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Holding ground, losing war

inspecting wreckage
© Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images
Serviceman of National Guard of Ukraine inspects destroyed military equipment north of Kharkic region.
At the end of 1942, when the Wehrmacht could advance no further east, Hitler switched German ground forces from an "enemy force-oriented" strategy to a "ground-holding" strategy. Hitler demanded that his armies defend vast, largely empty and irrelevant stretches of Soviet territory.

"Holding ground" not only robbed the German military of its ability to exercise operational discretion, and, above all, to outmaneuver the slow, methodical Soviet opponent; holding ground also pushed German logistics to the breaking point. When holding ground was combined with endless counterattacks to retake useless territory, the Wehrmacht was sentenced to slow, grinding destruction.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, (presumably with the advice of his U.S. and British military advisors), has also adopted a strategy of holding ground in Eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces immobilized themselves inside urban areas, and prepared defenses. As a result, Ukrainian forces turned urban centers into fortifications for what became "last stands." Sensible withdrawals from cities like Mariupol that might have saved many of Ukraine's best troops were forbidden. Russian forces responded by methodically isolating and crushing the defenders left with no possibility of either escape or rescue by other Ukrainian forces.

Moscow's determination to destroy Ukrainian forces at the least cost to Russian lives prevailed. Ukrainian casualties were always heavier than reported from the moment Russian troops crossed into Eastern Ukraine, but now, thanks to the recent failure of Ukrainian counterattacks in the Kherson region, they've reached horrific levels that are impossible to conceal. Casualty rates have reached 20,000 killed or wounded a month.

Comment: The lesson is to not underestimate the utility, discretion and patience of the Bear.


Blinken says US will continue to support Ukraine despite Putin's nuclear warning

© A News
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday signaled that there will be no change to the US policy of supporting Ukraine despite warnings from Russia that they could use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory.

Speaking to the UN Security Council, Blinken said it was up to Putin to end the war and that the US would continue supporting Ukraine. "Because if Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends," he said.

"That's why we will continue to support Ukraine as it defends itself, and strengthen its hand to achieve a diplomatic solution on just terms at a negotiating table," Blinken added.

Comment: That could have been done years ago. Ukraine forfeited this option.

Throughout the war, the Biden administration has said that it was arming Ukraine to help Kyiv gain a stronger hand in negotiations, but the US has shown no interest in pursuing a diplomatic solution. Blinken has only spoken with his Russian counterpart one time since Russia invaded on February 24, and the conversation was focused on a potential prisoner swap.

Comment: The war of words precedes the war of action. Some countries do not know when to shut up.

No Entry

Finland to bar entry to all Russian tourists

© Antonio Masiello/Getty Images/Global Look Press/Tomas Tkacik/KJN
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto • Finnish PM Sanna Marin
Finland is working on new regulations that would further tighten restrictions on Russian tourists, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told journalists on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

"Finland does not want to be a transit country, not even for [holders of] Schengen visas issued by other nations," Haavisto said, adding that Helsinki seeks to bring the Russian tourist traffic "under control."

The Finnish Foreign Ministry is currently working with a group of experts on a "solution" to help Finland "limit this traffic or completely stop it," the foreign minister stated, adding that the measures might involve new laws or amendments to existing ones. In any case, the national parliament "will quickly deal with it," he said, without naming any specific dates for potential changes.

Unlike the Baltic states, which repeatedly cited "security reasons" for introducing visa restrictions against Russian tourists, Finland does not see Russians traveling to the EU as a security threat, Haavisto noted.

"An ordinary person traveling for the purpose of tourism is not a security threat," rather, there is "a moral and ethical principle involved," he said. Russians cannot continue to spend their vacations in Europe as usual when their nation is "waging a war," according to Haavisto.

Comment: The leverage is obvious. Make Russian citizens pay for the aggression of the West.
Visits by Russians to the European Union must come to a halt, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told journalists on Thursday, stating that her government is considering the security implications of Moscow's recently announced partial mobilization.
"The will of the government is very clear. In our opinion, it is necessary to put an end to Russian travel, tourism, as well as transit through Finland."
She added that Finland should act in accordance with Schengen regulations but also take into consideration the "security risks" associated with certain travelers.
"Other countries, for example, the Baltic states and Poland, have used this very security risk and threat as a basis for preventing people from entering, but of course we need an assessment of this from our own authorities."
Finnish authorities have repeatedly stated that the freedom to travel to the country and the rest of Europe is not an intrinsic human right but a "privilege," which they claim Russian citizens do not deserve in light of the ongoing military conflict between Moscow and Kiev.


UN accuses Latin American state of 'crimes against humanity'

A UN team tasked with investigating alleged human rights abuses in Venezuela has accused officials of "crimes against humanity," claiming government security forces carried out serious violations on the order of President Nicolas Maduro.

Presented on Tuesday, the fact-finding report is based on nearly 250 interviews with Venezuelan nationals, including 50 former officials, and accuses Maduro of taking concerted action to repress his political opponents.

Marta Valinas, who leads the UN's Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela, said in a statement:
"Grave crimes and human rights violations are being committed, including acts of torture and sexual violence. The country is still facing a profound human rights crisis."
The report also claims the authorities have taken little action against alleged rights abusers, saying the government has "failed to hold perpetrators to account and provide reparations to victims."

Opposition figures, including students, journalists, and NGO workers, are frequently targeted for arrest, sometimes at the personal direction of Diosdado Cabello, a high-ranking official who leads the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the UN said.

Comment: The UN is an ineffectual pawn - a front for double standards. It does what it is told by those it will not persecute.


Hungary's Orban blames EU's Russia sanctions for energy crisis, wants them scrapped

© File Photo
Hungarian PM Viktor Orban
Hungary's right-wing populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban has told a meeting of his ruling Fidesz party that sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union should be lifted, the pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet reports. Orban made the remarks at a closed-door meeting of his party on September 21.

Orban, the only EU leader who maintains warm relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, is a harsh critic of EU sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

According to Magyar Nemzet, Orban said -- without giving a source -- that the EU sanctions had driven up gas prices and inflation. He claimed that if sanctions were rescinded, gas prices would drop by 50 percent immediately while inflation would also fall.

The paper quoted Orban as saying that without sanctions, Europe would be able to avoid a looming recession, reiterating his earlier stance that the sanctions were hurting Europe more than Russia.

Comment: The future of the EU comes down to this choice: Ideology and blame, or compromise and restoration. So far, its people are the sacrifice. Apparently this is not too big a price to pay.

See also:


Will the US and NATO wake up to what happened at the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?

Putin XI
I am certain that most Americans do not have a clue what transpired this week at the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (aka SCO). It is a clarion call, a defiant declaration, that the countries, which account for over half of the world's population, are no longer going to defer to the United States. The attendees included Russia, China, India, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The speeches by Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping are especially noteworthy. Both countries put the United States on notice that the United States and NATO will be treated as a sponsor of terrorism because they supply weapons to Ukraine that are being used to attack civilian targets. You may accuse me of exaggerating because neither Putin nor Xi mention the United States or NATO by name. But the actions of the NATO allies in Ukraine are seen by both Russia and China as acts of terrorism. I am reprinting the salient portions of each speech below.

Russia and China also put the west on notice that Iran is no longer going to be treated as a pariah state. Iran is welcomed emphatically by both Putin and Xi as a member of the SCO. Going forward, this means that Iran will do business with all members of the SCO under the rubric of a new financial order being organized by Russia, China, India and Brazil.


China collecting DNA samples from people across Tibet

© Future Publishing/Getty Images
Human Rights Watch has claimed new evidence shows a systematic DNA collection drive for entire populations across Tibet as part of a ‘crime detection’ program.
Chinese authorities have been gathering DNA samples across Tibet, including from kindergarten children without the apparent consent of their parents, Human Rights Watch has said.

Comment: As we'll see below, there's no proof either way whether consent was given or not.

In a new report released on Monday, the rights organisation claimed new evidence showing a systematic DNA collection drive for entire populations across Tibet as part of a "crime detection" drive.

"There is no publicly available evidence suggesting people can decline to participate or that police have credible evidence of criminal conduct that might warrant such collection," it said, adding that mass collection for such a purpose was a serious human rights violation in that it "cannot be justified as necessary or proportionate".

Comment: 'Crime detection' is vague, and this is likely intentional, so as to conceal the true nature of their investigations. However, since we know that it is the US with the largest and most sinister bioweapons programs, and who, as Putin exposed, were also caught collecting human tissue samples in Russia back in 2017, and it is the US that has been caught numerous times, even up to today, experimenting on populations, sometimes targeting specific ethnic groups - including Ukrainian (possibly Russian) and Chinese - could it be that China's data collection relates in some way? Could it also relate to what compelled Russia to hasten the set up of dozens of rapid testing laboratories?

Comment: China's rolling and targeted lockdowns, that have continued long after even the most pathological Western governments have dropped them, doesn't necessarily point to China being more totalitarian as some reporters claim. Because, taken together with the West's biowarfare programs; the leak of Covid from a US lab; US DNA collection of ethnic Russians; amongst a myriad of other data points, it seems there's that it's the West that is involved in ethnic-specific biowarfare experiments and perhaps it's this that has some bearing on China's current DNA collection program? Also check out SOTT radio's: The Truth Perspective: Interview with Dilyana Gaytandzhieva: Pentagon Biological Warfare And Arms Trafficking to Terrorists


Sustainable Debt Slavery

2030 Goals
In this first installment of a new series, Iain Davis and Whitney Webb explore how the UN's "sustainable development" policies, the SDGs, do not promote "sustainability" as most conceive of it and instead utilise the same debt imperialism long used by the Anglo-American Empire to entrap nations in a new, equally predatory system of global financial governance.

The UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is pitched as a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future." At the heart of this agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs.

Many of these goals sound nice in theory and paint a picture of an emergent global utopia - such as no poverty, no world hunger and reduced inequality. Yet, as is true with so much, the reality behind most - if not all - of the SDGs are policies cloaked in the language of utopia that - in practice - will only benefit the economic elite and entrench their power.

This can clearly be seen in fine print of the SDGs, as there is considerable emphasis on debt and on entrapping nation states (especially developing states) in debt as a means of forcing adoption of SDG-related policies. It is then little coincidence that many of the driving forces behind SDG-related policies, at the UN and elsewhere, are career bankers. Former executives at some of the most predatory financial institutions in the history of the world, from Goldman Sachs to Bank of America to Deutsche Bank, are among the top proponents and developers of SDG-related policies.

Comment: Watch the powerhouse researchers of this article discuss the issues in the following video:


Ukraine announces release of 215 prisoners in largest exchange yet - including Azov and foreign mercs


Azovstal commanders, together with Ukraine's Military Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov (right), speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy via video link from Turkey after the prisoner exchange.
Ukraine has announced the release of 215 of its soldiers, including fighters who led the defense of Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks, in exchange for dozens of Russian prisoners and a pro-Moscow politician.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced the prisoner release in his nightly address on September 21.

Zelenskiy said five military commanders, including leaders of the defense of Azovstal earlier this year, were taken to Turkey as part of an operation prepared in advance and agreed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The released prisoners will remain in Turkey "in total security and in comfortable conditions" until the end of the war, Zelenskiy added.

Among the 55 prisoners turned over to Russia is Viktor Medvedchuk, a former Ukrainian lawmaker and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Zelenskiy said. Medvedchuk had been held under house arrest since May of 2021 on charges of treason and financing terrorism.

Zelenskiy had previously proposed swapping Medvedchuk for prisoners of war being held by Russian forces.

The swap is the biggest exchange between the two sides since the start of Russia's invasion in February.

Comment: Saudi Crown Prince MBS mediated the release of the 10 foreign combatants, which in addition to those mentioned above, included a Croatian, Moroccan, and Swede. The five Brits (Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner, John Harding, Dylan Healy, and Andrew Hill) are now back in the UK.

Apparently, the captive Russian pilots were not among the first batch returned to Russia. Here's how a Russian source describes the problem:

Kadyrov isn't happy either:


Checkmate: Putin's address marks game over for Kiev's US & NATO backers, analysts say

© Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial draft mobilization on September 21 and vowed to defend the right of the Donbas, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to hold referenda on joining Russia, as the latter continues its special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine.

Paolo Raffone, director of the CIPI Foundation, a Brussels-based geopolitical think tank, said:
"Once the Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions are integrated in the Russian Federation, the game is over. In fact, the US president has repeatedly said that his country is not at war with Russia and that he does not want to commit US troops on the ground to fight Russia nor he wants to use non-conventional weapons. Due to the domestic problems in the US, it would be difficult to reverse such an approach at least until the presidential elections in 2024."
The referenda on joining Russia will be held in the four regions of eastern Ukraine on September 23-27. In a Wednesday address to the nation, Putin drew attention to "the policy of intimidation, terror, and violence" pursued by Kiev against Donbas residents and Ukrainians holding pro-Russian views. This policy has become "more massive, terrible and barbaric," the president underscored.

Comment: Russian gauntlet has been thrown. To what extent will the West play into Russia's hand?