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November 29, 2022

Ukraine Open Thread 2022-211

Only for news & views directly related to the Ukraine conflict.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 19:23 UTC | Comments (130)

More On The Crypto Scam - "There's A Sucker Born Every Minute."

The FTX crypto bezzle continues to make waves.

Yves Smith remarks on Sam Bankman-Fried, the front-man of the fraud:

Yours truly must admit that if SBF does participate in the New York Times Dealbook conference on the 30th as scheduled, it would either indicates that his judgement is severely impaired and he is ignoring legal advice or he has good reason to believe that his risk of being prosecuted is extremely low. Given the rush of press stories that go insanely easy on this crypto grifter by skipping over inconvenient facts, like SBF “borrowing” over $3 billion that appears to have gone poof (see one shredded below), one has to suspect that the Southern District of New York effort to develop a case is unserious.

Mind you, this is not over until the fat lady sings. What it took with the very connected Elizabeth Holmes was tenacious reporting by the Wall Street Journal, which refused to back down in the face of thuggish threats by star litigator David Boies (and despite, or perhaps because, Rupert Murdoch had invested $125 million in Theranos). There’s a lot of Silicon Valley money riding on the crypto project. A full or even partial but revealing expose of what went on at FTX and Alameda could readily cast more well warranted doubt on the entire ecosystem.

The New York Times and other top news sites are running cover for the FTX culprits:

A piece on the interconnections between Bankman-Fried’s exchange (FTX) and the investment company he controlled (Alameda) soft-pedaled the outright illegality of his making trades with customer funds. To hear the Times tell it, “Alameda’s need for funds to run its trading business was a big reason Mr. Bankman-Fried created FTX in 2019. But the way the two entities were set up meant that trouble in one unit shook up the other as crypto prices began to drop in the spring.”

But that’s not what happened. When customers demanded their money, Fried didn’t have it, because he had been using it and losing it, illegally, for his own trades.

Not only that. To me the most egregious part of the FTX story is the use of 'tokens' which essentially were some kind of discount ticket one could buy to trade on better terms:

Cont. reading: More On The Crypto Scam - "There's A Sucker Born Every Minute."

Posted by b at 17:20 UTC | Comments (130)

November 28, 2022

Ukraine War - A Contentious Graveyard In Poland

An independent Polish news site, Niezaleizny Dziennik Polityczny, has an interesting piece about Polish losses in the war in Ukraine.

I can not confirm the reports veracity but since at least 2014 the site has regularly published several news and opinion pieces per day. It seems to be opposed to the current conservative PiS led government in Poland.

Below is the machine translated Polish text:

A shameful end. American quarters for Polish mercenaries

In early November, the regional media announced plans to create burials similar to American war cemeteries in Olsztyn. The reports sparked a wave of indignation, both among the city's residents and Poles across the country. "This is a necropolis for Poles? We are from a different culture ”this is how indignant users in social media reacted to the strange ideas of the city council.
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The municipal cemetery in Dywity is the main necropolis in Olsztyn and covers over 35 ha. Today it is loud about it all over Poland, because soon it will look like a war cemetery in the USA. It has to be like in an American movie. A large lawn with identical tombstones on it. Without trees, benches, angels bending over the dead. The tombstones will be the same, they will only differ in color. Their manufacturers provided for only three: black, gray and red-brown.

The main reason for the creation of the American cemetery in Olsztyn was the drastically increased number of burials in the region, mainly soldiers' graves.

This situation has become a real problem for the local government of Olsztyn, where the 16th Pomeranian Mechanized Division is stationed. Almost daily military funerals combined with volleys of honor began to irritate the residents and provoked numerous questions to the city administration and the command of the 16th Division. To avoid additional publicity of the problem, the authorities decided to create a separate "American" cemetery.
...
After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February this year, President Andrzej Duda and Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak officially called on Poles to join the ranks of mercenaries and fight on the side of the Kiev regime. Among the fighters who went to war were professional soldiers of the 16th Mechanized Division and veterans of the unit living in the region.

During the 10 months of bloody fighting, according to information from publicly available sources, over 1,200 Polish citizens died in Ukraine, including soldiers and veterans of the 16th PDZ. The number of injured and maimed people also amounts to several thousand.

The number of wounded is probably three times the number of dead, though that can vary depending on the war's circumstance. It means that in total some 4800 men of the Polish contingent in Ukraine were wounded or killed. Is that one third of the Polish 'mercenary' forces in Ukraine? Is it more? Or less?

Cont. reading: Ukraine War - A Contentious Graveyard In Poland

Posted by b at 16:16 UTC | Comments (281)

November 27, 2022

Ukraine Open Thread 2022-210

Only for news & views directly related to the Ukraine conflict.

The current open thread for other issues is here.


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Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 13:04 UTC | Comments (340)

The MoA Week In Review - (Not Ukraine) OT 2022-209

Last week's posts on Moon of Alabama:

> Last summer in the Donbas region, the Ukrainians were firing 6,000 to 7,000 artillery rounds each day, a senior NATO official said. The Russians were firing 40,000 to 50,000 rounds per day.

By comparison, the United States produces only 15,000 rounds each month.
...
The shortage in 155-mm artillery shells “is probably the big one that has the planners most concerned,” Mr. Cancian said.

“If you want to increase production capability of 155 shells,” he said, “it’s going to be probably four to five years before you start seeing them come out the other end.” <

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Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - (Not Ukraine) OT 2022-209

Posted by b at 13:00 UTC | Comments (305)

November 26, 2022

Ukraine Open Thread 2022-208

Only for news & views directly related to the Ukraine conflict.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

From a New York Times piece today:

Artillery Is Breaking in Ukraine. It’s Becoming a Problem for the Pentagon.

Cont. reading: Ukraine Open Thread 2022-208

Posted by b at 16:19 UTC | Comments (265)

Syria - Another Turkish Invasion Is Imminent

After two years of relative quietness the situation in Syria is again escalating.

This follows a terror attack in Istanbul two weeks ago allegedly committed by a woman who had traveled there from the Kurdish controlled city of Kobani in northeast Syria. Turkey accused the U.S., which is occupying northeast Syria, of complicity in the attack.

A week after the Istanbul incident Turkey started to bomb Kurdish positions in east Syria. It has now threatened to (again) invade it.


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I have not written about the conflict for quite a while and there are many new readers. So here is a list of names and abbreviations relevant to the story:

  • PKK - Kurdistan Workers Party - fighting, often with terrorist methods, for a larger Kurdistan country to be formed from Kurdish areas in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey
  • YPG - People's Defense Units - Kurdish-Syrian part of the PKK, currently silently allied with the U.S. occupation force in eastern Syria
  • YPJ - Female units of the YPG
  • SDF - Syrian Democratic Forces - 'former' YPG currently openly allied with the U.S. occupation force in eastern Syria
  • Mazlum - 'former' YPG head, current SDF head in Syria collaborating with the U.S.
  • Rojava - self-administrating area in northeast Syria under SDF / U.S. control
  • Barzani - head of government in the Kurdish ruled province in north Iraq - hostile to PKK/YPG, friend with U.S.
  • SAA - Syrian Arab Army - Syria's regular military
  • HTS - Hayat Tahir al-Sham - Al-Qaeda derivative, Turkish proxy which rules parts of northwest Syria

Stealing from the Turkish commentator Agitpapa here is, slightly edited, the latest news from the area.

agitpapa @agitpapa - 9:09 UTC · 26 Nov 2022

It's the PKK's anniversary tomorrow and there are rumors that Turkey wants to kick off its land war against the Kurds in Rojava on that date.

Cont. reading: Syria - Another Turkish Invasion Is Imminent

Posted by b at 16:01 UTC | Comments (117)

November 25, 2022

Ukraine Open Thread 2022-207

Only for news & views directly related to the Ukraine conflict.

Nov 24, 2022

Source: NASA Worldview - bigger

Cont. reading: Ukraine Open Thread 2022-207

Posted by b at 13:41 UTC | Comments (378)

November 24, 2022

Ukraine - Running On Empty

Yesterday the Pentagon announced another transfer of weapons to the Ukrainian military:

According to the Pentagon, the package includes:

Additional munitions for NASMAS
150 heavy machine guns with thermal imagery sights to counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)
Additional ammunition for HIMARS
200 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds
10,000 120mm mortar rounds
High-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARMs)
150 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs)
Over 100 light tactical vehicles
Over 20,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition
Over 200 generators
Spare parts for 105mm Howitzers and other equipment

The $400 million is being sent to Ukraine through the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which allows President Biden to send arms straight from US military stockpiles.

The Pentagon is clearly scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Cont. reading: Ukraine - Running On Empty

Posted by b at 17:54 UTC | Comments (301)

November 23, 2022

Ukraine - Lights Out, No Water And Soon No Heat

Earlier today the Russian military shut down the Ukrainian electricity network.

Previous attacks had limited the distribution capacity to some 50% of demand. Controlled blackouts over several hours per day allowed to give some electricity for a few hours to most parts of the country. The attack today created a much larger problem. Not only were distribution networks attacked but also so the elements that connect Ukraine's electricity production facilities to the distribution network. All four nuclear power stations of Ukraine with their 15 reactors are now in shutdown mode.


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Kiev along with most other cities of Ukraine no longer has electricity.

Moldavia is likewise effected as it received some 20% of its electricity from Ukraine. When the Ukrainian network shut down the only local thermal power plant shut down too. It is likely that it can be switched on again but that can be a complicate process.

Limited electricity imports from the European system into Ukraine may still be possible but that electricity would only be available in Ukraine's western cities.

Before today's attack the Washington Post reported of the difficulties in repairing the network. As we ad explained before the Russian attacks are hitting the transformers that connect the national 330 kilovolt backbone network. These are hard to replace:

Cont. reading: Ukraine - Lights Out, No Water And Soon No Heat

Posted by b at 16:56 UTC | Comments (442)