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The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link ?Vatican Hatred? and Russophobia Wed May 25, 2022 23:45 | amarynth
By Prof. Slobodan Antonic, Department of Sociology, University of Belgrade (Translated for the Saker Blog) ?Vatican hatred? is not a quote from a publication on the Croatian genocide against Serbs

offsite link W. Bush?s Iraq/Ukraine slip ? same truth as Kerry?s ?implode?/?sanctions? Iran slip in 2013 Wed May 25, 2022 23:33 | amarynth
by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV The clip of George W. Bush?s attempt to condemn Russia?s military operation in Ukraine but instead referring to his own autocratic warmongering in

offsite link Grains of deceit Wed May 25, 2022 13:15 | amarynth
By Nat South for the Saker Blog There are several evolving issues that are being watched regarding plans and developments made by the West to open Ukrainian Black Sea commercial

offsite link Yellow Vests: At worst, the most important French movement for 100 years Wed May 25, 2022 12:37 | amarynth
by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker blog At the very worst they will be as forgotten as the sit-ins, factory occupations, strikes and marches of 1936 have been: 1936 was,

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2022/05/25 ? Open Thread Wed May 25, 2022 12:00 | herb
2022/05/25 11:00:01Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

The Saker >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

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

offsite link Irish Examiner and fake news Anthony

offsite link Labour Party: The unvarnished truth Anthony

offsite link Humanity: Zero chance of survival Anthony

offsite link RTE gives balance – accidentally? Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

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

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

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

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

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

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Lockdown Skeptics

The Daily Sceptic

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

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

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

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

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

Lockdown Skeptics >>

Daniel Tilles - Thu May 26, 2022 00:43

Source: Bloomberg

Norway should share the “gigantic” profits it’s recently made as a result of higher oil and gas prices, especially with Ukraine, said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Morawiecki, answering a question about his government’s energy policy Sunday at a meeting of a youth group, said coal-reliant Poland plans to switch to renewables and nuclear energy, while shedding oil and gas deliveries from Russia and at some point from “Arab” countries as well.

“But should we be paying Norway gigantic money for gas -- four or five times more than we paid a year ago? This is sick,” he said. “They should share these excess profits. It’s not normal, it’s unjust. This is an indirect preying on the war started by Putin.”

Poland will later this year complete a gas pipeline from Norway that’s set to help it replace the supply of the fuel from Russia -- cut last month following Poland’s refusal to pay in rubles.


Source: Notes From Poland

Speaking to a youth forum in Warsaw, Mateusz Morawiecki noted that profits from oil and gas this year for Norway, “a small country of five million [people], will be over €100 billion” higher than in recent years.

“This is not normal, this is not fair” and Norway “should share this excess, gigantic profit”, continued the prime minister. “It is preying – unintentionally of course, because it is not Norway’s fault, this war in Ukraine – but it is indirect preying on what is happening, the war caused by Putin.”

“We are all indignant at Russia, and rightly so,” said the prime minister. “But ladies and gentlemen, young people, something is not right. Write to your young friends in Norway…They should share it, not necessarily with Poland [but] for Ukraine, for those most affected by this war. Isn’t that normal?”

 

Source: Bloomberg

Norway should share the “gigantic” profits it’s recently made as a result of higher oil and gas prices, especially with Ukraine, said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Morawiecki, answering a question about his government’s energy policy Sunday at a meeting of a youth group, said coal-reliant Poland plans to switch to renewables and nuclear energy, while shedding oil and gas deliveries from Russia and at some point from “Arab” countries as well.

“But should we be paying Norway gigantic money for gas -- four or five times more than we paid a year ago? This is sick,” he said. “They should share these excess profits. It’s not normal, it’s unjust. This is an indirect preying on the war started by Putin.”

Poland will later this year complete a gas pipeline from Norway that’s set to help it replace the supply of the fuel from Russia -- cut last month following Poland’s refusal to pay in rubles.


Source: Notes From Poland

Speaking to a youth forum in Warsaw, Mateusz Morawiecki noted that profits from oil and gas this year for Norway, “a small country of five million [people], will be over €100 billion” higher than in recent years.

“This is not normal, this is not fair” and Norway “should share this excess, gigantic profit”, continued the prime minister. “It is preying – unintentionally of course, because it is not Norway’s fault, this war in Ukraine – but it is indirect preying on what is happening, the war caused by Putin.”

“We are all indignant at Russia, and rightly so,” said the prime minister. “But ladies and gentlemen, young people, something is not right. Write to your young friends in Norway…They should share it, not necessarily with Poland [but] for Ukraine, for those most affected by this war. Isn’t that normal?”

 

Anti-Empire - Wed May 25, 2022 23:32

Russia has just banned surrogate birth for foreigners after 40,000 surrogate-birth children have left Russia over the past decades to be raised by foreigners.

In Ukraine the practice remains a boutique industry:

Since 2015, Ukraine has developed into the global capital of surrogacy, with numerous other countries, including Nepal, India and Thailand, having banned the practice. According to estimates, between 2,000 and 3,000 babies are born to surrogate mothers in the Eastern European country [every year], most of them for parents abroad.

The industry hit a war snag as parents weren't able to easily travel and the babies started piling up:

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, it has grown increasingly difficult for the future parents to pick up their children. And every day, new children from surrogate mothers in Ukraine are being born, with hundreds more still pregnant.

"There are currently 18 babies in our air raid shelter in a Kyiv suburb. But new ones are arriving every day."

But the biggest pile-up has nothing to do with the war but with covid derangement:

We have children here from all over the world: France, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, Argentina, Brazil and China. Our oldest children are Chinese. Their parents are unable to leave the country and pick up their children because of the strict coronavirus measures.

The situation with China-bound babies is replicated in Russia:

Due to coronavirus restrictions in 2020, a number of babies born to surrogate mothers were stranded after Russia closed its borders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Most foreign parents were from China and were unable to pick up their children because of the pandemic.

Russia has just banned surrogate birth for foreigners after 40,000 surrogate-birth children have left Russia over the past decades to be raised by foreigners.

In Ukraine the practice remains a boutique industry:

Since 2015, Ukraine has developed into the global capital of surrogacy, with numerous other countries, including Nepal, India and Thailand, having banned the practice. According to estimates, between 2,000 and 3,000 babies are born to surrogate mothers in the Eastern European country [every year], most of them for parents abroad.

The industry hit a war snag as parents weren't able to easily travel and the babies started piling up:

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, it has grown increasingly difficult for the future parents to pick up their children. And every day, new children from surrogate mothers in Ukraine are being born, with hundreds more still pregnant.

"There are currently 18 babies in our air raid shelter in a Kyiv suburb. But new ones are arriving every day."

But the biggest pile-up has nothing to do with the war but with covid derangement:

We have children here from all over the world: France, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, Argentina, Brazil and China. Our oldest children are Chinese. Their parents are unable to leave the country and pick up their children because of the strict coronavirus measures.

The situation with China-bound babies is replicated in Russia:

Due to coronavirus restrictions in 2020, a number of babies born to surrogate mothers were stranded after Russia closed its borders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Most foreign parents were from China and were unable to pick up their children because of the pandemic.

Anti-Empire - Wed May 25, 2022 13:58

Russia has trained serving conscripts but won't use them in Ukraine. This produces a severe manpower shortage which it is trying to dampen with a host of desperate halfway measures. Rounding up Donbass teachers, using the Rosgvardia police troops, disproportionally relying on Chechens, inviting South Ossetians...

One of the desperation measures is courting ex-servicemembers (ex-pros and ex-conscripts alike) to return to the military for stints as short as 3 months, and be paid a staggering 300 thousand rubles per month. At the prewar exchange level that would be 3750 US dollars and is massive money for the Russian province.

It is much higher than the normal salary of a contract soldier which is around $1000 (plus a combat bonus but I don't know how large). Before Ukraine the shortest contract the Russian military would enter into was for 2 years of service.

Kommersant has the story:

The military commissariat of the Lysvensky urban district of the Perm Territory announced on social networks the recruitment of citizens to conclude short-term contracts for the positions of officers, sergeants and privates to participate in the military operation in Ukraine. Information about this today, May 23, in the morning was posted on the official page of the district administration on the VKontakte social network . It was reported that a contract can be concluded for a period of 3 to 12 months. The monthly monetary allowance of contractors will be from 300 thousand rubles.

After the publication of news about this in the media, the message was deleted. The Lysva military registration and enlistment office declined to comment.

The Business Class publication writes that similar messages appeared today, May 23, in the social networks of the administrations of the Ordinsky and Uinsky municipal districts of the Perm Territory, later they were also deleted.

In a related development, the Duma has raised the age limit for Russians seeking to become contract soldiers from 40 to 50 years.

Russia has trained serving conscripts but won't use them in Ukraine. This produces a severe manpower shortage which it is trying to dampen with a host of desperate halfway measures. Rounding up Donbass teachers, using the Rosgvardia police troops, disproportionally relying on Chechens, inviting South Ossetians...

One of the desperation measures is courting ex-servicemembers (ex-pros and ex-conscripts alike) to return to the military for stints as short as 3 months, and be paid a staggering 300 thousand rubles per month. At the prewar exchange level that would be 3750 US dollars and is massive money for the Russian province.

It is much higher than the normal salary of a contract soldier which is around $1000 (plus a combat bonus but I don't know how large). Before Ukraine the shortest contract the Russian military would enter into was for 2 years of service.

Kommersant has the story:

The military commissariat of the Lysvensky urban district of the Perm Territory announced on social networks the recruitment of citizens to conclude short-term contracts for the positions of officers, sergeants and privates to participate in the military operation in Ukraine. Information about this today, May 23, in the morning was posted on the official page of the district administration on the VKontakte social network . It was reported that a contract can be concluded for a period of 3 to 12 months. The monthly monetary allowance of contractors will be from 300 thousand rubles.

After the publication of news about this in the media, the message was deleted. The Lysva military registration and enlistment office declined to comment.

The Business Class publication writes that similar messages appeared today, May 23, in the social networks of the administrations of the Ordinsky and Uinsky municipal districts of the Perm Territory, later they were also deleted.

In a related development, the Duma has raised the age limit for Russians seeking to become contract soldiers from 40 to 50 years.

Anti-Empire - Wed May 25, 2022 10:34

Zelensky has said that 50 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers perish every in the east of the country. That is to say he was talking only about the deaths in Donbass, not counting deaths that occur on the Kherson front, and any deaths when Russia hits training centers in the rear with cruise missiles.

Previously on April 15 he estimated that 2500 to 3000 Ukrainian soldiers had perished in the war, which works out to 50 to 60 per day.

Zelensky was speaking in a context where he did not have an incentive to full-on minimize Ukrainian deaths. He was addressing a question about a petition to allow Ukrainian men to exit the country.

I don’t quite understand whom this petition addresses. Does this petition address me? Or, maybe this petition should address the parents of those warriors, who lost these people, because they defended Ukraine at the cost of their lives?

Today, from 50 to 100 people could be killed here in the most complicated area, in the east of our country."

50 to 100 per day works out to 1500 to 3000 dead per month. For the three months of war so far that would be 4500 to 9000 Ukrainian military deaths so far.

The Kherson front is fairly quiet, particularly recently, but Ukrainian losses in the Russian targeting of barracks are quite significant. There is a reporting ban on these, but sometimes videos of carnage come out, forcing Ukraine to acknowledge them.

Thus in the last seven days, there were two such strikes that we know of. A strike on the barracks of the 91st brigade in Sumy that according to Ukrainian reports killed about 70. And a strike on a training center in Chernigov region that according to Zelensky killed 87. Early reports were of 250 to 300 killed.

So what are the true Ukrainian losses so far? Impossible to know. Zelensky's figures do not include significant losses that are occurring in missile strikes against the rear, and are probably undercounts even just for Donbass. But given the context in which they were given, I do not think they are not massive undercounts but have some correlation to the truth and some information value.

I think Zelensky's 4500 to 9000 partial and undercounted estimate fits well with my previous guesstimate that anything from 6000 to 18000 deaths is plausible for Ukraine.

Zelensky's number of 50 to 100 dead per day on the Ukrainian side is also interesting in the light of me having estimated 75 deaths per day for the Russia-led side last week and 50 deaths daily the week before.

In any case, this is a very bloody war. In the Bosnian war — the costliest in Europe after WWII — about 40 combatants were killed per day.  In 1992, the bloodiest year of the war, about 90 combatants were killed per day. In the bloodiest month of 1992, 145 combatants were killed per day.

The Ukraine War matches the very bloodiest month of Bosnia.

The 6 weeks of the 2nd Karabakh War in 2020 produced 7200 combatant deaths or 160 per day. — Also a similar level.

At least 4200 Ukrainian soldiers have also entered captivity. The vast majority in Mariupol.

Zelensky has said that 50 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers perish every in the east of the country. That is to say he was talking only about the deaths in Donbass, not counting deaths that occur on the Kherson front, and any deaths when Russia hits training centers in the rear with cruise missiles.

Previously on April 15 he estimated that 2500 to 3000 Ukrainian soldiers had perished in the war, which works out to 50 to 60 per day.

Zelensky was speaking in a context where he did not have an incentive to full-on minimize Ukrainian deaths. He was addressing a question about a petition to allow Ukrainian men to exit the country.

I don’t quite understand whom this petition addresses. Does this petition address me? Or, maybe this petition should address the parents of those warriors, who lost these people, because they defended Ukraine at the cost of their lives?

Today, from 50 to 100 people could be killed here in the most complicated area, in the east of our country."

50 to 100 per day works out to 1500 to 3000 dead per month. For the three months of war so far that would be 4500 to 9000 Ukrainian military deaths so far.

The Kherson front is fairly quiet, particularly recently, but Ukrainian losses in the Russian targeting of barracks are quite significant. There is a reporting ban on these, but sometimes videos of carnage come out, forcing Ukraine to acknowledge them.

Thus in the last seven days, there were two such strikes that we know of. A strike on the barracks of the 91st brigade in Sumy that according to Ukrainian reports killed about 70. And a strike on a training center in Chernigov region that according to Zelensky killed 87. Early reports were of 250 to 300 killed.

So what are the true Ukrainian losses so far? Impossible to know. Zelensky's figures do not include significant losses that are occurring in missile strikes against the rear, and are probably undercounts even just for Donbass. But given the context in which they were given, I do not think they are not massive undercounts but have some correlation to the truth and some information value.

I think Zelensky's 4500 to 9000 partial and undercounted estimate fits well with my previous guesstimate that anything from 6000 to 18000 deaths is plausible for Ukraine.

Zelensky's number of 50 to 100 dead per day on the Ukrainian side is also interesting in the light of me having estimated 75 deaths per day for the Russia-led side last week and 50 deaths daily the week before.

In any case, this is a very bloody war. In the Bosnian war — the costliest in Europe after WWII — about 40 combatants were killed per day.  In 1992, the bloodiest year of the war, about 90 combatants were killed per day. In the bloodiest month of 1992, 145 combatants were killed per day.

The Ukraine War matches the very bloodiest month of Bosnia.

The 6 weeks of the 2nd Karabakh War in 2020 produced 7200 combatant deaths or 160 per day. — Also a similar level.

At least 4200 Ukrainian soldiers have also entered captivity. The vast majority in Mariupol.

Anti-Empire - Wed May 25, 2022 00:11

I said this could be done "inside a week":

Operating a howitzer isn’t far different from operating any piece of heavy and precise machinery. Like a lathe operator switching to a new lathe, a person who is already an artilleryman can retrain to a new tube inside a week.

The New York Times confirms it is taking 6 days:

The bottleneck is training. The United States has so far trained about 200 Ukrainian soldiers in six-day courses at bases in Germany. The Ukrainian military divided this group roughly in half, sending some to the front and others to train more Ukrainians. Training soldiers for all 90 guns — the amount that are scheduled to arrive — could take another several weeks, said Mykhailo Zhirokhov, the author of a book on artillery in Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists, “Gods of Hybrid War.’

As long as you have one or two guys per gun who were already artillerymen on a Soviet caliber then 155mm is no big deal. Also having a conscript system Ukraine has access to numerous civilians who are former gun crews.

Teaching them to use the guided rounds would take longer, but those aren't being provided anyway. (Canada has sent a small number, but not the US. The rounds are $60,000 a pop.)

(Mind you the Ukrainians have their own "Kvitnyk" guided rounds for the 152mm guns so it's not like they're entirely unfamiliar. It's just a matter of learning a new interface.)

I said this could be done "inside a week":

Operating a howitzer isn’t far different from operating any piece of heavy and precise machinery. Like a lathe operator switching to a new lathe, a person who is already an artilleryman can retrain to a new tube inside a week.

The New York Times confirms it is taking 6 days:

The bottleneck is training. The United States has so far trained about 200 Ukrainian soldiers in six-day courses at bases in Germany. The Ukrainian military divided this group roughly in half, sending some to the front and others to train more Ukrainians. Training soldiers for all 90 guns — the amount that are scheduled to arrive — could take another several weeks, said Mykhailo Zhirokhov, the author of a book on artillery in Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists, “Gods of Hybrid War.’

As long as you have one or two guys per gun who were already artillerymen on a Soviet caliber then 155mm is no big deal. Also having a conscript system Ukraine has access to numerous civilians who are former gun crews.

Teaching them to use the guided rounds would take longer, but those aren't being provided anyway. (Canada has sent a small number, but not the US. The rounds are $60,000 a pop.)

(Mind you the Ukrainians have their own "Kvitnyk" guided rounds for the 152mm guns so it's not like they're entirely unfamiliar. It's just a matter of learning a new interface.)

Sam LaGrone - Mon May 23, 2022 23:17

Source: USNI News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: USNI News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related: Scott Ritter Catches Up to Anti-Empire


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

Related: Scott Ritter Catches Up to Anti-Empire


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

Edward Slavsquat - Sun May 22, 2022 11:38

Source: Edward Slavsquat

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

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

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

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

Cool Cola

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

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

Highly recommended. An excellent gift for someone you hate.

Street

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

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

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

Fancy

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

We asked her to provide an assessment.

“Normal.”

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

Sheesh.

Source: Edward Slavsquat

Source: Edward Slavsquat

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

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

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

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

Cool Cola

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

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

Highly recommended. An excellent gift for someone you hate.

Street

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

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

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

Fancy

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

We asked her to provide an assessment.

“Normal.”

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

Sheesh.

Source: Edward Slavsquat

Michael Curzon - Sat May 21, 2022 20:03

Source: Bournbrook Magazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Bournbrook Magazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anti-Empire >>

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