“The Russian president is extremely concerned over the developments in Ukraine and the way it is interpreted in the international community, some countries of the international community,” Peskov said.
He also noted that the Russian president was receiving in a round-the-clock regime information about the developments in the southeast of Ukraine. “Intelligence and related agencies report to him,” Peskov added." itar-tass
IMO Putin is minimally involved in the unrest in SE Ukraine. It is asserted that Russian Spetznaz and the like are running the show. I doubt it. The Russians undoubtedly have some operatives in Ukraine but I do not think they are causative in the unrest. Putin knows how much Russia will lose if sectoral sanctions are applied. Russia can find other customers in the east for their oil and gas but the economic hardship while they are doing that will be impressive.
The NY times article linked below is illustrative of the number of former Russian and Soviet soldiers who are to be found in the population of eastern Ukraine. Many of them are combat men from Afghanistan. They have a lot of old equipment, but as many soldiers will tell you, the old stuff is often quite good enough. The lack of new "kit" is, as the commander of 12 Company remarks, indicative of a lack of Russian government support.
The US propaganda mill continues to sell the WH line that Russia is altogether to blame for unrest in Ukraine. What a joke! Do people really believe this? pl
I can only speak for myself but no I do not believe it. The questions, it seems to me, become how long can Putin stay out of there if the unrest continues and does Obama have enough sense to stay out altogether no matter what Putin has to do?
“What a joke! Do people really believe this?”
They believe what they want to believe.
The Director of (British) Naval Intelligence in the Second World War, John Godfrey, defined the weaknesses of German intelligence as ‘wishfulness’ and ‘yesmanship.’ At the risk of glossing his meaning to adjust to my own views, I would define ‘wishfulness’ as a propensity to defend one’s existing structures of interpretation, either by ignoring information that might challenge them, or by interpreting it in ways that did the least damage to them that could be managed.
As to ‘yesmanship’, it meant adjusting the intelligence so as to keep your superiors – and in particular their political masters – happy.
It was the ‘wishfulness’ and ‘yesmanship’ of German intelligence that enabled Godfrey and his fellows to blind their German counterparts, first to the fact that the first Allied invasion of ‘Fortress Europa’ would occur in the obvious place – Sicily – and then to the fact that D-Day would come in Normany, rather than the Pas de Calais.
A sense of self-evidently superior – indeed one might say overwhelming – power has blinded people to the fundamental fact that concern for objective truth, on the whole, gives one better prospects of ensuring relatively tolerable outcomes to situations often fraught with a potential for catastrophe. People take for granted that a propensity for ‘wishfulness’ and ‘yesmanship’ can be indulged, without serious risks to their countries and themselves.
“What a joke! Do people really believe this?” A rhetorical flourish on my part or perhaps even a “conceit.” It has been stimulating to remember the details of the invasion of Kuwait. pl
C.J. Chivers, the NYTimes reporter of the story cited, has entered the suspicion that these are not the “little green men” from Crimea. If they are “Ukrainians,” protesting their own government, can Putin and Obama let the “Ukrainians” duke it out among themselves? I think Chivers is a Russian speaker. He wrote a book about General Kalishnikov and his rifle.
There are factions in the US government and NGOs that have spent money to flame ethnic and religious hatreds in order to incite chaos and have Russia invade Ukraine in order to split it away from the EU and destabilize it. This is similar to what happen in Syria, Libya, and Serbia previously. Apparently the White House has just realized that they have a Civil War on its hands in Europe with NATO and Russian troops eyeball to eyeball with locked and loaded weapons including hydrogen bombs.
The next few days will tell if the White House with DOD prodding can gain control back from the neo-conservatives. R2Pers, and Oligarchs and reestablish the sovereignty of the American State. If not, these are truly the End Days.
Oh, yeah. An LA based reporter called me once to say that his editor had chewed him out because a neocon had called him to state that I was a FARA registered agent of Syria. The man was very angry. He, the editor and the neocon were all Jewish and I suppose the idea that I had hoodwinked them was irritating. I told him the neocon had lied but he raved on and I told him never to bother me again. I have refused to speak to him since. The same thing happened with a fellow who wrote for Vanity Fair. He had interviewed me because Bearden asked me to talk to him. In his VF piece he also portrayed me as a Syrian agent. I called him a liar in print. He later wanted to re-interview me saying that he had learned the truth. I hung up on him. Poor me. pl
Thank you for your observation on the German Intelligence services. I recall from the official British history that the intelligence services went to a great deal of trouble after the war to debrief German intelligence officers because they couldn’t initially believe the scope of their success in so many fields. The answer at least with the Abwehr is exactly as you described.
Telling the Emperor that he is naked is a career limiting action.
The German paper reported that there is need for a second Geneva Conference re Ukraine
Wasn’t Canaris of the civilian intelligence (ABWEHR) working at cross purposes w/ Hitler and tried to negotiate an end to the War. What was the Deutsche Military Intelligence and who was in charge of that?
What seems to be happening is that the neocon-allied CIA is trying to do a repeat of Syria, ie, present Obama with a crossed ‘red line’ and thus force him to act in spite of his reluctance.
The Red Line in Ukraine that Obama has (foolishly) drawn is a Russian invasion of that country. Having failed to find convincing evidence of Russian troops inside Ukraine, the CIA has now pushed the Kiev regime into attacking Russian supporters in the East in order to lure Russia into intervening with troops. Obama will then be compelled, they hope, to impose sectoral sanctions, which would start the downward spiral of confrontation between East and West.
Putin appears to understand this game, and seems to be trying hard to avoid getting sucked in. However, it will be very difficult for him to remain uninvolved if there are more massacres of pro-Russian Ukrainians.
We are entering dangerous territory. Further deterioration of prospects now depends on the Ukrainian soldiers deployed in the East, and their willingness or otherwise to attack their countrymen. It is not clear how much influence Chancellor Merkel has on the Kiev regime. There is no doubt that she (and important German interests) are reluctant to get into serious sanctions against Russia, with all the consequences they entail. Putin also seems to be trying to get her to intervene to stop the downward slide. Let us hope she finally takes a stand.
“… if the White House with DOD prodding can gain control back from the neo-conservatives…”
Pres. Obama would have to start firing neo’s to regain control of foreign policy. Alas, he doesn’t even remotely have the spine. We will, imo, continue to see him reacting to events engineered by his theoretical ‘subordinates’.
Abwehr was the military intelligence. SD was the Nazi (SS) intelligence of World War II Germany. I don’t know what the name of the “civilian” intelligence agency of World War 2 Germany was, or if indeed there was one separate from the SD.
Apparently, SD was merged into the German Security Bureau (RSHA) as its Dept 6 in 1938 (according to Wikipedia) and basically became the civilian intelligence arm of Nazi Germany. This seems to follow the same pattern of politicization of the civilian intelligence arm in many countries that was noted earlier.
In the “War and Peace” the old Kutuzov muses about the role of “small” people in making the history. When democracy becomes quaint, the incompetent and unaccountable grab the power and have their day by starting implementation of their delusional and grandiose plans. In the old times, an engineer would stand underneath a new bridge during first test by heavy traffic. The modern-day deciders and their sycophants bear no responsibility; the current system allows the criminals from Wolfowitz to Rubin to Baybee to prosper as if there is no punishment by shame in a human society. The rot is becoming dangerous not for some distant places only but it is getting closer to home.
Perhaps it was Merkel’s reluctance to obey the US lunatics with regard to the Ukrainian crisis that has irritated Obama and his handlers so much. Merkel does not want, understandably, to drag Germany in a position of an active supporter of neonazis (whatever ethnicity). Germany had more than enough flack re Holocaust.
The recent event in Odessa – when people were burnt alive, raped, and murdered by the supporters of Yasenyuk – was a replica of the WWII murderous acts. There is no way Nudelman and both Kagans will be ever cleared from this association.
Der Spiegel is reporting that Putin called Merkel in connection with the impending visit of the Swiss President (who also chairs the OSCE) to Moscow on Wednesday. Apparently he is trying to arrange a round table conference of the parties (a rather belated attempt to implement the Geneva conference mandate).
Putin supports this effort and seeks to obtain Merkel’s agreement to push this. It remains to be seen if the Kiev regime (and its US neocon/CIA backers) will also agree to this de-escalation.
A link for the report of CIA involvement:
I wonder if the danger for America in this situation could be a break with Germany, leading to a “re-emboldened” Germany with an independent foreign policy?
How far can Merkel be pushed before she has to choose between Putin and Obama? I would have thought Germany’s interests lie in the East with Russia.
As far as Obama is concerned, I believe the Ukraine is a personal contest with Putin. Hence I don’t believe the Obama Administration is going to settle for a negotiated solution a la Syria without massive political pressure on him at home and abroad because such a rational solution would be perceived by Obama as a loss, especially if Americas role in starting this mess was foreshadowed to be proven and exposed.
Obama wants Putins blood.
“The NY times article linked below is illustrative of the number of former Russian and Soviet soldiers are to be found in the population of eastern Ukraine. Many of them are combat men from Afghanistan. ”
As you pointed out in a few pieces on the Iraqi army, an army is a national institution. As members of the Soviet army wouldn’t the same national spirit be present in any of its veterans, especially combat veterans, and be directed toward the ‘old country’, in this case the Russian Federation, since that what the center of the USSR? Why would they hold special allegiance to a coup government in Kiev? Especially the native Russian speakers or recent emigres, regardless of ‘citizenship’ created after the breakup of the USSR?
There was no civilian intelligence in Nazi Germany.
The Abwehr was part of the Wehrmacht.
The SD was part of the SS.
There initially was intense rivalry between the two, and the SD won the infighting, since, as a result of the conspiracies against Hitler, the Abwehr fell out of favour. The SD overtook their role and incorporated Abwehr departments.
They were a driving force behind persecutions and atrocities in Germany and occupied Europe.
Is that normal DC backstabbing or is that original neocon style?
“The next few days will tell if the White House with DOD prodding can gain control back from the neo-conservatives. R2Pers, and Oligarchs and reestablish the sovereignty of the American State. If not, these are truly the End Days.”
That is basically it. Obama is not in control of US foreign policy. There are other DC players besides him and he doesn’t control them.
He doesn’t control the neocon/Nuland crew, he doesn’t control Kiev, he doesn’t control NED and their surrogates.
Vis a vis Syria he doesn’t control the Turks or the R2Pers or his state department and so forth.
Vis a vis Iran he needed to have the NSC run the diplomacy around the state department to get it to work, well, until Ukraine and Syria pretty much scuttled that project.
That tells a lot about him and the disingeniousness of his ‘team of rivals’ idea and the accountability to elected government in DC.
The Abwehr was one of the centres of the conspiracy against Hitler — a pivotal figure being Canaris’s second in command, Hans Oster.
He was hanged at Flossenburg concentration camp in 1943. His comrade Fabian von Schlabrendorff, who survived the war, described him as ‘a man such as God meant men to be, lucid and serene in mind, imperturbable in danger.’
“There was no civilian intelligence in Nazi Germany.” yes. Nazi Germany was an exception to the general phenomenon of a moiety in intelligence agencies, one being military and the other civilian. pl
I am not sure, I understand what you mean, Pat. Thanks anyway for your informed take on matters. What I like about these comments are their simplicity.
AND strictly considering the following decades, I probably would have been much less up in arms would Kuwait happen now. Peculiar shift in war reports, is all I remember from that war.
Are you suggesting people actually believed the babies thrown out of the incubators? I am afraid that started my interest in war propaganda.
Although, you may well refer to the larger context.
So,you are saying that you WERE up in arms at the time? Well, if so, you had been, IMO successfully propagandized into seeing a complex occurrence (the invasion) as a simple one. You like the simplicity of my remarks? I find that it is more effective to write for a wide audience than a small one. Since I was heavily involved it is easy for me to describe what actually happened. pl
CP, I would call the instances the Colonel recounts as examples of the death of American journalism. “Wishfulness” and “yesmanship” are just as fatal to journalism as they are to good analysis.
I forgot to address your other point. Yes, many, many people in this country believed the baloney leading to US intervention for that war as much as for the next one in 2003. With regard to the Kuwaiti babies left to die on the floor as Iraqi beasts wheeled away incubators to send them home, this was quite reminiscent of the British BS about German troops marching through Brussels with Belgian babies impaled on their bayonets. In both cases the emotionally unstable public bought into the nonsense. Tom Lantos, the white haired Hungarian Jewish immigrant then a congressman from California, threatened me with contempt of congress for telling him in testimony that the dead babies story was probably propaganda. He said I was a heartless man. To quote a couple of lines from “Miller’s Crossing,” “Look into your heart…” Tom’s reply “What heart?” In the end it happened to be true that the hysterical girl witness was the Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter and Lantos had known that during the hearing. pl
Sorry to come to your house and disagree with you. But I believe Putin is behind this. And I’m not so sure the potential sanctions concern him that much. He already screwed up in Crimea. Europe is not going back to business as usual. His market share in Europe will be less and less in the future. And it’s not certain sectoral sanctions on Gas will be applied. He might gamble that they are not going to be applied due to the differing interests within the EU.
Putin can get his population to handle the suffering. He has during this crisis strengthened his grip on information. His popularity goes sky high when he “defends” Russian speakers and takes back lost territory.
I’m expecting Russian “peace keepers” crossing the border at any time between now and the 25th.
If they don’t, and we see a lot of “Russian speakers” dying, Putin will have serious problems maintaining his power.
Gee, Jonathan Kay blames it on U.S. “withdrawalism” and failure to bomb the shite outta those red lines in lieu of being peacefully outfoxed by Mr. Putin, and our own petards.
“The scenes of chaos playing out in Ukraine and Syria are just a taste of what we can expect if the United States continues to shrink from its international role.”
Here is some detailed country by country reporting of Euro/Russian economic ties, sanctioned people and entities, with analysis of potential obstacles and effectiveness.
The question of the loyalties of units which were part of the old Red Army is a critical. Involved with it, moreover, are the ghosts of the Second World War, or the ‘Great Patriotic War’, as the Russians call it.
From a report on Friday in the ‘Independent of a confrontation between members of the Ukrainian ‘National Guard’ and local people in Slavyansk:
‘A National Guardsman, Roman, 26, who was already under suspicion after saying he was from Lviv, from the nationalist west of the country, was asked: “Did your father fight against the Nazis?” He did, responded the guardsman: “But I have read some books which show it was the Soviet Union which started the war; a lot of Ukrainians died for nothing.”
‘Viktor Barasiniov spat into the ground: “This is the type of people they are sending here; how can there not be a fight?”’
It seems to me likely that the ‘some books which show it was the Soviet Union which started the war’ include the study ‘Icebreaker’ which the Soviet-era GRU defector ‘Viktor Suvorov’, real name Vladimir Rezun, first published in articles in Russian in the late ‘Eighties, and then in English in 1990.
This study was an attempt to rehabilitate Keitel’s claim that Hitler, in invading the Soviet Union, only preempted an attack that Stalin was planning. It also sought to rehabilitate the view, commonly held by the advocates of the ‘appeasement’ of Nazi Germany, that Stalin had a long-term strategy aimed at finessing Germany and the Western powers into war.
The attempt to rehabilitate Keitel’s claims provoked Colonel Lang’s fellow VMI alumnus Colonel David Glantz – certainly a, if not the, leading Western authority on the war in the East in 1941-5 – to publish his 1998 study ‘Stumbling Colossus’, a book length study which exposed Suvorov/Rezun as a charlatan.
Both this and the attempt to rehabilitate Neville Chamberlain’s view prompted detailed rebuttals by the Israeli historian Gabriel Gorodetsky, culminating in his 1999 study ‘Grand Delusion’. His study had the benefit both of its author’s detailed familiarity with the British archives, and also much better access to Russian archives than had been given to any previous non-Russian scholar.
The report in the ‘Independent’ was in any case obtuse, in that if the member of the ‘National Guard’ was 26, it would have been his grandfathers – and perhaps grandmothers – who fought in the Second World War.
Back in December, when this crisis was blowing up, I wrote here that:
‘Among Ukrainians, and Russians, you will find descendants of people who died with General Mikhail Kirponos in the Kiev salient, or in the defence of Sevastopol against Manstein. Likewise, among West Ukrainians, you will find descendants of people who have a vivid recollection of being occupied by the Red Army as a result of the Nazi-Soviet Pact – an unpleasant introduction to rule under Stalin’s terroristic paternalism – and who joined the SS Galicia Division with enthusiasm.
‘If people in Brussels or Washington want to see this history in black and white terms, they are either fools, or knaves, or more probably both. The wounds of the past lie very close to the surface in the Ukraine, as in so many parts of the post-Soviet space. If Westerners are resolutely determined not to confront the complexities of Eastern European history, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that they could precipitate a civil war.’
If John Brennan did not grasp that the likely consequence of sending West Ukrainian nationalists to attempt to bring the East and South back under the control of Kiev was the kind of massacre which occurred in Odessa on Friday, he is not just a fool – he is a driveling idiot.
If he did grasp that this was the likely consequence, and had some inkling of the potential of events to spiral out of control, then he is very definitely a ‘knave’ – indeed, one might say that he has definitely gone over to the ‘dark side’.
Merkel will choose Obama.
There would be sanctions against Russia, eventually severing that country from EU commerce in a substantial manner.
Since that which does not kill one only makes one stronger; Russia would emerge stronger a decade or so later…
Going around making enemies is something that never made sense to me…
It is perfectly all right for you to disagree with me. I do not seek an echo chamber here so long as the discourse is civil.
I have no doubt that Russia has people on the ground in Ukraine but I do not think Putin caused this unrest nor does he have control over the insurgnts. pl
Thank you Colonel. I have always found it better to apologize one time to many than to few.
I have trouble thinking of a scenario where Putin is not the causal factor. As for control, well these are not his green men, these are the brown men. His control over them is more indirect, but they will subordinate themselves to the Green mens officers when they arrive. I’m hoping they wont arrive, but right now I have trouble seeing Putin backing down.
“I have trouble thinking of a scenario where Putin is not the causal factor.” we started the process of Ukrainian disintegration, not he. pl
My perception is that the coup government must escalate to obtain nato – i.e. US involvement, otherwise it faces an economic collapse if nothing else. It’s own units, until they fully incorporate (rather than disarm as required by the Geneva agreement) their (Svoboda and Privat Sektor) militias into the ‘new’ national guard, is very likely to be unreliable for the very detailed reasons you point to. As to Brennan and company, I think what we are witnessing is an emotional attachment to an ideological belief system in action. Sadly the butcher’s bill won’t be paid by them unless they succeed – in unleashing nuclear war. Maybe they think Putin will surrender first. I can imagine the thought process – “We won the Cold War. Why won’t these people act like we defeated them?” They seem stunned by the fact that others don’t see things that way.
We as in the “west”(US/EU etc)? How? what did we do?
The attitude toward Russia is much like the attitude of Yankees towards the South. pl
The US Government spent 5 billion US government dollars in Ukraine in the last six years building Western oriented Ukrainian political and paramilitary groups. These groups challenged and defeated the constitutional Ukraine government. pl
Hans Oster famously gave the Dutch military attache in Berlin key details of the German offensive plans immediately before it was to begin, literally 74 years before today, plus/minus a few days, and other acts to undermine Nazi warmongering. While SD was not exactly “civilian” in the usual sense, one could see the same impulse behind its integration into the state intelligence apparatus in Germany, to build up a loyalist, “yes men” rival to another agency made up of professionals who could not be easily shoved aside, not unlike the politicization process elsewhere. Wouldn’t our own politicos just love to create an intelligence arm staffed exclusively with their own lackeys, if they could?
That was exactly what I was thinking.
“The US Government spent 5 billion US government dollars”
Nuland on tape bragging about it:
Imagine the US reaction hat China or Russia invested only half of that in the occupy movement.
Lets see, what else can one buy for 5 billion?
For instance, you can get two Virginia class SSN for that sum, since they cost 2.1 bn apiece.
And I haven’t even started talking about what civilian items that money could have financed.
Justin Raimondo made the following observation:
“In the beginning, I thought this whole Ukrainian regime change effort was just sheer stupidity on the part our clueless leaders in Washington, who had no idea what they were getting into or what dark forces they were unleashing. Over time, however, as the crisis escalated, and we actually had the State Department defending Svoboda – a major factor in the “interim” government – against fully justified charges that it is fascist, I began to wonder. Why would the US government act as a lawyer for a party that traces its ideological lineage back to Stepan Bandera, the WWII Nazi collaborator whose “insurgent army” slaughtered 6,000 Jews in Lvov? Why would they go out of their way to characterize the party as having “moderated” its views?
It’s always a mistake to underestimate Washington’s capacity for evil. In retrospect, it’s clear they always knew what and who they were unleashing. It’s not ignorance of the historically specific and – to most Americans – unimaginably virulent hatred given free rein by our machinations in Ukraine. Washington knows perfectly well what they’re doing – and they’re doing it anyway.”
It’s about the ever looming lure of regime change. For one reason or another, that is DC’s preferred way of dealing with inconvenient realities.
Want to expand NATO? There’s an obstacle in eastern Ukraine quite rationally fearing what US policy wants for them (economic ruin)? And the government expressing that scepticism has been elected into office only recently? Wait until the next elections is unacceptably long. What else can one do?
Easy, boldly change the game! One can do a lot of things with 5 bn dollars. Have the losers in the elections not accept their defeat. Declare the elected government illegitimate. Have street fighters trained in Poland. Have money shipped in from the Baltics. Rile the people up. Have US officials urge them not to back down.
Imagine US fulminations in face of a Chinese or Russian ambassador at occupy wall street having done the same thing.
Now that Nuland at Cie are done with toppling the insufficiently pro-US government there in a coup, the Ukrainians in the east can fear not only their economic ruin but in Svoboda a party that will ban their use of their native Russian, and the odd pogrom here and there. They can be expect to be treated as a hated minority in their own land, and should be expected to resent that. And then tere is history.
I was told by Poles how relatives were murdered by Ukrainians in the war. That was common. The building of the house in Odessa, by Right Sector thugs and football Ultras should give the general idea that Cockburn’s warnings are rather realistic. DC gives a damn, either because of delusions of being able to manage these thugs or because they just don’t care as long as they can make life difficult for Putin.
In DC expansion, regime change is every bit as popular under Obama as it was under Bush.
The Obamaites just think they’re smarter at it than those oafish Bush idiots who needed to invade countries for that. It’s a difference of opinion over means applied, but a consensus on goals.
ToreBear wrote to correct my numbers. We openly spent 5 billion on these political projects since 1992 plus whatever was spent in the CIA covert budget. BTW he accuses me of not allowing dissent on SST. His position is that US actions in Ukraine have been blameless and in no way responsible for Ukrainian disintegration. I have given him a time out not for disagreeing with me but rather for nastiness. pl
Obama’s administration has not had enough sense to study Ukraine’s history and the ethnic/national balance. Instead for provoking the country into highly desirable (by the US) civil war a la Middle East sectarian disaster, the US is facing the strengthened call for federalization and the strengthened pro-Russian sentiments, even among the people that had no desire to join Putin regime. As for the exposure of direct meddling into the affairs of a large country on a border with Russia and with a sizable ethnic Russian population (such as the CIA Director Brennan’s visit to Kiev on the eve of murderous actions in the name of Kiev “government”), the US empire made itself totally naked as an aggressor.
Fred, Colonel Lang,
And perhaps has something in common with the attitude of the Israelis to Palestinian olive growers — or indeed Shiite Lebanese sharecroppers?
I’m sure if you use Google you might be able to figure that out.
Further to the detailed comment by ‘Imagine’ on the ‘On Killing Killers’ thread about the claims that a ‘false flag’ operation was involved, ‘the Saker’ has posted a video report together with translated transcript making precisely this claim.
(See http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/crucial-investigation-into-role-of.html )
I haven’t had time to do more than skim through the material, so do no feel qualified to take a view on how cogent the claims are. If anyone here can spot clear problems with the evidence or argument, that would help take the discussion of what is clearly a watershed in the Ukraine crisis on.
Also of interest a memorandum to Obama from Ray McGovern and some of his Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity colleagues.
(See http://consortiumnews.com/2014/05/04/needed-obama-putin-summit-on-ukraine/ )
international columnist William Pfaff declares Obama an amateur in international relations
“the record of the inital four years proved mixed, and the second term has been one of disappointments, danger, and amateurism – the last named quality responsible for the other judgements.”
“the decision the president made at the beginning to balance his foreign policy by combining liberals with conservatives in his appointments has proven to be a bad one, although comprehensible in a new president whose previous personal experience was devoid of experience in international relations or foreign policy.”
“Mr. Obama has permitted the neo-conservatives in his (or
Hilary Clinton’s?) Department of State, together with
Congressionally-sponsored “democratization” NGOs dispatched
to the former member-states of the Soviet Union to become
recruiting agents. The consequences were seen in Georgia
in 2008, when (now-ex) President Mikhail Saakavshvili convinced himself that the United States would support his personal policy f recovering by war Georgia’s lost lands. He was wrong. Similarly, this year in Ukraine, opponents of President Victor Yanukovych were convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin would accept (or be intimidated into tolerating) a pro-NATO coup d’etat.
He has not. It is another very serious reason Washington’s European allies as well as those in Asia have lost their confidence in the Obama administration. It will be a struggle to deal with the consequences.”
Thanks for that.
Time and again I have seen people in the former Soviet space think that what the Russians call ‘krysha’ from the West can enable them to take risks that about which they might otherwise have thought twice.
It happened with Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky, and then again with Saakashvili. It seems to me all too likely that it happened again with the Ukrainian nationalists – and that they have now got themselves into a mess which gives them every reason to try to escalate this crisis.
I have been trying to keep an open mind on the question of whether Brennan has some idea of the kind of tinderbox into which he is throwing matches or simply looks at things through a thick ideological haze. While I still hesitate to come down definitively on one side or the other, your reading has a kind of ghastly plausibility about it.
The frightening element is that it makes things look more dangerous rather than less – in that it suggests that Brennan may be ‘flying blind’, completely unable to anticipate the reactions both of people in the East and South of Ukraine and of the Russians to what he does.
The rumour on the ground is that “cooperative” civil servants in rebel-held areas, including policemen, have had their salaries doubled.
Even if this unrest is largely homegrown, I doubt very much that it is funded from the insurgent’s own mattresses.
“And I’m not so sure the potential sanctions concern him that much.”
Well, in South Ossetia, the Russians invaded immediately after the Georgian attack. If it were not for the very real prospect of full economic retaliation by the West, Russian tanks might well have rolled into East Ukraine as soon as the first bullet was fired in Sloviansk.
FWIW, IMO the deaths in Odessa are much more ominous than whatever is going on in Sloviansk. Army fighting disciplined paramilitaries is one thing. Civilians fighting civilians, with dozens of deaths, might spell long-term troubles.
Here’s hoping that it was just a horrible one-off. “Le pire n’est jamais certain.”
The frightening thing is the cavalier way that NATO leaders have approached Russia and Ukraine.
“Go ahead, make my day!” is not the ethos of a successful statesman.
All: in case you missed this in Tuesday’s NYTimes, Clemens Wergin, the editor of Die Welt: “If you have followed the German debate about the Ukraine crisis, you have witnessed another strange phenomenon: a parade of former politicians and public figures going on TV to make the case for Russia.”
Headline: “Why Germans Love Russia.”
John Helmer has an excellent post at http://johnhelmer.net/?p=10640 summarizing a group of recent Ukraine opinion polls (funded by USAID & IRI – the Republican Congressionally funded “democracy NGO”).
These poll results show clearly that “the majority of eastern Ukrainians want the Russian language, Russian money, open borders – but no Russian military intervention, no NATO intervention and no more Ukrainian oligarchs”.
By my reading, this polling was highly predictive of how the East would react to Kiev’s actions. It is of interest to note that the most recent polls choose not to disclose whether similar questions were asked to earlier polls where the answers were not supportive of the administration’s “story line”, or perhaps the answers to such questions were not disclosed.
Poland’s relationship is bigger than most. We trade with Russia as much as the U.S. does. But our economy is smaller, so you can imagine that it is a bigger part of our economy. Seven percent of our exports go to Russia. That is why we are reluctant to impose sanctions on Russia. We would rather Russia stop doing what is giving rise to the need for sanctions.
What would you like to see the United States do?
The U.S. is in the lead on sanctions and hopefully can tell it like is to the Russians. And the U.S. is helping Ukraine, too. A $1 billion loan has just been passed in Congress.
This is a bit of a bleg, but can someone help me understand this interview? If the US is in the leave on sanctions, and is sanctioning Putin because wider sanctions won’t work, what does this mean in terms of the rhetoric coming out of DC and out of some European capitals? What exactly is happening? Trade will continue but we will try a sort of soft regime change? Is that what is happening? Why do I feel that the US is being led down a path as much as it is flailing? Do you all see why I am confused? The hot rhetoric versus the reality?
Insufferable moral superiority built on a fraudulent presumption?
The German press has been interesting. It all starts from the top I suppose and the Germans are acutely aware of their economic dependence on Russia. I think the real reasons are cultural though, the Germans have a real affection for the Russians. They always have. Yes, they’re a little in love with the Rusk of old – but that aside, I think they have a better sense of who the Russians are as a people. That understanding puts them in a better place to understand Ukraine.
“These poll results show clearly that “the majority of eastern Ukrainians want the Russian language, Russian money, open borders – but no Russian military intervention, no NATO intervention and no more Ukrainian oligarchs”.”
I don’t think the polls matter. All it takes is a solid, fervent, minority to push for independence. If they’re willing to fight, they’ll pull the rest of the region with them. Neighbors will side with each other against Kiev, and the death toll will radicalize the fence sitters. In that respect, Kiev is creating the very future they’re fighting so hard to prevent.
I read the posting, and found it hard to make sense of what it is saying due to the bad English used. So I don’t feel I can argue either for or against it’s contents without a high risk of misinterpreting it’s contents. However there is a reply by someone named marco which I think is a good description of some of what happened.
This article is in my view a better source to begin to understand what happened.
My understanding is that a pro Russian group attacked a much bigger pro Ukraine march(combo of football hooligans and others). Those with red armbands are Pro Russian, and from the videos I have seen were well equipped with protection gear, bats etc. Also to me it seems like there is a group of police who are openly siding with the pro Russian protesters. You can see in one video linked to in the article how they operated with the pro Russians:
Additionally it appears there is one individual with an ak74su shooting at the pro Ukraine protesters. I have also seen in other pictures a man with an uzi like weapon also shooting, as well as a man with a makarov pistol shooting from a roof.
From my understanding, the pro Ukraine group suffers several deaths and wounded from gunshots. This is probably a catalyst in the events that follow. The pro Ukrainians eventually routs the pro Russians and their police compatriots. Then they head for the Pulkovo area where the pro-Russians have been occupying the building for about a month or so. Here the fight continues with molotovs flying both out from and into the building. There are also people throwing molotovs from the roof. There may have been someone shooting from the building as well, though this I have only seen indirectly from crowd behavior, so I don’t think there was as much shooting from the building as there was during the earlier stages.
Eventually the building catches fire. Most seem to have died from smoke inhalation. My theory is that a combination of incoming and perhaps some badly placed outgoing molotovs ignited the building. I would not be surprised if molotovs inside the building were ignited by the fire, thereby accelerating it. I think the reason for so many dying from smoke inhalation is that many under estimated the danger of the smoke. I think this building was built long before any concern for what kind of smoke, building materials and also interior furniture generate in a fire. The people inside likely did not realize that this smoke was unlike burning wood, but highly poisonous, meaning they stayed too long and lost consciousness.
There have been different descriptions on the situation during the fire. I have seen videos from the front side of the building showing people are rescued by the protesters. I have seen an 18 second video from the back side of the building of someone beating someone that has fallen from the building while he is on the ground with what appears to be people falling from the building around him. I have seen longer footage from this area that looked to be from the same cameraman that does not show anything like this, but instead show people dragging away people who have fallen.
I am skeptical of the authenticity of the 18 second video(the people on the ground seem to ignore the bodies falling a mere meter or two away from them). However there might have been isolated cases of such behavior, but from what I have seen the trend is that the crowd turned to rescuing those in the building once they realized what was happening.
From what I have gathered from the causes of death, most are due to smoke inhalation, some due to falling while some are from gunshots. I believe those wo died from gunshots were the pro-ukrainian demonstrators shot earlier, since I have not seen any indication of any firearms in the hands of the pro ukrainian demonstrators.
This is my understanding of the events, I will reevaluate if I find some credible contradictory information. Though I don’t expect to reach any further understanding until a credible investigation is carried out.
I don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian so this is only my interpretation of the events from various sources as well as google translated Russian and ukrainian.
“due to the bad English used” What is it that you don’t like about my English? pl
I’m sorry Colonel where you the one who wrote the blog post on the vineyardsaker blog?
After having had a closer look at it, it’s not the English that confused me, it seems to be quite correct in my eyes. The thing that confused me was the explanations of who wore red arm bands. This is the first time I have heard the theory that the ones with the red armbands are not pro-Russians. I have followed quite a few internet postings by ardent supporters of the Russian point of view, and they had no problem identifying them as pro-Russian demonstrators.
To sum it up the theory as I understand it in the post is that these red armband people are pro-ukrainians(disguised as pro-Russians) sent to kill and anger pro Ukrainians so that they will go after the ones in the building. Also they are supposed to be coordinated by the police chief Dmitry Fuchedze.
This becomes an elaborate concpiracy theory that would require a large amount of people to keep secret. Also there are a huge numbers of steps needed that could go wrong and ruin the conspiracy.
Dmitry Fuchedze has according to this
been detained for his role in these events.
I feel the simplest explanation is that the men with the red armbands are pro Russians, and that a group of the police are also pro-Russians. That explanation to me makes the most sense.
I think you commented on the wrong post. pl
Yes – I too am most concerned about lack of accountability regarding the propaganda campaign that was waged on We the People , to hoodwink us in Operation Iraqi Liberation . But my hope is that the electorate is well inoculated against any other such disinformation campaigns- at least in the short term . Would have liked to have had seen that the lies and prevarications of the Bushcheney propaganda machine would have led to some indictments . I thought it was illegal for the USG to use propaganda on We the People.
Hmm this is confusing. When I look at this page It looks to me like I responded to David Habakkuk’s post.
I’m sorry if there are any misunderstandings.
By the way it looks to me like Putin is backing down. Hopefully it is not to late.
ToreBear, Colonel Lang,
The English on the video which ‘the Saker’ posts is not the problem. The problem was rather that this commentary was intended as a gloss on the visual images. A subtitled version of the video has now been put up by ‘the Saker’, which brings out the links between the visual images and the commentary.
(See http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/massacre-in-odessa-video-with-subtitles.html )
The argument that is being made is that the visual images of how the two sets of men in red armbands, and others, behaved, demonstrates that what was at issue was a ‘false flag’ operation.
Without looking at the video more carefully than I have so far had time to do, I cannot say whether or not this theory looks cogent or not. All I would say at this stage is that the argument that a significant number of people would need to be complicit in the conspiracy is of limited relevance, given that the same thing might well be said about the sniper shootings on the Maidan on 20 February.
As regards these, as far as I am aware no serious rebuttal of the claim made by the Estonian Foreign Minister to Baroness Ashton that Olga Bogomolets believed that a ‘false flag’ operation was at issue has been made. The fact that Dr Bogomolets did not confirm publicly which Urmas Paet said she thought is, quite patently, of rather limited relevance.
According to the German television programme ‘Monitor’, there was ample further evidence that a ‘false flag’ operation – but this seems to have had little effect on the mainstream media in the U.S. as in Britain. Accordingly, if a ‘false flag’ operation was planned in Odessa, those planning could well have calculated that even if some people blew the gaff, it would not matter.
(See http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=97a_1397122630 )
The politics of the post-Soviet space, as also of the Middle East, moreover, are a fertile ground for actual ‘false flag’ operations, and for claims about them. Unfortunately, the bizarre complexity of what is going on often tests ‘Occam’s Razor’ to destruction. Sometimes the simplest explanation may indeed turn out to be the right one. At other times, there are very good grounds to believe that the evidence has been very deliberately manipulated, so that it points to a conclusion that appears obvious but is actually wrong.
Thanks, yes I think I understand the gist of the theory.
About the sniper thing. IIRC it was a taped conversation between two people where one had talked to someone who said something about the entry wounds being inconsistent in regards to where the police were shooting from. Something of that sort IIRC. So the question for me is did the Estonian foreign minister misunderstand what the doctor meant to say? Was the context in their conversation pointing to something else? The only way to rule out this issue would be to talk to the doctor. I seem to remember that both Swedish reporters and Norwegian reporters had tried to talk to her/him. I don’t remember what the result was. I only member my impression that the theory of a false flag operation was weakend. Further weakening it in my eyes were the Norwegian Moscow correspondent who was there with his cameraman. I don’t remember what he said. But in my mind the theory got debunked and in my mind was just another attempt by the pro-russian/russian side to plant seeds of uncertainty.
Hence I have not spent anymore time in assesing the theories merrits since I believe it is a deliberate distraction planted by one side.
As for Odessa, I see more indications of what you see is what you got. The practice of with violence attacking pro unity demonstrators is a recuring theme. One well publicized example was in Donetsk last week IIRC. It is not unusual that parts of the local police would be involved. They might have symphaties or have simply been bought, as I understand is quite common in Ukraine. Also they might feel their pay does not warrant them risking injury. There could be many reasons.
Generally the pro-russian side has seemed much more violent and aggressive than the pro Ukrainian side. From all the polls I have seen, both carried out by Ukrainian and international groups, the anger in the east with maidan is real, but the pro russian sympaties(joining Russia etc) is only shared by a small minority(from 10-30% IIRC). Due to the violence and agression showed by the pro-Russian side, people not supporting them are fearfull. For example in Slavyansk there are dozins of prisoners, and there are good indications that people have been tortured and killed.
So it makes sense for the pro russian side to be aggressive and force their opponents to silence. They are fewer and need to scream louder to dominate the discourse.
Hence the red armbands are in my view clearly pro-Russians.
The thing that in my view also complicates a conspiracy is that it is very difficult to predict crowd behavior in extreme situations. It is not instinct that makes people run toward police barricades with men behind them shooting. Hence I have trouble seeing someone plan how a crowd such as this should respond.
Aditionally and in my view the most important is motive, and then we see who has benefitted from this event. In my view the chance of a Russian invasion increased with all the deaths and how it is played out on Russian TV. This is definetly not in Ukrains interests, while it has similarities with events that sparked the Russian intervention in Georga, which some of those involved might want to happen.
I certainly agree that the post soviet space and the middle East is fertile ground for both Conspiracies and conspiracy theories. This has In my view it’s origins in the lack of dependaple and objective(ish) information through TV or News papers etc. It takes time to develop a good media and general trust in these media. Additionally the internet is also a contributing factor in creating and formenting conspiracy theories. Due to the events in 2011 in Norway, I have realized that conspiracy theories can be very destructive.
I make my impression with carefull selection of sources. Like most other people do. However I consistently stay away from Russian Media, especially television. It is tightly controlled and has been for some time. I think there are or where some independent television stations, however they have been taken off the air when it looked as if their message could reach a larger audience. The big national channels are all under government control or influence through different oligarchs. There are some news sites and papers that have been allowed to continue while still being critical. This is in my view because their viewership is not enough to threaten the narrative shown on national television.
The english speaking Russia today is more of a conspiracy generator. I think it’s a sensible Kremlin strategy to confuse, since the propaganda for internal consumption is too crude.
Hence my views might seem a bit biased. This is a conscious strategy since I believe the value gained from Russian sources has too little factual information in relation to the time needed to sort out all the noise. By the way I’m careful with US media as well. It feels like there is a tendency towards group think related to issues outside the US.
And I agree it’s difficult to know if the obvious is the correct explanation. I am a firm believer in Occams’s razor(forgive me if I’m using it the wrong way). Though I think of it more as Kiss(keep it simple stupid). The reason for this is my belief in human falibility. The more heads are involved the larger the risk of someone making a mistake. And the only way to minimize the chance of a mistake is preperation, which takes time and resources, which makes it harder to keep secret because of the time available to make mistakes.
Though I will admit, I’m more likely to overlook a conspiracy if there is one. I would rather be fooled one time than have spent time on 99 other conspiracies.
I apologize for the long posting which might or might not be relevant. I’m starting to tire, and a symptom of that is a tendency to loose focus when writing long posts.
In minute 19 of the video at the bottom of this page:
there is a dead man in the Trade Union building wearing what appears to be a red armband. If he was part of a false flag attack he was taking the call of duty very far indeed.
While I am pathologically inclined to see a conspiracy of the US and its minions in everything from the Ukraine crisis to my milk turning sour, this particular episode probably doesn’t fit the bill. It does rather seem like a Russian, or at least pro-Russian conspiracy with parts of the Odessa police that went quite wrong (or not, depending on what the intentions were. It certainly went wrong for that conspirator with the red armband).
If I were to speculate, although I much prefer reading your speculations, I would say that it might have been an attempt to show the Kiev government, which was preparing military action in the north, that the uprising was more wide-spread and that a military solution was therefore not possible.
However, this does not quite explain why the protesters were wearing red armbands. They were already clearly identified as pro-Russians. If the purpose was to cooperate with friendly police, red armbands on those friendly officers would have been enough, and would arouse far less suspicion.
So the mystery continues. I look forward to reading SST’s members’ attempts to solve it.
“I make my impression with careful selection of sources”.
I hope by careful you don’t mean those which support your biases.
On the Maidan snipers, have you seen this English-language transcipt of the report carried on the main German public televison channel:
The Estonian foreign minister’s report isn’t the only evidence.
With regards to the Maidan snipers: German TV aired a report (briefly mentioned by David Habbakuk) that questions the official version based on sources other than the leaked phone call. The gist of it is that “it is unlikely that the shooting came just from the government’s side”. To paraphrase, one of the investigators commissioned by the new government complains that the report published by the public prosecutor does not conform to the results of his investigation. Evidence includes bullet trajectories (many pointing to the Hotel Ukraina, fully in Maidanist hands at the time), and radio communications between police snipers. My translation:
“Who just shot? Our people don’t shoot unarmed people”.
“Somebody just shot him. It wasn’t us”.
“Are there more snipers there? Who are they?”.
The report adds that video footage shows shots coming from both directions, in front of the protesters and behind them. This is confirmed by an eyewitness, who claims that shots came from the 8th or 9th floor of the Hotel Ukraina.
Furthermore, the lawyers of the victims’ families – most, if not all, Maidan sympathisers – also complained about the opacity of the investigation. They were given no information on the weapons used, were not shown any reports or autopsies, any police deployment plans, or any other relevant documents. In fact, as one says, “We do not know what the prosecutor believes actually happened”. Another compares this to Yanukovich’s government or even the Soviet Union: “The prosecution didn’t really investigate. They are covering for their people, they are biased, just as before”. Remember, this is coming from Maidan supporters.
And with regards to Russian media propaganda: the German media consistently referred to the military observers released a few days ago as OSCE observers – even in the headlines of articles explaining that they were not, in fact, OSCE observers! It certainly is difficult to sort out the noise.
Thanks for the clarity, Karim.
Madhu, I’m afraid my reply is late, and I don’t mean to be too glib and quick. Any representative from Poland should ask for a few wishes. In terms of U.S. and major EU weight, Ukraine will continue to be addressed like a series of traffic violations.
It could have been invested here in our crumbling infrastructure , and made our roads safer – and a lot of domestic jobs .( Rand Paul 2016 anyone ? )
Col. this article was in The Moscow Times on May 4 http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/4-problems-awaiting-putin-in-ukraine-gambit/499370.html titled “4 Problems Awaiting Putin in Ukraine” which I thought was worth reading in full.
Here is a clearly articulated explanation of why the electorate will not be able to affect the US actions anywhere in the world:
More and more people acknowledge that the so called “state policy” is in fact “oligarchs’ policy.” Recent research at Princeton and Northwestern universities confirms the sad fact: the US is ruled by the oligarchs for the oligarchs:
Sorry for not replying sooner. Thank you for the input on the sniper issue. I think there was supposed to be UK experts involved in the investigation, but haven’t heard anything more about it. I wouldn’t expect to hear anything until the investigation is complete anyway. I will keep this in mind, and hope there will in the future be a situation that allows an impartial investigation to be conducted and concluded. Right now there can be so many different motives, and players involved due to all the oligarchs who might also have an interest in something.
So we will see.
As for the OSCE military observers, they were not part of the Geneva initiative, but they were still OSCE observers on another mission. There is AFAIK another mission related to the elections. I’m very sure that the Russian government saw them as OSCE observers. However the Russian media machine used initial tweets from the Geneva initiated mission to create doubt about their origin.
As for what they were doing in Sloviansk , and why there were there is not something I am aware of.
My theory is that the Sloviansk separatists wanted OSCE presence, but were surprised when all of them had military ID’s. But other explanations could be equally valid.
Sorry for the late reply. No, bias support is not one of my selection criteria.:-)
Thank you for the link. I have bookmarked it.
You say “I think there was supposed to be UK experts involved in the investigation, but haven’t heard anything more about it. I wouldn’t expect to hear anything until the investigation is complete anyway.” I imagine that if there were a UK investigative mission, you would be hearing from it at least on a weakly basis, especially if their initial findings conformed to the UK gov’s narrative.
“I will keep this in mind, and hope there will in the future be a situation that allows an impartial investigation to be conducted and concluded.” So do I. Let me know when that’s the case 🙂
With regards to the military observers: they were NOT OSCE observers. They were operating within the framework of the Vienna Document, which, while signed under the auspices of the OSCE, has nothing to do with the OSCE organisationally. It is a treaty enjoining OSCE member-states to invite military observers to inspect each others’ armies on a bilateral, voluntary basis as a confidence-building measure. The Kiev gov. invited observers from several countries (most were German).
Now, first of all, these are supposed to be peace-time missions. They are not for conflict monitoring. Second, on such missions the observers are required to wear their uniforms. These were not doing so. Third, the area where they were captured was in the middle of a conflict. They had been invited by one party to the conflict, supposedly to inspect ITS armed forces. To go into the area controlled by the other party to the conflict, disguised as civilians, is one of two things: incredibly stupid and irresponsible, or espionnage.
Here is an explanation from the OSCE (see page 2):
The observers are from “OSCE participating states”, not part of the OSCE mission. Attempts to describe them as OSCE observers serve one purpose, to give an aura of “international organization” neutrality, and so legitimacy, to a questionable mission. Again: they were invited by Kiev but tried to enter opposition areas, and they were illegally wearing civilian clothes. To use an exaggerated example, the media’s twisting of “observers from OSCE participating states” into “OSCE observers” is akin to Russia proclaiming its Spetznaz in Crimea were Blue Helmets because Russia is a UN participating state. Although of course I don’t know if the little green men were Spetznaz; I am waiting for “a situation that allows an impartial investigation to be conducted and concluded”.
Sorry for the double post. There was one more point I wished to address. You wrote: “However the Russian media machine used initial tweets from the Geneva initiated mission to create doubt about their origin.”
Is this the tweet in question? https://twitter.com/OSCE/status/459747578297716736
There appears little need to “create doubt” out of this. It is quite unequivocal.
Here is a clip of Claus Neukirch, Vice-President of the OSCE Crisis Prevention Centre, stating on Austrian TV that the observers are not part of the OSCE mission:
At the start, he corrects the interviewer:”I would like to point out that they are not actually OSCE employees. They are military observers who are there on a bilateral basis in the framework of an OSCE document” (the Vienna Document).
You are quick, and correct, to point out the propaganda from the “Russian media machine”. I fear however that you are not so ready to detect the same forms of manipulation in Western media. A further example: a couple of minutes later, the interviewer asks him what risk assessments the OSCE did before sending the observers. “None”, he says, before again having to point out that it WAS NOT an OSCE mission.
Of course, this could just be an example of shoddy research; the interviewer may have drawn up a list of questions on the assumption that they were OSCE observers and then idiotically run through these questions despite Neukirch’s first answer having rendered them obsolete. But this does not explain why every media outlet thereafter continued to refer to them as OSCE observers.