Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 15, 2022

The Big White House Plans Behind Its 'Russian Invasion' Scam

As the 'Russian invasion' scam reaches new heights it is time to look at the motives behind it.

The noise has become deafening.

> The U.S. intelligence briefing included specific reference to next Wednesday, February 16, as a start date for the ground invasion, three officials — based in Washington, London and Ukraine — told POLITICO. <

'Could' is doing a lot of work in those headlines.

Can we get it a bit more precise?

1am or 3am?

Which is it?

And in what timezone?

And 200,000 troops? Yesterday there were only 100,000. How can those have doubled over night?

There is also the question of why.

Why has the Biden administration created an artificial 'crisis' about a Russian invasion of Ukraine when such an invasion is neither planned nor likely to happen? Why is it claiming that a Russian invasion of the Ukraine is 'imminent' when Russia as well as the Ukraine deny that any will be coming.

Why does it distribute misleading satellite pictures of allegedly deployed tanks when those are directly next to the barracks where they belong? Why does it hype a 'Russian buildup' when that is something that is claimed each and every year?

Jack Matlock, the last U.S. ambassador to the USSR, has one answer:

Maybe I am wrong – tragically wrong – but I cannot dismiss the suspicion that we are witnessing an elaborate charade, grossly magnified by prominent elements of the American media, to serve a domestic political end. Facing rising inflation, the ravages of Omicron, blame (for the most part unfair) for the withdrawal from Afghanistan, plus the failure to get the full support of his own party for the Build Back Better legislation, the Biden administration is staggering under sagging approval ratings just as it gears up for this year’s congressional elections.

Since clear "victories" on the domestic woes seem increasingly unlikely, why not fabricate one by posing as if he prevented the invasion of Ukraine by "standing up to Vladimir Putin"?

Actually, it seems most likely that President Putin’s goals are what he says they are – and as he has been saying since his speech in Munich in 2007. To simplify and paraphrase, I would sum them up as: "Treat us with at least a modicum of respect. We do not threaten you or your allies, why do you refuse us the security you insist for yourself?"

Alastair Crooke points to a different motive:

The authoritative Global Times in an editorial warns that the U.S. is instigating conflict in Ukraine in order to tighten bloc discipline – to corral European States back into the U.S.-led fold. No doubt, China makes the connection that Ukraine provides the perfect pivot for shepherding Europe towards America’s next stage of requiring a united front with the U.S. for the later task of barricading-in China, behind her borders.

In play, therefore, are key decisions that will define Europe for the future. On the one hand, (as Pepe Escobar noted some two years ago), “the goal of Russian and Chinese policy is to recruit Germany into a triple alliance locking together the Eurasian land mass à la Mackinder into the greatest geopolitical alliance in history – switching world power in favour of these three great powers, and against Anglo-Saxon sea power”.

And on the other hand, NATO was conceived, from the outset, as a means of Anglo-American control over Europe and more precisely for keeping Germany ‘down’, and Russia ‘out’ (in that old axiom of western strategists). Lord Hastings (Lionel Ismay), NATO’s first Secretary General, famously said that NATO was created to “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”.

This mindset lingers on, but the formula has acquired today a greater import, and a new twist: To keep Germany ‘down and price uncompetitive’ versus U.S. goods; to keep Russia ‘out’ from being Europe’s source of cheap energy; and to keep China ‘fenced out’ from EU–U.S. trade. The aim is to contain Europe firmly within America’s narrowly defined economic orbit and compelled to forgo the benefits of Chinese and Russian technology, finance and trade – thus helping towards achieving the aim of barricading China within its borders.

I find both explanations, the domestic one and the foreign policy one, very plausible and a combination of them is the most likely motive behind the plan for is affair.

The Washington Post explains how the campaign was hashed out and directed from the White House. Its headline though is misleading:

Inside the White House preparations for a Russian invasion
A “Tiger Team” of administration officials has spent the past several months preparing a clear series of responses, gaming out scenarios from cyberattacks and limited intervention to an invasion of Ukraine.

A more correct headline would have been "Inside the White House preparations of the 'Russian invasion' scam".

Lets look into that:

As fears grow of potential Russian aggression against Ukraine, a “Tiger Team” led by the White House is quietly gaming out how the United States would respond to a range of jarring scenarios, from a limited show of force to a full-scale, mass-casualty invasion.

The White House team has staged two multihour tabletop exercises — including one with Cabinet officials — to bring the scenarios to life and assembled a playbook that outlines an array of swift potential responses, starting with Day One and extending through the first two weeks of an envisioned Russian invasion.

The effort, senior administration officials said, has not only helped them anticipate possible complications, but has also prompted them to take actions ahead of time, such as exposing Russian information warfare before it’s carried out to blunt its propaganda power.

The team preplanned their daily propaganda releases step by step:

The “Tiger Team” — a term referring to a diverse group of experts who are tackling a specific problem and that suggests alertness and a readiness to pounce — was created after National Security Council officials last October detected troubling signs of a massive Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border.

NSC officials readily admit they may be unable to precisely anticipate the moves of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military leaders. But the exercise and robust planning is still worth it, they said.

“The reality is that what the Russians may end up doing is not likely to be a 100 percent match for any of these scenarios,” [Jonathan Finer, deputy national security adviser to President Biden,] said. “But the goal is for them to be a close enough facsimile of what they end up doing that the plans are useful in terms of reducing the amount of time we need in order to respond effectively. That’s really the whole goal.”

The 'massive Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border' has never happened in real life. Most of the Russian troops are hundreds of miles away from Ukraine.

It was the Washington Post which on October 30 2021 was the first to publish the claims by 'anonymous officials' of a 'Russian buildup'.

(Side remark: The name 'Tiger team' or 'Tiger squad' was also used for the Saudi group that killed and hacked up a Washington Post opinion writer Jamal Khashoggi. Funny that the Washington Post piece does not mention that fact.)

Back to the 'tic toc' the WaPo provides:

The Tiger Team was officially born in November, when national security adviser Jake Sullivan asked Alex Bick, the NSC director for strategic planning, to lead a planning effort across multiple agencies. Bick has brought in the Departments of Defense, State, Energy, Treasury and Homeland Security, along with the U.S. Agency for International Development to look at a possible humanitarian crisis.

The intelligence community is also involved, gaming out various courses of action the Russians might pursue and the risks and advantages of each, officials said.

While the official launch of the 'Tiger team' might have been in November it is clear that the whole operation started earlier when the Ukrainians were asked to take part in the sham:

Simon Shuster @Shustry - 8:29 PM · Feb 14, 2022

Source close to Zelensky told me the U.S. first warned his team of a Russian invasion last fall, putting the chances at 80%. The Ukrainians didn't buy it, but they saw an opportunity -- "more aid, more attention" -- and played along. Now they have regrets. Too much attention.

The CIA has flown paramilitaries from Ukrainian Nazi groups to the U.S. to train them:

While the covert program, run by paramilitaries working for the CIA’s Ground Branch — now officially known as Ground Department — was established by the Obama administration after Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014, and expanded under the Trump administration, the Biden administration has further augmented it, said a former senior intelligence official in touch with colleagues in government.

By 2015, as part of this expanded anti-Russia effort, CIA Ground Branch paramilitaries also started traveling to the front in eastern Ukraine to advise their counterparts there, according to a half-dozen former officials.

The multiweek, U.S.-based CIA program has included training in firearms, camouflage techniques, land navigation, tactics like “cover and move,” intelligence and other areas, according to former officials.

These groups will be the forces to use when the U.S. decides to launch some false flag 'Russian attacks' on Ukrainian civilians.

As you watch it consider that every move in this is preplanned:

The playbook itself goes far beyond battlefield scenarios, looking at questions like how to address Ukrainian refugees who might stream into Poland and Romania, how to secure the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, exactly what sort of sanctions to impose on Moscow, and how to fight back against a sophisticated cyberattack.

The playbook — which synthesizes nearly three dozen papers and intelligence assessments commissioned by the team from various agencies — has been distributed to the various officials, including military and civilian leaders at the Pentagon.

The playbook also considers “second order” consequences, such as Russian retaliation for any penalties.

Those 'sophisticated cyberattacks' will most likely come from the National Security Agency which is part of the Pentagon. When the White House will claim that it has evidence of a 'Russian cyberattack' on Ukraine, which it is likely to do, keep in mind that anyone who claims to be able to find the real source of such an attack is selling snake oil.

Along the playbook the White House also released disinformation which claims that Russia will use such:

Among the Tiger Team’s top concerns is a Russian effort to promote the false narrative that it is Ukraine, aided by the West, that is preparing to launch an offensive in eastern Ukraine, and that Russia is the victim.

In recent weeks, the U.S. government has declassified intelligence about such efforts, including a potential “false flag” plot in which Moscow would stage an explosion that kills ethnic Russians in Ukraine or in Russia itself, and then blame it on Kyiv as a possible pretext for an invasion.

The White House has declassified nothing that anyone was allowed to see. As the NYT correctly remarked:

For all the disclosures, the Biden administration has provided no evidence of the disinformation plots they say they have uncovered.

The 'Russian invasion' scamp was approved from the top:

In December, the Tiger Team held two virtual tabletop exercises to road-test various scenarios and responses. The first brought together deputy secretaries and the second involved Cabinet officials. Biden has reviewed the playbook and was briefed on the results, officials said.

“It’s one thing to consider each of these problems — energy, sanctions, military posture — in isolation. It’s quite another to put them all together and execute a plan on all of them,” the NSC official said. “What I saw over the course of this planning exercise was, including at the most senior levels, lightbulbs go on about the way the pieces fit together.

The plan is integrated enough to allow for aims and achievements in multiple fields.

That is why I believe that both, Matlock and Crooke, are right in their guesses of the motives behind the 'Russian invasion' scam.

There are domestic aims and there are foreign policy aims and the pieces of the plan fit them together.

But that is only so if the whole thing does not unravel. In real life no battle plan survives the first contact with the enemy.

Zelensky's much criticized unwillingness to play his part of the show may just be one of the elements that will let it all fall apart.

Then there is Russia which is always good at creating real surprises. I bet that its security demands and the draft treaties it provided where not foreseen in the playbook. They already succeeded in pressing Biden into concessions the U.S. had previously been unwilling to make. More surprises in different areas will follow. As soon as the Olympics are over China may also come to play a role in this.

Big plans make for big failures.

Posted by b on February 15, 2022 at 17:13 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Who do we hold accountable when all the predictions don't come to pass? The unnamed officials?

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Feb 15 2022 17:24 utc | 1

b - the problem i have with all of this is how an increasing reliance on propaganda isn't working out... at some point the value of the propaganda is lost... more people see thru all this... yes, it can be any number of scenarios that are the desired result, but we know of all these before the propaganda exercise started! instead they continue to show people how full of shit they are... sure.. the msm can carry the water for them, but at some point making a distinction between the former pravda and the present western msm is difficult to do! people don't trust the msm and they are helping make this a reality... i say they are playing a losing game, even if some of the objectives are temporarily met...

Posted by: james | Feb 15 2022 17:30 utc | 2

Again, an excellent agenda-setter.

Is it not interesting how often the Biden Administration talks about "straight out of the Russian propaganda playbook"?

They are obsessed by Russian "play-books" because it is play-books that define their own existence.

Back in the 90's when all of this psychodrama began with the Blair gang, the play-book was known as "the grid" and was controlled by Alastair Campbell.

Posted by: John Cleary | Feb 15 2022 17:36 utc | 3

Some Senator on the Special Intelligence Committee is commending Biden for putting all the information out there including the 'details of the Russian false flag plot'. He told the CNN host, 'this is unprecedented, unlike before, you can go to a govt website and see exactly what the Russians were planning'.

And Yes. I am to lazy to go down that rabbit hole (or even the Senator's name, wait 5 minutes for the next one). Why is it too much to expect a CNN 'news host' in the free world to ask, 'please give us a summary so that we do not have to all look at that website'?

BTW CNN has a correspondent in Kharkiv who is destined to be fired because he dares to report that the citizens there are basically calm and do not believe U.S. claims of impending slaughter. God bless him.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Feb 15 2022 17:39 utc | 4

Yes, “There are domestic aims and there are foreign policy aims” but Alistair Crooke overlooks a primary US motive for Ukraine threats: The idea that the “artifice of the ‘imminent Russian invasion’ of Ukraine is about corralling European states” back into NATO ignores the interference of Israel there to weaken Russia in Syria. Note “Jonathan Finer, deputy national security adviser to President Biden.” The US/UK strategy to keep Russia and China out of Syria and Iran seeks campaign bribes from the zionists, a principal employer of politicians. See Israel-in-Syria reports:

hxxps://www.timesofisrael dor com/as-israel-scrambles-to-get-citizens-out-kyivs-streets-seem-perfectly-tranquil/
“the 10-15,000 Israelis in the country seem to be taking a different view”
hxxps://www.palestinechronicle dot com/israeli-government-studies-ukraine-request-for-military-assistance/
“According to Lapid, 6,050 Israelis in Ukraine have registered to receive updates from the ministry”

The extreme opposition of Ukraine factions is not governable by a typical western “democracy” structure. It was almost working before the US/UK coup in 2014, and they clearly do not want such a government and would attack it again. The idea of largely autonomous D&L provinces does not appear to have successful precedents in modern history. The de facto boundary of a lawless greedy empire like the US will have to be a military boundary.

Posted by: Sam F | Feb 15 2022 17:46 utc | 5

james @2 - Agreed that the MSM is belying itself to the point of irrelevance.

More to the point of this blog post, I think that the Tiger Team's complex gaming activities are self-defeating in the usual way of decision by committee. Each of the many scenarios are going to have their advocates within the agencies involved. Who decides what to do, when faced by actual events? Not Biden, that's certain.

Posted by: paul spencer | Feb 15 2022 17:48 utc | 6

No war is going to be a big disappointment to most of the followers of this web site. Hundreds of arm chair strategist (ok I don't really know how many) have been salivating and hoping for a coup de grace being delivered to the empire. Putin does not really want Russia to be a vassal of China-(plutocrats and communist just don't mix very well). The US has signaled its willingness to recreate the INF treaty (probably signaled a willingness to engage in other security guaranties). The US will pull back like under Carter, rearm, reelect Trump and focus on cleaning house in the western hemisphere America First don't ya know. What the Brits do is another thing. Look for MI6 to engage in multiple provocations.

Posted by: wobblie | Feb 15 2022 17:48 utc | 7

Alas, this event in the US will have no effect, as the there is no free corporate press in that country. It will be heralded as another resounding success as most likely gamed out in the initial planning. After all, as WP proclaimed, indirectly this was planned by the master of deception, the director of Russiagate.

As to the effect it will have in Europe, where it really matters is known to me.

Posted by: Michael.j | Feb 15 2022 17:53 utc | 8

And don't forget people like Browder, Nuland and Russian oligarchs in London. They haven't given up on controlling Russia' resources. Losing Crimea was a huge setback for them.

Posted by: dh | Feb 15 2022 17:53 utc | 9

Putin and Scholz hold press conference in Moscow

Posted by: Norwegian | Feb 15 2022 17:58 utc | 10

Well aside from anything else, whipping up a gigantic hysteria covers moving a billion dollars-worth of armaments into 404, to be used of course, against the breakaway regions. This will be the testing time. How will Russia respond? USNATO is hoping for an invasion and occupation. We'll see. If we were comparing the two sides degrees of accumen and foresight, Russia is a hands-down winner, at least as long Lavrov is around and that's the trouble with the 'charismatic leader' approach to politics.

And what of the 'military-technical means' that Russia is planning in response to USNATO's rejection of Russia's proposed mutual security treaties?

Posted by: Barofsky | Feb 15 2022 17:59 utc | 11

Every major US attack in the the past century has occurred on a dark night, but they imagine that the Russians are stupid enough to plan an attack on the night of a full moon?

It has been obvious for years that Washington is retarded, but this is far beyond even their normal moronic incompetence with added senility. If the Biden administration did not invent this shit ex tabula rasa, they have been trolled by somebody as "brilliant" as Q-Anon. Either possibility should concern anyone with a rational fear of gibbering idiots in control of nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Hermit | Feb 15 2022 18:01 utc | 12

How do we know that, "The CIA has flown paramilitaries from Ukrainian Nazi groups to the U.S. to train them"? How do we know that nazis are among the trainees, other than it might be likely/very likely?

Posted by: Atown | Feb 15 2022 18:01 utc | 13

@ Michael.j | Feb 15 2022 17:53 utc | 9

Sorry! That's "unknown to me".

Posted by: Michael.j | Feb 15 2022 18:03 utc | 14

Posted by: Астал | Feb 15 2022 18:06 utc | 15

I'm wondering if the 'secret intelligence' on which the U.S. has been basing its conclusions of a Russian invasion since last fall is not based on Russian dis-information being fed to the U.S. spies specifically to ramp up panic in the West.

Perhaps the 'elaborate charade' is a Russian charade. It seems to me that this panic is a perfect backdrop to the 'Ultimatum'.

After the West's attempt last spring to start a war in Europe, from Belarus to the Black Sea failed, I doubt that Russia wanted to give them time to plan another attempt at war. If this 'charade' is part of an overall Russian strategy to keep the West in tension while economic and political collapse continues and accelerates, than it seems to be working. As Maria Zakkharova said today '“February 15, 2022 will go down in history as the day of the failure of Western war propaganda. Humiliated and destroyed without firing a shot,” she wrote.' (

Posted by: dh-mtl | Feb 15 2022 18:07 utc | 16

Look, it's obvious; it's a gigantic diversion and engineered on fertile ground after over 100 years of Anti-Communist propaganda which has always been anti-Russian anyway (the Untermensch'). I think perhaps that finally, the Russians have got the message about the Western 'democracies' but it took fucking long enough!!! I thought the dismemberment of Libya through the UNSC 'no fly' resolution would have been the place that the Russians said 'Niet!' but no. Perhaps still feeling too insecure, after the humiliations of the Yeltsin years? How times of changed.

Posted by: Barofsky | Feb 15 2022 18:16 utc | 17

From an article at deClassified on UK training of Ukrainian militias:

"... Close to 2,000 NGU fighters have been trained by the Canadian military as part of its Operation Unifier mission which began in 2015.

"But it has proven controversial. In June 2018, Canadian military officers were briefed by leaders from the Azov Regiment and were photographed with its officials despite warnings about the unit’s Nazi ideology.

"Azov then posted the photos on social media, adding that the Canadian delegation had expressed “hopes for further fruitful cooperation.” Internal Canadian documents, later released, show the government feared the meeting being exposed in the media.

"In the September 2021 meeting, Colonel Serhiy Maltsev, head of international cooperation for the NGU, told the British commanders: “The contribution made by the Canadian military to building the capacity of the Guards is difficult to overestimate.”

"He added: “Our joint achievements with our Canadian counterparts can serve as an example for the future cooperation of the NGU with [the UK’s] Operation Orbital.”...."

Posted by: bevin | Feb 15 2022 18:20 utc | 18

Posted by b on February 15, 2022 at 17:13 UTC

Big plans make for big failures.

It is reported the RF forces are departing their training grounds and returning to their barracks.

It has been asserted that Ukraine was a "Wag the Dog" event conducted to divert attention from US domestic problems. If so, its is likely to backfire.

Investors have moved to a "risk off" position. The oil and gas sector has been contemplating scarcity and a jump in prices. Consumers have enjoyed a negative real rate of interest which has driven housing prices through the roof.

With the assumption of peace, the Fed will need to act to curtail inflation. This will have negative effects on markets, the investor class, and real asset prices.

Warren Buffet once said "It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked." Once the Fed takes away the punchbowl the American economy may be in trouble.

Government "propaganda" is likely to increase civic distrust of the Biden administration. Recent polling shows 68% of Democrats want further investigation of the role Clinton played in creating the Trump dossier. All of this presages increased domestic turmoil in the US and a decline in the perceived competence of the hegemon.

Posted by: Sushi | Feb 15 2022 18:43 utc | 19

Since clear "victories" on the domestic woes seem increasingly unlikely, why not fabricate one by posing as if he prevented the invasion of Ukraine by "standing up to Vladimir Putin"?

I'm with james on this one. Why not? Because it wont work, nobody belives him. And I don't think many USians would care if they did. Nore could they find Ukraine on a map...

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Feb 15 2022 18:45 utc | 20

What is that saying?...

"Be careful of The Company you keep"

You now have another reason to read ZH.

Read their article:
Now We've Done It: We Pissed Off The CIA

Posted by: librul | Feb 15 2022 18:46 utc | 21

As the first secretary-general of NATO, Lord Ismay, once quipped, NATO was formed “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”.

It could be the fake Russian invasion pushed by Washington was to reaffirm Nato (US) interests in Europe, by slowing down or reducing trade in Europe with Russia and China, Russian gas certainly. I've read that Germany and France wanted a summit with Russia, but it was veoted and replaced with a Nato voice (US) instead.

Germany is still an occupied country (US forces) to such an extent that the US president feels comfortable to say that he can get the Nordstream II pipeline's supply of Russian gas to Germany when the licences are granted to do so stopped.

France's president Macron, putting aside his disdain over the UK/US/AUS subs debacle, appears to be leaning more to an EU army outside Nato, and away from US influence, but he needs Germany to be onboard, however any hostilities in Ukraine would see Macron fall in line with the Nato narrative such is the fragility of the EU's voice in Nato.

The current Nato debacle over the lies that Russia will invade Ukraine tells me that Nato is weak, and that its days are numbered, Russia will extend the hand of friendship via commerce to Germany, if Germany can shake-off US influence in the country, France would surely follow, the US cannot afford to let this happen, but it will in my opinion, with China helping the transition, US aggression is the only thing that can stop it albeit not on a permanent basis.

Posted by: Republicofscotland | Feb 15 2022 18:47 utc | 22

Dont forget the Durham probe on Hillary/Democrats spying and sabotaging Trump with Russiagate BS. This probe is catching fire right now and seems people have started talking to the investigators. Most likely this is also a huge reason why Biden and co are screaming anout Ukraine and Russia right now. Anything to distract from that probe which could expose one of the biggest crimes in history.

Posted by: Comandante | Feb 15 2022 18:49 utc | 23

Shoigu is now in Hmeimen, Syria. Take that as you will.

He will be reviewing the exercises about to take place in that part of the World. Should make CENTCOM twitch as three Tu-22M3M and a Mig-31K also arrived there today.

Posted by: JohninMK | Feb 15 2022 19:02 utc | 24

They indeed didn't foresee that Putin might opportunistically move and make some demands, taking advantage of the pressure the West has artificially put on Ukraine. Biden might be able to claim victory to the home crowd, but Putin will be able to do the same and strengthen his position if Ukraine is basically a neutral zone from now on.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 15 2022 19:03 utc | 25

Craig Murray's latest confirms the speculative nature of this "op":

"The UK’s “Dirty dossier” on Iraqi WMD consisted more or less entirely, where it used intelligence sources, of declassified human intelligence rather than signals intelligence. “Human intelligence” simply means something an informant told us, usually for large sums of cash...Signals intelligence, by contrast, is communications intercept, and is generally more accurate (though of course there can be planted misleading communications). I can tell you that the NSA have shared with GCHQ no communications intelligence that indicates an imminent Russian attack."

Posted by: jayc | Feb 15 2022 19:13 utc | 26

Wapo joked:

"The playbook also considers “second order” consequences, such as Russian retaliation for any penalties."
Only funny because it's so stupid when the US-NATO-nazis don't grasp or acknowledge previous and current "first order" consequences of their own actions. Future second level consequences of some Baldric-inspired 'cunning plan' is far beyond their ability :)

Where and how do they find these people? Their level of ignorance and lack of basic human experience is exceptional and makes the stereotypical company 'middle manager' PHB yes-men (and women) look like sages of wisdom. Can these people open doors unaided? Can such stupidity really be "cleverly" faked? Either way it is astonishing and I say that while being aware of having seen and having contributed plenty of (more normal) stupidity in my own life.

- - -

No war is a good outcome, no war and a stop to the stupid belligerence is better, all of that and an end to the constant anti-human manipulation on every topic better yet, and genuine peace the best.

What exactly is a coup de grâce (a final blow in the sense of a mercy kill to alleviate further suffering) supposed to consist of with regards the US and "the west"?

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Feb 15 2022 19:18 utc | 27

Unless and until citizens zero in on the essence of the current US Capitalist behaviors, NONE of what the Western Press, or what Biden is told to say, will make any sense.
The US $$$$ hegemony is in serious trouble.
To learn about HOW this is impacting the US/EU Financial Markets, Big Banks/etc., and by extension Russia, please listen to Dr. Michael Hudson's interviews on:
The Unz Review, The Saker and Hudson's website:

Posted by: Rubicon | Feb 15 2022 19:25 utc | 28

We toss around the word 'stupid' or 'crazy' quite a bit and fairly so because that's how things often appear. I think this happens because Russo phobia is maintained by a mob who have no single leader, as a good conspiracy should. Because of this, it gets contradictory and disorganized with little regard for unintended consequences ( such as Russia and China in alliance).

Afghanistan should be the world's greatest example of this. The military and Pentagon kept lying or maintaining a deceptive image of the issue. So did Congress. So did the White House. So did the media. Finally, the WSJ reported that intelligence reports leading up to its collapse made no prediction about a sudden Taliban takeover.

Call it conspiracy or stigmergy, it is very real. And looks very brainless. So, Ukraine will turn out the same way.

Posted by: Eighthman | Feb 15 2022 19:32 utc | 29

"exposing Russian information warfare before it’s carried out"

Exposing something that hasn't happened -- WaPo prevarication is truly exceeding even prior achievements. What gets me is the richly deserved contempt they have for their readers.

Posted by: Figleaf23 | Feb 15 2022 19:40 utc | 30

I be in agreement with the scam scenario until I start thinking about US grip on Europe. What are going to think and do when they realize it was just a scam. Europe have now come to the party for invasion sanctions but some sort of invasion is required to put them into effect. I can't see the US passing up on such an opportunity.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 15 2022 19:44 utc | 31

military-technical means
Russia has sent hypersonic missiles to Syria, while there is a major naval exercise about to kick off in the eastern Mediterranean. Now that "territorial integrity" is on every ones lips perhaps Putin will deliver some for Syria by liquidating HTS, TIP, etc. in Idlib. US and UK intervene and Russia disables one of the Royal Navy aircraft carriers when they turn up and involve themselves in the Syrian fighting. What will UK do? What will US do?

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 15 2022 19:45 utc | 32

Thanks b, just as many have surmised, what's going on is more THEATER. The U$A could have defused the ongoing "crisis" months ago, by being reasonable about Russia's LEGITIMATE concerns.

Didn't fit the script, obviously....

And, most of the American public is oblivious. Hypnotized by our latest choregraphed sports theater. (super bowl)..

Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 15 2022 19:46 utc | 33

"By 2015... CIA Ground Branch paramilitaries also started traveling to the front in eastern Ukraine to advise their counterparts there"

That's truly rich. That means the CIA buffoons might be partly responsible for the Debaltsev debacle where the Donbass forces trapped and slaughtered thousands of Ukrainian neo-Nazi forces. Love it.

Posted by: Figleaf23 | Feb 15 2022 19:50 utc | 34

"…the NSA have shared with GCHQ no communications intelligence that indicates an imminent Russian attack."
That wouldn't be the case anyway would it? Things are supposed to be a bit more orderly and proper than so aren't they? Maybe involving somewhat more pertinent agencies? The NSA doesn't do pure military el-int (or sig-int for that matter) do they? Neither does the GCHQ right since they're both primarily codebreakers? Ie. they both spend huge amounts of time trying to figure stuff out which means they're off doing their own thing while the rest of the world moves on rapidly, however even for cookie-cutter broken stuff the military intel can't or shouldn't wait for anything like that concerning the basics of tell-tale signs of activity.

Especially in a purportedly "immediate" situation :P

Anyway it would/should go all the way from NRO and similar ones and yes to the NSA but also directly without delay to and then from the US Pentagon to the UK Ministry of Defence and then to wherever they chuck it?

But the UK MoD would have this stuff from their own anyway, they wouldn't be waiting for the data from the US. (The idea of doing so would be madness).

No, the quote doesn't make sense but it made me curious.

I'll go "okay, if he says so" but as(s) shown (mine!? Lol) I suspect the statement has zero value as an answer to anything :)

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Feb 15 2022 20:04 utc | 35

Comandante @ 25; Would be wise for you to remember; Your "boy" DJT, on live TV, said; Russia, if you're listening", and proceeded to trash HRC over her deleted e-mails. Don't ya' just love two defective humans(?) going at it.

Trashing campaigns is part of American politics.

Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 15 2022 20:14 utc | 36

Sorry, make that post 23.....

Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 15 2022 20:15 utc | 37

a brilliant and very useful article.

Posted by: Mathew | Feb 15 2022 20:21 utc | 38

CBC has suddenly gone silent about the invasion, leaving the business reporter to blame Putin for the effect of the non-invasion on oil prices.

Posted by: Keith McClary | Feb 15 2022 20:22 utc | 39

Natgas futures are not exactly confirming there being a war tomorrow.
15% decline in front month Dutch TTF, rest of the strip down 10%+

Posted by: ptb | Feb 15 2022 20:26 utc | 40

To Eighthman (Feb 15 2022 19:32 utc | 30):
I've forgot the name of the documentary (a recent one and I think it was about the use and consequences of using Agent Orange in both the US and Viet Nam —although I might be muddling two different documentaries together) where a retired US intelligence officer told about how in the Viet Nam war most of the military intelligence reports were made useless from lies (or unverified claims) inserted by both friendly sources and parts of the US and South Viet Nam intelligence services all the way from the very ground level and upwards until nothing made any sense and nobody knew anything at all anywhere —especially not at the Pentagon— and then add the politicians and the media.

The US keeps getting reality checks and they keep bouncing. Best of luck to Russia, China, the world, and all of us.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Feb 15 2022 20:35 utc | 41

I would be most obliged if one of the barflies might repost the link to the article by the two BIS ex-directors concerning France leaving NATO and the possibility of an announcement that France might announce a veto of Ukrainian membership in NATO ..... I have searched extensively, but 'no luck'.

Posted by: chet380 | Feb 15 2022 20:37 utc | 42

these aren't predictions of Russian Invasions. They're requests.

Posted by: mijj | Feb 15 2022 20:39 utc | 43

My conclusion now is that somebody in the anti-Russian Deep State faction decided time to plant anti-Russian claims in the news cycle to keep Putin in the news. This was the pattern during Russiagate (2016-2019) where it looked like Russiagate would dissipate into background noise--something new was alleged. But the mini psy-op developed a life of its own with the corporate media in particular playing over eager boy scouts in fabricating new lies. Plus, the anti-Russian hawks began to see the hype as a way of gaining the upper hand against the anti-China hawks. Except for the Olympics, nothing in the msn about China this big.

I thought at first that the goal was to block Nord Stream 2 and kick Russia out of SWIFT using any available excuse. This was the intent of the Senate bill to impose pre-emptive sanctions regardless of what Russia did. The bill also had provisions that if Putin said anything harsh the US would go to the most extreme sanctions. No invasion was necessary. But a few days ago, the Pentagon announced no pre-emptive sanctions. In effect the Pentagon told the Senate to cease and desist.

As for the claim that Biden team is creating crisis to win elections is feeble as the deep state is running the psyop. They could care less who gets elected as they will always be in power.

So in effect, there was no huge strategic result in mind as to where this would all lead. Just a run away psyop which grew beyond what the deep state expected or even wanted.

Posted by: Erelis | Feb 15 2022 20:49 utc | 44

Well, the theater is under way, big time.

When the sensible answer is achieved, and it will be, our present admin. will be crowing like the roosters do, convinced that their crowing actually brought the sun up.

Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 15 2022 20:49 utc | 45

Well, the theater is under way, big time.

When the sensible answer is achieved, and it will be, our present admin. will be crowing like the roosters do, convinced that their crowing actually brought the sun up.

Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 15 2022 20:49 utc | 46

chet380 | Feb 15 2022 20:37 utc | 42

Link to article by the two BIS ex-directors concerning France leaving NATO

Vitor S

Posted by: Vítor Solha | Feb 15 2022 20:50 utc | 47

my two cents. . .
Standing up to Vladimir Putin, keeping Germany down and keeping Russia out are all collateral benefits to just continue Russia as a prime US enemy, where continuing to maintain "Russia aggression" is a prime reason to maintain a half-million person ground force with bases on several European countries, plus many bases in the US. The principal target in the upcoming elections, BTW, seems to be China not Russia (and foreign policy is usually a stranger at election time).
The primary go-to guy in this scream-about-Russia project is National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who is also coming into the news as involved in Hillary's 'Russian collusion' project we lived through for several years, where the collateral intention was to dump Trump while dissing a Russia "involved in US elections."

Proponents of the US Navy has been suggesting that the 1/3-each financing for the three military services be altered to give Navy some Army money. That can't be allowed to happen. Gotta have the big Army.

The US has no need for a standing army. Canada and Mexico are quite benign. The Founding Fathers understood that.
US Constitution, Article I, Section 8 which favors a standing navy, but not a standing army:
1: The Congress shall have Power. . .
12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
13: To provide and maintain a Navy;

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 15 2022 20:53 utc | 48

P.S. Guess the "New cold war" plans are really coming together now....

Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 15 2022 20:54 utc | 49

Guess who has invested in Rumble?
I think The Duran should be on the alert for some severe pressure from the extreme right.
The same is happening to a number of other progressive media outlets.
Looks like a trend.

Posted by: digital dinosaur | Feb 15 2022 20:57 utc | 50

@Comandante | Feb 15 2022 18:49 utc | 25

"Dont forget the Durham probe"
Meh. The Dems don't know anymore how to govern a country, let alone a superpower Empire. But they sure know how to run a party: circle the wagons, deflect, distract, and run out the clock. Say what you want of the Biden crew, but most of them have been on Team D for decades, and stick together.

Early on, his enemies found out how easy it was to derail the Trump Train: publish a smear piece on one of his associates, and grab some popcorn. Then Trump would promptly throw them under the bus, lest any dirt stick to him. Rinse and repeat, until your real target, Donald himself, runs out of allies and can't attract new ones. Again, it's not that the D's are any better, but they have experience how politics works.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Feb 15 2022 20:59 utc | 51

Fine and dandy grand domestic plot. But in US elections, especially in mid-terms, foreign policy is a non-starter, unless hot wars. May be Biden should consider that!

Rounding up strayed lapdogs won't help mid-terms either.

The 2022 mid-term looks DOA.

Posted by: Tiger | Feb 15 2022 21:02 utc | 52

And 200,000 troops? Yesterday there were only 100,000. How can those have doubled over night?

It could only happen via asexual reproduction like budding.

I told you those Russians weren’t human!

Posted by: S | Feb 15 2022 21:11 utc | 53

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 15 2022 20:53 utc | 48

Point taken that the anti-Russian hysteria is more about using it for domestic machinations like military budgets and gaining influence and power within the deep state. It may probably more about which military contractors get the upper hand and thus profits. Does it make sense for the Pentagon to buy anti-tank missiles for any Pacific confrontation with China or Russia? Grand strategy moves? Seems like these people are not quite up to it.

Posted by: Erelis | Feb 15 2022 21:15 utc | 54

Russia did nor invade Crimea. The Russian Navy has had a base in Crimea since the 1700s. The Crimeans, mostly Russians, voted to rejoin Russia rather than be part of a neo nazi US protectorate. At that time the Kiev government was cutting off power to them and outlawing the Russian language. Not a difficult choice.

Posted by: Carol Davidek Waller | Feb 15 2022 21:15 utc | 55

Russia did nor invade Crimea. The Russian Navy has had a base in Crimea since the 1700s. The Crimeans, mostly Russians, voted to rejoin Russia rather than be part of a neo nazi US protectorate. At that time the Kiev government was cutting off power to them and outlawing the Russian language. Not a difficult choice.

Posted by: Carol Davidek Waller | Feb 15 2022 21:15 utc | 56

The Biden administration and the US mainstream news media had better hope that the people in the Kremlin cannot understand English very well and do not read The NYT and WaPo reports online.

Putin must be wondering if all his teddy bears and other soft toys in his bedroom at home have been bugged if the US political and military elites know all his invasion plans down to the precise time of day when they will start and end. (snark)

In the meantime, did no-one in Capitol Hill, Foggy Bottom, the Pentagon or Langley or the rest of the 17 intel agencies notice that Russian and Belarusian forces nipped over to Kazakhstan to help put down a coup attempt and round up the ISIS ... er, the "protesters", and then left the country in the space of about two weeks in January 2022? I thought not.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 15 2022 21:20 utc | 57

@Peter AU1 | Feb 15 2022 19:44 utc | 31

"Europe. What are going to think and do when they realize it was just a scam."
At least when it comes to the leadership, they know exactly what they're doing. The CIA was caught red-handed peddling fraudulent intel to their capitals, hand-delivered by Dir. Burns if I have it right. Orban called BS on it (well he wouldn't dare openly, but he simply ignored it), but the others went right along anyway. What would say Britain's position be in the world without at least the illusion that they are real playa's in the Empire? Just Vietnam with worse food and weather.

It's doubtful the Navalniy clown show was run wholly by Germany, but it surely was run from Germany. Merkel must have loved it, imagining this put Russia on the defensive (it did for a while), thus increasing Berlin's leverage. All the while, Berlin reduces its leverage vs Washington, by locking itself into Anglo narratives. Then when the Krauts wake up to the game, it can't but feed their suspicion that the Anglos are smarter, thus undermining their confidence only further.

The Eurotrash loved the sanctions against Russia, loved the war crimes in the Middle East. Now it's going to be their turn, they get exactly what they want and deserve.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Feb 15 2022 21:23 utc | 58

One result for Russia is that it has shown Ukraine that if it were to attack Donetsk, militarily it is on its own. Maybe one of its key objectives.

Posted by: Keith | Feb 15 2022 21:24 utc | 59

Sending kinzhals to the Med, Shoigu obviously decided to make US carrier strike group feel extremely uncomfortable in a limited space where it is difficult to run for the cover. Funny the French and Italian carriers are not being mentioned
“The deployment of Kinzhal missiles to Syria appears to be intended to showcase the Russian military’s capability to threaten the U.S. carrier strike group in the Mediterranean”.

Posted by: Milos | Feb 15 2022 21:34 utc | 60

I’ll repeat from the previous thread:

If only FJB would move troops to the Mexican border for exercises.

Posted by: Cadence calls | Feb 15 2022 21:54 utc | 61

Ma Laoshi 58

That makes a fair bit of sense, although there may well be a large element to do with domestic politics in the US this propaganda operation has been about laying economic siege to Russia and cutting off Russian gas. I think I will wait and see what happens over the next few days before calling it a scam. At the moment it is about 1am wed 16th Moscow time and I would think that if the US/UK are planning on triggering something, it will occur in the next 24-48 hours.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 15 2022 21:57 utc | 62

The WaPo write-up is plausible to me, in the following way: in a CIA unit for information warfare or whatever they're called, this whole operation would've been openly called a psy-op, and everyone would've had a good laugh about "Lie, Cheat & Steal". But in the White House that would be indelicate; also, say, the NSC isn't officially a propaganda outfit, and I assume it'd be illegal for them to openly engage in electoral politics. This leads me to an image where all these credentialed people gin up their hoax, everyone knows the score, but nobody says it openly--they all observe the ritual in a very cult-like atmosphere.

If project Veritas is to be believed, your average CNN newsroom also works much like this. Though perhaps Americans will reply "What do you think, the entire country works like this, how could it be different at the top?" Come to think of it, that's how I saw it work in the Soviet bloc in the good old days first-hand; we've come full cirle.

Do I have it right that in the first Cold War there were a couple of high-level suicides of officials who'd succumbed to their own paranoia.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Feb 15 2022 21:58 utc | 63

gee. what domestic crisis are we referring to? racism in gym class? kids reading Toni Morrison? or western gov'ts already in a state of war with their own populaces?

of the approx 1,050,000 kids enrolled in schools in the US state of WA, 29,000 are missing. the state health care provider just sent around its 1st notice, 1st of the entire pandemic, to anyone loosely defined as a "health care provider", to prepare for "crisis levels of care", meaning, if you are asymptomatic, don't worry about infecting others in your nursing home, ICU unit, detox facility, burn victim unit, pediatric leukemia unit, etc., etc., much less your school. 200,000 US children have lost a primary caregiver. 50% of US educators will have quit by school year's end.

people in denial about the severity of the virus and people who insist on fighting over vaccines are helping the war party as they follow their governments' line, all of which depend upon such denial to confuse and disorient the populace. unity about Russia? yes. unity about the coronavirus? no. these two go hand in hand.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Feb 15 2022 22:08 utc | 64

Meanwhile, the UK, Canada and others have been actively involved in training the Ukrainian right wing/Nazi national guard, the GRU.

Posted by: Brian mulrooney | Feb 15 2022 22:10 utc | 65

Norwegian #10

Putin and Scholz hold press conference in Moscow

That was a fascinating presser. There is some distance between them but Scholz did not exhibit aggression rather consistent position with the Western propaganda line.

The brisk exchange on the genocide element in Yugoslavia/Donbass was telling as was the domestic gas price description by Putin affirming the low cost to the German retailers.

My summation is that I am underwhelmed by Scholz and have no expectation of him pulling any rabbits from the hat. It will be all NATO gung ho. Time will tell.

It will be interesting to see what Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan has to say over the next few days.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 15 2022 22:12 utc | 66

RE: Sushi | Feb 15 2022 18:43 utc | 19

The punch punchbowl has been spiked with methamphetamine and coke (as opposed to Coke(R)) for decades. I bet withdrawal will be a female Carnivora, be it dog, wolf, fox, or otter.

Posted by: William Haught | Feb 15 2022 22:18 utc | 67

@Sunny Runny Burger | Feb 15 2022 19:18 utc | 27

"Future second level consequences of some Baldric-inspired 'cunning plan' is far beyond their ability :)"

and @41

"The US keeps getting reality checks and they keep bouncing."

What the US will get out of all this may be no more than a turnip of its very own. :-)

Posted by: Vintage Red | Feb 15 2022 22:18 utc | 68

On USA hysteria and war drums.

I comprehend the saying "imagine a war where nobody came to fight'

But announcing an invasion in the absence of the invaded AND the invader is a true fools errand.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 15 2022 22:19 utc | 69

@63 Ma Laoshi - James Forrestal Comes to mind as one of the high level suicides during the first Cold War. Or maybe he was suicided.

From Wikipedia. ( I know...)

James Forrestal

Posted by: lex talionis | Feb 15 2022 22:19 utc | 70

@Posted by: Comandante | Feb 15 2022 18:49 utc | 23

Dont forget the Durham probe on Hillary/Democrats spying and sabotaging Trump

Durham appears to be going after the middle and lower level operatives.
Still no mention - none that I have seen recently - of either (former) CIA Director John Brennan
nor of (former) James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.

It will be just another Big Coverup if that pair goes unindicted.

Posted by: librul | Feb 15 2022 22:33 utc | 71

@ Librium 70
Pretty much
A couple low level fall guys, the big fish go untouched,
And everyone else gets a promotion.

We (PDJT) tried to tell everyone, but the hate was so strong.
Now, does anyone even have to offer mea culpa?
Yesterdays news, and nobody wants to admit to being a fool.

Posted by: Cadence Calls | Feb 15 2022 22:43 utc | 72

About Crooke's article, it's quiet simple: Europe is the US new Latin America: to be looted, plundered, impoverished and pushed into serfdom.
Any Euro leader that can't see this is too stupid to rule and should be taken out to pasture, and any Euro leader that willingly obeys should be shot for treason.
If Scholz and Macron had any sense, dignity, patriotism and self-preservation instinct, they would make a joint announcement that both countries withdraw from NATO immediately.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 15 2022 22:46 utc | 73

librul | 70

Durham appears to be going after the middle and lower level operatives.
Still no mention - none that I have seen recently - of either (former) CIA Director John Brennan
nor of (former) James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.
It will be just another Big Coverup if that pair goes unindicted.

The little rats cop pleas for ratting on the big rats.

Posted by: Keith McClary | Feb 15 2022 22:51 utc | 74

Much has occurred during the last 48 hours that's unmentioned in b's report on the invasion scam. First we have the meetings Putin held with Lavrov and Shoigu yesterday. Today, the meeting with the German Chancellor followed by the presser. Today, Blinken called Lavrov, but nothing of substance resulted. Earlier, Lavrov held talks with OSCE Chairperson-in-office, Foreign Minister of Poland Zbigniew Rau afterwhich there was a presser, transcript in Russian.

I've only had a chance to examine the Putin's meetings with Lavrov and Shoigu. The talks with the latter are mostly classified, while Lavrov's report is crucial. It tells us a number of things, first and most importantly:

"I have received unsatisfactory responses; none of my fellow ministers have responded to my direct address ... The messages read: don’t worry, the dialogue must continue; the main thing you need to do is to ensure de-escalation around Ukraine. I think this is exactly a neglect of the norm as stated at the top level which says that no organisation can consider itself the main and dominant one in the Euro-Atlantic Region. So, we will continue to seek a concrete response from each country since all the documents I reported to you were signed under national status, and the responsibility for their content and the commitments under these documents must be accounted for at the national level. This is about the first part of the response, basically the Americans, which does not suit us."

The above was already known but is now formally reported. As for the secondary issues the Outlaw US Empire finally responded to:

"So, I would say we can consider further progress in these areas, but only while maintaining the integrity of our December 2021 initiative, maintaining an integrated approach ... but above all, this approach is about the legal settlement of issues that generally threaten the Euro-Atlantic Region. I am referring to where we started with in our initiatives, when you repeatedly emphasised, including during your recent telephone conversations and news conferences – we need to ensure indivisible security, including with regard to NATO’s non-expansion, non-deployment of strike weapons and returning to its 1997 configuration."

Lavrov then provides his closing assessment, then Putin asks him the key question:

"We at the Foreign Ministry are convinced that this approach must remain a priority. In developing a dialogue on some aspects that are of practical importance today, with our Western, primarily American colleagues, we will be seeking in parallel their responses to the legitimate concerns that we have raised and that you have repeatedly confirmed, including at the news conference with Emmanuel Macron. I believe you have very clearly described the potential for drawing Ukraine into NATO under these conditions, considering Kiev’s ambitions.

"Vladimir Putin: Do you think we still have a chance of coming to terms with our partners on the key problems of our concern or is this simply an attempt to drag us into an endless negotiating process with no logical conclusion?

"Sergey Lavrov: You, along with us and other representatives of the Russian Federation, have said that we are warning that an endless discussion on the issues that must be resolved today is unacceptable. That said, as the head of the Foreign Ministry, I must say that there is always a chance. I am referring to your recent meetings with the US and French leaders; the Federal Chancellor of Germany is coming tomorrow; our colleagues are addressing me: the Polish Foreign Minister will be here tomorrow; the Italian Foreign Minister will come here in two days, and other meetings are being planned. We have consistently conducted explanatory work; we are committed to explaining why we are right, and that we are ready to listen to serious counter arguments. That said, I think our opportunities are far from exhausted. Of course, they should not be endless, but I think we should still continue to pursue and build on them at this point.

"Vladimir Putin: All right. Do you have a draft response yet to the documents that Brussels and Washington sent us? Has it been formulated?"

Of course, Lavrov has the paper formulated, and they probably went on to discuss it, but we're not allowed to know its contents. I also checked the Russian transcript to see if it was just omitted from the English, but it wasn't. You'll note I didn't provide any additional emphasis because I would bold it all.

Now on to the Presser with the German Chancellor, which will require another comment. Another bit of activity I omitted above was Lavrov's talks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about the Outlaw US Empire's continuing denial of visas to Russian's UN Delegation so it can perform its duties, a problem going back to Trump that violates the law, as you might expect.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 15 2022 22:54 utc | 75

@Posted by: Cadence Calls | Feb 15 2022 22:43 utc | 71

And everyone else gets a promotion.
amend that to
And everyone else gets a promotion or a golden parachute to a think-tank or book deal

Posted by: librul | Feb 15 2022 22:57 utc | 76

@librul | Feb 15 2022 22:33 utc | 70

"Durham appears to be going after the middle and lower level operatives.
Still no mention - none that I have seen recently - of either (former) CIA Director John Brennan
nor of (former) James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence."
People like to tie RussiaGate to Hillary, but she was an out-of-office candidate, a sleazy pol who'd do anything to get elected. I'm no lawyer, but it's very plausible (team) Hillary committed crimes. Major crimes even, but no high crimes. Touch Brennan and/or Clapper, and you'd be getting way too close to the scumbag who's ultimately responsible--Barack Obama.

Can't go there, the firewall will hold. (We're seeing this right now: if the machine doesn't want to talk about Israel during the Maxwell trial, they make damn well sure that the firewall holds, both in the courtroom and in the media that count.) Worst case, they nail Strzok for two counts of *sex on the job and *being a moron. Put him away until the next bunch of pardons and voila, justice was done.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Feb 15 2022 22:59 utc | 77

@Clueless Joe | Feb 15 2022 22:46 utc | 72

"If Scholz and Macron had any [...] self-preservation instinct"
They're acting out of that instinct: they've seen the images from Haiti and don't particularly fancy the wages of defiance. What is missing is the instinct for the preservation of the countries they were entrusted to lead. Martyanov also calls it: "Europe will commit suicide, and the political class will go along with this." Mercouris thinks that Europe will return to the big questions once NS2 is a fact on the ground. We will see.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Feb 15 2022 23:10 utc | 78

Every major US attack in the the past century has occurred on a dark night, but they imagine that the Russians are stupid enough to plan an attack on the night of a full moon?...
Posted by: Hermit | Feb 15 2022 18:01 utc | 12
When the predicted invasion was first dated I noticed it was a full moon. Of course this so the Russian invaders will be able to see at night ...and coupled with the "predicted favourable winds" behind their missiles, they will be invincible!

In the past it was frustratingly heartbreaking to read of Syrian government positions being overrun on no moon nights - Palmyra being an example.

Although the prospect of an unprovoked invasion of THE Ukraine by Russia is bullshit, much of the military exercising Russia is doing must concern itself with squashing any military outrage in the borderlands. At the moment a lot of military around the world must be engaged in intensely high alert activity - great for serious training!

Posted by: tucenz | Feb 15 2022 23:10 utc | 79

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Feb 15 2022 21:58 utc | 63

Do I have it right that in the first Cold War there were a couple of high-level suicides of officials who'd succumbed to their own paranoia.

Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal (also the first United States Secretary of Defense) jumped to his death from an upper floor of Bethesda Naval Hospital.
There are allegations he may have been pushed. He was very much against US support for the nascent state of Israel.
On a positive note they named a class of CVs after him.

Posted by: Sushi | Feb 15 2022 23:19 utc | 80

Posted by: William Haught | Feb 15 2022 22:18 utc | 66

Nothing like a shot of napalm in the morning to cure the punchbowl hangover. It not only smells like victory, you can actually taste the profits.

Posted by: Sushi | Feb 15 2022 23:24 utc | 81

@. 75
Ahhh, the book deal.
A classic kick back laundering scheme.
Forgot about that one.
And the think tank parachute. That’s even better

I agree with all the sentiments re: Obamagate and spying,
No Brennan, no clapper, no Comey, etc.
And I agree it goes all the way to Obama.

But what’s a little sedition discussion among bar flies?
Old news.
Nobody got hurt except that big meanie Trump, eh?

Posted by: Cadence | Feb 15 2022 23:30 utc | 82

"Big plans make for big failures."

If these plans are anything like the planed naval war games in Persian Gulf against Iran, oh boy!!!

Wonder, once the dust sttlles on these Big plans, if 'dog and pony' show would switch over to JCOPA and Iran's days to the N-bomb theater!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Rd | Feb 15 2022 23:37 utc | 83

I've been making a point that Russia's post-Maidan posture has been wholly inadequate to deal with the West, which some others construe as pining for WWIII. Let's not re-litigate that, but something occurs to me: US/UK political/military personnel will play their own games for their own reasons, mostly nefarious. But when it comes to the oligarchs/investors/insurers/airlines fleeing Kiev, isn't this the first time in a long while that someone's actually feared the Bear? About frickin' time; Tim Kirby's latest on Strategic Culture is also pertinent.

Now how to capitalize on it smartly without squandering the moment.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Feb 15 2022 23:37 utc | 84

@Ma Laoshi | Feb 15 2022 23:37 utc | 83

Or are these people foremost fearing the (potential) false flag, as damn right they should. We're sitting here all smug gaming the ways in which the balloon will deflate, and maybe any moment something will happen, in an unexpected place, that will shock us cynics to the core.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Feb 15 2022 23:47 utc | 85

It is now Feb 16th zero hour in Moscow / Kiev.

Anyone hear any tanks clanking?

Are they going East or West?

Stay safe. Cheers!

Posted by: Sushi | Feb 15 2022 23:56 utc | 86

I wonder if one can make a song about the apocalyptic predictions. Having no particular talent in this direction, I think one can adapt "Young man, despair" song from Mikado. A young man, deeply in love with a high school maiden Yum-Yum is getting dreadful information from a "well informed government official". These words seem easy to adapt:

This very day
From school Yum-Yum
Will wend her way
And homeward come
With a beat of drum
And a rum-tum-tum
To wed the Lord High Executioner!
And the brass will crash
And the trumpets bray
And they'll cut a dash
On their wedding day
She'll toddle away, as all aver
With the Lord High Executioner!

[repeated as a chorus]

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 15 2022 23:56 utc | 87

And now the presser with Scholz. As I noted in a previous comment a few days ago, Germany and Russia's trade volume is growing despite everything. Here's Putin on that:

"This [relations] applies primarily to economic ties, which are as intensive as ever. Germany is Russia’s second biggest foreign trading partner after China. Despite the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic and volatility in global markets, by the end of 2021, mutual trade grew by 36 percent and reached almost US$57 billion. German investment in the Russian economy exceeds US$21 billion, while Russian investment in Germany amounts to US$10 billion. About 4,000 companies co-owned by German investors are operating in Russia." [My Emphasis]

On energy, here's Putin again:

"Today, Russia provides over a third of Germany’s energy needs – both oil (34 percent) and natural gas (35 or even 35.4 percent). In 2021, Germany received 50.7 billion cubic metres of Russian gas.

"I would like to note that even during the high exchange quotes for gas and the shortage in Europe, we have continued to deliver fuel to German customers for the prices in our long-term contracts.

"As you know, the national regulator of the Federal Republic is charged with certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which has technically been complete since last December. This is one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects. It is designed to substantially enhance energy security in Europe and facilitate the resolution of pan-European economic and environmental goals. As I have said on many occasions, this is strictly a commercial project without any hint of politics.

"I would also like to note that we are ready to continue distributing gas through Ukraine even after 2024 when the current contract for the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine expires. Naturally, we will do this if there is demand from European importers, if it is profitable and if Ukraine’s gas transport system is in proper technical shape.

"We see many prospects for expanding Russian-German cooperation in other energy areas, including the development, commercialisation and use of renewable energy sources. We have talked about this as regards hydrogen.

"A bilateral working group on sustainable energy is already holding a dialogue on all these issues." [My Emphasis]

The latter point shouldn't be overlooked as Russia has a number of such working groups with other nations and not just about energy. The statement about transit via Ukraine reiterates what's been stated and ought to help shore up Zelensky's confidence about resisting the Outlaw US Empire's plotting.

After his meeting with Lavrov, Putin had this to say about security:

"Russia cannot turn a blind eye to the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance interpreting the key principles of equal and indivisible security, as enshrined in many pan-European documents, so loosely as to suit their own interests. Let me remind you that equal and indivisible security spans more than the right to freely choose methods of ensuring one's security and entering into military alliances and blocs, which our colleagues keep reiterating; it also refers to a commitment to not strengthen one's own security at the expense of other states....

"We see the forceful containment of Russia as a direct and immediate threat to our national security; legal agreements based on the drafts we have proposed would in fact remove this threat."

And here we have Lavrov's recommendations:

"I will repeat that in our view US and NATO responses to our proposals on security guarantees do not meet the three fundamental Russian requirements. However, as the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation reported yesterday, the responses still contain a number of considerations that we are not only ready to discuss but that we have actually suggested to our partners over the years. I am referring to our proposals on European security, certain weapons systems, notably, intermediate and shorter-range missiles, and military transparency. We are ready to continue this joint work. We are also ready to follow the negotiating track, but all issues, as we said before, must be considered in a package, without being separated from Russia’s fundamental proposals, which we consider an unconditional priority. [My Emphasis]

In his statement on Ukraine, Putin added a point I haven't seen before and applaud its inclusion finally:

"Ukraine is systematically violating human rights on a large scale and continues to endorse discrimination against Russian speakers at the legislative level."

Now it's Scholz's turn. He reciprocates many of Putin's points then says a few rather important words:

"An indispensable element of our relations is the dialogue between our societies which made a great contribution to mutual understanding and reconciliation of our nations after World War II. All that should be supported further, and this is why we spoke about the St Petersburg Dialogue. It has been for many years a symbol of German-Russian mutual understanding, and today it is more important than ever. Therefore, I expressed hope that we will find solutions during subsequent high-level talks in order to lift the blockade we are experiencing at the moment. We need space for open and candid dialogue in order to discuss all issues and so that everyone can join in the dialogue.

"We are watching with concern as the space for action by civil society becomes smaller and smaller. There are partners with whom we have been working for a long time. I will name Memorial by way of example. We in Germany fail to understand why Memorial has to stop its activities. This organisation made an important contribution to uncovering the fates of Soviet people carted off to Nazi Germany for forced labour. I hope some positive prospects are possible here."

Unfortunately, on the Ukraine situation, it appears Scholz is hoodwinked by the scam:

"I expressed my views on security. I explained how we and our European partners assess the situation. I said they regard the military build-up as a threat.

"I must emphasise in this context that we are very concerned over the massing of 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border for no apparent reason. This is why urgent de-escalation is necessary. It is very important to prevent war in this tense situation."

As he continued, further examples were provided. Most importantly, Scholz didn't utter the principle, indivisibility of security, which happens to be THE QUESTION at issue. However, he did say:

"To conclude, I will say the following: it is absolutely clear for us, Germans, and for all Europeans that sustainable security cannot be built against Russia but only with Russia. We are united on this point, both in NATO and the European Union. Therefore, a solution must be found. However difficult the situation is now, I would not call it desperate. Now we must act courageously and responsibly." [My Emphasis]

I'd argue Scholz's incorrect when he says "We are united on this point, both in NATO and the European Union." For the Outlaw US Empire is clearly against any such accommodation as are several EU/NATO members.

The Q&A session currently is only available via the Russian transcript, the lead question being very pathetic as the person doesn't recall events from the 1990s:

"Question (retranslated): Michaela Küfner, Deutsche Welle.

"President Putin, you simultaneously signaled that you want dialogue, you see dialogue, and at the same time you criticize the fact that the Federal Chancellor did not bring enough in his luggage, that President Zelensky's promise is not enough. All Europeans ask themselves: despite the close ties with Russia, will there be a war in Europe? Do you rule out a war in Europe?

"And, Mr Federal Chancellor, you have a question. How do you assess the situation now, after this conversation? Has there been any progress as you imagined it to be? And what should be the next step?"

Did anyone read the critiques the reporter asked about? I didn't. Putin's reply:

"As for the war in Europe, Mr Federal Chancellor has just said that people of his generation – and I belong to this generation – have a hard time imagining a war in Europe. And this is said, of course, in relation to the situation around Ukraine. But after all, we were witnesses to the war in Europe unleashed by the NATO bloc against Yugoslavia. A major military operation with missile and bomb strikes on one of the European capitals, on Belgrade, was carried out without the approval of the United Nations Security Council. It's a very bad example, but it was – that's the first thing.

"The second is about whether we like it or not. Of course not. That is why we put forward proposals for a negotiation process, the result of which should be an agreement on ensuring equal security for all, including our country." [My Emphasis]

The remainder was reiteration. In his part of the answer, Scholz promotes the BigLie to cover NATO's illegalities:

"I would like to stress that the situation in Yugoslavia was somewhat different. There was a danger and a threat of genocide, and this had to be prevented. I am very pleased that everything is developing peacefully there, that the peoples of the Balkans have found a prospect in the direction of the European Union."

I'd say that those peoples's prospects are worse than they were in 1992, and most would say they're worse off than 30 years ago. But as noted in commentary above, Putin's rejoinder is highly important:

"Vladimir Putin: Let me just add that, according to our estimates, what is happening in Donbass today is genocide." [My Emphasis]

The report about the Duma vote on recognizing Donbass Republics deserves its own comment; indeed, that entire question deserves to be commented about separately from the security issues.

Overall, I'm not very impressed with Chancellor Scholtz as he's clearly not his own man; he's captured. As with Macron, he seeks to speak for all NATO/EU when he can't as the Russophobes and their Outlaw US Empire sponsor won't budge. And as of now there's no definitive answer as to how long Russia will allow the main security issue fester. IMO, Russia must come out and declare all the security related OSCE Treaties to be broken and demand fast-track negotiations to repair them. IMO, it makes no sense to formulate something new when the principle at issue is well stated within the broken treaties.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 16 2022 0:15 utc | 88

So, Russia begins to wind down its exercises in western russia (what MSM call "withdrawing from Ukraines border". At the same time the Russian parliament begins to discuss a "draft" proposal to "recognise the luhansk and donetsk republics". At this point, nobody can accuse russia of invasion intentions as it is "withdrawing from the ukraine border". However, the draft proposal to recognise the republics doesnt sit well in kiev. Consequently, theyre now left in a position of seriously having to consider a military adventure in east ukraine whikst russian troops are withdrawing. Thus, Russia has achieved whats called "escalation dominence".

Posted by: Hermius | Feb 16 2022 0:16 utc | 89

It is interesting that all the "Russia should bomb, invade, kill "now and should have in 2014 or 1996 etc are never actually Russians, and I suspect have no understanding of political, economic or military reality and are very much in the USA mind set- "we bullies win." Some perhaps are older and still think of Russia as the USSR, with all its former military might.

Firstly in 1996, Russia was weak and demoralised and I suspect could not have taken out a chicken coop. So basically all those who push that line are either very ignorant or are trolling. They could not have opposed the NATO expansion, much as they hated it.

2000, marked a change as Russia started to get its act together, but first it needed to manage the economy, oligarchs, Chechnya, demoralised and underfunded military, no money to pay salaries or pensions, exodus of its best and brightest, management of regional tensions and many difficult neighbours (including China). Helping Serbia, Venezuela, or any other former friends was still beyond them.

Amazingly 8 years later, Russia was re-emerging and nipped the Georgian issue in the bud. By 2014 the USA feared them again and decided to cut them off at the knees via the Maidan. Russia acted firmly and swiftly, totally throwing the US plans off balance by seizing Crimea. I seriously doubt however that in 2014 Russia could have survived an all out war, had they stepped further into Ukraine.

In 2015 I think Russia recognised that the US was always going to be an enemy and sensing danger was strong enough to intervene in Syria. Not yet to drive the US out but strong enough to prop up Assad. They were able to test many weapons successfully. That 15 years, since near total collapse paid off. However to have assumed they could fight NATO in 2015, is just silly.

7 years on since Syria however it is a different story. The military research effort that was evident in 2014, but not yet mature has continued and I think sometime in 2020/21 reached a point of confidence in capability. Not only had their research and internal efforts paid of handsomely, but the international power balance has tipped in their favour. The obvious relative decline of the USA as an economic and military and diplomatic power and the ineptitude of the USA in antagonising China and Russia and Iran at the same time has meant that Russia can act without fearing attack from behind via China or US proxies.

Now it the time for Russia to deal with the European threat. However it would not be the best approach to kill bomb and destroy. Economic links is best for all. It may come to kinetic war, but that will be a sort of failure. In the meantime Russia will probably scratch the Syrian itch, while delightfully keeping well within international law.

Posted by: watcher | Feb 16 2022 0:21 utc | 90

If Russia recognizes Luhansk and Donetsk, it will have its NATO buffer in the southwest (Ukraine).
It’s not big (in size) but it’s a political buffer.
This might be the type of escalation that comes next.
That would lead to some real nasty stuff, but what is the west leaving Russia to do?

And pass that onto any other border states with significant Russian nationals, or those who wish to be identified as Russian.

Posted by: Cadence calls | Feb 16 2022 0:34 utc | 91

Some of my own ideas.
1. I firmly believe that the USSR was deliberately collapsed as a strategic move. Russia was failing and there was no sensible way forward but to regroup and prepare for the inevitable collapse of the USA.
2. Both Russia and China recognize the outsized importance of the US and its brittleness. They are coordinating to "manage" the collapse of the US to be as gentle as possible, while recognizing the huge danger of the death throws of the global beast.
3. Putin, while espousing an Orthodox belief is also a Taost with a very deep understanding of Tzun Tzu, you just have to recognize what he has concentrated on and accomplished over the past 20 years. His recent actions are deliberate and from a position of strength.

Posted by: Peter Robbinson | Feb 16 2022 0:45 utc | 92

I overlooked something of import Scholtz stated in answer to the final question:

"We also do not agree with the proposals that were formulated by Russia, NATO and the EU do not agree."

This completely contradicts what he said in his direct statement which I bolded above. Russia's proposals were actually a question directly related to the various OSCE Security Treaties where the principle of indivisible security for all is invoked. To disagree with Russia is then an admission that you consider the treaty invalid--broken. Germany is therefore 100% captured by the Outlaw US Empire. Its "help" in getting Kiev to implement Minsk almost seven years after the fact won't materialize, just as Macron's attempt failed.

How will Putin respond to the Duma vote IMO now becomes the important topic.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 16 2022 0:50 utc | 93

So.....Putin staged his pieces, issued an ultimatum and demanded a response in writing. The response he got was a firm NO accompanied by 100's of tons of new weapons in Ukraine, a Global Hawk and a submarine in Russian territory and 4 Destroyers at the entrance of the Black Sea.
NATO showed some cracks but this will assuredly be addressed once things settle down and a firm united stance will be put Barflies won't accept it but Putin folded, plain and simple.
Russia is the new North Korea, making noise for attention.

Posted by: Fractional Ownership | Feb 16 2022 1:00 utc | 94

Posted by: watcher | Feb 16 2022 0:21 utc | 89

Excellent analysis. I suggest the same dynamic exists at present within the NATO blok. Putin's actions, and his call or dialog serve as a puncuation mark in history. There was then. There is the present. And there is the prospect of future relations and economic inter-dependency and associated benefits.

Scholtz and Macron may have to tread carefully in the present. But I suspect recent events will result in a re-calibration and an assessment of future relations. Trump went off the reservation in one direction. Biden and Sullivan make a lot of noise but offer little promise with regard to the future.

The UK may remain wedded to the Anglosphere but I suspect a protraced process of developing the Eurosphere or the Euro-Asiasphere, a development that will take place over decades as Watcher describes in his post.

And thank you karlof1 for your posts and interpretations. You are a great antidote to the vapidty of the MSM.


Posted by: Sushi | Feb 16 2022 1:00 utc | 95

Peter Robbinson:
I have strong doubts about 1, but I fully agree with 2. We were lucky that USSR collapse didn't end like previous declines of major powers, in a big war. It's hard to be lucky twice in a row and obviously Xi and Putin know the risks and try to postpone and manage the collapse to a time it won't pose an existential risk to their countries.

I think Putin will wait to see if there can be a deal that turns Ukraine neutral, before recognizing the independence of Donbass provinces, because doing that would break Minsk and would ruin any chance of a deal with Ukraine, which would go on moving towards NATO. And there's growing hint that the West might want to freeze Ukraine for the decade.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 16 2022 1:04 utc | 96

karlof1 87
Scholtz Looks to be a believer of the last 20 years of propaganda. Also never having been part of a sovereign nation he seems to have no clue as to the concept of sovereignty. Patrick Armstrong in his most recent article at his site linked to a piece by Scott Ritter at Consortium News. Ritter thinks much of what Russia is doing is aimed at collapsing or breaking up NATO. The security proposals put up by Russia would, I think, have that effect if US were to agree to them, but to me, US put itself in that position not Russia. Given US NATO history over the last three decades, Russia's moves are certainly justified and I cannot see Russia stopping until US has been pushed we away from its borders.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 16 2022 1:04 utc | 97

RE: Sushi | Feb 15 2022 23:24 utc | 80

I've been wishing the Wall $treet /F.I.RE sector / Merchants of Death megalomaniacs have their meth and coke laced with a fatal dose of Fentanyl, but that would do. Now, would that be murder, or defending America from domestic enemies?

Posted by: William Haught | Feb 16 2022 1:07 utc | 98

Peter Robbinson | 91

you just have to recognize what he [Putin] has concentrated on and accomplished over the past 20 years. His recent actions are deliberate and from a position of strength.

Fractional Ownership | 93

Putin staged his pieces, issued an ultimatum and demanded a response in writing. The response he got was a firm NO …………Putin folded, plain and simple.
Russia is the new North Korea, making noise for attention.

And just the other day the whiskey bar was accused of being an echo chamber.

Posted by: Melaleuca | Feb 16 2022 1:35 utc | 99

If one premise of NATO was to keep Germany down then the imperative has increased dramatically since Germany was split in half between east and west in those days. No wonder they are going bonkers since Germany is now whole.

I do not think the Russian narrative will help their poll numbers at all IMHO. No doubt the National Security Council has become far more political than it ever has been. Driving policy for domestic consumption with very limited effect on the security of the US.

I do not think the Eastern Europeans at that stupid to fall for the narrative either. It is their land that will feel the effects of war. The whole thing has already fallen apart except in the minds of the mockingbird press

Posted by: circumspect | Feb 16 2022 1:38 utc | 100

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