Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Recent history sheds light on the Ukraine situation . Part Three- Denazification

April 30, 2022

Retired Swiss Military-Intelligence Officer. Is it possible to actually know what has been and is going on in Ukraine?
Jacques Baud, The Unz Review 02 Apr 2022


”………………………………………………………………….. Denazification

In cities like Kharkov, Mariupol and Odessa, the Ukrainian defense is provided by the paramilitary militias. They know that the objective of “denazification” is aimed primarily at them. For an attacker in an urbanized area, civilians are a problem. This is why Russia is seeking to create humanitarian corridors to empty cities of civilians and leave only the militias, to fight them more easily.

Conversely, these militias seek to keep civilians in the cities from evacuating in order to dissuade the Russian army from fighting there. This is why they are reluctant to implement these corridors and do everything to ensure that Russian efforts are unsuccessful — they use the civilian population as “human shields.” Videos showing civilians trying to leave Mariupol and beaten up by fighters of the Azov regiment are of course carefully censored by the Western media.

On Facebook, the Azov group was considered in the same category as the Islamic State [ISIS] and subject to the platform’s “policy on dangerous individuals and organizations.” It was therefore forbidden to glorify its activities, and “posts” that were favorable to it were systematically banned. But on February 24, Facebook changed its policy and allowed posts favorable to the militia. In the same spirit, in March, the platform authorized, in the former Eastern countries, calls for the murder of Russian soldiers and leaders. So much for the values that inspire our leaders.

Our media propagate a romantic image of popular resistance by the Ukrainian people. It is this image that led the European Union to finance the distribution of arms to the civilian population. In my capacity as head of peacekeeping at the UN, I worked on the issue of civilian protection. We found that violence against civilians occurred in very specific contexts. In particular, when weapons are abundant and there are no command structures.

These command structures are the essence of armies: their function is to channel the use of force towards an objective. By arming citizens in a haphazard manner, as is currently the case, the EU is turning them into combatants, with the consequential effect of making them potential targets. Moreover, without command, without operational goals, the distribution of arms leads inevitably to settling of scores, banditry and actions that are more deadly than effective. War becomes a matter of emotions. Force becomes violence. This is what happened in Tawarga (Libya) from 11 to 13 August 2011, where 30,000 black Africans were massacred with weapons parachuted (illegally) by France. By the way, the British Royal Institute for Strategic Studies (RUSI) does not see any added value in these arms deliveries.

Moreover, by delivering arms to a country at war, one exposes oneself to being considered a belligerent. The Russian strikes of March 13, 2022, against the Mykolayev air base follow Russian warnings that arms shipments would be treated as hostile targets.

The EU is repeating the disastrous experience of the Third Reich in the final hours of the Battle of Berlin.War must be left to the military and when one side has lost, it must be admitted. And if there is to be resistance, it must be led and structured. But we are doing exactly the opposite — we are pushing citizens to go and fight, and at the same time, Facebook authorizes calls for the murder of Russian soldiers and leaders. So much for the values that inspire us.

Some intelligence services see this irresponsible decision as a way to use the Ukrainian population as cannon fodder to fight Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It would have been better to engage in negotiations and thus obtain guarantees for the civilian population than to add fuel to the fire. It is easy to be combative with the blood of others.

4. The Maternity Hospital At Mariupol

It is important to understand beforehand that it is not the Ukrainian army that is defending Mariupol, but the Azov militia, composed of foreign mercenaries.

In its March 7, 2022 summary of the situation, the Russian UN mission in New York stated that “Residents report that Ukrainian armed forces expelled staff from the Mariupol city birth hospital No. 1 and set up a firing post inside the facility.” On March 8, the independent Russian media Lenta.ru, publishedthe testimony of civilians from Mariupol who told that the maternity hospital was taken over by the militia of the Azov regimentand who drove out the civilian occupants by threatening them with their weapons. They confirmed the statements of the Russian ambassador a few hours earlier.

The hospital in Mariupol occupies a dominant position, perfectly suited for the installation of anti-tank weapons and for observation. On 9 March, Russian forces struck the building. According to CNN, 17 people were wounded, but the images do not show any casualties in the building and there is no evidence that the victims mentioned are related to this strike. There is talk of children, but in reality, there is nothing. This does not prevent the leaders of the EU from seeing this as a war crime. And this allows Zelensky to call for a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

In reality, we do not know exactly what happened. But the sequence of events tends to confirm that Russian forces struck a position of the Azov regiment and that the maternity ward was then free of civilians.

The problem is that the paramilitary militias that defend the cities are encouraged by the international community not to respect the rules of war. It seems that the Ukrainians have replayed the scenario of the Kuwait City maternity hospital in 1990, which was totally staged by the firm Hill & Knowlton for $10.7 million in order to convince the United Nations Security Council to intervene in Iraq for Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

Western politicians have accepted civilian strikes in the Donbass for eight years without adopting any sanctions against the Ukrainian government. We have long since entered a dynamic where Western politicians have agreed to sacrifice international law towards their goal of weakening Russia………………. more https://www.sott.net/article/466340-Retired-Swiss-Military-Intelligence-Officer-Is-it-Possible-to-Actually-Know-What-Has-Been-And-is-Going-on-in-Ukraine

Recent history sheds light on the Ukraine situation . Part One

April 30, 2022

Retired Swiss Military-Intelligence Officer. Is it possible to actually know what has been and is going on in Ukraine?

The integration of these paramilitary forces into the Ukrainian National Guard was not at all accompanied by a “denazification,” as some claim.

Among the many examples, that of the Azov Regiment’s insignia is instructive.

Jacques Baud
The Unz Review 02 Apr 2022
I  Just recently I came across perhaps the clearest and most reasonable account of what has been going on in Ukraine. Its importance comes due to the fact that its author, Jacques Baud, a retired colonel in the Swiss intelligence service, was variously a highly placed, major participant in NATO training operations in Ukraine. Over the years, he also had extensive dealings with his Russian counterparts. His long essay first appeared (in French) at the respected Centre Français de Recherche sur le Renseignement. A literal translation appeared at The Postil (April 1, 2022). I have gone back to the original French and edited the article down some and rendered it, I hope, in more idiomatic English. I do not think in editing it I have damaged Baud’s fascinating account. For in a real sense, what he has done is “to let the cat out of the bag.” — Boyd D. Cathay

Part One: The Road To War

For years, from Mali to Afghanistan, I have worked for peace and risked my life for it. It is therefore not a question of justifying war, but of understanding what led us to it.

Let’s try to examine the roots of the Ukrainian conflict. It starts with those who for the last eight years have been talking about “separatists” or “independentists” from Donbass. This is a misnomer. The referendums conducted by the two self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in May 2014, were not referendums of “independence” (независимость), as some unscrupulous journalists have claimed, but referendums of “self-determination” or “autonomy” (самостоятельность). The qualifier “pro-Russian” suggests that Russia was a party to the conflict, which was not the case, and the term “Russian speakers” would have been more honest. Moreover, these referendums were conducted against the advice of Vladimir Putin.

In fact, these Republics were not seeking to separate from Ukraine, but to have a status of autonomy, guaranteeing them the use of the Russian language as an official language — because the first legislative act of the new government resulting from the American-sponsored overthrow of [the democratically-elected] President Yanukovych, was the abolition, on February 23, 2014, of the Kivalov-Kolesnichenko law of 2012 that made Russian an official language in Ukraine. A bit like if German putschists decided that French and Italian would no longer be official languages in Switzerland.

This decision caused a storm in the Russian-speaking population. The result was fierce repression against the Russian-speaking regions (Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk) which was carried out beginning in February 2014 and led to a militarization of the situation and some horrific massacres of the Russian population (in Odessa and Mariupol, the most notable).

At this stage, too rigid and engrossed in a doctrinaire approach to operations, the Ukrainian general staff subdued the enemy but without managing to actually prevail. The war waged by the autonomists consisted in highly mobile operations conducted with light means. With a more flexible and less doctrinaire approach, the rebels were able to exploit the inertia of Ukrainian forces to repeatedly “trap” them.

In 2014, when I was at NATO, I was responsible for the fight against the proliferation of small arms, and we were trying to detect Russian arms deliveries to the rebels, to see if Moscow was involved. The information we received then came almost entirely from Polish intelligence services and did not “fit” with the information coming from the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] — and despite rather crude allegations, there were no deliveries of weapons and military equipment from Russia.

The rebels were armed thanks to the defection of Russian-speaking Ukrainian units that went over to the rebel side. As Ukrainian failures continued, tank, artillery and anti-aircraft battalions swelled the ranks of the autonomists. This is what pushed the Ukrainians to commit to the Minsk Agreements.

But just after signing the Minsk 1 Agreements, the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko launched a massive “anti-terrorist operation” (ATO/Антитерористична операція) against the Donbass. Poorly advised by NATO officers, the Ukrainians suffered a crushing defeat in Debaltsevo, which forced them to engage in the Minsk 2 Agreements.

It is essential to recall here that Minsk 1 (September 2014) and Minsk 2 (February 2015) Agreements did not provide for the separation or independence of the Republics, but their autonomy within the framework of Ukraine. Those who have read the Agreements (there are very few who actually have) will note that it is written that the status of the Republics was to be negotiated between Kiev and the representatives of the Republics, for an internal solution within Ukraine.

That is why, since 2014, Russia has systematically demanded the implementation of the Minsk Agreements while refusing to be a party to the negotiations, because it was an internal matter of Ukraine. On the other side, the West — led by France — systematically tried to replace Minsk Agreements with the “Normandy format,” which put Russians and Ukrainians face-to-face. However, let us remember that there were never any Russian troops in the Donbass before 23-24 February 2022. Moreover, OSCE observers have never observed the slightest trace of Russian units operating in the Donbass before then. For example, the U.S. intelligence map published by the Washington Post on December 3, 2021 does not show Russian troops in the Donbass.

n October 2015, Vasyl Hrytsak, director of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), confessed that only 56 Russian fighters had been observed in the Donbass. This was exactly comparable to the Swiss who went to fight in Bosnia on weekends, in the 1990s, or the French who go to fight in Ukraine today.

The Ukrainian army was then in a deplorable state. In October 2018, after four years of war, the chief Ukrainian military prosecutor, Anatoly Matios, stated that Ukraine had lost 2,700 men in the Donbass: 891 from illnesses, 318 from road accidents, 177 from other accidents, 175 from poisonings (alcohol, drugs), 172 from careless handling of weapons, 101 from breaches of security regulations, 228 from murders and 615 from suicides.

In fact, the Ukrainian army was undermined by the corruption of its cadres and no longer enjoyed the support of the population. According to a British Home Office report, in the March/April 2014 recall of reservists, 70 percent did not show up for the first session, 80 percent for the second, 90 percent for the third, and 95 percent for the fourth. In October/November 2017, 70% of conscripts did not show up for the “Fall 2017” recall campaign. This is not counting suicides and desertions (often over to the autonomists), which reached up to 30 percent of the workforce in the ATO area. Young Ukrainians refused to go and fight in the Donbass and preferred emigration, which also explains, at least partially, the demographic deficit of the country.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense then turned to NATO to help make its armed forces more “attractive.” Having already worked on similar projects within the framework of the United Nations, I was asked by NATO to participate in a program to restore the image of the Ukrainian armed forces. But this is a long-term process and the Ukrainians wanted to move quickly.

So, to compensate for the lack of soldiers, the Ukrainian government resorted to paramilitary militiasIn 2020, they constituted about 40 percent of the Ukrainian forces and numbered about 102,000 menaccording to Reuters. They were armed, financed and trained by the United States, Great Britain, Canada and France. There were more than 19 nationalities.

These militias had been operating in the Donbass since 2014, with Western support. Even if one can argue about the term “Nazi,” the fact remains that these militias are violent, convey a nauseating ideology and are virulently anti-Semitic…[and] are composed of fanatical and brutal individuals. The best known of these is the Azov Regiment, whose emblem is reminiscent of the 2nd SS Das Reich Panzer Division, which is revered in the Ukraine for liberating Kharkov from the Soviets in 1943, before carrying out the 1944 Oradour-sur-Glane massacre in France.

The characterization of the Ukrainian paramilitaries as “Nazis” or “neo-Nazis” is considered Russian propaganda. But that’s not the view of the Times of Israel, or the West Point Academy’s Center for Counterterrorism. In 2014, Newsweek magazine seemed to associate them more with… the Islamic State. Take your pick!

So, the West supported and continued to arm militias that have been guilty of numerous crimes against civilian populations since 2014: rape, torture and massacres…

The integration of these paramilitary forces into the Ukrainian National Guard was not at all accompanied by a “denazification,” as some claim.

Among the many examples, that of the Azov Regiment’s insignia is instructive: see above

In 2022, very schematically, the Ukrainian armed forces fighting the Russian offensive were organized as:

  • The Army, subordinated to the Ministry of Defense. It is organized into 3 army corps and composed of maneuver formations (tanks, heavy artillery, missiles, etc.).
  • The National Guard, which depends on the Ministry of the Interior and is organized into 5 territorial commands.

The National Guard is therefore a territorial defense force that is not part of the Ukrainian army. It includes paramilitary militias, called “volunteer battalions” (добровольчі батальйоні), also known by the evocative name of “reprisal battalions,” and composed of infantry. Primarily trained for urban combat, they now defend cities such as Kharkov, Mariupol, Odessa, Kiev, etc……. more https://www.sott.net/article/466340-Retired-Swiss-Military-Intelligence-Officer-Is-it-Possible-to-Actually-Know-What-Has-Been-And-is-Going-on-in-Ukraine

Ukraine war – the Nazi factor

April 30, 2022

Make Nazism Great Again   https://www.opednews.com/articles/Make-Nazism-Great-Again-by-Pepe-Escobar-Azov-Battalion_Nazis_War-In-Ukraine-220325-46.html

BPepe Escobar  , 25 Mar 22,  

The 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.

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” city and using civilians as human shields were their most hardened fighting force.

A quick neo-Nazi recap

By 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 Fuhrer 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 sense

The 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 Nazis

The 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.

Charles Freeman -USA fighting Russia ‘to the last Ukrainian’. Interview with full transcript

April 30, 2022

UNMISSABLE – and in my opinion, the very best commentary on the Ukraine situation

23 Mar. Transcribed by Noel Wauchope, This is  Aaron Mate. joining me is Charles Freeman.  He is a retired veteran U.S diplomat who has served in a number of senior positions including as the Assistant Secretary of Defense and U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. 

Question, What is your assessment of the russian invasion so far and how the biden administration has responded to it?

FREEMAN A huge question. I thought in the run-up to this that Mr Putin was following a classic form of coercive diplomacy massing troops on Ukraine’s border issuing very clear offers to negotiate threatening indirectly to escalate beyond the border not in Ukraine which the Russians repeatedly said they did not intend to invade but perhaps through putting pressure on the United States similar to the one the pressure that the Russians feel from us namely missiles within no warning distance at all of the capital.

Of course Washington doesn’t have quite the significance in our case that Moscow does for the Russians but still I thought that was what was in store.  I don’t think his troops were prepared for it. There’s no evidence that they had the logistics in place or that the troops were briefed about where they were going and why and so it looks like an impetuous decision and if so it ranks with the decision of Tsar Nicholas ii the last tsar to go to war with japan in 1904. That had disastrous consequences for political order in Russia and I think this is a comparable blunder.

There are lots of things being said about the course of the war which is now about a months old and many of them are I think frankly tendentious nonsense for example it’s alleged that the Russians are deliberately targeting civilians but I think in most wars the ratio of military to civilian deaths is roughly one to one and in this case the recorded civilian deaths are about one-tenth of that which strongly suggests that the Russians have been holding back. We may now see the end of that with the ultimatum that has been issued in connection with Mario Paul where if I understood correctly what the Russians are saying, they were saying surrender or face the consequences and the consequences would be a terrible leveling of the city

We don’t know where this war is going to end . whether there will be a Ukraine or how much of a Ukraine there will be , what the effects inside Russia will be. There’s clearly a lot of dissent in Russia although i’m sure it’s being exaggerated by our media .

The war is a fog of lies on all sides. It is virtually impossible to tell what is actually happening because every side is staging the show the champion of that is mrZielensky who is brilliant as a communicator. It turns out he’s a an actor who has found his role and probably helps Ukraine a great deal to have a president who is an accomplished actor who came equipped with his own studio staff, who is um using that brilliantly and I would say Mr Zielinski was elected to head a state called Ukraine and he has created a nation called Ukraine he is he is somebody who’s perceived heroism has rallied Ukrainians to a degree that no one ever expected .

But we don’t know where this is going and more to the point the United states is not part of any effort to negotiate an end to the fighting. To the extent that there is mediation going on it seems to be by Turkey possibly Israel, maybe China that’s about it and the United States is not in the room.

Everything we are doing rather than accelerating an end to the fighting and some compromise seems to be aimed at prolonging the fighting assisting the Ukrainian resistance, which is a noble cause I suppose but that will result in a lot of dead Ukrainians as well as dead Russians.

And also, the sanctions have no goals attached to them there’s no conditions which we’ve stated which would result in their end. And finally we have people now calling, including the President of the United states and the Prime Minister of Great Britain calling Putin a war criminal and professing that they will intend to bring it to trial somehow.

Now this gives Mr Putin absolutely no incentive to compromise or reach an accommodation with the Ukrainians and it probably guarantees a long war and there seemed to be a lot of people in the United States who think that’s just dandy. It’s good for the military-industrial complex. It reaffirms our negative views of Russia it reinvigorates NATO. it puts China on the spot.

You know what’s so terrible about a long war – you know if you’re not Ukrainian you probably see some merit in a long war so this has not gone as anybody predicted, not Mr Putin not the intelligence community of the United States which extrapolated war plans from the disposition of forces on the ukrainian border. Not the way the Germans who are now rearming anticipated

It’s got a lot of shock value to it and it’s changing the world in ways we still don’t understand. I wonder if U.S intelligence extrapolated that Russia would invade based on the certainty that the U.S would reject Russia’s core security demands – namely neutrality for Ukraine and Ukraine not joining NATO and I’m wondering if their assurance that Biden would reject those demands – if that’s what made them all the more confident that Russia would then invade.

Question, And on that point about NATO, I wanted to get your response to some comments that Zeilinski recently made. He was speaking to Farid Zakaria of CNN and he made what that was a really telling admission about what he was told to say publicly about NATO before the war.

I requested them personally to take to say directly that we are going to accept or not NATO in a year or two, or just say it five and clearly or just say no. And the response was very clear you are not going to be a member but publicly the doors will remain open but if you are not ready if you just want to see us straddle two worlds if you want to see us in this dubious position where we do not understand whether you can accept us or not you cannot place us in this situation you cannot force us to be in this limbo.

So that’s Zielinski saying that he was told by NATO original members presumably the U.S. that we’re not going to let you in but publicly we’re going to leave the door open. I’m wondering Ambassador Freeman your response to that?

FREEMAN. Well those are two questions. First in my experience the intelligence community does not start from estimates of U.S. policy and I think what we saw was an order of battle analysis with the judgment as expressed at one point by Secretary of State Lincoln – that you know if we masked 150 000 troops on somebody’s border that would mean we were about to invade in other words mirror imaging. You know that’s what we would do therefore that’s what the Russians will do.

I think Mr Putin was surprised by being stiff-armed on the after all 28 year old demands that NATO stop enlarging in the direction of Russia that at root this is a contest over whether Ukraine will be in the U.S sphere of influence, the Russian sphere of influence or neither’s, and neutrality, which is what mr putin had started out saying he wanted .

What’s compatible with neither side having ukraine within its sphere? Whether that’s now possible or not I don’t know. I think one of the mistakes Mr Putin made in upping the ante was to make it very difficult for Ukraine to become neutral but on the question of what mr Zielinski was told Ithink this is remarkably cynical or perhaps it was not even unrealistic on the part of leaders in the West.

Zielensky is obviously a very intelligent man and he saw what the consequences of being put in what he called limbo would be – namely Ukraine would be hung out to dry and the west was basically saying we will fight to the last Ukrainian for Ukrainian independence, which essentially remains our stand . It’s pretty cynical despite all the patriotic fervor and I’d add .

I have heard , I know people who have been attempting to hold an inquiry in the West. It’s very depressing. really we should rise to this occasion we should be concerned about achieving a balance in Europe that sustains peace. That requires incorporating Russia into a governing Council for Europe of some sort. Europe historically has been at peace only when all the great powers who could overthrow the peace have been co-opted into it. A perfect example is the Congress of Vienna which followed the Napoleonic wars where Kissinger’s great hero met in it and others had the good sense to to reincorporate France into the governing Councils of Europe.

That gave Europe a hundred years of peace. Of course there were a few minor conflicts but nothing major. After World War One when the victors, the United States and Britain and France insisted on excluding Germany from a role in the affairs of Europe as well as this newly formed Soviet Union, the result was World War Two, and the cold war.

It’s really depressing that instead of trying to figure out how to give Russia reasons not to invade countries and to violate international laws, instead of trying to give Russia reasons for being well behaved, – with the use of force you take us back.

Question. In the 1990s you served in the Clinton administration at a time when there was a big discussion, big debate in washington over the future of European security architecture. This is after the soviet union had collapsed. Russia was never weaker. There were people, including inside the George H.W. Bush administration, who talked about pledging support for neutrality not trying to bring the former Soviet states into one camp or the other.

Ultimately President Clinton went with NATO expansion, went with violating the pledges that accompanied the end of the Soviet Union to expand NATO to Russia’s borders. can you take us back to that time and the debates that were taking place and how that’s fueled the crisis we’re in today?

FREEMAN. Well I actually had a good deal to do with the formulation of what became known as the Partnership for Peace and this was two things. It was a pathway to responsible application for NATO membership but it was and it was also a cooperative security system. Rather than a collective security system for Europe it left the members to decide whether they defined themselves as European or not so Tajikistan joined the partnership, but it made no effort to civilianize ts defense establishment or subject its military to parliamentary oversight. And it didn’t learn the 3 000 standardization agreements that are the operating doctrine of NATO that allow Portuguese soldier to die for Poland or vice versa so that process was the the question of what countries would have what relationship with NATO was left to those countries,which is what happened in 1994 and which was a midterm election year.

In 1996, which was a presidential election year was interesting. In 1994 Mr Clinton was talking out of both sides of his mouth he was telling the Russians that we were in no rush to add members to NATO and then our preferred path was the Partnership for Peace. At the same time he was hinting to the ethnic diasporas of Russophobic countries in Eastern Europe , (and by the way it’s easy to understand their russophobia given their history), that no no we were going to get these countries into NATO as fast as possible and in 1996 he made that pledge explicit.

1994 he got an outburst from Yeltsin who was then the President of the Russian Federation. In 1996 he got another one and as time went on when Mr Putin came in he regularly protested the enlargement of NATO in ways that disregarded Russia’s self-defense interests. So there should have been no surprise about this in 2018, For 28 years Russia has been warning that at some point it would snap and it has. And it has done it in a very destructive way both in terms of its own interests and in terms of the broader prospects for peace in Europe.

There really is no excuse for what Mr Putin has done to understand it is not to condone it

It’s hard for people to be objective about this and and they’re immediately accused of being Russian agents or let us just say the price of speaking on this subject is to join the pom-pom girls in a frenzy of support for our position and if you’re not part of the chorus you’re not allowed to say anything. SoI think that this has very injurious effects on Western liberties and it has enforced and almost Iwon’t say it’s totalitarian but it’s certainly a similar kind of control on freedom of expression.

So I think that what happened here was a combination of forces. There were those people in the United States w ho were triumphalist about the end of the cold war. There were those who felt that what they perceived as victory – think it was a default by the Russians but anyway the game was over. This allowed the United States to incorporate all the countries right up to Russia’s borders and beyond them. Beyond those borders in the Baltics – into an american sphere of influence and essentially they posited a global sphere of influence for the United States modeled on the Monroe Doctrine and that’s pretty much what we have. Ukraine entered that sphere of influence it was not neutral after 2014.

That was the purpose of the coup – to prevent neutrality or a pro-Russian government in Cuba and to replace it with a pro-American government that would bring Ukraine into our sphere since about 2015 after this is of course Russia reacted by annexing Crimea

Since 2015 we have – let me say about Crimea – of course Russia reacted because it’s major naval base on the Black Sea is in Crimea . And the prospect that Ukraine was going to be incorporating into NATO and an American sphere of influence would have negated the value of that base . So i don’t think it had anything to do with the wishes of the people of Crimea who however were quite happy to be part of Russia rather than Ukraine. So since about 2015 the United States has been arming training Ukrainians against Russia.

A major step up in in 2017 in that ironically because of Mr Trump , who was actually impeached for trying to leverage arms sales to Ukraine for political dirt on dividends. But at any rate it isn’t as though Ukraine was not treated as an extension of NATO. It was, and this had a good deal to do with the Russian decision to invade.

I understand that the Ukrainian forces, although they’ve lost their command and control , there are major units that are surrounded and in danger of being annihilated by he Russians. There are cities that are in danger of being pulverized. None of this has happened yet but the ukrainians do not lack weaponry. They have more than enough to deal with the Russian forces on a dispersed basis in there and they have shown themselves to be very courageous in defending their country with those weapons. A lot of them are dying for their country one can admire that and but one must also lament it

Question, I quote you. Elliott Cohen served as a counselor to Condoleezza Rice when she was the Secretary of State , and he writes this in the Atlantic magazine: he says the United States and ts NATO allies are engaged in a proxy war with Russia they are supplying thousands of munitions and hopefully doing much else. sharing intelligence. For example with the intent of killing Russian soldiers and because fighting is as the military theorist Carl von Clausewitz said –

a trial of moral and physical forces through the medium of the latter we must face a fact to break the will of Russia and free Ukraine from conquest and subjugation many Russian soldiers have to flee surrender or die, and the more and faster the better.”

That’s Elliot Cohen, former state department advisor in the Atlantic. I’m wondering what your response is to that, especially him calling just openly declaring that the U.S. is using Ukraine for what he calls a proxy war against Russia?

FREEMAN. Well Professor Cohen is a very honest man, which is to his credit, and therefore his adherence to neoconservative objectives is entirely transparent, and what he just said what you quoted him as saying, is consistent with the neoconservative objective of regime change in Russia and it’s also consistent with fighting to the last ukrainian to achieve it

I find it deplorable but I have to say it’s probably representative of a very large body of opinion in Washington. Why why does this view of Ukraine as essentially a cannon fighter against Russia why is it so prevalent in Washington. This is essentially cost free from the united states as long as we don’t cross some Russian red line that leads to escalation against us we are engaged as Professor Cohen said, in a proxy war, and we’re selling a lot of weapons that makes arms manufacturers happy . We’re supporting a valiant resistance which makes gives politicians something to crow about. We’re going against an officially designated enemy Russia which makes us feel vindicated.

Question, So from the point of view of those with these self-interested views of the issue this is a freebie and as someone with extensive experience in China you serve as President Nixon’s translator interpreter when he did his historic visit to China, I’m wondering what you make of China’s response to Russia’s invasion so far? And these warnings that they’ve been receiving in recent days from the Biden administration trying to basically tell them not to help out Russia or else there will be consequences?

FREEMAN, Well this has been fascinating to watch. The Chinese clearly agree with Mr Putin and Russian nationalists in objecting to NATO enlargement um having been subjected to foreign spheres of influence in the 19th and 20th century they don’t like them. They don’t believe Ukraine should be part of either the Russian or the U.S. sphere of influence they are the last citadel of Westphalianism in the world. They really do believe strongly in sovereignty and territorial integrity. Mr Putin went to Beijing for the winter olympics and had a long discussion with Xi Jinping the Chinese President and they agreed that NATO should not enlarge . There should not be spheres of influence and that the security architecture in Europe needed to be adjusted to relieve Russia of the sense of menace that it experiences. I don’t believe for a minute that mr mr putin told mr c that he planned to invade Ukraine. In fact he may have said he had no intention of doing it. I don’t know.

He may indeed have had no intention of doing it at that point, assuming that his coercive diplomacy was going to get a response. ut of course it got no response. It got an evasive set of counter proposals about arms control which didn’t address the main question he was raising which was how Russia could feel secure when a hostile alliance was advancing to its very borders. Anyway poor Mr Xi Jinping – he now has to straddle something he probably almost certainly had no idea was in prospect. On the one hand he can oppose spheres of influence and demand consideration for the security concerns of great powers as he does with regard to Russia and with regard to his own country. But on the other hand Ukraine is being violated .

So the Chinese have had an awkward straddle. The irony is Idon’t think this was intended, but inadvertently this has put them in a position where they’re one of the few countries that might conceivably mediate an end to the fighting. I noticed that recently the Chinese have played , emphasized heavily, the need for there to be negotiations to bring that fighting to an end at the earliest possible moment. That doesn’t mean that they’re going to end up mediating. Mediation is a very difficult thing, and often the mediation with two friends can end up with two enemies.

So this is not something you take on lightly. At this point however, I would just say nobody knows what’s going on. At least if anybody does know they’re not saying what’s going on between Russians and Ukrainians in the meetings that they are having. The Turks claim that the two sides are close to an agreement on various points. Lavrov and Cabela. the Ukrainian foreign minister. have both said something similar. But there is no agreement and it’s not clear at this point whether there can be an agreement by taking the land corridor from Donetsk to Crimea

Mr Putin has taken something that he probably will be very unwilling to give up and as I said you ask Ukrainians to accept neutrality when they’ve been battered around the way they have been and lost all the people lives and property that they have. It’s not at all easy for them so even though from the very beginning the solution has been obvious, which is some variant of the Austrian State tree of 1955 meaning a guaranteed independence in return for two things.

One – decent treatment of minorities inside the guaranteed state and

Second – neutralityfor the guaranteed state.

Question. This should have there from the beginning. This is still the objective as far as we can tell but it’s been made more difficult rather than less by the outbreak of war what’s your sense of the agency and the free reign that zelinski actually has to make decisions and the extent of u.s influence over him?

FREEMAN. One of the things that the late Professor Stephen F Cohen warned about it to me in 2019, was that unless the U.S steps up and supports Zielinski in his mandate of making peace with the rebels in the East then he has no chance because otherwise he’ll have to submit to the far right inside Ukraine who are very influential. Since then i’ve seen no indication there has been any sort of support from Washington for making peace with Russia. Trump of course was impeached when he paused those weapons sales. There’s that famous incident where Lindsey Graham and John m\McCain and Amy Klobuchar go to the front lines in late 2016 of the uUrainian military’s fight against the rebels in the donbas and Lindsey Graham says:

‘this is 2017 it is going to be the year of offense and Russia has to pay a heavier price. Your fight is our fight”All of us will go back to Washington and we will push the case against Russia. Enough of Russian aggression. It is time for them to pay a heavier price. I believe you will win. I am convinced you will win and we will do everything we can to provide you with what you need to win.”

Question. fast forward to when Biden came in. Time magazine reported that when Zielinski shut down the three leading opposition TV networks in Ukraine that was conceived as a welcome gift to the Biden administration to fit withtheir agenda so what do you think is the extent of U.S’s influence over Zielensky’s decisions?

FREEMAN. Zielenski was selected by a landslide not because of anything except – he wasn’t all the other candidates so his political capital very quickly evaporated and he really had no power to make decisions Whether there were other people behind him making decisions or that he mouthed or whether he was taking instructions from the Biden administration or the Trump administration or whoever is unclear.

But what it what is clear to me is that Mr Zielensky’s performance as the leader of wartime Ukraine has gained him enormous political capital. He has the ability now to make a compromise. It will not be easy as you indicated. There are elements in the coalition that supports him who are very right-wing and anti-Russian perhaps even neo-Nazi. And by the way anti-semitism is a disastrous aspect of Nazism but it’s not the definition of Nazism, and apparently you can be a Nazi and have and have a Jewish President and not feel uncomfortable about it. So I think this is a simplistic argument – well because Ukraine has a secular Jewish president who apparently doesn’t really identify as Jewish but is identified as Jewish this means somehow that there can’t be any Nazis backing him. It’s ridiculous.

Anyway it’s clear that Ukraine has been very divided in multiple directions ever since its independence and I’m sure those fissures continue to exist. Mr Zielinski however -has he really has empowered himself? I think if he gets backing from the United States and others here we have a problem

Not only do we have the statements that Putin is a war criminal and must be brought to trial -statements coming out of leaders in the West including President Biden but we also have people like Boris Johnson saying the sanctions have to stay on, whatever Russia does, because Russia has to be punished. Well this means russia has absolutely no incentive to accommodate, and it also means that Mr Zielinski has no freedom to accommodate

So this is the opposite of an effort to resolve the issue. It’s an effort in effect, whatever its intent, to perpetuate the fighting. And and that is going to be disastrous for the Ukrainians, for the Russians and and for Europe and ultimately from the United States

Question. You mentioned the neo-Nazi issue in Ukraine let me quote you from a new article in the washington post by Rita Katz. She’s the executive director of the site Intelligence Group. Her article is called ”Neo-Nazis are exploiting Russia’s war in Ukraine for their own purposes” . Not since Isis have we seen such a flurry of recruitment activity, and she writes this – in many ways the Ukraine situation reminds me of Syria in the early and middle years of the last decade. Just as the Syrian conflict served as the perfect breeding ground for for groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, similar conditions may be brewing in Ukraine for the far right. I’m wondering your response is to that as well?

FREEMAN. I think she’s got logic on her side. I frankly don’t know Ukraine personally well enough to know exactly what the definition of a member of the Azov brigade or other neo-Nazi groups is.

I think right-wing populism is ugly enough in our own country, to imagine that it’s even uglier in a country as divide as Ukraine and you know –

I don’t dismiss the whole thing at all because Ukraine has a horrible history of running pogroms uh first against Jews and then frankly against Russians , and so to dismiss the argument that there are people with violent tendencies and great prejudice, ethnic prejudices involved in this fight, seems to me to be wrong. So I hadn’t read the article you cited. I don’t know the the author but she makes sense to me.

Question. I’m curious what you make now of the allegations we’re getting from both the U.S and Russia against the other that the other side is plotting false flag chemical attacks. This has only surfaced in recent days

In the case of the U.S, it strikes me that they’re recycling a playbook that they employed under the Obama administration, which was there were people inside the Obama white house who wanted to put out the option of military intervention, and the red line was a good way to pursue that. I’m wondering if you think the Biden administration, especially the remnants of the Obama administration, Blinken, Sullivan and Biden himself , are recycling that playbook. I certainly hope not but it does have a resemblance to the probably false flag use of chemical weapons in Syria and it it almost worked in Syria?

FREEMAN. This isn’t the slam dunk there are real questions. There are the questions about whether this was the Turkish or Turkish and Saudi or whoever, was afalse flag intended to force an American escalation over Syria. It was only when that happened that it almost worked in Syria and this could well be a replay. From a military point of view, I can’t see any reason that the Russians would want to use chemical weapons. Usually they are a defensive device against a mass attack, but there’s no such thing going on in Ukraine. They don’t need chemical weapons. They have enough rightful weapons of other types without having to do that, so this does strike me as on its surface it’s suspicious.

Question. As the former U.S Ambassador to Saudi Arabia what do you make of their positioning so far ?There’s a lot of talk of them essentially moving closer with Russia. A lot was made that MBS (Mohammed bin Salman) refused to take Joe Biden’s call when he phoned him recently, and Saudi Arabia considering accepting payments for oil in the Chinese currency and the implications of that. yYur thoughts there when it comes to Saudi Arabia’s apparent shifting stance here?

FREEMAN. Saudi Arabia has been very ill at ease with its U.S. relationship for a long time. The affection that the Saudis once enjoyed in the United States from a limited number of people to be sure, has been replaced by mass Islamophobia. Saudi Arabia has been successfully vilified in U.S politics. Saudi Arabia’s assumption that the United States would back the monarchy against the tax on it from at home or abroad, was thrown into doubt when the United States rather gleefully saw Mubarak overthrown in Egypt. The United States is now the competitor for oil production and exports, no longer a consumer. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi and its attribution to Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, obviously does not endear him to us or us to him and so mr biden has refused to speak with him.

So at this point the Saudis have gone full bore, looking for alternative partners to rely upon and there is no single partner that they can rely upon. But they have every interest in exploring alternative relationships not just with Russia or China but with India and others and they are doing the same thing with the United Arab Emirates. Even if bound to the United States in the so-called Abraham Accords it has a reputation well deserved for real politique.

It too is crafting its own future and it is not prepared to mortgage that future to American policy especially when the common view in the Gulf is that the United States is retreating. So this brings us all to back to the Chinese the Indians the Brazilians, others who have not got onto the bandwagon hurling invective at Russia. I think the Chinese ambassador the other day it was – onto someone of the Sunday talk shows and to the extent they let him get a word in, he he said very clearly and I agree with him, that you know condemnation does not accomplish anything very much at all, and what is required is serious diplomacy, and what has been missing has been serious diplomacy.

There have been condemnations, there have been sanctions, there have been armed shipments to the Ukrainians from a remarkable range of sources by the way.

I mean it illustrates the extent of Mr Putin’s mistake that even Austria and Switzerland, two neutral countries have provided aid to the Ukrainian resistance, as has Finland.

So Mr Putin has paid a huge price in terms of arousing animosity against this country. India and Brazil are in the same situation as as China. They’re in the same straddle. They see no benefit in alienating a partner, namely Russia, and while they both may care about the independence of Ukraine. I think taking sides with the United States against Russia, which is what they’re being asked to do, is a step too far. You know, let’s face it, this is in large measure as I said at the outset. a struggle between the United states and Russia for a sphere of influence that will include Ukraine. It’s U.S. Russia.

It’s not Russia versus Europe so in this context, why would a great power that values its cooperation with Russia want to alienate Russia?

Question. We’re going to wrap any final words for us. At the beginning of this interview you said that the you know that long-term geopolitical implications of this crisis are unknown. The world is changing in ways we don’t know, but I wonder if there’s any speculation that you are comfortable engaging in about what the geopolitical implications are. A lot of people are are speculating that this could mean the weakening of us dollar supremacy, as a result of China and Russia drawing closer together. Any thoughts on that and anything else you want to leave us with?

FREEMAN. No, I think the reliance on our sovereignty over the dollar, to our abuse of that sovereignty if you will, to impose sanctions that are illegal under the U.N Charter, which are unilateral, ultimately risks the status of the dollar, and we may in fact be in a moment when the dollar is taken down a notch or two

Well, I should just say that the dollar serves two purposes. One is as a store of value. If you have dollars you’re fairly confident that they’re going to have a significant value 10 years from now as well as today so that is why countries keep reserves in dollars and it’s why people stash dollars in mattresses all over the world.

The other use of the dollar is to settle trade transactions. It’s the most convenient currency in which to do that and in many cases when other currencies are used they are used with reference to the dollar and the dollar exchange rates.

Both these things are now in jeopardy. The oil trade commodities being priced in dollars is the basis for the dollar’s international value.

Iif you look at the united states trade and development’s balance of payments patent you will see that we are in chronic deficit that says the dollar is overvalued [ and that means it’s vulnerable to devaluation

The communications system in Belgium, that handles most of the world’s transactions was established to ensure that the trade could be conducted unencumbered by politics. And now it’s being encumbered by U.S. imposed unilateral sanctions on a huge array of countries – Iran Russia China , even threatened against India . So if the use of the dollar is now encumbered. It’s less desirable and people will want to make workarounds around it .

Will the dollar hold its value now we have a Congress that repeatedly goes to the brink of defaulting on our national debt?

This is not something that inspires confidence, and I’ll add a final factor which I think is very injurious potentially and that is bankers get deposits because they are fiduciaries they are meant to hold the deposits for the benefit of those who deposit the money and not to rip it off themselves.

But we’ve just confiscated the entire national treasury of Afghanistan. We’ve confiscated the Venezuelan reserves. We hav eour allies – the British have confiscated Venezuela’s gold reserves. And we’ve confiscated half of Russian reserves. The Anglo-American reputation as bankers. as fiduciaries, is in trouble, and so the question is, if you’re a country that thinks well maybe you might have some serious policy difference with the United States someday why would you put your money in dollars

The answer has been – there’s no alternative. But there are now major efforts being made to create alternatives so we we we’re not there yet. I don’t want to make a prediction, but I think this is a major question that we need to monitor carefully. because if the dollar loses its value, the American influence on the global level decreases enormously.

Aaron. Yes Freeman. Thank you as always for your time and insight. I say this on behalf of many people in my audience who have come to rely on your expertise. It’s really really appreciated.

Serbian parliament president: When Hitler entered Ukraine, the U.S. did not declare war

April 30, 2022

B92March 2, 2022 “We have died for the sake of others; they aren’t against Russia, but against Serbia” ==== Also see: Serbia is only free country in Europe, only one not obeying NATO’s orders – official Serbia: West plans to oust Russia from UN, trigger total collapse of existing order ==== Speaker of the National […]

Serbian parliament president: When Hitler entered Ukraine, the U.S. did not declare war — Anti-bellum

Setting the record straight on the background to events in Ukraine

April 30, 2022

First, both the provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass region voted for independence from Ukraine in 2014 in resistance to a U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the elected president Viktor Yanukovych in February of that year. The independence vote came just eight days after neo-Nazis burned dozens of ethnic Russians alive in Odessa.  To crush their bid for independence, the new U.S.-installed Ukrainian government then launched an “anti-terrorist” war against the provinces, with the assistance of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which had taken part in the coup. It is a war that is still going on eight years later, a war that Russia has just entered.

During these eight years, the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Azov have used artillery, snipers and assassination teams to systematically butcher more than 5,000 people (another 8,000 were wounded) — mostly civilians — in the Donetsk Peoples Republic, according to the leader of the DPR, who provided these figures in a press conference recently. In the Luhansk People’s Republic, an additional 2,000 civilians were killed and 3,365 injured. The total number of people killed and wounded in Donbass since 2014 is more than 18,000.

This has received at most superficial coverage by The New York Times; it has not been covered by Western corporate media because it does not fit the official Washington narrative

Ukraine & Nukes     After a New York Times reporter grossly distorted what Putin and Zelensky have said and done about nuclear weapons, Steven Starr corrects the record and deplores Western media, in general, for misinforming  and leading the entire world in a dangerous direction.  https://consortiumnews.com/2022/03/03/ukraine-nukes/ By Steven Starr,

   The New York Times recently published an article by David Sanger entitled “Putin spins a conspiracy theory that Ukraine is on a path to produce nuclear weapons.”  Unfortunately, it is Sanger who puts so much spin in his reporting that he leaves his readers with a grossly distorted version of the what the presidents of Russia and Ukraine have said and done.

Ukrainian Volodymyr  Zelensky’s recent statements at the Munich conference centered around the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which welcomed Ukraine’s accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in conjunction with Ukraine’s decision to return to Russia the nuclear weapons left on its territory by the Soviet Union.

In other words, the Budapest Memorandum was expressly about Ukraine giving up its nukes and not becoming a nuclear weapon state in the future. Zelensky’s speech at Munich made it clear that Ukraine was moving to repudiate the Budapest Memorandum; Zelensky essentially stated that Ukraine must be made a member of NATO, otherwise it would acquire nuclear weapons.  

This is what Zelensky said, with emphasis added: 

“I want to believe that the North Atlantic Treaty and Article 5 will be more effective than the Budapest Memorandum.

Ukraine has received security guarantees for abandoning the world’s third nuclear capability [i.e. Ukraine relinquished the Soviet nuclear weapons that had been placed in Ukraine during the Cold War]. We don’t have that weapon. … Therefore, we have something. The right to demand a shift from a policy of appeasement to ensuring security and peace guarantees. 

Since 2014, Ukraine has tried three times to convene consultations with the guarantor states of the Budapest Memorandum. Three times without success. . . I am initiating consultations in the framework of the Budapest Memorandum. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was commissioned to convene them. If they do not happen again or their results do not guarantee security for our country, Ukraine will have every right to believe that the Budapest Memorandum is not working and all the package decisions of 1994 are in doubt. . . 

I am initiating consultations in the framework of the Budapest Memorandum. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was commissioned to convene them. If they do not happen again or their results do not guarantee security for our country, Ukraine will have every right to believe that the Budapest Memorandum is not working and all the package decisions of 1994 are in doubt.”

Sanger’s Times article implies that it was a “conspiracy theory” that Zelensky was calling for Ukraine to acquire nuclear weapons. Sanger was not ignorant of the meaning of the Budapest Memorandum, rather he chose to deliberately ignore it and misrepresented the facts. 

President Vladimir Putin, along with the majority of Russians, could not ignore such a threat for a number of historical reasons that The New York Times and ideologues such as Sanger have also chosen to ignore. It is important to list some of those facts, since most Americans are unaware of them, as they have not been reported in the Western mainstream media. Leaving parts of the story out turns Putin into just a madman bent on conquest without any reason to intervene.

First, both the provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass region voted for independence from Ukraine in 2014 in resistance to a U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the elected president Viktor Yanukovych in February of that year. The independence vote came just eight days after neo-Nazis burned dozens of ethnic Russians alive in Odessa.  To crush their bid for independence, the new U.S.-installed Ukrainian government then launched an “anti-terrorist” war against the provinces, with the assistance of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which had taken part in the coup. It is a war that is still going on eight years later, a war that Russia has just entered. 

During these eight years, the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Azov have used artillery, snipers and assassination teams to systematically butcher more than 5,000 people (another 8,000 were wounded) — mostly civilians — in the Donetsk Peoples Republic, according to the leader of the DPR, who provided these figures in a press conference recently. In the Luhansk People’s Republic, an additional 2,000 civilians were killed and 3,365 injured. The total number of people killed and wounded in Donbass since 2014 is more than 18,000.

This has received at most superficial coverage by The New York Times; it has not been covered by Western corporate media because it does not fit the official Washington narrative that Ukraine is pursuing an “anti-terrorist operation” in its unrelenting attacks on the people of Donbass.  For eight years the war instead has been portrayed as a Russian “invasion,” well before Russia’s current intervention.

Likewise, The New York Times, in its overall coveragechose not to report that the Ukrainian forces had deployed half of its army, about 125,000 troops, to its border with Donbass by the beginning of 2022. 

In other words, acquiring tactical nuclear weapons will be much easier for Ukraine than for some other states I am not going to mention here, which are conducting such research, especially if Kiev receives foreign technological support. We c

The importance of neo-Nazi Right Sektor politicians in the Ukraine government and neo-Nazi militias (such as the Azov Battalion) to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, also goes unreported in the mainstream corporate media.  The Azov battalion flies Nazi flags; they have been trained by teams of U.S. military advisers and praised on Facebook these days. In 2014, Azov was incorporated in the Ukrainian National Guard under the direction of the Interior Ministry.

The Nazis killed something on the order of 27 million Soviets/Russians during World War II (the U.S. lost 404,000). Russia has not forgotten and is extremely sensitive to any threats and violence coming from neo-Nazis. Americans generally do not understand what this means to Russians as the United States has never been invaded.  

So, when the leader of Ukraine essentially threatens to obtain nuclear weapons, this is most certainly considered to be an existential threat to Russia. That is why Putin focused on this during his speech preceding the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Sanger and The New York Times must discount a Ukrainian nuclear threat; they can get away with doing so because they have systematically omitted news pertaining to this for many years.

Sanger makes a very misleading statement when he writes, “Today Ukraine does not even have the basic infrastructure to produce nuclear fuel.”

Ukraine is not interested in making nuclear fuel — which Ukraine already purchases from the U.S. Ukraine has plenty of plutonium, which is commonly used to make nuclear weapons today; eight years ago Ukraine held more than 50 tons of plutonium in its spent fuel assemblies stored at its many nuclear power plants (probably considerably more today, as the reactors have continued to run and produce spent fuel). Once plutonium is reprocessed/separated from spent nuclear fuel, it becomes weapons usable. Putin noted that Ukraine already has missiles that could carry nuclear warheads, and they certainly have scientists capable of developing reprocessing facilities and building nuclear weapons.

In his Feb. 21 televised address, Putin said Ukraine still has the infrastructure leftover from Soviet days to build a bomb. He said:

“As we know, it has already been stated today that Ukraine intends to create its own nuclear weapons, and this is not just bragging.

Ukraine has the nuclear technologies created back in the Soviet times and delivery vehicles for such weapons, including aircraft, as well as the Soviet-designed Tochka-U precision tactical missiles with a range of over 100 kilometers.

But they can do more; it is only a matter of time. They have had the groundwork for this since the Soviet era.

If Ukraine acquires weapons of mass destruction, the situation in the world and in Europe will drastically change, especially for us, for Russia. We cannot but react to this real danger, all the more so since let me repeat, Ukraine’s Western patrons may help it acquire these weapons to create yet another threat to our country.”

NATO-US Refuse Binding Nuclear Treaties

In his Times piece, Sanger states, “American officials have said repeatedly that they have no plans to place nuclear weapons in Ukraine.”

But the U.S. and NATO have refused to sign legally binding treaties with Russia to this effect. In reality, the U.S. has been making Ukraine a de facto member of NATO, while training and supplying its military forces and conducting joint exercises on Ukrainian territory. Why wouldn’t the U.S. place nuclear weapons in Ukraine — they have already done so at military bases within the borders of five other European members of NATO.  This in fact violates the spirit of the NPT, another issue that Sanger avoids when he notes that Russia has demanded that the U.S. remove nuclear weapons from the European NATO-member states.

For years the U.S. proclaimed that the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) facilities it was placing in Romania and Poland, on the Russian border, were to protect against an “Iranian threat,” even though Iran had no nuclear weapons or missiles that could reach the U.S. But the dual-use Mark 41 launching systems used in the Aegis Ashore BMD facilities can be used to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles, and will be fitted with SM-6 missiles that, if armed with nuclear warheads, could hit Moscow in five-to-six minutes. Putin explicitly warned journalists about this danger in 2016; Russia included the removal of the U.S. BMD facilities in Romania and Poland in its draft treaties presented to the U.S. and NATO last December. 

I wonder if Sanger has ever considered what the U.S. response would be if Russia placed missile launching facilities on the Canadian or Mexican border? Would the U.S. consider that a threat, would it demand that Russia remove them or else the U.S. would use military means to do so?

30 Years Ago 

Sanger states that today Russia takes a “starkly different from the tone Moscow was taking 30 years ago, when Russian nuclear scientists were being voluntarily retrained to use their skills for peaceful purposes.”

Russians would reply that 30 years ago NATO had not moved to Russian borders and was not flooding Ukraine with hundreds of tons of weapons and the U.S. had not yet overthrown the government in Kiev to install an anti-Russian regime.

While the Times is still considered the U.S. “paper of record,” during the last few decades it has devolved into the primary mouthpiece for the official narratives coming from Washington.

There is a real danger to the nation when a free press is replaced with corporate media that stifles and censors dissent. Rather than a free press, we now have a Ministry of Propaganda that acts as an echo chamber for the latest diktats from the White House. The systematic creation of false narratives by corporate media, designed to serve the purposes of the federal government, have so misinformed the American public about world events that we find the nation ready to go to war with Russia. 

This is suicidal course for not only the U.S. and the EU, but for civilization as a whole, because this would likely end in a nuclear war that will destroy all nations and peoples.  

Steven Starr is the former director of the University of Missouri’s Clinical Laboratory Science Program, and former board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.  His articles have been published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Federation of American Scientists and the Strategic Arms Reduction website of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. He maintains the Nuclear Famine website.

What You Should REALLY Know About Ukraine

April 30, 2022

the United States is standing with missiles on our doorstep.” Putin asked, “How would the Americans react if missiles were placed at the border with Canada or Mexico?”

The US Wants to Expand NATO  In addition to integrating Ukraine into the US-dominated economic sphere, Western planners also want to integrate Ukraine militarily. For years, the US has sought the expansion of NATO, an explicitly anti-Russian military alliance. NATO was originally billed as a counterforce to the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War, but after the demise of the Soviet Union, the US promised the new Russia that it would not expand NATO east of Germany. Despite this agreement, the US continued building out its military alliance,growing closer and closer to Russia’s borders and ignoring Russia’s objections.

The West Wants Investor-Friendly Policies in Ukraine   The backdrop to the 2014 coup and annexation cannot be understood without looking at the US strategy to open Ukrainian markets to foreign investors and give control of its economy to giant multinational corporations

The US Helped Overthrow Ukraine’s Elected President……. US Officials Were Caught Picking the New Government    …

Washington Used Nazis to Help Overthrow the Government   The Washington-backed opposition that toppled the government was fueled by far-right and openly Nazi elements like the Right Sector. One far-right group that grew out of the protests was the Azov Battalion, a paramilitary militia of neo-Nazi extremists.

What You Should Really Know About Ukraine   https://fair.org/home/what-you-should-really-know-about-ukraine/, BRYCE GREENE  28 Jan 22, As tensions began to rise over Ukraine, US media produced a stream of articles attempting to explain the situation with headlines like “Ukraine Explained” (New York Times12/8/21) and “What You Need to Know About Tensions Between Ukraine and Russia” (Washington Post11/26/21). Sidebars would have notes that tried to provide context for the current headlines. But to truly understand this crisis, you would need to know much more than what these articles offered.These “explainer” pieces are emblematic of Ukraine coverage in the rest of corporate media, which almost universally gave a pro-Western view of US/Russia relations and the history behind them. Media echoed the point of view of those who believe the US should have an active role in Ukrainian politics and enforce its perspective through military threats.

The official line goes something like this: Russia is challenging NATO and the “international rules-based order” by threatening to invade Ukraine, and the Biden administration needed to deter Russia by providing more security guarantees to the Zelensky government. The official account seizes on Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula as a starting point for US/Russian relations, and as evidence of Putin’s goals of rebuilding Russia’s long-lost empire.

Russia’s demand that NATO cease its expansion to Russia’s borders is viewed as such an obviously impossible demand that it can only be understood as a pretext to invade Ukraine. Therefore, the US should send weapons and troops to Ukraine, and guarantee its security with military threats to Russia (FAIR.org1/15/22).

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Anniversary Of The Night Nuclear Bombs Fell Near Goldsboro  

April 30, 2022

Anniversary Of The Night Nuclear Bombs Fell Near Goldsboro   https://www.goldsborodailynews.com/2022/01/24/anniversary-of-the-night-nuclear-bombs-fell-near-goldsboro/January 24, 2022 Ken Conners

It’s the 61st anniversary of the big bang that, fortunately, never happened.

Around midnight on January 24th, 1961, a B-52G aircraft based at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base experienced a fuel leak and broke up in midair over Wayne County.

Five crewmen were able to successfully eject or bail out of the aircraft, but three did not survive the crash.

Two Mark 39 nuclear bombs being carried on the bomber plummeted to the earth, landing with the wreckage in the farmlands of Faro, about 12 miles north of Goldsboro.

Declassified information eventually showed one of the bombs came very close to detonating with 3 of 4 arming mechanisms being tripped in the crash.    One of the bombs was recovered while portions of the second sank into a muddy field never to be seen again.

Morrison’s decision on AUKUS and nuclear submarines was made with no debate in Parliament

December 26, 2021

Our PM, Scott Morrison, struts the world stage, vilifies China (some of it deserved), but in the process is locking in Australia’s subservience to US foreign policy while guaranteeing increased US troop access and US spy stations on Australian territory for the future. Add to this the crippling cost of procurement of nuclear powered subs and the possible return of Donald Trump to ‘guide’ our nation into the future.

This sabre rattling at an external enemy will allow Morrison some catch up in the polls while the ALP is wedged. The huge crime here is to make a decision without debate in the Federal Parliament.

Times change, but some things regarding the nuclear industry and international political posturing remain the same.

Local anti-nuclear activists who chose to make a difference…https://www.echo.net.au/2021/10/local-anti-nuclear-activists-who-chose-to-make-a-difference/ By Ian Cohen October 7, 2021    Following the Nuclear Disarmament Party’s close loss with front man Peter Garrett in 1984, nuclear issues were at the forefront of people’s minds. We extended our influence far beyond our Shire. The pending arrival of nuclear armed warships sent the local region into overdrive. Benny Zable from Nimbin rolled out his ‘radioactive’ barrels for street theatre. Dean Jefferys based in Brunswick Heads came with his ultralight, Hoss (Ian Hoskens) of Main Arm with his megaphone voice and me with my surfboard.

September 1986 heralded the arrival of the largest assembly of international ships in Sydney Harbour’s history. Many were nuclear armed.

Our north coast contingent was vital to the success of the protest actions. Driven by a reckless, but heartfelt, desire to impact on the nuclear arms race and send a direct message to US President Ronald Reagan and USSR’s Yuri Andropov.

The mad concept of surfing the nose of a nuclear armed warship was mine, but Sydney Morning Herald photographer, Robert Pearce, from a media barge directly in front of myself and the warship, captured the image of a vulnerable surfer hanging onto the nose of a nuclear armed destroyer that went global.

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Review of book: Long Half-life – The Nuclear Industry in Australia 

December 26, 2021

Lowe highlights that there is a neglected dimension of uranium mining — its inefficiency. Lowe notes that at Ranger it would take 400 tonnes of ore to extract one tonne of uranium yellowcake. At 125,000 tonnes of production, that’s a lot of detritus, which highlights what a giant job is the “remediation” project currently underway at Ranger.

The replacement went ahead, called an Australia’s Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) reactor, built by an Argentinian company. Work began in 2002 and it was commissioned in 2006. A condition for its approval was that the waste problem would be solved. Of course, it wasn’t. Which makes the approval and construction of the OPAL reactor unconscionable.

IA Book Club: Long Half-life – The Nuclear Industry in Australia  https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/ia-book-club-long-half-life–the-nuclear-industry-in-australia,15520#.YUbL77Fpoi8.twitter By Evan Jones | 19 September 2021 In his far-reaching review, Dr Evan Jones explores a book by Ian Lowe, which looks deep into Australia’s involvement with the nuclear industry.

Lowe has written a telling obituary for the nuclear industry in Australia, but the waste problem refuses to die.   Long Half-life: The Nuclear Industry in Australia’ is available from Booktopia for $28.35 (paperback) RRP.

PHYSICIST Ian Lowe has just published another book, Long Half-life: The Nuclear Industry in Australia. Current generations might say — what nuclear industry? They would probably know about the British nuclear bomb tests on Australian soil (buzz words Woomera and Maralinga); perhaps fragments regarding the export of uranium yellowcake.

Australia has been integrally involved with nuclear since the atom bomb — indeed, before the bomb, as Adelaide-born Marcus Oliphant was a key figure in fostering and furthering the bomb’s development.

Lowe’s book conveniently ties all the threads together. Lowe has been intimately involved in the issue for over 50 years. The book usefully outlines in simple terms for outsiders (of which myself) the technical mysteries of splitting the atom and related discoveries. The book is soberly written, with occasional displays of outrage (John Howard “crass” and Alexander Downer “bumbling and sycophantic” in playing the U.S.’ deputy sheriff) and not a little wry humour.

The immediate consequence of the bomb in Australia was the creation of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) in March 1949, due to concerns of “reds under the beds”. The Cold War was on in earnest.

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