Category Archives: Russia

Using War to Assault Freedom

Using War to Assault Freedom

LewRockWell.com By Andrew P. Napolitano

April 21, 2022

Most judges and lawyers agree that the war on drugs in the past 50 years has seriously diminished the right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

Now a small group of legal academics is arguing that the war in Ukraine should be used to diminish property rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

Here is the backstory.

The Fourth Amendment was written to guarantee that the government may only search and seize persons, houses, papers and effects pursuant to a search warrant issued by a judge after the presentation under oath of evidence demonstrating that the place to be searched more likely than not contains evidence of crime. And the warrant itself must specifically describe the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.

These requirements — the work of James Madison, who was the scrivener of the Constitution in 1787 and the author of the Bill of Rights in 1791 — were intended to have two effects.

The first effect was to uphold the quintessentially American right to be left alone. The second was to compel the government to focus its law enforcement personnel and assets on crimes for which there is probable cause, not fishing expeditions or hunches.

Madison’s language prohibited absolutely the use of general warrants, a favorite tool of the British government against the colonists. General warrants were based on whatever the government wanted or claimed it needed.

The colonists were tormented by, and driven to revolution over, general warrants, as they authorized British agents to search wherever they wished and seize whatever they found. Surely, the dreadful colonial experience with general warrants was a driving force behind the wording and ratification of the Fourth Amendment.

Sadly, during the war on drugs, prosecutors and police persuaded judges to craft “emergency” exceptions to the Fourth Amendment. These included allowing police to look for whatever they wanted in cars and homes, and using the CIA for warrantless surveillance, lest the drugs supposedly being sought be destroyed before capture.

The effect of this was to destroy a fundamental liberty in deference to easing police work; that’s the definition of a police state. The courts effectively ruled that somehow the Constitution prefers liberty — rather than evidence of crimes — to be destroyed.

The Fifth Amendment protects the life, liberty and property of all persons from destruction or aggression by the government without due process of law. Due process requires a jury trial at which the government must prove fault.

Thus, property cannot be seized temporarily or taken permanently without either a search warrant or a jury trial.

Now back to the war in Ukraine.

I have argued in this column and elsewhere that the Biden administration sanctions imposed on Russian and American persons and businesses are profoundly unconstitutional because they are imposed by executive fiat rather than by legislation and because the sanctions constitute either the seizure of property without a warrant or the taking of property without due process.

When the feds seize a yacht from a person whom they claim may have financed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, they are doing so in direct violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Similarly, when they freeze Russian assets in American banks, they engage in a seizure, and seizures can only constitutionally be done with a search warrant based on probable cause of crime.

As well, when the feds interfere with contract rights by prohibiting compliance with lawful contracts, that, too, implicates due process and can only be done constitutionally after a jury verdict in the government’s favor, at a trial at which the feds have proved fault.

As if to anticipate these constitutional roadblocks to its interference with free commercial choices, Congress enacted the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 and the Magnitsky Act of 2016. These constitutional monstrosities purport to give the president the power to declare persons and entities to be violators of human rights and, by that mere executive declaration alone, to punish them without trial.

These laws turn the Fourth and Fifth Amendments on their heads by punishing first and engaging in a perverse variant of due process later. How perverse? These laws require that if you want your seized property back, you must prove that you are not a human rights violator.

As if to run even further away from constitutional norms, a group of legal academics began arguing last week that the property seized from Russians is not really owned by human beings, but by the Russian government. And, this crazy argument goes, since the Russian government is not a person, there is no warrant or due process requirement; therefore, the feds can convert the assets they have seized and frozen to their own use.

To these academics — who reject property ownership as a moral right and exalt government aggression as a moral good — the argument devolves around the meaning of the word “person.” The Fourth and Fifth Amendments protect every “person” and all “people,” not just Americans.

And in American jurisprudence, “person” means both human beings and artificial persons — corporations and governments capable of owning property. Property ownership is defined by the right to use, alienate and exclude. Only persons can exercise those rights.

Madison and his colleagues clearly sought to protect property rights from government aggression, no matter the legal status of the owner. We know this from the judicial opinions involving foreign property that preceded and followed the ratification of the Fifth Amendment. If this were not so, then nothing could prevent the feds from seizing and converting the property of states or local governments or international religious institutions to federal use.

War is the health of the state and the graveyard of liberty. The drug war was a disaster for freedom. The war in Ukraine will be so as well, only if we permit it.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

The Best of Andrew P. Napolitano Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written nine books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty. To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.

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The Military Situation in the Ukraine—An Update

The Military Situation in the Ukraine—An Update

Jacques Baud

The Operational Situation

As of March 25, 2022, our analysis of the situation confirms the observations and conclusions made in mid-March.

The offensive launched on February 24 is articulated in two lines of effort, in accordance with Russian operational doctrine:

1) A main effort directed toward the south of the country, in the Donbass region, and along the Azov Sea coast. As the doctrine states, the main objectives are—the neutralization of the Ukrainian armed forces (the objective of “demilitarization”), and the neutralization of ultra-nationalist, paramilitary militias in the cities of Kharkov and Mariupol (the objective of “denazification“). This primary push is being led by a coalition of forces: through Kharkov and Crimea are Russian forces from the Southern Military District; in the center are militia forces from the Donetsk and Lugansk republics; the Chechen National Guard is contributing with engagement in the urban area of Mariupol;

2) A secondary effort on Kiev, aimed at “pinning down” Ukrainian (and Western) forces, so as to prevent them from carrying out operations against the main thrust or even taking Russian coalition forces from the rear.

This offensive follows, to the letter, the objectives defined by Vladimir Putin on February 24. But, listening only to their own bias, Western “experts” and politicians have gotten it into their heads that Russia’s objective is to take over the Ukraine and overthrow its government. Applying a very Western logic, they see Kiev as the “center of gravity” (Schwerpunkt) of Ukrainian forces. According to Clausewitz, the “center of gravity” is the element from which a belligerent derives his strength and ability to act, and is therefore the primary objective of an adversary’s strategy. This is why Westerners have systematically tried to take control of capitals in the wars they have fought. Trained and advised by NATO experts, the Ukrainian General Staff has, predictably enough, applied the same logic, focusing on strengthening the defense of Kiev and its surroundings, while leaving its troops helpless in the Donbass, along the axis of the main Russian effort.

If one had listened carefully to Vladimir Putin, one would have realized that the strategic objective of the Russian coalition is not to take over the Ukraine, but to remove any threat to the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass. According to this general objective, the “real” center of gravity that the Russian coalition is trying to target is the bulk of the Ukrainian armed forces massed in the south-southeast of the country (since the end of 2021), and not Kiev.

Russian Success or Failure?

Convinced that the Russian offensive is aimed at Kiev, Western experts have quite logically concluded that (a) the Russians are stalling, and that (b) their offensive is doomed to failure because they will not be able to hold the country in the long term. The generals who have followed each other on French TV seem to have forgotten what even a second lieutenant comprehends well: “Know your enemy!”—not as one would like him to be, but as he is. With generals like that, we don’t need an enemy anymore.

That being said, the Western narrative about a Russian offensive that is bogged down, and whose successes are meager, is also part of the propaganda war waged by both sides. For example, the sequence of maps of operations, published by Libération from the end of February, shows almost no difference from one day to the next, until March 18th (when the media stopped updating it). Thus, on February 23rd, on France 5 [TV station], the journalist Élise Vincent evaluated the territory taken by the Russian coalition as the equivalent of Switzerland or the Netherlands. In reality, we are more in the area of Great Britain.

As an example, let us observe the difference between the map of the situation on March 25, 2022, as published by Ouest-France:

… and as published by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces:

In addition, it should be noted that Ukrainian forces do not appear on any map (presented in our media) of the conflict-situation. Thus, if the map of the French Ministry of Armed Forces gives a slightly more honest picture of reality, it also carefully avoids mentioning the Ukrainian forces encircled in the Kramatorsk cauldron.

In fact, the situational map, as of March 25, should look more like this:

The Situation as of March 25, 2022. [“Poussée principale”= main thrust;
“poussée secondaire”= secondary thrust].
The bone-shaped, blue area marks the location of the mass of the Ukrainian army (in reality, this “massed” Ukrainian army is split into several smaller cauldrons). The red-lined arrows show the overall offensive of the Russian army. The orange-lined arrows show the thrust of the Donbass forces. The red dotted line shows the maximum advance of Russian coalition forces.

Moreover, Ukrainian forces are never indicated on our maps, as this would show that they were not deployed on the Russian border in February 2022, but were regrouped in the south of the country, in preparation for their offensive, the initial phase of which began on February 16th. This confirms that Russia was only reacting to a situation initiated by the West, by way of the Ukraine, as we shall see. At present, it is these forces that are encircled in the Kramatorsk cauldron and are being methodically fragmented and neutralized, little by little, in an incremental way, by the Russian coalition.

The vagueness maintained in the West about the situation of the Ukrainian forces, has other effects. First, it maintains the illusion of a possible Ukrainian victory. Thus, instead of encouraging a negotiation process, the West seeks to prolong the war. This is why the European Union and some of its member countries have sent weapons and are encouraging the civilian population and volunteers of all kinds to go and fight, often without training and without any real command structure—with deadly consequences.

We know that in a conflict, each party tends to inform in order to give a favorable image of its actions. However, the image we have of the situation and of the Ukrainian forces is based exclusively on data provided by Kiev. It masks the profound deficiencies of the Ukrainian leadership, even though it was trained and advised by NATO military.

Thus, military logic would have the forces caught in the Kramatorsk cauldron withdraw to a line at the Dnieper, for example, in order to regroup and conduct a counteroffensive. But they were forbidden to withdraw by President Zelensky. Even back in 2014 and 2015, a close examination of the operations showed that the Ukrainians were applying “Western-style” schemes, totally unsuited to the circumstances, and in the face of a more imaginative, more flexible opponent who possessed lighter leadership structures. It is the same phenomenon today.

In the end, the partial view of the battlefield given to us by our media has made it impossible for the West to help the Ukrainian general staff make the right decisions. And it has led the West to believe that the obvious strategic objective is Kiev; that “demilitarization” is aimed at the Ukraine’s membership in NATO; and that “denazification” is aimed at toppling Zelensky. This legend was fueled by Vladimir Putin’s appeal to the Ukrainian military to disobey, which was interpreted (with great imagination and bias) as a call to overthrow the government. However, this appeal was aimed at the Ukrainian forces deployed in the Donbass to surrender without fighting. The Western interpretation caused the Ukrainian government to misjudge Russian objectives and misuse its potential of winning.

You don’t win a war with bias—you lose it. And that’s what is happening. Thus, the Russian coalition was never “on the run” or “stopped” by heroic resistance—it simply did not attack where it was expected. We did not want to listen to what Vladimir Putin had explained to us very clearly. This is why the West has thus become—volens nolens—the main architect of the Ukrainian defeat that is taking shape. Paradoxically, it is probably because of our self-proclaimed “experts” and recreational strategists on our television sets that the Ukraine is in this situation today.

The Conduct of Battle

As for the course of operations, the analyses presented in our media come most often from politicians or so-called military experts, who relay Ukrainian propaganda.

Let’s be clear. A war, whatever else it is, is drama. The problem here is that our strategists in neckties are clearly trying to overdramatize the situation in order to exclude any negotiated solution. This development, however, is prompting some Western military personnel to speak out and offer a more nuanced judgment. Thus, in Newsweek, an analyst from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the American equivalent of the Direction du Renseignement Militaire (DRM) in France, noted that “in 24 days of conflict, Russia has carried out some 1,400 strikes and launched nearly 1,000 missiles (by way of comparison, the United States carried out more strikes and launched more missiles on the first day of the Iraq war in 2003).”

While the West likes to “soften up” the battlefield with intensive and prolonged strikes, before sending in ground-troops, the Russians prefer a less destructive, but more troop-intensive approach. On France 5, the journalist Mélanie Tarvant presented the death of Russian generals on the battlefield as proof of the destabilization of the Russian army. But this is a profound misunderstanding of the traditions and modes of operation of the Russian army. Whereas in the West, commanders tend to lead from the rear, their Russian counterparts tend to lead from the front—in the West they say, “Forward!” In Russia, they say, “Follow me!” This explains the high losses in the upper echelons of command, already observed in Afghanistan—but it also tells of the much more rigorous selection of staff-personnel than in the West.

Furthermore, the DIA analyst noted that “the vast majority of the airstrikes are over the battlefield, with Russian aircraft providing ‘close air support’ to ground forces. The remainder—less than 20 percent, according to U.S. experts—has been aimed at military airfields, barracks and supporting depots.” Thus, the phrase “indiscriminate bombing [that] is devastating cities and killing everyone” echoed by the Western media seems to contradict the U.S. intelligence expert, who said, “If we merely convince ourselves that Russia is bombing indiscriminately, or [that] it is failing to inflict more harm because its personnel are not up to the task or because it is technically inept, then we are not seeing the real conflict.”

In fact, Russian operations differ fundamentally from the Western concept of the same. The West’s obsession with having no fatalities in their own forces leads them to operations that are primarily in the form of very lethal air strikes. Ground troops only intervene when everything has been destroyed. This is why, in Afghanistan or in the Sahel, Westerners killed more civilians than terrorists did. This is why Western countries engaged in Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa no longer publish the number of civilian casualties caused by their strikes. In fact, Europeans engaged in regions that only marginally affect their national security, such as the Estonians in the Sahel, go there just to “get their feet wet.”

In the Ukraine, the situation is very different. One only has to look at a map of linguistic zones to see that the Russian coalition operates almost exclusively in the Russian-speaking zone; thus, among populations that are generally favorable to it. This also explains the statements of a US Air Force officer: “I know that the news keeps repeating that Putin is targeting civilians, but there is no evidence that Russia is intentionally doing so.”

Conversely, it is for the same reason—but in a different way—that the Ukraine has deployed its ultra-nationalist paramilitary fighters in major cities, such as Mariupol or Kharkov—without emotional or cultural ties to the local population, these militias can fight even at the cost of heavy civilian casualties. The atrocities that are currently being uncovered remain hidden by the French-speaking media, for fear of losing support for the Ukraine, as noted by media close to the Republicans in the United States.

After “decapitation” strikes in the first minutes of the offensive, the Russian operational strategy was to bypass the urban centers, and to envelop the Ukrainian army, “pinned down” by the forces of the Donbass republics. It is important to remember that the “decapitation” is not intended to annihilate the general staff or the government (as our “experts” tend to understand it), but to sunder the leadership structures so as to prevent the coordinated maneuver of forces. On the contrary, the aim is to preserve the leadership structures themselves in order to be able to negotiate a way out of the crisis.

On March 25, 2022, after having sealed the cauldron of Kramatorsk which denied any possibility of retreat to the Ukrainians and having taken most of the cities of Kharkov and Marioupol, Russia has practically fulfilled its objectives—all that remains is to concentrate its efforts on reducing the pockets of resistance. Thus, contrary to what the Western press has claimed, this is not a reorientation or a resizing of its offensive, but the methodical implementation of the objectives announced on February 24.

The Role of the Volunteers

A particularly disturbing aspect of this conflict is the attitude of European governments that allow or encourage their citizens to go and fight in the Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelensky’s call to join the International Legion for the Territorial Defense of Ukraine, which he recently created, has been greeted with enthusiasm by European countries.

Encouraged by the media that present a routed Russian army, many of these young people head off, imagining they are going—literally—on a hunting trip. However, once there, disillusionment is high. Testimonies show that these “amateurs” often end up as “cannon fodder,” without having any real impact on the outcome of the conflict. The experience of recent conflicts shows that the arrival of foreign fighters brings nothing to a conflict, except to increase its duration and lethality.

Moreover, the arrival of several hundred Islamist fighters from the Idlib region, an area under the control and protection of the Western coalition in Syria (and also the area in which two Islamic State leaders were killed by the Americans) should arouse our concern. Indeed, the weapons we are very liberally supplying to the Ukraine are already partly in the hands of criminal individuals and organizations and are already beginning to pose a security problem for the authorities in Kiev. Not to mention the fact that the weapons that are being touted as effective against Russian aircraft could eventually threaten our military and civilian aircraft.

The volunteer proudly presented by the RTBF on the 7:30 p.m. news of March 8, 2022 was an admirer of the “Corps Franc Wallonie,” Belgian volunteers who served the Third Reich; and he illustrates the type of people attracted to the Ukraine. In the end, we will have to ask ourselves, who gained the most—[in this case] Belgium or the Ukraine?

Distributing weapons indiscriminately could well make the EU—volens nolens—a supporter of extremism and even international terrorism. The result—we are adding misery to misery, in order to satisfy the European elites more than the Ukraine itself.

Three Points Deserve to be Highlighted by Way of Conclusion

1. Western Intelligence, Ignored by Policymakers

Military documents found in Ukrainian headquarters in the south of the country confirm that the Ukraine was preparing to attack the Donbass; and that the firing observed by OSCE observers as early as February 16 heralded an imminent outbreak in days or weeks.

Here, some introspection is necessary for the West—either its intelligence services did not see what was happening and they are thus very bad, or the political decision-makers chose not to listen to them. We know that Russian intelligence services have far superior analytical capabilities than their Western counterparts. We also know that the American and German intelligence services had very well understood the situation, since the end of 2021, and knew that the Ukraine was preparing to attack the Donbass.

This allows us to deduce that the American and European political leaders deliberately pushed the Ukraine into a conflict that they knew was lost in advance—for the sole purpose of dealing a political blow to Russia.

The reason Zelensky did not deploy his forces to the Russian border, and repeatedly stated that his large neighbor would not attack him, was presumably because he thought he was relying on Western deterrence. This is what he told CNN on March 20th—he was clearly told that the Ukraine would not be part of NATO, but that publicly they would say the opposite. The Ukraine was thus instrumentalized to affect Russia. The objective was the closure of the North Stream 2 gas pipeline, announced on February 8th, by Joe Biden, during the visit of Olaf Scholz; and which was followed by a barrage of sanctions.

2. Broken Diplomacy

Clearly, since the end of 2021, no effort has been made by the West to reactivate the Minsk agreements, as evidenced by the reports of visits and telephone conversations, notably between Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin. However, France, as guarantor of the Minsk Agreements, and as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has not respected its commitments, which has led to the situation that the Ukraine is experiencing today. There is even a feeling that the West has sought to add fuel to the fire since 2014.

Thus, Vladimir Putin’s placing of nuclear forces on alert on February 27 was presented by our media and politicians as an irrational act or blackmail. What is forgotten is that it followed the thinly veiled threat made by Jean-Yves Le Drian, three days earlier, that NATO could use nuclear weapons. It is very likely that Putin did not take this “threat” seriously, but wanted to push Western countries—and France in particular—to abandon the use of excessive language.

3. The Vulnerability of Europeans to Manipulation is Increasing

Today, the perception propagated by our media is that the Russian offensive has broken down; that Vladimir Putin is crazy, irrational and therefore ready to do anything to break the deadlock in which he supposedly finds himself. In this totally emotional context, the question asked by Republican Senator Marco Rubio during Victoria Nuland’s hearing before Congress was strange, to say the least: “If there is a biological or chemical weapon incident or attack inside the Ukraine, is there any doubt in your mind that 100% it would be the Russians behind it?” Naturally, she answered that there is no doubt. Yet there is absolutely no indication that the Russians are using such weapons. Besides, the Russians finished destroying their stockpiles in 2017, while the Americans have not yet destroyed theirs.

Perhaps this means nothing. But in the current atmosphere, all the conditions are now met for an incident to happen that would push the West to become more involved, in some form, in the Ukrainian conflict (a “false-flag” incident).


Jacques Baud is a former colonel of the General Staff, ex-member of the Swiss strategic intelligence, and specialist on Eastern countries. He was trained in the American and British intelligence services. He has served as Policy Chief for United Nations Peace Operations. As a UN expert on rule of law and security institutions, he designed and led the first multidimensional UN intelligence unit in the Sudan. He has worked for the African Union and was for 5 years responsible for the fight, at NATO, against the proliferation of small arms. He was involved in discussions with the highest Russian military and intelligence officials just after the fall of the USSR. Within NATO, he followed the 2014 Ukrainian crisis and later participated in programs to assist the Ukraine. He is the author of several books on intelligence, war and terrorism, in particular Le Détournement published by SIGEST, Gouverner par les fake newsL’affaire Navalny. His latest book is Poutine, maître du jeu? published by Max Milo.

This article appears through the gracious courtesy of Centre Français de Recherche sur le Renseignement, Paris. Translated from the French by N. Dass.

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Western Dissent from US/NATO Policy on Ukraine is Small, Yet the Censorship Campaign is Extreme

Preventing populations from asking who benefits from a protracted proxy war, and who pays the price, is paramount. A closed propaganda system achieves that.

By Glen Greenwald, 4/13/2022

The Google logo seen on a cellphone with a background saying ‘censored’. (Photo by Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

If one wishes to be exposed to news, information or perspective that contravenes the prevailing US/NATO view on the war in Ukraine, a rigorous search is required. And there is no guarantee that search will succeed. That is because the state/corporate censorship regime that has been imposed in the West with regard to this war is stunningly aggressive, rapid and comprehensive.

On a virtually daily basis, any off-key news agency, independent platform or individual citizen is liable to be banished from the internet. In early March, barely a week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the twenty-seven nation European Union — citing “disinformation” and “public order and security” — officially banned the Russian state-news outlets RT and Sputnik from being heard anywhere in Europe. In what Reuters called “an unprecedented move,” all television and online platforms were barred by force of law from airing content from those two outlets. Even prior to that censorship order from the state, Facebook and Google were already banning those outlets, and Twitter immediately announced they would as well, in compliance with the new EU law.

But what was “unprecedented” just six weeks ago has now become commonplace, even normalized. Any platform devoted to offering inconvenient-to-NATO news or alternative perspectives is guaranteed a very short lifespan. Less than two weeks after the EU’s decree, Google announced that it was voluntarily banning all Russian-affiliated media worldwide, meaning Americans and all other non-Europeans were now blocked from viewing those channels on YouTube if they wished to. As so often happens with Big Tech censorship, much of the pressure on Google to more aggressively censor content about the war in Ukraine came from its own workforce: “Workers across Google had been urging YouTube to take additional punitive measures against Russian channels.”

So prolific and fast-moving is this censorship regime that it is virtually impossible to count how many platforms, agencies and individuals have been banished for the crime of expressing views deemed “pro-Russian.” On Tuesday, Twitter, with no explanation as usual, suddenly banned one of the most informative, reliable and careful dissident accounts, named “Russians With Attitude.” Created in late 2020 by two English-speaking Russians, the account exploded in popularity since the start of the war, from roughly 20,000 followers before the invasion to more than 125,000 followers at the time Twitter banned it. An accompanying podcast with the same name also exploded in popularity and, at least as of now, can still be heard on Patreon.

What makes this outburst of Western censorship so notable — and what is at least partially driving it — is that there is a clear, demonstrable hunger in the West for news and information that is banished by Western news sources, ones which loyally and unquestioningly mimic claims from the U.S. government, NATO, and Ukrainian officials. As The Washington Post acknowledged when reporting Big Tech’s “unprecedented” banning of RT, Sputnik and other Russian sources of news: “In the first four days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, viewership of more than a dozen Russian state-backed propaganda channels on YouTube spiked to unusually high levels.”

Note that this censorship regime is completely one-sided and, as usual, entirely aligned with U.S. foreign policy. Western news outlets and social media platforms have been flooded with pro-Ukrainian propaganda and outright lies from the start of the war. A New York Times article from early March put it very delicately in its headline: “Fact and Mythmaking Blend in Ukraine’s Information War.” Axios was similarly understated in recognizing this fact: “Ukraine misinformation is spreading — and not just from Russia.” Members of the U.S. Congress have gleefully spread fabrications that went viral to millions of people, with no action from censorship-happy Silicon Valley corporations. That is not a surprise: all participants in war use disinformation and propaganda to manipulate public opinion in their favor, and that certainly includes all direct and proxy-war belligerents in the war in Ukraine.

Yet there is little to no censorship — either by Western states or by Silicon Valley monopolies — of pro-Ukrainian disinformation, propaganda and lies. The censorship goes only in one direction: to silence any voices deemed “pro-Russian,” regardless of whether they spread disinformation. The “Russians With Attitude” Twitter account became popular in part because they sometimes criticized Russia, in part because they were more careful with facts and viral claims that most U.S. corporate media outlets, and in part because there is such a paucity of outlets that are willing to offer any information that undercuts what the U.S. Government and NATO want you to believe about the war.

Their crime, like the crime of so many other banished accounts, was not disinformation but skepticism about the US/NATO propaganda campaign. Put another way, it is not “disinformation” but rather viewpoint-error that is targeted for silencing. One can spread as many lies and as much disinformation as one wants provided that it is designed to advance the NATO agenda in Ukraine (just as one is free to spread disinformation provided that its purpose is to strengthen the Democratic Party, which wields its majoritarian power in Washington to demand greater censorship and commands the support of most of Silicon Valley). But what one cannot do is question the NATO/Ukrainian propaganda framework without running a very substantial risk of banishment.

It is unsurprising that Silicon Valley monopolies exercise their censorship power in full alignment with the foreign policy interests of the U.S. Government. Many of the key tech monopolies — such as Google and Amazon — routinely seek and obtain highly lucrative contracts with the U.S. security state, including both the CIA and NSA. Their top executives enjoy very close relationships with top Democratic Party officials. And Congressional Democrats have repeatedly hauled tech executives before their various Committees to explicitly threaten them with legal and regulatory reprisals if they do not censor more in accordance with the policy goals and political interests of that party.

But one question lingers: why is there so much urgency about silencing the small pockets of dissenting voices about the war in Ukraine? This war has united the establishment wings of both parties and virtually the entire corporate media with a lockstep consensus not seen since the days and weeks after the 9/11 attack. One can count on both hands the number of prominent political and media figures who have been willing to dissent even minimally from that bipartisan Washington consensus — dissent that instantly provokes vilification in the form of attacks on one’s patriotism and loyalties. Why is there such fear of allowing these isolated and demonized voices to be heard at all?

The answer seems clear. The benefits from this war for multiple key Washington power centers cannot be overstated. The billions of dollars in aid and weapons being sent by the U.S. to Ukraine are flying so fast and with such seeming randomness that it is difficult to track. “Biden approves $350 million in military aid for Ukraine,” Reuters said on February 26; “Biden announces $800 million in military aid for Ukraine,” announced The New York Times on March 16; on March 30, NBC’s headline read: “Ukraine to receive additional $500 million in aid from U.S., Biden announces”; on Tuesday, Reuters announced: “U.S. to announce $750 million more in weapons for Ukraine, officials say.” By design, these gigantic numbers have long ago lost any meaning and provoke barely a peep of questioning let alone objection.

It is not a mystery who is benefiting from this orgy of military spending. On Tuesday, Reuters reported that “the Pentagon will host leaders from the top eight U.S. weapons manufacturers on Wednesday to discuss the industry’s capacity to meet Ukraine’s weapons needs if the war with Russia lasts years.” Among those participating in this meeting about the need to increase weapons manufacturing to feed the proxy war in Ukraine is Raytheon, which is fortunate to have retired General Lloyd Austin as Defense Secretary, a position to which he ascended from the Raytheon Board of Directors. It is virtually impossible to imagine an event more favorable to the weapons manufacturer industry than this war in Ukraine:

Demand for weapons has shot up after Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24 spurred U.S. and allied weapons transfers to Ukraine. Resupplying as well as planning for a longer war is expected to be discussed at the meeting, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity. . .

Resupplying as well as planning for a longer war is expected to be discussed at the meeting. . . . The White House said last week that it has provided more than $1.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion, including over 5,000 Javelins and more than 1,400 Stingers.

This permanent power faction is far from the only one to be reaping benefits from the war in Ukraine and to have its fortunes depend upon prolonging the war as long as possible. The union of the U.S. security state, Democratic Party neocons, and their media allies has not been riding this high since the glory days of 2002. One of MSNBC’s most vocal DNC boosters, Chris Hayes, gushed that the war in Ukraine has revitalized faith and trust in the CIA and intelligence community more than any event in recent memory — deservedly so, he said: “The last few weeks have been like the Iraq War in reverse for US intelligence.” One can barely read a mainstream newspaper or watch a corporate news outlet without seeing the nation’s most bloodthirsty warmongering band of neocons — David Frum, Bill Kristol, Liz Cheney, Wesley Clark, Anne Applebaum, Adam Kinzinger — being celebrated as wise experts and heroic warriors for freedom.

This war has been very good indeed for the permanent Washington political and media class. And although it was taboo for weeks to say so, it is now beyond clear that the only goal that the U.S. and its allies have when it comes to the war in Ukraine is to keep it dragging on for as long as possible. Not only are there no serious American diplomatic efforts to end the war, but the goal is to ensure that does not happen. They are now saying that explicitly, and it is not hard to understand why.

The benefits from endless quagmire in Ukraine are as immense as they are obvious. The military budget skyrockets. Punishment is imposed on the arch-nemesis of the Democratic Party — Russia and Putin — while they are bogged down in a war from which Ukrainians suffer most. The citizenry unites behind their leaders and is distracted

https://greenwald.substack.com/p/western-dissent-from-usnato-policy?s=r

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US Officials Admit They’re Literally Just Lying To The Public About Russia

By Caitlin Johnstone, 4/9/2022

NBC News has a new report out citing multiple anonymous US officials, humorously titled “In a break with the past, U.S. is using intel to fight an info war with Russia, even when the intel isn’t rock solid“.

The officials say the Biden administration has been rapidly pushing out “intelligence” about Russia’s plans in Ukraine that is “low-confidence” or “based more on analysis than hard evidence”, or even just plain false, in order to fight an information war against Putin.

The report says that toward this end the US government has deliberately circulated false or poorly evidenced claims about impending chemical weapons attacks, about Russian plans to orchestrate a false flag attack in the Donbass to justify an invasion, about Putin’s advisors misinforming him, and about Russia seeking arms supplies from China.

Excerpt, emphasis mine:

It was an attention-grabbing assertion that made headlines around the world: U.S. officials said they had indications suggesting Russia might be preparing to use chemical agents in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden later said it publicly. But three U.S. officials told NBC News this week there is no evidence Russia has brought any chemical weapons near Ukraine. They said the U.S. released the information to deter Russia from using the banned munitions.

It’s one of a string of examples of the Biden administration’s breaking with recent precedent by deploying declassified intelligence as part of an information war against Russia. The administration has done so even when the intelligence wasn’t rock solid, officials said, to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin off balance.

So they lied. They may hold that they lied for a noble reason, but they lied. They knowingly circulated information they had no reason to believe was true, and that lie was amplified by all the most influential media outlets in the western world.

Another example of the Biden administration releasing a false narrative as part of its “information war”:

Likewise, a charge that Russia had turned to China for potential military help lacked hard evidence, a European official and two U.S. officials said.

The U.S. officials said there are no indications China is considering providing weapons to Russia. The Biden administration put that out as a warning to China not to do so, they said.

On the empire’s claim last week that Putin is being misled by his advisors because they are afraid of telling him the truth, NBC reports that this assessment “wasn’t conclusive — based more on analysis than hard evidence.”

I’d actually made fun of this ridiculous CIA press release when it was uncritically published disguised as a breaking news report by The New York Times:

Twitter avatar for @caitozCaitlin Johnstone ⏳ @caitoz

Breaking News: The most influential newspaper in the English-speaking world routinely passes off CIA press releases as “Breaking News”.

The New York Times @nytimes

Breaking News: President Vladimir Putin’s advisers misinformed him about the Russian military’s struggles in Ukraine, according to U.S. intelligence. https://t.co/P0CO1ykPJC

We’d also had fun with State Department Spokesman Ned Price’s bizarre February impersonation of Alex Jones, where he wrongly claimed that Russia was about to release a “false flag” video using crisis actors to justify its invasion:

Other US government lies discussed in the NBC report were less cute:

In another disclosure, U.S. officials said one reason not to provide Ukraine with MiG fighter jets is that intelligence showed Russia would view the move as escalatory.

That was true, but it was also true of Stinger missiles, which the Biden administration did provide, two U.S. officials said, adding that the administration declassified the MiG information to bolster the argument not to provide them to Ukraine.

So the Biden administration knew it was sending weapons to Ukraine that would be perceived by a nuclear superpower as a provocative escalation, sent them anyway, and then lied about it. Cool, cool, cool.

This NBC report confirms rumors we’ve been hearing for months. Professional war slut Max Boot said via The Council on Foreign Relations think tank in February that the Biden administration had ushered in “a new era of info ops” with intelligence releases designed not to tell the truth but to influence Putin’s decisions. Former MI6 chief John Sawers told The Atlantic Council think tank in February that the Biden administration’s “intelligence” releases were based more on a general vibe than actual intelligence, and were designed to manipulate rather than to inform.

And in case you were wondering, no, NBC did not just publish a major leak by whistleblowers within the US government who are bravely exposing the lies of the powerful with the help of the free press. One of the article’s authors is Ken Dilanian, who in 2014 was revealed to have worked as a literal CIA asset while writing for The LA Times. If you see Dilanian’s name in a byline, you may be certain that you are reading exactly what the managers of the US empire want you to read.

So why are they telling us all this now? Is the US government not worried that it will lose the trust of the public by admitting that it is continuously lying about its most high-profile international conflict? And if this is an “information war” designed to “get inside Putin’s head” as NBC’s sources claim, wouldn’t openly reporting it through the mainstream press completely defeat the purpose?

Well, the answer to those questions is where it gets really creepy. I welcome everyone’s feedback and theories on the matter, but as near as I can figure the only reason the US government would release this story to the public is because they want the general public to know about it. And the only plausible reason I can think of that they would want the public to know about it is that they are confident the public will consent to being lied to.

To get a better sense of what I’m getting at, it helps to watch the televised version of this report in which Dilanian and NBC anchor Alison Morris enthuse about how brilliant and wonderful it is that the Biden administration is employing these psychological warfare tactics to mess with Putin’s mind:

The message an indoctrinated NBC viewer will get when watching this segment is, “Isn’t this awesome? Our president is pulling off all these cool 3D chess moves to beat Putin, and we’re kind of a part of it!”

It’s been obvious for a long time that the US empire has been working to shore up narrative control to strengthen its hegemonic domination of the planet via internet censorship, propaganda, Silicon Valley algorithm manipulation, and the normalization of the persecution of journalists. We may now simply be at the stage of imperial narrative control where they can begin openly manufacturing the consent of the public to be lied to for their own good.

Just as the smear campaign against Julian Assange trained mainstream liberals to defend the right of their government to keep dark secrets from them, we may now be looking at the stage of narrative control advancement where mainstream liberals are trained to defend the right of their government to lie to them.

The US is ramping up cold war aggressions against Russia and China in a desperate attempt to secure unipolar hegemony, and psychological warfare traditionally plays a major role in cold war maneuverings due to the inability to aggress in more overt ways against nuclear-armed foes. So now would definitely be the time to get the “thinkers” of America’s two mainstream political factions fanatically cheerleading their government’s psywar manipulations.

A casual glance around the internet at what mainstream liberals are saying about this NBC report shows that this is indeed what is happening. In liberal circles there does appear to be widespread acceptance of the world’s most powerful government using the world’s most powerful media institutions to lie to the public for strategic gains. If this continues to be accepted, it will make things a whole lot easier for the empire managers going forward.

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https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/us-officials-admit-theyre-literally?s=w

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