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Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Fergus Finlay and the maternity hospital ‘gotcha’ trap

offsite link Irish Examiner and fake news Anthony

offsite link Labour Party: The unvarnished truth Anthony

offsite link Humanity: Zero chance of survival Anthony

offsite link RTE gives balance – accidentally? Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link UN human rights chief calls for priority action ahead of climate summit Sat Oct 30, 2021 17:18 | Human Rights

offsite link 5 Year Anniversary Of Kem Ley?s Death Sun Jul 11, 2021 12:34 | Human Rights

offsite link Poor Living Conditions for Migrants in Southern Italy Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:14 | Human Rights

offsite link Right to Water Mon Aug 03, 2020 19:13 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Lockdown Skeptics

The Daily Sceptic

offsite link Nick Hudson Coming to London ? Get Tickets Now Tue May 17, 2022 18:00 | Will Jones
Nick Hudson of PANDA is coming to London on Thursday May 26th to deliver ?The Quest for Open Science?, after which he will be interviewed by Jeffrey Peel from the New Era and take questions from the audience.
The post Nick Hudson Coming to London ? Get Tickets Now appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Don?t Panic Mr Monkeypox! Social Distancing Returns Due to New Viral Panic Tue May 17, 2022 16:53 | Toby Young
At least one medical practice in West London has reintroduced social distancing to reduce the risk of patients contracting Monkeypox. This, in spite of the fact that there are only nine cases so far in the U.K.
The post Don’t Panic Mr Monkeypox! Social Distancing Returns Due to New Viral Panic appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Are All Britain?s Current Woes Traceable to a Group of Entitled ?Tory Toffs? at Oxford in the 1980s? Tue May 17, 2022 13:00 | Toby Young
Simon Kuper's book about how a small group of 'Tory Toffs' who were at Oxford in the 1980s masterminded the Brexit project to reclaim their aristocratic birthright is highly entertaining, but not convincing.
The post Are All Britain’s Current Woes Traceable to a Group of Entitled ‘Tory Toffs’ at Oxford in the 1980s? appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Forget Science ? Climate Now Has a Central Role in The Culture Wars Tue May 17, 2022 11:26 | Chris Morrison
You might think that if you debunk patently silly extreme weather claims, the entire fear agenda will go away. Think again. Climate change is now firmly embedded in the culture wars surrounding race, identity and gender.
The post Forget Science ? Climate Now Has a Central Role in The Culture Wars appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Would the U.S. Side With Ukraine?s Far-Right Against Zelensky? Tue May 17, 2022 10:10 | Noah Carl
Why didn't the US back Zelensky? The New York Times wrote earlier this year that his government could be overthrown by far-right groups if he ?agrees to a peace deal that in their minds gives too much to Moscow?.
The post Would the U.S. Side With Ukraine?s Far-Right Against Zelensky? appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

Lockdown Skeptics >>

Voltaire Network
Voltaire, international edition

offsite link ?House of Russian War Crimes? inaugurated at Davos Tue May 24, 2022 17:19 | en

offsite link US Armed Forces will have to pay with their blood: General Milley Tue May 24, 2022 16:36 | en

offsite link A new war is being prepared for after the defeat in the face of Russia, by Thier... Tue May 24, 2022 10:00 | en

offsite link Eichmann's hours-long interview partially unearthed Mon May 23, 2022 21:56 | en

offsite link Russian rock concert against war in Ukraine Mon May 23, 2022 19:47 | en

Voltaire Network >>

Sam LaGrone - Mon May 23, 2022 23:17

Source: USNI News

The Danish Armed Forces are sending long-range anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters on Monday. The range of Denmark’s coastal defense Harpoons could put Russian ships at risk in the Northern Black Sea, a naval analyst told USNI News.

“I’m especially grateful to Denmark, which announced today that it will provide a Harpoon launcher and missiles to help Ukraine defend its coast,” Austin said in prepared remarks at the Pentagon following a meeting with an international coalition and Ukraine defense officials.

While Austin did not specify the type of Harpoon, the Danish military’s coastal anti-ship missile batteries field RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block IIs that are capable of not only hitting ships at sea, but also targets in port and on land with an upgrade from the Boeing Advanced Harpoon Weapon Control System.

Ukrainian forces have been requesting Harpoons as they seek to break the blockade of Odesa’s port and the ongoing harassment from sea-based missiles, USNI News understands.

“This blockade has cut off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea, halting Ukrainian grain exports, choking the country’s main export industry and driving global food prices to record highs,” wrote Tayfun Ozberk for Naval News on Sunday.

Austin’s announcement follows a Reuters report last week that the White House has been working for weeks to get Ukraine not only Harpoons but also the Norwegian-made Naval Strike Missile.

Source: USNI News

The Danish Armed Forces are sending long-range anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters on Monday. The range of Denmark’s coastal defense Harpoons could put Russian ships at risk in the Northern Black Sea, a naval analyst told USNI News.

“I’m especially grateful to Denmark, which announced today that it will provide a Harpoon launcher and missiles to help Ukraine defend its coast,” Austin said in prepared remarks at the Pentagon following a meeting with an international coalition and Ukraine defense officials.

While Austin did not specify the type of Harpoon, the Danish military’s coastal anti-ship missile batteries field RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block IIs that are capable of not only hitting ships at sea, but also targets in port and on land with an upgrade from the Boeing Advanced Harpoon Weapon Control System.

Ukrainian forces have been requesting Harpoons as they seek to break the blockade of Odesa’s port and the ongoing harassment from sea-based missiles, USNI News understands.

“This blockade has cut off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea, halting Ukrainian grain exports, choking the country’s main export industry and driving global food prices to record highs,” wrote Tayfun Ozberk for Naval News on Sunday.

Austin’s announcement follows a Reuters report last week that the White House has been working for weeks to get Ukraine not only Harpoons but also the Norwegian-made Naval Strike Missile.

Anti-Empire - Sun May 22, 2022 22:20

Related: Scott Ritter Catches Up to Anti-Empire


Ritter justifies his abrupt, overnight shift from triumphalism to deep pessimism for Russia in Ukraine by explaining that until now he thought that Russia was successfully intercepting US supplies before they reached the front:

And this is why I have radically changed my overall assessment, because I had been operating on the assumption that Russia would be able to interdict the vast majority of this equipment, but Russia has shown itself unable or unwilling to do this and– as a result– the Ukrainians are having meaningful impact on the battlefield.

But *why* was Ritter operating on the assumption that Russia would be interdicting most of these supplies?? What justification was there for this assumption?

I had been watching the Russian strategic war on Ukrainian rail since its April start and was able to conclude and chronicle that it wasn't having an overwhelming impact. The Russian approach of striking electric substations would disrupt the rail for a few days at a time but then things would go back to normal.

If I was able to see the present Russian effort was insufficient why didn't Ritter? Why could an ex-machinist see what an ex-"intelligence officer" couldn't?

And if he couldn't see that for himself why didn't he read Anti-Empire and learn it here? Sounds like it would have saved him a ton of embarrassment.

In fact Ritter did a lot more than just assume that Russia would destroy nearly all of this American equipment in transit. He was actively telling his listeners that was indeed already happening. Something he now admits had been false the whole time.

I never paid attention to him, but a friend who did reports that Ritter was selling an elaborate fantasy where Russia had such amazing intel on NATO shipments that leaving the Dnieper bridges intact was clever 5D play to allow NATO supplies to come closer where they could be destroyed even more easily. (LOL)

Reality is that by now 15 planeloads are unloaded in eastern Poland every day. Russia has had success in destroying some of it on railway yards and in warehouses in Ukraine, but there is no indication it is destroying anything close to 15 planeloads a day. Far from it.  Russia doesn't have the surveillance capability to monitor every rail line, every train, and every warehouse, and the majority survives. If the Ukrainians are able to ship food, ammo and new units to the eastern theater  — and we know that they are — then they are also able to transport NATO ammo and NATO gear to the same destinations. Indeed since civilian trains are still making routine and on-schedule trips as far as Lozova in the Donetsk region, how could they not?

It doesn't make sense that Ukrainians could run civilian trains to Donbass, and keep over 20 brigades they have there more or less supplied (except at the very front, in Russian artillery range), but would be magically incapable of transporting foreign-provided gear alone.

***

Changing your mind on something is very rare in people and can be a sign of unusual and remarkable intellectual honesty. So in theory Ritter's U-turn could be reason to praise him and take him more seriously than ever. Problem is his flip-flop happened overnight and without any warning whatsoever which in a commentator is the exact opposite of seriousness.

It's one thing to gradually chronicle a development that eventually forces you to switch to a different overall position. But it's an entirely different thing to keep saying there are no valid reasons to hold a position Y whatsoever, then one morning suddenly proclaiming yourself to now hold Y as correct because reasons.

That sort of thing means you're not an analyst but a roulette wheel. What hot, sensationalist, and attention-grabbing take are you going to have tomorrow?

One day the Russian effort in Ritter's take was brilliant and invincible, the next day it was all of a suddenly checkmated. One day there was triumphalism that glossed over every problem and denied any danger whatsoever — the next day everything was proclaimed lost.

Except that it wasn't. Not in one day. If the Russian effort is now truly sentenced to a forever war as Ritter now claims, then the potential danger and signs of that already existed for quite some time. Signs that Ritter never alerted his audience to, but in fact actively denied even existed.

That's the problem. It's perfectly okay to be wrong on where things are headed. In fact, it is to be expected. What isn't okay is making facts fit your narrative because you're wedded to it.

When you switch on a dime then sadly that is proof that your "analysis" doesn't proceed from honest reasoning and information-gathering but from your emotional state. It means that for some time you have been lying to yourself and to your audience.

The only thing Ritter's abrupt flip-flop tells us is that from Monday to Tuesday his feelings underwent a radical shift, because the war itself certainly did not. One day he was wedded to a narrative, the next he no longer was. What's the guarantee his reasoning will be more sincere and reality-based from now on?

***

Ritter also fails to grapple with the question of what his newfound understanding that Kremlin expected only light resistance and to deliver a knockout blow inside a month means for his claim that the drive on Kiev was a mere "supporting attack".

How precisely was a campaign whose main effort was (allegedly) against the SE periphery of the country ever going to deliver a knockout blow that Ritter now asserts was the expectation?

If anything was going to deliver a knockout blow inside a month against limited organized resistance it wasn't going to be the effort in the southeast (which was the real pinning effort) but only a stroll into the political capital.

...massive Russian intelligence failure over prewar assessments that organized resistance by Ukraine would be limited and easily overcome. Instead, the Russians were met by an organized, capable and determined Ukrainian military that has shown great resilience in defending against Russian attack.

Instead of a quick campaign of less than a month, Russia found itself in a drawn-out fight that required its military to alter its approach — pulling back from supporting attacks against Kyiv and Odessa in favor of a more singular focus on eastern Ukraine.

The failure of the invasion to deliver a knockout blow to the Ukrainian government has altered the political-military landscape in ways that neither Russia nor Nato predicted.

***

For the record I don't think that Western aid has the kind of outcome-altering significance that Ritter assigns it. Not yet. As I said that would require the West taking on the burden of retooling and capacity expansion and so far there isn't a sign of that. (As well as taking on greater financial obligations.)

Suddenly citing the significance of Western aid that was always a given sounds more like an excuse. A way to justify the abrupt shift that was really caused by loss of confidence in the prior triumphalist take for a whole host of complicated reasons and which had been marinating for some time.

Related: Scott Ritter Catches Up to Anti-Empire


Ritter justifies his abrupt, overnight shift from triumphalism to deep pessimism for Russia in Ukraine by explaining that until now he thought that Russia was successfully intercepting US supplies before they reached the front:

And this is why I have radically changed my overall assessment, because I had been operating on the assumption that Russia would be able to interdict the vast majority of this equipment, but Russia has shown itself unable or unwilling to do this and– as a result– the Ukrainians are having meaningful impact on the battlefield.

But *why* was Ritter operating on the assumption that Russia would be interdicting most of these supplies?? What justification was there for this assumption?

I had been watching the Russian strategic war on Ukrainian rail since its April start and was able to conclude and chronicle that it wasn't having an overwhelming impact. The Russian approach of striking electric substations would disrupt the rail for a few days at a time but then things would go back to normal.

If I was able to see the present Russian effort was insufficient why didn't Ritter? Why could an ex-machinist see what an ex-"intelligence officer" couldn't?

And if he couldn't see that for himself why didn't he read Anti-Empire and learn it here? Sounds like it would have saved him a ton of embarrassment.

In fact Ritter did a lot more than just assume that Russia would destroy nearly all of this American equipment in transit. He was actively telling his listeners that was indeed already happening. Something he now admits had been false the whole time.

I never paid attention to him, but a friend who did reports that Ritter was selling an elaborate fantasy where Russia had such amazing intel on NATO shipments that leaving the Dnieper bridges intact was clever 5D play to allow NATO supplies to come closer where they could be destroyed even more easily. (LOL)

Reality is that by now 15 planeloads are unloaded in eastern Poland every day. Russia has had success in destroying some of it on railway yards and in warehouses in Ukraine, but there is no indication it is destroying anything close to 15 planeloads a day. Far from it.  Russia doesn't have the surveillance capability to monitor every rail line, every train, and every warehouse, and the majority survives. If the Ukrainians are able to ship food, ammo and new units to the eastern theater  — and we know that they are — then they are also able to transport NATO ammo and NATO gear to the same destinations. Indeed since civilian trains are still making routine and on-schedule trips as far as Lozova in the Donetsk region, how could they not?

It doesn't make sense that Ukrainians could run civilian trains to Donbass, and keep over 20 brigades they have there more or less supplied (except at the very front, in Russian artillery range), but would be magically incapable of transporting foreign-provided gear alone.

***

Changing your mind on something is very rare in people and can be a sign of unusual and remarkable intellectual honesty. So in theory Ritter's U-turn could be reason to praise him and take him more seriously than ever. Problem is his flip-flop happened overnight and without any warning whatsoever which in a commentator is the exact opposite of seriousness.

It's one thing to gradually chronicle a development that eventually forces you to switch to a different overall position. But it's an entirely different thing to keep saying there are no valid reasons to hold a position Y whatsoever, then one morning suddenly proclaiming yourself to now hold Y as correct because reasons.

That sort of thing means you're not an analyst but a roulette wheel. What hot, sensationalist, and attention-grabbing take are you going to have tomorrow?

One day the Russian effort in Ritter's take was brilliant and invincible, the next day it was all of a suddenly checkmated. One day there was triumphalism that glossed over every problem and denied any danger whatsoever — the next day everything was proclaimed lost.

Except that it wasn't. Not in one day. If the Russian effort is now truly sentenced to a forever war as Ritter now claims, then the potential danger and signs of that already existed for quite some time. Signs that Ritter never alerted his audience to, but in fact actively denied even existed.

That's the problem. It's perfectly okay to be wrong on where things are headed. In fact, it is to be expected. What isn't okay is making facts fit your narrative because you're wedded to it.

When you switch on a dime then sadly that is proof that your "analysis" doesn't proceed from honest reasoning and information-gathering but from your emotional state. It means that for some time you have been lying to yourself and to your audience.

The only thing Ritter's abrupt flip-flop tells us is that from Monday to Tuesday his feelings underwent a radical shift, because the war itself certainly did not. One day he was wedded to a narrative, the next he no longer was. What's the guarantee his reasoning will be more sincere and reality-based from now on?

***

Ritter also fails to grapple with the question of what his newfound understanding that Kremlin expected only light resistance and to deliver a knockout blow inside a month means for his claim that the drive on Kiev was a mere "supporting attack".

How precisely was a campaign whose main effort was (allegedly) against the SE periphery of the country ever going to deliver a knockout blow that Ritter now asserts was the expectation?

If anything was going to deliver a knockout blow inside a month against limited organized resistance it wasn't going to be the effort in the southeast (which was the real pinning effort) but only a stroll into the political capital.

...massive Russian intelligence failure over prewar assessments that organized resistance by Ukraine would be limited and easily overcome. Instead, the Russians were met by an organized, capable and determined Ukrainian military that has shown great resilience in defending against Russian attack.

Instead of a quick campaign of less than a month, Russia found itself in a drawn-out fight that required its military to alter its approach — pulling back from supporting attacks against Kyiv and Odessa in favor of a more singular focus on eastern Ukraine.

The failure of the invasion to deliver a knockout blow to the Ukrainian government has altered the political-military landscape in ways that neither Russia nor Nato predicted.

***

For the record I don't think that Western aid has the kind of outcome-altering significance that Ritter assigns it. Not yet. As I said that would require the West taking on the burden of retooling and capacity expansion and so far there isn't a sign of that. (As well as taking on greater financial obligations.)

Suddenly citing the significance of Western aid that was always a given sounds more like an excuse. A way to justify the abrupt shift that was really caused by loss of confidence in the prior triumphalist take for a whole host of complicated reasons and which had been marinating for some time.

Edward Slavsquat - Sun May 22, 2022 11:38

Source: Edward Slavsquat

In our last blog post we discussed how Russia was coping with the mass exodus of western businesses. As an example, we referenced the creation of Cool Cola, Street, and Fancy: the import-substitution sodas intended to replace Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta.

The Russian company responsible for these concoctions, Ochakovo, recently issued a rather vainglorious statement bragging about their amazing imitation sodas:

The taste of Cool Cola is identical [to Coca-Cola], the taste of Fancy is extremely close to the usual analogues, and the taste of Street is rather closer to what multinational companies had 10-15 years ago, when they had not yet begun to add sweeteners to the recipe of this drink. For more than two months, our technologists have been tasting raw materials, selecting the ratio of ingredients: juices, extracts, in order to achieve the ideal taste of drinks, in our opinion.

Audacious and seductive soda-boasting. We had to try them.

Cool Cola

Cool Cola is arguably the most robust cola to come out of Penza Oblast. Aged in recyclable plastic bottles, this bold but approachable 2022 vintage will fill you with regret within 30 minutes of your first, ill-considered sip. Chill for two hours before serving.

Tasting note: a deep and profound black color with a halo of muddy brown around the edges—reminiscent of unhealthy stool. Very fresh and young looking. Fine, migraine-inducing bouquet, some sweetness in attack, drier on the second nose. Carbonation on the palate, a hint of existential dread about the aimless trajectory of your life, good balance, overpowering sugary finish that inspires heart palpitations and dilated pupils.

Highly recommended. An excellent gift for someone you hate.

Street

This complex Sprite knockoff offers a bouquet of citrus, tap water, and looming diabetes. Opulent on the palate with brave levels of acidity. Mountains of sugar add to the long finish. Pleasingly limpid.

Before enjoying your glass of Street, it is customary to turn to the person sitting next to you and shout: “I RESPECT YOU, DO YOU RESPECT ME?” Your drinking companion should reply with a very slurred: “I RESPECT YOU.” Only then should you imbibe.

It is important to immediately stop drinking Street upon the inevitable onset of blurred vision and severe tremors.

Fancy

Our mother-in-law drank nearly all of our Fancy without even asking if it would be okay to do that.

We asked her to provide an assessment.

“Normal.”

Then she told us to go to the rynok and buy some fish for dinner.

Sheesh.

Source: Edward Slavsquat

Source: Edward Slavsquat

In our last blog post we discussed how Russia was coping with the mass exodus of western businesses. As an example, we referenced the creation of Cool Cola, Street, and Fancy: the import-substitution sodas intended to replace Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta.

The Russian company responsible for these concoctions, Ochakovo, recently issued a rather vainglorious statement bragging about their amazing imitation sodas:

The taste of Cool Cola is identical [to Coca-Cola], the taste of Fancy is extremely close to the usual analogues, and the taste of Street is rather closer to what multinational companies had 10-15 years ago, when they had not yet begun to add sweeteners to the recipe of this drink. For more than two months, our technologists have been tasting raw materials, selecting the ratio of ingredients: juices, extracts, in order to achieve the ideal taste of drinks, in our opinion.

Audacious and seductive soda-boasting. We had to try them.

Cool Cola

Cool Cola is arguably the most robust cola to come out of Penza Oblast. Aged in recyclable plastic bottles, this bold but approachable 2022 vintage will fill you with regret within 30 minutes of your first, ill-considered sip. Chill for two hours before serving.

Tasting note: a deep and profound black color with a halo of muddy brown around the edges—reminiscent of unhealthy stool. Very fresh and young looking. Fine, migraine-inducing bouquet, some sweetness in attack, drier on the second nose. Carbonation on the palate, a hint of existential dread about the aimless trajectory of your life, good balance, overpowering sugary finish that inspires heart palpitations and dilated pupils.

Highly recommended. An excellent gift for someone you hate.

Street

This complex Sprite knockoff offers a bouquet of citrus, tap water, and looming diabetes. Opulent on the palate with brave levels of acidity. Mountains of sugar add to the long finish. Pleasingly limpid.

Before enjoying your glass of Street, it is customary to turn to the person sitting next to you and shout: “I RESPECT YOU, DO YOU RESPECT ME?” Your drinking companion should reply with a very slurred: “I RESPECT YOU.” Only then should you imbibe.

It is important to immediately stop drinking Street upon the inevitable onset of blurred vision and severe tremors.

Fancy

Our mother-in-law drank nearly all of our Fancy without even asking if it would be okay to do that.

We asked her to provide an assessment.

“Normal.”

Then she told us to go to the rynok and buy some fish for dinner.

Sheesh.

Source: Edward Slavsquat

Michael Curzon - Sat May 21, 2022 20:03

Source: Bournbrook Magazine

The passage of time has clearly done nothing diminish the unintentional comedy of George W Bush’s public speaking.

The 43rd President’s malapropisms, mangled grammar and misused maxims were the stuff of legend during his terms in office. So rich was Dubya’s output that his speaking gaffes filled entire books devoted to ‘Bushisms’. Classics of the genre included, “I think we agree, the past is over,” “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully,” and “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”

During a speech in Dallas yesterday, the former President outdid himself, uttering a sentence that not only engendered the usual mirth, but also contained great truth. Criticising Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Bush condemned “the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq”.

Many commentators on the left and right have questioned whether the United States is in any position to take the moral high ground on the Ukraine crisis. After all, it invaded the sovereign country of Iraq in a war of aggression that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, cost the US taxpayer trillions of dollars, strengthened Iran’s position in the Middle East and ultimately led to defeat and the rise of Isis. As President Bush himself said in 2004: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

Glenn Greenwald, the left wing author and investigative journalist, tweeted that Bush’s latest gaffe “captures the absurdity and deceit of our current discourse so completely and fully that it’s hard to believe it actually happened”. He added: “It’s so rare for perfection this pure to materialise. The universe is speaking loudly here.”

More pithily, Peter Hitchens, the author and Mail on Sunday columnist, tweeted: “Truth slips out, eventually.”

Source: Bournbrook Magazine

The passage of time has clearly done nothing diminish the unintentional comedy of George W Bush’s public speaking.

The 43rd President’s malapropisms, mangled grammar and misused maxims were the stuff of legend during his terms in office. So rich was Dubya’s output that his speaking gaffes filled entire books devoted to ‘Bushisms’. Classics of the genre included, “I think we agree, the past is over,” “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully,” and “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”

During a speech in Dallas yesterday, the former President outdid himself, uttering a sentence that not only engendered the usual mirth, but also contained great truth. Criticising Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Bush condemned “the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq”.

Many commentators on the left and right have questioned whether the United States is in any position to take the moral high ground on the Ukraine crisis. After all, it invaded the sovereign country of Iraq in a war of aggression that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, cost the US taxpayer trillions of dollars, strengthened Iran’s position in the Middle East and ultimately led to defeat and the rise of Isis. As President Bush himself said in 2004: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

Glenn Greenwald, the left wing author and investigative journalist, tweeted that Bush’s latest gaffe “captures the absurdity and deceit of our current discourse so completely and fully that it’s hard to believe it actually happened”. He added: “It’s so rare for perfection this pure to materialise. The universe is speaking loudly here.”

More pithily, Peter Hitchens, the author and Mail on Sunday columnist, tweeted: “Truth slips out, eventually.”

Anti-Empire - Sat May 21, 2022 04:15

Donetsk again updates its weekly military losses as it always does. In the last 7 days, 108 of its soldiers were killed, about 15 each day.

I speculate that Lugansk losses are likely smaller (due to its somewhat smaller population and army) but in the same general range, so perhaps 10 each day.

Donetsk and Lugansk are contributing only the minority of troops so if their losses were 25 killed daily then Russian ones could have been anywhere from at least time number to up to 4 times higher.

My best guess would be that Russian losses are twice what Donetsk and Lugansk have sustained. So perhaps 50 Russian KIA daily, or 75 daily for the entire Russia-led coalition.

If the same formula is applied to the total 1821 Donetsk military deaths so far then one could be looking at 1200 Lugansk KIA and 6000 Russian KIA for a total of 9000 on the Russia-led side.

Or if Donetsk military deaths are greatly overrepresented on the Russia-led side relative to the number of troops it is contributing then the numbers could be closer to 900 Lugansk (just half of Donetsk) and 3200 Russian KIA (Donetsk and Lugansk times 1.5) for just under 6000 KIA on the Russia-led side.

Ukrainian losses are likely even higher, but since the proposed combined number for the Russian side is already so uncertain an estimate of Ukrainian deaths derived from that would have such a range and be so uncertain as to have little value. Anything from 6000 to 18000 seems plausible depending on what your favored number for the other side is.

In general daily losses on the Russian side are lower than they were during the first month of the war. Troops are perishing at perhaps half the rate early on, however, the difference is that for these deaths the Russian side can point to only small territorial gains. Far smaller than what was being accomplished early on. On a theoretical lives-lost-per-kilometer-taken basis the war has become more costly rather than less so. Radically so.

In reality methodical, slow warfare does not reduce casualties. Fast warfare reduces casualties, albeit it compresses the casualties it does produce into a much smaller timeframe. Militaries know this. The only reason you would go slow, which is the expensive way to advance, is because you don't have the correlation of forces required to go fast.

Donetsk again updates its weekly military losses as it always does. In the last 7 days, 108 of its soldiers were killed, about 15 each day.

I speculate that Lugansk losses are likely smaller (due to its somewhat smaller population and army) but in the same general range, so perhaps 10 each day.

Donetsk and Lugansk are contributing only the minority of troops so if their losses were 25 killed daily then Russian ones could have been anywhere from at least time number to up to 4 times higher.

My best guess would be that Russian losses are twice what Donetsk and Lugansk have sustained. So perhaps 50 Russian KIA daily, or 75 daily for the entire Russia-led coalition.

If the same formula is applied to the total 1821 Donetsk military deaths so far then one could be looking at 1200 Lugansk KIA and 6000 Russian KIA for a total of 9000 on the Russia-led side.

Or if Donetsk military deaths are greatly overrepresented on the Russia-led side relative to the number of troops it is contributing then the numbers could be closer to 900 Lugansk (just half of Donetsk) and 3200 Russian KIA (Donetsk and Lugansk times 1.5) for just under 6000 KIA on the Russia-led side.

Ukrainian losses are likely even higher, but since the proposed combined number for the Russian side is already so uncertain an estimate of Ukrainian deaths derived from that would have such a range and be so uncertain as to have little value. Anything from 6000 to 18000 seems plausible depending on what your favored number for the other side is.

In general daily losses on the Russian side are lower than they were during the first month of the war. Troops are perishing at perhaps half the rate early on, however, the difference is that for these deaths the Russian side can point to only small territorial gains. Far smaller than what was being accomplished early on. On a theoretical lives-lost-per-kilometer-taken basis the war has become more costly rather than less so. Radically so.

In reality methodical, slow warfare does not reduce casualties. Fast warfare reduces casualties, albeit it compresses the casualties it does produce into a much smaller timeframe. Militaries know this. The only reason you would go slow, which is the expensive way to advance, is because you don't have the correlation of forces required to go fast.

Anti-Empire - Fri May 20, 2022 23:33

The last of the Ukrainians holding out in Azovstal plant have surrendered. 2,439 men in total, of whom at least 771 of the Azov regiment. (Ie, the majority were not Azov.)

This marks the formal end of the siege of Mariupol, albeit the battle was already mostly over by April 22 when the last resistors retreated into the city's gigantic steel plant.

Counting all the cities over 100,000 the Russians have captured so far produces the list of:

Mariupol -- 600K

Kherson -- 300K

Melitopol -- 150K

Berdyansk -- 100K

That's it. That's the whole list.

Taking Kherson mostly intact and over just a few days was a big coup for the Russians.  Taking Mariupol was much costlier by comparison for the Russian military and especially for the city itself.

By offering tenacious resistance in Mariupol for two months until April 22 the Ukrainians forced the Russians to take losses, tied down some forces, and ensured the city Russia captures is a financial sinkhole that will take billions to rebuild.

Mariupol is 50% ethnic Russian and 50% ethnic Ukrainian which in practice means that people there are heavily intermixed and do not regard the Russian-Ukrainian divide as a particularly hard one or even a meaningful one. They are precisely the people who believe that Ukrainians and Russians are one and the same, because in their locality that is exactly right.

By and large, they do not appear to resent the Russian presence, or even blame Russia for the destruction of their city.

Of course Mariupol is 15 kilometers from the 2014 armistice line. The further west and north the Russians venture the less of this pro-Russian bias they will encounter and the more pro-Ukrainian bias they will have to contend with.

Today no one builds fortresses anymore. With the firepower available today a fortress built to resist it would be prohibitively expensive. However our sprawling cities are natural fortresses. The sheer amount of concrete soaks up firepower and offers the defender an abundance of dominant firing positions.

Contrary to popular misperception fortresses were never built to be impregnable. They were built to slow down an invader and raise his costs.

The idea was often that fortresses would eventually fall but would prolong the campaign for the enemy so much that he might go bankrupt or have his armies decimated by disease before he was able to finish the conquest.

Larger powers built them with the idea to buy time until a counterattacking force could be organized. Or to defend a less important border while armies were away attacking in a key region.

But especially for weaker powers fortresses were a weapon of attrition, not of static defense.

Early Netherlands is a classic example of a small power that was able to defy attempted reconquest by the world hegemon of the day in this way. Habsburg Spain could take any and all fortresses, but the Dutch were able to ramp up the price to a point where Madrid decided it wasn't worth the treasure.

Seen in this way the effort that was needed to capture Mariupol does not necessarily bode well for Russia. If henceforth each and every large city has to be taken in a similar manner then how far can Russia (at partial manning) go before exhaustion? And what will it have to show for it? Bombed out hellholes?

Capturing fortresses is bloody and time and resource-intensive work. How many more Mariupols does Russia (which is declining to even use its serving conscripts) have in her?

Nikolayev (500K), Odessa (1M), Krivoy Rog (600K), Zaporozyhe (700K), Dnipro (1M), Poltava (300K), Kharkov (1.5M). How many of these can Russia realistically take before it has to ask for peace (or go to full manning)?

In fact right now Russia is fighting a second Mariupol in Severodonetsk, which is proving to be nearly as taxing and destructive. Together with Rubizhne and Lisichansk the city forms an urban agglomeration of 300,000. An agglomeration for which the Russians have been fighting for since around March 15. So far of the triple cities only Rubizhne has been taken.

Quite possibly the Ukrainians are preparing to offer similar resistance in Slavyansk (100K) and Kramatorsk (150K).

So far the Ukrainian decision to treat cities as fortresses and leverage them to tie down the enemy and raise his costs (as was Soviet defense plan had they found themselves in a similar situation) looks like a good call and the best strategy available to it. 

It also means heavy losses for Ukrainian defenders, but their losses would be higher if they tried fighting in the open instead. Losses are compounded if/when cities are surrounded and the garrison is eventually forced to surrender, but that is the cost of doing business. No fort garrison is expected to last forever without relief. Also, unlike Russia, Ukraine is conscripting for the war and can stand up replacements in their thousands. 

 

*The Ukrainian regular army retreated from Kherson leaving behind local territorial militias and civilians with Molotovs.

The last of the Ukrainians holding out in Azovstal plant have surrendered. 2,439 men in total, of whom at least 771 of the Azov regiment. (Ie, the majority were not Azov.)

This marks the formal end of the siege of Mariupol, albeit the battle was already mostly over by April 22 when the last resistors retreated into the city's gigantic steel plant.

Counting all the cities over 100,000 the Russians have captured so far produces the list of:

Mariupol -- 600K

Kherson -- 300K

Melitopol -- 150K

Berdyansk -- 100K

That's it. That's the whole list.

Taking Kherson mostly intact and over just a few days was a big coup for the Russians.  Taking Mariupol was much costlier by comparison for the Russian military and especially for the city itself.

By offering tenacious resistance in Mariupol for two months until April 22 the Ukrainians forced the Russians to take losses, tied down some forces, and ensured the city Russia captures is a financial sinkhole that will take billions to rebuild.

Mariupol is 50% ethnic Russian and 50% ethnic Ukrainian which in practice means that people there are heavily intermixed and do not regard the Russian-Ukrainian divide as a particularly hard one or even a meaningful one. They are precisely the people who believe that Ukrainians and Russians are one and the same, because in their locality that is exactly right.

By and large, they do not appear to resent the Russian presence, or even blame Russia for the destruction of their city.

Of course Mariupol is 15 kilometers from the 2014 armistice line. The further west and north the Russians venture the less of this pro-Russian bias they will encounter and the more pro-Ukrainian bias they will have to contend with.

Today no one builds fortresses anymore. With the firepower available today a fortress built to resist it would be prohibitively expensive. However our sprawling cities are natural fortresses. The sheer amount of concrete soaks up firepower and offers the defender an abundance of dominant firing positions.

Contrary to popular misperception fortresses were never built to be impregnable. They were built to slow down an invader and raise his costs.

The idea was often that fortresses would eventually fall but would prolong the campaign for the enemy so much that he might go bankrupt or have his armies decimated by disease before he was able to finish the conquest.

Larger powers built them with the idea to buy time until a counterattacking force could be organized. Or to defend a less important border while armies were away attacking in a key region.

But especially for weaker powers fortresses were a weapon of attrition, not of static defense.

Early Netherlands is a classic example of a small power that was able to defy attempted reconquest by the world hegemon of the day in this way. Habsburg Spain could take any and all fortresses, but the Dutch were able to ramp up the price to a point where Madrid decided it wasn't worth the treasure.

Seen in this way the effort that was needed to capture Mariupol does not necessarily bode well for Russia. If henceforth each and every large city has to be taken in a similar manner then how far can Russia (at partial manning) go before exhaustion? And what will it have to show for it? Bombed out hellholes?

Capturing fortresses is bloody and time and resource-intensive work. How many more Mariupols does Russia (which is declining to even use its serving conscripts) have in her?

Nikolayev (500K), Odessa (1M), Krivoy Rog (600K), Zaporozyhe (700K), Dnipro (1M), Poltava (300K), Kharkov (1.5M). How many of these can Russia realistically take before it has to ask for peace (or go to full manning)?

In fact right now Russia is fighting a second Mariupol in Severodonetsk, which is proving to be nearly as taxing and destructive. Together with Rubizhne and Lisichansk the city forms an urban agglomeration of 300,000. An agglomeration for which the Russians have been fighting for since around March 15. So far of the triple cities only Rubizhne has been taken.

Quite possibly the Ukrainians are preparing to offer similar resistance in Slavyansk (100K) and Kramatorsk (150K).

So far the Ukrainian decision to treat cities as fortresses and leverage them to tie down the enemy and raise his costs (as was Soviet defense plan had they found themselves in a similar situation) looks like a good call and the best strategy available to it. 

It also means heavy losses for Ukrainian defenders, but their losses would be higher if they tried fighting in the open instead. Losses are compounded if/when cities are surrounded and the garrison is eventually forced to surrender, but that is the cost of doing business. No fort garrison is expected to last forever without relief. Also, unlike Russia, Ukraine is conscripting for the war and can stand up replacements in their thousands. 

 

*The Ukrainian regular army retreated from Kherson leaving behind local territorial militias and civilians with Molotovs.

Michael Nienaber - Fri May 20, 2022 18:58

Editor's note: Luftwaffe took part in bombing the Serbs in 1999 and the Bosnian Serbs in 1995. Schroeder was in charge of Germany for the former.


Source: Bloomberg

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is quitting his post as chairman of Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft after widespread calls for him to cut ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the invasion of Ukraine.

Schroeder, a Social Democrat like current Chancellor Olaf Scholz, led the ruling coalition with the Greens from 1998 to 2005. He has become an embarrassment for his party after refusing to distance himself from Putin and give up lucrative jobs with Russian state-owned energy companies.

Rosneft said in a statement Friday that the 78-year-old Schroeder had informed the company he was unable to extend his tenure. According to Rosneft’s corporate rules, it was due to end next month, when the company holds its annual shareholder’s meeting that will vote on candidates for the board.

It remained unclear whether Schroeder will also give up his job as chairman of the shareholder committee of Nord Stream AG, which built a Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline that Scholz halted in February.

Scholz as recently as Thursday increased the pressure on Schroeder to step down from the two roles. He also welcomed a decision this week by lawmakers from his ruling coalition to strip his predecessor of his office in the lower house of parliament.

Editor's note: Luftwaffe took part in bombing the Serbs in 1999 and the Bosnian Serbs in 1995. Schroeder was in charge of Germany for the former.


Source: Bloomberg

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is quitting his post as chairman of Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft after widespread calls for him to cut ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the invasion of Ukraine.

Schroeder, a Social Democrat like current Chancellor Olaf Scholz, led the ruling coalition with the Greens from 1998 to 2005. He has become an embarrassment for his party after refusing to distance himself from Putin and give up lucrative jobs with Russian state-owned energy companies.

Rosneft said in a statement Friday that the 78-year-old Schroeder had informed the company he was unable to extend his tenure. According to Rosneft’s corporate rules, it was due to end next month, when the company holds its annual shareholder’s meeting that will vote on candidates for the board.

It remained unclear whether Schroeder will also give up his job as chairman of the shareholder committee of Nord Stream AG, which built a Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline that Scholz halted in February.

Scholz as recently as Thursday increased the pressure on Schroeder to step down from the two roles. He also welcomed a decision this week by lawmakers from his ruling coalition to strip his predecessor of his office in the lower house of parliament.

Mike Stone - Fri May 20, 2022 05:52

Source: Reuters

The White House is working to put advanced anti-ship missiles in the hands of Ukrainian fighters to help defeat Russia's naval blockade, officials said, amid concerns more powerful weapons that could sink Russian warships would intensify the conflict.

Ukraine has made no secret it wants more advanced U.S. capabilities beyond its current inventory of artillery, Javelin and Stinger missiles, and other arms. Kyiv's list, for example, includes missiles that could push the Russian navy away from its Black Sea ports, allowing the restart of shipments of grain and other agricultural products worldwide.

Current and former U.S. officials and congressional sources have cited roadblocks to sending longer range, more powerful weapons to Ukraine that include lengthy training requirements, difficulties maintaining equipment, or concerns U.S. weaponry could be captured by Russian forces, in addition to the fear of escalation.

But three U.S. officials and two congressional sources said two types of powerful anti-ship missiles, the Harpoon made by Boeing and the Naval Strike Missile made by Kongsberg and Raytheon Technologies were in active consideration for either direct shipment to Ukraine, or through a transfer from a European ally that has the missiles.

In April, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appealed to Portugal to provide the Ukrainian military with Harpoons, which have a range of up to almost 300 km.

But there are several issues keeping Ukraine from receiving the missiles. For one, there is limited availability of platforms to launch Harpoons from shore -- a technically challenging solution according to several officials -- as it is mostly a sea-based missile.

Two U.S. officials said the United States was working on potential solutions that included pulling a launcher off of a U.S. ship. Both missiles cost about $1.5 million per round, according to experts and industry executives.

About 20 Russian Navy vessels, including submarines, are in the Black Sea operational zone, the British defense ministry has said.

Bryan Clark, a naval expert at the Hudson Institute, said 12 to 24 anti-ship missiles like the Harpoon with ranges over 100 km would be enough to threaten Russian ships and could convince Moscow to lift the blockade. "If Putin persists, Ukraine could take out the largest Russian ships, since they have nowhere to hide in the Black Sea," Clark said.

Russia has already suffered losses at sea, notably the sinking of the cruiser Moskva, the flagship of its Black Sea fleet.

WHO GOES FIRST?

A handful of countries would be willing to send Harpoons to Ukraine, the U.S. officials and the congressional sources said. But no one wants to be the first or only nation to do so, fearing reprisals from Russia if a ship is sunk with a Harpoon from their stockpile, the third U.S official said.

That U.S. official said one country is considering being the first to supply the missile to Ukraine. Once that "well stocked" nation commits to sending Harpoons, others might follow, the official said.

The Naval Strike Missile (NSM) can be launched from the Ukrainian coast and has a range of 250 km. It also takes less than 14 days training to operate.

The sources said NSMs were viewed as less logistically difficult than Harpoons, because NATO allies could loan mobile ground launchers which are available, and warheads from Norway.

The first two U.S. officials and the congressional sources said the United States was trying to work out a way for Ukraine to obtain NSM and launchers from European allies.

The congressional sources said another option would be for Norway to donate NSMs to Ukraine, an idea supported by Norwegian members of parliament. The Norwegian Ministry of Defense declined to comment on what additional contributions of arms and defense equipment it may consider offering to Ukraine.

All weapons requests that have U.S. content such as Harpoons and NSMs would have to be approved by the U.S. State Department, which takes guidance from the White House.

Another weapon high on Ukraine's shopping list are Multiple Rocket Launch Systems (MLRS) such as the M270 made by Lockheed Martin which can strike a target 70 or more kilometers away, a three-fold increase over many of their current howitzer rounds.

In recent weeks, the Biden administration decided instead to send M777 towed howitzers which could be deployed faster and shipped in larger quantities, the two U.S. officials said.

The two U.S. officials said the M270 or similar system like the M142 HIMARS would be considered for shipment to Ukraine once Congress passed a $40 billion supplemental funding bill that would authorize an additional $11 billion worth of Presidential Drawdown Authority. That lets the president authorize the transfer of excess weapons from U.S. stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

Source: Reuters

The White House is working to put advanced anti-ship missiles in the hands of Ukrainian fighters to help defeat Russia's naval blockade, officials said, amid concerns more powerful weapons that could sink Russian warships would intensify the conflict.

Ukraine has made no secret it wants more advanced U.S. capabilities beyond its current inventory of artillery, Javelin and Stinger missiles, and other arms. Kyiv's list, for example, includes missiles that could push the Russian navy away from its Black Sea ports, allowing the restart of shipments of grain and other agricultural products worldwide.

Current and former U.S. officials and congressional sources have cited roadblocks to sending longer range, more powerful weapons to Ukraine that include lengthy training requirements, difficulties maintaining equipment, or concerns U.S. weaponry could be captured by Russian forces, in addition to the fear of escalation.

But three U.S. officials and two congressional sources said two types of powerful anti-ship missiles, the Harpoon made by Boeing and the Naval Strike Missile made by Kongsberg and Raytheon Technologies were in active consideration for either direct shipment to Ukraine, or through a transfer from a European ally that has the missiles.

In April, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appealed to Portugal to provide the Ukrainian military with Harpoons, which have a range of up to almost 300 km.

But there are several issues keeping Ukraine from receiving the missiles. For one, there is limited availability of platforms to launch Harpoons from shore -- a technically challenging solution according to several officials -- as it is mostly a sea-based missile.

Two U.S. officials said the United States was working on potential solutions that included pulling a launcher off of a U.S. ship. Both missiles cost about $1.5 million per round, according to experts and industry executives.

About 20 Russian Navy vessels, including submarines, are in the Black Sea operational zone, the British defense ministry has said.

Bryan Clark, a naval expert at the Hudson Institute, said 12 to 24 anti-ship missiles like the Harpoon with ranges over 100 km would be enough to threaten Russian ships and could convince Moscow to lift the blockade. "If Putin persists, Ukraine could take out the largest Russian ships, since they have nowhere to hide in the Black Sea," Clark said.

Russia has already suffered losses at sea, notably the sinking of the cruiser Moskva, the flagship of its Black Sea fleet.

WHO GOES FIRST?

A handful of countries would be willing to send Harpoons to Ukraine, the U.S. officials and the congressional sources said. But no one wants to be the first or only nation to do so, fearing reprisals from Russia if a ship is sunk with a Harpoon from their stockpile, the third U.S official said.

That U.S. official said one country is considering being the first to supply the missile to Ukraine. Once that "well stocked" nation commits to sending Harpoons, others might follow, the official said.

The Naval Strike Missile (NSM) can be launched from the Ukrainian coast and has a range of 250 km. It also takes less than 14 days training to operate.

The sources said NSMs were viewed as less logistically difficult than Harpoons, because NATO allies could loan mobile ground launchers which are available, and warheads from Norway.

The first two U.S. officials and the congressional sources said the United States was trying to work out a way for Ukraine to obtain NSM and launchers from European allies.

The congressional sources said another option would be for Norway to donate NSMs to Ukraine, an idea supported by Norwegian members of parliament. The Norwegian Ministry of Defense declined to comment on what additional contributions of arms and defense equipment it may consider offering to Ukraine.

All weapons requests that have U.S. content such as Harpoons and NSMs would have to be approved by the U.S. State Department, which takes guidance from the White House.

Another weapon high on Ukraine's shopping list are Multiple Rocket Launch Systems (MLRS) such as the M270 made by Lockheed Martin which can strike a target 70 or more kilometers away, a three-fold increase over many of their current howitzer rounds.

In recent weeks, the Biden administration decided instead to send M777 towed howitzers which could be deployed faster and shipped in larger quantities, the two U.S. officials said.

The two U.S. officials said the M270 or similar system like the M142 HIMARS would be considered for shipment to Ukraine once Congress passed a $40 billion supplemental funding bill that would authorize an additional $11 billion worth of Presidential Drawdown Authority. That lets the president authorize the transfer of excess weapons from U.S. stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

N1 Zagreb - Fri May 20, 2022 03:34

Source: N1

President Zoran Milanovic said on Wednesday that he would instruct Croatia's Permanent Representative to NATO, Ambassador Mario Nobilo, to vote against the admission of Finland and Sweden to the alliance until the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina is amended.

Milanovic has been insistent on making Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in the Alliance conditional on the electoral reform in Bosnia, even though the Croatian government has repeatedly expressed its support for the two countries’ NATO membership.

Speaking at a news conference in his office, Milanovic said that Croats in Bosnia are “being destroyed” as a political entity, adding it was in Croatia’s national interest to improve their position in the country. [Destroyed by the West and their colonial overlordship of Bosnia.]

He claimed he would instruct Ambassador Nobilo to vote against Sweden’s and Finland’s membership in NATO. However, the Foreign Ministry said last week that, should this happen, Nobilo will follow the instructions of the ministry, and not the president.

The issue has further strained what is already a tenuous relationship between the government and the president, with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman saying recently that Milanovic is damaging Croatia’s reputation with his statements.

“If I am to be blamed, I am prepared (for that). I have said before, Croats in Bosnia are more important to me than the entire Russian-Finnish border,” Milanovic insisted in his rant on Wednesday, holding up Turkey, which has expressed opposition to the two Nordic countries joining the Alliance, as an example of a country “showing how to fight for national interests.”

“Turkey will certainly not budge before it gets what it wants,” Milanovic said, saying Croatia’s stance was quite the opposite, and that the country is not fighting for its interests.

“The government does not have a monopoly on foreign policy,” he said, adding that “Ukraine is not a burning problem for us. This is.”

He called on the parliament not to ratify the agreement on the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO. “I will talk about this until the last moment and warn that the parliament has the last word.”

Milanovic said he was convinced that Croatia’s refusal to ratify the agreement would turn the international community’s attention to Croatian interests in Bosnia, saying that was the only way to resolve the problem of Croats in that country.

“If the parliament does not ratify (the agreement), at that moment, unbelievable interest for Croatia’s problem will arise,” he insisted.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Grlic-Radman called those statements “blackmail” and “un-European.”

“The rights of the Croat people are achieved through legal mechanisms, political and diplomatic efforts and not blackmail (…). The President is ruining our international reputation with his statements and causing political damage that can jeopardize our national interests,” Grlic-Radman said.

Source: N1

President Zoran Milanovic said on Wednesday that he would instruct Croatia's Permanent Representative to NATO, Ambassador Mario Nobilo, to vote against the admission of Finland and Sweden to the alliance until the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina is amended.

Milanovic has been insistent on making Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in the Alliance conditional on the electoral reform in Bosnia, even though the Croatian government has repeatedly expressed its support for the two countries’ NATO membership.

Speaking at a news conference in his office, Milanovic said that Croats in Bosnia are “being destroyed” as a political entity, adding it was in Croatia’s national interest to improve their position in the country. [Destroyed by the West and their colonial overlordship of Bosnia.]

He claimed he would instruct Ambassador Nobilo to vote against Sweden’s and Finland’s membership in NATO. However, the Foreign Ministry said last week that, should this happen, Nobilo will follow the instructions of the ministry, and not the president.

The issue has further strained what is already a tenuous relationship between the government and the president, with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman saying recently that Milanovic is damaging Croatia’s reputation with his statements.

“If I am to be blamed, I am prepared (for that). I have said before, Croats in Bosnia are more important to me than the entire Russian-Finnish border,” Milanovic insisted in his rant on Wednesday, holding up Turkey, which has expressed opposition to the two Nordic countries joining the Alliance, as an example of a country “showing how to fight for national interests.”

“Turkey will certainly not budge before it gets what it wants,” Milanovic said, saying Croatia’s stance was quite the opposite, and that the country is not fighting for its interests.

“The government does not have a monopoly on foreign policy,” he said, adding that “Ukraine is not a burning problem for us. This is.”

He called on the parliament not to ratify the agreement on the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO. “I will talk about this until the last moment and warn that the parliament has the last word.”

Milanovic said he was convinced that Croatia’s refusal to ratify the agreement would turn the international community’s attention to Croatian interests in Bosnia, saying that was the only way to resolve the problem of Croats in that country.

“If the parliament does not ratify (the agreement), at that moment, unbelievable interest for Croatia’s problem will arise,” he insisted.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Grlic-Radman called those statements “blackmail” and “un-European.”

“The rights of the Croat people are achieved through legal mechanisms, political and diplomatic efforts and not blackmail (…). The President is ruining our international reputation with his statements and causing political damage that can jeopardize our national interests,” Grlic-Radman said.

Kyle Anzalone - Fri May 20, 2022 02:54

Source: Libertarian Institute

President Joe Biden is resisting demands from Kiev to supply long-range rocket launchers to the Ukrainian military, Politico reported, suggesting the White House is concerned the weapons could be used for strikes inside Russia.

Ukrainian officials have requested increasingly advanced weaponry from Washington in recent months – even before Moscow’s invasion commenced earlier this year – and are currently urging the US government to send M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), among other hardware.

While Biden was reportedly willing to consider the request during a trip to Germany last month, where dozens of countries met to discuss aid for Ukraine, a congressional staffer told Politico the plan is not moving forward.

“There was momentum on it at Ramstein, but that seems to have cooled,” they said, adding that “There’s definitely a frustration building” among officials in Kiev over a perceived reluctance to send heavier arms.

The staffer did not offer a reason for the change of heart, but according to three other sources cited by the outlet, Kiev believes the White House is “holding back over worries the weapon could be used to launch strikes inside Russia, thereby expanding and prolonging the conflict.”

Though the war raging in Eastern Europe has largely been confined to Ukrainian territory and separatist-controlled areas in the Donbass region, a number of mysterious blasts have erupted on Russian soil over the last month, including in the Belgorod, Kursk and Bryansk regions bordering Ukraine. Kiev has stopped short of taking credit for the apparent attacks, but US officials have confirmed that Ukrainian forces were behind at least one of the incidents.

Depending on the munitions used, the M270 MLRS has a range of between 20 and 40 miles, though more advanced rockets can travel up to 100 miles, potentially putting them far beyond the range of the American M-777 Howitzers supplied to Ukraine in recent weeks. Even with special rocket-assisted rounds, the latter artillery pieces have a maximum range of just over 18 miles. The M270 is also a self-propelled platform and was specifically designed to evade Russian artillery strikes, capable of rapidly firing up to 12 rockets before moving to a new position.

Washington has sent billions of dollars in weapons to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in late February, including attack helicopters, artillery, tank-killing Javelin missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft platforms. Moreover, a massive new aid package currently moving through the Senate will bring total US assistance since March to nearly $54 billion if passed, much of it devoted to arms and other military gear.

Despite the complaints from Ukrainian officials, however, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland recently suggested Kiev may be receiving US-made multiple-launch rockets after all, telling European Pravda in April that “we already supply MLRS systems.” The comments prompted speculation that Washington could be sending the M142 HIMARS, a lighter-weight, wheeled variant of the M270. President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly mentioned both systems by name in public appeals for additional armaments.

An unnamed White House official cited by Politico also indicated that Biden’s reluctance to send the M270 did not mean a final decision had been made, stating that Washington and Kiev are still “in active discussion” about the weapon.

Source: Libertarian Institute

President Joe Biden is resisting demands from Kiev to supply long-range rocket launchers to the Ukrainian military, Politico reported, suggesting the White House is concerned the weapons could be used for strikes inside Russia.

Ukrainian officials have requested increasingly advanced weaponry from Washington in recent months – even before Moscow’s invasion commenced earlier this year – and are currently urging the US government to send M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), among other hardware.

While Biden was reportedly willing to consider the request during a trip to Germany last month, where dozens of countries met to discuss aid for Ukraine, a congressional staffer told Politico the plan is not moving forward.

“There was momentum on it at Ramstein, but that seems to have cooled,” they said, adding that “There’s definitely a frustration building” among officials in Kiev over a perceived reluctance to send heavier arms.

The staffer did not offer a reason for the change of heart, but according to three other sources cited by the outlet, Kiev believes the White House is “holding back over worries the weapon could be used to launch strikes inside Russia, thereby expanding and prolonging the conflict.”

Though the war raging in Eastern Europe has largely been confined to Ukrainian territory and separatist-controlled areas in the Donbass region, a number of mysterious blasts have erupted on Russian soil over the last month, including in the Belgorod, Kursk and Bryansk regions bordering Ukraine. Kiev has stopped short of taking credit for the apparent attacks, but US officials have confirmed that Ukrainian forces were behind at least one of the incidents.

Depending on the munitions used, the M270 MLRS has a range of between 20 and 40 miles, though more advanced rockets can travel up to 100 miles, potentially putting them far beyond the range of the American M-777 Howitzers supplied to Ukraine in recent weeks. Even with special rocket-assisted rounds, the latter artillery pieces have a maximum range of just over 18 miles. The M270 is also a self-propelled platform and was specifically designed to evade Russian artillery strikes, capable of rapidly firing up to 12 rockets before moving to a new position.

Washington has sent billions of dollars in weapons to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in late February, including attack helicopters, artillery, tank-killing Javelin missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft platforms. Moreover, a massive new aid package currently moving through the Senate will bring total US assistance since March to nearly $54 billion if passed, much of it devoted to arms and other military gear.

Despite the complaints from Ukrainian officials, however, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland recently suggested Kiev may be receiving US-made multiple-launch rockets after all, telling European Pravda in April that “we already supply MLRS systems.” The comments prompted speculation that Washington could be sending the M142 HIMARS, a lighter-weight, wheeled variant of the M270. President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly mentioned both systems by name in public appeals for additional armaments.

An unnamed White House official cited by Politico also indicated that Biden’s reluctance to send the M270 did not mean a final decision had been made, stating that Washington and Kiev are still “in active discussion” about the weapon.

Anti-Empire >>

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