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The Fantasy of Fanaticism

Despite what some “defense analysts” may be telling Western media, the longer the war continues, the more Ukrainians will die and the weaker NATO will become.

By Scott Ritter | Consortium News | June 25, 2022

For a moment in time, it looked as if reality had managed to finally carve its way through the dense fog of propaganda-driven misinformation that had dominated Western media coverage of Russia’s “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine.

In a stunning admission, Oleksandr Danylyuk, a former senior adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and Intelligence Services, noted that the optimism that existed in Ukraine following Russia’s decision to terminate “Phase One” of the SMO (a major military feint toward Kiev), and begin “Phase Two” (the liberation of the Donbass), was no longer warranted. “The strategies and tactics of the Russians are completely different right now,” Danylyuk noted. “They are being much more successful. They have more resources than us and they are not in a rush.”

“There’s much less space for optimism right now,” Danylyuk concluded.

In short, Russia was winning.

Danylyuk’s conclusions were not derived from some esoteric analysis drawn from Sun Tzu or Clausewitz, but rather basic military math. In a war that had become increasingly dominated by the role of artillery, Russia simply was able to bring to bear on the battlefield more firepower than Ukraine.

Oleksandr Danylyuk in 2015. (CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Ukraine started the current conflict with an artillery inventory that included 540 122mm self-propelled artillery guns, 200 towed 122mm howitzers, 200 122mm multiple-rocket launch systems, 53 152mm self-propelled guns, 310 towed 152mm howitzers, and 96 203mm self-propelled guns, for approximately 1,200 artillery and 200 MLRS systems.

For the past 100-plus days, Russia has been relentlessly targeting both Ukraine’s artillery pieces and their associated ammunition storage facilities. By June 14, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that it had destroyed “521 installation of multiple launch rocket systems” and “1947 field artillery guns and mortars.”

Even if the Russian numbers are inflated (as is usually the case when it comes to wartime battle damage assessments), the bottom line is that Ukraine has suffered significant losses among the very weapons systems — artillery — which are needed most in countering the Russian invasion.

But even if Ukraine’s arsenal of Soviet-era 122mm and 152mm artillery pieces were still combat-worthy, the reality is that, according to Danylyuk, Ukraine has almost completely run out of ammunition for these systems and the stocks of ammunition sourced from the former Soviet-bloc Eastern European countries that used the same family of weapons have been depleted.

Ukraine is left doling out what is left of its former Soviet ammunition while trying to absorb modern Western 155mm artillery systems, such as the Caesar self-propelled gun from France and the U.S.-made M777 howitzer.

But the reduced capability means that Ukraine is only able to fire some 4,000-to-5,000 artillery rounds per day, while Russia responds with more than 50,000. This 10-fold disparity in firepower has proven to be one of the most decisive factors when it comes to the war in Ukraine, enabling Russia to destroy Ukrainian defensive positions with minimal risk to its own ground forces.

Casualties

This has led to a second level of military math imbalances, that being casualties.

Mykhaylo Podolyak, a senior aid to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, recently estimated that Ukraine was losing between 100 and 200 soldiers a day on the frontlines with Russia, and another 500 or so wounded. These are unsustainable losses, brought on by the ongoing disparity in combat capability between Russia and Ukraine symbolized, but not limited to, artillery.

In recognition of this reality, NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg announced that Ukraine will more than likely have to make territorial concessions to Russia as part of any potential peace agreement, asking,

“what price are you willing to pay for peace? How much territory, how much independence, how much sovereignty… are you willing to sacrifice for peace?”

Stoltenberg, speaking in Finland, noted that similar territorial concessions made by Finland to the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War was “one of the reasons Finland was able to come out of the Second World War as an independent sovereign nation.”

To recap — the secretary general of the trans-Atlantic alliance responsible for pushing Ukraine into its current conflict with Russia is now proposing that Ukraine be willing to accept the permanent loss of sovereign territory because NATO miscalculated and Russia —instead of being humiliated on the field of battle and crushed economically — is winning on both fronts.

Decisively.

That the secretary general of NATO would make such an announcement is telling for several reasons.

Stunning Request

First, Ukraine is requesting 1,000 artillery pieces and 300 multiple-launch rocket systems, more than the entire active-duty inventory of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps combined. Ukraine is also requesting 500 main battle tanks — more than the combined inventories of Germany and the United Kingdom.

In short, to keep Ukraine competitive on the battlefield, NATO is being asked to strip its own defenses down to literally zero.

More telling, however, is what the numbers say about NATO’s combat strength versus Russia. If NATO is being asked to empty its armory to keep Ukraine in the game, one must consider the losses suffered by Ukraine up to that point and that Russia appears able to sustain its current level of combat activity indefinitely. That’s right — Russia just destroyed the equivalent of NATO’s main active-duty combat power and hasn’t blinked.

One can only imagine the calculations underway in Brussels as NATO military strategists ponder the fact that their alliance is incapable of defeating Russia in a large-scale European conventional land war.

But there is another conclusion that these numbers reveal — that no matter what the U.S. and NATO do in terms of serving as Ukraine’s arsenal, Russia is going to win the war. The question now is how much time the West can buy Ukraine, and at what cost, in a futile effort to discover Russia’s pain threshold in order to bring the conflict to an end in a manner that reflects anything but the current path toward unconditional surrender.

The only questions that need to be answered in Brussels, apparently, are how long can the West keep the Ukrainian Army in the field, and at what cost? Any rational actor would quickly realize that any answer is an unacceptable answer, given the certainty of a Russian victory, and that the West needs to stop feeding Ukraine’s suicidal fantasy of rearming itself to victory.

Enter The New York Times, stage right. While trying to completely reshape the narrative regarding the fighting in the Donbass after the damning reality check would be a bridge too far for even the creative minds at the Gray Lady — the writing equivalent of trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. But the editors were able to interview a pair of erstwhile “military analysts” who cobbled together a scenario that transformed Ukraine’s battlefield humiliation.

‘Military Analysts’

They described a crafty strategy designed to lure Russia into an urban warfare nightmare where, stripped of its advantages in artillery, it was forced to sacrifice soldiers in an effort to dig the resolute Ukrainian defenders from their hardened positions located amongst the rubble of a “dead” city — Severodonetsk. [Ukraine forces withdrew from the city  Friday.]

Gustav Gressel in Berlin in February 2020

According to Gustav Gressel, a former Austrian military officer turned military analyst, “If the Ukrainians succeed in trying to drag them [the Russians] into house-to-house combat, there is a higher chance of inducing casualties on the Russians they cannot afford.”

According to Mykhailo Samus, a former Ukrainian naval officer turned think-tanks analyst, the Ukrainian strategy of dragging Russia into an urban combat nightmare is to buy time for rearming with the heavy weapons provided by the West, to “exhaust, or reduce, the enemy’s [Russia’s] offensive capabilities.”

The Ukrainian operational concepts in play in Severodonetsk, these analysts claim, have their roots in past Russian urban warfare experiences in Aleppo, Syria and Mariupol. What escapes the attention of these so-called military experts, is that both Aleppo and Mariupol were decisive Russian victories; there were no “excessive casualties,” no “strategic defeat.”

Had The New York Times bothered to check the resumes of the “military exerts” it consulted, it would have found two men so deeply entrenched into the Ukrainian propaganda mill as to make their respective opinions all but useless to any journalistic outlet possessing a modicum of impartiality. But this was The New York Times.

Gressel is the source of such wisdom as:

“If we stay tough, if the war ends in defeat for Russia, if the defeat is clear and internally painful, then next time he will think twice about invading a country. That is why Russia must lose this war.”

And:

“We in the West… all of us, must now turn over every stone and see what can be done to make Ukraine win this war.”

Apparently, the Gressel playbook for Ukrainian victory includes fabricating a Ukrainian strategy from whole cloth to influence perceptions regarding the possibility of a Ukrainian military victory.

Samus likewise seeks to transform the narrative of the Ukrainian frontline forces fighting in Severodonetsk. In a recent interview with the Russian-language journal Meduza, Samus declares that:

“Russia has concentrated a lot of forces [in the Donbass]. The Ukrainian armed forces are gradually withdrawing to prevent encirclement. They understand that the capture of Severodonetsk doesn’t change anything for the Russian or the Ukrainian army from a practical point of view. Now, the Russian army is wasting tremendous resources to achieve political objectives and I think they will be very difficult to replenish… [f]or the Ukrainian army, defending Severodonetsk isn’t advantageous. But if they retreat to Lysychansk they’ll be in more favorable tactical conditions. Therefore, the Ukrainian army is gradually withdrawing or leaving Severodonetsk, and upholding the combat mission. The combat mission is to destroy enemy troops and carry out offensive operations.”

Mykhailo Samus on March 27. (YouTube still)

The truth is, there is nothing deliberate about the Ukrainian defense of Severodonetsk. It is the byproduct of an army in full retreat, desperately trying to claw out some defensive space, only to be crushed by the brutal onslaught of superior Russian artillery-based firepower.

To the extent Ukraine is seeking to delay the Russian advance, it is being done by the full-scale sacrifice of the soldiers at the front, thousands of people thrown into battle with little or no preparation, training, or equipment, trading their lives for time so that Ukrainian negotiators can try to convince NATO countries to mortgage their military viability on the false promise of a Ukrainian military victory.

This is the ugly truth about Ukraine today — the longer the war continues, the more Ukrainians will die, and the weaker NATO will become. If left to people like Samus and Gressel, the result would be hundreds of thousands of dead Ukrainians, the destruction of Ukraine as a viable nation-state, and the gutting of NATO’s front-line combat capability, all sacrificed without meaningfully altering the inevitability of a strategic Russian victory.

Hopefully sanity will prevail, and the West will wean Ukraine off the addiction of heavy weaponry, and push it to accept a peace settlement which, although bitter to the taste, will leave something of Ukraine for future generations to rebuild.

June 26, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

An Iron Curtain descends on Europe and the USA

By Gilbert Doctorow | June 26, 2022

In recent weeks, I have received a number of complimentary emails from readers of my essays who took note of what they consider my even-handed approach to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian military conflict which is at variance with the fired-up Russophile and Russophobe positions that we find daily in alternative and mainstream media respectively. Some have gone on to say that they have profited from my reporting on the content and changing views aired on Russian political talk shows these past few months, all of which is rarely featured in mainstream Western news and analysis. My intent in such reporting was to ensure that at least some people here understand what Ukraine and its Western backers are up against, so as to better understand the course of the fighting on the ground and who may be winning.

In this context, I announce with sadness that the job of even-handed reporting has just become much more difficult as a result of Eutelsat’s implementation yesterday of a policy decision announced just over a month ago, but which went unnoticed by most everyone, myself included.

I quote from Google Search:

“Eutelsat to remove banned Russian channels. Eutelsat ready to immediately stop the rebroadcasting of the Russian channels RTR Planeta and Rossiya 24 on its satellites on June 25.  13 May 2022”

Indeed, the main state news channels of the Russian Federation can now no longer be received via satellite antennas here in Belgium or elsewhere on the Continent. They are partially and sporadically accessible on the internet via www.smotrim.ru but the level of interference from Western censors makes such viewing a dismal exercise. “Freezing” of frames seems to be most common with respect to the talk shows “Sixty Minutes” and “Evening with Solovyov,” two programs which I had been following and reporting on most regularly. However, it also is applied against Russian shows which might be characterized as being simply entertainment, such as the currently running historical serial about the life and times of the 18th century tsarina Elizabeth. I dare anyone to get more than a minute or two into the broadcast before the curtain comes down, so to speak.

The curtain in question is an updated Iron Curtain, which this time has been dropped on our heads by the powers that be in Washington. After all, it is Washington that pressured the French controlled Eutelsat rebroadcaster of television channels that dominates the European and other global markets to throw out the Russians.

The argument behind that demand was to exclude “Russian propaganda” from the airwaves.

In the spirit of fairmindedness with which I opened this essay, I agree that Russian state television is practicing propagandistic methods insofar as it withholds certain information from viewers while promoting other information favorable to its paymasters. For example, on Russian state television news you will not find a word about the civilian casualties and damage to residential buildings of Russian artillery and rocket attacks on Kharkov. You are shown only the civilian casualties and damage to residential buildings in Donetsk and towns of the Donbas caused by Ukrainian artillery and rocket strikes.

On the other hand, however, European and U.S. newscasts feature the damage caused by Russian strikes on Ukrainian towns while saying not a word about the sufferings of the Donbas population from military assaults by Ukrainian forces. Just as they have been entirely silent about such suffering and death among the Donbas population that Kiev has inflicted on them for the past eight years, since the outbreak of the civil war in 2014.

Each side in the Ukrainian conflict accuses the other side of using cluster bombs and other internationally prohibited weapons against civilian populations.  These accusations are put on air by Russian and Western news programs only as they are set out by their favored respective side.

My point is very simple: by silencing the so-called Russian propagandists, Western propagandists have the field to themselves here in Belgium, in the broader European Union and in North America. The possibilities for the public to form an independent view of what is going on are choked off, and with that there is no basis for informed policy discussion in the expert community. As The Washington Post so nicely puts it: democracy dies in darkness.

And what about the Russian side? Are they also cut off and ignorant as my remarks on coverage of casualties above might suggest?  I commented on this question in my travel report on my six week stay in Petersburg that began in May: Western news channels have been removed from the cable television distributors in the city. For this I blame not Russian government prohibitions but the commercial decisions of Western content providers who terminated their contracts with Russian distributors just as did the Hollywood studios. Meanwhile, Western stations remain accessible on the internet without interference and they remain accessible on satellite television.

At my dacha, I had no difficulty receiving the BBC and Bloomberg for free courtesy of my parabolic antenna. How long this will be the case given the tit-for-tat nature of the relationship between the West and Russia generally I cannot say. But if someone does pull the plug on Western ‘propaganda’ in Russia, it will be in response to the West’s dropping the Iron Curtain on Russia, not the other way around.

It is sad that Western leaders are destroying with their own hands the underpinnings of democracy at home through this censorship. The only likely result will be total shock and surprise throughout the Western world when the Russians complete their liberation of Donbas, take the Ukrainian Black Sea coast including Odessa and declare victory over what will by then be an utterly destroyed Ukrainian army.

In the meantime, under greatly constrained conditions, I will try my best to follow the Russian side of the story on talk shows, on news reports of Russian war correspondents embedded with their forces on the front lines, and to share with readers what appears to be afoot on the other side of the barricades.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

June 26, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Peaceful resolution of Ukraine conflict would cause global instability: Boris Johnson

Samizdat | June 26, 2022

The West needs to keep arming Ukraine instead of seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Kiev and Moscow, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told French President Emmanuel Macron, according to Downing Street. Any attempt to resolve the conflict peacefully will lead to global instability, he said at a meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Summit on Sunday.

The military action in Ukraine is at a “critical moment,” the two leaders agreed, but there is still “an opportunity to turn the tide.” According to the statement, Johnson and Macron have agreed to continue supporting Kiev militarily to “strengthen their hand in both the war and any future negotiations.”

The prime minister also cautioned the French leader against seeking alternatives to resolving the conflict.

The Prime Minister stressed any attempt to settle the conflict now will only cause enduring instability and give Putin licence to manipulate both sovereign countries and international markets in perpetuity.

Johnson took a similar stance at a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday. “Ukraine is on a knife-edge and we need to tip the balance of the war in their favor. That means providing Ukraine with the defensive capabilities, training and intelligence they need to repel the Russian advance,” a statement from Downing Street read.

On Sunday, Johnson tweeted that Ukraine’s “security is our security, and their freedom is our freedom.”

Ahead of the summit, London pledged an additional £429 million ($525 million) in guarantees for World Bank loans in 2022 as a form of financial assistance to Kiev. According to Downing Street, the UK’s total financial support for Ukraine, including loan guarantees, amounted to £1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) and the combined UK economic and humanitarian support for Ukraine amounted to £1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) this year.

Johnson has been one of Kiev’s most ardent supporters after Russia’s military operation in Ukraine began in late February. He has visited Kiev twice since then and repeatedly called on Western nations to provide more weapons. The UK is one of Kiev’s major arms suppliers, including heavy weaponry.

In June, Johnson warned that the West must brace for a long war between Kiev and Moscow. On Saturday, he said he would consider resigning if he has to abandon Ukraine at some point.

June 26, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

BRITISH “WATCHDOG” JOURNALISTS UNMASKED AS LAP DOGS FOR THE SECURITY STATE

By Jonathan Cook | MintPress News | June 21, 2022

Events of the past few days suggest British journalism – the so-called Fourth Estate – is not what it purports to be: a watchdog monitoring the centers of state power. It is quite the opposite.

The pretensions of the establishment media took a severe battering this month as the defamation trial of Guardian columnist Carole Cadwalladr reached its conclusion and the hacked emails of Paul Mason, a long-time stalwart of the BBC, Channel 4 and the Guardian, were published online.

Both of these celebrated journalists have found themselves outed as recruits – in their differing ways – to a covert information war being waged by Western intelligence agencies.

Had they been honest about it, that collusion might not matter so much. After all, few journalists are as neutral or as dispassionate as the profession likes to pretend. But as have many of their colleagues, Cadwalladr and Mason have broken what should be a core principle of journalism: transparency.

The role of serious journalists is to bring matters of import into the public space for debate and scrutiny. Journalists thinking critically aspire to hold those who wield power – primarily state agencies – to account on the principle that, without scrutiny, power quickly corrupts.

The purpose of real journalism – as opposed to the gossip, entertainment and national-security stenography that usually passes for journalism – is to hit up, not down.

And yet, each of these journalists, we now know, was actively colluding, or seeking to collude, with state actors who prefer to operate in the shadows, out of sight. Both journalists were coopted to advance the aims of the intelligence services.

And worse, each of them either sought to become a conduit for, or actively assist in, covert smear campaigns run by Western intelligence services against other journalists.

What they were doing – along with so many other establishment journalists – is the very antithesis of journalism. They were helping to conceal the operation of power to make it harder to scrutinize. And not only that. In the process, they were trying to weaken already marginalized journalists fighting to hold state power to account.

RUSSIAN COLLUSION?

Cadwalladr’s cooperation with the intelligence services has been highlighted only because of a court case. She was sued for defamation by Arron Banks, a businessman and major donor to the successful Brexit campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.

In a kind of transatlantic extension of the Russiagate hysteria in the United States following Donald Trump’s election as president in 2016, Cadwalladr accused Banks of lying about his ties to the Russian state. According to the court, she also suggested he broke election funding laws by receiving Russian money in the run-up to the Brexit vote, also in 2016.

That year serves as a kind of ground zero for liberals fearful about the future of “Western democracy” – supposedly under threat from modern “barbarians at the gate,” such as Russia and China – and the ability of Western states to defend their primacy through neo-colonial wars of aggression around the globe.

The implication is Russia masterminded a double subversion in 2016: on one side of the Atlantic, Trump was elected U.S. president; and, on the other, Britons were gulled into shooting themselves in the foot – and undermining Europe – by voting to leave the EU.

Faced with the court case, Cadwalladr could not support her allegations against Banks as true. Nonetheless, the judge ruled against Banks’ libel action – on the basis that the claims had not sufficiently harmed his reputation.

The judge also decided, perversely in a British defamation action, that Cadwalladr had “reasonable grounds” to publish claims that Banks received “sweetheart deals” from Russia, even though “she had seen no evidence he had entered into any such deals.” An investigation by the National Crime Agency ultimately found no evidence either.

So given those circumstances, what was the basis for her accusations against Banks?

Cadwalladr’s journalistic modus operandi, in her long-running efforts to suggest widespread Russian meddling in British politics, is highlighted in her witness statement to the court.

In it, she refers to another of her Russiagate-style stories: one from 2017 that tried to connect the Kremlin with Nigel Farage, a former pro-Brexit politician with the UKIP Party and close associate of Banks, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been a political prisoner in the U.K. for more than a decade.

At that time, Assange was confined to a single room in the Ecuadorian Embassy after its government offered him political asylum. He had sought sanctuary there, fearing he would be extradited to the U.S. following publication by WikiLeaks of revelations that the U.S. and U.K. had committed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks had also deeply embarrassed the CIA by following up with the publication of leaked documents, known as Vault 7, exposing the agency’s own crimes.

Last week the U.K.’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, approved the very extradition to the U.S. that Assange feared and that drove him into the Ecuadorian embassy. Once in the U.S., he faces up to 175 years in complete isolation in a supermax jail.

ASSASSINATION PLOT

We now know, courtesy of a Yahoo News investigation, that through 2017 the CIA hatched various schemes to either assassinate Assange or kidnap him in one of its illegal “extraordinary rendition” operations, so he could be permanently locked up in the U.S., out of public view.

We can surmise that the CIA also believed it needed to prepare the ground for such a rogue operation by bringing the public on board. According to Yahoo’s investigation, the CIA believed Assange’s seizure might require a gun battle on the streets of London.

It was at this point, it seems, that Cadwalladr and the Guardian were encouraged to add their own weight to the cause of further turning public opinion against Assange.

According to her witness statement, “a confidential source in [the] U.S.” suggested – at the very time the CIA was mulling over these various plots – that she write about a supposed visit by Farage to Assange in the embassy. The story ran in the Guardian under the headline “When Nigel Farage met Julian Assange.”

In the article, Cadwalladr offers a strong hint as to who had been treating her as a confidant: the one source mentioned in the piece is “a highly placed contact with links to U.S. intelligence.” In other words, the CIA almost certainly fed her the agency’s angle on the story.

In the piece, Cadwalladr threads together her and the CIA’s claims of “a political alignment between WikiLeaks’ ideology, UKIP’s ideology and Trump’s ideology.” Behind the scenes, she suggests, was the hidden hand of the Kremlin, guiding them all in a malign plot to fatally undermine British democracy.

She quotes her “highly placed contact” claiming that Farage and Assange’s alleged face-to-face meeting was necessary to pass information of their nefarious plot “in ways and places that cannot be monitored.”

Except of course, as her “highly placed contact” knew – and as we now know, thanks to exposes by the Grayzone website – that was a lie. In tandem with its plot to kill or kidnap Assange, the CIA illegally installed cameras inside, as well as outside, the embassy. His every move in the embassy was monitored – even in the toilet block.

The reality was that the CIA was bugging and videoing Assange’s every conversation in the embassy, even the face-to-face ones. If the CIA actually had a recording of Assange and Farage meeting and discussing a Kremlin-inspired plot, it would have found a way to make it public by now.

Far more plausible is what Farage and WikiLeaks say: that such a meeting never happened. Farage visited the embassy to try to interview Assange for his LBC radio show but was denied access. That can be easily confirmed because by then the Ecuadorian embassy was allying with the U.S. and refusing Assange any contact with visitors apart from his lawyers.

Nonetheless, Cadwalladr concludes: “In the perfect storm of fake news, disinformation and social media in which we now live, WikiLeaks is, in many ways, the swirling vortex at the centre of everything.”

‘SWIRLING VORTEX’

The Farage-Assange meeting story shows how the CIA and Cadwalladr’s agendas perfectly coincided in their very own “swirling vortex” of fake news and disinformation.

She wanted to tie the Brexit campaign to Russia and suggest that anyone who wished to challenge the liberal pieties that provide cover for the crimes committed by Western states must necessarily belong to a network of conspirators, on the left and the right, masterminded from Moscow.

The CIA and other Western intelligence agencies, meanwhile, wanted to deepen the public’s impression that Assange was a Kremlin agent – and that WikiLeaks’ exposure of the crimes committed by those same agencies was not in the public interest but actually an assault on Western democracy.

Assange’s character assassination had already been largely achieved with the American public in the Russiagate campaign in the U.S. The intelligence services, along with the Democratic Party leadership, had crafted a narrative designed to obscure WikiLeaks’ revelations of election-fixing by Hillary Clinton’s camp in 2016 to prevent Bernie Sanders from winning the party’s presidential nomination. Instead they refocused the public’s attention on evidence-free claims that Russia had “hacked” the emails.

For Cadwalladr and the CIA, the fake-news story of Farage meeting Assange could be spun as further proof that both the “far left” and “far right” were colluding with Russia. Their message was clear: only centrists – and the national security state – could be trusted to defend democracy.

FABRICATED STORY

Cadwalladr’s smear of Assange is entirely of a piece with the vilification campaign of WikiLeaks led by liberal media outlets to which she belongs. Her paper, the Guardian, has had Assange in its sights since its falling out with him over their joint publication of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs in 2010.

A year after Cadwalladr’s smear piece, the Guardian would continue its cooperation with the intelligence services’ demonization of Assange by running an equally fabricated story – this time about a senior aide of Trump’s, Paul Manafort, and various unidentified “Russians” secretly meeting Assange in the embassy.

The story was so improbable it was ridiculed even at the time of publication. Again, the CIA’s illegal spying operation inside and outside the embassy meant there was no way Manafort or any “Russians” could have secretly visited Assange without those meetings being recorded. Nonetheless, the Guardian has never retracted the smear.

One of the authors of the article, Luke Harding, has been at the forefront of both the Guardian’s Russiagate claims and its efforts to defame Assange. In doing so, he appears to have relied heavily on Western intelligence services for his stories and has proven incapable of defending them when challenged.

Harding, like the Guardian, has an added investment in discrediting Assange. He and a Guardian colleague, David Leigh, published a Guardian-imprint book that included a secret password to a WikiLeaks’ cache of leaked documents, thereby providing security services around the world with access to the material.

The CIA’s claim that the release of those documents endangered its informants – a claim that even U.S. officials have been forced to concede is not true – has been laid at Assange’s door to vilify him and justify his imprisonment. But if anyone is to blame, it is not Assange but Harding, Leigh and the Guardian.

EFFORT TO DEPLATFORM

The case of Paul Mason, who worked for many years as a senior BBC journalist, is even more revealing. Emails passed to the Grayzone website show the veteran, self-described “left-wing” journalist secretly conspiring with figures aligned with British intelligence services to build a network of journalists and academics to smear and censor independent media outlets that challenge the narratives of the Western intelligence agencies.

Mason’s concerns about left-wing influence on public opinion have intensified the more he has faced criticism from the left over his demands for fervent, uncritical support of NATO and as he has lobbied for greater Western interference in Ukraine. Both are aims he shares with Western intelligence services.

Along with the establishment media, Mason has called for sending advanced weaponry to Kyiv, likely to raise the death toll on both sides of the war and risk a nuclear confrontation between the West and Russia.

In the published emails, Mason suggests the harming and “relentless deplatforming” of independent investigative media sites – such as the Grayzone, Consortium News and Mint Press – that host non-establishment journalists. He and his correspondents also debate whether to include Declassified UK and OpenDemocracy. One of his co-conspirators suggests a “full nuclear legal to squeeze them financially.”

Mason himself proposes starving these websites of income by secretly pressuring Paypal to stop readers from being able to make donations to support their work.

It should be noted that, in the wake of Mason’s correspondence,  PayPal did indeed launch just such a crackdown, including against Consortium News and MintPress, after earlier targeting WikiLeaks.

Mason’s email correspondents include two figures intimately tied to British intelligence: Amil Khan is described by the Grayzone as “a shadowy intelligence contractor” with ties to the U.K.’s National Security Council. He founded Valent Projects, establishing his credentials in a dirty propaganda war in support of head-chopping jihadist groups trying to bring down the Russian-supported Syrian government.

CLANDESTINE ‘CLUSTERS’

The other intelligence operative is someone Mason refers to as a “friend”: Andy Pryce, the head of the Foreign Office’s shadowy Counter Disinformation and Media Development (CDMD) unit, founded in 2016 to “counter-strike against Russian propaganda.” Mason and Pryce spend much of their correspondence discussing when to meet up in London pubs for a drink, according to the Grayzone.

The Foreign Office managed to keep the CDMD unit’s existence secret for two years. The U.K. government has refused to disclose basic information about the CDMD on grounds of national security, although it is now known that it is overseen by the National Security Council.

The CDMD’s existence came to light because of leaks about another covert information warfare operation, the Integrity Initiative.

Notably, the Integrity Initiative was run on the basis of clandestine “clusters,” in North America and Europe, of journalists, academics, politicians and security officials advancing narratives shared with Western intelligence agencies to discredit Russia, China, Julian Assange, and Jeremy Corbyn, the former, left-wing leader of the Labor Party.

Cadwalladr was named in the British cluster, along with other prominent journalists: David Aaronovitch and Dominic Kennedy of the Times; the Guardian’s Natalie Nougayrede and Paul Canning; Jonathan Marcus of the BBC; the Financial Times’ Neil Buckley; the Economist’s Edward Lucas; and Sky News’ Deborah Haynes.

In his emails, Mason appears to want to renew this type of work but to direct its energies more specifically at damaging independent, dissident media – with his number one target the Grayzone, which played a critical role in exposing the Integrity Initiative.

Mason’s “friend” – the CDMD’s head, Andy Pryce – “featured prominently” in documents relating to the Integrity Initiative, the Grayzone observes.

This background is not lost on Mason. He notes in his correspondence the danger that his plot to “deplatform” independent media could “end up with the same problem as Statecraft” – a reference to the Institute of Statecraft, the Integrity Initiative’s parent charity, which the Grayzone and others exposed. He cautions: “The opposition are not stupid, they can spot an info op – so the more this is designed to be organic the better.”

Pryce and Mason discuss creating an astroturf civil-society organization that would lead their “information war” as part of an operation they brand the “International Information Brigade”.

Mason suggests the suspension of the libel laws for what he calls “foreign agents” – presumably meaning that the Information Brigade would be able to defame independent journalists as Russian agents, echoing the establishment media’s treatment of Assange, without fear of legal action that would show these were evidence-free smears.

‘PUTIN INFOSPHERE’

Another correspondent, Emma Briant, an academic who claims to specialize in Russian disinformation, offers an insight into how she defines the presumed enemy within: those “close to WikiLeaks,” anyone “trolling Carole [Cadwalladr],” and outlets “discouraging people from reading the Guardian.”

Mason himself produces an eye-popping, self-drawn, spider’s web chart of the supposedly “pro-Putin infosphere” in the U.K., embracing much of the left, including Corbyn, the Stop the War movement, as well as the Black and Muslim communities. Several media sites are mentioned, including Mint Press and Novara Media, an independent British website sympathetic to Corbyn.

Khan and Mason consider how they can help trigger a British government investigation of independent outlets so that they can be labeled as “Russian-state affiliated media” to further remove them from visibility on social media.

Mason states that the goal is to prevent the emergence of a “left anti-imperialist identity,” which, he fears, “will be attractive because liberalism doesn’t know how to counter it” – a telling admission that he believes genuine left-wing critiques of Western foreign policy cannot be dealt with through public refutation but only through secret disinformation campaigns.

He urges efforts to crack down not only on independent media and “rogue” academics but on left-wing political activism. He identifies as a particular threat Corbyn, who was earlier harmed through a series of disinformation campaigns, including entirely evidence-free claims that the Labour Party during his tenure became a hotbed of antisemitism. Mason fears Corbyn might set up a new, independent left-wing party. It is important, Mason notes, to “quarantine” and “stigmatize” any such ideology.

In short, rather than use journalism to win the argument and the battle for public opinion, Mason wishes to use the dark arts of the security state to damage independent media, as well as dissident academics and left-wing political activism. He wants no influences on the public that are not tightly aligned with the core foreign policy goals of the national security state.

Mason’s correspondence hints at the reality behind Cadwalladr’s claim that Assange was the “swirling vortex at the centre of everything.” Assange symbolizes that “swirling vortex” to intelligence-aligned establishment journalists only because WikiLeaks has published plenty of insider information that exposes Western claims to global moral leadership as a complete charade – and the journalists who amplify those claims as utter charlatans.

In part two, we will examine why journalists like Mason and Cadwalladr prosper in the establishment media; the long history of collusion between Western intelligence agencies and the establishment media; and how that mutually beneficial collusion is becoming ever more important to each of them.

June 24, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

India’s weapon diversification not a “humiliating blow for Putin”

By Paul Antonopoulos | June 22, 2022

India for decades has had a close cooperation with Moscow, which extends into the defence industry. With India attempting to rise to Great Power status in the context of the current multipolar system, it has also engaged in an ambitious effort to achieve a thriving indigenous military industrial complex through joint productions, which includes Russia. However, according to Western media, India’s diversification of its defence systems is a “humiliating blow” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Britain’s Express newspaper, with the title “India turns on Russia and strikes major deal with West in humiliating blow for Putin”, wrote on June 20 that India is beginning talks with the US, Israel and European countries for a new arms deal.

The article explains that “India is not a major importer of Russian oil and gas” but omits, according to Bloomberg, that the South Asian country has bought more than 40 million barrels of Russian oil between late-February and early-May, which comes to about 20% more than flows for all of 2021.

India imports 80% of its oil but usually only buys about 2% to 3% from Russia. With oil prices increasing following the Russian military operation in Ukraine, New Delhi has increased its intake from Moscow, taking advantage of the major discounts. In this way, India is rapidly becoming a major market for Russian energy, so-much-so that the country has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become India’s second biggest supplier of oil – only behind Iraq.

The article’s author writes: “Russia’s ability to influence European decisions due to its energy dependence has sparked concerns about relying too heavily on a single supplier.” However, there is no evidence or indication from New Delhi that Europe’s energy dependence on Russia has motivated India’s weapon diversification.

In fact, Javin Aryan in his March 2021 paper titled “The evolving landscape of India’s arms trade”, stated that: “defense transfers from the US to India declined by 46% as well. India’s goal, thus, seems to have been to cut its dependence on other countries for defence systems across the board rather than to pivot from one supplier to the other. This underlines New Delhi’s resolve to promote indigenous defence manufacturing and export.”

He then stresses that “India should find ways of becoming self-reliant that would not adversely affect relations with its partner countries”, naming Russia, France and Israel, as they are countries which New Delhi find “operationally, diplomatically, and politically unviable to sever” from.

In this way, India’s weapons diversification and indigenous programs is not a “humiliating blow to Putin” as the Express leads readers to believe, but rather a years-long stated goal that has been worked on, and even with assistance from Russia. More importantly, it is certainly not a reaction to the war in Ukraine and Europe’s energy dependence on Russia.

Rather, it is a lazy attempt to coverup the fact that the West has been humiliated time and again in their incessant demand that India ends its decades long cooperation with Moscow to impose sanctions and end energy imports.

“Furthermore, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has deepened relations between Russia and China, a neighboring country that India is continually in a border conflict with,” the Express article added.

Although the strategic relationship between Moscow and Beijing has certainly strengthened over the course of the war in Ukraine, the statement alludes that this has affected Russia-India ties. Moscow, New Delhi and Beijing, unlike most of the West, operate on principles of bilateral relations not being beholden by third parties. In this way, despite tensions that may exist between India and China, it will not spill over into their relations with Russia.

As the Express was alluding to Putin’s “humiliation” from India, Indian banks met with Russian banks, that are not under Western sanctions, on June 15 to facilitate bilateral payments. According to the Economic Times, these Indian banks will likely open accounts at their Russian counterparts and vice versa without violating the economic sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine war.

If these banks from both sides start engaging bilaterally, banking transactions can take place in any currency, including the dollar, euro, rupee or the rouble. A proposal of paying Russians in rupees was also discussed.

The British tabloid alludes that there is a crisis, or at least a looming crisis, in Russian-Indian relations. However, despite these allusions, deceiving Western readers does not change the facts on the ground that Moscow-New Delhi ties and cooperation is only expanding and not contracting just because India is pursuing its years-long stated goal of diversification and indigenisation of its defence systems.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

June 22, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

January 6: The show trial, the movie… and Liz Cheney’s dyspepsia

By Michael Lesher | OffGuardian | June 19, 2022

Not every piece of political theater openly presents itself as political theater. But these aren’t ordinary times, heaven knows – and the show trial that goes under the popular name “the January 6 Committee” has been nothing if not consistently over the top.

So it was appalling, but not really a shock, to note that when the committee’s ringmasters got down to serious public business on June 9, the first thing they did was to premiere their own movie.

And what a movie!

Perfectly timed to monopolize mainstream media for the evening, the committee’s production turned out to be…

an expertly curated multimedia experience unlike any Congressional hearing in history. With revelatory clips from the committee’s interviews with Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Bill Barr; never-before-seen and brilliantly edited footage of the rioters; and a wrenching live interview with a Capitol police officer injured in the melee.”

I’m quoting, word for word, from Jodi Rudoren, who used to recycle Israeli propaganda for the New York Times and is now (poetic justice?) reduced to gushing about a “multimedia experience” that – if offered at a genuine inquest, not a show trial aimed at stifling political dissent – could only have been reported as the national disgrace it actually was.

But grab your popcorn, folks! A movie is a movie; when has Trump-baiting ever been hampered by rules of evidence? Who needs facts when you can watch doctored testimony on a big screen?

Why ask about the legal definition of “insurrection” (a question that makes nonsense out of the committee’s putative mission) when you can sit back and enjoy “brilliantly edited footage” of the first “coup” that had to be synthesized in a cutting room?

And why even think about the only violent death that occurred during all the trouble – that of Ashli Babbitt, a slight, unarmed protester shot dead by a cop for no apparent reason – when you can hang on every word of that “wrenching interview” with a different police officer who was prepared to say exactly what the committee (and Rudoren) wanted to hear?

So much for the June 9 teleplay.

And yet, the worst part – for me, anyway – was that none of it was really a surprise. If anything had remained of the committee’s bona fides after it wasted ten months on procedural ballyhoo (who’s getting the next subpoena?… will he appear?… let’s make some headlines!), the last vestige of its credibility was trashed by the committee members themselves as they stormed TV political talk shows three days after airing their feature film to deliver their prearranged verdict against the former President.

According to Rep. Jamie Raskin, Trump was guilty because he said he had won the election when he should have known he hadn’t. “He had to have known he was spreading a ‘Big Lie,’” Raskin solemnly informed CNN’s “State of the Union” on June 12.

By that standard, I guess, you’d also have to bracket Al Gore with Hitler if it turned out that some campaign-trail bigwig whispered in his ear (Gore’s, not Hitler’s) that he probably didn’t get enough votes to carry Florida in 2000.

And Rutherford B. Hayes, who actually managed to reverse the results of the presidential election of 1876 on the basis of claims every bit as dubious as Trump’s – was he a traitor, too?

Or have I missed something?

But why quibble about logic? While Raskin was declaring bad political sportsmanship a federal crime, Rep. Adam Schiff was concocting an even bolder guilt-by-association theory on ABC, where he claimed that the committee’s hearings would demonstrate “connections” between “people in Trump’s orbit and white nationalist groups that participated in the attacks [sic].”

Asked how he could prove this, the Congressman sniffed, “You’ll just have to wait until we get to that point of our hearings.”

Schiff’s committee is supposed to have interviewed more than 1,000 people since last July, but of course it’s way too early to have any evidence to back up inflammatory accusations – though not too early to air them on national television.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Almost a year ago, I underlined how popular media had already fabricated the myth of the January 6 “coup attempt.” Within days of the protest at the Capitol, its participants had been demonized as – take your pick – “fascists” (PBS), “white supremacists” (CNN), or a violent “mob” bent on paralyzing the United States government (USA Today).

And everyone seemed to accept the dogma that the demonstrators, collectively, had staged an armed “insurrection” that only just failed to turn the United States into a right-wing dictatorship.

Indeed, typical of the early propaganda was New York Magazines accusation that the “goal” of the “mob” was “threatening or killing officials” of the U.S. government; The New Republic went so far as to insist that the protesters sought “the mass execution of Democratic politicians and prominent liberals” – although, of course, not a single politician was attacked on January 6, let alone “executed.”

For anyone who remembers what really happened, that distinction belongs to Ashli Babbitt – whose name is never mentioned by the January 6 committee or by the popular media breathlessly reporting its every pronouncement.

Judging from its opening night, the committee still expects us to believe that the protesters who entered the Capitol on January 6 fully intended to make corpses and to extinguish American democracy. It doesn’t seem to matter that only a handful of them have been accused of possessing “weapons” of any kind (most of which seem to have been flagpoles).

In fact, a grand total of one of those “terrorists” even thought to bring a gun to the “coup.” (And never drew it, according to police.)

Not to mention that if one riot at the Capitol amounted to an attempted overthrow of the government, you’d probably have to say the same thing about the violent protests that erupted after Donald Trump’s election victory in 2016.

And what about the Democratic members of Congress who tried to prevent the certification of that election by the Electoral College the following January? Needless to say, such questions aren’t being posed by the committee or in the liberal press.

But after all, the ringmasters have never relied much on facts; they prefer to ply their audience with emotional images and wait for it to salivate like Pavlov’s dogs.

Thus, nobody on opening night mentioned the old lie about Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick being clubbed over the head with a fire extinguisher by one of the “insurrectionists.”

Instead, the committee flashed onto a viewing screen a momentary freeze-frame of a policeman, supposedly Sicknick, holding a hand over his face while a “witness” gave a description of events that didn’t match the picture but insisted on Sicknick being “as white as this sheet of paper” as he held “his face in his hands.”

Did the poignant image we saw match the story the committee wanted us to believe?

It was awfully hard to tell from the ringmasters’ own video. And the whole thing was irrelevant in any case: there’s no evidence connecting Sicknick’s death the next day (from natural causes) with anything that happened at the protest. But who cared? The concatenation of images – Sicknick’s name, a covered face, the words “white as paper” – rendered truth irrelevant; it worked directly on the emotions of the estimated 19 million viewers for whom the histrionics were designed in the first place.

And that was just the beginning. The high point of Thursday night’s emotional blitz was that “wrenching live interview” with Caroline Edwards – the police “witness” whose testimony so moved Jodi Rudoren. And who, we may ask, is Caroline Edwards?

According to the committee’s program notes, Edwards – a Capitol Police officer who looks like an actress and whose background just happens to be “a career in public relations” – was “the first law enforcement officer injured by rioters” on January 6.

She also claims to have been an eyewitness to a gruesome “war scene” as the protest intensified outside the Capitol.

Which certainly made for some popcorn-munching theater on June 9. But one might have expected a former New York Times bureau chief (which Rudoren is) to notice at least a few gaps in Edwards’ performance.

For one thing, why did the committee choose a witness who admittedly saw nothing that happened inside the Capitol – where any actual “coup attempt” would necessarily have taken place? Why wasn’t Edwards mentioned by any of the four law enforcement officers trotted out by that same committee as its star witnesses to anti-police violence during the protest at its first hearing back in July 2021?

(At the time, one of those cops insisted he had been “tortured” by a crowd that tried to “kill him with his own gun” – claims the committee has not even attempted to substantiate since then.)

And why didn’t the committee’s video document the “carnage” and “chaos” in which Edwards said she was “catching people as they fell” and “slipping in people’s blood”?

But given the priorities of Hollywood – the ones that counted, apparently – that blurry apocalypse was more than enough to make the committee’s point. In fact, according to Rudoren, another set of images at the hearing upstaged even pretty Ms. Edwards. And since you probably can’t guess what they were, I’ll quote Rudoren once again:

[I]n some ways the most powerful images of the night were the expressions on [Rep. Liz] Cheney’s face…. Cheney wore a look of profound disappointment and deep distaste.”

The emphasis is mine; otherwise I have quoted Ms. Rudoren verbatim. And her message could hardly have been clearer. Forget the truth, folks. Forget about what really happened to whom. Forget even about that “multimedia presentation” the committee spent so much time fabricating. Just look at Liz Cheney’s face while the Wyoming congresswoman does all the looking for you.

After all, it’s entirely too passé to think for yourselves. Today we keep our mouths shut and take our cues from a politician’s facial expressions. Goodbye, democratic government; hello, Liz Cheney’s dyspeptic grimaces!

Which brings me to the real point of the January 6 committee proceedings. The partisan aspect of this show trial is too obvious to need emphasis here. But there’s a lot more to the theater than an attempt to disqualify Donald Trump from seeking political office – though, of course, that’s part of the mix.

At bottom, these hearings are a kind of morality play – a public ritual that both invokes Divine Justice and adumbrates where its verdict will fall. The show-trial-cum-exorcism that commenced on June 9, laden with symbols of threatened virtue and guilt by association, is designed to dramatize in miniature a totalitarian religion that divides Absolute Good (center-liberal government) from Absolute Evil (grassroots dissent).

The Biden administration has already made a point of defining its critics as nonpersons: white supremacists, enemies of democracy, the awful “unvaccinated.” Now hoi polloi are to be purged altogether of any temptation to challenge the machinations of the ruling class. The ultimate crime of the January 6 protesters was not, in the end, that some of them trespassed on government property, or that an even smaller number scuffled with police.

No, the protesters’ unpardonable offense was to cry, “This is our house!” as they surrounded the Capitol. And that’s why they have to be demonized: because, right or wrong in their protest’s specific objective, they believed all too sincerely in what Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg about “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” They were traitors – because they declared their faith in democracy.

That’s why the committee’s ringmasters are scapegoating every single man and woman who disputed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election as a racist or a proto-Nazi, even though only a small fraction of the January 6 protesters had any connection to the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Aryan Nations or Three Percenters.

That’s why the committee is pinning all the blame for the fracas on the few hundred protesters who entered the Capitol, while not even trying to challenge federal officials who allowed a disorganized bunch of unarmed demonstrators inside what is supposed to be one of the most zealously guarded buildings in the United States.

And this, mind you, despite the fact that General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – whose consent would have been required for the deployment of National Guard or military personnel to the Capitol on January 6 – told his aides (according to a newly-published book) that Trump reminded him of Hitler and that he was determined to see Joe Biden installed as President “come hell or high water.”

Bear in mind that Time Magazine (yes, Time Magazine), less than a month after the protest, could already report that a “conspiracy” between “left-wing activists and business titans” had managed to ensure that the Trump supporters who converged on the Capitol on January 6 “were met by virtually no counterdemonstrators” who might otherwise have had to share the blame for “any mayhem.”

Is it too much to ask of a committee supposedly dedicated to investigating the events of January 6 to hope it might inquire into whether General Milley, and some of colleagues, had anything to do with that “conspiracy” and whether they deliberately let the protest get just far enough out of hand to publicly discredit Trump and establish a pretext for demonizing all such protests in the future? The committee’s refusal to ask such questions only underscores its anti-democratic objectives.

And please don’t be fooled by the absence of any reference to COVID19 during the committee’s opening act. The COVID coup may not be in the foreground now, but it lurks just behind every surface.

The show trial we’re watching now was, and is, the culmination of a process that began in March 2020 when we were told the First Amendment’s right to assemble was a suicide pact.

It gathered strength when the governors of some forty states turned themselves into quasi-dictators, and neither the courts, the press, nor the political opposition did anything to stop them.

It took its inspiration from a series of high-profile frauds, from public muzzling to arbitrary confinements to “vaccine passports,” that for over two years have swindled citizens of basic freedoms under the false flag of “safety.”

Its systematic unscrupulousness mirrors the rights-busting propaganda blitz that has made social media off limits to unwelcome truth-telling and continues to demand that we dose ourselves, and our children, with untested drugs whose safety our government specifically refuses to ensure.

And once the January 6 protest is officially pronounced the work of Satan – as it will be when the committee’s work is done – the next steps will almost certainly take aim at the future of dissent.

Justin Trudeau has already given us a taste of that future with the police-state tactics he deployed to crush the truckers’ protest in Ottowa: scrapping civil rights protections by declaring an “emergency,” imposing outlandish fines on peaceful protesters, and “freezing” the bank accounts of anyone who contributed to the demonstrations or who even attended a protest.

That’s what you need to remember whenever you happen to watch a rerun of the January 6 committee’s “multimedia experience”: this process isn’t over. It has only begun. And it isn’t just about some unruly Trump supporters.

It’s about you.

This time, people who milled around in the Capitol lobby on January 6 got locked up without bail and slapped with federal felony charges. Tomorrow – who knows? Once Big Brother finds out that you once sent $25 to the wrong political cause, you might be the one behind the eight ball, condemned without a trial, unable to buy food or pay the rent.

And Washington’s next movie might end up featuring you among the enemies of the State.

Political theater, meet Theater of the Absurd.

No – ritual virtue-signaling, meet the short road to dictatorship.

Michael Lesher is an author, poet and lawyer whose legal work is mostly dedicated to issues connected with domestic abuse and child sexual abuse. His latest nonfiction book is Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities (McFarland & Co., 2014).

June 19, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment

British Army’s New Top General Tells Troops to Prepare to ‘Fight in Europe Again’, ‘Defeat Russia’

Samizdat – 19.06.2022

Russia and the UK haven’t engaged one another directly in battle since the Crimean War of 1853-1856. It was that conflict which became the subject of Lord Alfred Tennyson’s famous poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’, the disastrous cavalry charge against Russian troops during the 1854 Battle of Balaklava which nearly wiped out British forces.

Britain must prepare to return to continental Europe to fight and win a conflict against Russia, General Sir Patrick Sanders, the new Chief of the General Staff of the British Army, has said.

“There is now a burning imperative to forge an Army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle. We are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again,” Sanders wrote in a letter to the troops after taking over from his predecessor, Gen. Sir Mark Carleton-Smith earlier this week.

Sanders emphasized that he was the first British chief of general staff “since 1941 to take command of the Army in the shadow of a land war in Europe involving a continental power,” carefully wording his comment to avoid mentioning NATO involvement in the 1990s Yugoslav Wars, including the 78-day-long bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

The general suggested that the crisis in Ukraine highlighted the Army’s “core purpose” of protecting Britain “by being ready to fight and win wars on land.”

Sir Patrick’s sentiments have been echoed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who wrote in an article for The Sunday Times that the UK and its allies must “steel” themselves for a “long” slog in Ukraine, and that the West needs “to enlist time on Ukraine’s side.”

Separately, in an interview with Bild, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg similarly urged allies to “be prepared” for the Ukraine crisis “to last for years,” and stressed that the bloc “must not weaken in our support of Ukraine, even if the costs are high – not only in terms of military support but also because of rising energy and food prices” at home.

Sanders’ enlistment as Chief of the General Staff comes at a difficult time for Britain’s military, with the government announcing plans last year to whittle the regular Army down from 82,000 troops to 72,500 personnel by 2025 – its smallest size since 1714. The prime minister’s office assured that large land forces aren’t necessary in conditions of modern warfare, where smaller units supported by technology and electronic warfare tools are expected to do the job. It remains to be tested whether such logic is applicable to hypothetical conflicts with a large power like Russia, or limited to the kinds of operations the UK has engaged in in recent years, including the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the aerial bombardment of Libya in 2011.

Britain and Russia haven’t fought directly in a war since the 1850s, and were allies in both the First and Second World Wars, as well as the conflict against Napoleon in the early 19th century.

Russian officials have accused the West of sending billions of dollars’ worth of military hardware to Ukraine to prolong the crisis as long as possible, and “fight Russia to the last Ukrainian” through the proxy conflict. The Russian military has warned that it will destroy Western arms deliveries and foreign mercenaries.

June 19, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia | | 9 Comments

Running on empty

By Carl Friedrich | Free West Media | June 18, 2022

You have to repeat this over and over again for the simpletons in our politics – almost everyone – and for the dumb morons and notorious liars in the media: Russia has been fighting in the Russia-friendly part of Ukraine, i.e. in the Donbass, quite considerately for weeks now, because it doesn’t want to kill its own friends and destroy their land and property, which is about to be taken over.

The anti-Russian Zelensky junta in Kiev, on the other hand, for whom the Donbass is enemy territory, shoots and bombs everything without hesitation, destroying to their heart’s content, ruthlessly killing civilians there as hostages and their own compatriots, who are also “Ukrainians” in the Donbass, and then blames everything on Russia. And the western press repeats this fake news…

Thus, on June 13, the Tagesschau reported on the shelling of Donetsk, and stupidly and insidiously blamed the Russians for this fact and did not correct it. But why would the Russians shoot at themselves? Of course, the fact that Zelensky shot at a maternity clinic in Donetsk was not on state television.

Mariupol is also repeating itself. There, more than 2 000 Nazi Azov mercenaries were stuck in the bunkers of the Azov steel before they were arrested and taken away by the Russians as prisoners of war and war criminals. Some have received death sentences. And now similar numbers of extremists are sitting in the bunkers of the Azot chemical plant in the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk with hundreds of civilians they have taken hostage, hoping that they can escape under the protection of the hostages, because they are threatened with the same scenario from Russia. It is as clear as day that the Russians will let the civilian hostages go at any time.

Even with the reduction of gas delivery volumes through the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline to Germany by 40 percent, only half are reported. There are delays in repair work by Siemens, Gazprom announced. A gas compressor unit was not returned in time from repairs but that is rarely reported in the German media. Instead, the accusation is that Russia is using this as an excuse to blackmail Germany. But Siemens Energy confirmed on Tuesday that it would not be able to deliver gas turbines to Gazprom. Why?

For technical reasons, this could only be done in Montreal, Siemens Energy said on Tuesday. But then the Canadian sanctions came into play.

“Against this background, we had informed the Canadian and German governments and are working on a viable solution,” a company spokeswoman told Reuters news agency. And Spiegel Online reported on Tuesday that the German government was trying to get an exemption from the sanctions from the Canadian government. It’s so obvious, but some media outlets persist with the fake news.

Following the curtailment of gas supplies by the Russian Gazprom Group, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck has once again called on people to save energy.

In a video distributed on Twitter on Wednesday evening, the Green politician thanked the population and the companies for their efforts so far. At the same time, Habeck appealed with regard to saving energy: “Now is the time to do it. Every kilowatt hour helps in this situation.”

He said the situation was serious, but it did not endanger the security of supply in Germany. Habeck warned, “We have to be vigilant. We must continue to work in a concentrated manner. Above all, we must not allow ourselves to be divided. Because that is what Putin is up to.”

But who manoeuvred Germany into this ridiculous situation in the first place? Certainly not Putin! The sanctions seem to be backfiring quite spectacularly, while Germany pretends to be surprised that Russia is reacting.

Chancellor Scholz’s visit, who is currently in Kiev chumming up with the chief cokehead together with President Macron, saw Zelenski taking advantage of the arrival of his “democracy” supporters to dissolve one of the main opposition parties on the same day.

At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, President Putin was lucid about how the simpletons in the EU and US got themselves into this mess: “The sanctions regime was built on the fraudulent assumption that Russia is not economically sovereign. It appears that, planning their economic Blitzkrieg, they believed in their own propaganda about Russia’s backwardness.”

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 3 Comments

Rash of blood clots caused by… the heat?

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | June 17, 2022

Perhaps you’ve heard about the rash of blood clots in young healthy people, recently?

Well don’t you worry your silly head about it, they were caused by dehydration due to the hot weather.

Some of them, anyway. Maybe. Definitely the most recent ones, and certainly any you may hear about in the future.

Naturally, any reported spike in blood clots before the summer was nothing to do with the hot weather.

… that was the cold weather.

Or maybe it was a long-term side effect of Covid19 infection.

Or maybe it wasn’t a clot, it was just Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.

Or one of the 300,000 symptomless cases of aortic stenosis wandering around.

Or maybe they were suffering from “post-pandemic stress disorder”.

Or maybe there weren’t any deaths at all, and the fact-checkers have debunked all of that.

It doesn’t matter. Forget it. There’s no point even considering what may or may not have caused the blood clots that may or may not have happened in the past.

The point is, in the future, they will be caused by the hot weather.

And nothing else.

Have a good day.

June 17, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

Iran blasts IAEA for repeating old allegations based on bogus Israeli claims

Press TV – June 17, 2022

Iran’s nuclear agency chief has again blasted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for repeating old allegations against the country’s civilian nuclear program, based on bogus Israeli claims.

Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), addressing a press conference in the central Iranian city of Natanz on Thursday, said the false allegations made by the IAEA are detrimental to ongoing negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Now that the negotiations for [the US] return to the JCPOA [nuclear deal] are underway, the same old allegations are being repeated by citing fabricated claims made by the Zionist regime,” Eslami said.

He was referring to the UN nuclear agency’s mention of the so-called PMD (possible military dimensions) file on Iran’s nuclear program, insisting that such schemes will not help negotiations.

Eslami stressed that the reasoning behind signing the 2015 nuclear deal – officially referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – was the closure of false Western allegations about possible military applications of Iran’s civilian nuclear program under the PMD file.

He said the PMD file was supposed to be closed as a key condition for reaching the accord and lifting anti-Iran sanctions — based on extensive inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities and activities by the IAEA over the past two decades.

“We, in turn, accepted limitations on our nuclear activities and thereby yielded on our certain rights as well as accepted inspections on the condition that previous accusations would be permanently revoked and that we would be able to continue our activities under strict inspection and trust-building engagements,” the official added.

Eslami said Iran continues to operate under the IAEA regulations, while defending the removal of surveillance cameras functioning beyond the safeguards agreement, in reaction to the anti-Iran vote at the UN agency’s board of governors meeting recently.

Last week, Eslami slammed the IAEA for politicizing Iran’s peaceful nuclear program under Israeli pressure while disregarding Tehran’s extensive cooperation with the UN agency after the adoption of a resolution against Iran — drafted by the US and its European allies.

Eslami justified Tehran’s refusal to provide the IAEA with films of JCPOA’s monitoring cameras, stressing that the accord between Iran and the 5+1 countries will only exist as long as both sides remain committed to it.

“Today they want to return to JCPOA, but then raise the same old reasons for starting the nuclear talks. So we, in turn, did not grant them access to the film of the JCOPA cameras,” he stressed.

“Psychological operations, media campaigns and political pressures and controversies against Iran have never produced results in the past and will now remain ineffective as well because the PMD file was closed in the past, and reopening it will in no way help them,” he added.

He said Iran was in possession of “less than three percent of the world’s nuclear reserves” but still “more than 25 percent of [IAEA] inspections” were carried out in Iran, while the regimes that have waged wars against Iran have never allowed inspections of their nuclear facilities.

Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in his remarks on Thursday, also blamed the US for IAEA’s recent anti-Tehran resolution, insisting that the move was aimed at mounting pressure on Tehran to give concessions in Vienna talks.

Iran’s top diplomat made the remarks in a Thursday phone call with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, during which the two sides also discussed bilateral issues and regional developments.

Negotiations have been underway in the Austrian capital since April last year to restore the 2015 Iran deal, which the former US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned in May 2018.

After quitting the deal, Trump introduced what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign to bring Iran to its knees, a policy that has failed miserably. The Joe Biden administration, despite its initial pledge to reverse Trump’s hard-nosed measures, has failed to deliver.

Iran has cited Washington’s indecisiveness as the reason behind the stalemate in talks, as many key issues remain unresolved, ranging from the removal of all post-JCPOA sanctions to the provision of guarantees by the American side that it will not leave the deal again.

AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi on Wednesday advised IAEA director general Rafael Grossi to refrain from “complicating the situation” by making political statements after the UN agency called on Iran to resume talks before things get “much more problematic.”

“I amicably advise Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the [International Atomic Energy] Agency, to distance himself from making unprofessional statements of political color intended for media consumption,” Kamalvandi said.

“It is clear that if there is a technical issue, it should be presented professionally within the framework of the Agency’s duties and followed through its channels and the usual mechanisms of the Agency. Obviously, the arena for such interactions is not the media.”

Kamalvandi was referring to Grossi’s interview broadcast on June 12 on CNN, in which he made unusually menacing tropes against Iran.

Grossi sparked a controversy after he traveled to Israel and met the regime’s leaders late last month, just before the IAEA board of governors meeting.

The IAEA’s annual report, experts believe, was based on documents supplied by Israel about Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran has rejected as fabricated.

June 17, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russian Diplomat Refutes Reports About Moscow Transporting Ukrainian Grain to Syria

Samizdat – 17.06.2022

Recent reports claiming that Russia has allegedly been supplying Syria with Ukrainian grain are nothing but misinformation and fake news, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev told Sputnik.

On June 2, Reuters reported, citing Ukrainian Embassy in Lebanon, that Russia had allegedly exported 100,000 tonnes of wheat from Ukraine since the start of its special military operation and had supplied it to Syria.

“This is yet another fake, unconfirmed information, which is detached from reality. The main reserves [of wheat] are in the Mykolaiv and Odesa regions, and Russian ships do not have access to these ports because they are under Ukrainian control,” Lavrentyev said.

There are also no grain depots in the Russian-controlled port city of Mariupol, the diplomat added.

“Only recently — literally a week ago — the port was demined and brought to a more or less normal condition,” the official said, noting that “there can be no questions about a hundred thousand tonnes of Ukrainian grain.”

World leaders and international organizations have repeatedly urged Russia to allegedly unblock Ukraine’s sea ports and release the grain stuck in warehouses. Moscow has denied blocking sea ports and has drawn attention to the mines deployed by Kiev in the Black Sea.

June 17, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Why Won’t My State’s Largest News Organisation Look into These Vaccine Stories?

BY BILL RICE, JR. | THE DAILY SCEPTIC | JUNE 9, 2022

On June 8th 2022, I sent the following email to several reporters and one editor at al.com, which is the largest news organisation in my state of Alabama. I encourage other Daily Sceptic readers to send the same type of email to the major news organisations in their cities or states.

I don’t expect this news organisation to follow-up on my story suggestions and answer any of my questions, although I would be happy to be proven wrong. My main purpose is to create a record that shows that these reporters and editors are aware of many data points which strongly suggest that Covid vaccines are not ‘safe and effective’ (or necessary for children), and confirm that these ‘watchdog’ journalists will not share these types of stories with their readers. Nor will they pursue their own investigations that might corroborate (or impeach) these findings.

If enough readers participate in this similar experiment, this collective evidence (and the non-responses to our ‘story suggestions’) might provide strong evidence that the mainstream media are conspiring (or at least capitulating) in the cover-up of information that would debunk or challenge many elements of the alleged ‘settled science’ about Covid vaccines. In the opinion of this correspondent, such a finding – suggesting an obvious bias and censorship – would itself constitute an alarming and disturbing scandal.

Note: Story links and excerpts (several from the Daily Sceptic) are provided below this post.


Dear [journalists who routinely write Covid stories and an editor]:

I write to bring to your attention six articles that strongly suggest that Covid vaccines are not “safe and effective” nor necessary for many people. See story links below.

My real purpose in writing is to encourage al.com to do its own reporting to see if your reporters can confirm that the trends depicted in this quantifiable data are, perhaps, also being seen in Alabama.

Specifically:

  1. Are Alabama ambulance companies responding to more calls from individuals suffering health emergencies related to cardiac events than they did prior to widespread Covid vaccination?
  2. Are life insurance companies doing business in Alabama reporting more excess deaths in policy holders since vaccines became widespread, especially in the ages 18 to 64? What are these numbers?
  3. Are funeral homes in Alabama performing more funerals and cremations compared to time periods before Covid vaccines had been widely administered?
  4. Are doctors seeing more complications in vaccinated patients?
  5. Do vaccinated Alabamians now comprise the greatest percentage of PCR-confirmed Covid cases? Are the percentage of vaccinated patients being treated in hospitals now higher than the unvaccinated cohort (as appears to be the case in the U.K., whose data are much more comprehensive and transparent)? Are the percentages of deaths in older age groups (60 plus) now higher among the vaccinated class (as is also the case in the U.K. and other countries)?
  6. How many Alabama children under the age of 18 without serious pre-existing medical conditions have died from Covid in the past 27 months (this would be the mortality figure for ‘healthy’ children)? How many healthy Alabama children died from Covid in the first 12 months of the pandemic? Is death from Covid actually one of the ‘top eight’ or ‘top 10 causes of death of Alabama children in a given year (as has been quoted by public health officials and officials at pediatrician groups)? What are the top 10 annual killers of Alabama children with the number of annual deaths per year?
  7. If I wrote a 1,000-word article, listing several of the ‘accepted Covid narratives’ that I believe are false or dubious and why I believe they are, would you publish this piece?

I’ve come to believe that journalism or independent investigations that would challenge key parts of the ‘Covid narrative’ is not allowed at mainstream news organisations. Can you provide examples from your own reporting that would debunk or refute this theory? Is al.com going to follow up on these articles with your own reporting? If not, why not? Have reporters been told that certain Covid stories cannot be reported? Which al.com journalists have written any story that challenges or questions key parts of the CDC’s ‘settled science’?

Thank you for your consideration.

Bill Rice, Jr.

Supporting link and excerpts:

Stop All Covid Vaccine Booster Programmes Now For Safety Reasons, Says Heart Surgeon in Virology Journal“:

Virology Journal has published a letter from a cardiovascular surgeon, Kenji Yamamoto, setting out the case for ceasing all Covid vaccine booster programmes on safety grounds, calling Covid vaccines a “major risk factor for infections in critically ill patients”. His own cardiovascular surgery department at Okamura Memorial Hospital, Japan, has seen numerous complications in vaccinated patients, including some deaths, he says.

NHS reveals in FOI that Ambulance Call-Outs for Heart Illness have Doubled since COVID-19 Vaccination began among all age-groups“:

The National Health Service has confirmed in response to a freedom of information request that ambulance call-outs relating to immediate care required for a debilitating condition affecting the heart nearly doubled in the whole of 2021 and are still on the rise further in 2022. But the most concerning published figures show that they have also doubled among people under the age of 30.

Indiana Life Insurance CEO Says Deaths Are Up Among people Ages 18-64“:

We are seeing, right now, the highest death rates we have seen in the history of this business – not just at OneAmerica,” the company’s CEO Scott Davison said during an online news conference this week. “The data is consistent across every player in that business.” …

Davison said the increase in deaths represents “huge, huge numbers,” and that’s it’s not elderly people who are dying, but “primarily working-age people 18 to 64” … “Just to give you an idea of how bad that is, a three-sigma or a one-in-200-year catastrophe would be 10% increase over pre-pandemic,” he said. “So 40% is just unheard of.

Long Funeral Homes, Short Life Insurers? Ex-Blackrock Fund Manager Discovers Disturbing Trends In Mortality“:

On Wednesday, Dowd noted that funeral home company Carriage Services saw a 28% increase in September 2021 vs. 2020, and a 13% increase in August vs. the same period. Funerals and cremations are up 12% and 13% respectively on the quarter.

Unbelievable U.K. Vaccine Report Update“:

Already evident in previous weeks is that for all but the youngest group, the vaccinated were getting infected at higher rates than the unvaccinated … In several age groups, it would appear the double vaccinated are infected at four to five time the rate of the unvaccinated …

Looking at double (not triple) vaccinated, it appears they have higher rates of hospitalisation for all ages over 60, and comparable rates for ages 18-59.

In this case, the rate of death of the unboosted fully vaccinated is basically twice as high for the over 70 year olds.

For Majority of U.K. children, Covid Mortality is 0.000“:

Only six of the 25 Covid deaths in the U.K. in the first 12 month of the pandemic occurred among children without pre-existing serious medical conditions … This represents a mortality risk to ‘healthy’ children of approximately 0.0001%.

June 16, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment