aber daran werdeintensiv gearbeitet.Putins Rubel-Plan sei „erstmal ein Bruch der Verträge“, erklärte Habeck. Er werde sich jetzt mit den europäischen Partnern besprechen, wie darauf zu antworten sei.Unklar ist, inwieweit die Maßnahme dem Kremlchef hilft oder ob er nur dem Westen Schaden zufügen will. Bislang ist es so: Erhält etwa Gazprom für eine Gaslieferung Dollar und tauscht sie diese bei der Zentralbank gegen Rubel ein, sind die Rubel genauso im Markt, wie bei einem direkten Tausch des Westens seiner Dollar gegen Rubel. Jens SüdekumDer Professor für internationale Volkswirtschaftslehre hält ein Energieembargo gegen Russland nach der Ankündigung Putins für wahrscheinlicher.(Foto: Imago Images) Der frühere Wirtschaftsweise Peter Bofinger sieht aber einen Unterschied: „Wenn die Rubel von uns am Devisenmarkt gekauft werden müssen, stärkt das unmittelbar den Kurs des Rubel.“ Damit bestehe für Putin nicht die Gefahr, dass die Dollar auf Konten landen, die der Westen sanktioniert und somit von einem Umtausch in Rubel ausschließt. Tatsächlich sorgte die Ankündigung prompt für eine Stärkung der russischen Währung, die massiv unter Druck steht.Der Geschäftsführer des Instituts der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) Hubertus Bardt sieht derweil eine zweite mögliche Motivation. Die Frage sei, was passiere, wenn der Westen einfach weiter in Dollar oder Euro zahlt: „Werden dann die Gaslieferungen eingestellt? Oder ist das ein Bluff, um die Zentralbank aus der Sanktion zu holen?“Regel für „unfreundliche Staaten“Trotz der Umstellung der Zahlungsmethode würden die Gaslieferungen weiter in vollem Umfang gewährleistet, versicherte Putin in einer Videokonferenz der Regierung am Mittwoch, die im Staatsfernsehen übertragen wurde. Eine Zahlung für russische Waren in Devisen habe ihren Sinn verloren.Betroffen sind demnach die von Russland auf einer schwarzen Liste festgehaltenen „unfreundlichen Staaten“. Dazu gehören Deutschland und alle anderen EU-Staaten, aber etwa auch die USA, Kanada und Großbritannien.>>> Lesen Sie hier: Energieembargo gegen Russland: Droht Deutschland der wirtschaftliche Niedergang?Die Zentralbank und die russische Regierung hätten nun eine Woche Zeit, die Modalitäten für die Umstellung von Devisen- und auf Rubelzahlungen festzulegen, sagte Putin. Der Westen habe selbst seine Währungen entwertet, indem russische Aktiva im Ausland eingefroren worden seien.Als Reaktion auf die Sanktionen des Westens hatte die russische Regierung bereits Anfang des Monats beschlossen, dass eigene finanzielle Verpflichtungen bei „unfreundlichen Staaten“ nur noch in Rubel beglichen werden. Darunter sind auch die Ukraine, die Schweiz und Japan.OMV will nicht in Rubel zahlenDer österreichische Energiekonzern OMV will seine Zahlungen für russisches Gas vorerst nicht von Euro auf Rubel umstellen. „Ich dürfte so etwas gar nicht“, sagte OMV-Chef Alfred Stern am Mittwoch dem TV-Sender Puls 24. Laut Vertrag seien die Rechnungen nämlich in Euro zu begleichen. Bislang sei die russische Seite noch nicht wegen dieser Angelegenheit auf die OMV zugekommen. Achtzig Prozent des in Österreich gebrauchten Erdgases kommen aus Russland. Die teilstaatliche OMV importiert das Gas vom russischen Gaskonzern Gazprom.Die deutsche Gaswirtschaft zeigte sich besorgt über die russische Ankündigung. „Wir haben die Meldung, dass Russland Gaslieferungen nur noch im Rubel abwickeln will, mit großer Irritation zur Kenntnis genommen“, sagte der Geschäftsführer des Verbandes „Zukunft Gas“, Timm Kehler laut Nachrichtenagentur Reuters. Die Auswirkungen seien noch nicht abzuschätzen. Es mache aber den Eindruck, dass die Sanktionen wirkten und Putin zunehmend unter Druck gerate.Mehr: Keine Lieferzusage, aber gute Signale: Habeck verabredet langfristige Energie-Partnerschaft mit Katar

  • Russia To Demand "Hostile States" Pay In Rubles For Gas
    by hanifk on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 1 minWith the ruble mostly stuck in sanctions limbo and trading around 100 to the dollar in recent days (an improvement from the USDRUB 140 hit on March 8), the Kremlin appears to have found a new way to prop up the Russian currency besides merely central bank interventions: make foreign customers of Russian gas demand it.During an address to the nation moments ago, Vladimir Putin said that Russia will demand that countries it has labeled “unfriendly” (which includes U.S., U.K., and European Union countries) must pay in rubles for Russian gas, Interfax reported.  As a result, Putin ordered the central bank and government in a week’s time to determine the scheme of ruble payments for Russian gas, and also ordered Gazprom to make corresponding changes to gas contracts.Putin also said that Russia will continue supplying contracted volumes, will only change payment currency.The Russian leader said it makes no sense to export goods to the U.S. or EU in dollars or euros, according to the news service.Following Putin's comments, the Russian ruble strengthened rising 3% at MICEX after indicative prices briefly jumped more than 8% twice; on Bloomberg terminals, the RUB was up 4.9%, though most of its prices are indicative and not tradable. 1M Rub forwards, which do trade on Bloomberg, gained over 4 rubles to ~103.

  • Russian Colonel General On Ukraine: Without Hysterics And Insults
    by SouthFront on March 23, 2022

    estimated reading time: 14 minSupport SouthFront Vladimir Valentinovich Chirkin is a Russian military commander and Colonel General. Former Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces (2012-2013). Translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront Vladimir Chirkin, March 08, 2022 Let’s try to understand the situation without hysterics and insults. It’s hard for everyone. Our guys and dying. Citizens of the Ukraine are dying. But the hardest thing is for the military, both active and reserve, Russian and Ukrainian, who have been through “hot” conflicts”. I grit my teeth with helplessness, I’m not personally sure if I could have carried out the Commander-in-Chief’s order if I had been in the ranks today. To keep civilian casualties to a minimum is understandable, we are one people. I have little idea how to try to not cause critical damage to the Ukrainian army within the tactics of my own unit. I categorically object to the release of the number of combat casualties before the operation has ended its final phase. This is a gift for someone else’s information war, a trump card in the hands of the enemy, dispelling false information among outspoken alarmists inside the country: “they are lying, hiding, under-reporting everything”, “no war”, “mother, don’t let your sons so”, “how I want peace”, “how much blood can be shed”… You can and should. Soldiers die, heroes. They didn’t come to the army to polish paving stones with their boots. They came to defend their country. Even at the cost of their own lives. It was a mistake of the General Staff, the people should clearly understand the purpose of the operation, its necessity, the inevitability of victims. But not the current price. It sounds harsh, but this is the harsh reality of war. Let us wipe away our own and women’s tears after the Victory, let us worship every widow, mother, bride, sister for the feat of their men. The first stage of the operation… We underestimated the enemy in its strength of informational, ideological, psychological repulsion, they were waiting for us. Literally on the very first day, with a snap of American bloody fingers – we deprived the support of civilians and the units of the Ukrainian armed forces ready to become neutral. Millions of dollars, thousands of IT specialists, global media corporations cut off Ukraine from any objective information, stinking up our country. Our main losses were in the first three days. Now they are rapidly diminishing, the Russian Army is no longer conducting a peacekeeping and humanitarian operation similar to the Crimean operation. The fighters received other orders, got involved, became angry, gathered, and their hopes for active support of civilians and the conscious units of the Ukrainian army were dashed. There are few flowers and loaves, people are crushed by propaganda and lies, and terrified into insanity by the Nazis. The calculations miss another important point – almost 600 thousand Ukrainians have gone through the ATO (Anti-Terrorism Operation) zone in Donbass since 2014, today they have joined the territorial defence all over the place, many have something to fear. Especially on the wave of fake executions without trial by the ATO personnel. Imagine that during the year of service there, what the Nazis stuffed into their heads, gave them the opportunity to shoot at the settlements of “quilted jackets and colorads” with impunity, to mock the civilian population there. So, the calculation for local help and the Ukrainian army did not work, the cancer in Ukrainian society is simply monstrous. But… we will cure it. If we explain our tactics of the first twenty-four hours…it is a creatively reworked “reconnaissance battle” of the Great Patriotic War. Only with deep and rapid penetration into Nazi-occupied territory. We provoked the enemy’s activity by tactical groups, deliberately pulling Ukrainian army units and National Security Forces from their locations. Withstanding with small numbers the terrible counterattacks by tanks and armoured vehicles, outnumbered by the motorised infantry. Sometimes it was impossible to suppress Grads, artillery and mortars hidden in residential areas that were raining on you. Urban areas could not be cleared methodically by combat formations, by calling supporting fire, attack helicopters, sappers, flamethrowers, tanks to blow-up machine-gun points in houses and civilian infrastructure facilities. This is a war unfamiliar to us veterans. Especially when the skies are under your full control, airfields are jammed with attack planes and bombers, operational-tactical missile systems are in service and there is a mass of heavy artillery. It is now clear even to civilians: the correct name for what is happening is really a “special military operation on denazification”. The demilitarisation of the Independent was completed at the end of the third day. The Ukrainian army, as a unified, manageable and effective structure, has ceased to exist. Today, there are dozens of groups of different sizes, isolated from one another, hiding in towns and villages. There is no centralised supply, no air support and no reinforcements. They are unable to act within the framework of any plans of the Ukrainian General Staff. Just crowds of armed men with orders to stand to the death. The main groups North and East, that’s the 22 brigades charged with the honourable duty of drowning Donbass in blood in early March, have been decapitated and deprived of command. We beat them to it by a week or two by launching our own special operation. Now 150,000 people (together with the National Security Forces) are marinating in “cauldrons”, cut off from each other. As a matter of fact, this was done by a smaller Russian force…and in five days. There is no organised resistance in other operational areas. Separate Ukrainian army units, National Security Forces, sabotage groups. Each operates at its own discretion, with varying degrees of activity. There is no way to move in columns, regroup, replenish ammunition, fuel and lubricants or equipment even in local warehouses, everything is systematically destroyed by high-precision weapons and aircraft. In a week, 80% of the Ukrainian armed forces will be completely deprived of ammunition, fuel, medicine and food. Mentally and physically exhausted, without a unified command, goals and objectives. This is a terrible thing for an army, dejection and decay. Especially for the Ukrainian army, which is sustained by fear, propped up by the Bandera detachments. Soldiers fear for the fate of their families on the home front. Second stage of the operation… Recognisably, the Syrian scenario. A neutral or terrorist-fearing population, among which it is almost impossible to identify militants. The Russian Army does not take such settlements, it surrounds cities with Bandera National Security Forces. Soon we will be observing buses and “export tours” in the direction of the Western region. How they will get burned without any support and assistance from outside. Elsewhere in the city they take on a semi-enclave, thereby inviting the defenders to leave the area on their own. No organised military columns, no heavy equipment, this stuff is destroyed. Privately, expensive. Yes, there is the danger of large numbers of sabotage groups, but strategically the three main tasks of the special operation are being resolved: minimising losses among civilians and infrastructure, our units and the Ukrainian army. It is too luxurious a gift for Washington and the EuroReich to have Russians and Ukrainians slaughtering each other with gusto. The Bandera “partisan units” will have a nerve-racking experience, but the commanders’ idea is not bad. They will become lawful prey to the counter-terrorist units, the military police and Ramzan Kadyrov’s men from the National Guard. Who do not take terrorists as prisoners, who kill them where they find them. Denazification in the truest sense of the word. An even sadder fate awaits the numerous mercenaries of the EuroReich, from which they form not military units (sometimes), but sabotage and tactical groups. Our General Staff has already stated that it does not consider them combatants with all the ensuring consequences, no conventions on prisoners of war work here. I am sure that a special, cruel and purposeful hunt will be conducted for these “soldiers of fortune”. Poor devils… Third stage of the operation I will not tell you in detail how and where the fighting unfolds, there is enough information from professional experts in the public domain. But everything is happening strictly according to plans, we have not even started transferring reserves, and they are standing in columns in the border areas. Losses are not just tolerable (from a military statistical point of view) – insignificant. Not a single unit has been allocated for re-formation or rest, which means it is fully combat-ready. Look at the map, calculate the distances, marching, constant fighting, regrouping, manoeuvring for dozens of kilometres, and remember – our guys are up against the third largest army in Europe and prohibitively motivated Nazi formations. We have to bring up the rear, take basic rest, maintain equipment, and perform a lot of previously unintended actions. There is no need to hound anyone, to demand more decisive action, Victory flags over Mariupol, Sumy, Chernigov, Kharkov, Odessa and even less so over useless Kiev with three million panic-stricken, propaganda-pumped citizens. The objectives of the operation, strategy and tactics are a whole new page in the art of war; haste is unacceptable. A classmate of mine from the academy asked in a “private” thread yesterday: Why isn’t the military aid to Ukraine being destroyed right at the airport upon arrival? Why is it even possible for NATO transporters to enter Ukrainian airspace? Do you get the feeling that our diplomats are beginning to discharge the army of its efforts? I have all sorts of bad thoughts running through my head. On point number three. There will be no discharging, all the goals of the special operation will be fulfilled. This has been categorically repeated every day by the hardened Lavrov, announced yesterday by V.V. Putin. French “peacemaker” Macron wiped out with his mediation. And Medinsky in Belovezhskaya Pushcha is subtly mocking the metrosexuals from the Ukrainian delegation. There is not one there to talk to. Look at brave Commander-in-Chief Ze, the way he looks. A complete personality breakdown on drugs. He will not be allowed to negotiate by the Americans and his own Nazis will kill him. The task is different – to completely ruin the country, to drown it in chaos, but no one will get it. The special operation does not stop, there will be no more delays. Every day of delay hurts us categorically, unplanned diplomatic, political, economic, and military problems appear. Only swiftness and onslaught, before the situation in the West starts to be assessed with a cool head. About flying transports with NATO insignia to deliver weapons. This is impossible, the skies over the Independent and southern Russia are closed to flights. They will be ground transported from Poland. And we will not destroy such “humanitarian aid” convoys. Why, you may ask? Ask another question: who exactly is in power in the Ukraine? Blatant Nazis. Taking millions of civilian hostages in cities without humanitarian corridors, driving terrified people into basements and underground stations. By poisoning them with lies about “Russian atrocities”, mass shootings, executions, violence, carpet bombings. Placing civilians with machine guns near strategic control and command facilities. Like in Kiev outside the SBU building adjacent to Sofia Kyevskaya [Translator’s note: St-Sophia of Kiev Cathedral]. Zelensky’s handlers and the Bandera battalions are setting up a humanitarian disaster, leaving towns and villages in Donbass to blow up everything: bridges, substations, pumping stations. Remember the liberation of Ukraine and 1945, the agony of the Third Reich. A quote from a demoniac, framed orders to destroy the entire infrastructure of Germany: “if the war is lost, it makes absolutely no difference that the people die”. It is useful to know history in order to predict Nazi behaviour. It is such an ideology, a social norm of life, a world view. Now, military convoys will not be destroyed for three reasons. First, they are trophies. Second, the weapons will not reach the combat-ready units of the Ukrainian army and the national battalions of the south-east: the addressees are in “cauldrons”. Third, everything will be transported by regular civilian trucks, the rear transport of the Ukrainian army units being with their units or destroyed in parking lots. Track down and hit container trucks? Yes, we can. Just keep in mind – all roads to border checkpoints with “kind-hearted Europe” are jammed with convoys of vehicles of fleeing Ukrainians for a good hundred kilometres, the traffic there is terrible. There are women and children in the cars. And Poland and Hungary have not moved the checkpoints deep into their territories, nor have they increased the capacity of the checkpoints with additional staff. In other words, Ukrainian border guards and their “colleagues” are keeping people waiting 24 hours to cross the border. Shall I go on describing the scenario that Kiev and Washington are counting on? Or can you think for yourself what kind of television picture the whole “civilized world” is expecting? Dreaming that the bloodthirsty Russians will start bombing civilian cars… Or the railways. But there is little faith in such scenarios, it is clear to everyone – Ukraine is completely lost, any amount of weapons will not help it any more. But some part is sure to be delivered to Lvov, getting mercenaries with Bandera ideologues. And then groups will go out to commit sabotage, to intimidate local administrations across the country, to try to disrupt our communications and supply lines. But this is another special operation, a police operation. Which the Ukrainians themselves are capable of carrying out with minimal Russian help once they get over the shock. This is their land; they have to live there. If they proclaim a reward of five thousand dollars for an anonymous denunciation, all the saboteurs and partisans will be gone in a day. It’s a country like that. But we’ll succeed before … I want to reassure you, it’s the twelfth day our guys are operating in a different operational and tactical reality, casualties will be rapidly decreasing. If before there was a strict order not to cause even hypothetical harm to civilians and civilian objects…today it has been changed. In a single phrase: “not to the detriment of unit personnel”. As a military man I am completely satisfied: now the humanitarian facetious remarks are over, the real work will begin. You fire on a convoy – you get hit back across the military technical menu. Orders like this only work that way. Civilian casualties? Yes, some casualties are inevitable, but it’s not our fault. We don’t storm cities according to the Charters, we bypass them or operate surgically with special forces, as in Kharkov. Using a previously unknown tactic of urban combat by night manoeuvre groups. We will talk about this separately. Let the Ukrainians marinate in the cities themselves, digesting the Banderites and the “territorial battalions” duped by Nazi propaganda. They can no longer cope with the looters, what kind of “reflection of aggression” is it? This is not our problem now, however harsh the words may sound. The final breakthrough will come after Kharkov is cleared, Odessa is blockaded or taken. All the heroic self-defence forces of the other settlements will dissipate on their own, and there are already clear signs of humanitarian disaster in the encircled cities. The morass, when it is scrupulously false, subsides most quickly in darkness, refreshing coolness and on an empty stomach. The population is not mentally prepared to stand their ground to the last, Ukrainian social media is already full of messages from places where local administrations have been left behind by the Russian army, food supplies are uninterrupted, street lights are on and local police are controlling the streets. With each passing day, the fake hysteria will subside and the drugged-out minds will wonder: what’s next? Will the encircled Banderites begin to brutalise in their powerless rage? Well, the Ukrainians also have to bear this cross on their own. Of course, we will try to do everything we can to rescue the children and the elderly. But Putin will not allow us to take sensitive losses, this is not that kind of war. We are not the ones who raised, nurtured and allowed to seize power and hostage an entire nation. We did not arm them and send them to kill Donbass and teach them to hate Russians. Criminal indifference and complicity are also a punishable act. Not by us, by life itself. MORE ON THE TOPIC: Ukraine: The Information War, Conflict Scenarios, And ‘Post-Conflict Ukraine’ Military Situation In Eastern Ukraine On March 22, 2022 (Map Update) Support SouthFront

  • George Bush and Tony Blair lack the moral authority to lecture Russia on Ukraine
    by RT on March 24, 2022

    estimated reading time: 6 minComing from the leaders who started the bloody Iraq war, it’s hypocritical, to say the leastAmerican President George W Bush (left) and British Prime Minister Tony Blair speak during a press conference at the Foreign Office, London, England, November 20, 2003. © Peter Macdiarmid / Getty ImagesCurrent and former Western leaders who have achieved eternal notoriety for launching the Iraq War, as well as other military disasters, are clearly the wrong people to lecture Russia over its actions in Ukraine.As George W. Bush and Tony Blair are emerging from political retirement to pontificate on Russia’s “authoritarian bullying” against Ukraine, the question arises: does such a surreal spectacle underscore the public’s notorious short-term memory, or does it prove the media’s vast power to shape public opinion in favor of its latest agenda? All things considered, it’s most likely a wicked combination of the two noxious ingredients.  Whatever the case, it defies reality that these former US and British leaders, whose past military exploits have been described in some quarters as actual war crimes, are now weighing in on the legitimacy of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, or any other conflict for that matter. To put it another way, Bush and Blair acting like long-haired anti-war activists is a bit like Greta Thunberg shaking the pop-poms for the coal industry.Consider, for example, the convoluted comments uttered by George W. Bush on the same day that Russia started its military operation in Ukraine: “Russia’s attack on Ukraine,” the official statement reads, “constitutes the gravest security crisis on the European continent since World War II.”  Bush, who presided for eight long years in the disastrous War on Terror, bellowed like a Puritan preacher that he condemns Vladimir Putin’s “unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.”“The American government and people must stand in solidarity with … the Ukrainian people as they seek freedom and the right to choose their own future,” he added from the pulpit.While it might be true that the quickly unraveling events in Ukraine represent the “gravest security crisis” since the last world war, it is simply naïve to believe that so-called ‘Russian aggression’ is solely responsible for that grim state of affairs. Indeed, it would be disingenuous to discuss the tragedy now unfolding in Ukraine without including a 12-inch-long footnote on US-led NATO, the 30-member military bloc that is now, to put it in more anthropomorphic terms, ‘kissing Russia’s border’. Putin spoke out against these unwanted advances back in 2007 at the Munich Security Conference when he pointedly asked Western leaders “against whom is this expansion intended?” Instead of providing an acceptable answer, NATO opted to grow its membership by another four countries.  Then, without an ounce of self-awareness, Bush proclaimed that the Ukrainian people have a right to “choose their own future.” While few people would argue against such modern common sense, where was that judicious counsel back in 2014, when high-ranking US officials like Victoria Nuland and John McCain were literally on the ground in Kiev, fomenting the fires of political strife that ultimately ended with democratically-elected president Viktor Yanukovych forced from office and replaced with US-backed Petro Poroshenko? While people will argue for years to come over Russia’s eventual course of action, which took much of the world by surprise, it cannot be denied that Western meddling in Ukrainian affairs helped to bring the situation to a boil.This failure to appreciate the complexity of the situation from Moscow’s perspective was obvious in another gratuitous lecture to Russia, this one courtesy of the former UK prime minister, Tony Blair. Writing in the Daily Mail, Blair kicked off his warmed over clichés with some cheap Nazi analogies (“Hitler led a Europe-wide fascist movement. Putin’s war is a one-man mission”) before arguing that the West needs to “increase the supply of weapons to Ukraine, particularly its SAM (surface-to-air missile) capacity – and give a commitment that arming Ukraine will be ongoing.”Clearly, Western leaders seem totally committed to courageously fighting the Russians down to every last Ukrainian.More to the point, haven’t we learned from past disasters that leaders like Blair and Bush simply cannot be trusted?As early as 1999, Tony Blair already had blood on his hands, figuratively speaking, in the Kosovo War, which saw NATO forces attack Yugoslavia without a mandate from the UN Security Council. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, some 500 Yugoslav civilians were killed over the course of the relentless 78-day NATO bombardment, which even managed to hit the Chinese Embassy, resulting in three deaths.Disastrous as it was, the Kosovo War was just a dress rehearsal for one of the greatest humanitarian crises of modern times – the 2003 Iraq War. Amid some of the largest protests ever recorded, throngs ascended on capitals around the planet in a last-ditch effort to halt Bush and Blair’s march to war after accusing President Saddam Hussein – without a shred of evidence – of harboring weapons of mass destruction. In Rome, a crowd of three million gathered on February 15, 2003 to protest against the impending invasion, a feat that got the Italian capital entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for ‘largest anti-war rally’. Bush and Blair arrogantly ignored this display of democracy in action, however, commencing with a ‘shock and awe’ campaign against Baghdad on March 19, 2003. To paraphrase Mark Twain, truth was still lacing up its boots while the Iraqi people were dying from outright lies, no thanks to a corporate-owned media industrial complex that refused to challenge the WMD claims until much later.Responding to revelations that the American and British leaders had essentially lied their way into the Iraq War, the writer Michael Massing proposed a very good question to journalists after the dust had finally settled: Why didn’t the mainstream media tell us more “about these deceptions and concealments in the months when the administration was pressing its case for regime change – when, in short, it might have made a difference?”Not until the publication of the Iraq Inquiry in 2016, long after some one million Iraqis had been displaced, killed, and injured as a result of the illicit invasion, was it determined that “the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort.”In addition to finding that Blair had “deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by the Iraqi regime,” the Chilcot inquiry revealed a private letter sent to George W. Bush from the UK prime minister that stated, “I will be with you, whatever.” With those words it is a bit easier to understand why Blair was dubbed “Bush’s poodle” in less supportive circles.On a personal note, I believe that Russia, which has been forced to watch its ‘near afar’ transform practically overnight into a NATO training ground, is politically mature enough to discuss its controversial actions in Ukraine with just about anyone. However, when the conversation has all the hallmarks of a censored social media post, which permits pot shots and apparently even calls for violence against Russians, then the discussion will not get very far.At the same time, Western leaders, both present and past, are certainly in no position to lecture Russia on its current behavior, whatever one may think about it. In fact, Western leaders, who ignored Moscow’s warnings for decades, must take their share of responsibility for the turmoil that is now happening in Ukraine. Only once they admit that to themselves will Russia, Ukraine, and the West be able to turn the page on this horrible chapter in its relations and move on. The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

  • 19 years since the US invasion of Iraq, has the West learned any lessons?
    by RT on March 25, 2022

    estimated reading time: 6 minAlmost two decades and an estimated million deaths later, the media is beating the drums of war againFILE - In this July 11, 2017, file, photo, airstrikes target Islamic State positions on the edge of the Old City a day after Iraq's prime minister declared "total victory" in Mosul, Iraq. ©  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)The US-led invasion of Iraq in March, 2003 was a war now accepted to have been built on lies and is said to have killed as many as one million Iraqis. However, despite the horrific bloodshed inflicted on the Iraqi people, the Western public seem to have forgotten so many of the lessons that should have been taken away from the disaster that was the Iraq War.In the build-up to the war on Iraq, Americans were told that eliminating Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, was necessary for world peace. This was due to his alleged possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) as well as his alleged links with Al-Qaeda, among a number of other claims about Hussein’s genocidal ambitions. Britain’s then-prime minister, Tony Blair, even likened Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler; this was at a time when anti-Middle Eastern sentiment was high and the 9/11 attacks were ripe in the minds of the Western public, who had been informed by then-US President George W. Bush that the ‘war on terror’ was akin to a ‘crusade’.It turned out that almost none of the major allegations about Saddam Hussein were true, despite the Iraqi president’s other crimes against humanity. Yet, with no evidence, Western media fell in line and presented the invasion of Iraq as a just war, despite the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Geneva stating that it constituted a war of aggression and a flagrant violation of international law prior to the invasion occurring. Likely due in large part to the media coverage at the time, which had demonized everything Middle Eastern and Muslim, US public support for invading Iraq prior to ‘Operation Iraqi Liberation’ was between 52-64%, jumping up to 72% support on invasion day.In the first two months of the ‘Shock and Awe’ invasion of Iraq, more than 7,186 Iraqi civilians were said to have been killed. Yet, at the time, Western media outlets were celebrating the US-UK victory as if none of this death and destruction had taken place, never truly asking where the alleged WMD were. A BBC reporter, Andrew Marr, said on April 9 of British PM Tony Blair that “He said they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath and in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both of those points he has been proven conclusively right.”The blindly pro-US-UK government coverage went on, despite reports of US and UK war crimes. For example, on April 2, 2003, US aircraft struck a Red Crescent maternity hospital in Baghdad, resulting in a massacre according to The Guardian.Within less than two years of the invasion, it is said that as many as 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians were killed, yet George W. Bush still managed to get re-elected in 2004. This was with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) not granting permission for the invasion, countless reports of civilian targets being hit, and calls from anti-war voices for the prosecution of Bush and Blair for war crimes. On October 6, 2003, Time Magazine was still running cover for the Bush administration, only offering small criticisms of how President Bush miscalculated “fixing Iraq,” whilst The Economist went with a headline in May that read: ‘Now, the waging of peace’, which was endorsing the idea of nation-building in Iraq and ignoring the alleged war crimes.Eventually, all the major news outlets in the West, including the likes of CNN, BBC, Fox News, and others, bowed their heads in shame of their one-sided reporting on what had occurred in Iraq and what Noam Chomsky called their participation in ‘manufacturing consent’.Peter Van Buren, a former US State Department official based in Iraq for a year, was asked about whether the Western media had learnt its lesson from Iraq and said the following:“Lessons learned? No. La [‘no’ in Arabic]. Nyet [‘no’ in Russian]. As a State Department officer in 2003, I watched in horror as the mainstream press acted not only as stenographers for government lies but amplifiers of those lies, employing anonymous sources at the expense of their own credibility to create and then service a narrative demanding war. When their true editor-in-chief, George W. Bush, stood up, a mix of Ben Bradley and Lou Grant, to proclaim ‘you were either with us or with the terrorists,’ the media stifled dissent in their ranks nearly completely. In 2022, little has changed. The media again beats the drum for war, albeit this time as stenographers for the Ukrainian government’s propaganda. Almost all of the video and imagery out of Ukraine comes from their government and those anonymous sources of 2003 have been replaced by no real sourcing at all. Crushing dissent has caught up with the times, so voices for restraint are not just left off the New York Times op-ed page, they are canceled, deplatformed, and sent down the social media memory hole, unemployable as Putin-lovers.”Today, the crimes committed in Iraq are well known to the Western public, yet the former leaders of the United States and United Kingdom have never faced consequences for the chaos they caused. Not only has the war left Iraq divided, in terms of de-jure and societal ethno-religious division, but US forces are still stationed in Iraq in their thousands. NATO even announced early last year that they were expanding their own mission to 4,000 personnel in Iraq.In addition to this, Iraq has faced the rise and fall of ISIS, a sectarian Sunni-Shia war, US occupation, torture centers, and chemical weapon deployment against civilians, and this has stained the new collective memory of the new generation of Iraqis. The young generation of Iraqis now also face a corrupt Iraqi elite, installed into a confessionalist [sectarian] system of government, which has largely been based on a manufactured political culture of nepotism.Has the US even been able to claim victory in Iraq after 19 years of destruction? Absolutely not. Washington is still battling to hold enough power in the country in order to combat the role of neighboring Iran, which jumped in to fill the power vacuum with its allied forces who were established to fight ISIS and Al-Qaeda.Prior to the removal of Saddam Hussein, Iraq was not a country divided on sectarian lines and did not have a problem with Al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups. The country has been torn apart since 2003 and the same media organizations which religiously took the side of Western governments are today working as the same propaganda machines. The active undermining of the Iraqi experience of war, with countless Western journalists saying things like, we should care more because the bombs are dropping on “relatively civilised” people, can be put down to racism, and it is this sort of dangerous rhetoric which enables Western audiences to ignore the alleged 6 million victims of the failed ‘war on terror’. Until the perpetrators of the Iraq War are brought to justice, the US government cannot claim the moral high ground over its adversaries, and its position on the world stage shall forever be tainted. The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

  • Make Nazism Great Again
    by amarynth on March 25, 2022

    estimated reading time: 9 minThe supreme target is regime change in Russia, Ukraine is just a pawn in the game – or worse, mere cannon fodder.All eyes are on Mariupol. As of Wednesday night, over 70% of residential areas were under control of Donetsk and Russian forces, while Russian Marines, Donetsk’s 107th batallion and Chechen Spetsnaz, led by the charismatic Adam Delimkhanov, had entered the Azov-Stal plant – the HQ of the neo-Nazi Azov batallion.Azov was sent a last ultimatum: surrender until midnight – or else, as in a take no prisoners highway to hell.That implies a major game-changer in the Ukrainian battlefield; Mariupol is finally about to be thoroughly denazified – as the Azov contingent long entrenched in the city and using civilians as human shields were their most hardened fighting force.Meanwhile, echoes from the Empire of Lies all but gave the whole game away. There’s no intention whatsoever in Washington to facilitate a peace plan in Ukraine – and that explains Comedian Zelensky’s non-stop stalling tactics. The supreme target is regime change in Russia, and for that Totalen Krieg against Russia and all things Russian is warranted. Ukraine is just a pawn in the game – or worse, mere cannon fodder.This also means that the 14,000 deaths in Donbass for the past 8 years should be directly attributed to the Exceptionalists. As for Ukrainian neo-Nazis of all stripes, they are as expendable as “moderate rebels” in Syria, be they al-Qaeda or Daesh-linked. Those that may eventually survive can always join the budding CIA-sponsored Neo-Nazi Inc. – the tawdry remix of the 1980s Jihad Inc. in Afghanistan. They will be properly “Kalibrated”.A quick neo-Nazi recapBy now only the brain dead across NATOstan – and there are hordes – are not aware of Maidan in 2014. Yet few know that it was then Ukrainian Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov, a former governor of Kharkov, who gave the green light for a 12,000 paramilitary outfit to materialize out of Sect 82 soccer hooligans who supported Dynamo Kiev. That was the birth of the Azov batallion, in May 2014, led by Andriy Biletsky, a.k.a. the White Fuhrer, and former leader of the neo-nazi gang Patriots of Ukraine.Together with NATO stay-behind agent Dmitro Yarosh, Biletsky founded Pravy Sektor, financed by Ukrainian mafia godfather and Jewish billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky (later the benefactor of the meta-conversion of Zelensky from mediocre comedian to mediocre President.)Pravy Sektor happened to be rabidly anti-EU – tell that to Ursula von der Lugen – and politically obsessed with linking Central Europe and the Baltics in a new, tawdry Intermarium. Crucially, Pravy Sektor and other nazi gangs were duly trained by NATO instructors.Biletsky and Yarosh are of course disciples of notorious WWII-era Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, for whom pure Ukrainians are proto-Germanic or Scandinavian, and Slavs are untermenschen.Azov ended up absorbing nearly all neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine and were dispatched to fight against Donbass – with their acolytes making more money than regular soldiers. Biletsky and another neo-Nazi leader, Oleh Petrenko, were elected to the Rada. The White Führer stood on his own. Petrenko decided to support then President Poroshenko. Soon the Azov battalion was incorporated as the Azov Regiment to the Ukrainian National Guard.They went on a foreign mercenary recruiting drive – with people coming from Western Europe, Scandinavia and even South America.That was strictly forbidden by the Minsk Agreements guaranteed by France and Germany (and now de facto defunct). Azov set up training camps for teenagers and soon reached 10,000 members. Erik “Blackwater” Prince, in 2020, struck a deal with the Ukrainian military that would enable his renamed outfit, Academi, to supervise Azov.It was none other than sinister Maidan cookie distributor Vicky “F**k the EU” Nuland who suggested to Zelensky – both of them, by the way, Ukrainian Jews – to appoint avowed Nazi Yarosh as an adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Gen Valerii Zaluzhnyi. The target: organize a blitzkrieg on Donbass and Crimea – the same blitzkrieg that SVR, Russian foreign intel, concluded would be launched on February 22, thus propelling the launch of Operation Z.All of the above, in fact just a quick recap, shows that in Ukraine there’s no difference whatsoever between white neo-Nazis and brown-colored al-Qaeda/ISIS/Daesh, as much as neo-Nazis are just as “Christian” as takfiri Salafi-jihadis are “Muslim”.When Putin denounced a “bunch of neo-Nazis” in power in Kiev, the Comedian replied that it was impossible because he was Jewish. Nonsense. Zelensky and his patron Kolomoysky, for all practical purposes, are Zio-Nazis.Even as branches of the United States government admitted to neo-Nazis entrenched in the Kiev apparatus, the Exceptionalist machine made the daily shelling of Donbass for 8 years simply disappear. These thousands of civilian victims never existed.U.S. mainstream media even ventured the odd piece or report on Azov and Aidar neo-Nazis. But then a neo-Orwellian narrative was set in stone: there are no Nazis in Ukraine. CIA offshoot NED even started deleting records about training members of Aidar. Recently a crappy news network duly promoted a video of a NATO-trained and weaponized Azov commander – complete with Nazi iconography.Why “denazification” makes senseThe Banderastan ideology harks back to when this part of Ukraine was in fact controlled by the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Russian empire and Poland. Stepan Bandera was born in Austro-Hungary in 1909, near Ivano-Frankovsk, in the – then autonomous – Kingdom of Galicia.WWI dismembered European empires into frequently non-viable small entities. In western Ukraine – an imperial intersection – that inevitably led to the proliferation of extremely intolerant ideologies.Banderastan ideologues profited from the Nazi arrival in 1941 to try to proclaim an independent territory. But Berlin not only blocked it but sent them to concentration camps. In 1944 though the Nazis changed tactics: they liberated the Banderanistas and manipulated them into anti-Russian hate, thus creating a destabilization force in the Ukrainian USSR.So Nazism is not exactly the same as Banderastan fanatics: they are in fact competing ideologies. What happened since Maidan is that the CIA kept a laser focus on inciting Russian hatred by whatever fringe groups it could instrumentalize. So Ukraine is not a case of “white nationalism” – to put it mildly – but of anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalism, for all practical purposes manifested via Nazi-style salutes and Nazi-style symbols.So when Putin and the Russian leadership refer to Ukrainian Nazism, that may not be 100% correct, conceptually, but it strikes a chord with every Russian.Russians viscerally reject Nazism – considering that virtually every Russian family has at least one ancestor killed during the Great Patriotic War. From the perspective of wartime psychology, it makes total sense to talk of “Ukro-nazism” or, straight to the point, a “denazification” campaign.How the Anglos loved the NazisThe United States government openly cheerleading neo-Nazis in Ukraine is hardly a novelty, considering how it supported Hitler alongside England in 1933 for balance of power reasons.In 1933, Roosevelt lent Hitler one billion gold dollars while England lent him two billion gold dollars. That should be multiplied 200 times to arrive at today’s fiat dollars. The Anglo-Americans wanted to build up Germany as a bulwark against Russia. In 1941 Roosevelt wrote to Hitler that if he invaded Russia the U.S. would side with Russia, and wrote Stalin that if Stalin invaded Germany the U.S. would back Germany. Talk about a graphic illustration of Mackinderesque balance of power.The Brits had become very concerned with the rise of Russian power under Stalin while observing that Germany was on its knees with 50% unemployment in 1933, if one counted unregistered itinerant Germans.Even Lloyd George had misgivings about the Versailles Treaty, unbearably weakening Germany after its surrender in WWI. The purpose of WWI, in Lloyd George’s worldview, was to destroy Russia and Germany together. Germany was threatening England with the Kaiser building a fleet to take over the oceans, while the Tsar was too close to India for comfort. For a while Britannia won – and continued to rule the waves.Then building up Germany to fight Russia became the number one priority – complete with rewriting of History. The uniting of Austrian Germans and Sudetenland Germans with Germany, for instance, was totally approved by the Brits.But then came the Polish problem. When Germany invaded Poland, France and Britain stood on the sidelines. That placed Germany on the border of Russia, and Germany and Russia divided up Poland. That’s exactly what Britain and France wanted. Britain and France had promised Poland that they would invade Germany from the west while Poland fought Germany from the east.In the end, the Poles were double-crossed. Churchill even praised Russia for invading Poland. Hitler was advised by MI6 that England and France would not invade Poland – as part of their plan for a German-Russian war. Hitler had been supported financially since the 1920s by MI6 for his favorable words about England in Mein Kampf. MI6 de facto encouraged Hitler to invade Russia.Fast forward to 2022, and here we go again – as farce, with the Anglo-Americans “encouraging” Germany under feeble Scholz to put itself back together militarily, with 100 billion euros (that the Germans don’t have), and setting up in thesis a revamped European force to later go to war against Russia.Cue to the Russophobic hysteria in Anglo-American media about the Russia-China strategic partnership. The mortal Anglo-American fear is Mackinder/Mahan/Spykman/Kissinger/Brzezinski all rolled into one: Russia-China as peer competitor twins take over the Eurasian land mass – the Belt and Road Initiative meets the Greater Eurasia Partnership – and thus rule the planet, with the U.S. relegated to inconsequential island status, as much as the previous “Rule Britannia”.England, France and later the Americans had prevented it when Germany aspired to do the same, controlling Eurasia side by side with Japan, from the English Channel to the Pacific. Now it’s a completely different ball game.So Ukraine, with its pathetic neo-Nazi gangs, is just an – expendable – pawn in the desperate drive to stop something that is beyond anathema, from Washington’s perspective: a totally peaceful German-Russian-Chinese New Silk Road.Russophobia, massively imprinted in the West’s DNA, never really went away. Cultivated by the Brits since Catherine the Great – and then with The Great Game. By the French since Napoleon. By the Germans because the Red Army liberated Berlin. By the Americans because Stalin forced to them the mapping of Europe – and then it went on and on and on throughout the Cold War.We are at just the early stages of the final push by the dying Empire to attempt arresting the flow of History. They are being outsmarted, they are already outgunned by the top military power in the world, and they will be checkmated. Existentially, they are not equipped to kill the Bear – and that hurts. Cosmically.Pepe on Telegram:

  • Yes, The AZOV Battalion is a Nazi Sympathizer
    by Larry Johnson on March 25, 2022

    estimated reading time: 5 minThe Atlantic Council and many of its members are busy trying to re-write history and whitewash the AZOV Battalion (fellows from Western Ukraine who have been attacking Russian speaking Ukrainians in the Donbass during the last 8 years) as just a bunch of earnest nationalists.One person pushing this lie is Oleg Atbashian, a Ukrainian emigre to the United States. Oleg has penned a piece, Ukraine: the Nazi smear of the Azov Battalion is a far-reaching Russian influence operation—Russia can’t beat the Azov fighters on the battlefield, so it uses propaganda to libel them as Nazis. (So far he has not found a place to publish his piece as far as I know, but I received a copy of his proposed piece from a friend). Oleg argues: Debunking the libel of the Azov battalion as a Nazi organization has been especially difficult because the Russian influence operators have planted those smear stories against Ukraine so widely around the world, all the way to the U.S. Congress, that it would take an entire think tank to shovel through that pile of “evidence.” Why all the effort? Azov is extremely effective against Russian aggression in the Eastern Ukraine. The fact is, Russian aggression was the only reason Azov was formed in the first place, so the Kremlin has only itself to blame for it. The Azov battalion was organized in 2014, when the poorly armed and unprepared Ukrainian army was forced to fight an unexpected war against the Kremlin-orchestrated “separatism” in eastern Ukraine. Seeing how the military was failing, one of the richest Ukrainian industrialists and the Governor of the Dnipro Oblast, Igor Kolomoisky, spent a hefty chunk of his own money to recruit and arm a volunteer battalion to defend Ukraine. The unit was named Azov after the small Azov Sea in southern Ukraine. This was quickly followed by a series of Ukrainian victories, in which Azov played a part. The smear is as absurd as if Hitler were to spread rumors about General Patton being a Nazi so as to hinder the American war effort. It’s initial sponsor, Igor Kolomoisky, is Jewish and has since become an Israeli citizen, living in Israel. Not exactly Neo-Nazi material, but the influencers conveniently omit that fact. I am not a Putin puppet. I am not on the payroll of the Rooskies. I can read and think objectively. I do not know why Oleg ignores the actual history of the neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Here are the facts (thanks to Yaacov Apelbaum for his excellent research): Oleg’s arguments like the following are apologist propaganda (and likely commercial in nature). They echo the materials developed/distribute by the Atlantic Council and other Ukraine profiteering think tanks. Oleg writes: “…they chose a bellicose, ominous looking emblem of the crossed letter Z that also reminds of a modified Ukrainian Trident, but to the critics it appears too close to the SS emblem or the swastika. It arguably follows traditional embroidery ornaments, and, after all, we don’t demonize the entire Buddhist community in Asia for the continued use of their traditional swastika symbol.” The issue is not the poor graphic design choices (i.e. the Azove Battalion’s use of SS iconography) or the poor HR/PR choices (i.e. that they recruit hard-core Neo Nazis).  The problem is that large segment of the Ukrainian nationalist movement still embraces violent Nazi ideology. Stalin/Russia didn’t invent Nazi sympathizers in Ukraine, historically, there was always an extreme violent (and anti-semitic) nationalist element in the Ukrainain society. For example, check out the 1648 Khmelnytsky pogroms.  In the 20th century this nationalistic movement fully embraced the Nazi and anti-semitic ideologies as they became manifested through Stepan Bandera and his movement. The 1941 Kiev pogrom was orchestrated and executed by Ukrainian nationalist operatives and the Babi Yar massacre was executed with full Ukrainian nationalist movement participation and collaboration. As a side note, 19th century Ukrainian nationalism was already highly racialized and predates the Nazi ideology. Bandera and his followers, similarly (and independently) to the Nazis, advocated the selective breeding to create a “pure” Ukrainian race and developed an elaborate anti-Jewish discourse. This was years before the German occupation of Ukraine. The argument that the Azov battalion and its leadership is not affiliated with Nazi ideology, it patently false.  The unit’s first commander was far-right nationalist named Andriy Biletsky, who led the neo-Nazi Social-National Assembly and the Patriot of Ukraine.  The claim that The Azov battalion was organized in 2014 as a volunteer force and financed by Igor Kolomoisky in order to defend Ukraine is also factually incorrect. The organization started as a special police company of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It was led by Volodymyr Shpara, the leader of the Vasylkiv, Kyiv, branch of Patriot of Ukraine and Right Sector.  As far as the real motivation behind Kolomoisky’s investment in the organization, it was likely more about war profiteering than patriotism. Besides Yaacov’s analysis we have video from the BBC (not exactly a pro-Putin outfit) reporting on the neo-Nazis playing a key role in the 2014 coup that ousted the corrupt but duly elected President Yanukovitch: And here is a video from last year with Ukraine Far-right activists celebrating the 78th anniversary of Ukrainian SS division. You read that right–the Ukrainians that many Americans are now cheering were commemorating the memory of Ukraine’s SS division, which fought alongside the Nazis: The ignorance of most Americans about Ukraine and its history is quite understandable. Many Americans have trouble identifying George Washington and do not know who we fought in the American Revolution.Rather than worry about Ukraine’s border security, I want our politicians and citizens to focus on our own border. Our southern border in particular. The flood of illegal immigrants and narcotics across that frontier everyday are killing American citizens. Fox reported recently on the carnage: Fentanyl overdoses have surged to the leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 45, according to an analysis of U.S. government data. Between 2020 and 2021, nearly 79,000 people between 18 and 45 years old — 37,208 in 2020 and 41,587 in 2021 — died of fentanyl overdoses, the data analysis from opioid awareness organization Families Against Fentanyl shows. Ponder that number for a moment. More Americans aged 18 to 45 died from fentanyl overdose than died in the 12 years we were fighting in Vietnam. During four years of fighting in Korea we lost 36,914 military personnel. We have monuments for those who fought and died for America in Vietnam and Korea. I am not suggesting we need a memorial for those who overdosed on fentanyl. But we must do something about the border. We are ignoring those dying in part because our politicians–Republicans and Democrats–refuse to protect our borders from invaders. That is a real threat with a real cost for American citizens.

  • Hundreds in Ukraine attend marches celebrating Nazi SS soldiers
    by hanifk on March 25, 2022

    estimated reading time: 2 minJTA — Hundreds of Ukrainians attended marches celebrating Nazi SS soldiers, including the first such event in Kyiv.The so-called Embroidery March took place in the capital on April 28, the 78th anniversary of the establishment of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, also known as the 1st Galician. It was a force set up under German occupation auspices comprised of ethnic Ukrainian and German volunteers and conscripts. The marchers held banners displaying the unit’s symbol.The Kyiv march by about 300 people was an import from the western city of Lviv, which for several years has hosted such events. A day earlier, hundreds attended a larger Embroidery March there.Ukraine has a large minority of ethnic Russians, who oppose the glorification of Nazi collaborators. Such actions were taboo in Ukraine until the early 2000s, when nationalists demanded and obtained state recognition for collaborators as heroes for their actions against the Soviet Union, which dominated Ukraine until 1991.Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Ukrainian Jews, who according to a 2020 demographic study number about 47,000, have protested the veneration of the 1st Galician and other collaborators. But the collaborators’ popularity has soared following the 2014 war with Russia.Get The Times of Israel's Daily Edition by email and never miss our top storiesNewsletter email address By signing up, you agree to the termsPresident Vlodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish, condemned the embroidery marches, which had been conducted legally.“We categorically condemn any manifestation of propaganda of totalitarian regimes, in particular the National Socialist, and attempts to revise truth about World War II,” he said Friday in a statement.Do you value The Times of Israel?If so, we have a request. Every day, our journalists aim to keep you abreast of the most important developments that merit your attention. Millions of people rely on ToI for fast, fair and free coverage of Israel and the Jewish world. We care about Israel - and we know you do too. So today, we have an ask: show your appreciation for our work by joining The Times of Israel Community, an exclusive group for readers like you who appreciate and financially support our work. Yes, I'll giveYes, I'll giveAlready a member? Sign in to stop seeing thisYou're a dedicated readerWe’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.Thank you,David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of IsraelJoin Our CommunityJoin Our CommunityAlready a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

  • Indian broadcaster rips YouTube for bias in blocking its channel
    by RT on March 26, 2022

    estimated reading time: 2 minWION accused the video-sharing website of only “telling half the story” of the Ukrainian conflict© AFP / Kirill KudryavtsevNew Delhi-based English-language news channel WION said it had been barred from posting videos on YouTube for several days, blaming the platform for seeking to thwart objective coverage of the conflict in Ukraine.A “total block” had been imposed on Tuesday, and no new clips had appeared on its usually busy channel – which has more than five million subscribers – for the next three days.The broadcaster said on Friday that it had been sanctioned by YouTube over a video it had posted on March 10 that featured the speeches of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba.“We did not attack Ukraine,” Lavrov said in that clip, insisting Moscow’s military was a response to what he called “a direct threat to the security of Russia.”YouTube said it had acted because the clip in question had violated its community guidelines, which “prohibit content denying, minimizing, or trivializing well-documented violent events, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”“Under this policy, we have removed content, for example, denying that Russia invaded Ukraine or alleging that Ukrainian victims are crisis actors,” the platform explained in an e-mailed response to WION.In response, WION said it had been left stunned by the ban, which it claimed had been levied because it had been attempting to provide “objective” coverage of the conflict.It pointed out that it had only relayed the Russian FM’s statements, not endorsed them, and that the Ukrainian side had also been given a voice in its reporting.Moreover, it said, Lavrov’s speech had been shared on YouTube by other outlets, including Western ones, and none of them had faced any curbs. “This treatment was reserved only for WION – a channel from India,” it stated.“WION neither believes in censorship nor in telling half the story. Apparently, that’s what YouTube wants. Block out everything Russia says, promote everything the West says. WION does not subscribe to that sort of journalism. Its objective is to remain balanced,” it added.The channel said YouTube was “rigging the game” by acting as a platform and a censor at the same time.It called on its audience for support, launching the campaign #YouTubeUnblockWION on social media. Its viewers responded to the call, posting more than 25,000 tweets with the hashtag in just 12 hours.On Saturday, it announced that YouTube had backed down and lifted the ban. It was not clear whether this was as a result of the campaign or had been down to other factors.WION uploaded more than 20 videos on its channel in the first five hours after the ban was lifted, with a significant proportion of them being about the events in Ukraine.Since Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine in late February, YouTube has blocked the pages of almost 40 Russian news broadcasters – RT’s and Sputnik’s among them. The Russian authorities have warned the video-sharing platform that it could itself be banned in the country if those restrictions aren’t lifted.

  • How Ukraine conflict could affect African nations
    by RT on March 26, 2022

    estimated reading time: 5 minIn the ongoing standoff between the West and the East, Africa will try to remain neutralRussia’s military operation in Ukraine, launched in February, followed by the dramatic increase in tensions on the global scene will undoubtedly affect the economic and political landscape in Africa in the medium term, as well as the balance of external powers active on the continent and Africa’s pace of development in key areas.Diplomatically, Africa has chosen to remain neutral on the subject of the conflict, alongside a large portion of the Global South nations. 26 out of 54 African states did not support the UN General Assembly’s resolution to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Eritrea voted against it, while 17 other African countries (out of 35 globally) abstained from the vote. These include Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and South Sudan. Eight more nations did not vote: Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Morocco, Togo, Eswatini and Ethiopia. Egypt, despite voicing its support of the resolution, is maintaining constructive cooperation with Russia anyway. No country on the African continent has so far joined the sanctions.Notably, both Senegal and Tanzania, continental economic leaders of the last decade, did not join its traditional trade and business partners to condemn Russia. Of no less significance is the statement that came from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who said in parliament that “the war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region.”Since the launch of the special operation in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has held telephone talks with three African leaders: with President of Senegal Macky Sall (who is also the Chair of the African Union until February 2023), President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa.So far, according to the official statements, the situation has not changed any plans for the Second Russia–Africa Summit - set to be held later this year. On March 3, Presidential Special Envoy for Africa and Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov told the Russian News Agency TASS that “preparations are underway” and “the dates for the summit are yet to be announced.”In the meantime, the military conflict, sanctions and economic measures introduced by the Russian government to stabilize the domestic market will no doubt have a significant effect on the African economies.Between 2015 and 2020, Russia and Ukraine supplied up to 25% of the total wheat imports into Africa.A series of consequences have hit the sector, including a potential temporary ban on wheat exports, disruption to the sowing season in Ukraine, delays with shipments via the Black Sea routes and a looming fertilizer crisis that might affect other key suppliers of wheat to Africa, such as France and Brazil. These issues pose a serious food security threat to a number of African nations, including Egypt, Algeria, Sudan and Tanzania.At the same time, supply disruptions will affect African countries in different ways. For example, in Nigeria this problem can be solved relatively painlessly: wheat is a commodity with a flexible demand in the country, occupying a market share that’s comparable with other crops, such as corn and cassava.In other areas, however, the situation not only threatens demand, but also challenges a number of business projects, such as large-scale investments in wheat and other crop storage infrastructure network, as some of these investment projects involve Russian businesses and funding.Another persistent problem is caused by the shortage of logistics corridors due to sanctions and restrictions. Currently, Russia is unable to run massive grain and fertilizer supplies via the Caspian Sea and Iran.A sector where Africa is also bound to feel the change is the energy market. On the one hand, Europe shunning Russian oil and gas leaves African nations, like Algeria, Libya and Nigeria, with an opportunity to step in and fill in the gap in the hydrocarbons exports. On the other hand, this opportunity, so far, seems to be strictly hypothetical since none of these nations have the capacity to take advantage of the opportunity within the next five years.Nigeria, for instance, lacks the capacity for free exports, while other nations, such as Algeria, Libya and to a lesser extent Egypt, might not have too much surplus natural gas and crude oil to sell. Another problem in this area that will have to be dealt with is the rising oil prices triggering the growth of oil product prices. Oil products are mostly imported by African nations, and this crisis is going to hit the nations that rely on imported diesel and residual fuel oil the hardest, such as West Africa.If the euro zone is engulfed by a crisis, a massive outflow of capital and a persistent economic confrontation with Russia might mean to Africa less economic and tech support from the EU and its member states.The future of infrastructure investment projects announced at the EU–African Union Summit in February as part of the ambitious Global Gateway Investment Package is also questionable. In the medium term, the social and economic situation in West Africa is causing the biggest concern. This region has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic harder than others, and a new crisis hitting its food and energy security might further destabilize the regional political systems.The global crisis, once again, confirms Africa's critical dependence on events not directly related to it. The risk of such destabilization can be countered by investing in the localization of the production of the main commodity categories that are critical for the continental economy: fertilizers, oil products, and food.In the developing stand-off between the West and the East, Africa will try to remain ‘above the battle,’ metaphorically speaking. It most probably won’t have to step up its budget spending on defense. To achieve that, it just needs to make sure the US-Russia-China confrontation steers clear of the African Continent and to try to maintain its neutral status, remaining united in the process – which is currently an issue, as the recent UN vote has shown.The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

  • NATO bombing of Serbia: Tragedy in three acts
    by RT on March 26, 2022

    estimated reading time: 11 minIt is a travesty of international justice that the 1999 bombing remains unrecognized by the perpetrators and unpunishedTwenty-three years ago, NATO bombed Serbia. This act was the opening round of what was to become a 78-day illegal war of aggression, the repercussions of which haunt the world to this day.Act One: The EncounterIt was a chance meeting – two men who had crossed paths in Iraq two years past, now running into each other on a stretch of highway connecting Kosovo to Macedonia. The date was March 20, 1999. Monitors assigned to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) were in the process of being withdrawn from their assigned areas of responsibility to the town of Ohrid, in Macedonia, due to the collapse of diplomatic talks with Serbia about the devolving situation in the Serbian autonomous province of Kosovo, where Albanian separatists were engaged in a quasi-civil war with the Serbian authorities.The British contingent of the KVM was stopped at the border between Kosovo and Macedonia, awaiting final clearance to cross the border. Among the British observers was a former Royal Marine officer who had previously served with the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) in Iraq, helping oversee the dismantling of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs. While he and his fellow observers waited, he watched as other vehicles driven by members of the US observer contingent drove in the opposite direction – into Kosovo. At the wheel of one of these vehicles was a familiar face – a man who was known as ‘Kurtz’.Kurtz was a man of tremendous experience who was brought into UNSCOM in mid-1997 for the purpose of providing operational planning and leadership. ‘Kurtz’, of course, was not his real name, but rather a nickname derived from the fact that with his shaved head, walrus mustache, and weathered face, he looked like a combination of Robert Duvall’s Colonel Kilgore and Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz in the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’. With a wide-brim Stetson, cowboy boots, and an ever-present wad of chewing tobacco stuck in his cheek, he looked every bit the part.Kurtz was picked for this job in part because of his background, which was embedded in the world of covert special operations. His most recent assignment prior to coming on board at UNSCOM was preparing diplomats for E&E – escape and evasion – from hostile situations. Given the sensitivity of some of the UNSCOM operations taking place in Iraq at that time, it was thought that such training might be ideal for situations the inspectors might find themselves in.But Kurtz’s background had been his undoing. He was, so to speak, too ‘black’, or covert, for his own good. Even though he was performing wonderfully in Iraq, his managers in Washington began to panic when the situation in Baghdad began to deteriorate in October 1997. The decision was made to pull Kurtz out of Iraq. It was bitter irony – the one man who was best equipped to deal with a hostage situation, to keep not only himself but other, less fully-trained personnel alive and well, was being withdrawn in haste out of fear of his being taken hostage.Once Kurtz was assigned to UNSCOM, he was technically UN property for the duration of the assignment, and the US could not just simply snap its fingers and bring him home. But snap, they did, with the US ambassador, Bill Richardson, summoning the Australian diplomat who headed UNSCOM, Richard Butler, to the US Mission in New York for a meeting. “One of the personnel provided to you [Kurtz],” Richardson said, “is a bit too exposed by the current situation, and we feel that it would be best for us all if he were withdrawn at this time.”I oversaw the team in Iraq that Kurtz and the British officer were assigned to. Butler called me up to his office after his meeting with Richardson. “The man’s CIA,” he told me. “The Americans want him out.”Now, as the Kosovo Monitoring Mission was departing Kosovo, Kurtz was back in action. The Americans, it seemed, wanted this man with the impressive covert operations skill set back in.The role played by the CIA in the OSCE KVM is quite controversial – at a time when the US and NATO were accusing the Serbian government of committing atrocities, the CIA was using the cover provided by the OSCE observer mission to coordinate with fighters from the Kosovo Liberation Army who were engaged in a guerilla war with the Serbian military. Serbian operations in response to CIA-directed KLA attacks were being characterized by the West as ‘genocide’, and used to justify a planned NATO aerial bombardment of Serbia.These facts, however, ran counter to the narrative of a Serbian-initiated campaign of ethnic cleansing which the US and NATO were spinning. The British OSCE observers were well aware of the complex reality of what was transpiring inside Kosovo, where legitimate Serbian military operations against known KLA forces were being described as “massacres of innocent civilians” by the Western media. The truth, however, was often inconvenient, which is why at that moment in time, on March 20, 1999, the British observer contingent found itself exiting Kosovo at the same time Kurtz and his fellow CIA officers were going in.Act Two: The Phone CallMarch 24, 1999. 9:20am. In the White House Situation Room, an aid places a phone call to the Kremlin, where Russian President Boris Yeltsin is waiting. The call goes through, and the aid hands the phone to Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States. The conversation started off with a grim notification: The leaders of NATO, including himself, Clinton said, “have decided we have to launch air strikes against military targets in Serbia soon.”The problem, Clinton noted, was the Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic. “He has displaced 30,000 more people just since last Friday,” Clinton said. “He is killing innocent people. We have reports of summary executions.” Left unspoken was the role played by Kurtz and his fellow CIA operatives in creating the conditions for such actions. Clinton continued. “He [Milosevic] has basically told Russian, EU, and American negotiators that he doesn’t care what any of us think.”Clinton was getting worked up by the consequences he had triggered by unleashing the CIA on Kosovo. “My God, they [the Europeans] have nightmares they’ll [the Serbs] repeat Bosnia and all the instability and all the problems, and it will spread from Kosovo to Macedonia to Albania and engulf all of their southern flank. They are very, very worried about it. They are right to be worried about it.”Again, left unsaid was the fact that the very scenario that was giving the Europeans nightmares had been carefully crafted by the CIA, at Bill Clinton’s direction.Yeltsin wasn’t buying any of it. “It is easy to throw bombs about,” he said, dismissing Clinton’s characterization of the problem and proffered solution. “It is intolerable because of the hundreds of thousands of people who will suffer and die.”The consequences of any NATO strike, Yeltsin warned Clinton, were dire. “In the name of our future, in the name of you and me, in the name of the future of our countries, in the name of security in Europe, I ask you to renounce that strike, and I suggest that we should meet somewhere and develop a tactical line of fighting against Milosevic, against him personally. And we are wiser, we are more experienced, and we can come up with a solution. That should be done for the sake of our relationship. That should be done for the sake of peace in Europe.”The Russian leader’s pleas fell on deaf ears. “Well, Boris,” Clinton replied, “I want to work with you to try and bring an end to this, but I don’t believe there is any way to call off the first round of strikes because Milosevic continues to displace thousands of people every day… I don’t want this to be a great source of a split between Russia and Europe and Russia and the US. We have worked too hard. There are too many economic and political things for us to do together, and I regret this more than I can say.”The American president was outright lying to his Russian counterpart – the events in Kosovo were unfolding along the lines of a carefully scripted game plan that had been in motion for some time. War was inevitable because the US, through the CIA, had shaped the narrative to make it so. Worse, the US president was willing to sacrifice relations between the US and Russia in pursuit of this NATO objective. This fact was driven home by Yeltsin in his closing remarks.“[O]ur people,” Yeltsin lamented, “will certainly from now on have a bad attitude with regard to America and NATO. I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn heads of our people, the heads of politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that. Well, since I failed to convince the President, that means there is in store for us a very difficult, difficult road of contacts, if they prove to be possible. Goodbye.”Act Three: The BombOn the evening of March 24, 1999, the secretary general of NATO, Javier Solana, a Spanish diplomat, authorized aircraft operating under the auspices of NATO to begin bombing targets in Serbia. It was no coincidence that the first aircraft to drop bombs on Serbia were F/A-18s belonging to the Spanish Air Force.When examining the legitimacy of the use of force by Spain against Serbia in March 1999, several facts stick out. First is that Spain, as a member of the United Nations, is bound by its commitment to the Charter of that organization. When it comes to the use of force, the UN Charter is quite clear – there are only two acceptable conditions under which such force might be legitimately employed by a member state. One is an enforcement action to maintain international peace and security, carried under the authority of a resolution passed by the Security Council under Chapter VII of the Charter. The other is the inherent right of individual and collective self-defense, as enshrined in Article 51 of the Charter.As Spanish bombs fell on Serbian soil, two things were quite clear – there was no Chapter VII resolution in existence which authorized an enforcement action against Serbia, and Serbia had committed no act of aggression against either Spain or its NATO allies that would justify any claim of self-defense in explaining the Spanish (and NATO) military assault on Serbia.In short, by dropping bombs on Serbia, the Spanish Air Force was initiating an illegal war of aggression. “To initiate a war of aggression,” the judges who comprised the International Military Tribunal convened in Nuremburg to judge the crimes of Nazi Germany, declared, “is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulative evil of the whole.”Spain wasn’t alone that night – aircraft from the air forces of the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, and other NATO members participated in this “supreme international crime.” Viewed individually, there is no doubt that each nation involved in the attack on Serbia violated the UN Charter and, as such, is guilty of the crime of initiating an illegal war of aggression.Not so fast! NATO, it seems, had crafted a novel legal argument built around the notion that it had a right to anticipatory collective self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter, and that this right was properly exercised under “normative expectation that permits anticipatory collective self-defense actions by regional security or self-defense organizations where the organization is not entirely dominated by a single member.” NATO, ignoring the obvious reality that it is, indeed, dominated by the United States, postulates that it is, indeed, such an organization, comprised as it is of “a number of powerful states, three of which are permanent members of the Security Council.”The credibility of the NATO claim of “anticipatory collective self-defense,” however, arises from its characterization of the Kosovo crisis as a humanitarian disaster infused with elements of genocide which created not only a moral justification for intervention, but a moral necessity.Tell that to Kurtz, the man who, together with his fellow CIA operatives acting under the authority given them by the president of the United States, Bill Clinton, worked to create conditions on the ground inside Kosovo that could then be used to manufacture the very narrative of a humanitarian crisis sufficient in scope and scale to allow NATO to craft its novel legal justification for attacking Serbia.The problem for NATO is that its legal justification was built on a foundation of lies. The fiction that NATO is an organization not entirely dominated by the United States evaporates the moment one understands the role played by the CIA in preparing the script used by NATO to justify its actions. The fact that this script promulgated outright fabrications of alleged crimes perpetrated by Serbia to justify NATO military intervention only underscores the criminal nature of the entire NATO enterprise.There is no escaping the fact that when the first bomb dropped by the Spanish Air Force on Serbia that evening 23 years ago to this date impacted on the ground, Spain and every other member of NATO had committed the “ultimate crime.”That this crime remains unpunished is a travesty of international justice. That this crime remains unrecognized by those who perpetrated it is a testament to the hypocrisy of nations. That this crime set in motion the events that have led to the current state of affairs between the US and NATO on the one hand, and Russia on the other, is a global tragedy.The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

  • Post-Cold War world order is over, former Russian president says (FULL INTERVIEW)
    by RT on March 26, 2022

    estimated reading time: 46 minThe West’s sanctions on Moscow are destroying its own economic order while bringing Russians together, according to Dmitry MedvedevThough relations between Russia and the West are at their worst since the Cold War, the unipolar world dominated by the US and its allies is now over, former Russian president and current head of the National Security Council Dmitry Medvedev told RT and RIA Novosti in an interview on Thursday. He added that Russians are uniting in the face of Western sanctions and threats, and will forever remember the current campaign of hate against everything Russian.Russia is European but also transcends EuropeQ: Twelve years ago you gave an interview to The Wall Street Journal, a very reputable newspaper, and you said that you considered Russia a European country. Do you still feel that way?A: Well, geographically we're the same country. Without a doubt, Russia has been and will continue to be a European country – just as it is an Asian country.In terms of its geography and history, Russia is a European country. Also, we're European in terms of our cultural identity, because a good part of our population represents the European civilization, which is closely linked to the Christian civilization. But we also have a lot of people that belong to the Muslim faith, as well as to Russia's other major religions: Buddhism and Judaism.Q: Obviously, we're not talking about geography here. Today, many Russians, including the country's top officials – if you listen to what they are saying – feel that we setting ourselves up against Europe, as its opposite.A: No, it's them who are setting themselves up against us, trying to distinguish themselves from us. They don't have a monopoly on 'Europeanness'. The European civilization developed steadily all across the continent. Sure, we are not, in that sense, successors to the Roman Empire, unlike a number of other European countries that belong to the Germanic language group. We have our own history, but our history is just as European as theirs. So, when they say to us that we are no longer considered European, that sounds ridiculous, frankly. That's all I have to say about our identity. That's no reason to make any judgments – you asked me a question, and I told you that we are even more ‘European’ than they are. That's all.Showing good manners in the face of RussophobiaQ: The scale of anti-Russian sentiment in this situation is staggering. It’s like all of Europe, even the countries we believed were our friends and partners, are united in their deep hatred for our country, and it’s manifesting at every level.And now Europeans, who always claimed they were so tolerant and committed to the principles of democracy, say such terrible things about Russia and Russians, about our leaders. Not to mention Biden – I don’t think we’ve ever heard any rhetoric like that from a top official of his caliber. On the other hand, if we take Poland, maybe Biden is not so bad after all.And if I may ask a question about Poland, if we could move on for a moment from discussing the main issue – what’s your assessment of Warsaw’s position in this situation? Because it feels like Poland is not only aspiring to play a key role here, but also to have Lvov and the western parts of Ukraine as some kind of protectorate. I understand that this is two questions in one, so may ask you both?A: The rhetoric is definitely very sharp. It’s no doubt defined by current events, and all the political forces in Europe are trying to use this situation to their advantage and achieve their own goals in terms of domestic policy. Every country has something to deal with, be it elections or a crisis, or the need to create a coalition. And so they need a target or an enemy.In this case, Russia is the designated enemy, so I’m not surprised by the rhetoric. You’re right, though, when you say that sometimes it defies comprehension, or, as they say, goes beyond good and evil.At an everyday level we also see this Russophobic rhetoric manifesting, although I would say it differs case by case. It also has to do with new communication methods, such as social media platforms, because the patterns that were less common before can now take root instantly.Russophobic rhetoric is nothing new, though. Recently I quoted Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev, who talked about how the West ganged up on Russia 150 years ago and did everything in their power to turn us into outcasts and pariahs. Tyutchev noted that this witch hunt lasted for 30 years.I can’t help but see certain similarities between those times and modern Russia. Russia in its current form is just over 30 years old, and for these 30 years we’ve been blamed for everything, especially in the last 20 years or so. They said we’ve picked up everything from the USSR, including its ideology, even though that’s not true, and they criticize us for this and that. So the Russophobic rhetoric we’re seeing from the West now is nothing new.From time to time, we hear absolutely astonishing remarks, but we’re polite and we never get personal. No one points out that there are some people who exhibit clear signs of dementia or old-age senility. No one talks about grandpas who lose their balance while climbing the stairs to board a plane or forget which way their office is and go straight into the bushes. No one points this out, because we’re polite and we refrain from mentioning these things. But all that boils down to ethics and good manners.As for Poland, I did have to speak on the subject recently because of the role Poland is trying to take on now.Poland is more than just a loyal liege subject of the United States of America that seeks to prove its loyalty every step of the way, to show that it’s the United States’ rock and main ally in Europe. In essence - in this way or another - Poland has been trying to win back hundreds of years rather than decades of its failed attempts to restore the former glory of Rzeсzpоspolita. And if it can’t do that, then to at least remind the world of the fact that Poland used to be a very serious power both in Europe and globally, almost an empire in the making. Today, the country’s elite is represented by the Law and Justice party with Mr. Kaczyński at its helm, and they have been on a pro-American and aggressively anti-Russian path for the past ten years.I can recall a different time - when Poland and Russia actively tried to restore their relationship, especially in the wake of the tragic death of the Polish president, and it looked quite doable because there were no impassable obstacles between us. But once the opposition party I just mentioned rose to power, the country’s vector changed dramatically, it became wildly rusophobic. I cannot call it anything but political imbecility since there’s nothing more to it.They are trying to consolidate the voters that are very anti-Russian, and it’s no secret that Poland has quite a number of such people, as there are historical reasons for that, so they’re trying to take advantage of that and put their finger in Ukraine’s affairs. Especially since Poland is now hosting a fairly large number of refugees from Ukraine, and Poland is trying to use that for its own benefit.They are adopting some measures that do not only aim to support the refugees (because naturally one can only want to help them) but also to find yet another way to punish Russia. They are proposing some new schemes, even amending the Constitution in order to be able to confiscate Russia’s property. Yesterday, they expelled a large number of Russian diplomats.I don’t really understand what they’re trying to achieve with all that, because if Russia were to expel a matching number of diplomats, Poland would have to close down its entire embassy. Is that good? At the end of the day, it’s up to each sovereign state to decide whether to maintain diplomatic relations or not. But this kind of policy is utterly destructive.I’d like to recap that Polish authorities are simply trying to prove their utmost loyalty to the United States and get more points for it by way of financial and economic support, as well as to get more political support domestically.This is all sad, and it’s not going to end well. Quite naturally, they can expect a symmetrical reaction to their actions or counter-measures dictated by international law. We will simply end up in a situation where we stop talking to each other completely. Is it good for Poland? I don’t know, it’s Poland’s decision at the end of the day.When will the Ukraine conflict end?Q: Of course, we are not at the General Staff, and I am not a representative of the Ministry of Defense, but I will tell you honestly, my friends and acquaintances constantly ask how long the offensive will last. But as I said, we are not on Frunzenskaya Embankment, but the Security Council of the Russian Federation is here. Can I ask you what you personally think about the course of the operation and how much it actually meets the goals that were announced.A: The operation took place primarily because the goals that the Russian state set for itself were not achieved through diplomacy. The President said this at the start.The course of the operation, the plans for its implementation are determined by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. According to the Constitution, it is the President. The President gave his assessments. The operation is progressing according to plan. This plan was prepared and approved by the Supreme Commander. Therefore, I will not give any additional assessments now, it seems to me that this is a completely exhaustive assessment that was given by the President.But it is obvious that the operation will continue until the goals set by the President of the country are achieved. These goals concern the future of Ukraine; the status of Ukraine as a neutral state, a state that does not pursue an anti-Russian policy, a state that is not militarized, and a state that should be our normal neighbour.Therefore, until the results of the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine are achieved, the operation must continue - as it was conceived by the President of the country, as it was decided.The US thinks it’s above the lawQ: The US has taken similar actions on a multiple of occasions in the past and in the regions that are in no way part of their immediate interests. These countries are not their neighbours or a threat to the US. Take Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan. But the US’s military action has never resulted in such a massive and consolidated response from the West.No one responded to a bombed wedding party in Afghanistan by shutting down European clothes shops in the US. There were no other repercussions, either. Why? Why are we witnessing such a powerful response to Russia’s moves that you say are fully justified in terms of our security? A: Now this is not going to sound as an insight, but clearly the US believes it is a nation outside international law, above everyone else.Following the collapse of the USSR and an end to the bipolar world order based on the standoff between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the US saw itself as the winner and the sole beneficiary of the Soviet Union's demise.While in reality the Soviet Union broke up not because of NATO's activities, but for internal reasons. And that's why they behave accordingly: they believe they cannot be brought to justice, but they have the right to judge everyone, they are the ultimate decision-makers, they have the right to do whatever they want.There are a number of drivers behind this behaviour. First of all, economically the US is a very strong country. Secondly, it issues the main reserve currency with vengeance, continuing to pile up its domestic debt. In fact, it is the whole world that is the US’s creditor. The entire world could be struggling, plunging into crises, while the Americans are printing dollars.That is why they now feel completely unpunished in this respect as well. Exactly for that reason the US’s actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam a few decades ago, have never come under any legal scrutiny by the international community.However, at the time of the Vietnam War, the Soviet Union was still alive, pushing for quite heavy debates at multilateral platforms. The Soviet Union, as you know, was helping Vietnam back then. The US pursued its policy for a long time.We all remember the way it ended. Mind you, Vietnam is thousands of kilometers away from the US. Now, it’s a fact few people remember, even in this country, because it was a long time ago, but my Vietnamese friends said the US intervention in Vietnam throughout much of the 1960s killed over one million Vietnamese.Just think about it. Over a million! Take a look at the map and see for yourself where the US is and where Vietnam is. Still, the US went in, and over a million people died as a result.Even then it was never widely condemned although we had the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union in place.And after the Soviet Union disappeared from the world map, along with the Warsaw Pact, the US got absolutely out of control.They think they can do whatever they want. Yugoslavia is a case in point. We saw utter disregard for international law, the use of the armed forces and weapons by a number of countries including depleted uranium ammunition.Was there any uproar? No. They realized they could go ahead, concocted a justification, and got away with it. Today, some European leaders admit “Well, yes, maybe they overreacted a little”. But it does not go beyond that.Again, the US behaves this way around the world because they think there is no longer any competition. But they are wrong. Life does not stand still, prompting new developments in international relations and new countries emerging as strong powerhouses.It means new centers of gravity in international relations are being shaped. Take the People's Republic of China, India, and the Russian Federation.The unipolar world is over. The US is no longer the master of planet Earth.Russians who left are welcome to return, but not traitorsQ: You must be aware that some Russians packed their belongings and left the country immediately after the special operation started in the Donbass. Do you think they will return, or is it a one-way ticket?A:How should I know?Q: What can you say to those people who decided to leave Russia?A: Every man is the architect of his own fortune. It’s their right to make such decisions. Some people have left for the time being, as I understand. Others have left for good, fearing that the current situation may affect their lives in the future. It’s their decision. I won’t comment or criticize these people.It’s obvious, for me personally, that a significant part of these people will return to Russia eventually. This military operation affects everyone’s psychological state, you see. People keep thinking about it. I believe this may have been one of the reasons, for some people. But that’s it.I believe what is more important for the country is, for example, the way programmers treat current events. These businesses are international, and now they have ended up being cut off from everything – payment systems, banking operations, major foreign customers. For them the consequences are really harsh. And I can understand their motives, why they are trying to find a better place under the sun. The government has prepared a number of proposals to this end, and the President has already signed a decree. Let’s hope that we will succeed in mitigating the negative consequences for IT specialists and keep them in the country. Let’s hope that most of them will stay in Russia. This is a real problem. And I am really sorry for these people, on a personal level, because they are in a dire situation. And although it wasn’t us who introduced these limitations, but we still have to think how to make things better for these people.Western sanctions are uniting, not dividing RussiansQ: And if we talk about entrepreneurs, about big businessmen, do they have support amid the military offensive? Taking into account the fact that now, a huge number of measures are being taken against them. Their houses, vehicles, yachts and everything else have been taken from them. How do you feel about this, taking into account the fact that the West used to say that private property should be honored. And, in general, is it normal to block accounts and populate houses with refugees – this would be unpleasant to anyone.A: If we talk about business, this is also a part of our society, including big business - they are, as they say, guilty without any guilt.Let's ask ourselves a question: in general, at least someone from this big business is - to some extent - capable of influencing a small fraction, one iota, on the position of the country's leadership. I can tell you right away: no, no way. Because we have different tasks.Anyone who manages the state, first of all, focuses on the interests of the whole country, on the interests of the people of Russia. One who manages his own business (this is a very important task), only does this.Therefore, the calculations that, by limiting Russian business, they will somehow influence the authorities, are absolutely meaningless, they are simply stupid. They are also trying to influence the sectors of the economy that are behind this big business. And these are hundreds of thousands, millions of our people.In fact, with these sanctions, the Western world is trying to influence the citizens of our country, to hurt them. And, of course, try to incite them to turn against the course of the state's leadership, against the course of the President, in the hope that in the end it will result in some kind of trouble, some problems for the authorities.But it seems to me that the people who generate these decisions absolutely do not understand our mentality, they do not understand the attitude of the Russian people in the broadest sense of the word. They do not understand the incentives that when such pressure is applied (and this pressure is not on large entrepreneurs, not on big business, this is pressure on anyone and everyone), society is consolidated.Even those who were hard done by in some way or believed that they received little support, or some wrong decisions were made, in this situation says: “Well, yes, yes, they probably made a mistake in something. But in general, in this situation, I will stand for the state". This, it seems to me, they are absolutely unable to understand, just as they were not able to understand 70 years ago, and 100 years ago, and during various kinds of armed campaigns that were carried out, including against our country. These kind of restrictions and deprivations - they only unite people, consolidate people, but do not divide them. And this is their main miscalculation, this is the weak spot of these stupid sanctions.Death penalty doesn’t have to come backQ: Let’s recall that the Council of Europe tried to impose restrictions on Russia for many years. You said recently that there is not much holding us back now, particularly on the issue of the death penalty. Russia has renounced capital punishment by acceding to a number of the Council of Europe’s conventions. Since this is an important issue for our nation, here is my question: how probable is a return to the death penalty? Does Russia need it?A: This is a very complex issue. It depends on the worldview in general. It’s a philosophical and moral dilemma. There are divergent views on the death penalty. And it is natural, it has always been the case.There is one thing I know for sure. The Russian Constitutional Court was definitely swayed in some of its rulings by this country’s participation in the Council of Europe’s conventions. These conventions are no longer binding for us.Nevertheless, there are legal guidelines provided by the Constitutional Court on this issue. And this is a completely sovereign decision, not a direct outcome of our membership in the Council of Europe. There is an obvious implicit connection, though.Today, there are no restrictions in this regard. However, it is still a very thorny issue. There is not only a legal side to it but also a moral one. Even the basic, canonical sources of religions provide opposing answers to this question.The religious view on this issue is one of the basic arguments surrounding debate on the death penalty in any country. Europe abandoned capital punishment at some point. So did we.Unlike the US, China, and a number of other countries. They still keep it as punishment for those who have committed particularly grave crimes, first of all murder.Again, today international provisions are no longer binding, but there are domestic legal provisions set out by the Constitutional Court. They reflect the current crime rate.If it does not get out of control, I believe this legal posture could remain the same.But legal postures are not eternal either. A shift in our society could force a revision of the legal posture. The decisions of the Constitutional Court are not sacred writ, they may change.We’ve seen it throughout Russia’s history. The Soviet Union abolished the death penalty after the war. But it did not last long, and the death penalty was restored pretty fast. This was due to a spike in violent crimes, including murders.I don't know how it will pan out going forward.Russians will remember the West’s hatred foreverQ: Mr. Medvedev, do you think a lot about the pressure that Russian nationals now have to deal with abroad? Often, they face real danger.I saw a video online showing what happened to the Russian Embassy in Ireland – I lived there for a bit as a kid, my father was posted there – and it was covered in spray paint and a driver crashed his car into the gates. It’s just unimaginable. Something like this could happen to any Russian national abroad. Meanwhile, the UN says that a ceasefire in Ukraine would bring the levels of Russophobia down. What’s your take on that position and does this connection make sense?A: I wouldn’t call it the UN position. The UN is an international organization comprised of more than 200 nation states. If we’re talking about what the UN officials said, well, that may be so.Let me openly say that recently the UN governing bodies, and Secretary General Guterres as well, have made several statements that I would call questionable from the point of view of international law. The UN should be above conflicts instead of taking sides. Of course, the levels of Russophobia these days are through the roof, as we’ve already discussed. These are manifested in the form of attacks on Russian people and pressure exerted on our diplomatic missions.What is there to say on the subject? If we take diplomatic missions, the responsibility lies with the country where the diplomatic mission is located. This is the host country’s task. As soon as the host country becomes indifferent to the fate of an embassy, diplomatic ties are usually either suspended or severed. So the incident in Dublin that you mentioned is fully Ireland’s responsibility. They just have to take proper steps in response.It happens to ordinary people, too – I see it and read about it, it’s clear from the online and social media content where they criticize Russia a lot. I guess it’s to do with current events. Some genuinely feel that way, some are doing it for the hype or because everyone else does it. It’s their own personal choice. Sooner or later the tide will subside, that’s how it works. But the memories will remain. We will remember it, too, including the Russian people who got stuck abroad while on vacation or on a business trip. It will be etched in everyone’s memory. They say they don’t want Russians there, and it’s only natural that our people who happened to be abroad at the time will remember that. I doubt that they will think higher of Europeans now than they used to.What about the hospitality, tolerance and neutrality that you spoke of? All of it evaporated instantly, which means it never existed in the first place. It means there was no culture and no values. It was just a façade, and now all the filth has come to the surface, which we see in the behavior of every person spewing Russophobic ideas.We will remember it too. We won’t forget anyone who did it – in their official capacity or just in personal interactions. These days, everything is recorded. We all have a digital footprint. That’s something everyone should remember when they write nasty things about Russia, our policies or our people. It will be engraved in our people’s collective memory forever. And I’m not exaggerating here.International sports behaving in ‘worst possible way’Q: Let’s talk about something else. You mentioned IT specialists who have been gravely affected and who will get assistance, but I want to ask you about our athletes. What’s happening to them is unprecedented: they are not allowed to compete or they are forced to do so under a neutral flag, they are pressured into signing petitions and making statements.We all know that in some sports, an athlete’s career is fleeting. Won’t Russia end up on the sidelines of international sports? Competition is very important – it’s crucial for athletes to go up against talented opponents. Now it seems that the doping scandal was just a trial run. A: Correct. Elena, Ilya, you’re right too. First, let me say that of course it’s tough on our athletes – same as on our IT specialists. But for the latter, the challenges started fairly recently, when our ‘friends’ started trying to restrict us in every way and erect an iron curtain when it comes to finances and law. For athletes, the situation has been dire since 2014.You’re right, our athletes train hard, but they are not allowed to compete. If they are, they have to basically compete anonymously – no Russian flag, no Russian anthem. They are forced to distance themselves from their country, saying that they only represent themselves. This is cynical and amoral, and don’t even get me started on the IOC decision regarding our Paralympic team. It’s simply incomprehensible. It’s monstrous and disgraceful.So our main goal is to support parathletes, to make sure they feel involved in social life on par with everyone else. But they get told, “No, your government is awful and so we don’t care about you.” That goes against any moral code. I think that the IOC behaved in the worst way possible here.Yes, it all started eight years ago with the doping scandal. We admitted that we had a doping problem in our country, we are at fault here. But saying that Russia, I mean Russian coaches and athletes were the only ones to use doping is outrageous and cynical. Other countries did it too, but it’s Russia that everyone turned on. The objective that our ‘friends’, from the Anglo-Saxon world predominantly, set was to push Russia out of international competitive sports.What for? Again, that was to stir resentment within Russia and incite people to do something about it. So our athletes have been suffering since 2014. We will continue to support them in every way and to organize as many competitions domestically as we can. We will seek to defend their rights in all organizations, even though that’s a huge challenge these days.These decisions were made by specific people in the IOC, the EU, the US and the UK, which is not part of the EU anymore. It’s clear that certain people are behind these decisions, and those deprived of competitive sports will channel their bitterness in their direction.Moscow’s rules on using nuclear weaponsQ: President Putin has often insisted that Russia only acts to defend itself against the hostile actions of the West. And in a recent interview, you said that our country has enough 'might' to put our enemies in their place. Which implies that Russia has considered some kind of retaliation in the event of aggression. What exactly did you mean by that, Mr. Medvedev?A: We both know exactly what I meant. Russia is not your average country – it's a permanent member of the UN Security Council. And, as a side-note, let me say that all the ill-conceived plans to try and remove us from the Security Council are completely groundless. This would go against the UN Charter and the entirety of international law, for that matter. We are talking about the whims of individual states. This is my first point.And my second point is, Russia is a nuclear power with the largest stockpile of strategic nuclear weapons on the planet. Naturally, no one is threatening anyone, but you mentioned the remarks made by President Putin... A few weeks ago, our country's nuclear deterrence forces were put on high alert. It was a simple message so that any country that tries to interfere with Russia's foreign policy would know what to expect. They heard us and said they wouldn't try anything. I certainly hope this has helped cool down some of the hotter heads in Poland and other US satellites. Still, they do occasionally come up with ridiculous ideas like closing the airspace over Ukraine. Luckily, there are cool-headed and reasonable analysts at the Pentagon and elsewhere who say this is absolutely out of the question as it would lead to a direct military confrontation with Russia.I think this will be enough, for now. Although we do have a special document on nuclear deterrence which states explicitly the circumstances under which the Russian Federation has the right to use nuclear weapons. There are several such conditions, let me remind you what they are.First is the launch of ballistic nuclear missiles to attack Russian territory. Second is the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction by an adversary against Russian territory or its allies. Third has to do with an attack on critical infrastructure resulting in the crippling of our nuclear deterrence forces. And, finally, the fourth is when an act of aggression is committed against the Russian Federation or its allies – whether with nuclear or conventional weapons – which threatens the very existence of the state.All these conditions are listed in the document which was approved by the President's executive order. This testifies to our determination to uphold the independence and sovereignty of Russia. Let no one have even a slightest reason to doubt that we are capable of giving a proper response to any attack or encroachment on our country, its independence, or its policies. But keep in mind that I am saying all this because you asked the question. Obviously, our position is that, however complicated, any situation must be approached using diplomatic tools. And in the case of Ukraine, negotiations remain the most constructive and reasonable course of action. We realize that diplomacy does not always result in success, but this is still the right way to go.US had ‘more brains’ during Cuban Missile CrisisQ: You just mentioned something that terrifies everyone on the planet – the prospect of a nuclear war. Another scary prospect is military confrontation between Russia and NATO. In many ways, these two scenarios are similar – in fact, they may be one and the same. Do you believe there is a risk of such a war breaking out? Would you compare the current situation to the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world also seemed like it was teetering on edge? Back then, we referred to this standoff as the 'Cold War'. What would you call the current state of relations between Russia and the collective West?A: Nobody wants war. A nuclear war is a threat to the very existence of human civilization. In this sense, those analysts who say, perhaps somewhat cynically, that the invention of nuclear weapons has prevented a huge number of conflicts in the 20th and 21st century, are right. This is true.So obviously there is always a threat. As a former commander-in-chief, I am well aware of its scale. Our people know that NATO's nuclear weapons target facilities in this country, and our warheads are aimed at targets in Europe and the US. But that is life. We must always keep this in mind and act in a responsible manner. As simple as that.As for the Cuban Missile Crisis, for obvious reasons, I don't have any personal memories, I only know about it from history books. But I had a chance to talk to one of the witnesses, Fidel Castro.Today, we live in another reality, in a different world. There is no Soviet Union, no Warsaw Pact, many illusions are gone.A lot of things are not in place anymore, but the lessons of the Cuban Missile Crisis sank in pretty well back then. It had a sobering effect on everyone, including the leadership of the US, NATO, the Soviet Union, and the Warsaw Pact.The world was living through a Cold War then but right now the situation is somehow worse, in my view. Back then our opponents did not try to bring the situation in the Soviet Union to a boiling point so aggressively.True, their actions may have been disguised, but no sanctions were imposed on entire industries or agriculture, let alone personal sanctions.It never occurred to anybody to impose sanctions on Brezhnev, Podgorny, and Kosygin. They understood, of course, that it made no sense, just as they do now, but at least they had the brains not to do it then.Now everyone is in an awkward position. They have imposed sanctions, but it is still necessary to communicate, if only to prevent all sorts of undesirable consequences, including such terrible ones as, say, a conflict between Russia and NATO. It's like everyone is under sanctions, everyone is on some kind of list.I signed the well-known START III, or Start Treaty, with President Obama. That treaty was extended by President Putin and President Biden. Why make it so embarrassing? The treaties were signed, but it was done by individuals who are on the sanctions list. If the Russian leadership were irresponsible in this regard, you could probably say: “If that's the way you treat us, then that's it, goodbye.”There is a legal doctrine known as clausula rebus sic stantibus, which means that international treaties are valid as long as the circumstances that gave rise to them exist. Those circumstances have disappeared. You are not treating us as counterparts anymore. The persons who signed the treaty are on your sanctions list. Maybe it’s time to pull out of it? I am just trying to point out that these sanctions do not make any sense, they are absurd.This was not the case during the Cold War. And it’s a reality now. The relationship between the Russian Federation and the West, the US-led Anglo-Saxon civilization in the broad sense of the word, is probably in a worse state than in the 1960s and 1970s. There is no doubt about that.Fixing up Yalta for new world order talksQ: Now, about the talks with Ukraine… how would you assess the progress? It appears that some arrangements are still possible. How will these agreements be guaranteed? Will the West need to bear some kind of responsibility in this regard? Once the special operation is over, given all the factors, would we need a new Yalta Conference to formalize the new world order, which, as you say, has ceased to be unipolar.A: It’s an unrewarding task to comment on negotiations, and it’s wrong. Talks need silence. And it’s not without reason that the sides are negotiating via videoconference, almost daily, and not in the face-to-face format that requires more time. That is why I won’t comment on the talks. I don’t want to create problems for the negotiators or give ground to excessive hopes or emotional responses that such comments on my part could generate.The goal of these talks is clear – to solidify the results which the Russian special operation pursues, in particular the neutral status of Ukraine, its demilitarization, and the repeal of the laws driven by Nazi ideology which were introduced by the Ukrainian government. Whatever they say about these laws, they effectively divide the people by their national identity. Some are called people of the right nationality, others are practically excluded. And there are also a number of other goals Russia is seeking to achieve.Ukraine is pursuing its own goals, of course, and hopes to achieve them in the course of the talks. They include, primarily, retaining its sovereignty and securing further development of the country.As for the guarantees that the negotiated terms will be implemented, there are two types. Firstly, there are guarantees provided by the signatories of the agreements. In the long run, those who will sign the documents, have the authority and responsibility to see to their implementation. And secondly, there are guarantees related to various international mechanisms. I will not overstate their importance here, of course, because there are a lot of agreements which were signed but not implemented. But, in any case, this is better than legal uncertainty or repeated attempts by Ukraine to weave its way into NATO in order to create a direct threat at Russia’s borders. In that respect, an agreement and the legal guarantees it provides are way better than no agreement. And this is the way to resolve the conflict.You mentioned Yalta. I can only say that we will be happy to welcome foreign delegations in the Russian city of Yalta for talks. The palace that was used in the past for this purpose is not in ideal state, but it can still be used to accommodate guests.An attack on their own economic valuesQ: Mr. Medvedev, one does not need to be Fidel Castro to…A: Fidel Castro can’t be replaced, he was unique.Q: …to talk about the events of 1998. Let me share my observations with you. Even people who were born after 1998 keep asking me as a journalist – they seem to think that I am competent to answer this question…A: But you are competent. Journalists know everything. They know more than politicians.Q: Thank you. So they keep asking me if we are going back to 1998. And they mention the default. We have avoided the default scenario for now, as we were allowed to make payments on our sovereign debt. But still?A: Do you remember 1998, personally?Q: I remember that the ruble depreciated four times against the US dollar.A: I see. Yes, it’s a memory that is not easily forgotten.You cannot step into the same river twice. I was not related to state governance back in 1998 and saw everything through the lens of a common citizen, a businessman, if you like. But the Russian state and society were much less protected back then.But I remember 2008 and 2009 very well, when I personally had to tackle the financial crisis. I also have an excellent recollection of 2014 and all the years that followed, when I had to address the issues as the chairman of the Russian government.Every crisis is unique, in its way. In 2008, we created G20. They want to remove Russia from G20 now. But I remember how it was born right in front of me. The decision to create G20 was collective. First President Bush participated, then Barack Obama. Everyone was delighted that representatives from so many different countries were sitting at the same table – Russia, the US, China, India. G20 was a format that was born from consensus, based on unanimity. And now they suggest removing us from G20. No, guys, you can’t do that!You asked us to join G7, to be the eighth member state. That’s right. But it’s different. G7 is your private club and if don’t want us to be part of it, we will go. And we did, we were “ushered out”. But this club is not important any longer. G20 is a different story. It was G20 that helped us out of the 2008 financial crisis.Why am I talking about this right now? Because the situation we are in is different. Back then, all of us were trying to overcome the global financial crisis, caused by the financial bubble in the United States of America. Our common goal was to stand against it. And we achieved that goal, by the way. With varying degrees of success, but we pulled the Russian and global economy out of that crisis in a relatively short period of time. What’s happening now, however, is an economic war that the West declared against Russia – to quote a French minister. They declared an economic war against Russia. And they are trying to wage this war without rules.  Why? You asked, but I didn’t get a chance to answer. What’s written on the banners of any capitalist society, any market economy? Utter respect for private property rights! This is sacred! The world may perish, but justice will prevail. Everything may perish, but private property will remain.And what are they doing? They are blocking the assets of our financial institutions, even the Central Bank. They are even talking about confiscating these assets, i.e. nationalizing them. Listen, this is a real war without rules. What will be the consequences of this war? Destruction of the whole global economic order. This is an attack on the economic values of our planet – ironically, these values were first formed in Europe and the United States of America, in our country, and later, at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, in Asian countries as well. Now we see how the founding principles of the market economy are being rejected. What can we say then? If they don’t value these principles, let them do whatever they plan to do, but, naturally, this will force Russia to respond with symmetric measures.But, on the other hand, this new challenge and our reaction that must follow could be very effective. I’ve said it many times before, and this is true – had sanctions not been imposed on Russia in 2014, we would’ve had a worse situation in our agriculture right now. Everybody understands it well. We stopped their imports, and now our food security is at a very high level.I hope that even in this situation, our colleagues in the government will be able to find adequate solutions that would foster the development of our industry, including aircraft engineering, automotive industry, and the key sectors like microelectronics and IT. We will have to deal with these issues anyway. Yes, it will be harder now, but, on the other hand, there is no one else we can count on. This time we will have to do everything ourselves.Rubles for oil was ‘pretty obvious’ moveQ: Let’s move to a very important issue. Ironically, the West says they will cut us off everything, but they can't cut themselves off from our gas and oil, simply because it would backfire, they would freeze. They will now try to use less energy and come up with new proposals. Nevertheless, they have so far refrained from sanctions against our oil and gas.But going forward they say they would like to stop using gas and oil from Russia. How realistic is it? Should we just sit and wait for that to happen, or rather take some action? The Russian president announced a move to the Russian rouble as the settlement currency. How will it work out? What will it look like in practice?A: Well, let them buy it as long as they want. No one wants to lose money, right? This is all bravado and chest-beating.Well, it could work for the US since they have an array of suppliers, they are isolated from Europe, they are not so dependent on our deliveries.The US has banned our oil, though it hasn’t gone that well. The Americans will keep reminding President Biden about the price of a gallon. Ukraine is very far away and gasoline prices somewhere in the Midwest are at a record high right now. Inflation is 10 percent. It’s a mind-blowing number for the US.So this decision will haunt the US administration. Its consumers will say a big ‘thank you’ for what their government is doing to their domestic economy as a side effect of attempts to sway the Russians.Overall, I'm philosophical about it. It's our natural wealth, it’s our gas and oil. We have to trade it with Europeans, with Asia. Generally, there has been a global energy shift every 50-70 years. I do not know what will be the main energy source in 2050 – hydrogen or any other technology. I simply do not know. So we have to prepare for that as well.But right now, this is a significant part of our income, and we have to get the full compensation for it. Certainly, we are looking at Asian markets in the current environment, and are figuring out ways to diversify our supplies.Our European friends appear to be in a big hurry to give up oil and gas supplies from Russia. But in reality it is a very challenging task. 40 percent of their gas supplies come from Russia. Russian oil accounts for about one third of their imports.But in any case, it is up to them. If they want to get rid of it, they will. The only question is, when. That’s something that we also need to respond to.As for President Putin’s decision to switch to rouble settlements, I think it is a pretty obvious move. They shut down the correspondent accounts for our commercial banks, made settlements in dollars and euros impossible, and disconnected the banks on the sanctions list from SWIFT, at least some of them. What did they think we were going to do?The only legal tender in the Russian Federation is the rouble. So it’s a simple offer: since there is no other way, you have to pay in roubles. So let them find a way to pay.Anyway, consultations are underway. We'll see how it works out. But it was a very intuitive decision.Q: What about Nord Stream? The Americans are rushing to bury it…A: They are rushing.Q: They call it “a hunk of metal”, using some peculiar words to describe it. Do you think this project still has some potential? And if we talk about the infrastructure, how long will it stay in shape without being used or serviced, without pumping gas?A: I am not an expert on the subject, I can’t assess the durability of the Nord Stream infrastructure. I am sure it’s durable, but I don’t know the degree – we are not talking about months, obviously. As far as large-scale economic projects go, I tend to be optimistic – despite our current circumstances and the emotionally charged context that we are dealing with when passions run high.The thing is, there are certain laws that can’t be ignored, even if our friends are trying to violate them right now. There have been significant financial investments, this is a very important and beneficial project, profitable for all partners. Conflicts come and go, but the economy and money stays.  I think the Nord Stream 2 project has a good future. It will happen if our partners decide to start using their heads at some point and remember that they have taxpayers and voters to answer to, that there are certain social obligations that they have to fulfill. Their responsibility is not simply to hurt Russia, but to solve key problems in their economy. They need to think about helping their own people, making sure that their taxpayers’ utility bills are not through the roof.And I have to say this. What happened right after they made their decision concerning Nord Stream 2? What we said would happen. Utility bills went up to unprecedented levels. As high as two thousand euros in some instances.Let me remind you that just recently, a few years ago, we talked about pipeline gas, not the spot market. However, anything over 400-500 dollars or euros seemed like an outrageous price. And now we see these numbers. Is it a good situation? Of course not. That’s why I tend to be cautiously optimistic when we talk about this.Capitalism means they’ll come backQ: Do you think we’ll see Western companies returning to Russia at some point, I mean those companies that are withdrawing or suspending their operation in Russia now?A: Of course we will. It’s only a question of when they will return and what it’ll cost them in terms of losses. You see, Russia is a fairly large market, some say a premium market. So if they are willing to lose a share of their income, it’s up to them. We can do without them, but the thing is they don’t want to lose it, they keep telling us that they’re waiting and hoping for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine. And they keep asking us not to take over, or appoint external management to or nationalize their operations because they want to return.I think one of the press secretaries, either of the United States or another country, said that the administration had nothing to do with this decision made by major businesses – that it was solely their own decision, their civic position, that they put their heads in that noose of their own will. They wanted to give up this market – I say they need to read Karl Marx. Marx explains very well that capital will never forego a chance to increase profit. This means that unless they were under tremendous pressure from their own governments, I mean the governments of the West, none of these companies would ever even think of giving up Russia as a market. This was a political decision. And political decisions have an expiry date. Economy is, on the other hand, perpetual.US is the real ‘rogue state’Q: So, the sanctions have been applied to put pressure on every sector of our economy. It feels as if now, in contrast to the situation when the Soviet Union put up the Iron Curtain to shut itself off from the West of its own will, Russia is being forced to put that curtain up and become some sort of a new North Korea. It’s like people don’t want it, no one wants it, but the big powerful machine is already working, and someone is pushing the buttons. I’m saying it’s like North Korea because North Korea was buried under the sanctions; or it’s like Cuba where people still drive cars made in the 1960s. So maybe someone wants Russians to start going through scrap metal and repairing old ZAZ "Zaporozhets" cars to drive them…A: What a shame that I sold mine. I used to own a Zhiguli car from the 80s. I guess I could use it now.Q: That was probably the idea. So what do you think - as a worst-case scenario - could this kind of thing happen in Russia?A: I think everyone understands that it can’t. Even though in the course of this interview I did question the intellectual abilities of the people who come up with all these sanctions against Russia, I must say there are different people there, and some realize very well what’s going on.You see, all of them understand that, with all due and utmost respect to our friends in Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Russia is no Cuba and no North Korea. Russia is Russia, the world’s largest country, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a huge economy and a nuclear power, which is why all these ideas that Russia can be curbed like Cuba or North Korea once were and that it could just be kept that way don’t have a leg to stand on. It’s impossible. It’s just utterly impossible. Even if some in the political circles and elites of the West would want it that way.Yes, there are obviously challenges and we’ll have to overcome them. Unfortunately, they exist both at the governmental and everyday level. Still, it’s nothing new for us, and it’s not catastrophic. It pales in comparison to the hardships that our country had to go through in the 20th century. I tell you what – it’s not even in the same league with the problems we faced during the coronavirus pandemic.Back then, we really felt uneasy from time to time, because we had no idea how this virus would behave, regardless of where it came from. Could it kill off most of the humanity, like in some sci-fi books? So back then things were much more tense, I’d say. The tragedy of course is that the virus caused so many deaths.But this is a different story, and there can be no illusions here. They are trying to put us into the ‘rogue nation’ or ‘rogue country’ category. As for its etymology, I think it was Reagan who came up with the term. The Russian translation for it is ‘outcast’, but ‘rogue’ is actually closer in meaning to ‘outlaw’.In fact, it’s the US that’s the rogue nation here. It’s not because we don’t like Americans. It’s because the US is constantly launching wars of conquest across the world. They are the outcast and the outlaw.

  • Book Review: Seven Roads to Moscow
    by amarynth on March 26, 2022

    estimated reading time: 11 minBy Francis Lee for the Saker BlogSeven Roads to Moscow is an intriguing book written by that strange animal, a British soldier intellectual.Lieutenant-Colonel W.G.F.JacksonMC, BA, R.E.Instructor, Royal Military Academy,Sandhurst, 1950-53I read this book when I was only 17 and at the time it made a great impression on me. The stories of the seven invasions of Russia have now passed into history. In order of invasions Russia’s uninvited guests were the Vikings, Huns, Swedes, French, and Germans. Each in their turn marched through forest, marsh, and Steppe into the heart of the Russian lands. The impression which these invaders left behind, however, is one of abject failure. All the invaders sooner or later had to succumb to the vastness of the Russian lands and the fortitude and genius of the Russian people.The only partial success was with Rurik in the rise and fall of Kiev Russia, 862-1228. Rurik is said to have arrived in Novgorod in 862 and gradually established his sovereignty over the native Slavs. From the military point of view Rurik’s invasion is unique in Russian history. It was the first and only invasion which has been largely successful. The tactical methods of Rurik lie shrouded in the mists of early Russian history. For the invaders the military problems of invading Russia do not appear in tangible form until the days of the Swedish King Charles’ XII ill-fated (1707-1709) invasion and no more successful than the much larger and later expeditions by Napoleon and Hitler.The sole aim of these armies who marched eastwards all had the same objective: to destroy the Russian armies. Moreover, each was faced with the same military problems: namely how could they defeat the Russian armies before they withdrew into the vastness of the Russian interior. If they failed to defeat the Russian armies in the early period of the campaign, how could they prevent the Russians recruiting new levies and returning to counter-attack with overwhelming strength? And how could the invaders manage to keep their armies supplied and reinforced once they had advanced deep into the Russian lands?Charles XII had the simplest method of all – namely to outmarch and outfight his opponent. He relied on the superior marching and tactical skills of his soldiers to achieve results. But Tsar Peter the Great was a wily old fox who was determined to outwit his opponent and avoid a decisive action. The policy of scorched earth and withdrawal found the Swedes weak, ill-nourished and a long way from home. Charles had failed because he turned away from his primary objective and allowed himself to be cut-off from his base for the uncertain advantage of rallying the somewhat unstable Cossacks of the Ukraine to his banner. He was unable to stem the steady wastage of his best Swedish soldiers. The Cossacks and Kalmuks and other peoples of southern Russia whom he was forced to recruit as reinforcements, were no better than Peter’s reinforcements. The Battle of Poltava (8 July 1709) was the decisive victory for Peter the Great of Russia over Charles XII of Sweden in the Great Northern War. The battle ended Sweden’s status as a major power and marked the beginning of Russian supremacy in eastern Europe. This was the inevitable defeat of trying to achieve too much with too little.Napoleon did not fare any better. The Grand Army some 600,000 strong marched into Russia in 1812. When the French Revolution had broken out (1789) there was little to indicate that within 23 years a Napoleonic Army would be treading the French Road to Moscow. In what was to become inevitable the West moved East. Thus, the die was cast. Napoleon obviously believed that he was invincible, and the Grand Army outmatched any other fighting force in Europe. But as the Scottish poet Robbie Burns reminds us – ‘’The best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglay.’’ (Translation from the Scottish Celtic – ‘go awry’)Napoleon tried 3 methods to bring Tsar Alexander to terms. His first plan was to win a quick military victory in these western lands by breaking through the Russian front using overwhelming force at the point of attack. He then hoped in crushing in turn each half of his opponent’s army. This plan failed because the Russians withdrew too soon.When Napoleon appreciated that his first plan had failed, he reoriented his strategy. His next step was to lure the Russian forces in attempting to give battle, but the Russians made a tactical retreat further and further into the inhospitable wilderness of marshes and forests of the older Russian lands. If the Russians would only stand and fight, he might well crush them. After all no enemy had ever survived Napoleons military and tactical genius in his set-piece battles. Be that as it may he was unable to persuade the Russians too accept such a battle until it was too late.From his arrival until the fall of Moscow Napoleon tried every stratagem to entice the Russians to give battle. In threatening the city of Smolensk and eventually Moscow the Russians did stand and fight in the Battle of Borodino in front of Moscow, but the unexpected toughness of the Russian armies prevented an outright victory for Napoleon.Moreover, things were now beginning to move against the Grand Army; they were no longer possessed of sufficient numerical superiority, and Napoleon was now too far from home to use the Imperial Guard, his last reserve, to snatch a victory. The Russian army remained intact, but Moscow, Russia’s ancient capital, fell into French hands.Now the problems for the French military began to mount as had the Swedish during their earlier debacle. In front of the Grand Army villagers abandoned their villages and set them ablaze, burning or hiding their supplies. Marauders and guerilla bands started to take a toll of all that passed along the slender French supply routes. The French needed to leave garrisons in every town along the Moscow highway, and the necessity of providing guards for all convoys sapped at the morale, sickness and fatigue caused by constant disease, dust, and intolerable heat. By the time that Kutuzov, the Russian commander-in-chief, offered battle at Borodino, it was too late for Napoleon to win a decisive victory. However, it was too early to stop the Russians to prevent the French capture of Moscow – the Russian army was not yet strong enough, but the wind was getting into their sails. So, all was not over for Napoleon yet.However, the fall of Moscow was not the be all and end-all of Napoleon’s campaign. In all his previous campaigns the fall of the enemy’s capital had brought about a decision – that is, a surrender. But the Russians were, however, playing from a different game-plan and did not react in the way that other European nations generally reacted, and they were quite prepared to withstand the loss of Moscow. The great conflagration which followed the French entry into the city only served to harden the will of every Russian to resist. The fall of Moscow was in fact the decisive finish to Napoleon’s campaign.The invasion and defeat of Russia was predicated on three main approaches. 1. Initially a quick victory in the opening stages of the campaign using overwhelming force. 2 A deliberate set-piece pitched battle, 3. And finally the capture of Moscow.In the first two methods he was defeated by the immense space of the Russian landscape and by the rugged determination of the Russian soldier, and in the third method by his failure to appreciate the determination of the Russian people.Now Napoleon’s options had come to naught there was only the long retreat from Moscow for the Grand Army which piece by piece was to fall apart in a rendezvous with its total demise.In 1941 Hitler and the German General Staff launched the invasion of the USSR which had been meticulously planned and prepared. Hitler was fully aware of the reasons for Charles’ and Napoleon’s failures. This was above all a political/ideological war and Hitler was filled with contempt for the Russian Army and the Russian population that his predecessors possessed in abundance.In the replay of Napoleon’s tactical demise and the rout of the Grand Army, Hitler’s Wehrmacht had defeated the Western European armies, with ruthless efficiency – the French and the low countries were forced to surrender, and the British chased out of the European continent only because they had a bigger navy than Germany as well as the Royal Air Force with the Spitfire being the most advanced fighter plane. Like Napoleon before him Hitler realized the key to success lay in the destruction of Stalin’s frontier armies before its slow mobilization could be completed. The German military concept of Blitzkreig i.e. ‘lightning war’ was a very different animal to the pitched battles of WW1 which in military terms had become archaic in this new approach to warfare.Now new technologies had mobilized warfare with the advent of railways, motor transport and aircraft. The wireless would make possible the efficient control of vast armies across the whole breadth of the Soviet Union (as it then was).Hitler’s initial strategy was both military and political. He needed firstly to destroy the Red Army and Communism, so that the military and political objectives were coordinated. The next step was the seizure of the unlimited Russian abundance of economic resources. But in purely military terms there was a certain sense of Déjà vu. In this context with the Soviet Army, Hitler, like Napoleon before, him made significant inroads into Russian space very quickly, but despite capturing large numbers of Russian POWs he failed to trap and destroy the main body before it was reinforced by the slowly mobilizing reserves from deep inside of Russia beyond the Urals. In addition, his endeavour to capture the centres of Soviet resistance was no more successful. Only Kiev and Kharkov fell into his hands, but Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad never succumbed.In this earlier period of the war the Wehrmacht was seemingly irresistible; but it became like Napoleon’s initial success, only to be locked into what was to become the usual pattern of invasion into Russia. In his drive for the acquisition of Russia’s economic resources Hitler did seize the industrial and grain producing areas of Ukraine, but by his efforts to seize the oil of the Caucasus he lay himself open to the first counter offensive by the fully mobilized Red Army.Hitler’s solution to this strategic problem showed a characteristic under-estimate of the strength of the Russian Army and an overestimation of his own resources. ‘’He decided to hold the Army groups North and Centre on the defensive whilst he deployed all his strength in the sector of Army Group South. Using the great bend of the Don to protect his northern flank between the Don and the Volga near Stalingrad. From here he could either attack southwards into the Caucasus, and possibly into the middle east to join hands with Rommel.’’ (Seven Roads to Moscow – p.290) But this was rather wishful thinking since by this time the Anglo-American forces were in North Africa as well as their navies in the Atlantic and Pacific this in addition to the US/UK bombing offensive which had started in earnest against German cities.The German 6th Army, in triumphalist mode, Paris – 1940The German 6th Army had advanced in the southern part of the Ukraine and had crossed 3 rivers, the Dnieper, the Don, and the Volga, it had arrived in Stalingrad in the shape of the 6th Army, in the same way as it had when it entered Paris in 1940. But the outcome was rather different. By 1942 the German offensive had stalled in Stalingrad.In the bitter fighting in the city, the Wehrmacht was halted in its tracks and unable to move forward but its flanks were exposed and vulnerable to a Russian counterattack. The line of defence was manned by Romanian and Hungarian forces of dubious quality and loyalty. The Russian counterattack became inevitable and so it worked out when the Russians broke through the Romanian defences and completed the encirclement (or Cauldron) as the Russians now call them.This changed the whole character of WW2. The Red Army battled all the way to Berlin as well as hooking up with British and American forces coming from the other direction. The war was, apart from the American Japanese conflict in the Pacific and the British-Japanese conflict in Malaya and Burma, was effectively over.‘’Post-war vital economic objectives for Russia were equally hard to choose, since Russia’s bitter experiences of invasions from the West had taught her to move and develop her industries further and further eastwards as the ranges of western European Armies had increased. The gradual move to the East started with Five Year Plans before the German invasion. Hitler’s attack only accelerated this process. Industrial plants in areas which were overrun by the Nazis, were often dismantled before the Germans could capture them. The dismantled machinery was then to be re-erected beyond the Urals.’’ (Seven Roads to Moscow p.315)ConclusionThe only lasting road to Moscow was the Viking Road of Rurik that provided the constructive services which the Russian people themselves wanted and for which they themselves asked.‘’Let us hope that no-one will ever be tempted to emulate Charles, Napoleon, and Hitler in imposing a military solution of a kind of which history has shown must fail, and which will bring nuclear annihilation to mankind.’’ (Jackson – Seven Roads to Moscow – p.319)In the Greek fable of Pandora’s Box, Pandora could not resist opening the box, but she opened the box, and several evil entities started flying out of it. These included hatred, envy, greed, disease, poverty, pain, death, and war. All these miseries of human life escaped the box and entered the real world. By the time Pandora slammed back the box’s lid, all the evils had escaped except for ‘hope’.I begin to wonder if we have in fact opened the box?

  • Will Western sanctions deal a fatal blow to Russia’s economy?
    by RT on March 27, 2022

    estimated reading time: 4 minDespite severe economic measures imposed on Russia over Ukraine, the situation might not be as bad as first anticipatedFILE PHOTO. The Vladimir Rusanov, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker ship, is seen following its arrival at the LNG terminal in Nantong city, eastern China's Jiangsu province. © AFP“We are crippling Putin’s war machine by denying him access to the money & support he needs to fund his illegal war." The words British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted, on Thursday. Her message would have scarcely been questioned by Western audiences, as it is perceived widely that in response to the situation in Ukraine, the US and its allies have indeed ganged up to impose severe costs on Russia. This has involved blacklisting many wealthy Russian businesspeople, often incorrectly referred to as ‘oligarchs’, freezing the assets of the country’s Central Bank, expelling some financial institutions from SWIFT, closing airspace to Russian planes, as well as many more sanctions.These collective measures have created the impression that the military offensive in Ukraine will ultimately cripple Russia before it can achieve its goals. But all may not be what it seems. Beyond the fanfare and triumphalism of Western propaganda – which has now arguably become an echo-chamber owing to the censorship installed against anything that runs against the US government's narrative on this situation – a more nuanced reality is beginning to emerge.This reveals that Western sanctions have failed to deliver the knockout blow required to fatally wound the Russian economy, or to upend any of its most important sectors. While bruised, Moscow is in a stronger position than they would like to admit.Despite all the hype about newly-found unity, the European Union, at least at the moment, does not have the political capital, will, or strength to impose an embargo on the import of Russian oil and gas, one of key revenue sources for Moscow. Despite some of the more hawkish members of the bloc in the East demanding this, the economic consequences of a Russian energy ban seem to have have rendered consensus impossible and Germany, and Hungary, have publicly placed the brakes on such measures, warning of a potential economic catastrophe.Although the hope of far-flung deals with Qatar and the United States as alternatives has been thrown around, the geographic distance and inconvenience of such vendors means feasibility is questionable and prices will be considerably more expensive. This proposal has not eased the anxiety concerning the markets, which along with the conflict has led to a global surge in natural gas and crude oil prices.This, of course, is a gain for Moscow. Identifying the European Union's strategic weakness, this has allowed Russia to strike back with a countermeasure. President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday that his country would accept payment for gas exports to “unfriendly countries” in rubles only. A decision which sent natural gas prices skyrocketing again. It effectively means that countries in Europe dependent on Russian gas would have to purchase Russia’s currency first, strengthening its role in international markets, and in turn, driving up the value of the ruble. Following the announcement, the Russian currency grew rapidly to a three-week high of 95 rubles against the dollar and has since settled at 96, over the weekend. Earlier this month, the ruble plunged to historic lows of 132 rubles per dollar and 147 rubles per euro, on forex markets. Before the launch of the military operation in February, the exchange rate was around 75 rubles a dollar and 85 rubles to a euro.All this demonstrates that Russia’s economic situation is almost certainly not as bad as initially expected.In addition, the US and its allies have not achieved the global isolation of Russia’s economy to the extent they claim. Western commentary has an annoying habit of exaggerating disapproval from the West alone as representing the will of the ‘international community’ or affirming ‘international isolation’. As two critical examples, the US and its allies have not been able to dissuade India or China from purchasing Russian oil and gas. On the contrary, despite US threats, India is now buying even more Russian "black gold." Persian Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have also been sympathetic to Moscow.Perhaps they are concerned that the same tactics may one day be used against them. Russia’s economy will undoubtedly take some hits from the sanctions, but one month since the start of the operation in Ukraine, its most critical sectors remain largely unscathed.The West ultimately cannot completely ban Russian oil and gas without unleashing a catastrophe in the global markets which would induce massive collateral damage, hence why US reportedly resorted to asking Nicolas Maduro – the leader of Venezuela, who they have attempted to depose – to increase oil supplies. This gives Russia time, money, and space to reorientate its economy away from the West, including diversifying its currency transactions, building new industries, affirming its strategic independence, and finding new markets. India and China will play the biggest roles in this, but Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and many countries in Latin America and Africa will also be important. 

  • Hunter Biden helped secure funds for US biolab contractor in Ukraine: e-mails
    by Jon Levine on March 27, 2022

    estimated reading time: 4 min More On: hunter biden Donald Trump: NY Times ‘finally admitted’ Hunter Biden’s laptop is real Beau Biden Foundation rakes in millions, spends a fraction on helping kids Hunter or prey? House Republicans will subpoena Hunter Biden KBJ’s ‘woman’ problem and other commentary Russia’s assertion that President Biden’s son Hunter was “financing . . . biological laboratories in Ukraine” was based in truth, according to e-mails reviewed by The Post. A trove of e-mails on Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop — the existence of which was exclusively reported by The Post in October 2020 — found that he played a role in helping a California defense contractor analyze killer diseases and bioweapons in Ukraine. Moscow has claimed that secret American biological-warfare labs in Ukraine were a justification for its unprovoked invasion of the neighboring country last month. It doubled down on the accusations Thursday, claiming the labs produced biochemical weapons at the Biden family’s behest. “US President Joe Biden himself is involved in the creation of biolaboratories in Ukraine,” Russia’s State Duma speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin said, according to state media. Hunter Biden funded research for the United States’ military biological program, Russia’s State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said.Hunter Biden“An investment fund run by his sun [sic] Hunter Biden funded research and the implementation of the United States’ military biological program. It is obvious that Joe Biden, as his father and the head of state, was aware of that activity,” Volodin continued, demanding a US Congressional investigation and a White House explanation. US intelligence officials had earlier dismissed Russia’s messaging as war propaganda, explaining that Ukraine’s network of biological labs dedicated to pathogen research were not secret, and had publicly received funding from Washington. However, Russia’s new claim that the first son’s investment fund was involved in raising money for biolab projects in Ukraine was accurate, according to e-mails involving Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine, first obtained by The Post and initially reported on by The Daily Mail Friday. Vyacheslav Volodin believes President Joe Biden is involved in the creation of bio-laboratories in Ukraine.ZUMAPRESS.comRosemont Seneca Technology Partners invested $500,000 in the San Francisco pathogen research company Metabiota and raised millions more through firms that included Goldman Sachs, according to the e-mails found on the computer, which was abandoned at a Delaware repair shop in April 2019 as Joe Biden ran for president. Hunter introduced Metabiota to officials at Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company where he was a board member, for a “science project” involving biolabs in Ukraine, the e-mails show. A memo from a Metabiota official to the then-vice president’s son in 2014 said the company could “assert Ukraine’s cultural and economic independence from Russia.” The speculation around President Biden being aware of Hunter Biden’s activity prompted Vyacheslav Volodin to demand a US Congressional investigation.Hunter BidenMetabiota vice president Mary Guttieri also wrote to Hunter about geopolitical issues involving the company’s research in the former Soviet republic in April 2014, two months after Russia invaded and annexed the Crimea region. “As promised, I’ve prepared the attached memo, which provides an overview of Metabiota, our engagement in Ukraine, and how we can potentially leverage our team, networks, and concepts to assert Ukraine’s cultural and economic independence from Russia and continued integration into Western society,” her memo read. Days later, Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi wrote to Biden about a “as you called ‘Science Ukraine’ project.” “As I understand the Metabiota was a subcontract to principal contactor of the DoD B&V [engineering firm Black & Veatch],” his e-mail read. “What kind of partnership Metabiota is looking for in Ukraine?” Vadym Pozharskyi wrote to President Biden saying, “as you called ‘Science Ukraine’ project” after Mary Guttieri wrote to Hunter Biden about geopolitical issues.Bella BelliniThe US awarded $23.9 million to Metabiota later in 2014, with $307,091 allocated for a “Ukrainian research projects,” government spending records showed. The younger Biden bragged to investors that his company organized funding for Metabiota and helped it “get new customers” including “government agencies,” according to e-mails. B&V had been commissioned in 2010 by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency to build a lab in Odessa, to “enhance the government’s existing surveillance systems to detect, report and respond to bioterrorism attacks, epidemics and potential pandemics,” the company’s website said. A view shows the building that houses an office of a subsidiary of the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, in Kiev, Ukraine.REUTERSHunter Biden’s ventures raised the eyebrows of a former CIA officer. “His father was the vice president of the United States and in charge of relations with Ukraine. So why was Hunter not only on the board of a suspect Ukrainian gas firm, but also hooked them up with a company working on bioweapons research?,” Sam Faddis told the Mail. ‘It’s an obvious Russian propaganda attempt to take advantage of this. But it doesn’t change the fact that there does seem to be something that needs to be explored here. “Why is Hunter Biden in the middle of all this? Why is the disgraced son of the vice president at the heart of this – the guy with no discernible skills and a cocaine habit?” Hunter Biden, 52, remains under federal investigation for possible tax fraud. The probe broadened in 2018 to look into how his international business dealings as a lobbyist and investor dovetailed with his father’s political career. He has denied allegations of impropriety.

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