fire destruction
"American colleagues at the Pentagon told me, unequivocally, that the US and UK never would allow European-Soviet (re: EU-Russia) relations to develop to such a degree that they would challenge the US-UK's political, economic or military primacy and hegemony on the European continent. Such a development will be prevented by all necessary means, if necessary by provoking a war in central Europe." Christof Lehmann
February 16 has come and gone without incident. The information spread by US officials and the media proved to be wrong. Russia did not invade Ukraine nor did any of the unverified warnings turn out to be true. So far, neither the media nor the administration has produced a scintilla of evidence that Russia actually planned to invade Ukraine or that the presumed invasion was "imminent." The whole thing may have been a hoax concocted by Washington to advance their regional agenda; we just don't know for sure. What we do know, however, is that no one from the administration, the media or the intelligence agencies have offered any explanation, apology or retraction for their errant predictions. Of that, we can be 100% certain.

What are we to make of this? Why would the administration stake its credibility on a prediction that was so far-fetched? And why did the media participate in the ruse when they clearly had no hard evidence to back up the claims? Did they really think Putin is so cognitively-impaired that he'd order his troops into Ukraine just to follow Washington's loony script?

No, of course not.

Then why did they do it?

Perhaps the warnings were intended to divert attention from other suspicious goings-on that are presently taking place in Ukraine. For example, why are Ukrainian oligarchs and deep-pocket elites fleeing the country en masse? Here's the story from 24-7 News Agency:
"Ukrainian oligarchs and businessmen are leaving Ukraine on charter flights. According to Ukrayinska Pravda, about 20 charters and private planes have taken off from Kiev over the past day.

According to the newspaper, the planes of Rinat Akhmetov and Boris Kolesnikov took off from Ukraine today... A private plane for 50 people was also ordered by the deputy of the Opposition Platform - For Life (OPPL) party, millionaire Igor Abramovich. According to Ukrainska Pravda, this plane is supposed to take relatives of fellow party members, as well as business partners Ukrainian oligarchs and businessmen are leaving Ukraine on charter flights". (" Ukrainian oligarchs and businessmen are leaving Ukraine on charter flights", 247 News)
Get the picture? The "big money" guys are getting out now while there's still time. But, why? Are they concerned about the fictitious Russian legions storming Kiev or were they tipped off by insiders who have knowledge of upcoming events? Which is it?

And why is the CIA bailing-out at the same time? That seems a bit suspicious, don't you think? Check out this clip from an article in Tass titled: "US temporarily relocates its CIA station from Kiev":
"US authorities have temporarily relocated the employees of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from Kiev, The New York Times reported on Tuesday citing sources. According to the sources, the CIA station was "temporarily relocated" from Kiev on Tuesday... According to its sources, the relocation of the CIA employees may complicate gathering intelligence on Russia's alleged "activity" in the country."
The article doesn't explain why the CIA shut its offices and vamoosed, so we have to assume that they know something that the rest of don't. But what would that be?

Typically, people do not evacuate unless they are in danger, right? So, the agents at the CIA facility must have been briefed on upcoming events [that]} would put their lives in danger. In other words, the CIA and Kiev's business elites are making for the exits before the storm hits, which suggests they were tipped off by someone who knows Washington's plan. But who could that be, and how do these oddball developments fit with the "Russian invasion" fiasco? Is there a connection?

Yes, there is, but first, let's put the "Russian invasion" meme in context. Many of the people who saw through the fakery are feeling pretty proud of themselves today, and for good reason, after all, they were right and the media was wrong. But we shouldn't lose sight of the bigger picture which is that the war-drums are beating as ferociously today as they were before the predictions proved to be wrong. Why?

It's because the media is still preparing the public for either a confrontation with Russia or something even worse. Take a look at this sampling of Wednesday's headlines: So, the media is still ramping up the pro-war propaganda even though Russia never invaded Ukraine. What does that tell you?

It tells you the crisis is not over. It tells you that the media is still whipping the public into a Russophobic frenzy. It tells you that Uncle Sam has something else up his sleeve that no one really expects; a surprise event that will shake things up and reframe the narrative in a way that benefits Washington and hurts Russia. That's what we can conclude from Wednesday's headline news. War is still on the docket.

Readers of this column know that we think that Washington's real objective is not Ukraine at all, but Nord Stream, the natural gas pipeline that connects Germany to Russia. Here's what makes the pipeline so important:
Nord Stream creates the critical infrastructure needed to connect Europe's industrial powerhouse (Germany) to Russia's vast energy reserves. The link strengthens commercial ties paving the way for warmer relations, the easing of cross-border regulations and a gradual merging of the two continents into the world's most expansive and prosperous free trade zone. Nord Stream represents the energy component of China's Belt and Road initiative that will draw Europe and Asia closer together via an expansive high-speed rail system that reduces shipping costs, boosts foreign commerce and shifts the world's center of gravity eastward to Asia.
Bottom line: The emergence of an EU-Asia free trade zone means an end to the present global power structure in which the US plays the dominant role. It points the way to a new multipolar world order in which all the states are treated with greater equality and justice. But does anyone seriously think Washington is ready to relinquish its power and accept a place among the family of nations?

No, that's not going to happen. Not without a fight at least.

Just take a look at the Nord Stream fracas. Washington has opposed Nord Stream since its inception in 2015 and piled on the sanctions at every opportunity. Recently, however, Biden lifted the sanctions because they are so unpopular among the German people who need a source of clean energy to make up for the shortfall from (decommissioned) nuclear power plants. The problem for Washington is that - aside from the sanctions — there are few ways to prevent the pipeline from coming on line. That means Washington will have to resort to more extreme measures like coercion, incitement and false flags. Check out this excerpt from an article at Tass on Tuesday:
"A Lugansk resident alerted the State Security Ministry about finding an object that resembles a homemade explosive device in a trash bin at the Friendship of the People's Park

The bomb was made of a cell phone, a detonator, two TNT slabs weighing a total of 400 grams and damage agents, such as pieces of steel rods. The ministry said it had reason to believe the detonation of the device was planned for the time of a rally devoted to veterans that was scheduled for the morning of February 15.

The ministry said Ukraine's subversive groups may have been involved in the attempted attack as they seek to destabilize the situation in the LPR. The detonation of the explosive device amid a large crowd in downtown Lugansk could have inflicted injuries to civilians, the ministry said." (LPR's security forces foiled terrorist attack in Lugansk", Tass)
Would a terrorist event of this size convince Putin that he needed to send in the troops to defend the ethnic Russians in east Ukraine?

Probably not, but it does help to show how a terrorist attack can be used to justify retaliation and maybe even war. Let's say, for example, a small nuclear device or chemical weapon was detonated in Kiev killing hundreds of civilians and maiming thousands more. What would happen?

Would the world be shocked and horrified?

Of course.

And would political leaders around the world condemn the action and pledge to bring the perpetrators to justice?

Yes, they would.

And would the media fuel the public hysteria and use it to promote a response that advanced the interests of elites?

Yes, again.

And would members of the Ukrainian Security Services — acting in concert with their US Law Enforcement allies- quickly round up a small cell of terrorists (allegedly) linked to Russian intelligence or Russian military, thus, placing the blame squarely on Putin's shoulders?

Indeed, they would. In fact, these frame-ups of alleged terror suspects are so commonplace in the US that rogue FBI agents have turned "entrapment" into an art-form. There's no reason to believe the practice cannot be exported to Ukraine. In short, there's no doubt that these same "alleged Russian" patsies would be swiftly processed and severely punished without ever seeing the inside of a courthouse.

And how would that effect the crisis in Ukraine?

It would provide a justification for the Ukrainian army to invade the Donbass and wipe out thousands of ethnic Russians who were in no way connected to the terrorist bombing. That, in turn, would force Putin to send his troops across the border to end the fighting and restore the peace. And that's when Washington would repudiate Russia's action by calling it "an Invasion". Which would put additional pressure on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to abandon the German-Russo pipeline project and prevent the launching of Nord Stream. This is how a false flag can be used to achieve one's geopolitical objectives. Here's an excerpt from an article at RT:
"Ukrainian commandos trained by Britain are planning a "series of terrorist attacks" in the Donbass to use as cover for a false flag operation.. Local militia spokesman Eduard Basurin said on Wednesday that Kiev will stage a provocation to accuse Russia of invading the country....

Basurin, however, insisted that he had "reliable information" suggesting six groups of saboteurs from the 8th Special Purpose Regiment of Ukrainian Armed Forces (VSU) had been trained by specialists from the UK and deployed near the line of contact. Their targets would allegedly include gas and water supply as well as power stations.

The purpose of their supposed provocation is to accuse Russia of 'false flag' attacks to prepare "aggression" against Ukraine, and to create panic among the local residents, he added....

In December, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu alleged that American private military companies had begun shipping "unidentified chemical components" to towns in the Donbass as a potential precursor to an attack...

Last week, Washington accused Russia of planning a 'false flag' attack in the separatist-controlled territory as a pretext for invading Ukraine. The allegation echoed claims of the Ukrainian government and came after CIA Director William Burns visited Kiev. Russia has rejected it as baseless, and called US insinuations of a planned invasion "fake news." ("Ukraine planning 'false flag' Donbass incident", RT)

Comment: Right on cue, only hours of the publication of this article, an attack on a gas pipeline occurred:
In the overnight hours local time a massive gas pipeline explosion is being reported, with a fire raging at the site. Early unconfirmed reports suggest the powerful explosion rocked a part of the pipeline in the pro-Russian separatist region, in or near the city of Luhansk.

Interfax is also confirming a "pipeline fire in Eastern Ukraine after a powerful explosion"... Dramatic videos were quick to emerge showing a bright fireball on the horizon.

"An explosion has rocked the city of Lugansk in eastern Ukraine late on Friday, Sputnik news agency's correspondent has reported," according to Russian media.

And reports of a second explosion have come across the news wires:


What's interesting about this article, is that all three parties are accusing each other of fomenting the same illicit plan. That suggests that they all think that a false flag operation is probable in the current circumstances. In other words, the likelihood of a catastrophic mass casualty event used as a pretext for war, is no longer dismissed as a far-out conspiracy theory among the main participants in the conflict. Rather, they see it as the anticipated course of action. We agree with that conclusion. Here's more from an article at PBS:
"The U.S. accused the Kremlin on Thursday of an elaborate plot to fabricate an attack by Ukrainian forces that Russia could use as a pretext to take military action against its neighbor. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the scheme included production of a graphic propaganda video that would show staged explosions and use corpses and actors depicting grieving mourners.

The plan for the fake attack on Russian territory or Russian-speaking people was revealed in declassified intelligence shared with Ukrainian officials and European allies in recent days. It is the latest allegation by the U.S. and Britain that Russia is plotting to use a false pretext to go to war against Ukraine.

The White House in December accused Russia of developing a "false-flag" operation to create pretext for an invasion... The U.S. has not provided detailed information backing up the intelligence findings. ("U.S. intel suggests Russia is plotting false flag attack in Ukraine as pretext for invasion", PBS News)
This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Russia gains nothing from a false flag in Ukraine because Russia's sole objective is to join the US in signing legally-binding agreements limiting the expansion of NATO and eliminating nuclear missile sites in Romania and Poland. That's it. That's all Putin wants. So, how does a provocation help to achieve those ends?

It doesn't. The only one who benefits from a violent incitement is the United States. For Washington, a false flag is perhaps the last opportunity to block Nord Stream and prevent the steady erosion of its global power. And whether a provocation of this kind smacks of desperation or not, is completely irrelevant. The US remains fully-commited to doing whatever it takes to maintain its dominant place in the global order. Here's how political analyst Christof Lehmann summed it up more than a decade ago:
"American colleagues at the Pentagon told me, unequivocally, that the US and UK never would allow European-Soviet (re: Russia) relations to develop to such a degree that they would challenge the US-UK's political, economic or military primacy and hegemony on the European continent. Such a development will be prevented by all necessary means, if necessary by provoking a war in central Europe".
There it is in black and white. Washington is not going to roll-over and play dead while new centers of power crop-up across the planet. That's not going to happen. The US is going to identify the nations that could cause them problems and do everything they can to crush them. That's how Empire's work. They don't wait to be knocked off their pedestal. They take the bull by the horns and act preemptively. Paul Wolfowitz articulated the nuts and bolts of US foreign policy like this:
"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power."
This is the core doctrine that guides US foreign policy: Identify potential threats to US hegemony and then obliterate them without mercy. That suggests a false flag in Ukraine is more than likely, it's probable.