Archive for the ‘weapons and war’ Category

Big Tech monopolies — Facebook, Google, and Amazon control media in the interests of American militarism

April 30, 2022

Former Intelligence Officials, Citing Russia, Say Big Tech Monopoly Power is Vital to National Security, Glenn Greenwald, Substack 20 Apr 22,

When the U.S. security state announces that Big Tech’s centralized censorship power must be preserved, we should ask what this reveals about whom this regime serves.

A group of former intelligence and national security officials on Monday issued a jointly signed letter warning that pending legislative attempts to restrict or break up the power of Big Tech monopolies — Facebook, Google, and Amazon — would jeopardize national security because, they argue, their centralized censorship power is crucial to advancing U.S. foreign policy.

The majority of this letter is devoted to repeatedly invoking the grave threat allegedly posed to the U.S. by Russia as illustrated by the invasion of Ukraine, and it repeatedly points to the dangers of Putin and the Kremlin to justify the need to preserve Big Tech’s power in its maximalist form. Any attempts to restrict Big Tech’s monopolistic power would therefore undermine the U.S. fight against Moscow.

While one of their central claims is that Big Tech monopoly power is necessary to combat (i.e., censor) “foreign disinformation,” several of these officials are themselves leading disinformation agents: many were the same former intelligence officials who signed the now-infamous-and-debunked pre-election letter fraudulently claiming that the authentic Hunter Biden emails had the “hallmarks” of Russia disinformation (former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Obama CIA Director Michael Morrell, former Obama CIA/Pentagon chief Leon Panetta). Others who signed this new letter have strong financial ties to the Big Tech corporations whose power they are defending in the name of national security (Morrell, Panetta, former Bush National Security Adviser Fran Townsend)………………….

Why would these former national security and intelligence officials be so devoted to preserving the unfettered power of Big Tech to control and censor the internet? One obvious explanation is the standard one that always runs Washington: several of them have a financial interest in serving Big Tech’s agenda.

Unsurprisingly, Apple CEO Tim Cook has himself pushed the claim that undermining Big Tech’s power in any way would threaten U.S national security. And there is now an army of well-compensated-by-Silicon-Valley former national security officials echoing his message. A well-researched Politico article from September — headlined: “12 former security officials who warned against antitrust crackdown have tech ties” — detailed how many of these former officials who invoke national security claims to protect Big Tech are on the take from the key tech monopolies:………………………………….

Big Tech censorship of political speech is not random. Domestically, it is virtually always devoted to silencing any meaningful dissent from liberal orthodoxy or official pieties on key political controversies. But in terms of foreign policy, the censorship patterns of tech monopolies virtually always align with U.S. foreign policy, and for understandable reasons: Big Tech and the U.S. security state are in a virtually complete union, with all sorts of overlapping, mutual financial interests:

Note that this censorship regime is completely one-sided and, as usual, entirely aligned with U.S. foreign policy. Western news outlets and social media platforms have been flooded with pro-Ukrainian propaganda and outright lies from the start of the war. A New York Times article from early March put it very delicately in its headline: “Fact and Mythmaking Blend in Ukraine’s Information War.” Axios was similarly understated in recognizing this fact: “Ukraine misinformation is spreading — and not just from Russia.”…………….

there is little to no censorship — either by Western states or by Silicon Valley monopolies — of pro-Ukrainian disinformation, propaganda and lies. The censorship goes only in one direction: to silence any voices deemed “pro-Russian,” regardless of whether they spread disinformation….Their crime, like the crime of so many other banished accounts, was not disinformation but skepticism about the US/NATO propaganda campaign………………

It is unsurprising that Silicon Valley monopolies exercise their censorship power in full alignment with the foreign policy interests of the U.S. Government. Many of the key tech monopolies — such as Google and Amazon — routinely seek and obtain highly lucrative contracts with the U.S. security state, including both the CIA and NSA. Their top executives enjoy very close relationships with top Democratic Party officials. And Congressional Democrats have repeatedly hauled tech executives before their various Committees to explicitly threaten them with legal and regulatory reprisals if they do not censor more in accordance with the policy goals and political interests of that party.

Needless to say, the U.S. security state wants to maintain a stranglehold on political discourse in the U.S. and the world more broadly. They want to be able to impose propagandistic narratives without challenge and advocate for militarism without dissent. To accomplish that, they need a small handful of corporations which are subservient to them to hold in their hands as much concentrated power over the internet as possible.

If a free and fair competitive market were to arise whereby social media platforms more devoted to free speech could fairly compete with Google and Facebook— as the various pending bills in Congress are partially designed to foster — then that new diversity of influence, that diffusion of power, would genuinely threaten the ability of the CIA and the Pentagon and the White House to police political discourse and suppress dissent from their policies and assertions. By contrast, by maintaining all power in the hands of the small coterie of tech monopolies which control the internet and which have long proven their loyalty to the U.S. security state, the ability of the U.S. national security state to maintain a closed propaganda system around questions of war and militarism is guaranteed………………………….

more https://greenwald.substack.com/p/former-intelligence-officials-citing?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoxODg5OTQwNCwicG9zdF9pZCI6NTI0NzUzMjIsIl8iOiJlN2IvUyIsImlhdCI6MTY1MDQ4MTk3MywiZXhwIjoxNjUwNDg1NTczLCJpc3MiOiJwdWItMTI4NjYyIiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.cdQUHJH21M1yNFgkqxFZ5T7MJqMY2PGL-L8XklNjZms&s=r

Military Situation in Ukraine: An Update by Jacques Baud 

April 30, 2022

The vagueness maintained in the West about the situation of the Ukrainian forces, has other effects. First, it maintains the illusion of a possible Ukrainian victory. Thus, instead of encouraging a negotiation process, the West seeks to prolong the war. This is why the European Union and some of its member countries have sent weapons and are encouraging the civilian population and volunteers of all kinds to go and fight, often without training and without any real command structure — with deadly consequences.

You don’t win a war with bias — you lose it. And that’s what is happening. Thus, the Russian coalition was never “on the run” or “stopped” by heroic resistance — it simply did not attack where it was expected. We did not want to listen to what Vladimir Putin had explained to us very clearly. This is why the West has thus become — volens nolens — the main architect of the Ukrainian defeat that is taking shape. Paradoxically, it is probably because of our self-proclaimed “experts” and recreational strategists on our television sets that the Ukraine is in this situation today. 

Jacques Baud, The Postil, Mon, 11 Apr 2022  The Operational Situation

As of March 25, 2022, our analysis of the situation confirms the observations and conclusions made in mid-March.

The offensive launched on February 24 is articulated in two lines of effort, in accordance with Russian operational doctrine:

1) A main effort directed toward the south of the country, in the Donbass region, and along the Azov Sea coast. As the doctrine states, the main objectives are — the neutralization of the Ukrainian armed forces (the objective of “demilitarization”), and the neutralization of ultra-nationalist, paramilitary militias in the cities of Kharkov and Mariupol (the objective of “denazification“). This primary push is being led by a coalition of forces: through Kharkov and Crimea are Russian forces from the Southern Military District; in the center are militia forces from the Donetsk and Lugansk republics; the Chechen National Guard is contributing with engagement in the urban area of Mariupol;

2) A secondary effort on Kiev, aimed at “pinning down” Ukrainian (and Western) forces, so as to prevent them from carrying out operations against the main thrust or even taking Russian coalition forces from the rear.

This offensive follows, to the letter, the objectives defined by Vladimir Putin on February 24. But, listening only to their own bias, Western “experts” and politicians have gotten it into their heads that Russia’s objective is to take over the Ukraine and overthrow its government. Applying a very Western logic, they see Kiev as the “center of gravity” (Schwerpunkt) of Ukrainian forces. According to Clausewitz, the “center of gravity” is the element from which a belligerent derives his strength and ability to act, and is therefore the primary objective of an adversary’s strategy. This is why Westerners have systematically tried to take control of capitals in the wars they have fought. Trained and advised by NATO experts, the Ukrainian General Staff has, predictably enough, applied the same logic, focusing on strengthening the defense of Kiev and its surroundings, while leaving its troops helpless in the Donbass, along the axis of the main Russian effort.
If one had listened carefully to Vladimir Putin, one would have realized that the strategic objective of the Russian coalition is not to take over the Ukraine, but to remove any threat to the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass. According to this general objective, the “real” center of gravity that the Russian coalition is trying to target is the bulk of the Ukrainian armed forces massed in the south-southeast of the country (since the end of 2021), and not Kiev.

Russian Success or Failure?

Convinced that the Russian offensive is aimed at Kiev, Western experts have quite logically concluded that (a) the Russians are stalling, and that (b) their offensive is doomed to failure because they will not be able to hold the country in the long term. The generals who have followed each other on French TV seem to have forgotten what even a second lieutenant comprehends well: “Know your enemy!” — not as one would like him to be, but as he is. With generals like that, we don’t need an enemy anymore.

………………………………………….  Ukrainian forces are never indicated on our maps, as this would show that they were not deployed on the Russian border in February 2022, but were regrouped in the south of the country, in preparation for their offensive, the initial phase of which began on February 16th. This confirms that Russia was only reacting to a situation initiated by the West, by way of the Ukraine, as we shall see. At present, it is these forces that are encircled in the Kramatorsk cauldron and are being methodically fragmented and neutralized, little by little, in an incremental way, by the Russian coalition.

The vagueness maintained in the West about the situation of the Ukrainian forces, has other effects. First, it maintains the illusion of a possible Ukrainian victory. Thus, instead of encouraging a negotiation process, the West seeks to prolong the war. This is why the European Union and some of its member countries have sent weapons and are encouraging the civilian population and volunteers of all kinds to go and fight, often without training and without any real command structure — with deadly consequences.

We know that in a conflict, each party tends to inform in order to give a favorable image of its actions. However, the image we have of the situation and of the Ukrainian forces is based exclusively on data provided by Kiev. It masks the profound deficiencies of the Ukrainian leadership, even though it was trained and advised by NATO military.

Thus, military logic would have the forces caught in the Kramatorsk cauldron withdraw to a line at the Dnieper, for example, in order to regroup and conduct a counteroffensive. But they were forbidden to withdraw by President Zelensky. Even back in 2014 and 2015, a close examination of the operations showed that the Ukrainians were applying “Western-style” schemes, totally unsuited to the circumstances, and in the face of a more imaginative, more flexible opponent who possessed lighter leadership structures. It is the same phenomenon today.

In the end, the partial view of the battlefield given to us by our media has made it impossible for the West to help the Ukrainian general staff make the right decisions. And it has led the West to believe that the obvious strategic objective is Kiev; that “demilitarization” is aimed at the Ukraine’s membership in NATO; and that “denazification” is aimed at toppling Zelensky. This legend was fueled by Vladimir Putin’s appeal to the Ukrainian military to disobey, which was interpreted (with great imagination and bias) as a call to overthrow the government. However, this appeal was aimed at the Ukrainian forces deployed in the Donbass to surrender without fighting. The Western interpretation caused the Ukrainian government to misjudge Russian objectives and misuse its potential of winning.

You don’t win a war with bias — you lose it. And that’s what is happening. Thus, the Russian coalition was never “on the run” or “stopped” by heroic resistance — it simply did not attack where it was expected. We did not want to listen to what Vladimir Putin had explained to us very clearly. This is why the West has thus become — volens nolens — the main architect of the Ukrainian defeat that is taking shape. Paradoxically, it is probably because of our self-proclaimed “experts” and recreational strategists on our television sets that the Ukraine is in this situation today.  …………………….https://www.sott.net/article/466805-Military-Situation-in-Ukraine-An-Update-by-Jacques-Baud

… 

In Ukraine, with the blessing of the Western countries, those who are in favor of a negotiation have been eliminated – Jacques Baud

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

” ……………………………. Conclusions. As an ex-intelligence professional, the first thing that strikes me is the total absence of Western intelligence services in accurately representing the situation over the past year. In fact, it seems that throughout the Western world intelligence services have been overwhelmed by the politicians. The problem is that it is the politicians who decide — the best intelligence service in the world is useless if the decision-maker does not listen. This is what has happened during this crisis.

That said, while a few intelligence services had a very accurate and rational picture of the situation, others clearly had the same picture as that propagated by our media. The problem is that, from experience, I have found them to be extremely bad at the analytical level — doctrinaire, they lack the intellectual and political independence necessary to assess a situation with military “quality.”

Second, it seems that in some European countries, politicians have deliberately responded ideologically to the situation. That is why this crisis has been irrational from the beginning. It should be noted that all the documents that were presented to the public during this crisis were presented by politicians based on commercial sources.

Some Western politicians obviously wanted there to be a conflict. In the United States, the attack scenarios presented by Anthony Blinken to the UN Security Council were only the product of the imagination of a Tiger Team working for him — he did exactly as Donald Rumsfeld did in 2002, who “bypassed” the CIA and other intelligence services that were much less assertive about Iraqi chemical weapons.

The dramatic developments we are witnessing today have causes that we knew about but refused to see:

  • on the strategic level, the expansion of NATO (which we have not dealt with here);
  • on the political level, the Western refusal to implement the Minsk Agreements;
  • and operationally, the continuous and repeated attacks on the civilian population of the Donbass over the past years and the dramatic increase in late February 2022.

In other words, we can naturally deplore and condemn the Russian attack. But WE (that is: the United States, France and the European Union in the lead) have created the conditions for a conflict to break out. We show compassion for the Ukrainian people and the two million refugees. That is fine. But if we had had a modicum of compassion for the same number of refugees from the Ukrainian populations of Donbass massacred by their own government and who sought refuge in Russia for eight years, none of this would probably have happened.

Whether the term “genocide” applies to the abuses suffered by the people of Donbass is an open question. The term is generally reserved for cases of greater magnitude (Holocaust, etc.). But the definition given by the Genocide Convention is probably broad enough to apply to this case.

Clearly, this conflict has led us into hysteria. Sanctions seem to have become the preferred tool of our foreign policies. If we had insisted that Ukraine abide by the Minsk Agreements, which we had negotiated and endorsed, none of this would have happened. Vladimir Putin’s condemnation is also ours. There is no point in whining afterwards — we should have acted earlier. However, neither Emmanuel Macron (as guarantor and member of the UN Security Council), nor Olaf Scholz, nor Volodymyr Zelensky have respected their commitments. In the end, the real defeat is that of those who have no voice.

The European Union was unable to promote the implementation of the Minsk agreements — on the contrary, it did not react when Ukraine was bombing its own population in the Donbass. Had it done so, Vladimir Putin would not have needed to react. Absent from the diplomatic phase, the EU distinguished itself by fueling the conflict. On February 27, the Ukrainian government agreed to enter into negotiations with Russia. But a few hours later, the European Union voted a budget of 450 million euros to supply arms to the Ukraine, adding fuel to the fire. From then on, the Ukrainians felt that they did not need to reach an agreement. The resistance of the Azov militia in Mariupol even led to a boost of 500 million euros for weapons.

In Ukraine, with the blessing of the Western countries, those who are in favor of a negotiation have been eliminated.This is the case of Denis Kireyev, one of the Ukrainian negotiators, assassinated on March 5 by the Ukrainian secret service (SBU) because he was too favorable to Russia and was considered a traitor. The same fate befell Dmitry Demyanenko, former deputy head of the SBU’s main directorate for Kiev and its region, who was assassinated on March 10 because he was too favorable to an agreement with Russia — he was shot by the Mirotvorets (“Peacemaker”) militia. This militia is associated with the Mirotvorets website, which lists the “enemies of Ukraine,” with their personal data, addresses and telephone numbers, so that they can be harassed or even eliminated; a practice that is punishable in many countries, but not in the Ukraine. The UN and some European countries have demanded the closure of this site — but that demand was refused by the Rada [Ukrainian parliament].

In the end, the price will be high, but Vladimir Putin will likely achieve the goals he set for himself. We have pushed him into the arms of China. His ties with Beijing have solidified. China is emerging as a mediator in the conflict. The Americans have to ask Venezuela and Iran for oil to get out of the energy impasse they have put themselves in — and the United States has to piteously backtrack on the sanctions imposed on its enemies.

Western ministers who seek to collapse the Russian economy and make the Russian people suffer, or even call for the assassination of Putin, show (even if they have partially reversed the form of their words, but not the substance!) that our leaders are no better than those we hate — sanctioning Russian athletes in the Para-Olympic Games or Russian artists has nothing to do with fighting Putin.

What makes the conflict in Ukraine more blameworthy than our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya? What sanctions have we adopted against those who deliberately lied to the international community in order to wage unjust, unjustified and murderous wars? Have we adopted a single sanction against the countries, companies or politicians who are supplying weapons to the conflict in Yemen, considered to be the “worst humanitarian disaster in the world?”

To ask the question is to answer it… and the answer is not pretty.

About the author

Jacques Baud is a former colonel of the General Staff, ex-member of the Swiss strategic intelligence, specialist on Eastern countries. He was trained in the American and British intelligence services. He has served as Policy Chief for United Nations Peace Operations. As a UN expert on rule of law and security institutions, he designed and led the first multidimensional UN intelligence unit in the Sudan. He has worked for the African Union and was for 5 years responsible for the fight, at NATO, against the proliferation of small arms. He was involved in discussions with the highest Russian military and intelligence officials just after the fall of the USSR. Within NATO, he followed the 2014 Ukrainian crisis and later participated in programs to assist the Ukraine. He is the author of several books on intelligence, war and terrorism, in particular Le Détournement published by SIGEST, Gouverner par les fake newsL’affaire Navalny. His latest book is Poutine, maître du jeu? published by Max Milo.

This article appears through the gracious courtesy of Centre Français de Recherche sur le Renseignement, Paris. 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 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 Two Outbreak of war.

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, 04 Apr 2022
Part Two: The War

As a former head of analysis of Warsaw Pact forces in the Swiss strategic intelligence service, I observe with sadness — but not astonishment — that our services are no longer able to understand the military situation in Ukraine. The self-proclaimed “experts” who parade on our TV screens tirelessly relay the same information modulated by the claim that Russia — and Vladimir Putin — is irrational. Let’s take a step back.

1. The Outbreak Of War

Since November 2021, the Americans have been constantly threatening a Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, the Ukrainians at first did not seem to agree. Why not?

We have to go back to March 24, 2021. On that day, Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree for the recapture of the Crimea, and began to deploy his forces to the south of the country. At the same time, several NATO exercises were conducted between the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, accompanied by a significant increase in reconnaissance flights along the Russian border. Russia then conducted several exercises to test the operational readiness of its troops and to show that it was following the evolution of the situation.

Things calmed down until October-November with the end of the ZAPAD 21 exercises, whose troop movements were interpreted as a reinforcement for an offensive against Ukraine. However, even the Ukrainian authorities refuted the idea of Russian preparations for a war, and Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukrainian Minister of Defense, states that there had been no change on its border since the spring.

In violation of the Minsk Agreements, Ukraine was conducting air operations in Donbass using drones, including at least one strike against a fuel depot in Donetsk in October 2021. The American press noted this, but not the Europeans; and no one condemned these violations.

In February 2022, events came to a head. On February 7, during his visit to Moscow, Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed to Vladimir Putin his commitment to the Minsk Agreements, a commitment he would repeat after his meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky the next day. But on February 11, in Berlin, after nine hours of work, the meeting of political advisors to the leaders of the “Normandy format” ended without any concrete result: the Ukrainians still refused to apply the Minsk Agreements, apparently under pressure from the United States. Vladimir Putin noted that Macron had made empty promises and that the West was not ready to enforce the agreements, the same opposition to a settlement it had exhibited for eight years.

Ukrainian preparations in the contact zone continued. The Russian Parliament became alarmed; and on February 15 it asked Vladimir Putin to recognize the independence of the Republics, which he initially refused to do.

On 17 February, President Joe Biden announced that Russia would attack Ukraine in the next few days. How did he know this? It is a mystery. But since the 16th, the artillery shelling of the population of Donbass had increased dramatically, as the daily reports of the OSCE observers show. Naturally, neither the media, nor the European Union, nor NATO, nor any Western government reacted or intervened. It would be said later that this was Russian disinformation. In fact, it seems that the European Union and some countries have deliberately kept silent about the massacre of the Donbass population, knowing that this would provoke a Russian intervention.

At the same time, there were reports of sabotage in the Donbass. On 18 January, Donbass fighters intercepted saboteurs, who spoke Polish and were equipped with Western equipment and who were seeking to create chemical incidents in Gorlivka. They could have been CIA mercenaries, led or “advised” by Americans and composed of Ukrainian or European fighters, to carry out sabotage actions in the Donbass Republics.

In fact, as early as February 16, Joe Biden knew that the Ukrainians had begun intense shelling the civilian population of Donbass, forcing Vladimir Putin to make a difficult choice: to help Donbass militarily and create an international problem, or to stand by and watch the Russian-speaking people of Donbass being crushed.

If he decided to intervene, Putin could invoke the international obligation of “Responsibility To Protect” (R2P). But he knew that whatever its nature or scale, the intervention would trigger a storm of sanctions. Therefore, whether Russian intervention were limited to the Donbass or went further to put pressure on the West over the status of the Ukrainethe price to pay would be the same. This is what he explained in his speech on February 21. On that day, he agreed to the request of the Duma and recognized the independence of the two Donbass Republics and, at the same time, he signed friendship and assistance treaties with them.

The Ukrainian artillery bombardment of the Donbass population continued, and, on 23 February, the two Republics asked for military assistance from Russia. On 24 February, Vladimir Putin invoked Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which provides for mutual military assistance in the framework of a defensive alliance.

In order to make the Russian intervention seem totally illegal in the eyes of the public, Western powers deliberately hid the fact that the war actually started on February 16. The Ukrainian army was preparing to attack the Donbass as early as 2021, as some Russian and European intelligence services were well aware.

In his speech of February 24, Vladimir Putin stated the two objectives of his operation: “demilitarize” and “denazify” the Ukraine. So, it was not a question of taking over Ukraine, nor even, presumably, of occupying it; and certainly not of destroying it.

From then on, our knowledge of the course of the operation is limited: the Russians have excellent security for their operations (OPSEC) and the details of their planning are not known. But fairly quickly, the course of the operation allows us to understand how the strategic objectives were translated on the operational level.

Demilitarization:

  • ground destruction of Ukrainian aviation, air defense systems and reconnaissance assets;
  • neutralization of command and intelligence structures (C3I), as well as the main logistical routes in the depth of the territory;
  • encirclement of the bulk of the Ukrainian army massed in the southeast of the country.
  • destruction or neutralization of volunteer battalions operating in the cities of Odessa, Kharkov, and Mariupol, as well as in various facilities in the territory.

Denazification:

2. Demilitarization

The Russian offensive was carried out in a very “classic” manner. Initially — as the Israelis had done in 1967 — with the destruction on the ground of the air force in the very first hours. Then, we witnessed a simultaneous progression along several axes according to the principle of “flowing water”: advance everywhere where resistance was weak and leave the cities (very demanding in terms of troops) for later. In the north, the Chernobyl power plant was occupied immediately to prevent acts of sabotage. The images of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers guarding the plant togetherare of course not shown.

The idea that Russia is trying to take over Kiev, the capital, to eliminate Zelensky, comes typically from the West. But Vladimir Putin never intended to shoot or topple Zelensky. Instead, Russia seeks to keep him in power by pushing him to negotiate, by surrounding Kiev. The Russians want to obtain the neutrality of Ukraine.

Many Western commentators were surprised that the Russians continued to seek a negotiated solution while conducting military operations. The explanation lies in the Russian strategic outlook since the Soviet era. For the West, war begins when politics ends. However, the Russian approach follows a Clausewitzian inspiration: war is the continuity of politics and one can move fluidly from one to the other, even during combat. This allows one to create pressure on the adversary and push him to negotiate.

From an operational point of view, the Russian offensive was an example of previous military action and planning: in six days, the Russians seized a territory as large as the United Kingdom, with a speed of advance greater than what the Wehrmacht had achieved in 1940.

The bulk of the Ukrainian army was deployed in the south of the country in preparation for a major operation against the Donbass. This is why Russian forces were able to encircle it from the beginning of March in the “cauldron” between Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and Severodonetsk, with a thrust from the East through Kharkov and another from the South from Crimea. Troops from the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) Republics are complementing the Russian forces with a push from the East.

At this stage, Russian forces are slowly tightening the noose, but are no longer under any time pressure or schedule. Their demilitarization goal is all but achieved and the remaining Ukrainian forces no longer have an operational and strategic command structure.

The “slowdown” that our “experts” attribute to poor logistics is only the consequence of having achieved their objectives. Russia does not want to engage in an occupation of the entire Ukrainian territory. In fact, it appears that Russia is trying to limit its advance to the linguistic border of the country…………………………… 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

U.S. government high on the narcotic of ”Defense” spending – the war corporations love it !

April 30, 2022

 Exacerbating the dilemma are the close ties between the Washington establishment and the defense industry, which lobbies lawmakers and funds their campaigns.

Another problem is the so-called revolving door, wherein many defense officials tasked with overseeing procurement go on to work for companies in the private sector. In January, the Project On Government Oversight watchdog reported that over the past three years Lockheed Martin hired 44 former Pentagon officials, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman 24 each, Boeing at least 23, and General Dynamics eight.

A staggering $286 billion in US defense spending went to these five well-connected suppliers in 2019 and 2020, according to the report.

Biden’s Ukraine Arms-Buying Spree Boosts US Defense Industry Giants  https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/bidens-ukraine-arms-buying-spree-boosts-us-d-1493247.html, Muhammad Irfan   April 06, 2022  WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik US defense contractors are raking in additional billions of Dollars as a direct result of President Joe Biden’s policy toward Ukraine, and stand to gain even more based on administration plans to bolster NATO while setting new military spending records.

After Russia launched its operation in Ukraine on February 24, the Pentagon‘s top five suppliers saw their stock prices rise – with three jumping by double digits in the first week, as investors on Wall Street anticipated a surge in weapons orders.

However, the spike began well before Russian forces entered Ukraine and in line with Washington‘s growing support for Kiev. For example, in the second week of January the US delivered about $200 million in security assistance to Ukraine just as lawmakers were set to introduce legislation for $200 million more.

In January, Raytheon chief Greg Hayes told investors on an earnings call that he fully expected to see the company benefit from the tensions in Eastern Europe with new international sales opportunities, a sentiment other contractors echoed, which has now become a reality. Since the beginning of the year, Lockheed Martin’s stock price rose by over 25 percent while Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics each saw a spike of over 15%.

“War is excellent for business,” Australian global peace activist Helen Caldicott told Sputnik.

Javelin manufacturer Raytheon and Stinger supplier Lockheed Martin are especially ecstatic over the situation in Ukraine, added Caldicott, the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Former Pentagon analyst Chuck Spinney was surprised by neither the conflict itself, which he called a “predictable consequence” of NATO expansion, nor the US defense establishment’s reaction to it.

“It now has champagne corks popping in the Pentagon, in the defense industry, and in their wholly owned subsidiaries in Congress, think tanks, the intelligence apparatus, and the press,” Spinney told Sputnik.

US President Joe Biden has repeatedly boasted about the largess of security aid his administration has bestowed Ukraine, which now stands at $2.3 billion – 70 percent of which has been doled out within the past five weeks alone.

The weapons the Biden administration committed or delivered to Ukraine by mid-March included 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft weapons,10,000 Javelin and AT4 shoulder-fired anti-tank systems, and 60 million rounds of ammunition, to name just a few of the big ticket items listed on a White House fact sheet. Thousands of other weapons in the packages include grenade launchers, rifles, pistols, machine guns, and shotguns – in addition to 100 tactical drones, 25,000 sets of body armor, and 25,000 helmets.

US allies are also giving defense contractors reason to celebrate. According to the White House, at least 30 countries have provided security assistance to Ukraine since the operation began.

Yet, even before current tensions, Ukraine for years had been a leading recipient of US military aid. Since 2014, the US has provided Kiev with a total of more than $4 billion in security assistance, including the aid authorized under Biden, according to a State Department fact sheet.

Meanwhile, the US troop presence in Europe has jumped from 60,000 to 100,000 following the start of the Ukraine conflict. And the US and its NATO allies have announced intentions to send even more to boost the alliance‘s “eastern flank.”

Spinney said understanding the internal political-economic causes of the US addiction to the narcotic of defense spending is at the heart of the problem.

Citing American strategic thinker John Boyd, Spinney said the strategy is simple: “Don’t interrupt the money flow, add to it.”

Sure enough, on March 28, the Biden administration submitted to Congress a budget request for 2023 that included $773 billion in spending for the Pentagon, a 4% increase from the previous year. Another $40 billion in defense-related spending through other agencies brings the total to $813 billion, which would represent a record level national security budget if approved.

Biden has asked Congress for nearly $7 billion to strengthen NATO and other European partners in order to counter Moscow, according to the White House. In addition, $682 million was requested for Ukraine security assistance, an increase of $219 million, which Biden said was meant to forcefully respond to Russia‘s “aggression” against Ukraine.

Nor is the next wave of weapons spending likely to stop there. Senior military commanders have already staked out the ground for further prodigal spending. On March 29, US European Command chief Todd Wolters in testimony to Congress said he suspected the Pentagon was “going to still need more.”

Only six days earlier, Republican lawmakers called for higher defense spending, saying that Russia‘s operation in Ukraine “has already left us and our NATO allies less secure.”

VICIOUS CYCLE, TWISTED INCENTIVES

The recent spending sprees, the experts said, are consistent with confrontational US policies – from the Cold War to the war on terrorism. Exacerbating the dilemma is the close ties between the Washington establishment and the defense industry, which lobbies lawmakers and funds their campaigns.

Another problem is the so-called revolving door, wherein many defense officials tasked with overseeing procurement go on to work for companies in the private sector. In January, the Project On Government Oversight watchdog reported that over the past three years Lockheed Martin hired 44 former Pentagon officials, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman 24 each, Boeing at least 23, and General Dynamics eight.

A staggering $286 billion in US defense spending went to these five well-connected suppliers in 2019 and 2020, according to the report.

Spinney, who once appeared on Time Magazine’s cover for highlighting reckless defense spending during the Reagan administration, said the “first” Cold War’s 40-year climate of fear was something then-Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev tried to end. But successive US administrations were busy planting the seed money for a new generation of cold-war inspired weapons.

The former Pentagon analyst said President George W. Bush‘s Global War on Terror was the bridging operation that “greased the transition” to Cold War II by keeping defense budgets at Cold War levels.

The 9-11 terrorist attacks helped fuel a climate of fear, he added, that is now needed to sustain Cold War II for the remainder of the 21st Century

Caldicott said the consequences of those decisions have unleashed wars and suffering around the world anew over the past two decades.

“Since 2001, the US has spent $6.4 trillion on killing and destruction in 85 countries, murdering 801,000 people,” Caldicott said while noting that the stocks of the top five defense contractors outperformed the overall market by a whopping 58 percent.

To make matters worse, the peace activist added, all members of Congress received huge amounts of money from these “killing corporations.”

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.

U.S. Peace Council Statement on Russia’s Military Intervention in Ukraine

April 30, 2022


U.S. Peace Council Statement on Russia’s Military Intervention in Ukraine

The US with its NATO allies have not only provoked this tragedy but have sought to prolong it in their refusal to engage in negotiations for a ceasefire, Portside,  March 26, 2022,    U.S.PEACE COUNCIL

What we all hoped would not happen has happened. The Russian Federation sent troops into Ukraine on February 24 in response to decades of relentless US-led NATO provocation. The present situation puts many serious, fundamental questions before the global peace movement.

A fierce propaganda campaign, long simmering with Russiagate and the onset of a new Cold War, demonizing the Russian president and state has intensified. Wholesale condemnation of Russia has assumed global proportions, instigated by the US and allies, and supported by their sycophantic media. Alternative views and voices of opposition to the official anti-Russian narrative have been suppressed or shut down.

Not surprisingly, many people subjected to this toxic bombardment of massive imperialist propaganda have placed all the blame on Russian aggression. Various reasons are given to justify their, in our view dangerous, position. Let us look at some of these justifications and assess the degree of their moral, legal, and political validity.

Applying the UN Charter

The first and most morally justifiable reason given is the argument that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is in violation of the Charter of the United Nations. Based on this fundamental principle, shouldn’t the U.S. Peace Council, a staunch supporter and advocate of the Charter, also condemn Russia as a violator?

Let us look at the UN Charter to see whether we can firmly decide that Russia is in violation:

Article 2

3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.


4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

Article 51

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations….

Looking at Article 2, especially paragraph 4, it can be argued that Russia is in violation. But based on Article 51, the Russian Federation has invoked its right to self-defense and has duly informed the Security Council. Russia presents important arguments in favor of its use of force under Article 51.

The Ukraine government has acted as the US and NATO’s proxy in hostilely encircling the Russian Federation. Ukraine military and paramilitaries have attacked Donetsk and Lugansk since 2014, resulting in the deaths of some 14,000 of their own people, many of whom were Russian speakers and some Russian citizens. Most recently, Russia discovered an imminent Ukrainian government plan for a large-scale invasion of the Donetsk and Lugansk that border Russia. Russia now recognizes these two republics as independent states, after they asked Russia to aid in their defense.

Russia clearly asked for security guarantees from the US and NATO, which refused to adequately respond to Russia’s concerns. Ukraine was planning to host US/NATO nuclear weapons on its territory that could reach Moscow in a matter of five minutes. This took place in the alarming context of the US decision in 2019 to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia.

If this is not an act of war against Russia, what is it? Aren’t those who are complicit in an act of murder equally guilty of murder? This is not to say that Russia was right in its decision. Rather we are insisting that the UN Charter should be applied to Ukraine on the basis of facts, as a specific case with a given historical background.

Second, the United Nations itself has been unsuccessful in upholding its own Charter in the face of blatant violations by the NATO states. Here, our intention is not to justify the Russian action, but to provide a realistic context for the need to uphold the UN Charter.

Since the end of the Soviet Union, when the US became the sole superpower, Washington has blatantly ignored the UN Charter in its drive to impose global “full spectrum” dominance. We should understand NATO as more than just an “alliance” of nominally sovereign states, but as an imperial military integrated under US command.

Let us look at two of the relevant articles of the UN Charter that have been trampled upon by the imperialist powers since the end of the century:

Article 6.

A Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

Article 25.

The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.

US, NATO, and their allies have increasingly violated these and other articles of the UN Charter over the past two decades. Here are just a few examples:

— In 1999 for 78 days, NATO attacked, dropped 28,000 bombs, and shattered Yugoslavia into pieces without the consent of the United Nations.

— In 2001, as a response to the 9/11 attack, US declared an indefinite “war on terror,” affecting at least 60 countries, including seven targeted for illegal regime change.

— In 2003, US and the members of its “coalition of the willing” illegally attacked and invaded Iraq in defiance of the UN Security Council.

— In 2011 US, UK, and France unilaterally and without the consent of the UN Security Council attacked Libya and killed its leader, Moammar Qaddafi.

— Starting in 2011, US, NATO, and regional allies started a proxy war in Syria by arming and funding terrorist groups, a war which is still taking innocent lives.

— In 2014, the US staged a coup with the help of neo-Nazi forces in Ukraine and established a pro-NATO government, which led to the massacre of Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine.

— Throughout this period, the US and its European allies have imposed illegal unilateral economic sanctions on more than 40 countries of the world, causing the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

— And, of course, one should mention the illegal occupation and annexation of Syrian and Palestinian territories by Israel with full support of the United States.

The crisis facing us in Ukraine today is a result of the UN’s inability to uphold its charter against such illegal actions by the sole superpower and its NATO allies, which has enabled US/NATO to push Russia and other targeted nations of the world into such an impossible situation.

Yes, we should defend the UN Charter, but not selectively as imperialism hypocritically wants us to. We should not allow ourselves to be duped by imperialism’s “blame the victim” narrative when the victim is forced to defend itself.

Inter-Imperialist War………..

False Equivalency of US/NATO and Russian Roles

As a peace organization, we cannot principally agree with the escalation of the Ukraine conflict to the level of military confrontation. However, we oppose the one-sided position of condemning Russia alone………………..

NATO’s success in its effort to expand to the Ukraine-Russia border would create a hellish world and lead to the possibility of a nuclear war. Let us not forget that the story would not end there, and Belarus could be the next target. So, it is imperative for the peace movement to do everything we can to guarantee Ukraine’s neutrality and US/NATO’s recognition of it.

U.S. Peace Council Assessment

The US with its NATO allies have not only provoked this tragedy but have sought to prolong it in their refusal to engage in negotiations for a ceasefire. While no one wins in a war, the US has had the most to gain: further unifying NATO under US domination, reducing Russian economic competition in the European energy market, justifying increasing the US war budget, and facilitating sales of war materiel to NATO vassals. A Europe further divided between the EU/UK and Russia benefits none but the imperial US.

On the basis of this assessment of the present situation in Ukraine, the U.S. Peace Council raises the following immediate demands, in order of priority and urgency:


1. Immediate ceasefire and dispatch of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including the self-proclaimed independent republics.

2. Recognition of the neutrality of Ukraine.

3. Withdrawal of foreign militaries, weapons, and equipment – including mercenaries – from Ukraine.

4. Resumption of negotiations for a permanent settlement of internal conflicts in Ukraine with the participation of all parties concerned.

U.S. Peace Council
March 24, 2022   https://portside.org/2022-03-26/us-peace-council-statement-russias-military-intervention-ukraine

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.