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Philip Giraldi

Putting an End to Volodymyr Zelensky’s Follies

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One week ago, the Ukrainian government may have deliberately attacked neighbor Poland in an attempt to draw the NATO alliance into its war with Russia. The incident involved a missile that hit a grain processing site inside Poland and killed two farmers. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately blamed Russia for the incident even though he surely must have known that the missile had been fired from Ukraine, meaning that he may have been using a so-called “false flag” to create a false narrative of what had occurred. He also immediately called upon NATO to intervene, citing Article 5 of the NATO treaty which requires all members of the alliance to come to the aid of any individual member that is attacked. An attack on one is an attack on all. Poland is a NATO member and it currently hosts a permanent US military base.

The US mainstream media, most particularly the Associated Press and NBC News, immediately repeated the tale being told by Zelensky, but the “blame the Russians” narrative began to unravel. The remains of the missile revealed that it was of a type used for air defense that is in the Ukrainian arsenal, but not currently used by the Russians, and both Moscow and Washington surely had access to satellite imagery that would demonstrate the actual flight path of the missile that struck Poland.

Those in government and the media who wanted to be supportive of Zelensky began to suggest that the Ukrainian missile must have somehow malfunctioned to land in Poland, making it an unfortunate accident. But others more familiar with the performance characteristics of the weapon were skeptical, seeing something possibly more sinister in the tale.
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War Without End

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Prussian Major General Carl von Clausewitz famously drew on his own experience in the Napoleonic Wars to examine war as a political phenomenon. In his 1832 book “On War” he provided a frequently quoted pithy summary of war versus peace, writing in terms of politico-military strategy that “War is a mere continuation of politics by other means.” In other words, war-making is a tool provided to statesmen to achieve a nation’s political objectives when all else fails.

One can reject the ultimate amorality of Clausewitz’s thinking about war while also recognizing that some nations have historically speaking exploited war-making as a tool for physical expansion and the appropriation of foreigners’ resources. As far back as the Roman Republic, the country’s elected leaders doubled as heads of its consular armies, which were expected to go out each spring to expand the imperium. More recently, Britain notably engaged in almost constant colonial wars over the course of centuries to establish what was to become history’s largest empire.

America’s dominant neocons characteristically believe they have inherited the mantle of empire and of the war powers that go hand-in-hand with that attribute, but they have avoided other aspects of the transition in turning the United States into a nation made and empowered by war. First of all, what comes out the other end after one has initiated hostilities with another country is unpredictable. Starting with Korea and continuing with Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq as well as other minor operations in Latin America, Africa and Asia, American war-making has brought nothing but grief on those on the receiving end with little positive to show for the death, destruction and accumulated debt. Also forgotten in the rush to use force is the raison d’etre to have a federal national government at all, which is to bring tangible benefit to the American people. There has been none of that since 9/11 and even before, while Washington’s hard-line stance on what has become a proxy war against Russia over Ukraine promises more pain – perhaps disastrously so – and no real gain.
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Never Let A Good Crisis Go to Waste

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It is astonishing how many observers of war in Ukraine who should know better have been inclined to take at face value the assertions of “sources” that clearly originate among the various governments that are involved in the conflict. Those leaders who are engaged in the inexorable march by the US and its allies to turn the Ukraine crisis into World War 3 surely have learned the lesson that managing the narrative of what is taking place is the greatest weapon that the war hawks have in their possession. One recalls how post-9/11 and leading up to the Iraq War the George W. Bush White House and the neocons in the Pentagon lied about nearly everything to convince the public that Saddam Hussein was a terrorist supporting megalomaniac armed with weapons of mass destruction, inevitably describing him as a man in some ways comparable to Adolf Hitler. Nevertheless, many observers of what was occurring were not fooled and there were large scale demonstrations in a number of cities prior to the invasion in March 2003, which, of course, were rarely reported in the mainstream media in order to control the message.

Iraq in some ways was a learning experience for those in government and also for those in the media who did the heavy lifting by propagating the deception to a largely unsuspecting public. What we are seeing now relating to Ukraine and Russia, however, makes the Iraq experience look like child’s play in terms of the sheer audacity of the alleged information that makes it, or does not make it, into the news. I note particularly the recent terrorist car bombing of Russian activist journalist Darya Dugina by a Ukrainian assassin made the news for roughly forty-eight hours before disappearing, but not before the lie that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was responsible was firmly planted in a number of places in the mainstream media.
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Dancing with the Politicians

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If the non-stop dancing duo Biden and Blinken is seriously seeking to validate its view that the United States of America is and should be the world’s hegemon, they are going about it the wrong way. They should be taking their lead from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky by turning their press conferences into entertainments with dancing bears and scantily clad chanteuses pirouetting and singing across the stage. They would benefit from recalling how Zelensky rose to power through his performances of comedy routines in which he would be prancing around on high heels with three colleagues who appeared to be mocking what might be construed as gay mannerisms to amuse the audience? Or perhaps the rather more outreperformance where Zelensky would play a piano with his penis

If one can remember all that it would most definitely help to understand the foreign policy that is somehow playing out in Ukraine, where Zelensky has transitioned into a serious, unsmiling guy who is adept at solicitations for money and weapons. His pleading has become a shameless full-time endeavor as he now appears on thousands of screens via video link all over the world, saturating the airwaves and dropping in on both major and minor gatherings. 

Australian journalist Caitlin Johnstone recalls how he has appeared on “the Grammy Awards, the Cannes Film Festival, the World Economic Forum and probably the Bilderberg group as well, [while also] having meetings with celebrities like Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, and Bono and the Edge from U2. It’s as busy a PR tour as he could possibly have without having a discussion about the strategic importance of long-range artillery with Elmo on Sesame Street.”
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Producing New Enemies for No Reason Whatsoever

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A good friend of mine, learning of the impending visit of Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, recalled Homer’s description of Helen of Troy, “The face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the towers of Ilium.” Well, Nancy ain’t no Helen of Troy, but she might nevertheless be in the business of launching warships and burning cities due to her bizarre interpretation of her foreign policy prerogatives as Speaker.

It is like watching a train wreck developing in slow motion. Witnessing the highly dangerous behavior of the Biden Administration and its acolytes in power like Pelosi, one feels compelled to ask whether the White House and Congress are now setting the stage for the elevation of China to the status of foreign enemy number one? Indeed, if one has been hanging around Washington for the past twenty-five years or so, it was hard to miss the often-surfaced bipartisan contention that China is America’s major over-the-horizon adversary, or even enemy, with its growing economy, its successful geopolitics, and its huge industrious population. I can still recall my shock at hearing Democratic Senator Jim Webb, an honorable and highly intelligent Iraq War critic, telling a conservative gathering in 2015 that the real future threat to the United States would be coming from China.

Fear of China, sometimes dubbed in racist language as the “Yellow Peril,” has a long tradition in the United States and in Europe. In the current context, the US government is certainly apprehensive about where the increasing rapprochement between China and Russia is going, summed up by Secretary of State Tony Blinken as “The deepening strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order run counter to our values and interests.” Ironically enough, that development stems from the inept US diplomacy exemplified by Blinken’s tunnel vision that most recently allowed a negotiable crisis to develop into a full-fledged war over Ukraine.
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Policing the World Is a Full-Time Job

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Every leader and top official now in power in the so-called Western World seems to have forgotten that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded in 1949 as an alliance that was ostensibly defensive in nature, intended to counter the expansion of Soviet style communism in Europe. That role continued to be the raison d’etre of the organization until communist governments themselves collapsed in both Russia and in the Eastern European states that collectively made up the Warsaw Pact during the 1990s. After that point, NATO no longer had any reason to exist at all as the alleged military threat posed by the Kremlin and its allies vanished virtually overnight.

But clever politicians were quick to put the alliance on life support instead of simply dismantling it. Lacking the threat posed by the Warsaw Pact, NATO was forced to come up with other reasons to maintain military forces at levels that could quickly be enhanced and placed on a wartime footing. Washington and London took the lead in this, citing the now shopworn defense of a “rules based international order” as well as of “democracy” and “freedom.” And fortunately for the national defense industries and the generals, it soon proved possible to find new enemies that provided justification for additional military spending. The first major engagement outside the obligations defined by the original treaty took place in Europe to be sure, but it was in the Balkans where of NATO during the 1995 Operation Deliberate Force. The war ended after the signing of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Paris on December 14th 1995. Peace negotiations were finalized a week later but fighting resumed between Kosovo and Serbia in the following year, which led to another NATO intervention that eventually ended with the restoration of Kosovo’s autonomy and the deployment of NATO forces, which bombed the Serbs to compel their compliance with a draft cease fire agreement.

NATO also played a role improbably enough in the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, which was justified by claiming that an Afghanistan free to set its own course would become a hotbed of terrorism which would inevitably impact on the United States and Europe. It was a paper-thin argument, but it was the best they could come up with at the time and it also eventually involved soldiers from additional friendly countries like Australia. As we have subsequently seen, however, it was all an argument without merit as Afghanistan became a money pit and a graveyard for thousands of locals and foreign soldiers. It is now again in the hands of the Taliban after a bungled withdrawal of US forces and the collapse of the puppet government in Kabul that Washington had installed.
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The All-American Lie Factory

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There are some things that I believe to be true about the anarchy that purports to be US foreign policy. First, and most important, I do not believe that any voter cast a ballot for Joe Biden because he or she wanted him to relentlessly pursue a needless conflict with Russia that could easily escalate into a nuclear war with unimaginable consequences for all parties. Biden has recently declared that the US will support Ukraine “until we win” and, as there are already tens of billions of dollars of weapons going to Ukraine plus American “advisers” on the ground, it constitutes a scenario in which American and Russian soldiers will soon likely be shooting at each other. The President of Serbia and columnists like Pat Buchanan and Tulsi Gabbard believe that we are already de facto in World War 3 and one has to wonder how the White House is getting away with ignoring the War Powers mandates in the US Constitution.

Second, I believe that the Russians approached the United States and its allies with some quite reasonable requests regarding their own national security given that a hostile military alliance was about to land on its doorsteps. The issues at stake were fully negotiable but the US refused to budge on anything and Russia felt compelled to take military action. Nevertheless, there is no such thing as a good war. I categorically reject anyone invading anyone else unless there is a dire and immediate threat, but the onus on how the Ukraine situation developed the way it did is on Washington.

Third, I believe that the US and British governments in particularly have been relentlessly lying to the people and that the media in most of west is party to the dissemination of the lies to sustain the war effort against Russia in Ukraine. The lies include both the genesis and progress of the war and there has also been a sustained effort to demonize President Vladimir Putin and anything Russian, including food, drinks, the Russian language and culture and even professional athletes. The latest victim is a Tchaikovsky symphony banned in Canada.
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Joe Biden’s Secret War in Ukraine

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The White House keeps insisting that it will not directly involve American soldiers in the war in Ukraine, but it keeps taking steps that will inevitably lead to a large-scale open combat role for the US against Russia. Among the most recent moves to increase the pressure on the Kremlin, Biden revealed at a NATO summit meeting in Madrid on June 29th that the US will establish a permanent headquarters in Poland for the Fifth Army Corps, maintain an additional rotational brigade of thousands of troops in Romania and bolster other deployments in the Baltic states. Also, the number of US troops in Europe, currently approaching 100,000, will be increased. Biden also was pleased to learn that Turkey had been enticed to drop its objection to Finland and Sweden joining NATO.

On the way to the NATO summit aboard Air Force One, Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan advised that “By the end of the summit what you will see is a more robust, more effective, more combat credible, more capable and more determined force posture to take account of a more acute and aggravated Russian threat.” Presumably Sullivan was reading from a prepared script, but the objective surely seemed to be to heighten tension with Moscow rather than attempt to reduce it and come to some kind of diplomatic settlement.
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Crime and Punishment

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Quite likely a majority of Americans would agree that it is wrong for the government or police to torture someone, though some would surely accept the “ticking time bomb” exemption, where a detainee is withholding information that could save many lives. It is in fact illegal to torture someone as well as it being morally wrong. Indeed, it could constitute a crime against humanity or a war crime depending on circumstances. The United States, which has signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture and is bound by it, has thereby accepted legal sanctions to back up the view that torture is never permissible. 

Under US law, torture committed by “government officials and their collaborators upon a person restrained by the government is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, and its fruits are inadmissible in all courts.” Given that background, one is astonished to learn that some in the government have not taken the obligation seriously. To be sure, the US has been quick to react when lower ranking officials, contractors and ordinary soldiers have reportedly been involved in torturing prisoners, as occurred with Abu Ghraib prior to 2004, but the higher one goes up the ladder of power the less do laws apply to even the most egregious misbehavior.

It has long been known that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in the wake of 9/11, resorted to torture in its overseas “black” prisons, but details of what took place and anything that would stand up in court as evidence has been difficult to discern as it has been easy for the Agency to shroud its more nefarious deeds through claims of protecting “states secrets.” But now some more details have emerged. The news that former Donald Trump appointed CIA Director Gina Haspel during her tour overseeing a prison in Thailand in 2002 personally observed at least one terrorist suspect being tortured by waterboarding, which simulates being drowned repeatedly until a confession is obtained. Waterboarding was used by the Japanese on prisoners of war in the Second World War and was subsequently considered to be torture, a war crime.
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Explain It to Me, Please

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So Honest Joe Biden is now going to give another $1.2 billion to the Ukrainians on top of the sixty or so billion that is already in the pipeline, but who’s counting, particularly as Congress refused to approve having an inspector general to monitor whose pockets will be lined. The money will be printed up without any collateral or “borrowed” and the American taxpayer will somehow have to bear the burden of this latest folly that is ipso facto driving much of the world into recession. And it will no doubt be blamed on Vladimir Putin, a process that is already well under way from president mumbles. But you have to wonder why no one has told Joe that the whole exercise in pushing much of the world towards a catastrophic war is a fool’s errand. But then again, the clowns that the president has surrounded himself with might not be very big on speaking the truth even if they know what that means.

Having followed the Ukraine problem since the United States and its poodles refused to negotiate seriously with Vladimir Putin in the real world, I have had to wonder what is wrong with Washington. We have had the ignorant and impulsive Donald Trump supported by a cast of characters that included the mentally unstable Mike Pompeo and John Bolton followed by Biden with the usual bunch of Democratic Party rejects. By that I mean deep thinkers about social issues who would not be able to run a hot dog stand if that were what they were forced to do to make a living. But they are real good at shouting “freedom” and “democracy” whenever questioned concerning their motives.

Indeed, opinion polls suggest that there is a great deal of unrest among middle and working class Americans who see a reversion to Jimmy Carter era financial instability, at that time caused by the oil embargo. Well, there is a new energy embargo in place brought about by the Biden Administration’s desire to wage proxy war to “weaken” Russia.
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