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February 08, 2023

Ukraine Open Thread 2023-33

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 14:38 UTC | Comments (220)

China Rejects "Shoot First, Talk Later" Attitude

Here is demonstration of typically childish-arrogant behavior of the U.S. government towards foreign countries.

China Isn’t Ready to Pick Up Phone After Balloon Incident
Chinese officials rejected a request from the U.S. defense secretary to speak with his counterpart after an American fighter jet shot down a Chinese spy balloon.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that China had rejected a request from Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III to speak with his Chinese counterpart on Saturday soon after an American fighter jet shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

That statement by the Pentagon immediately raises a question. Why hadn't the U.S. defense secretary called the Chinese defense minister before shooting down the Chinese weather ballon?

The U.S. apparently detected the balloon on January 29 when it was over the Aleutian Islands. Austin could have called his Chinese counterpart anytime in the seven days between that detection and the time the decision was taken to shot it down:

“We believe in the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between the United States and the P.R.C. in order to responsibly manage the relationship,” Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said in an emailed statement, referring to the People’s Republic of China. “Lines between our militaries are particularly important in moments like this.”

It was not to be. “Unfortunately,” General Ryder said, “the P.R.C. has declined our request” to arrange a call with Wei Fenghe, the Chinese defense minister.

The purpose of high level lines of communication between military and political leaders is to prevent that crises happen or, if one has happen incidentally, to prevent their escalation.

Before the shot down the Chinese defense minister Wei Fenghe likely would have taken that call. But the U.S. decided to shoot first and to talk later. That was and is inappropriate.

Cont. reading: China Rejects "Shoot First, Talk Later" Attitude

Posted by b at 14:34 UTC | Comments (123)

Hersh: "How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline"

Updated below:

You all will want to discuss this ...

Seymour Hersh:

How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline
The New York Times called it a “mystery,” but the United States executed a covert sea operation that was kept secret—until now

The above was only just published. I am currently busy but will eventually read it and make up my mind.

Update: 13:50 UTC

I have now read the piece but I am someone in doubt over it. The story that Hersh tells seems incomplete and not researched as deeply as possible. I bet that his sources know more than that.

But it still fits with the tale I had constructed from open data a day after the pipeline was destroyed:

While the Baltops 22 maneuver already took place in June and July of this year the U.S. Sixth Fleet left the Baltic Sea only a few days ago (in German, my translation):

Big Fleet Group From U.S. Navy Passes [German island passage] Fehmanbelt

On Wednesday morning the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, escorted by the Landing Ships USS Arlington and USS Gunston Hall, was en route towards west. Previously, the ships were part of US units that took part in NATO maneuvers and called at numerous ports in Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic States.

The "USS Kearsarge", flagship of the association and largest warship of the US Navy, which was in action in the Baltic Sea in the last 30 years, has 40 helicopters and fighter planes as well as more than 2000 soldiers on board, the escort ships about 1000. For the around 4,000 soldiers are heading back home on the east coast of the US after their six-month deployment.

Parts of the Kearsange operations in the Baltic Sea were dedicated to test special sub sea mine destruction technologies:

A significant focus of BALTOPS every year is the demonstration of NATO mine hunting capabilities, and this year the U.S. Navy continues to use the exercise as an opportunity to test emerging technology, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Public Affairs said June 14.

In support of BALTOPS, U.S. Navy 6th Fleet partnered with U.S. Navy research and warfare centers to bring the latest advancements in unmanned underwater vehicle mine hunting technology to the Baltic Sea to demonstrate the vehicle’s effectiveness in operational scenarios.

Experimentation was conducted off the coast of Bornholm, Denmark, with participants from Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport, and Mine Warfare Readiness and Effectiveness Measuring all under the direction of U.S. 6th Fleet Task Force 68.

Off the coast of Bornholm, Denmark, is where the pipelines were hit. Just days ago the USS Kearsarge was in that area:

Back then I presented just the available fact and left the conclusion open for the reader to chose.

But it has since become more and more obvious that the U.S. was responsible for the enormous economic damage to Germany that its action has caused.

The gloating by Sec State Anthony Blinken and his deputy Victoria Nuland is just too too obvious. It is a"tremendous strategic opportunity for the years to come" said Blinken and Nuland, in a Congress hearing, was "very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal."

Most Germans, if not their pliant government, have drawn their conclusions from that.

Posted by b at 13:10 UTC | Comments (244)

February 07, 2023

NYT On Ukraine - Real Reporting, Propaganda For Balance, Ominous Warning

Th New York Times is putting itself in a twist with its current reporting on the war in Ukraine.

Last months Ukraine was winning the war - at least in 'western' media. But this week the NYT's man on the ground reports the opposite:

Outnumbered and Worn Out, Ukrainians in East Brace for Russian Assault

Exhausted Ukrainian troops complain they are already outnumbered and outgunned, even before Russia has committed the bulk of its roughly 200,000 newly mobilized soldiers. And doctors at hospitals speak of mounting losses as they struggle to care for fighters with gruesome injuries.
The first stages of the Russian offensive have already begun. Ukrainian troops say that Bakhmut, an eastern Ukrainian city that Russian forces have been trying to seize since the summer, is likely to fall soon. Elsewhere, Russian forces are advancing in small groups and probing the front lines looking for Ukrainian weaknesses.

The efforts are already straining Ukraine’s military, which is worn out by nearly 12 months of heavy fighting.
Losses among Ukrainian forces have been severe. Troops in a volunteer contingent called the Carpathian Sich, positioned near Nevske, said that some 30 fighters from their group had died in recent weeks, and soldiers said, only partly in jest, that just about everyone has a concussion.

“It’s winter and the positions are open; there’s nowhere to hide,” said a soldier from the unit with the call sign Rusin.

At one frontline hospital in the Donbas, the morgue was packed with the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers in white plastic bags. In another hospital, stretchers with wounded troops covered in gold foil thermal blankets crowded the corridors, and a steady stream of ambulances arrived from the front nearly all day long.

"We ca not let that defeatist piece stand alone," said the editor and turned to the dimwits of the British Military Intelligence to get some 'balance':

Moscow’s forces are advancing only a few hundred meters a week, U.K. intelligence says.

Cont. reading: NYT On Ukraine - Real Reporting, Propaganda For Balance, Ominous Warning

Posted by b at 17:31 UTC | Comments (316)

February 06, 2023

Earthquake Damage In Syria Must Lead To Sanction Relief

Earlier today two large earthquakes have caused widespread damage in south Turkey and north Syria:

Nine hours after a first earthquake of magnitude M7.8 that hits south-eastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, February 6th 2023 at 1h17 UTC, a second M7.5 occurs (at 10h24 UTC) 100km further north. More information on the main shock (M7.8) is available here and for the 7.5 (here).

These earthquakes has been largely felt up to 2000 km from the epicenter, mainly in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, ...

At the time of the report, a lot of buildings are damaged in Turkey and Syria and more than 1200 peoples haven been killed in Turkey and Syria.

Some 10 million people live in the affected area. The current count of death is already above 2,500. Whole city blocks have 'pancaked' (vid) and were destroyed. Many dead will likely still be under the rubble.

The area is prone to earthquakes. Just days ago an expert had warned that a big one was coming:

Cont. reading: Earthquake Damage In Syria Must Lead To Sanction Relief

Posted by b at 15:47 UTC | Comments (188)

Ukraine Open Thread 2023-32

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 12:28 UTC | Comments (285)

NYT Plants False Claims Over China's Balloon Communication

The New York Times carries a weird 'news analysis' by its somewhat neoconned White House and national security correspondent David Sanger about the recent Chinese weather ballon incident. Sanger asserts that China has failed to communicate on the issue:

[B]eyond the made-for-cable-news spectacle, the entire incident also speaks volumes about how little Washington and Beijing communicate, almost 22 years after the collision of an American spy plane and a Chinese fighter about 70 miles off the coast of Hainan Island led both sides to vow that they would improve their crisis management.
This was hardly a life-threatening crisis. But the fact that Chinese officials, realizing that the balloon had been spotted, did not call to work out a way to deal with it was revealing.

That kind of problem was supposed to be resolved after the 2001 collision of an EP-3 spy plane and a Chinese fighter that brought down both planes. For days after that incident, President George W. Bush could not get Chinese leaders on the phone. Efforts by the secretary of state at the time, Gen. Colin Powell, also failed. “It made you wonder what might happen in a deeper crisis,” General Powell said later.

Afterward, hotlines were set up, and promises made about better communications. Clearly, those failed. When the balloon was shot down, China issued a statement saying “for the United States to insist on using armed forces is clearly an excessive reaction.”

One wonders how Sanger can assert a lack of communication when the Chinese side insists with evidence that it in fact communicated a lot . As the Global Times writes:

Cont. reading: NYT Plants False Claims Over China's Balloon Communication

Posted by b at 12:26 UTC | Comments (83)

February 05, 2023

Ukraine Open Thread 2023-31

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 15:11 UTC | Comments (326)

The MoA Week In Review - (Not Ukraine) OT 2023-30

Last week's post on Moon of Alabama:

Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 7:49 UTC · Feb 5, 2023

Then premier of Israel Bennet (2:47h):
"I told Zelensky: 'Putin will not kill you. He promised that.' Two hours later Zelensky publishes selfie saying 'I am not afraid!'"

"There was a good chance of ceasefire but (the West) curbed it."

Bennett speaks out (Video, English subs)

Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - (Not Ukraine) OT 2023-30

Posted by b at 15:08 UTC | Comments (173)

February 04, 2023

Ukraine Open Thread 2023-29

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 18:12 UTC | Comments (245)