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US intel tried to track Putin - Wired

putin limo
© Adam Berry/Getty ImagesRussian President Vladimir Putin.
A tech firm devised a new surveillance tool under the auspices of the CIA and Pentagon, the media outlet has claimed, citing a new book.

A US tech firm with close ties to the CIA and the Pentagon used a powerful tool to try to track the movements of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Wired has claimed, citing a new book by former Wall Street Journal reporter Byron Tau.

The company, PlanetRisk, reportedly created the tool - originally named Locomotive but later rebranded as VISR (Virtual Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) - to tap into geolocation data used by digital advertisers, and was supposedly able to snoop on people close to the Russian president, thus gaining information on his whereabouts.

Comment: If only the Pentagon was this good at tracking its $1 billion in weapons to Ukraine. It's amazing how efficient they can be, when they want to be.

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Radar

'Catastrophic scenario' if NATO troops deploy to Ukraine - top Russian senator

Nato and Ukrainian flag
© Getty Images / LightRocket / SOPA Images / Dominika Zarzycka
The possibility mulled by the French president could be taken as a declaration of war on Moscow, Konstantin Kosachev has said.

The potential deployment of NATO troops to Ukraine will lead to a "catastrophic scenario," and could be interpreted as a "declaration of war" on Moscow, top Russian senator Konstantin Kosachev has said.

The Vice Speaker of Russia's upper chamber, the Federation Council, offered his take on remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron on the possibility of sending troops in a Telegram post on Tuesday. The approach exhibited by the French leader carries a risk of the situation devolving into a "catastrophic scenario," Kosachev warned, stating that the move would not be tolerated by the Kremlin.

Comment: See also:


Russian Flag

Moscow updates estimate of Kiev's military losses

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
© Sputnik/Sergey GuneevRussian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Kiev has lost over 444,000 troops in two years of hostilities against Moscow, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated on Tuesday.

His remarks come days after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed that his country's forces recorded some 31,000 fatalities in the two years of fighting. Western media have pointed out that the latest figure from Kiev is even significantly lower than a US estimate released in the summer of last year.

Shoigu said the high attrition rate on the Ukrainian side was evidence "that the US strategy to contain Russia at the cost of Ukrainian lives and passive economic and military support of the Kiev regime has no way forward." Speaking at a ministerial meeting, Shoigu said the average daily cost of the conflict for the Ukrainian army was more than 800 troops and 120 pieces of weaponry. He did not break down casualties into killed and wounded soldiers.

While making his claim on Sunday, Zelensky contrasted his 31,000 figure with Russian estimates, which he branded as lies. He declined to say how many Ukrainian soldiers were injured, explaining that revealing that information would benefit Moscow's military planning.

Comment: Quite a stark difference between the two numbers. One number suggests everything is fine and the other suggests disaster. Which is more likely to accurately represent the reality on the ground in Ukraine?


Explosion

How Macron's latest Ukraine comments blew NATO apart

French President Emmanuel Macron
© Ludovic MARIN / POOL via AFPFILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron reviews troops.
Senior Western officials have rushed to disavow remarks made by French President Emmanuel Macron this week suggesting that some NATO members could deploy troops in Ukraine. Moscow responded by saying such a move would make a direct war with the US-led military bloc "inevitable."

Here is how the French leader apparently overplayed his hand, highlighting the lack of cohesion within the North Atlantic alliance regarding how to proceed with the Ukraine crisis.

Anniversary meeting

Supporters of Kiev gathered in Paris on Monday at Macron's invitation to discuss what to do as hostilities between Russia and Ukraine entered their third year. Ukrainian President Zelensky reportedly participated in the event, which was held behind closed doors, via a video link.

The leaders convened the week after Ukrainian troops suffered a new series of setbacks on the battlefield, having lost their foothold in Avdeevka in Russia's Donetsk People's Republic. The Kiev government is also struggling to replenish lost troops and controversial mobilization reform which would introduce harsh punishments for dodging the draft is mired in parliament. Meanwhile, a partisan row in the US Congress has kept a White House request for additional Ukraine aid in legislative limbo.

The Elysee Palace touted the gathering as a way for participants to "reaffirm their unity" and express their determination to defeat Russia. Some guests, critical of the general Western approach to the conflict, expressed concerns beforehand. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said the agenda "sends chills down my spine."

Comment: See also:


Russian Flag

Putin allies tell Macron: Any French troops you send to Ukraine will suffer fate of Napoleon's army

French President Emmanuel Macron
© REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool/File PhotoFrench President Emmanuel Macron attends a press conference at the end of the conference in support of Ukraine, with European leaders and government representatives, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, February 26, 2024.
Allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned French President Emmanuel Macron that any troops he sends to Ukraine would meet the same end as Napoleon Bonaparte's Grande Armee whose 1812 invasion of Russia ended in death and defeat.

Macron opened the door on Monday to European nations sending troops to Ukraine, although he cautioned that there was no consensus at this stage.

His comments prompted a slew of other Western countries, including the United States and Britain, to say they had no such plans, while the Kremlin warned that conflict between Russia and the U.S.-led NATO military alliance would be inevitable if European members of NATO sent troops to fight in Ukraine.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament and a close Putin ally, said Macron appeared to see himself as Napoleon and warned him against following in the footsteps of the French emperor.

"To maintain his personal power, Macron could not think of anything better than to ignite a third world war. His initiatives are becoming dangerous for the citizens of France," Volodin said on his official social media feed.

"Before making such statements, it would be right for Macron to remember how it ended for Napoleon and his soldiers, more than 600,000 of whom were left lying in the damp earth."

Comment: The lessons of history are often lost on the wicked and unwise.


Attention

Who's brain-dead now, Macron?

Brain Dead
© Strategic Culture Foundation
French President Emmanuel Macron wants to send NATO ground troops into Ukraine to defeat Russia.

Only a delusional fool could make such a crass proposal which goes to show that Macron is brain-dead. NATO troops deployed to fight Russian forces would mean an all-out war, which most likely would spiral into a nuclear conflagration.

Ironically, the French leader made headlines a while back when he labeled the US-led NATO alliance as being "brain-dead". He's now competing for the same epithet.

When Macron made those harsh remarks about NATO in an interview with the Economist in November 2019, some observers thought that he was being intelligently critical of the transatlantic military organization and how it was no longer fit for purpose in the modern age.

But, no, Macron wasn't offering constructive criticism of NATO or American leadership. He was simply being a conceited charlatan, trying to promote himself as the "strong leader" of Europe and peddling his hobby horse of building up a European army by appearing to bad mouth NATO.

This week, the former Rothschild banker was at it again, indulging in his grandiose fantasies of leading the rest of Europe.

Macron hosted 25 European heads of state or government at the Conference in Support of Ukraine. In the grandeur of the Elysee Palace, he warned that Russia "must not win the war in Ukraine" otherwise, he claimed, the whole of Europe would succumb to Russian aggression.

This is reckless and dangerous fantasy by the French president indulging in the most unhinged Russophobia. Moscow has categorically stated that it has no interest in anything beyond denazifying the NATO-sponsored regime in Kiev and protecting its national security.

To offset such a purported nightmarish outcome of Russian tanks rolling over Europe, Macron told European leaders that they should not rule out deploying NATO ground troops to assist the Kiev regime.

"Nothing should be excluded. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that Russia cannot win this war," the French president said in front of approving European leaders.

Light Sabers

Fyodor Lukyanov: How does the Russia-Ukraine conflict end?

Borrell
© screenshotJoseph Borrell
The pendulum has swung in Moscow's favor and last year's Western confidence has disappeared...

Russia's military campaign in Ukraine is now two years old. The statement that everything will be decided on the battlefield has become axiomatic, but the assessment of the results has changed. A year and a half ago, the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, spoke with optimism. But now he communicates with fear.

Let us risk assuming that a very important moment is at hand, not only in the military sense, but above all in the political sense.

From the outset, the motivation for Russia's military operation in Ukraine has combined two issues, different in nature but linked by the circumstances of recent history. Firstly, the principles of international security as they emerged after the end of the Cold War and, secondly, the Ukrainian issue as part of national identity. The foundation for this two-pronged approach is laid out in Vladimir Putin's article 'On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians', published six months before the outbreak of hostilities. In it, the Russian president linked concerns about the country's military and political security to the destruction of this unity. Based on a detailed excursion into history, the head of state argued that attempts to form a separate Ukrainian identity were always linked to the desire of external actors to weaken Russia and create an outpost of forces hostile to it in a strategically key area.

Great power conflicts with global implications often arise over specific contentious issues. In this case, the issues are not only intertwined, but also extremely emotional - for Ukraine and at least part of the rest of Europe, but especially for Russia. This makes them difficult to manage and, above all, difficult to prioritize: which of the two tasks is to be prioritized? Ideally, of course, both at once. But is that feasible? Making a choice or achieving a 'package solution' is a question Moscow may have to face in the near future.

Comment: Lukyanov offers an excellent, intelligent read.


Network

George Soros-linked individuals expose themselves, admit to rigging elections all over the world on behalf of Democratic party - videos

GSoros
© Independent SentinelGeorge Soros • Election buyer
An explosive series of videos has exposed what can only be described as concerted effort by Democrats and George Soros-linked operatives to rig elections ALL OVER THE WORLD.

The videos captured several powerful individuals from across the globe bragging about how they have been responsible for influencing the political outcome in places like Poland, Hungary, Brazil, Turkey, and more.

Among these powerful individuals is one General Wesley Clark, the former Supreme Allied Commander of Europe for NATO.

In one of the clips, Clark can be seen bragging about how he partnered with radical left-wing billionaire George Soros back in 2014 to decide the political leadership of Ukraine.

Clark revealed that Soros has been trying to influence Eastern Europe since the 1990s, spending $500 million a year through his Open Society Institutes in key places like Ukraine - which explains why corruption has taken over the European nation.

Target

Biden admin planted operative Jeff DiSantis in Fani Willis' office to target Trump, sources say

Faniw
© Joe Raedle/Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesFulton Co. DA Fanio Willis • Former US President Donald Trump
If the Biden administration planted the operative, as the sources say, it would present a strong argument that the administration interfered in the 2024 presidential election.

Breitbart News granted the sources anonymity to discuss the attorney's office for fear of retribution. The sources have direct knowledge of the environment at the District Attorney's Office, which they characterized as "corrupt."

One significant figure is overlooked in the Fulton County scandal concerning Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis and her alleged lover and fellow prosecutor Nathan Wade, the sources said: Meet Jeff DiSantis — the county's Deputy District Attorney with professional experience far greater than the average county employee. DiSantis worked on Willis's 2020 campaign, sources told Breitbart News, and was the former Executive Director of the Democrat Party of Georgia with extensive knowledge of campaign finance law. He was also the Deputy Director of Compliance for the DNC, according to his official bio:
Jeff has also worked for candidates in 30 states running for a variety of offices, including President of the United States, United States Senator, Governor, United States Representative, Attorney General, District Attorney, and Mayor, as well as for a national political party committee. He has served as a campaign manager, media consultant, pollster, press spokesman, research director, and policy advisor.
Sources credit DiSantis with colluding with the White House to target Trump.

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.