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Vader

Best of the Web: Did the West intentionally incite Putin to war?

zelensky poke bear russia ukraine political cartoon
© David Parkins/The Globe and Mail/2014
Over the last year the US and NATO countries have undertaken no effort to convince Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy to begin talks with Putin, despite: the death of more than half a million Ukrainians; the destruction of much of Ukraine's economy, finances, physical infrastructure, human capital, civil society; and the West's inability to sustain financial and military support even as Ukraine loses the war when said support was at its height. The West's war strategy now seems to be to prolong a 'long war' in the hope either that the war begins to affect Russia and Putin's standing there or that Putin's health wanes and his system destabilizes. All this and much more written below raises suspicions the West intentionally, maybe even 'subconsciously' - the actions of small policy victories won in order to 'confront Putin' by competing elements within it, especially inside Washington - drew Russia into the NATO-Russia Ukrainian War. Aside from the background cause and main driver of this decision - NATO expansion - and more immediate precipitants of Putin's decision in mid- to late February 2022, what efforts, of any, did the West undertake perhaps intentionally to drive this decision?

If we look at the course of events in reverse chronological order it seems to me even more glaringly so that the West sought this war and indeed drew Russia into it intentionally with the the strategy of using the war to weaken Russia's economic and political stability. The strategic goal is the reinforcement of US hegemony and power maximalization by achieving two long-standing, interrelated sub-goals: (1) NATO expansion and (2) the removal from power of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Let's reverse engineer the course of events.

Bullseye

Best of the Web: UN special rapporteur: Israel is deliberately starving Palestinians and it should be held accountable for genocide

Gaza children hunger food
© Fatima Shbair/APPalestinians line up for a free meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on 16 February. UN special rapporteur on the right to food Michael Fakhri says denial of food is war crime and constitutes 'a situation of genocide'.
Israel is intentionally starving Palestinians and should be held accountable for war crimes - and genocide, according to the UN's leading expert on the right to food.

Hunger and severe malnutrition are widespread in the Gaza Strip, where about 2.2 million Palestinians are facing severe shortages resulting from Israel destroying food supplies and severely restricting the flow of food, medicines and other humanitarian supplies. Aid trucks and Palestinians waiting for humanitarian relief have come under Israeli fire.

"There is no reason to intentionally block the passage of humanitarian aid or intentionally obliterate small-scale fishing vessels, greenhouses and orchards in Gaza - other than to deny people access to food," Michael Fakhri, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, told the Guardian.

Comment: And Israel manages to take malevolence to yet another level: not only are the IDF also shooting livestock, bombing food and sanitation infrastructure - and the rest - but they're also shelling and shooting those simply scrambling for food - see the reports below.

But, there does appear to be a notable development by those working for propaganda media outlets, because it seems that even those journalists are struggling to overlook the atrocities, and, in turn, Israel and its cheerleaders in the West appear to be escalating tensions ever further, perhaps due to their realisation that their window of opportunity is closing:


Initial reports indicate Death tolls are up to: 150 KILLED AND 1000 INJURED
Video 1&2: Injuries and martyrs arriving to the hospitals.
Video 3: Civilians gathered waiting for Aid.
Video 4: the moment civilians were targeted and shot.




Bad Guys

Best of the Web: Germany's Scholz implies British troops operating long-range missiles INSIDE Ukraine, is slammed by counterparts for intel-leak

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
© Christoph Schmidt/Getty ImagesGerman Chancellor Olaf Scholz
The chancellor said giving Kiev long-range missiles would require assistance from German troops, citing London's example

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has come under fire from the UK after he suggested that there were British troops operating in the Ukraine conflict. Explaining why Berlin would not supply Kiev with long-range Taurus missiles, Scholz said it would require German military personnel on the ground providing assistance.

He went on to say that Taurus "is a very long-range weapon, and what was done on the part of the British and French in terms of target-control and target-control assistance can't be done in Germany."

Comment: The Daily Mail further clarifies the comments:
On Tuesday, it was revealed that the UK had also stationed a 'small number' of troops in Ukraine in a support capacity, specifying only that some were involved in medical training.

Though it is known that the UK provides Ukraine with intelligence on Russian targets, it is not currently known to what extend support is given to Ukrainian troops in direct military action.
And The Telegraph:
Justin Crump, chief executive of Sibylline, an intelligence consultancy, said: "British support to Ukraine is hardly news to Moscow given repeated leaks, but this has previously been veiled in ambiguity - itself drawing on a trick from Russia's own playbook.

"[Mr] Scholz though has more clearly pierced this veil. His assertion is a gift to Russian propagandists, already forming a key part of Russia's effort to undermine Nato cohesion and support for Kyiv during this critical period ahead of US and UK elections."
Meanwhile the overall press coverage seems to be dancing around the issue, such as with the following from The Standard:
His comments led to reports that British soldiers are in Ukraine helping with weapons system, or at least helping to fire them remotely.
Whilst one could put this down to infighting and/or incompetence - and it does come amidst the German Navy's recent embarrassment - what with the admission from the US about CIA bases stationed in Ukraine since 2014; with Macron's calls to send in France's troops to Ukraine; and the seeming need for the West to escalate matters, one can't help but wonder whether it's, at least in part, laying the ground for a provocation.

Although perhaps that's giving the desperate, bungling, albeit sinister, establishment puppets too much credit.

Either way, the outcome seems as though it will be the same: note that Russia's response is that, indeed, a direct (official) confrontation does seem to be brewing:


Black Magic

Best of the Web: 'Hiding something': Journalists from BBC, CNN, write open letter calling for access into Gaza, question motive for obstruction

Niña en medio de las ruinas causadas por los bombardeos israelíes en la Franja de Gaza.
Gaza
A group of more than 50 broadcast journalists have sent an open letter to the embassies of Israel and Egypt calling for "free and unfettered access" to Gaza for foreign media.

The letter, sent by correspondents and presenters from the main broadcasting outlets based in the UK, also appeals for better protection for journalists already reporting in the territory.

The broadcasters represented are Sky News, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS.

Comment: For the legacy media to be speaking so frankly is quite a development.

Considering how the truth is now breathing down the necks of the establishment, it's probably no wonder that they're beating the drums of war ever louder, and that the probability of them provoking a significant escalation in at least one of their war fronts appears to be on the cards:


Bizarro Earth

Best of the Web: EU panics over failing Project Ukraine: France creates coalition to arm crumbling military with long-range weapons

Macron and Zelensky
French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukraine President Vladimir Zelensky
The aim is to enable Kiev to "carry out deep strikes" amid flagging US support, President Emmanuel Macron has said

France is leading a new coalition that aims to provide Ukraine with "medium and long-range missiles and bombs," President Emmanuel Macron has announced. He has also not ruled out deploying ground forces to support Kiev in future.

Macron made the remarks following a summit of Ukraine's backers on Monday, intended to demonstrate unwavering support for Kiev amid the suspension of American aid.

According to the French leader, the newly established coalition seeks to enable Ukraine to "carry out deep strikes." There is a "broad consensus to do even more and faster together" to support Kiev, Macron added.

Comment: Baby Jupiter is not finding much enthusiasm for his hair-brained scheme. NATO countries are not rallying to his call:
The UK, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland, and Sweden all spoke up on Tuesday against French President Emmanuel Macron's suggestion that Western troops could be deployed to Ukraine.

While there was no consensus about sending ground forces, Macron said on Monday following a pro-Ukraine summit in Paris that "in terms of dynamics, we cannot exclude anything" in the conflict between Moscow and Kiev.

There are "no plans for NATO combat troops on the ground in Ukraine," the secretary-general of the US-led bloc, Jens Stoltenberg, told AP in response to Macron's remarks.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak did not rule out sending troops in principle, but his spokesperson told reporters that "beyond the small number of personnel in [the] country supporting the armed forces [of Ukraine], we do not have any plans to make a large-scale deployment."

Deploying troops is "not on the cards at all for the moment," Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told the public broadcaster SVT, adding that "for the moment, we're busy sending advanced equipment to Ukraine." Stockholm pledged military aid worth 7.1 billion kronor ($682 million) to Kiev last week. Kristersson also said there is currently "no demand" from Ukraine for Western ground troops.

There was a "widely shared" perception at the summit in Paris against the use of NATO ground troops, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told the outlet Yle. He added that this is also Finland's position.

Warsaw "does not plan to send its troops to the territory of Ukraine," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday. His Czech counterpart, Petr Fiala, echoed that sentiment, saying there is no "need to open some other methods or ways" of helping Kiev.

If all EU member states were as committed as the Czech Republic and Poland to helping Ukraine, there would be no need to even discuss other forms of support, Tusk claimed.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was even more categorical, declaring that there will be "no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil, who are sent there by European or NATO countries" in the future.

The US and its allies have sent over $200 billion worth of financial, military, and material aid to the Ukrainian government since the conflict with Russia escalated in February 2022, vowing to inflict a "strategic defeat" on Moscow while insisting they are not actually a party to the hostilities. Russia's repeated warnings about the dangers of a direct confrontation have fallen on deaf ears.
The Kremlin says all but 'bring it":
A direct conflict between Russia and NATO will likely become inevitable if member states of the US-led military bloc send troops to Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. He was speaking after French President Emmanuel Macron, whose government hosted a high-profile meeting of Ukraine backers on Monday, said EU members "will do everything necessary to prevent Russia from winning" - including deploying forces on the ground to support Kiev.

Several governments have since ruled out sending troops to the front line.

Opponents of the proposal have arrived at a "sober assessment of the potential risks" of deploying NATO forces in Ukraine, Peskov told the media on Tuesday. That would be "absolutely against the interests of those nations" and their people, he warned.

Asked about the probability of a direct conflict with NATO if Western troops are sent to Ukraine, the Kremlin spokesman said, "in this case, we have to talk not about the probability, but rather the inevitability."

[...]

Moscow considers the Ukraine conflict to be a US-orchestrated proxy war against Russia, and has repeatedly warned that by supplying increasingly sophisticated weapons to Kiev, NATO members are drawing closer to a direct confrontation.



Popcorn

Best of the Web: 'Embarrassing': German Navy Frigate Hessen MISFIRES two missiles which mistakenly target US drone over Red Sea

german navy
An unexpected incident unfolds as the German frigate 'Hessen' mistakenly attacks a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone, highlighting the complexities of international military operations and the critical need for clear communication and reliable technology.

On Monday, an unexpected incident unfolded over the Red Sea as the German frigate 'Hessen' mistakenly launched an attack on a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone. This event not only underscores the risks of military misfires but also casts a shadow over the diplomatic and military relations between Germany and the United States.


Comment: Germany is readily doing the US' bidding, for both keep the proxy war in Ukraine, and the Gaza genocide, and so it's unlikely this will cause to much of a disruption in their relations.


The missiles, which malfunctioned and plunged into the sea, brought to light the vulnerabilities in current military operations and the potential for unintended consequences.
Chronology of the Incident

Comment: Not only have the German Navy now inducted themselves into rapidly growing Western military hall of shame, but by participating in the Red Sea operation against Yemen, which is the West's facilitation of Israel's genocide in Gaza, their commercial shipping will no longer be allowed to pass through that route, significantly raising costs and delivery times for their citizens and their businesses: Meanwhile in Russia: Russian arms production has Europe's warmongers worried

The footage below shows a German misfire incident that occurred in 2018:
On 21 June 2018, Sachsen was operating with Lübeck near the Arctic Circle when it attempted to fire a SM-2 Block IIIA missile, and it exploded above the ship. The explosion scorched the paint off the bridge and the vertical launch cells battery. Two German sailors suffered minor injuries.





Cross

Best of the Web: Study finds that 45,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the Ukraine War

russian war dead ukraine
At least 45,123 Russian troops have been killed since the start of Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago, according to research by journalists from Mediazona and the BBC's Russian Service who have established the deceased soldiers' identities.


Comment: Note that these two sources, along with the current article you are reading, are vehemently anti-Putin media outlets.


Two-thirds of all confirmed dead -- volunteers, conscripts, ex-inmates, and fighters from private military companies -- were not connected to the military before the start of the invasion, researchers found.

The number includes 5,406 mobilized soldiers, 80 percent of whom were killed in the second year of the war.

Krasnodar, Sverdlovsk, Bashkortostan, and Chelyabinsk are the regions with the highest number of dead.

Journalists have identified 27,906 Russian soldiers killed last year -- 57 percent more than the confirmed losses in the first year of the invasion.


Comment: Again, at that juncture, Western media was breathlessly reporting to its audiences that ten times that figure had been killed.


Comment: The media goes with the fact-free CIA version of reality, which, as you can see, is an order of magnitude off from reality. It's actually Ukraine's casualty toll that is in the hundreds of thousands:

Russian Defense Minister: 440,000 Ukrainian troops have been 'lost' since the launch of the SMO


Cross

Best of the Web: Russian Defense Minister: 440,000 Ukrainian troops have been 'lost' since the launch of the SMO

Russian defense minister announces the liberation of several residential settlements in Donbass, discloses Kiev attempts to prevent the collapse of the front
cemetery war dead ukraine
Slava Ukraini
The Ukrainian army has lost over 444,000 troops since the beginning of the special military operation and has been daily losing over 800 troops and 120 various armaments since the beginning of 2024, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told the Defense Ministry's board meeting.


Comment: 'Losing' troops presumably means both killed-in-action and wounded-in-action. For comparison, the Russian military death toll in the SMO is estimated at just under 45,000, according to a joint Russian (anti-Putin) media estimate.


He reported the liberation of several residential settlements in Donbass, disclosed Kiev attempts to prevent the collapse of the front, and announced plans to rearm the Eastern and Central Military Districts.

Military operation

Since the liberation of Avdeyevka, the Russian forces have been improving the situation in the Donetsk and Kupyansk directions and seizing new strongholds and positions of Ukrainian troops.

Since the beginning of the year, Russia has liberated close to 327 square kilometers in Donbass and Novorossiya (317 square km a week ago). "In the past week, the Ukrainian armed forces were ousted from the settlements of Pobeda, Lastochkino, Severnoye in the Donetsk People's Republic," Shoigu said.

Comment: That casualty toll for Ukrainian soldiers is probably ballpark-accurate. This is why European heads of head convened in Paris on Monday to discuss what to do next: they're at another cross-roads and are considering sending regular NATO forces to fight Russia in Ukraine because their proxy Ukrainian forces are spent.


Better Earth

Best of the Web: The new multipolar world system and the end of an era

putin xi biden multipolar world
The irreversible decline of Western supremacy, under the leadership of the United States, will not be a peaceful process, and it would be naive to think so.

Current diagnoses assert that the international system is going through a period of epoch-making changes. The tectonic plates on which the world geopolitical chessboard rests have shifted, unleashing profound modifications in the structure of the system and in the nature of its main players. This is true, but only if it is recognized that this journey has already reached a point of no return and that the trends that have been operating in recent years have matured to the point of producing an irreversible result: the configuration of a global geopolitical chessboard marked by the emergence of multiple actors endowed with different power capacities that put an end to five centuries of Western supremacy over all nations. Multipolarism has arrived and it is here to stay.

Comment: Indeed the hegemon will not go quietly; as Pepe Escobar said in his recent article:
The fact is we are already immersed in a World War that is both existential and civilizational. As we stand at the crossroads, there is a bifurcation: either escalation towards overt "kinetic military action," or a multiplication of Hybrid Wars across several latitudes.
See also:


Vader

Best of the Web: Bombshell NYT report confirms CIA built "12 secret spy bases" in Ukraine & waged a 'shadow war' on Russia for the last decade

Ukrainian commandoes afu cia soldiers winter gear
© Efrem Lukatsky / Associated PressUkrainians such as these civilians shown taking part in resistance training in early February, 2022 in Kyiv have been bracing for a Russian invasion for months. The CIA has been preparing for years.
On Sunday The New York Times published an explosive and very belated full admission that US intelligence has not only been instrumental in Ukraine wartime decision-making, but has established and financed high tech command-and-control spy centers, and was doing so long prior to the Feb. 24 Russian invasion of two years ago.

Among the biggest revelations is that the program was established a decade ago and spans three different American presidents. The Times says the CIA program to modernize Ukraine's intelligence services has "transformed" the former Soviet state and its capabilities into "Washington's most important intelligence partners against the Kremlin today."

This has included the agency having secretly trained and equipped Ukrainian intelligence officers spanning back to just after the 2014 Maidan coup events, as well constructing a network of 12 secret bases along the Russian border work which began eight years ago. These intelligence bases, from which Russian commanders' communications can be swept up and Russian spy satellites monitored, are being used launch and track cross-border drone and missile attacks on Russian territory.