Thursday 30th of November 2023

Pouring sand down a rathole.....

When a title in the Washington Post is so revealing, you can understand that the handwriting is on the wall, and that really is SO revealing, and if it is not an “I hate to tell you so, but I told you so” moment, then how else can we interpret the headline “Ukraine’s inability to demonstrate decisive success on the battlefield is stoking fears that the conflict is becoming a stalemate and international support could erode?”


BY Henry Kamens


Not only appears to be!

Has not the veneer of legitimacy not already eroded enough to lay bare the bedrock of a military conflict that never had to be, but is instead is a conflict of choice, especially for the West—but the SHOW MUST GO ON—at least until after the US presidential elections. The Washington Post’s Susannah George is saying what even laymen know, Ukraine appears to be running out of options in a counteroffensive that officials originally framed as Kyiv’s “crucial operation” to retake significant territory from occupying Russian forces this year.

Yes, the military conflict is stalemated, and few want to be used as cannon fodder.  It is only a matter of time until the West and the coalition of the willing will lose interest and start asking the hard questions: such as “where did all the money go, and how did the supposed NATO standard weapons disappeared so quickly and how did the West get engaged in this mess in the first place?”

All the promises of one weapons system after another, be it artillery, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs), or anti-tank or anti-aircraft systems have all proved to be more talk than firepower, and only now will some F-16 get delivered. But who is qualified enough to fly them and use them for the purpose and manner they were designed for, and what is a ground offensive without air cover and close air support?


Pouring sand down a rathole”

Is a figurative expression that refers to a futile or pointless action—a waste of time and money, and the lives of a generation.  The phrase fits the effort made in Ukraine by the West as having been ineffective and wasteful. And most certainly, there are more than a few rats in the Ukrainian government, its Western sponsors, and partners in organized crime.  They have shown themselves for what they REALLY are!

And now the West has the audacity to complain that Ukraine is casualty averse, not willing to die in droves for some greater cause, the American cause! As the headline, based on the work of Caitlin Johnstone sums it up well, The West Keeps Whining that Ukrainians Are Cowards, and how Western officials – under the cover of anonymity and from the safety of their desks – are expressing disapproval of Ukraine’s aversion to being killed!

It is an understatement to highlight that this proxy war has not brought about any meaningful results, and it has not gone well for regional security. Sand down a rathole sums it up well, as the expression often used to convey a sense of frustration or disappointment when someone is engaged in some action or causes that seems to have no real value or purpose—at least for normal people

The gathering clouds are not looking good for Kyiv, it has not been able to deliver on the battlefield, and as a result, its backers are backing off, as they know that political and physical (as in terms of the financial costs, and conceivably even worse) blowback is coming, reputations and careers are at stake. More aid to Ukraine is like pouring sand down a rathole, it just disappears, no result, other than negative consequences.

But just how much longer will it be before the West does an Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Vietnam, and just walks away and moves on to the next war to be orchestrated? But first it will look for a scapegoat, and that should not be difficult among the minions of the corrupt in Ukraine.

All the wonder weapons have thus far failed to live up to the hype, now the west is moving to supply early model F-16As, admittedly upgraded to an extent, from the forty-year-old examples still operated by Holland and Denmark.

But who is qualified enough to fly them and use them for the purpose and in the manner they were designed–and only too soon will they crash and burn, if they are able to get airborne- and are not simply destroyed on the ground by Russian cruise and hypersonic missile systems, as happened too much of the Ukrainian Air Force in the first days of the war.

As we have discussed before in NEO, about how American policymakers in their many attempts to isolate and antagonize Russia should have been asking, “How many more ‘redlines’ have to be crossed in order for Putin to fully act?”

Were any of them actually so naïve to have considered that Putin would not have acted when the Ukrainian government invaded its predominately ethnic Russian regions in the East of, not to face dire consequences as a result?

The answer to these questions should be a no-brainer in the BIGGER scheme of things, and that now includes the potential blow back over China and punitive action to anyone who refuses to toe-the-line and march to the same music as proffered by the collective West.

It becomes the question of staying power, and the financial lifeline that the West is willing to provide—but for how long?  Already, the writing is on the wall, considering that Ukraine’s apparent inability to demonstrate decisive success on the battlefield is stoking fears that the conflict is becoming a stalemate.

There were high hopes that Ukraine’s counteroffensive would turn the tide in its favor. While the West was trying to convince itself of its own rhetoric, with wishful thinking that the Russian army would panic and flee at the first sign of NATO supplied Wunderwaffen such as the Bradley IFV and Leopard 2 tanks, and constantly trumpeting the upcoming offensive to cut the land bridge to Crimea by retaking Melitopol and reaching the Sea of Azov, the Russians took the time to dig in along the front line spanning east to south Ukraine, creating deep defensive lines that are in parts made up of networks of mines, bunkers, trenches and layers of anti-tank obstacles over 75 kilometers deep.

Without more advanced weapons to buttress the front line or troops enough in reserve, as reported by CNBC, quoting [unnamed] Defense experts who say “it’s unlikely that the Ukrainian counteroffensive will see any breakthroughs this year. But they note it’s crucial for Ukraine to be able to show at least some gains in order to maintain Western support for the war into 2024 — and perhaps beyond.”


This translates, 

“We don’t care if you can achieve any strategic objective, only to gain ground, for PR purposes, so to placate Western taxpayers.  You need not concern yourselves about the mistakes of the German army who also thought military gains could be measured by territory gained.  It also does not matter the causalities taken, as you still have enough warm bodies to conscript, young and old, to be used as fresh cannon fodder.”

“The question here is which of the two sides is going to be worn out sooner,” said Franz-Stefan Gady, a senior fellow with the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Center for a New American Security, who visited Ukraine in July. “We shouldn’t expect the achievement of any major military objectives overnight.”

And the question for NATO and its new turn on life, what is its purpose of existence, and has it really evolved? You can do anything in the name of combating the other side; just ask the people of Haiti under Papa Doc. The only rational conclusion is that NATO has to fulfill some mission in a post-Cold War world. It is pursuing a two-pronged strategy to try and find one.

One prong is to try and start another Cold War by declaring everything Un-American to be wrong and hostile—including alternative media that takes exception to what is being done for the sake of the few well-connected elites who are becoming rich through arms sales.


Collective West and Claimed Supremacy

The other is to insert terrorist groups into various countries to give the “international democratic order” something evil to fight against. There is no reason a defensive alliance should have a cultural dimension.  Westerners need to stop claiming credit for the West’s achievements, while disassociating themselves from its crimes. This only reinforces misplaced loyalty to a civilization and policy that is based on greed and misguided values.

The West, especially the United States, wants to take collective credit for good things but to individualize blame on others. The villains of the West are grouped together as being foreign, even when they are home-grown; Hitler was a product of Western Civilization, King Leopold, Harry Truman, and most of those who came after them – in their dirty wars that span the last 70 plus years of “peace”.

Very different political models can co-exist, side-by-side, and even within the same country, as the differences between local councils in pluralistic countries often demonstrates. But NATO insists on its partners having a one culture, one value system—it being the one the US likes and trusts, which is always something close to what the US itself claims it has developed, and mostly on its own.

You can’t talk to Communists, Muslims, or Russians, and if you do, you will pay the price, as Ukraine is discovering the hard way now. NATO is aware of this weakness, but has no real intention of addressing it. This leaves it only one way out – coming out of the stockade with all guns blazing, like Robert Redford and Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Probably with much the same result…

So which state is next on the list of countries to be knocked off?

Could it be that Biden and team is finally realizing the US is putting itself further up that list by the day? US policy is in flux and is already overextended, (in actions and recriminations), and its own worst enemy. It has to win. However, this begs the question, where are the troops coming from? As clear as day, we can see that Biden wants to be a war president and let someone else die for that war.

US policy lacks consistency, and media spin is the solution.  Take for instance, Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, who was always constantly warning that Moscow that Washington, as the collective West,  will “respond” to any acts of aggression or recklessness carried out by the Russian government, as if this function is his sole claim to fame.

He knew very well that allowing the Ukrainian government installed by the west after the Maidan revolution (or coup?) to attack and murder local citizens in the East of Ukraine was crossing one of many redlines for Putin. However, he still does not cut back on the rhetoric, doubling-down as [if the US is REALLY willing] to back its statements with direct support for Kiev for the long-term, at least until after the presidential elections.

For the Biden administration, Ukraine is a way to demonstrate America’s claimed “unwavering support” for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and a collection of claimed Western values, all of which are neatly wrapped in propagandized sound bites.  But we know better, and based on the political and military reality, nothing new can be added to the discussion of Ukraine from a policy position.


Screaming Foul 

US Secretary of State Mr. Blinken is always screaming foul over something: China or Russia, and now West Africa, as if it is going to really make some difference in how the world spins.

He forgets what NATO does  is invariably on the orders of the US Federal government, even if it goes against the needs and best interests of the majority of its members,  and against claimed Western values. Ukraine, Poland and other NATO members, even fledging potential members, only have the future of being transformed into outposts of men and equipment—in order for the US to have the ability to take “protective reaction” measures if necessary—so that the Hawks can trumpet “America will respond!”

It comes as no surprise, since 2014 nothing has actually really changed, and even with the extra baggage, rhetoric and range of military hardware delivered by Biden and team. It is all but a continuation of a failed bullying policy, a familiar but UGLY FACE  in the long-running Washington-Moscow standoff over Ukraine, and confirmation that the world is no longer unipolar.

Biden and his minions are still pushing hegemonic actions to interfere and topple actual and fledgling democracies—and spilling the blood of so many innocents in the process.  Sooner rather than later all this will backfire, for the sake of civilization, and the survival of the species, and the sooner, the better!


Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.






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we love nazis......


BY Rachel Marsden


The EU’s best weapon against free speech isn’t working

The European Union has just realized that it can’t rule the internet with an iron fist by throwing around the ‘Kremlin propaganda’ label


The European Commission has concluded in a new report that despite making pinky-promises to “mitigate the reach and influence of Kremlin-sponsored disinformation,” large social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook were “unsuccessful” in doing so. What a shocker that this research by oversight advocates has ended up advocating more oversight. Russia just happens to be the most convenient scapegoat. 

Using the same kind of smear tactics that the bloc has used previously – like when it included Russia alongside Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in a security and threat report – this time it involved conflating “pro-Kremlin” social media accounts with those that it considers to be “Kremlin-aligned” or “Kremlin-backed.” In other words, mere disagreement with the Western narrative is enough to land anyone in the “pro-Kremlin” camp and to be considered worthy of content moderation or banning by the EU. And now they’re frustrated that social media platforms have dropped the ball on carrying out that censorship. 

“Platforms rarely reviewed and removed more than 50 percent of the clearly violative content we flagged in repeated tests,” the report said. What kind of content would that be, exactly? It’s hard to tell, because their examples conflate the legitimately debatable with the patently absurd, and suggest that both warrant censorship. They cite, for example, content that accuses Ukraine of being run by Nazis – which is a legitimate concern, given that the Western press has reported extensively on the powerful role played by neo-Nazis in Ukraine, which are “aggressively trying to impose their agenda on Ukrainian society, including by using force against those with opposite political and cultural views,” according to a publication by the Washington-based Freedom House prior to the conflict, adding that “they are a real physical threat to left-wing, feminist, liberal, and LGBT activists, human rights defenders, as well as ethnic and religious minorities” in Ukraine. The Council of Europe had made similar observations. 


There’s also the fact that the West trained the neo-Nazi Azov battalion to fight Russians, and that Reuters reported way back in 2018 that then-president Petro Poroshenko “would risk major repercussions” should he take action against neo-Nazis. 

That kind of does sound like there’s a neo-Nazi issue that’s at the very least worthy of highlighting and debating. Yet the EU dismisses any such suggestion as Russian disinformation. 

The report also takes issue with accounts “denying war crimes,” using events in Bucha as an example. I’m sorry, but was there a war crimes tribunal that we missed? We’re talking here about events taking place in the immediate fog of war. Attempting to sort through facts, realities, and manipulations is precisely the kind of thing with which social media is meant to assist. Everyone by this point knows that it’s about having access to as much raw data as possible. We expect to see a chaotic mess online – not a curated Encyclopedia Britannica set or the evening news. What makes Brussels think it is entitled to a monopoly on that process?

The report places these examples of inconvenient debates alongside a blatantly ridiculous example of sh*tposting whereby someone made up the name of a fake media outlet and announced that Ukraine was sending a radioactive cloud towards Europe. Look, if anyone is so dumb as to believe something like that, then it certainly isn’t the EU that’s going to save them from their own stupidity. Not for long, anyway. Just let them spend their entire next week digging a fallout shelter while their neighbors have a good laugh. 

In a line that just begs to be read repeatedly out of sheer incredulity that someone could be so tone-deaf, the report notes that so-called Kremlin disinfo efforts are “designed to foment political and social instability among its adversaries by stoking ethnic conflict, promoting isolationism, and distracting public attention away from Ukraine and onto domestic affairs.” How dare the people of Europe insist that their leaders focus on the considerable problems faced by their own country and citizens, which have long been exacerbated by misguided national and EU-level policies, rather than riveting their attention to Ukraine! Indeed, if it wasn’t for those meddling Russians, Europe would be a utopia of sunshine and rainbows, everyone holding hands and singing Kumbaya, with nothing else for citizens to concern themselves with besides what’s happening in Ukraine.


The EU laments that “the Kremlin and its proxies captured growing audiences with highly produced propaganda content, and steered users to unregulated online spaces, where democratic norms have eroded and hate and lies could spread with impunity.” They have it all backwards. People wanting to engage in debate and discussion of topics and viewpoints that the EU — in all its arrogance as the self-appointed arbiter of truth — is keen to censor, have been driven to other platforms specifically because they support free speech in all its glory and imperfection. 

“Over the course of 2022, the audience and reach of Kremlin-aligned social media accounts increased substantially all over Europe,” according to the report, adding that “the reach and influence of Kremlin-backed accounts has grown further in the first half of 2023, driven in particular by the dismantling of Twitter’s safety standards.” In other words, Elon Musk, who considers himself a “free speech absolutist,” came along and bought Twitter, leveled the playing field by opening up debate and reducing censorship, and what ended up happening is that people flooded to the platform as a refreshing alternative to the curated and censored Western establishment narrative that they’re spoon-fed elsewhere. 

So what’s the EU going to do about it now? Well, mandatory compliance with its Digital Services Act is now in effect as of last month. This means that, theoretically, all the major social media platforms are obligated to work with the EU’s handpicked “civil society” actors to moderate and censor content – no doubt in alignment with the EU’s narrative. Musk should play along and take notes about the kind of censorship requests that are made of him by Brussels. Then he should publish them on Twitter in the interest of radical transparency and the kind of uncompromising defense of democracy to which the EU is constantly paying lip service as a pretext for its crackdowns on our fundamental freedoms.




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more corrupt.....


US spies see new Ukrainian defense minister as ‘even more corrupt’ – Seymour Hersh

Rustem Umerov “made a fortune” supervising the sale of government property, the American journalist has reported


Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov is “even more corrupt” than his predecessor Aleksey Reznikov, American journalist Seymour Hersh reported on Thursday, citing an anonymous US intelligence official.

Reznikov was dismissed by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky earlier this week, with Umerov confirmed as his replacement on Wednesday. 

Reznikov and his subordinates have been implicated in numerous graft scandals, including a scheme by which his ministry purchased substandard winter uniforms for inflated prices from a Turkish supplier owned by a Ukrainian contact. 

“The new guy is even more corrupt,” Hersh quoted a “knowledgeable US intelligence official” as saying. “He ran the sale of government property and made a fortune. Has a huge villa in Majorca.” 

The source claimed that Umerov’s name was not on a list of 35 corrupt officials allegedly presented to Zelensky by CIA Director William Burns in January. Zelensky fired a host of senior officials and administrators after meeting Burns, although Reznikov defied media speculation to stay in his post. The existence of Burns’ list was first revealed by Hersh in April.

“The list was not a telephone book of crooks; just the ones receiving US military and economic financing,”Hersh’s source said on Thursday. The statement backs up earlier claims that Zelensky’s purge was carried out at Washington's request, with the US seemingly keen to stop the misappropriation of its aid.

Umerov’s appointment was welcomed by the Western media. Prior to taking over Reznikov’s post, Umerov had served as head of Ukraine’s state property agency, where the Washington Post said he “gained praise for instituting massive audits and weeding out alleged corruption and misappropriation of funds.”

However, Umerov and two of his former deputies at the agency are currently the subject of a corruption investigation, Ukrainian media reported on Wednesday. Citing court documents, news site claimed that the High Anti-Corruption Court (VAKS) of Ukraine opened the probe in August after receiving reports that Umerov had obstructed an embezzlement investigation and covered up the sale of electricity below market prices by Tsentrenergo, Ukraine’s only state-owned electricity-generating company.

Summing up the shakeup at the Defense Ministry in Kiev, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on Wednesday that Zelensky had “fired one defense minister over corruption but would not launch an investigation and instead appointed another minister, who is being investigated for corruption.”







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