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Old 2014-09-03, 00:53   #1
ewmayer
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Default Drums of War: Ukraine/Russia edition

Seems to me we need a thread for this, seeing as "Drums of War: Syraqistan edition" (covered in the neighboring Nightmare Mideast Theater thread) is not enough for the warmongers.

Sorry, no disputed (as possibly being staged) "gruesome beheading videos", but a situation which could easily escalate much more dramatically than the US-fomented perma-chaos in the Middle East.

====================

In open letter, U.S. intelligence veterans warn Merkel on Russian ‘Invasion’ Intel:
Quote:
We the undersigned are long-time veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on Sept. 4-5.

You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian “invasion” of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the “intelligence” seems to be of the same dubious, politically “fixed” kind used 12 years ago to “justify” the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.

We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicious of charges made by the U.S. State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

President Barack Obama tried on Aug. 29 to cool the rhetoric of his own senior diplomats and the corporate media, when he publicly described recent activity in the Ukraine, as “a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now … it’s not really a shift.”

Obama, however, has only tenuous control over the policymakers in his administration – who, sadly, lack much sense of history, know little of war, and substitute anti-Russian invective for a policy. One year ago, hawkish State Department officials and their friends in the media very nearly got Mr. Obama to launch a major attack on Syria based, once again, on “intelligence” that was dubious, at best.
...
Hopefully, your advisers have reminded you of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s checkered record for credibility. It appears to us that Rasmussen’s speeches continue to be drafted by Washington. This was abundantly clear on the day before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq when, as Danish Prime Minister, he told his Parliament: “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This is not something we just believe. We know.”
Related:

How can you tell whether Russia has invaded Ukraine?
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Old 2014-09-05, 01:04   #2
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Long, excellent news roundup, and real backstory (as opposed to MSM propaganda) on the crisis from Mish. If you are interested in this story -- and I suggest one would be quite foolish not to be -- but can`t spare an hour for reading and contemplation today, save the link and read it when time does permit (but I suggest first reading the above VIPS letter in its entirety):

Cold War About to Turn Hot? Putin Warns Europe "I can Take Kiev in Two Weeks"; WW III Not a Good Option

(Aside: Barroso ... what a mendacious little weasel. (And that is likely an insult to hardworking actual weasels everywhere, to whom I apologize -- please don't rip my flesh, fellas!) MigBar was probably wearing a new set of lifts the day he spoke with Putin and feeling like he was a big hombre, thus went running to tattle to his Brussels co-weasels: "Hey guys! You know what that nasty Vlad just told me in confidence? [Spots Putin not far off and scurries to hide behind Merkel's skirts]. Check this out...I'm gonna take it completely out of context, 'cause it sounds better that way...")

Related:

o Counterpunch: Why the Deep State Always Wins: The Zero-Sum Game of Perpetual War:
Quote:
...narratives put forth by the press are under the influence of an extensive subversion apparatus that CIA officer Frank Wisner referred to as the Mighty Wurlitzer[xi]. Powerful groups build consensus behind closed doors and then, as Chomsky and Herman explain, coax the rest of society along by manufacturing consent[xii]. Thus enabling what’s known as democratic elitism.”
o Naked Capitalism: Mathew D. Rose: Merkel’s Götterdämmerung, Victory in Ukraine and Draghi’s Old Trick
Quote:
German hubris in Ukraine is further complicating the economic situation in the EU. Led by Germany, the EU embarked on a foreign adventure in Ukraine, a nation that was leading a politically and economically neutral existence between the West and Russia, to draw it into the orbit of the EU and NATO. The Germans meddled in Ukrainian domestic affairs, supporting the boxer Vitali Klitschko as a new political leader for that nation. Things went terribly wrong and a further oligarch has been elected president, while Klitschko received the post of mayor of the capital, Kiev.

Oddly, no one in Germany’s foreign ministry had considered that Russia might react as it had done in Georgia a few years ago, intervening militarily. Should the inevitable occur, as it did, the European nations have cut back their military spending so prodigiously to reduce their deficits, that they no longer possess a military deterrent against Russian military aggression. The EU is now completely reliant upon US military might.

Nonetheless, German media declared victory over Russia months ago. Purportedly Russia could not survive the financial and trade restrictions imposed by NATO and its allies – despite warnings that trade restrictions, if at all effective, need years to have significant consequences. Report after report appeared in German media describing a moribund Russian economy deteriorating dramatically. Finland’s Prime Minister Alexander Stubb put it very diplomatically recently when he observed that the “jury is still out” on whether sanctions had worked.

Germany is Russia’s biggest trade partner in the EU, a fact that German media belittles. Trade with Russia was portrayed as negligible, except for gas imports, which the Russians would never tamper with, due to their dependency on its export. The Russians are not only still standing, but in July retaliated with trade restrictions upon agricultural products from the EU. Things have suddenly taken on a new dimension, as the EU is mobilising funds to support hard-hit farmers. This is a further burden in addition to providing Ukraine’s oligarchs with funds to keep them in power and prevent their country going bankrupt – and enabling Ukraine to purchase weapons from EU member states.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2014-09-06 at 23:06 Reason: confidence ==> context
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Old 2014-09-06, 17:11   #3
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They warned us this day would come and we didn't listen.
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Old 2014-11-14, 15:58   #4
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Default When Henry Kissinger Makes Sense

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/11/12...r-makes-sense/

Robert Parry is in my top two or three "Expert Witnesses" on politics and world events. In this piece, he excoriates the MSM, and the NYT in particular, for the disinformation presented as "news" on the situation in Ukraine.

Quote:
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger disputes the mainstream U.S. media’s view of the Ukraine crisis, noting that Russia’s response was reactive to the West’s actions, not the other way around. But the MSM keeps up the drumbeat about Russian “aggression,” writes Robert Parry.
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Old 2014-11-14, 22:18   #5
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There's also been a steady emission of spurious "Russian tank columns rolling across the border"-spew in various Western MSM propaganda outlets this past week. Without actual independently verifiable evidence made public to support such claims, I classify them similarly to stories that include the "Ukraine says!" tell, i.e. as either uncritical repetition of Ukrainian lies/claims, or lies/claims manufactured out of whole cloth at the behest of the western military/industrial interests.

It is truly sad - but no longer surprising, alas - to see even "independent" outfits like PBS and NPR spewing the same kind of tales. Of course the phenomenon of journalists acting at the behest of agencies like the CIA is nothing new, but in mind the more-or-less complete capture of the MSM is a more recent thing. Then again, maybe the Vietnam-and-Watergate-era pushback against the State was the aberration - after all WW2 and its near-term aftermath was a giant propaganda exercise as much as a military effort.

Nice timesaver, though, to no longer feel any urge to pick up a newspaper or watch the evening TeeVee news for anything but weather&local - thank you, Internet.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2014-11-14 at 22:26
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Old 2016-09-14, 15:51   #6
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Default The Existential Madness of Putin-Bashing

-by Robert Parry, Consortium News
A search found this thread, which is somnolent, but still highly relevant in light of the "Cold War 2.0" efforts ongoing. I find it particularly worrisome, but not surprising, that candidate Clinton, and her fellow interventionists like Victoria Nuland, are gung ho for the project to surround and isolate Russia.

These are not the same risks, by orders of magnitude, as destabilizing or invading lesser powers. It risks putting someone less restrained than Putin at the helm in Moscow. A rabid ultra-nationalist, with the nuclear codes should be a frightening possibility, though it doesn't seem to be in neocon and neolib interventionist and regime changing circles.
Quote:
Except with Russia, the risks are even greater – conceivably, a nuclear war that could exterminate life on the planet. Yet, despite those stakes, there has been a cavalier – even goofy – attitude in the U.S. political/media mainstream about undertaking this new “regime change” project aimed at Moscow.

There is also little appreciation of how lucky the world was when the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991 without some Russian extremists seizing control of the nuclear codes and taking humanity to the brink of extinction. Back then, there was a mix of luck and restrained leadership, especially on the Soviet side.

Plus, there were at least verbal assurances from George H.W. Bush’s administration that the Soviet retreat from East Germany and Eastern Europe would not be exploited by NATO and that a new era of cooperation with the West could follow the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Instead, the United States dispatched financial “experts” – many from Harvard Business School – who arrived in Moscow with neoliberal plans for “shock therapy” to “privatize” Russia’s resources, which turned a handful of corrupt insiders into powerful billionaires, known as “oligarchs,” and the “Harvard Boys” into well-rewarded consultants.

But the result for the average Russian was horrific as the population experienced a drop in life expectancy unprecedented in a country not at war. While a Russian could expect to live to be almost 70 in the mid-1980s, that expectation had dropped to less than 65 by the mid-1990s.

The “Harvard Boys” were living the high-life with beautiful women, caviar and champagne in the lavish enclaves of Moscow – as the U.S.-favored President Boris Yeltsin drank himself into stupors – but there were reports of starvation in villages in the Russian heartland and organized crime murdered people on the street with near impunity.

Meanwhile, Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush cast aside any restraint regarding Russia’s national pride and historic fears by expanding NATO across Eastern Europe, including the incorporation of former Soviet republics.

Last fiddled with by kladner on 2016-09-14 at 15:53
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Old 2016-09-14, 17:09   #7
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We have Russian students in Leiden taking our courses and Dutch students doing the same in Russia. The picture I get from both groups is much more detailed and nuanced than in most of the Western press.
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Old 2016-09-14, 17:27   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
We have Russian students in Leiden taking our courses and Dutch students doing the same in Russia. The picture I get from both groups is much more detailed and nuanced than in most of the Western press.
That sort of first hand information is priceless. I am interested in how much, if any, that this article lines up with the input you have.
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Old 2016-09-17, 06:06   #9
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Default A Russian Warning

Take this as you will. I picked it up from the comments to a post on another site which I frequent.
http://thesaker.is/a-russian-warning/
EDIT: It seems utterly plausible. Should we not suppose that the US, and other nuclear powers have such Doomsday scenarios programmed? (Oblique reference to items presented in the article.) Regardless of the provenance, this likelihood must be taken into account. MAD(ness) (Mutual Assured Destruction) is alive and virulent.

Last fiddled with by kladner on 2016-09-17 at 06:13
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Old 2016-09-17, 08:10   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kladner View Post
I am interested in how much, if any, that this article lines up with the input you have.
To some extent, certainly. but I'm no expert. In a few months, a friend of mine will be back from Russia and I will be able to give you a better answer after discussions with him.

Several people have told me that if I want to understand Russia then I must read the great Russian novels first (think Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, ...)
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Old 2016-09-18, 03:11   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kladner View Post
Take this as you will. I picked it up from the comments to a post on another site which I frequent.
http://thesaker.is/a-russian-warning/
EDIT: It seems utterly plausible. Should we not suppose that the US, and other nuclear powers have such Doomsday scenarios programmed? (Oblique reference to items presented in the article.) Regardless of the provenance, this likelihood must be taken into account. MAD(ness) (Mutual Assured Destruction) is alive and virulent.
So much of this is nonsensical. During the cold war when Russia was at it's strongest militarily speaking, the Russian Navy was considered an afternoon's work for the Western powers.

Air superiority would be achieved by NATO in every theater of war in days. The ONLY place that Russia had a decided advantage was tanks in Europe. The whole purpose of the NATO presence there was to slow the advance down so that Air Superiority would assert itself.

As to Russia getting more bang for it's ruble? They couldn't keep the machinery they had running. They relied on Potemkin Villages and subterfuge in the air and sea. They relied on numerical superiority on land. (all the exact opposite of the claims of this article)

Look up the history of Victor Belenko and his Mig-25. The most feared Russian jet ever. But, then when we looked at it for real and not through the lens of Russian propaganda we found that it was inferior to US and British made jets in every aspect. (with the possible exception of speed--however in order to travel at the speeds that the US feared the Mig-25 would destroy it's engines.)

After the truth was known, however, it became a state secret of the military-industrial complex. Because if the public knew in 1980 that Russia's military was no threat to the West, then how would we justify huge debts and huge military spending increase. #ThanksReagan

The one point that this article makes that is cogent and correct (though they try to muck it up) is that there is one equalizer in modern warfare between the Superpowers. And that is the mutually assured destruction caused by the development of the Hydrogen bomb. And there is no system in the world that is good enough to stop an all out attack by either side.

Finally, the letter can't even get the economics right. Russia has no "recent economic success." None. They are still in the recession--though they have leveled off. however their GDP continues to fall and worse, servicing their foreign debts now consumes around 4% of their GDP.

Why bring this up? Because the real threat is Putin's insistence on pretending like it's still the 1970s. The slow decline of Russia will probably lead to the path of Russia becoming the mineral exporter of to the world at rock-bottom prices. But, if certain forces in the Russian government continue to believe they can rattle sabers until the world once again respects them like the good old days, then we could face the risk of increased military clashes with them.

TL;DR: The Russian military was never as strong technologically as Raytheon and Boeing claimed. The Russian Economy is in tatters and will remain so until Putin admits that Western Sanctions have been effective (and he adopts the Minsk II provisions). Nuclear war is a bad idea. But strawman arguments don't help their case.


(and you guys should have known this was a crackpot site. Just read the comments.)
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