Sy Hersh and The Way We Live Now 791

It is a clear indicator of the disappearance of freedom from our so-called western democracies, that Sy Hersh, arguably the greatest living journalist, cannot get this monumental revelation on the front of the Washington Post or New York Times, but has to self-publish on the net.

Hersh tells the story of the US destruction of the Nordstream pipelines in forensic detail, giving dates, times, method and military units involved. He also outlines the importance of the Norwegian armed forces working alongside the US Navy in the operation.

One point Sy does not much stress, but it is worth saying more about, is that Norway and the USA are of course the two countries who have benefitted financially, to an enormous degree, from blowing up the pipeline.

Both not only have gained huge export surpluses from the jump in gas prices, but Norway has directly replaced Russian gas to the tune of some $40 billion per year. From 2023 the United States will appear in that list in second place behind Norway, following the opening in the last two months of two new Liquefied Natural Gas terminals in Germany, built to replace Russian gas with US and Qatari supplies.

So Russia lost out massively financially from the destruction of Nordstream and who benefited? The USA and Norway, the two countries who blew up the pipeline.

But of course, this war is nothing to do with money or hydrocarbons and is all about freedom and democracy…

To return to Hersh’s account, particularly interesting are the series of decisions taken to avoid classification of the operation in various ways which would require it to be reported to Congress. In terms of United States history, this ought to be a big deal.

For the Executive to commit what is an act of war without the approval of the Legislature is fundamentally unconstitutional. But that is one of those quaint remnants of democracy that the neo-liberal elite consensus can quietly sidestep nowadays.

Hersh sets out the well known background in compelling detail,  including the fact that, from Biden down, the Americans effectively announced what they were going to do, openly.

But what most worries me about the entire story is the unanimous complicity of the mainstream media in ignoring the completely obvious.

The media line, parroted here relentlessly by the BBC and corporate media, was  that the Russians had probably themselves blown up the pipeline on which they had expended such great resources and three decades of intense diplomatic activity, and which was to be the key to Russia’s single most valuable source of income for the next 40 years.

This was always quite literally incredible. You would have to be deranged to believe it.

It actually taught me not just that we truly are in the realm of totalitarianism and the Big Lie, but I learnt something very important about how the Big Lie works.

The secret is not that people genuinely believe an outrageous claim. The secret is that people do genuinely believe that they are in a battle of good against evil, and it is necessary to accept the narrative being promoted, in the interests of fighting evil.

Don’t question, just follow. If you do question, you are promoting evil.

I am sure that is how it works.

State and corporate stenographer journalists are actually intelligent individuals. If they thought about it, they would realise that the narrative that Russia blew up its own pipeline is obvious nonsense.

But they are convinced it is morally wrong to think about it.

Which is why none of them challenged the equally mad claims that Russia was repeatedly shelling its own forces occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, and indeed is why none of them challenged the utterly risible official version of the Skripal story.

I previously told the anecdote from when I worked in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and asked a good friend if he really believed the misinformatioin on Iraqi WMD with which he was involved.

He replied by referring to the video game Championship Manager (now renamed Football Manager), which we used to play together. He said when he was in the game, it was immersive, he was manager of Liverpool, and it fully absorbed him.

Similarly, when he walked through the FCO gates, the world of the intelligence reports was immersive and Iraq did have these WMDs inside that world. He worked in the “reality” of the FCO. Once he left in the evening, he lived in a different reality, the world of us in the pub.

I do know of one or two journalists bright enough to detach their professional output from what they really think, in a similar way. (I once had a conversation along these lines with Jeremy Bowen in Tashkent.)

Most however don’t think like this. They simply think that all right thinking people support the historic struggle against the evil Russians, so it must be right to read out the propaganda without thinking too much about it.

Those of us critical of the aggressive promotion of war in Europe, are not only barred from all mainstream media and confined to corners of the internet, and even then heavily suppressed on social media (which is why Sy Hersh’s article does not have the scores of millions of readers it merits).

We can’t even obtain freedom of assembly.

Two established left wing venues have cancelled the No 2 Nato meeting I am addressing in London on 25 February. Conway Hall’s reasons for cancellation included threats to funding and fears for the safety of staff.

We are now reduced to a guerrilla meeting, the Central London venue for which will not be announced until the evening before.

Is this really a democracy, where it is not possible for dissidents to hold a public meeting without secrecy, subterfuge and hiding from supporters of the state?

I do urge you to come along on the day, whatever your views on the subject, to support the right to freedom of speech.

I have a different view from perhaps all of the other speakers, on the legitimacy of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which I oppose.

But I also oppose NATO expansion which is an underlying cause of the war, and indeed oppose the existence of NATO itself.

NATO is a war machine which sucks resources from working people to benefit the military industrial complex, and unleashes devastating destruction on developing states which do not make their natural resources available to western billionaire elites.

It is also a fundamental node of the propaganda apparatus which manipulates and controls our society, particularly as counter narrative and dissident thought is now rigorously and systematically excluded.

There is no longer an Overton window of permitted debate. It has narrowed and should be renamed the Overton letterbox.

One of those small difficult ones right down at the bottom of the door.  With a very fierce spring, and snarling dogs guarding it.


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791 thoughts on “Sy Hersh and The Way We Live Now

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  • Tatyana

    Pigeon English
    Honestly, I’m surprised to see such an emotional reaction. Perhaps this is a feature of intercultural perception.
    For me, this “message” does not carry even a tenth of the emotional charge that could cause such a stormy response in me.
    It seems to you, that Putin called you a degenerate, and seems like it has obscured all other meanings for you.
    For me, everything feels much calmer and more logical.

    If I were an artificial robot writing speech for unemotional beings, I would put Putin’s speech into a chain of semantic units. It would look something like this:
    “Living beings of our piece of land! Please listen to my view of what is happening.
    There are other living beings near us, they are hostile to us. They want to influence our children, making them less adapted to the survival of our genetic branch. For this purpose, hostile beings are promoting inter-sex relationships that are not a 100% successful evolutionary tactic for procreation.
    We observe that the biological desire for reproduction, which manifests its most in young inexperienced individuals, is proposed to be directed to those members of our community who are biologically incapable of reproduction, e.g on the same sex individuals, or, on immature individuals.
    The prior experience of our species also denounces such patterns of behavior as unsuitable for reproduction. This has been written down in several sources, and each of them has found massive support over the centuries.
    We believe that this type of behavior should not be encouraged, should not be promoted, should not be presented as correct, welcome, or advantageous among young immature individuals.
    We recognize the right of hostile beings to choose their tactics for educating their young and inexperienced members of their communities. We hope that they equally respect our right to choose our tactics for educating our young inexperienced members of our community.”

    That is how it sounds to me, and I really see no reason to feel offended by derogatory words. The sense is simple – you make your choice, and you should let us make our choice, Co-existence.

    • Pigeon English

      I am not sure what are you trying to say but IMO it is let’s breed like rabbits.
      There is only 8 Billion people on Earth!
      Sorry that you Russians and the great Russian man and Patriarchs can’t reproduce/propagate fast enough.
      In the old good days people would have 7 children, unlike those infantile men nowadays.
      How many children do you and your friends have on average?
      Sex is not a pleasure but it is about reproduction, according to the Sacred books and a Church.
      Of course I should not be offended by Emperor Wladimir Wladimirowich the First from the Middle Ages calling me degenerate!
      But I am disappointed that Russians are such a backward primitive Society, and a smart leader is a Bigot playing to the lowest prejudice.

      • Pigeon English

        Long story short

        My first comment agreed with his speech and disliked/disagreed with the part of “family values” and the west normalizing pedophilia. You “interfered” with ridiculous links to prove that he is right regarding pedophilia and the degenerate West questioning the Sacred Scriptures.

        As long as you are happy with your choice, and Iranians with theirs, I am also fine. No one should push so called democracy on anyone. I do question Holy books, but if you and Putin accept them as a millennia-old truth then I have to ?. Sorry!

      • Eric

        The nonsense about there being no God and no revealed religion and the denial of the sane way of living i.e. marriage between man and woman resulting in large (and happy) families which has been forced on Europe and North America since the French Revolution that you just regurgitated is what has given us countless wars and genocides since 1789. We don’t want you anymore. Go away.

        • Dawg

          “The nonsense about there being no God and no revealed religion” … ?

          I’m not sure this is the right place for that kind of thinking. Take it to church and preach to the kinfolk who share the same particular brand of sky-fairy theology as you. (Be very careful not to walk into the wrong holy house and proselytise to a different kind of believer, or you might end up being martyred on the spot!) The problem is that when you interject God-speak into rational political arguments, you risk coming across as delusional – as in this case.

          “marriage between man and woman resulting in large (and happy) families”

          Whoa!! If you think a large family with a traditional god-fearing disciplinarian father and a subservient mother is a recipe for happiness, you’ve given little thought to the complaints that get aired in a typical counsellor’s office. It’s more of a recipe for emotional abuse and lifelong neurosis, which gets passed down the generations. (Of course we’re looking at different examples and sticking the same label on them, but the point is: you can’t cite a sweeping observation in support of a moral argument when there are such glaring contradictions throughout the same culture.)

          God-botherers are a throwback to a pre-enlightenment age of ignorance and superstition. We don’t want you anymore. Go away to a church and bother your fellow worshippers of God/Jahweh/Allah (delete as appropriate) instead.

    • Jams O'Donnell

      Good post, Tatyana. While I’m not crazy about being negative to gays/lesbians, I fully endorse your societies right to have the kind of culture your society wants. And I’m not crazy about the SNP brand of extreme minority rights either.

      • glenn_nl

        Sure, Jams – any culture can be as bigoted and hateful as it likes towards minorities, just as long as _you’re_ not in that minority. That’s damned white of you to endorse a right to prejudices you don’t object to yourself.

  • AG

    Naked Capitalism has brought a study on the Global South´s view on the Ukraine War.

    I link it here, since this is important.

    It has been and will be subject of debate in the Western media however stating merely bold opinions without any serious knowledge base:

    in short:

    “The findings in the study, while not free of a margin of error, are robust enough to take seriously.
    These are:

    For the 6.3 billion people who live outside of the West, 66 percent feel positively towards Russia and 70 percent feel positively towards China, and,

    Among the 66 percent who feel positively about Russia the breakdown is 75 percent in South Asia, 68 percent in Francophone Africa, and 62 percent in Southeast Asia.

    Public opinion of Russia remains positive in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

    Sentiments of this nature have caused some ire, surprise, and even anger in the West. It is difficult for them to believe that two-thirds of the world’s population is not siding with the West.

    What are some of the reasons or causes for this? I believe there are five reasons as explained in this brief essay.”

    Essay here
    (By Krishen Mehta, a member of the Board of the American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord (ACURA), and a Senior Global Justice Fellow at Yale University. Published by Globetrotter in partnership with ACURA):

    • Pigeon English

      “President Kennedy ended his American University speech in 1963 with the following words: “We must do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless for its success. ”

      At a time there was a SEGREGATION in USA but we “commies” were bad!

    • Pigeon English

      “Sanctions imposed on over 40 countries by the West impose considerable hardship and suffering. Under what international law or “rules-based order” did the West use its economic strength to impose these sanctions? Why are the assets of Afghanistan still frozen in Western banks while the country is facing starvation and famine? Why is Venezuelan gold still held hostage in the UK while the people of Venezuela are living at subsistence levels?”

      At least I am happy and relived that religion and Putin’s conservatism did not make the top 5.

    • Pears Morgaine

      ” For the 6.3 billion people who live outside of the West, 66 percent feel positively towards Russia and 70 percent feel positively towards China, ”

      Firstly I’d like to know how they reached these conclusions, did they ask them all? Secondly – so what? Are we supposed to feel that we’re in the wrong? As the report says this is a european war although it might have eventually have wider consequences. I don’t suppose people outside of the west cared very much about Hitler’s invasion of Poland or the Soviet Union.

      • Pigeon English

        ……did they ask them all? Of course they did like every other poll conducted in the world ?.

        Are we supposed to feel that we’re in the wrong?

        No! But what about maybe wrong or be less convinced how right we are.

        Read the article and let’s discuss it further .

        To paraphrase. ” World problems are not Europeans problem but Europeans problems should/are World problems

        “I don’t suppose people outside of the west cared very much about Hitler’s invasion of Poland or the Soviet Union.”

        No and why should they? Imperial Japan was involved and Imperial Britain and others were recruiting from the colonies .

        Why would the colonized have a simpathy with a colonizer( Britain and France) against USSR/ Russia helping/supporting them in Decolonization. I know ,those in the colonies are ungrateful bastards.

        Mohamed Ali said something like “I am not oppressed by Vietnamis but by the white people and I am not going to fight them

      • glenn_pt

        “Did they ask them all?”

        Of course not, what a profoundly stupid question.

        “Are we in the wrong?”

        Who’s this “we”, white man? “We” speaks for you and everyone taken in with the western Official Narrative, I take it.

        • Pears Morgaine

          The ‘western Official Narrative’; that this is an illegal and unnecessary war against a sovereign state that has a right to defend itself.

          Do I take it you have a problem with that?

          • glenn_nl

            No need to be shy about the Official Western Narrative, which has it that Russia invaded without any justification whatsoever. And yes, you do indeed correctly take it that I – as would any honesty person – have a problem with that, because it is manifestly untrue.

            Just as untrue as our stated reasons for getting involved – because we’re all so concerned about peace and democracy, sovereign rights and high principles, because that is utter BS too.

  • glenn_pt

    Interesting to reflect on the words of Siegfried Sassoon from June 1917, read out in the House of Commons the month after.

    “The war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.” What had begun as a defensive war had become one of “aggression and conquest”. It could have been “ended by negotiation”. He said, “I have seen and endured the suffering of the troops, and I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust…”

  • Pigeon English

    This is article in The Independent about “numbers” after 1 year of fighting.
    Most of the numbers are very different from the numbers MSM (war propaganda machine) are feeding us.
    Of course MoD claims about Russian losses (exaggerated IMO) are mentioned.
    Have fun comparing what you heard and what alleged numbers are.
    Some one was asleep IMO

      • Pears Morgaine

        These are just those that the OHCHR have been able to identify, it’s generally accepted that the real figure, when it’s known, will be very much higher.

        No doubt somebody will be along in a minute or two to explain how it’s all their own fault.

        • GFL

          All those civilians dead, food shortages, energy prices through the roof, if the west had just given some security guarantees to Russia non of this would have happened, or is it some kind of insane master plan?

          • Pears Morgaine

            Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in return for security guarantees from Russia. That worked out well. Putin has denied Ukraine’s right to exist as a sovereign state and claimed he invaded to ‘de-militarise’ and ‘de-Nazify’ the country. What security guarantees do you think would’ve changed his mind?

          • Pigeon English

            Maybe some of the following:
            No NATO expansion, no Ukraine in Nato and most of all implementing Minsk 1&2 agreement.
            I know that you are aware of Merkel, Holland and Poroshenko statements but I doubt that you had a look at Minsk agreement.

            Building up forces on so-called Donbas (terrorists by Ukraine definition) “front line” implies attack.
            What I am trying to say is that 30,000 soldiers did not turn up in Bakhmut and Avdiivka and other fortified strongholds out of nowhere.
            “These are just those that the OHCHR have been able to identify”.
            Where does it say ” een able to identify” in the article ?

            “it’s generally accepted that the real figure, when it’s known, will be very much higher.”
            What does that mean? Accepted by whom and told by whom?
            What is the figure according to your sources?
            Much higher!
            Is that 10 times or 20 times more?

        • AG


          re: NATO vs. Russia

          (unfortunately my archive is not organized yet, so some good commentary on the issue is there but I have to find it…)

          * * *
          A comparison of the Russian demands and NATO counter-offers in Dec. 2022

          * * *

          the Russian pure text of the Russian draft sent to Washington, 17.12.2022

          * * *

          Here a piece by former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman about deceit on the NATO-Russia issue by US administrations he experienced in the 80s and 90s .

          Counterpunch, Dec. 8th, 2022

          * * *
          A nice historical excerpt from a US op-ed newspaper piece, Oct. 16th 1962 (Cuban Missile Crisis)

          “Let those who are leaning over backwards to find justification for Cuba ask themselves what would happen if the United States suddenly began sending great quantities of arms and “technicians” to a country like Finland right up against Russia itself and hitherto acknowledged as being within the sphere of Soviet influence as Cuba once was within the American. There would be a real parallel to Cuba. Even our most fanatic rightists … would have to admit that such a thing would be an unwarranted provocation of the Russians and a serious tampering with the precarious balance on which world peace rests.”

          * * *

          Responsible Statecraft, April 9th, 2022

          “Is the US hindering much-needed diplomatic efforts? – Washington appears to be absent from the process, seemingly holding out for a preferred outcome while the violence rages.”

          excerpt: “(…) Prior to the Russian invasion, the U.S. refused to seriously negotiate either the comprehensive European security structure that Russia proposed, or Russia’s demand of a halt to NATO encroachment on its borders, even though both the Biden administration and European governments told Zelensky that there was, in fact, no possibility of Ukraine being invited to join NATO in the foreseeable future. Because of pressure from the ultranationalists, Zelensky could not offer a treaty for neutrality at the time. Lieven said that the U.S. should have helped to push it. But the Biden administration refused. Lieven added that France and Germany were interested in that diplomatic path but also did not propose a treaty of neutrality because they feared a split with the U.S. (…)”

          * * *
          John Mearsheimer with a longer text, Jun 2022

          “The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine War”


          I will make two main arguments today.

          First, the United States is principally responsible for causing the Ukraine crisis. This is not to deny that Putin started the war and that he is responsible for Russia’s conduct of the war. Nor is it to deny that America’s allies bear some responsibility, but they largely follow Washington’s lead on Ukraine. My central claim is that the United States has pushed forward policies toward Ukraine that Putin and other Russian leaders see as an existential threat, a point they have made repeatedly for many years. Specifically, I am talking about America’s obsession with bringing Ukraine into NATO and making it a Western bulwark on Russia’s border. The Biden administration was unwilling to eliminate that threat through diplomacy and indeed in 2021 recommitted the United States to bringing Ukraine into NATO. Putin responded by invading Ukraine on Feb. 24 of this year.

          Second, the Biden administration has reacted to the outbreak of war by doubling down against Russia. Washington and its Western allies are committed to decisively defeating Russia in Ukraine and employing comprehensive sanctions to greatly weaken Russian power. The United States is not seriously interested in finding a diplomatic solution to the war, which means the war is likely to drag on for months if not years. In the process, Ukraine, which has already suffered grievously, is going to experience even greater harm. In essence, the United States is helping lead Ukraine down the primrose path. Furthermore, there is a danger that the war will escalate, as NATO might get dragged into the fighting and nuclear weapons might be used. We are living in perilous times.
          Let me now lay out my argument in greater detail, starting with a description of the conventional wisdom about the causes of the Ukraine conflict.

        • AG


          re: NATO vs. Russia – 2

          this is a chronology of events in 2021 from a recent German book by historians Ulrike Guérot and Hauke Ritz, “Endspiel Europa” – “Europe end game”

          (the original text has several sources linked)

          Western maneuvers and preparations for war in 2021

          A description of activities in the last year before the start of the war should suffice to corroborate the above thesis:

          On March 24, 2021, Ukraine adopted a military strategy committing the government to take all necessary measures-including military ones-to reintegrate Crimea and the republics of Donbass and Lugansk.

          Also in March 2021, the U.K. Ministry of Defense declared its intention to increase its activities in the Black Sea. That same month, the Defender Europe 21 military exercise began, involving 28,000 troops from 26 countries in Ukraine’s immediate neighborhood.

          In April 2021, the Turkish and Ukrainian governments issued a joint statement in which Turkey supported steps to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

          May and June 2021 saw several joint maneuvers between Ukraine and Western countries: Steadfast Defender 2021 with 9000 troops from 20 NATO countries.

          In June, Ukrainian and British government officials also agreed on the Naval Capabilities Enhancement Program, under which British warships would be sold to Ukraine.

          Also in June, the Defender Europe 21 maneuver included the Noble Jump exercise, which involved 13 nations and 4,000 troops in Ukraine’s neighbor Romania.

          At the NATO summit in Brussels that same month, NATO member states renewed their 2008 Bucharest commitment to Ukraine’s future membership.

          From June 28 to July 20, 2021, the U.S.-Ukrainian-led military exercise “Sea Breeze” took place in the Black Sea. This exercise involved 32 ships, 40 aircraft and helicopters, and 5000 troops from 24 nations.

          From July 12 to 19, 2021, the military exercise “Breeze 2021” took place, with the participation of 30 ships and 2000 soldiers.

          On July 7, 2021, the European Parliament indicated in a decision that the EU could play an important role in supporting the policy pursued by NATO.

          Also in July 2021, the “Three Swords” exercise took place with 1200 Ukrainian, Polish, Lithuanian and American soldiers. In addition, the Ukrainian-British maneuver “Cossack Mace 2021” took place in the same month, with the participation of 900 Ukrainian soldiers and 500 soldiers from various NATO countries.

          On August 23, 2021, NATO’s Deputy Secretary General attended the Crimea Platform launch event. In the same month, a formation of British fighter jets flew over the Ukrainian capital Kiev to mark the 30th anniversary of its breakaway from the Soviet Union.

          In September, Rapid Trident 2021, a maneuver organized by Ukraine and the U.S., took place with 4,000 Ukrainian and 2,000 foreign troops, which included the U.S., Canada, six EU countries, as well as Georgia, Moldova, Turkey, Jordan and Pakistan.

          A joint statement on the U.S.-Ukrainian Strategic Partnership was also released in September.

          In October 2021, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv to work with Ukraine on implementing the Strategic Defense Agreement.

          October also saw the U.K.-Ukraine Warrior Watchers exercise, which included airfield defense drills.

          Finally, in October, media reported on an internal European External Action Service working paper that considered whether the EU could launch a stand-alone military training mission for Ukraine.

          In November 2021, the United Kingdom and Ukraine signed an agreement under which Ukraine would receive 1.7 billion British pounds to develop its navy.

          On Nov. 10, the “U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership Charter” was signed. The document states that “the United States […] will never accept Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea.”

          Also on November 10, U.S. media reported a deployment of the Russian army along the Ukrainian border. There was also a parallel deployment of Ukrainian troops along the border with the independent republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and on the border with Crimea. A preponderance of Ukrainian military units emerged on the border with the two republics. Russia interpreted the Ukrainian deployment as preparations for war.

          On December 8, 2021, a joint communiqué between the United Kingdom and Ukraine once again underscored Ukraine’s status as a “NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner.”

          On December 14, the Ukrainian parliament passed the law “On the Admission of Armed Units of Armed Forces of Other States on the Territory of Ukraine in 2022.” The law refers to the Rapid Trident, Cossack Mace, Light Avalance, Silver Sabre, Sea Breeze, Riverine, Maple Arch, and Viking maneuvers planned for 2022 and allows the prolonged presence of foreign troops in Ukraine.

          Around January 27, 2022, diplomatic correspondence between Moscow and the United States broke down. The U.S. rejected Russia’s core demands, such as renouncing NATO’s eastward expansion, scaling back NATO’s presence under the 1997 NATO-Russia Act, and renouncing the deployment of short- and medium-range missiles.

          On February 7, 2022, the Ukrainian foreign minister stated in a press conference with German Foreign Minister Baerbock that “there will be no direct dialogue of his government with the pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.” This was a public admission of not wanting to implement the Minsk agreement.

          On Feb. 14, 2022, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Kingdom said it was also considering additional bilateral agreements with the United States and the United Kingdom in lieu of immediate NATO membership.

          Also on February 14, U.S. President Joe Biden expressed that he expected Russia to attack Ukraine on February 16. In fact, an increasingly heavy shelling of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics by Ukraine began on February 16, 2022. By February 18, shelling had already increased 34-fold from February 14. In the event that Ukraine itself had planned an offensive, it would have been expected to begin in much the same way, with massive artillery shelling. In a sense, therefore, one could equally declare February 16, 17, or 18 as the day the war began.

          On February 16, there were 591 cease-fire violations and 316 explosions, an eightfold increase over February 14. On February 17, there was again a doubling of shelling, with the forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics clearly on the defensive. The OSCE recorded 870 ceasefire violations and 654 explosions. On February 18, the same picture emerged. Now the OSCE registered already 1566 ceasefire violations and 1413 explosions. On the weekend of February 19-20, 2022, the OSCE registered as many as 3231 ceasefire violations and 2026 explosions.

          On February 19, 2022, at the Munich Security Conference, Ukrainian President Selensky declared that his country would withdraw from the Budapest Memorandum unless there were firm security guarantees from the five permanent members of the Security Council, including Germany and Turkey. The president thus indirectly announced his intention to acquire nuclear weapons.

          On February 21, 2022, Moscow recognized the independence of the two independent republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The OSCE recorded 1927 ceasefire violations and 1481 explosions that day.

          On February 22, 2022, there were 1710 ceasefire violations and 1420 explosions. The Donetsk and Lugansk republics could hardly withstand military pressure from Ukraine and submitted a request for military assistance to the Russian government.

          The report on February 23 speaks only of a greatly deteriorated security situation.

          On February 24, Russian troops crossed the border into Ukraine. (…)”

          • Pears Morgaine

            Russian troops began their build up ready for the invasion in April 2021 and the decision to invade must’ve been made some months prior to that. Any action by NATO or Ukraine after that date cannot therefore be counted as provocation. In most cases the OSCE were unable to determine what the ceasefire violations were or even where they happened. A lot were ‘we heard a bang’ but the number of tanks and other AFVs in proscribed non-government areas outnumbered the vehicles observed on the other side of the border.


            Once again though it has no relevance on the decision to invade which was clearly made months earlier.

          • Dodds

            Thankyou A.G.
            Pity the media doesn’t share your excellent info . I knew some of it but it was much better put by yourself.

  • AG

    PIGEON, PEARS et. al.

    re: number of dead civilians

    (thx for THE INDEPENDENT link!)

    In Germany the latest manifesto for peace signed by 700.000 people after 17 days

    and occasion for Saturday´s first major German peace protest in months (50.000 people in Berlin),

    speaks of 50.000 dead civilians in Ukraine.

    Which would be 7 times higher than the official UN number cited by THE INDEPENDENT. (and the only one I have so far seen being quoted by any party.)

    I believed something is utterly wrong here – (regarding the Russian conduct of war which was reserved in 2022, trying to avoid civilian structures and regarding human loss in other wars conducted more recklessly – 50.000 appears an out-of-proportion number. )

    So I asked around and the answer: 50.000 dead is the number given by US High Command, US Armed Forces in other words.

    Frankly I find this source strange, since in such cases a non-belligerent party, that is a neutral one, ought to be the authority, and that´s what UN in fact is and has always been.

    And UN gives the numbers cited by THE INDEPENDENT.

    Now I was told by some affiliated with the manifesto writers, UN calculation method is not being trusted by some “experts” (I don´t know who exactly.) And thus they stick with the 50.000.

    But I somehow think this has to do more with fear of jingoist press than concern with true numbers, which has beend sort of admitted by Sarah Wagenknecht herself (one of the 2 initiators of the manifesto – she of course did not mean to say she doesn´t believe 50.000. But the tactical argument is obvious.)

    Now tactics is something for political activism. Not for scholarship or research.

    I wrote to UN in Geneva, of course no answer to my question yet, why their numbers are being contested (by anonymous experts) and where the US Army got their fantastic 50.000.

    I seem to be the only one interested in this issue of contradicting numbers around here (no GB of course).

      • AG


        “Mr Belousov’s work forms part of a new documentary, The Body in the Woods, which will be released by The Independent on 1 March. It follows the stories of Ukrainians seeking to identify their loved ones lost in the early months of the conflict and will be available to stream on and on Independent TV’s new app for smart TVs, including on platforms such as Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video.”

        sounds absolutely like a trustworthy survey by neutral specialists on war crimes.

        I wrote people in Germany just 1 week ago, be careful with those 50.000 dead. In a few months they will claim 100.000 dead and then the ridiculous genocide lie is all around.

        (Well it happened faster.)

        Instead of sticking to neutral UN sources.

        It is the same playbook as already used with the term “rule-based order” introduced by the US State Department as a propaganda scheme against the United Nations Charter.

        2 years ago hardly anyone had known what the hell “rule-based order” is.
        Now it´s the hottest topic during a coffee break and no one remembers that there actually has always been a “rulebook” aka “laws” (not rules) enshrined in the UN Declaration and follow-ups.

        once you leave international “neutral” territory for discourse, and you´re doomed.

    • Pears Morgaine

      ” I believed something is utterly wrong here – (regarding the Russian conduct of war which was reserved in 2022, trying to avoid civilian structures and regarding human loss in other wars conducted more recklessly – 50.000 appears an out-of-proportion number. ) ”

      Believe that and you’ll believe anything. It was invented to explain away Russia’s slow progress and we now know it was complete nonsense. Certainly since October Russia adopted a deliberate strategy of attacking civilian infrastructure in an attempt to starve and freeze the population into surrender. A strategy that was doomed to failure from the start.

      • Pigeon English

        And you believe that Russia was “carpet bombing” Ukraine and killing 100,0000 – 200,000 civilians in
        the process?!
        I am still waiting for your answers about
        “These are just those that the OHCHR have been able to identify”
        Where does it say “been able to identify” in the article ?
        “it’s generally accepted that the real figure, when it’s known, will be very much higher.”
        Do you see the paradox between claims of 50000 or 100000 and “when it’s known”. It is not year 0 when we had Donkeys and Messengers traveling weeks to tell us what happened at the battle. If a civilian building is hit and 3 people die they will/should be registered. Russia did not drop 10 Nuclear bombs and Ukraine can not yet evidence those 1 million deaths. We are talking 365 days multiply by 100 a day or 300 or 500 across the big country.
        Let’s try to make it simple. 365 × 100 = 36500. Those people were killed across, let’s say, only 10 locations. That is 10 people per location and you claim that they can not be confirmed or identified!? Are you saying that 10 buildings destroyed with 10 people killed in each are not accounted for? We don’t know who the fuck are those people.

          • Pigeon English

            a total of 7,199 killed according to your link!
            Now I am rely confused what you are trying to say.

            “Where did I say ‘carpet bombing’?”
            nowhere but to kill 100000 civilians you have to “carpet bomb” in my opinion!

          • Pears Morgaine

            I think I know what’s happened. it’s the claim that the Russian conduct of the war was deliberately ‘reserved’ to avoid civilian casualties I was challenging; not the number of dead and injured. I would agree that 100,000 sounds too high but for reasons stated in the report the UNCHR acknowledge that the number recorded is not complete.

  • Tatyana

    The US and Cuba don’t even have a land border. While the border between Ukraine and Russia is about 2000 kilometers by land and about 300 by sea. So I wouldn’t compare it to Cuba.
    To make the comparison more accurate, maybe the example of Mexico will do. Imagine that the Mexican government has joined the BRICS and has been massacring ethnic non-Mexicans on the border with the US for a decade, while demanding military support from the Russian-Chinese bloc, and Putin and Xi admit that the Ottawa peace accords were sham. Surreal!

    • AG

      the Cuban quote I only chose because it anticipates a scenario which we in fact experience today, 60 years after the author actually wrote those words.

      Which shows us how absolutely crazy all of this is today, because in 1962 it was merely intended as a totally fictitious scenario by the writer.

      sci-fi so to speak because the fact Russia would allow it, US would dare do it, seemed otherworldly.

    • Pigeon English

      The point is that Americans were “annoyed” by some island (Cuba) not even having a land border with USA having some “defensive” Missile systems installed(by USSR) on its territory. That is a historical fact and somehow they do not understand it.
      Mexican analogy is too complicating!

  • AG

    re: MINSK, as it was mentioned here:

    short excerpt on this, from Nicolai Petro´s “The Tragedy of Ukraine” (highly recommended study)

    pages 224-226:

    6.1 From Geneva to Minsk: Why Peace Failed

    Attempts to negotiate a peaceful settlement between Kiev and Donbass began well before the latter’s outright rebellion. On April 17, 2014, consultations between Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the European Union led to the signing in Geneva of a “Declaration of Principles” for resolving the crisis there. It consisted of just three points:
    1. All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemn and reject all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism.
    2. All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to their legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated
    3. Amnesty will be granted to protestors and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.⁵

    An OSCE Special Monitoring Mission was set up to supervise the implementation of de-escalation measures, and the Ukrainian government pledged to begin an “inclusive, transparent and accountable” process of constitutional review, that would include “the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine’s regions and political constituencies.”⁶

    The Geneva Agreement had neither timetables nor mechanisms for its implementation. Its significance lay in setting down certain principles to be used in resolving the crisis. At this juncture, most international observers still viewed the conflict in Donbass as a civil conflict within Ukraine. The end of military hostilities was therefore to be followed by the negotiation of a new political framework that would grant more local autonomy to any region of Ukraine that wanted it.

    Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov summed up the view of many that it was up to Kiev to “show the initiative, extend a friendly hand to the regions, listen to their concerns, and sit down with them at the negotiation table. Only then will Ukraine be a strong state, a proverbial bridge between the East and the West.”⁷

    Many hoped that the election in May 2014 of a new president, Petro Poroshenko, would bring about a speedy peace, since he had served under both presidents
    Yushchenko and Yanukovych, and had extensive business ties with Russia.

    But after just a month in office, Poroshenko abandoned the Geneva Agreement, and stepped up the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) against Donbass, promising victory within hours.⁸

    The Ukrainian army did, in fact, re-take a significant amount of rebel territory, but then it got bogged down. When it attempted to push forward again, it met with a series of disastrous defeats. After the first, at Ilovaisk in August 2014, President Poroshenko was forced to accept the First Minsk Accords. After the second, at Debaltsevo in February 2015, he was forced to sign the Second Minsk Accords.

    Both of these accords continue to assume that the conflict in eastern Ukraine is mostly an internal affair. The essential difference between them lies in their degree of detail.

    The Second Minsk Accords (Minsk-2) provided a comprehensive framework and specific deadlines for the reintegration of Donbass into Ukraine that followed the logic of the Geneva Agreements: the first three points dealt with the separation of forces; the remaining ten points were confidence-building measures designed to lead to the reintegration of the region into Ukraine. Its most significant points are:

    – Point 5, which called for the pardon and amnesty of those engaged in the conflict. The Ukraine parliament did pass such an amnesty law, but applied it only to Ukrainian soldiers and volunteer fighters.

    – Points 7 and 8, which called for restoring economic and financial ties with Kiev. Ukraine subsequently shut down all banking and social services in the region, suspended local pension payments, restricted rail and cell phone service, and instituted a blockade of water and electricity.

    – And Point 9, which stipulated that control of the border would be transferred to Kiev after local elections and a comprehensive political settlement. A comprehensive political settlement was defined as the adoption of constitutional amendments on decentralization that included a local police force, and the right to use the local language (Russian). (…)”

    you could argue sabotage of the peace process was intended from the outset.

    Not only confirmed 2022 “after the fact”by Poroshenko, Merkel, Holland, Zelenskyj but already pointed out by Ukrainian government officias back then, as becomes also very clear from the final quotes above points “5-9”.

  • AG


    a couple of short essays on the Ukraine war

    “On Friday we published a symposium to mark the year since the tragic and brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine. It featured ACURA experts Marlene Laruelle (“Lessons from a Year of War“), Anatol Lieven (“The Balance of the War“), Nicolai N. Petro (“Cold War Realism: Lessons from Ukraine“), Katrina vanden Heuvel and James W. Carden (“Why Not Diplomacy?“).

    following passage in Nicolai Petro´s piece I find especially “revealing” as far as Petro is a very somber scholar who as far as I can assess is extremely skeptical as a good scholar should be towards his subject of research:

    All this hints at the existence of a long term U.S. foreign policy strategy that outside observers can only guess at. I would not be at all surprised if, thirty years from now, future historians learned of the existence of a new NSC-68—America’s 1950 blueprint for conducting the Cold War—cooked up within the Biden administration in anticipation of just such a confrontation. After all, the contents of NSC-68 itself, although rumored about for years, were only revealed in 1975. 

    In sum, just as Russia is to blame for the initiation of hostilities in February 2022, so the West is to blame for prolonging them. In this conflict each side is pursuing its own ends, usually at the expense of the Ukrainian people.

    * * *

    brand new so I have yet to watch: 1 hour long conversation on “The Tragedy of Ukraine” between the author Nicolai Petro and Anatol Lieven:

    • Tatyana

      Did you see Ms. Baerbock saying at the Munich Security Conference that Putin should do a 360-degree turn?

      We now have a new joke: Mr. Pistorius claims that there is a new defensive system capable of turning Russian missiles 360 degrees.
      “This will fundamentally change the situation [on the battlefield], the minister said. – No supersonic missile can hit a target if its trajectory changes by 360 degrees. The turn is not fixed by any instruments, and it seems to an outside observer that the rocket is flying on the same course, but this is not so. In the near future, we intend to improve the system in such a way as to be able to deploy not only regular missiles, but also ballistic ones at 720, 1080 and even 3600 degrees”

      • AG

        thx, no I did not.
        Honestly I do not follow daily news.
        So some items from German daily politics I am learning from you or others here, e.g.

        But apparently she really is not only corrupt, criminally irresponsible and a coward. No, apparently she is also stupid.
        Great combination.
        (But others are as stupid. Lucky for them they are not as much on public display, talking.)

  • David

    So, since that terrible business in the 1940’s, everybody looks the other way when it suits.
    The paper tiger Geneva Convention, War Crimes, Genocide and general violations of Human Rights don’t apply to all nations.

    After 1945 some nations gave themselves legal loopholes to do as they internationally please. America has a clause allowing them to invade Holland should an American ever be put on trial at The Hague !

    In the past 50 years alone the same culprits have destabilised world economies, staged many coups in many nations, planted corrupt political figures in nations of interest, sold many weapons to dictators they installed (often to use on civilians), committed genocide, funded-trained-supplied ‘terrorists’, false flag attacks, taken us to the brink of nuclear war several times, destabilised Europe, manufactured and shipped drugs while pretending to stage “a war on drugs” (look up the pilot Barry Seal), and, even when caught red handed nobody is saying “hey, you can’t do that !”.

    There have been over 250 wars and several genocides post WWII, one nation in particular has been involved in almost all of them. They get to do as they internationally please.

    Where is the mighty righteous Hague when all this is going on ?
    Just another puppet show to suggest there is law & justice when in fact, there is only tyranny. Even the courts indulge in State mob rule organised crime.

    What happened to the notorious monster Klaus Barbie after the war ?
    Germany may have lost WWII but, the nazis only changed venue. The chemical corporations that did the inhuman experiments on prisoners, victims of genocide, are still around today, and making money hand over fist no matter what they do to people.

    NATO is a nefarious joke, just the goons of America. Ukraine recently attacked Poland so, where is all the noise about mighty NATO’s Artical 5 ? (any attack on a NATO nation is an attack on all NATO nations).

    We are even at the point where our own military are attacking us with fear propaganda, lies and outrageous censorship (in “the free word”), we used to accuse the likes of the Nazi’s, KGB, North Korea and Mao of that tactics. The irony. Do we all use WWII war memorials as urinals now ?

    Who is the enemy again ?

  • Jack

    Is not this development a bit too telling?

    So Seymour Hersh claim that US (and Norway) was the culprit of the Nord Stream attack.
    Days after, CIA began to leak rumours to the germans/media that it was not the US but some shady, unnamed ukrainians that plotted to blow up the pipelines.

    and today once again, anonymous intelligence sources in US claim that it was either russians, ukrainians.
    The source also, a bit too obvious, claim that US/Ukraine had absolutely nothing to do with the attack:

    ” “no American or British nationals were involved.” They further said they had no evidence Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky or his “top lieutenants” were involved, or that the “any Ukrainian government officials” directed the attack.”

    Yeah right…
    Russia Today: US spies say ‘pro-Ukrainian group’ bombed Nord Stream – NYT: Anonymous agents cited unspecified intelligence to deny US responsibility for the pipeline attack (7 Mar 2023)

  • AG

    I was repeatedly asked why the German government would let something like Nordstream happen.

    Apart from the question what other government would defend itself –

    here the link to the transcript of the disgraceful parliamentary discussion in the German Bundestag about Nordstream sabotage end of February:

    It´s too awful and too long to post it here in translation.

    But those who want some insight into the state of mind of German politicians, is happy to help

    • David

      Pre Nordstream terrorist attack, Germany was angling for some junk F35’s from America as compensation. Who knows what other shady deals were made to sell out Europe for Americas gain ?
      It reminds me of how Ecuador used Assange as a bargaining chip with the US. As soon as Ecuador got a huge IMF “loan” they threw assange to the rabid wolves.

      It usually boils down to Quid pro quo at the end of the day.

      Makes you wonder what really goes on at the COP #x “conferences”, “we must reduce greenhouse gas, we must get tough on the lazy unemployed flying private jets to pick up their welfare benefits, it’s all their fault what? What shall we do about it ?” …
      “Sir! Sir! We could blow up Nordstream 2 to help reduce gas emissions ?” ….
      “Well done general Brownose, here, have some shares in Pfizer and Glaxco”.

      All joking aside, these COP and G meetings etc. are nothing more than nefarious deep State level gangsters divvying up the pie and prepping their cover stories should the public find out anything.

    • Jack

      Yes it is so obvious, a disinformation campaign to confuse and cover up.

      “Commenting on an article in the New York Times, the (russian) diplomat said: “First of all, we took notice of the fact that the mentioned article instantly got a ‘green light’ in the local information field, literally being all over the media in a heartbeat.”

      “This is especially noteworthy given the attempts of the local officials and journalists to blatantly silence the resonant material of the Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh on the same topic. As well as the administration’s opposition to launching a comprehensive and independent investigation into this act of international terrorism against critical energy infrastructure,” Ledenev was quoted as saying on the Russian embassy’s official Telegram channel.”

      So what are the names of the alleged ukrainians that hired the boat?
      What are the name of the boat hiring company in Poland?
      Who are the alleged ukrainian oligarch that have been the mastermind? And most obviously why have not the west given this intelligence to Ukraine so they can arrest the terrorists involved? Should not INTERPOL put the suspects on the wanted list?
      Nope, no evidence of anthing, funny that was the reason the same media refused to cover Hersh revelation…now it is suddenly OK.
      Oh how the tables have turned

      I like the headline western media had on this article though, it was something like: “Anonymous sources: Pro-ukrainian saboteurs blew up Nordstream” – Yeah it is called the United states of america.

        • David

          That is not “a conspiracy theory” in of itself, it is a direct LIE drafted up by the terrorists in the west that actually did commit a conspiracy to cause explosions (a criminal offence in of itself).

          Who still believes our governments after the lies about Chernobyl fallout zone, mad cow disease misinformation, foot & mouth that could have been easily treated with existing medicines (more to do with failing meat exports and Chernobyl fallout in the UK than f&m), the mighty Iraqi WMD hoax or, expenses fiddling MP’s, 2008 international Bankster heist and magic full tax coffer box bailouts for them only, the scamdemic lockdowns that only applied to the general public (not to partygate ravers or Kate Middleton), more magic bean tax handouts during “lockdown” to large corporations that avoid paying any taxes (while small businesses got none), shady untested vaccines and human rights violations and constant psychological abuse ? (Human rights are not worth the paper they are written on if nobody upholds them)… They are just the highlights that spring to mind !

          Who is gullible enough to believe the State liars about who hit the pipeline when they lied about the Manchester bomber, who created the Taliban (Thatcher & Reagan among others), the Guilford 4 or Birmingham 6, 911 and 711, “Novichok” and the Skripple agents facade, the shooting down of civilian airliner MH17 by the CIA’s pet Azov in Ukraine.etc. ?

          Who, in their right mind, believes a word the media and politicians say these days ? (Especially if it comes from America, the UK or Israel)

          How did Bozo Johnson ever get into #10 !?

          We have a serious rat infestation in our governments and corporate infrastructure. Is this the end of our culture ?

  • AG

    For now Seymour Hersh won´t report new revelations. It would put his sources in danger.

    One of the handy consequences from treating Assange the way they just do, I believe, among other reasons.
    Who wants that?

    Here the short piece on Hersh, March 15th

    ” Sy Hersh: No follow-up to explosive Nord Stream story – Speaking in DC on Tuesday, the longtime investigative journalist said he couldn’t risk exposing sources, but scoffed at alternative theories.”

  • AG

    re: question, why Germany just doesn´t act regarding the NS1&2 issue:

    This is one reason – there is a new generation of young, ambitious and moronic German reporters out there who believe Trump is the devil and do not see they are doing the very same thing they accuse him and many others.

    Yesterday German news portal T-Online, an affiliate of the German Telecommunications giant Telekom featured this story:

    It is their version of an anti-Russian Nordstream tale.
    Funny enough they lack any anonymous source directly involved.
    But that doesn´t matter because it´s not about truth. Its about whose side you are on.

    But needless to say: T-Online was opposed to Hersh´s story from day#1.

    “Russian tracks – The Russian Navy is believed to have operated a mini-submarine at the Nord Stream sites days before the explosions. Questions about the so far investigations are raising”:

    one author explains the research:

    And this is T-Online´s worldview if you care to read AND translate, from May 2022:

    It´s about how Mr. P threatens us all:

    “Putin´s secret attack on Europe”

    “The Russian invasion is not directed solely against Ukraine. The Kremlin sees the main enemy in the West. Research by t-online shows the extent of a decades-long attack in secret.

    The most important facts at a glance

    1) The return of the KGB
    2) The wars of the Kremlin
    3) The energy trap
    4) The German interests ”

    Whats the problem with all this?
    T-Online had over 30 mio. clicks just March2021

  • AG

    This is a link to Sy Hersh´s follow-up report on Nordstream , Sept.28th 2023:

    “A Year of Lying about Nord Stream
    The Biden administration has acknowledged neither its responsibility for the pipeline bombing nor the purpose of the sabotage”

    Since nothing has happened. The public still kept in the dark untill they forget about it.
    Or: They always knew it was the Russians. Or the Ukrainians. But that´s okay.

    One thing did happen, German companies do consider it a problem by now.
    And Germany relies extensively on LNG from US sources.

    But then: we were told before what would happen.

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