Links 4/6/2022

Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.


P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:

Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.

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How to Gird Up You Loins Art of Manliness (Robert H)

New part of the body found hiding in the lungs LiveScience (Kevin W)



Cardiac impairment in Long Covid 1-year post-SARS-CoV-2 infection MedRxIv. Preprint, natch.

The presence of anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibodies does not necessarily reflect efficient neutralization International Journal of Infectious Diseases (Shunk). Since it seems to be making the rounds, please note the tart response from scientist GM:

This is irrelevant, it’s arguing over semantics. It is also trapped in the time warp of the publication cycle, as this whole exchange was made completely obsolete by Omicron.

Everyone will “have antibodies” at some level from here on, just as they do for the CCCs, it will not prevent reinfection.

And, of course, for the 43465436654th time, how did we spend nearly two years of pandemic with literally thousands people writing articles that show up on PubMed still not being aware that coronaviruses did not get suddenly poofed into existence in late 2019…


Two years on, we can no longer accept so many children off school because of Covid New Statesman


The end of COVID-19 testing for the uninsured: The American ruling class doubles down on mass infection WSWS

‘All the shrapnel that’s in my back’: Defiant Robert Redfield blasts former CDC directors for criticism during Covid-19 STAT. Elite crybaby. He needs to grow a pair.


Deep Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Needed Throughout 2030, 2040 And 2050: IPCC India Spend (J-LS)


NATO to target China – Stoltenberg RT (Kevin W). The West is losing its mind:

NATO plans to deepen its cooperation with partners in Asia as a response to a rising “security challenge” coming from China, which refuses to condemn Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine, the US-led bloc’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg revealed during a press conference on Tuesday.


US, UK, Australia to cooperate on hypersonic weapons under pact Al Jazeera (J-LS). Filed under India because one, potentially the, reason India is refusing to condemn or distance itself from Russia is that India was deeply offended by the AUKUS deal. Now the AUKUS members are kicking more sand in India’s face? This is up there with the US imposing more sanctions on China after the war broke out yet continuing to press China to side with the US and pressure Russia.

Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom have vowed to expand cooperation on hypersonic weapons under the AUKUS ABC Australia (Kevin W)


As Imran sells dream of honest govt, wife Bushra’s friend flees Pakistan fearing arrest in $32 mn scam India Today

Imran Khan: What we know so far as PM’s fate hangs in balance BBC

Sri Lanka

In stunning reversal, protests leave Sri Lanka’s ruling dynasty teetering Reuters

Gotabaya Rajapaksa: Sri Lanka president defies calls for his resignation BBC

Old Blighty

Energy supplier gives out free electric blankets to customers as heating bills soar Independent. From earlier this week, still germane.

Le Pen’s poll surge rattles French bonds and bank stocks Financial Times

New Not-So-Cold War. Wellie, I was steeling myself to watch a Ukrainian snuff video, but was stymied because the one I was sent was on Telegram. You can use Telegram only if you have a smart phone or are willing to accept texts, which as a matter of principle I refuse (my dumbphone helps by auto deleting them after viewed, something I did not set up).

* * *

‘Bucha incident’ not to be used as pretext for inflaming situation: Global Times editorial. Global Times. I was waiting for China to clear its throat. Global Times is a house organ. Note:

Russia categorically denied it and presented the UN Security Council with empirical evidence of the Ukrainian side’s video falsification and other fakes….

It is rational to suspect that behind the indignation of the US and the West over the “Bucha incident” lies a profound double standard and a political purpose that is not single-minded. This is because over the years, the military forces of some countries have committed numerous crimes in killing civilians with impunity. According to incomplete statistics, as many as 100,000 Afghan civilians have died under US gunfire, and a significant number of them are children. Australian special forces have killed 39 unarmed Afghan civilians, including juveniles, by slitting their throats for “practice.” What’s more, in order to obstruct the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s investigation of US war crimes in Afghanistan, the US government went so far as to restrict the issuance of visas for ICC staff and impose sanctions on the court’s senior officials.

Press Briefing by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia on the situation in the town of Bucha (Kiev Region) and related matters Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

At UNSC, India Supports Call for Independent Probe Into Bucha Civilian Killings in Ukraine The Wire. J-LS: “Notice India condemns the killings but doesn’t accus Russia of being the perpetrator.”

New witness testimony about Mariupol maternity hospital ‘airstrike’ follows pattern of Ukrainian deceptions, media malpractice Grayzone (truly)

The Bucha Provocation Moon of Alabama. Lambert: “Pre-satellite but useful timeline.”

Pentagon can’t independently confirm atrocities in Ukraine’s Bucha, official says Reuters. From yesterday, still germane.

Zelenskyy tells the United Nations Security Council to punish Russia or ‘dissolve yourself altogether’ Business Insider. All those uppers look to be getting the best of him.

Ahem…report below can be found here.

Note latest Patrick Lawrence video shows Ukraine shelling a residential neighborhood in Donetsk.

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I cannot verify this, but we do have some Russian-fluent readers who do prowl Russian sites who might be able to. This is from, which seems to be a reader-supplied aggregator (it reminds me of Slashdot). If this story is correct, the idea that Russia is suffering from the sanctions is Western wishful thinking. Recall that financial analysts would look at China’s electricity generation and consumption to verify its GDP growth claims:

EU to propose import ban on Russia coal, chemicals, wood -source Reuters but EU avoids imposing sanctions on Russian oil, despite war crimes in Ukraine Politico

Was wird aus Gazproms Deutschlandgeschäft? Taggesschau. (guurst). Translation: What happens to Gazprom’s business in Germany?. The Internet translations of German suck, so I can’t make sense of this. But I can infer that Germany seized a bunch of storage facilities too, although though they are trying to pretend not (and in fairness, the Russian move to shift ownership into a new legal entity may not have primarily about allowing Germany to skirt secondary US sanctions but mainly about voiding the existing agreements to force Germany to enter into contracts based on current, higher gas prices). If I were Gazprom, any new deal with German utilities has to have a surcharge built in to pay off the value of the seized assets. Which is na ga happen. So no gas seems a likely outcome.

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Sitrep: Operation Z Veterans Today

Zelensky Says Post-War Ukraine Will Be Like Israel, Won’t Be ‘Liberal, European’ (Kevin W). Lovely. So Zelensky says he wants a super militarized Ukraine. I am sure Russia heard and is redefining its military objectives and negotiating terms accordingly.

The U.S. Has Its Own Agenda Against Russia Intercept Resilc cites:

The war in Ukraine is simultaneously a war of aggression being waged by Putin and part of a larger geopolitical battle between the U.S., NATO, and Russia. “We are engaged in a conflict here. It’s a proxy war with Russia, whether we say so or not,” said Leon Panetta, the former CIA director and defense secretary under Barack Obama. “I think the only way to basically deal with Putin right now is to double down on ourselves, which means to provide as much military aid as necessary.”

Biden’s Folly in Ukraine American Conservative. Resilc flags the subhead: “Moscow can no more lose the war with Ukraine than Washington could lose a war with Mexico.”

* * *

This was a big rumor overnight and is still getting a lot of play on Twitter but probably bogus. Nevertheless filling you in:

Total News Blackout: US General Captured Leading Azov Nazis in Mariupol (confirmations coming in) Veterans Today (jo6pac). I saw rumors about this last night but didn’t run them. This is consistent with the awfully desperate repeated failed efforts to fly clearly someone or someones important out of the Mariupol steel factory that is one of the last Azov holdouts. If the Russians do capture him, IMHO the highest and best use before returning him (assuming the stories of Ukraine torture of Russian POWs is true; I am told the videos are so graphic it is hard to see how they could be fake) is to take him to a few Russian hospitals, with cameras on him, and show him soldiers who have been castrated and blinded. That both documents that the Russians have him and gets the torture on record.

Versus “The Russian army captured the U.S Major General Roger L. Cloutier Jr. … in the besieged Ukrainian Azov camp in Mariupol” Politifact rates as False. However, the “proof” is a recent LinkedIn post, which only takes his credentials, not him, and a claim that he’s in Turkey.

However, another possibility is this rumor was the result of a big Ukie headfake to get the Russians not to simply pound the steel works back into the stone ages but instead induce them to go in to take potential high value captives alive, which would almost certainly lead to more Russian casualties.

Moar rumors:

I don’t see why the Russians should be shy if they nabbed some high value foreign targets in Mariupol, unless they thought embarrassing the West would reduce their cooperativeness in doing a hostage trade.

Fuel protests prompt Lima curfew as Ukraine crisis touches South America Guardian. Update: Peru’s Castillo lifts Lima curfew after widespread defiance, anger Reuters

How Viktor Orbán Built His Illiberal State New Republic (resilc)

Humanitarian Catastrophe in Somalia: With the World’s Attention on Ukraine, Suffering Is Rising Elsewhere Der Speigel. Resilc: “…and Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Myanmar…….” Moi: “…and Yemen and Tigray…”


Harvard Law School ‘apartheid’ report leaves Israel’s defenders speechless Mondoweiss (guurst)

Imperial Collapse Watch

US Army opens probe after it emerges medevac pilot may have INTENTIONALLY crashed Black Hawk Daily Mail (J-LS)


Ukraine, inflation catch Biden in their pincers The Hill


Clinton 2016 campaign, lawyer, tech exec in ‘joint venture’ to smear Trump, Durham alleges New York Post (J-LS). Um, last I checked, oppo is legal.

America’s Sexual Red Scare Matt Taibbi. One correction: the Puritans get a bum rap on sex. They advocated lustful sex….between married people. It was pre- and extra-marital sex that they opposed.

Our Famously Free Press

Twitter says no plans to bring Trump back with ‘free-speech’ advocate Elon Musk coming aboard Mercury News. We’ll see how long this stance lasts. Musk casually mentioned he might have to take over Twitter.

Facebook paid Republican strategy firm to malign TikTok Washington Post (resilc)

Nigerian humanist jailed for 24 years after pleading guilty to blasphemy Guardian. ChiGal: “Sometimes we forget what a long, hard trip it’s been and how much worse it could be.”

Ever Forward ship still stuck in Chesapeake Bay after three weeks Guardian (resilc)

Class Warfare


Corporate Profits are Soaring as Prices Rise: Are Corporate Greed and Profiteering Fueling Inflation? Senate Budget Committee (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour. From Tracie H (send a very long time ago!): “Tricolor Poison Dart Frog at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Energy supplier gives out free electric blankets to customers as heating bills soar”

    Don’t they need a working electrical grid to work? Going forward I am not so sure that this is a given. Which reminds me. I was listening to Gonzalo Lira today and he was recommending that because of rising inflation and cost of living increases, that it might be wise for those homes that use oil heaters to fill up now. I have only ever seen them in movies but apparently some 5.3 million households in America use them. His point was that if people wait until winter starts to move in that the cost of oil will not be so much as expensive but actually unaffordable.

    1. Eclair

      Rev, many homes in the US north-east, Massachusetts and Maine, use oil-fired furnaces. I remember when my family converted their old coal-burning furnace to an oil-fired one. State of the art, and no getting up early to shovel in coal on the frigid winter mornings.

      Back in the early 2000’s, when my spouse was working in the French Alps, I found an oil-fired furnace. One of the other American families that had located there temporarily, was staying in a rather large and new ‘chateau’ type house, and they were bothered by a strange odor. As the official translator for the group, I had to stand around, sniff, and then prepare to explain to the French landlady what the problem was. I was immediately taken back to childhood mornings, when the oil burner kicked in, with the unmistakable smell of burning diesel fuel. I was surprised, because I had assumed that all the houses there were heated with electric.

    2. valdo

      I read a long time ago that electromagnetic radiation is harmful to the body, and the one emanating from electric blankets is off the charts compared to anything else

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Alternating current vs Direct current. Electric blankets sold in the US use a rectifier in the controller to convert the alternating current to direct current, so no 60Hz wave. This has been the case since sometime in the 1990’s I believe.

    3. Taurus

      Yep. My house has one of these. The choice in the North East is between oil and propane. The air heat pumps do not operate all the way down at the extreme lower end of the winter range temperatures. And ground watee heat pumps are something that requires taking out a substantial second mortgage.

      Thankfully, most houses here have a wood burning stove as emergency backup heat in case of a power outage.

  2. Louis Fyne

    —Ukraine, inflation catch Biden in their pincers The Hill—

    It seems that every time I visit the NYT website, it is the headline is Ukraine related.

    In the NY-DC bubble, there is nothing going in the world besides Ukraine. this blinder means no attention is being paid inflation, housing, etc.

    1 year of declining post-inflation wages.

    When the NYT pivots its coverage to the 2022, 2024 elections, the oblivious NYT readership are going to be surprised by the anti-incumbent, pro-GOP tsunami right behind them.

    1. fresno dan

      what always gets me is the subtext that we (i.e., the American people) are willing to pay higher prices to support Ukraine. To which I reply, who is this “we” kemosabe?

  3. JohnA

    In Britain, anyone even questioning the Russia did it narrative about Bucha is being excommunicated. McCarthyism rises from the crypt again.

    1. The Rev Kev

      On the TV news tonight here in Oz, when they were reporting what the Russian Ambassador at the UN said, they actually came out and said that he was ‘telling lie after lie.’ The role of the news is to report the facts, not give their opinions. It is supposed to be up to viewers to make up their own minds. Our media has gone out of control here.

      1. Sardonia

        I’m not familiar with the Aussie TeeVee audience.

        How would you rate the average viewer’s intelligence there, on a scale of 1 – 10, 1 being a complete idiot and 10 being an utter moron?

        Here in the US, it’s like watching North Korean news broadcasts now. Better hair, though.

          1. Sardonia

            Like I said, better hair here in the US.

            I guess Kim Jong-Un doesn’t allow newscasters to be more attractive than he is.

        1. Expat2Uruguay

          Sardinia, you ask how smart the average American is? And I don’t think that is the question. This has more to do with being a follower or a free thinker, the better question is how brave people are, how willing they are to think for themselves and accept the consequences of that. It’s not just that Publics across the world are being lied to, they’re being fed News full of opinion and missing facts. So it’s not a matter of being unintelligent exactly it’s more a matter of being uncurious. I’m sad to admit that my own son, who I consider very intelligent, has no interest in questioning the narratives. It is particularly disheartening since he is a teacher of high school students. I keep trying to put other narratives in front of him, but he can’t even be bothered to listen to them or read them. It is quite discouraging. I am currently listening to 1984 in audiobook. This is our future if we continue as we presently go

            1. JBird4049

              People can be curious about certain things and not others. I think what matters is a willingness to check that what you believe is true. To verify.

              However, today’s America does not want you to verify. It wants you to be reflexively jingoistic and just accept the narrative with the subtext being, if you do not do that, bad things could happen to you. This does not have to be explicitly stated, and it means most will unconsciously avoid picking at any loose threads, any contradictions.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            I just finished rereading 1984 myself for the first time in about 35-40 years. It hits a little to close to home considering current events. Interesting times….

            1. fringe element

              I felt the same way about Hannah Arendt’s work on totalitarianism. Her descriptions of the totalitarian mindsets were pitch perfect descriptions of people I worked with at my dreadful office.

      2. Quentin

        None other than the U.S. Department of War (aka Pentagon) itself remarked it is not in a position to confirm the identity of the perpetrator of the Bucha killings. But these teevee windbags pretend they know better. Irresponsible or what? And the sensation thrilled public sucks it up!

      3. Wukchumni

        Nobody expected the Berlin Wall to be breached and slowly and then all of the sudden it didn’t matter anymore.

        Nobody expected the world reserve currency to challenged and slowly and then all of the sudden it didn’t matter anymore.

        The sanction consortium of countries has everything to lose should this come to pass, thus the full court presstidigitation onslaught they are pressing on their proles, there being no other plan B.

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          No one expected the US, the UK and Australian governments to be real morons, cretins, psychopaths and witch smellers. Except for those of us that live in these benighted experiments in creeping totalitarianism.
          It is just a nice club of people using medical and military tyranny to get their way and make more of the green things they keep to sooth themselves. They didn’t even notice they can’t purchase moar with the collapse of their currencies becoming more clear daily.
          Another normal day guaranteeing dystopia. Racing toward collapse is fun if you know how!

        2. JTMcPhee

          Do you know where YOUR gold is? Asking for a friend. Hopefully not in the unaudited vaults of the US and UK and Swiss et al. Central Banks.

      4. fresno dan

        it is hard not to come to the conclusion that American TV is totally, completely, entirely of the CIA, by the CIA, for the CIA.
        I just can’t get over, after Vietnam, after Iraq, the willingness of Americans to so credulously believe the American government on matters of war. But one has to acknowledge that the neoliberal agenda has mastered propaganda and married it to free market ideology to produce an indoctrinated populace incapable of critical thinking.

        1. The Rev Kev

          If the media are completely captured, do you ever hear how ordinary people think and feel and what their problems are? The world’s media want us concentrating on the Ukraine – while ignoring the creeping inflation and the rising fuel costs that are more important to the average person. Will anybody even care about the Ukraine come November? If course the media can get so arrogant, that they think that they make the news but sometimes that leads to them coming unstuck. November of 2016 comes to mind here.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The opportunity to not be bad guys is there for the first time since…1979 and 2001 and that is only because Americans didn’t have a clue what was going on in Afghanistan. I also suspect fears of blow back is an issue. Remember half the Iraqi population in 2003 was under 18. The litany of US imperial excess is well known, but even the most braindead members of the PMC know the list.

          Obama had his line about the problems in Libya were the result of not having a plan for the aftermath. If Obama says this, they know.

          Hillary didn’t actually run on any foreign policy successes just a job title. At that back of the minds of every PMC type who shared a picture of the US divided into Canada and Jesusland is the recognition that flying a US flag from a pick up drug doesn’t absolve. It won’t be personal attacks, but why should China ship goods, made from resources in Africa, to the US when they could just ship goods to Africa? Scholtz said the era of low prices is over. What he really means is the technological edge brought industrial capacity and age of sail advantages are coming to an end. The Germans may buy more F-35s, but the changing face of trade in the world has gone from American to Chinese very quickly. How soon before countries start to say, “hey, why do we have American owned factories?” There aren’t that many troops, and we saw what the Russians did to NATO trained forces.

          Obama was instrumental to the imprisonment of the next President of Brazil. 230 million people. Lula advised his successor to engage with China along the lines of Russia. Brazil, like many countries, were once colonial nations ruled by a European elite. These days, even the Europe types, have no real connection to the old country. I think Americans are hiding their heads in the sand. We can’t say they don’t know. Remember the hoopla around Obama’s Egypt speech and a new, changed America before Obama reminded everyone he was Shrub 2.0.

          1. newcatty

            I think people are hiding their heads in the sand. We can’t say they don’t know.

            This statement goes along with the above observation that no one expected whatever degradation of life in this country has come to, as the Spectors of homelessness, hunger and hate toward the other has increased by the day. Who are the no one’s? The people who are dancing as fast as they can to survive in their lives. They are overwhelmed with the increasing pressure to provide shelter, food and heath care ( often sought as last resort at the Ers) for themselves and /or their families. They are bamboozled by false and misleading information from MSM, Hollywood tall tales, mind control via tee vee and social media. Public education of their children has been thrown under the school bus. State taxes are given to private (charter)schools with losses of money for public schools. Kids are being used in cultural and ID wars in public schools across the nation. College kids are sleeping in cars. As the economic class divides widen and the effects become more dire, the social fabric becomes more torn. Let them eat junk. Let them escape with circuses with a side show of the greatest military on earth rah, rah, rah propaganda. The Poor People’s Campaign pointed out that poor people, mostly in the most polluted or degraded communities, died in greater numbers from Covid than those in better ones. They were surprised it was so awful. They wept.

        3. JTMcPhee

          CIA Dead Director William Casey: “We will know our program o disinformation is complete when nothing the American public believes is true.”

          Mission Accomplished! Attaboy, Langley!

      1. The Rev Kev

        And that is why a few weeks ago that Putin said that we don’t have a free media in the west and that we live in an ‘Empire of Lies.’

      2. Carolinian

        PBS had a good Ken Burns show this week on Benjamin Franklin. The various biographers talked about the influence of his education–or rather lack thereof–on his genius. His father wanted him to go to Harvard but they were too poor and thus he had to education himself by means of voracious reading and and an experimental approach to problems. The conclusion one can draw is that he became a genius because he didn’t go to Harvard and become a clergyman as his father wanted–with his poverty added in as a goad to ambition.

        Modern Americans are like the anti-Ben Franklin. We are anything but poor and addicted to comfort and distraction. We are deluged with information and so become incurious. Of course there are still exceptions like Franklin, but one could argue that our affluence is the engine of our decline.

        The long ago hippie generation seemed to understand this and try something different. It didn’t last but they had the right idea…

        1. Paul Jurczak

          It’s almost impossible to expunge all the garbage you have to put inside your brain, in order to graduate from Ivy League institution.

          1. JBird4049

            But if you do not got to that Ivy League university, your options are deliberately circumscribed and your ability to have a decent life is limited as well. One of the useful effects from hollowing out the economy. Most of the good jobs come from being a good servant of the Elites and being a good servant means coring out your brain. If the economy was as good as it was fifty or sixty years ago, being a “failure” just meant having not as great a life financially, whereas today, being labeled a failure means penury; there is no longer much of a continuum of success and failure, but increasingly of only success or poverty.

            Hunger is a very strong motivator.

        2. pasha

          in the 1960s and 70s, most tuition at state run colleges was free or very cheap. a part-time job was sufficient to meet most needs. this allowed freedom to indulge curiosity, take courses and professors who captured my interest. over the course of six years i accidentally accrued three majors and four minors, and have always felt enriched by the experience

          today’s students are not so lucky, bound to tight four year schedules that will allow them to graduate permanently impoverished.

          we have done this to ourselves

      3. Milton

        Funny. When I think of the Free World now, I liken its denizens to free-range citizens rather than equal participants in society.

        1. OIFVet

          Interesting notion, that of the free-range citizens. Do you envision something akin to free-range chickens? I gotta admit, the notion of the free-range citizen has some drumsticks to it. The range of acceptable opinion in the Free World has narrowed considerably in the past 30 years, with the Free Media and Twitter being the main enforcers of said range, yet many of its denizens truly believe that they are freer than ever even as they mindlessly engage in an orgy of hate that even Orwell would find impressive in its sincerity and longevity. That hate in its turn is akin to Heller’s Loyalty Oath crusade, except that the subjects actually enjoy it.

          “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

      4. wilroncanada

        Canada too. Along with the US and Britain, we trained the Neo-Nazis. Something of which Canada can be proud./s

    2. Ignacio

      I listened and saw a radio program here in Spain conducted by former Podemos leader claiming to show lots of evidences against the Russians. It was long and accompanied with a lot of ‘context’ in the sense of how nice was living in Bucha before Russians invaded. As proofs the only thing delivered were a few words presumably in Ukrainian and presumably from Bucha neighbours that were translated into minutes and minutes of Spanish including lots of names such as Oleg or Piotr claimed to have disappeared (surnames avoided) during Russian occupation, all these obtained by ‘dozens’ of Spanish journalists supposedly interrogating neighbours in Bucha. This is serius journalism the broadcast claimed, not some false Russian claims.

      What made me so wary is that I have rarely seen such a redacted and staged broadcast with this simple and single objective. The same evidence repeated once and again. The argument was indeed repetition: hey, we are many many journalists saying the same.Then, revisiting the video showing the dead bodies scattered around more or less at random in some Bucha’s street without any blood residue visible reinforced my impression of a staged thing. Might I bee becoming too cynical?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I really really hate to have to take the point of view we’ve been presenting here via the various links. Among other things, I don’t like having my head over the parapet in a high emotion, hive mind, low evidence conviction environmnent. This is in witch hunt terrain except no one can burn the witches, so the frustration over the inability to inflict retribution leads to even more fervor.

        But the evidence for the hysterical war crimes charge is not there. As David (and Scott Ritter) pointed out, Russians had to have chosen to kill civilians. For it to be attributed to Putin, it has to be official policy, not some My Lai flip out or soldiers raping a woman and then killing her. Consider this reminder from David:

        As a matter of principle, it’s impossible to know what happened in Bucha, let alone if a crime was committed. Anyone who says they know what happened is lying. At a minimum; you need legal-standard-of-proof evidence that (1) people died (2) they died violently (3) they died as a direct result of the conflict (4) they were not taking part in military operations (5) they were not combatants whose bodies had been changed into civilian clothes (6) they were deliberately killed as opposed to being casualties of war and (7) that they were deliberately killed by a specified individual or individuals, and, as necessary, this was on the orders of other individuals. After that you might get somewhere. I leave you to judge how far we are from such a situation.

        In other words, “war crimes” is a very high bar and requires actual forensic evidence, most important autopsies. It is entirely conceivable that civilians who were collateral damage in shellings of military targets are being depicted as war crime victims; you’d need to know when and where they died. It is also conceivable given that Zelensky has encouraged civilians to fight the Rooskies, that they made themselves into combatants by shooting at Russian soldiers. It is also likely that at least some of the deaths were due to reprisals and are being pinned on the Russians. I am sure readers can add to the list.

        There may be some bona fide war crimes in there, with rape/murder the most likely. But the shitty evidence, refusal to do proper investigations, and hyperventilating supports the suspicion that any actual war crimes were a small subset of the claimed deaths.

        1. Ignacio

          Oh, I have read and listened all that. And I was not arguing about it. Instead, I was trying to analyse in a naive manner how western media are delivering their propaganda and how one who only listens things like this could react. Very, very few in Spain possibly watch Ritter . This particular case was interesting to me as it was delivered by a leftist media and was the first example of such ‘leftist coverage’ I had seen. In other words I was trying to put myself in the position of many of my colleagues and neighbours. Might I have explained that.

          1. Ignacio

            Let me explain in some more detail. I put this here as a reply to JohnA because that stuff I commented is the kind of links I receive when I have arguments on the issue via wassap mainly with friends of mine. It is now quite a bit difficult to stand in a position of scepticism which is responded with an overload of propaganda like that I mentioned. I counterattack with links to Ritter but fairly sure no one pays attention to it. Neither would do to link to Doctorow’s blog or any other vision that takes views alternative to the propaganda. Indeed it is difficult to argue in this environment.

          2. pjay

            Speaking of “leftist media” coverage, here is Patrick Cockburn in Counterpunch:

            “As the bodies of Ukrainian civilians murdered by Russian soldiers are discovered in the streets and cellars of towns around Kyiv, the chances plummet of a compromise peace in the Ukrainian war. The likelihood of this happening was never high, but the slaughter will persuade many Ukrainians that they have no choice but to fight to a finish or at least until Russia troops are forced out of the country….”

            “Such a furious reaction to the latest butchery may be understandable, but it will not necessarily be good for the 44 million Ukrainians. Monstrous though the killings are, the war could get a lot worse yet if Russia engages in so-called “meat-grinder” tactics in south-east Ukraine, pounding cities into submission or destruction. Russia may have done badly on the battlefield so far, but it is by no means defeated. It has tactics it has not used – such as destroying the Ukrainian electricity grid as the US did in Iraq 1991. It has vast reserves of manpower it could still mobilise. If Putin used poison gas, Ukraine refugees fleeing to the rest of the Europe would be numbered in the tens of millions….”

            Lot’s more like that. Cockburn is all-in on mainstream media framing (including a “poison gas” reference!). No questioning at all about evidence, qui bono, or anything else. And no recognition of how the very narrative he is supporting contributes to the outcome he supposedly dreads. Beyond despicable.

            1. Ignacio

              At least he is right to write that the chances of a compromise are minimal and this may exactly be the message of Bucha: read my lips, no-agreement-possible. I also agree that this is no necessarily good for Ukrainians. This analysis is well above the level I am used to see here so I keep some respect for Cockburn.

              1. chuck roast

                Ole Claud is probably spinning in his grave. But of course, he was known to do a good turn for Stalin now and again. These days, we can’t even believe our lyin’ eyes.

              2. Robin Kash

                And why would this Cockburn article help you maintain respect for him? It is premised on Russians having done the deeds. His is an allegation on unexamined bodies. How can he possibly know the Russians did it? Far from his best journalism. BTW, I’ve noticed others at CounterPunch taking up the anti-Russian chant. Such would benefit from reading Stephen Cohen’s War with Russia?

      2. RabidGandhi

        In self-flagellation for my many past sins, I occasionally submit myself to a bout of Spanish public TV. Yesterday I was taken by the fact that (among many other things) RTVE put up a Ukrainian flag on the permanent lower screen caption. It made me wonder if the media there is afraid people might not support the latest war if not properly reminded.

        Further, pre-Brexit, pre-Trump, pre-Orbán, etc, etc, I don’t remember such flailing desperation by the media to ensure we fickle masses are properly on side.

        In short, this is not the behaviour of a confident élite.

        1. Carolinian

          Gotta keep the sheeple inside the pen.

          I will say that while we US-ians spend a ridiculous amt of time watching TV, the public are not necessarily believing it all and the approval ratings of the media are quite low. Biden’s poll ratings aren’t soaring either. There is hope in that.

        2. Ignacio

          Oh yeah, Ukrainian flags are everywhere. I am sorry you did it (the RTVE watch). I avoid it everyday now.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

      Some Indian news reports are reliable, reflecting the Indian government’s policy of dealing with all sides.

      To be sure, these sources have their own biases, but that bias is to try to assess and decide policy stances on the basis of what best suits India’s interests. So that means there’s much more reporting of facts.

      1. Kim

        Balance is achieved by watching any American MSM, then going to RT, via url bar. It’s as good as the BBC used to be.

  4. vao

    Was wird aus Gazproms Deutschlandgeschäft? Tagesschau (not Taggeschau).

    The essential points:

    a) Gazprom Germania (henceforth GG) is active in three domains:

    1- Storage of gas (via subsidiary Astora) in Germany (and also Austria); one of its gas storage plant in Rehden alone represents 20% of the total gas storage capacity in Germany. Overall, gas storage capacity of GG represents 6bn m3.
    2- Delivery of gas (via various companies such as Gascade, in which GG has a participation).
    3- Gas sales (via various subsidiaries, such as Wingas, which supplies municipalities).

    Overall, GG controls 40% of gas supplies in Germany and employs 1543 employees (figures of 2020).

    b) The German government imposed a fiduciary administrator on GG because:

    1- Gazprom wanted to sell GG and did not get an authorization for it, which is legally required.
    2- The buyers of GG are two firms: “JSC Palmary” and “Gazprom Business Export Services LLC” whose ownership structure is unclear.
    3- The buyers intended to liquidate GG, which would have make uncertain the future of gas distribution in Germany because all infrastructure would have been divested and contracts with customers and suppliers terminated. New contracts with Gazprom (and new prices) would have had to be negotiated.
    4- The contracts with Gazprom are supposedly confidential, and it is unclear what a re-negotiation after the demise of GG would have entailed.
    5- However, it seems that the first contacts by the new owners of GG regarding selling GG assets were fruitless.

    c) The Bundesnetzagentur is the fiduciary and is entitled to:

    1- Take over all voting rights from the owners of GG.
    2- Replace the management of GG.
    3- Give instructions to the management of GG.

    Its main responsibilities are:

    4- Ensuring the continuity of the firm.
    5- Enforcing the Gasspeichergesetz (law on the storage of gas), especially regarding the minimum gas quantities that must be secured.

    The fiduciary administration is, by law, limited to 6 months.

    d) Not much should happen in the short term:

    1- Contracts with customers and with the provider of gas (Gazprom), as well as with banks, remain in force.
    2- Gazprom is recalling its managers from GG and its subsidiaries, and is demanding that GG no longer uses the “Gazprom” trade mark and logo.
    3- The German government will have to consider pledging sureties or giving credits to GG (via the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau) to ensure the financial continuity of the firm.

    e) What happens in October is open. Two scenarios are being considered:

    1- Nationalization of GG.
    2- Breaking down GG and selling out its various business units and subsidiaries.

    Further points would then have to be cleared up:

    3- In case of nationalization, what kind of indemnification would be paid to Gazprom — if any.
    4- In case of liquidation, whether the proceeds are paid back to Gazprom or not.

    That is it. A legal wrangle that looks to me like kicking the can down the road.

    1. The Rev Kev

      In October if there is either nationalization or liquidation, would then the Russians be entitled to say that they will withhold the value of that stolen infrastructure in deliverable gas until it is paid back? Or else payment for it in a bank in Russia. In Rubles please. I have been in Germany in October and that is when the chill sets in so why they want to kick the can down the road till then instead of the present warmer months I have no idea.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        They hope it goes away. Scholtz took a harder line initially because politicians worry about voters seeing spikes in bills. He likely just learned about industrial uses. Per Hudson, if this is a war to keep the EU dependent on DC, Scholtz has problems he hasn’t conceived of. Now he is saying the Era of cheap good is over. This is so effectively a regressive tax. And as a nominally left candidate, his base is going to take the bulk of the suffering.

      2. vao

        All one can say is that this is a case with the potential for high stakes legal disputes — something specialized lawyers are surely rejoicing about.

    2. RobertC

      vao — this is curious:

      b) The German government imposed a fiduciary administrator on GG because:
      1- Gazprom wanted to sell GG and did not get an authorization for it, which is legally required.
      2- The buyers of GG are two firms: “JSC Palmary” and “Gazprom Business Export Services LLC” whose ownership structure is unclear.

      Why would Gazprom want to put GG into play knowing an authorization was required which, unlikely to be approved, enabled the Bundesnetzagentur to act.?

      And together with the unclear buyers this very much looks like a put-up job.

      Your thoughts?

      1. Skip Intro

        IMHO, Gazprom was set to just drop the GG business, and let its incapacitation become a German problem. Maybe they anticipated expropriation anyway, maybe they wanted to impose a counter sanction. The lack of an authorization which would probably not have been forthcoming anyway, may not really be an oversight.

        1. vao

          The article states that, for the last couple of weeks, Gazprom had been trying to find buyers for the GG assets — without success. So

          a) divesting proposals to “acceptable” (for the German government) third-parties met with systematic refusals;

          b) selling GG to another foreign investor, either Russian or possibly Chinese, would have been vetoed by the German government.

          By selling to those mysterious entities (JSC Palmary is registered in St-Petersburg), Gazprom forces the hand of the German government and ensures significant legal and contractual complications down the road if the Germans nationalize or dissolve GG.

          It would appear that, specifically with GG, Gazprom has a weak hand — ultimately, it will lose its pipelines and storage tanks in Germany. What it can do is make it a costly victory for the German government. And once GG is gone, the gas supply contracts will have to re-negotiated.

          Well, this is how I see things.

    3. Skip Intro

      One interesting bit was the implication that the Germans were surprised by Gazprom withdrawing from GG, and reacted to prevent things from just falling apart. The spin makes it more like they aggressively seized the company, than that they became trustees for a chunk of critical privatized infrastructure. I wonder how full the GG facility storage actually is.

      1. vao

        I wonder how full the GG facility storage actually is.

        This is exactly a crucial point that the article emphasizes: the trustee (Bundesnetzagentur) must ensure that the objectives set in the Gasspeichergesetz are met, i.e. that the storage tanks contain the minimum amount of gas reserves required by law.

        This is probably why the German government did not go the way of an outright expropriation or liquidation — this would have immediately invalidated the gas supply contracts with Gazprom, and then the reserves would be gone… With that fiduciary administration, it has 6 months to figure out a solution while the trustee manages the business.

        1. RobertC

          Thanks to vao, et al for the explanations.

          1. So Gazprom faced certain nationalization of GG.

          2. And wanted to jam things up for the German government, consumers and industrialists.

          3. With “Gazprom is recalling its managers from GG and its subsidiaries” that leaves the German trustee Bundesnetzagentur, presumably without gas operations management expertise, as the fall guy to face their fury.

          Yeah this works. But these are early days. With natural gas being national security, I expect the fiduciary administration solution will be ahem … innovative.

          1. vao

            One thing to remember is that the ownership of the gas distribution network has always been a point of serious contention between Russia and the EU.

            The latter always insisted on the principle that the owners of production and distribution infrastructure must be distinct, following the strategy implemented in the electricity and railway sectors. The EU always wanted Gazprom to relinquish the ownership of pipelines and storage tanks in Europe, preferably to non-Russian entities, of course. The whole affair with GG can also be viewed as an episode in that struggle.

    1. timbers

      Did I spot Nancy in the background using her smart phone to price shop? Oh no, not Nancy but someone else who’s almost a Kamila look-a-like. Because obviously Nancy would have one of her servants do her price shopping for her. That’s the kind of video you’d watch while surfing the net for the best price you can find for dry bulk organic black beans. Because as you can tell by Obama’s demeanor and the other VIPs, taking care of our affordability is what they are all about.

      I ordered 25lbs yesterday at $2.96/pound or about $73 w/shipping. That’s up from my most recent prior order of $68 in January of 2022. I’m stocking up as you can see.

    2. OIFVet

      Kamala Harris rated more attention than Joe? We are deeply fu**ed. Barry owns big part of this mess though. Lest we forget, he was perhaps the main engineer of the weekend of the long knives before Super Tuesday 2020 that knocked Sanders out of the contest. We got that befuddled yet bellicose pretender in the Oval Office because Barry and the Dem establishment would rather have him over Sanders. Now he is validating Harris by snubbing old Joe, and we have all seen that Harris is even more incompetent and lazy than we knew. Truly, Obama is a narcissist.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Without the recent blundering, Biden was a significantly better President than Obama. Scan a Matt Stoller thread. It’s not Biden undoing Trump as much as undoing Obama. Like Bill Clinton, it almost defies belief how bad Obama was.

        1. OIFVet

          Come on, I know you are not a practitioner of lesser evilism but still. Also, at least Barry had the good sense to know that the US has no vital interests in Ukraine. Old Joe is undoing that as well.

      2. jr

        Tucker Carlson ran this segment on that get together celebrating the ACA:

        Biden is acutely pathetic, openly ignored by Obama, Harris, and pretty much everyone else in the room except for the cruel camera operator who won’t turn away. This revenant isn’t in charge of anything.

        1. Tom Stone

          Obama sent a very clear message to all of the party apparatchiks that “Good old uncle Joe” is no longer part of the Family.
          And that “The People’s Choice”is now the favored child.

        2. Mildred Montana

          That video made me feel sorry for Biden, and I don’t even like him. It’s a clear illustration that ambitious politicians only have two settings: Sycophancy or cruelty.

          1. jr

            Obama can’t even be bothered to acknowledge him when he clasps his shoulder. These are the cruel kids in school who tease or ignore the odd kids. It’s hard to watch and I despise Biden heartily.

          2. OIFVet

            It’s like high school: the popular and mean kids humiliating one of their own by kicking him out of the herd. Joe was one of them until he did something to displease them. From that POV I can’t say that I feel sorry for him. He has been and continues to be as mean as they are.

            1. Mildred Montana

              Here’s a very rough paraphrase of something John Kenneth Galbraith wrote:

              “Those who have had power and lose it will be subjected to every available indignity.”

        3. Katniss Everdeen

          Carlson’s clip was longer than the one linked above and, as a result, even creepier. Gotta confess that the aimless, wandering biden as personification of these sorry united states was more than a bit unsettling.

          Even a narcissist like barry must know that he’s 0 for 2 in the political alchemy department. Despite the fact that, with the help of zuckerburg money and covid chaos he managed to drag poor biden over the line, the luster didn’t last long enough to warrant a review of the play from new york. (Almost opening day, you know.)

          If you’ll permit an unapologetic mixing of metaphors, I can’t think of a more deserving lump of lead for his third strike than kamala harris.

          1. OIFVet

            Narcissists don’t seek to burnish their legacies by having competent successors. They burnish it by having even more incompetent successors, that’s how they truly shine. We all know Barry’s accomplishments, just think how much fonder of him we would be if Kamala were to wiggle her way into the Oval Office.

      3. Nikkikat

        You are correct OIFVet. The long knives was Obama, he despised Bernie. I remember when he was running for second term. He came to Calif and was at a fund raiser in San Francisco. At some point he introduced Harris to the crowd by making the remark
        That she was easy on the eyes. To which Harris preened. He clearly was smitten with her. I have always thought he pushed Biden to pick her as VP. She certainly has ego to match Obama’s both undeserved.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

          Yes! I remember the incident, but couldn’t recall the details. Thanks for refreshing my memory.

          I remember thinking at the time how offensive his comment was – and so out of character. For despite his many flaws, the Obamamometer is usually pretty good at not putting a foot wrong on issues of wokeness. Nor does he ever miss a chance to highlight how great a husband and father he is.

          So, that he openly talked about how ‘good looking’ Kamala is, was – to say the least – jarring. Not least because what man of his age ever says ‘good looking’ anyway?

          1. DJG, Reality Czar

            J-L S: Obama has a very strong streak of sexism. It tends to come out in unscripted remarks. I recall watching a video of a set of introductions at some Important Event. The men got titles and the women got first-named. Obama said something like:

            “General Blunderbuss, Secretary Bigguy, Hillary, and Gina.”

            I was struck at how obvious he can be.

            1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

              I still don’t understand how he managed to fool so many. But he did – and continues to do so.

        2. Mildred Montana

          > “…she [Kamala] was easy on the eyes.”

          For sure, but Obama forgot to mention that she’s hard on the ears. When her political career ends in 2024, I expect that her nasal twang will serve her well in country music.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Anybody notice the Major in the background between the two watching what was going on with his eyes? I guess that White House duty was a bit of an experience for him. I was almost sorry for Biden – until I remembered all the damage that he has done to so many people and figured that he absolutely deserved it.

    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      Hmm…let me put on my tin foil hat for a min. I was thinking last night about the Hunter laptop. Specifically, IF (and that’s a big IF) this story is growing legs, won’t this eventually lead to questions of what did President MyBoss know about all this and when did he know it? I can’t believe the Republicans would pass up that question given the chance. I’m assuming there’s nothing directly implicating him, given what’s all out there, but the idea of inquiry can’t be making No Drama Obama very pleased, especially as he has to know the Dems are about to wipeout again.
      I still would love to know why Obama pulled the levers to get Joe in. Yeah, I know the rest of the field was pathetic, but I think a Mayo Pete (for instance) would be willing to have his stings pulled from behind the scenes. Not that Biden isn’t also, but, as Obama himself said, “never underestimate Biden’s ability to f*ck things up.” I can’t help but wonder if Obama isn’t regretting the night of the ling knives these days.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama has worked on his memoirs. His followers preemptively deploy Republicans were mean. He needed a loser, or his legacy would be worse than it is. There is a distinct lack of hagiography about the Great One. In the long run, he will be a black Bill Clinton who wasted greater standing and power for what…a house he would have had had he been a good president.

        Remember “she’s ready”? It was one of Hillary’s slogans, but a reading between the lines of her campaign messaging was Obama was terrible. It’s clearly been whispered in the halls of power.

        His great piece of legislation was a insurance bailout he took a year and half to get. And what is the number one issue in every poll: health care. Obama knows he’s a loser. The only way out is to be better by comparison.

      2. Robert Hahl

        “I would still love to know why Obama pulled the levers to get Joe in.”

        My guess at the time was that they felt if Bernie or anyone else were to win, Trump would not leave, and that would be the end of our quadrennial presidential rituals. But if Biden won, the establishment would close ranks and force Trump out. I have no evidence for this, other than subsequent events.

      3. Samuel Conner

        > especially as he has to know the Dems are about to wipeout again

        one can add 2022 and 2024 to the long list of BHO’s accomplishments on behalf of the D Party — I’m thinking of the roughly 1000 federal and state-level seats that the Rs gained during the O years.

        OTOH, perhaps it couldn’t happen to a nicer Party.

        But the schadenfreude isn’t much consolation when one contemplates what has happened in the country since the Carter years.

        1. lance ringquist

          nafta billy clinton lost over 900 seats nation wide. and a 50 year majority in the house, not bad for the first black president, NOT!

          “Bill Clinton lost 54 House seats in 1994 after passing a sweeping budget bill, a substantial crime bill, and the most significant gun-control legislation Congress has ever approved. The losses were even greater in 2010 after Barack Obama passed his stimulus plan, expansive financial-reform legislation, and, above all, the Affordable Care Act, extending health insurance to more of the uninsured than any other federal initiative had since Medicare and Medicaid. Despite, or perhaps because of, all that, Democrats lost 63 House seats in 2010, the biggest midterm loss for either party in more than 70 years.”

          they both lost not because of any so-called progressive polices, they lost because we can no longer make cars in flint, nor drink the water.

  5. Tom Stone

    is Western leadership insane?
    In the case of Joe Biden the answer is clearly yes, his dementia is obvious and very concerning.
    Terrifying might be a more accurate term.
    In its Foreign policy.approach to the rest of the World (India, Russia, China) yes.
    I say that because policies have only a tangenital relationship to reality, it’s as though someone half bright came up with a buggy program 50 years ago and it’s running the show.
    “Windows” for Foreign policy,so to speak.

    1. Questa Nota

      Give Bidet some time. His old boss warned people about Joe could F*** up foreign policy.

      “Moscow can no more lose the war with Ukraine than Washington could lose a war with Mexico.”

      Repealing Title 42 is a step in that direction. If we discard our N95s then open wide and say aah, to let in the teeming masses, Mexican and other, huddled at our southern shore border, those loosely vetted additions to our population vectors will show that Joe’s aspirations are very broad

      1. Mr. House

        Yinz guys are giving poor ole Biden too much credit, that dude ain’t in charge of anything. A shadow government is running things currently. 81 million voters, Trump is a turd, but at least the man could form a sentence, unless he was talking about hurricane Irrrrmer ;)

        1. Stick'em

          “At least Trump could form a complete sentence.”

          Um, you don’t want to go there, as we all well know:

          Thank you very much. So I asked Bill a question that probably some of you are thinking of, if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting. So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous – whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light – and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too. It sounds interesting.

          Right. And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds – it sounds interesting to me.So we’ll see. But the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute, that’s – that’s pretty powerful. Steve, please.

          1. orlbucfan

            Are you serious? You ever seriously follow this yahoo’s recorded words and text, and twits? I sure hope this is snark!

  6. Craig H.

    I don’t see why the Russians should be shy if they nabbed some high value foreign targets in Mariupol, unless they thought embarrassing the West would reduce their cooperativeness in doing a hostage trade.

    Is he more valuable prisoner kept top secret or up on stage and on the internet broadcast?

    It might take a couple days just to argue out an answer to that question.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I will take the liberty of spitballing.

      I agree that we won’t know if the Russians actually did get the infamous general or any other high value target for at least a few days even if they were to decide to go public. They need to be taken safely away, which means into Russia, cleaned up and fed, and then the higher ups need to decide what to do.

      Their highest and best use is presumably as a hostage trade, which would require treating them pretty well and keeping it secret, since one of the inducements is saving the West the embarrassment (both of having captured the guy or guys and then having entered into a trade with the evil Rooskies). If they are mid level, they might be interrogated, not so much about their home country which would just lead them to clam up, but about the Ukraine ops, both for propaganda purposes (“Yes, the XYZ country was really in bed with those Nazis”) and intel. I did a lot of competitor interviews (something no one else at McKinsey had the balls to do, I’d just call up). Virtually everyone agreed, thinking they were smart enough not to tell me anything of importance. Every single time they did. If you played gossip cards well, they would reveal stuff they thought was common knowledge but actually wasn’t.

      That is a long-winded way of saying that people who think they aren’t revealing anything actually can and do. The Russians are reported to be masters of humint. So they should be able to judge if they can get anything useful out of their captives and how to go about it.

      1. David

        I suppose the first question is, how would they know? There’s a lot of scope for confusion here – for example, there are probably foreign fighters with the Azov units wearing national flags. There may also be Ukrainians who have served in the Foreign Legion, with the UN or have otherwise been in international units. I don’t know how anyone could have hard, reliable intelligence of foreign personnel there. Of course, if some have already been captured then the issue is different: it poses a very tricky legal problem. I think the law of war recognises the presence of military observers, but that’s not the case here. None of the countries mentioned so far is a belligerent, and a lot would depend on whether the prisoners are wearing Ukrainian uniforms and have been temporarily incorporated into the UA. If so, they would have POW status, which means they aren’t obliged to answer questions. But frankly, until we know whether they even exist, all of this is pretty much speculation.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The repeated attempts at helicopter rescue, which were likely to be and mainly were suicide missions were seen as a sign that someone or someones really very badly wanted some of the personnel trapped at the steel mill out. I believe two of the dead in one of the downed helicopters had French passports. Forgive me for not confirming due to the late hour.

          1. The Rev Kev

            A partial confirmation is that Macron desperately tried to organize a seaborne evacuation of people out of Mariupol which was never going to get off the ground but tried anyway. You don’t do that for mercs. And the head of French military intelligence – Gen Eric Vidaud – being fired a few days ago could be interpreted a result of his failure to get any French out which would embarrass the government if captured.

          2. jo6pac

            Yes two French intelligence officers and french foreign legion soldiers. This is probably why the head French intelligence was forced out the next day. The only person who lived in those 2 crashes was ukraine Nazi who had no problem of talking to his captures. Veterans Today had most of the story.

          3. David

            Don’t forget it’s the first round of the elections here in France on Sunday. If there are French nationals in Ukraine this is going to be a massive political problem for the government in what promises to be a very difficult election. Obviously if they were actually serving French officers that would be one thing, but even if they are part of the “international brigade” Macron would be desperate to get them out. I haven’t seen any confirmation of their status. has anyone else? The French have officially denied it, apparently.

      2. The Rev Kev

        If they do have NATO officers as prisoners, perhaps one or two could be traded for high-value groups of prisoners such as Crimean Russians. Was reading earlier that ‘Ombudsman Tatiana Moskalkova received a list of Crimean officers branded as “unexchangeable” by Ukrainian authorities’ which suggest that the Ukrainians will simply execute them as traitors-

        Anybody think that the ICC will show any interest in them?

        1. integer

          the Ukrainians will simply execute them as traitors

          If they’re not already dead, that is. Can’t get any more “unexchangeable” than that. Visible signs of torture would also render those poor souls “unexchangeable”, or even prevent their bodies from being returned to their families.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Oh, no no no. You don’t get it.

            There are reports (I believe with an accompanying pictures of one victim) of about 50 castrated Russian soldiers at one hospital. Mutilation is meant to deter soldiers from serving. Castration is much worse to many men than death.

            1. integer

              What don’t I get?

              All I was saying is that Ukraine may have already killed the prisoners it deems “unexchangeable”, or if they are still alive but have been tortured, Ukraine will not want to provide living, breathing evidence of their war crimes to Russia. I agree that “castration is much worse to many men than death”, however I am not sure how that relates to my comment.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                No, you do not get it.

                Ukraine HAS BEEN returning soldiers who have been mutilated.

                Videos of Ukrainian soldiers recording their torture and mutilation of Russian soldiers.have already been all over Russian TV. No acknowledgement in the West. Way way way worse stuff than the kneecapping video.

                The West is pretending it does not exist, ergo it does not exist.

                Ritter suggesting that the fresh Bucha dead bodies were the result of Ukrainian recrimination against Russian collaborators got his Twitter account cancelled. Even a hint that Ukies are behaving badly is immediately censored.

                1. integer

                  I have seen a number of videos of Ukrainian soldiers torturing Russian POWs, however I was unaware that mutilated Russian POWs have been returned to Russia. Any chance you could provide a link or two to substantiate this? I’m not doubting what you are saying, but as someone who has followed the situation in Ukraine since Nuland was handing out cookies at Maidan, I would be interested to see what I appear to have missed.

                  Also, I am very much aware that these acts of cruelty that are being carried out by Ukrainian soldiers are designed to inflict terror in those serving in the Russian military.

                    1. integer

                      FWIW, these are the articles I saw about castration:

             (21 Mar, 2022 09:22)

             (21 Mar, 2022 13:05)

                      Both published by RT on the same day. I have been reading RT, along with other non-western sources, every day since the war began (also before it begun), and was under the impression that all the talk about castration of Russian POWs was untrue, and based solely on the comments of Gennadiy Druzenko. This was based on an assumption that RT would’ve confirmed it if it was true, but it’s possible the humiliation suffered by the victims of war crimes of this nature prevented it from being made public knowledge. I very much hope that it is not true. If it is true, and 50 castrated soldiers are being, or have been, returned and treated in Belgorod (which wouldn’t surprise me after seeing what I’ve seen) then it is absolutely sickening, deranged.

                    2. Yves Smith Post author

                      The Russians may also be wanting to hold that back for when they have war crimes trials, which they said from the very outset they intended to hold. They’ll get better reception, particularly in the Global South, when the fighting is over.

                2. integer

                  Just adding, and I ask that this does not get let out of moderation as the information I am putting forward is very personal.

                  I know we have had our differences in the past, which culminated in me using abusive language towards you, and for that I am extremely sorry. At the time, I had been diagnosed with depression, and was prescribed medication. Since then, I have found out I actually have type 2 bipolar, and that the medication I was prescribed for depression had been exacerbating my condition. I have also found out that bipolar runs in my family, on my father’s side, with whom I had a very complicated relationship, and who never sought help. He died young as a result of his condition. None of this excuses my behavior, for which I am very sorry, however I feel you deserve to know the context in which I acted in such a way. I regard you as a brilliant person, and my comments here are always made in good faith. I have learned more at NC than I have learned anywhere else, and for that I am extremely grateful. Kind regards, and thank you.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    You don’t need to apologize. We just seemed to be talking past each other.

                    The lockdown on any Russia-favorable information is so total that any Russian evidence of war crimes will be ignored, in the West….but not China or the Global South. But all Ukraine cares about is managing its patrons, even though suing for terms would result in less death and destruction than continuing to fight.

                    1. integer

                      Thanks. We have truly entered a time in which “truth is treason in an empire of lies”. It has left me with a constant feeling of unease and dread about where all of this is headed.

                    2. integer

                      I have to say, I am disappointed that you published the comment that I requested not to be let out of moderation. If roles were reversed, I would’ve respected your wishes.

                    3. Yves Smith Post author

                      I am sorry but I posted it LONG after the post had rolled out of Recent Items (as in pretty much no one reads the comments except those who have commented, on their comments, to see if there is any lingering discussion). And you use a bogus e-mail address, so the only way I can respond to you is publicly. You might consider using a real one, as the overwhelming majority of commentors do, rather than a fake.

      3. orlbucfan

        Yves, what are they going to do about the military victims of Chernobyl? That is a major PR smoking gun, especially with more and more humans becoming aware of approaching climate catastrophe?

      1. caucus99percenter

        As the recording said in the prologue leading into every episode of the original Mission Impossible TV series: “… your father the Big Guy will deny all knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.”

  7. Safety First

    Re: Telegram – you CAN view it without the app, on your PC/laptop. Here is how.

    – The “conventional” URL for any telegram channel is something like: //

    – However, Telegram also has something like a “preview” mode, which is accessed by inserting /s/ into the URL (I am guessing it stands for “sample”?). So // becomes // – thus far, this has worked for me for any channel I tried to access (using Firefox, FYI).

    – Example – Boris Rozhin’s (big aggregator of Ukraine-related posts across multiple channels, though has his own agenda and likes to repost Fox News stuff uncritically) “preview mode” link would be:

    – Important – in this preview mode, only about half the video content will play, and you will not be able to enlarge any images (at least, I have not figured out how). But all the text will be there, and enough of the multimedia will play or be visible to get you by.


    Re: “captured” western general – big Russian telegram channels have not reported this yet. Ditto Russian press. Sounds fishy, in other words, until and unless some info does come through.

    There WAS a report some days ago that the casualties in the helos that have been shot down trying to get in and out of Mariupol’ included two members of French intelligence service, but I have seen no verification of such. The two guys from the shot-down helos that survived, and were then interrogated on video, had only said that they were trying to evacuate command & wounded.


    Re: electricity prices. A 2-second search turned up only one story (and reposts) from March 14 (Pie Day!)- – and the idea here is that some business group was lobbying the government to limit electricity price increases this year to 5%-8% instead of the anticipated 20%. Now, it IS true that if you shut down a bunch of big factories like AvtoVAZ due to lack of imported components, you will have some demand-side effects, but remember that a majority of electricity use goes to residential and commercial, not industrial, customers, AND in any case Russian electricity prices had been on a post-pandemic rise before all of this was happening, for example because of rising coal prices in some regions (there is a Kommersant story from three days ago on a 200%-400% jump in the Far East).

    So, at this point kind of in the “will need to do a lot more research to confirm” mode on this story. For now, at any rate.

    1. cmoncmon

      Electricity: I can’t vouch for this with detailed system data and temperature checks (time, laziness constraints), but temperature is a significant driver of electricity demand in much of Russia. And 2021 was well covered to be an abnormally warm year and winter in much of Russia – see

      I haven’t yet seen similar but Russian press coverage (Moscow region anyway) has been that March overall in 2022 colder than usual (or at least reverting to longer-term winter trends). Simple year-on-year (monthly) is going to miss obvious drivers like weather.

      Too early to make grand claims about sanctions and electricity / economy anyway. There’s still good reason to think sanctions impact will be non-trivial. See here for example:

  8. petal

    Unfortunately I was in the car for the CBS radio news again this morning. They opened with Zelensky addressing the Irish parliament, then they went into the Bucha stuff and said “Hundreds of civilians were slaughtered by Russian troops” without batting a proverbial eye. Yes, that is exactly what they said, and “slaughtered” was definitely used. Not killed or anything, but “slaughtered”.

  9. TheMog

    Native German speaker here, although I haven’t lived in Germany for decades so some of the local context in the Tagesschau article might escape me.

    The article is pretty much a FAQ on how the takeover of Gazprom Germania by the Bundesnetzagentur (German federal equivalent of a public utilities commission, ie mostly a regulator) as a trustee affects the general public.

    They do mention that Gazprom Germania has three areas of business – gas supply (the article mentions it’s got approximately 40% market share as a supplier), storage (amongst others, they operate the largest gas storage facility in Germany) and transport. The article also repeatedly states that the Bundesnetzagentur did not seize the companies, but as acting as a trustee and that the ownership has not changed. It has however, taken all 24 shareholder away from the shareholders and seems to be the sole decisionmaker. The reason given for this was a concern that Gazprom Germania needed to act in accordance with the law and regulations (and it cites the law under which the trustee takeover was made).

    The rest of the article is mostly FAQs, but with not much in the way of answers, mostly “we’re still in discussions but supply should not be affected, but we don’t really have any details”.

    There are more details in the article, but I figured I’ll try to put together at least a rough summary over breakfast in case that helps. And yes, machine translations of German in to English are usually pretty bad, plus the format of the article doesn’t help that much.

    1. diptherio

      I tried cutting and pasting into the DeepL translator and it seems to have done a pretty good job…at least on the sections I had it translate.

    1. flora

      How many received early, outpatient treatment? How many received the vits that cannot be named? Any talk about vit D from public health departments yet?

  10. Louis Fyne

    more death is a feature, not a bug.

    Reuters via

    “we want it [the war] to end as soon as possible, but not in any way,” Josep Borrell told European Parliament.

    “Because if we’re going to have a destroyed country that has been dismembered territorially and neutralized, with millions of people in exile, and millions of people dead, then no, we don’t want this war to end like this,” he said.

    “That is why we have to continue arming Ukraine… More weapons, that is what the Ukrainians expect of us.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      “Appears to be:”. We linked to Politifact. This is in the claims v counterclaims territory.

      The reason that this is likely to be not true is it would be hugely dumb for the general to have gotten himself trapped like that. But shit does happen in war zones.

      1. voteforno6

        It seems odd that they would send a flag officer as an observer / liaison. I would think that a Lt. Col. / Col. would be more likely.

  11. Anthony K Wikrent

    New part of the body found hiding in the lungs 

    The title is misleading — not “new part,” nor “new” but previously unknown types of cells with specific functions in the lungs. My point is to ground an understanding of the development of science and technology in the Enlightenment philosophy of humans acting in the image of their Creator to “work on” nature and move it ever closer to perfection. This is the only proper way to understand a republic and civic republican statecraft — “to create a more perfect union.” Moreover, in a republic, the goal of developing science and technology is not to create new revenue streams or profits, but to give humanity increasing power over nature and hence their own destiny. Think of, for example, Jared Diamond’s 1999 Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies: humanity has gained some small control over its own destiny by developing an understanding of germs and how they cause diseases, thus escaping the fate of early high morbidity rates among children and birthing mothers, for example.

    And a key part of this philosophy is that the knowledge of newly created science and technology is the common heritage of all humanity. This is the unassailable philosophical position from which to attack concentrated wealth, monopolies, the past half century mutilation of copyright and trademark law such as intellectual property rights, the existence and even possibility of billionaires, and conservatism. Especially conservatism, which is inherently resistant to change and thus antagonistic to the Enlightenment civic republican goal of developing science and technology for the benefit of all humanity.

    Liberalism is much weaker on these points than civic republicanism, which is why so many problems seem intractable in our “liberal democracy.”

  12. Tom Stone

    I attended my first church service in several decades Sunday,out of curiousity.
    I have been repeatedly invited by an acquaintance who I met doing volunteer work and thought “What the heck, it’s a pretty drive and a nice campus (10 acres)”.
    I had been informed that there was an outdoor pavilion with sound and video piped in, which there was.
    Maximum capacity 400 and I was the only one seated there.
    This is a prosperous “Christian” church, I estimate the value of the improvements at not less than $25MM.
    The fund raising hall (Chapel) seats 1,800 and the Audio/Visual system is superb with a screen the size you see at a Pro football stadium.
    @ 2.5 acres of parking with every slot filled,lots of family groups everything and everyone neat and clean, not all white.
    Half a dozen African Americans, no Hispanics, 3-4 Asians all part of the tribe if body language is an indication.
    3 stations with coffee and pastries, everything run with the smoothness of Disneyland.
    I stayed upwind except for a quick trip to the restroom and a peek into the fundraising hall which was full.
    One other person was wearing a mask and I had two people walk up to me and ask politely why I was wearing a mask and if I’d like to join the congregation inside.
    A polite no was accepted.
    The sermon?
    An excellent performance calculated to emphasize us/them and raise a $ without upsetting anyone.
    Concluding with several hymns with the entire congregation joining in.
    My take?
    1) A substantial percentage of those attending will be dead or crippled for life before the year is over.

    2) I am MUCH more likely to become a Playboy Bunny than I am to convert to Christianity.

    1. Mr. House

      “1) A substantial percentage of those attending will be dead or crippled for life before the year is over.”

      Why is that?

      1. tegnost

        One other person was wearing a mask and I had two people walk up to me and ask politely why I was wearing a mask
        No masks

        1. Mr. House

          Do you have evidence you can cite for this? I have my personal experience which would say that is incorrect. I wore them where required but not anywhere else, and i’m still here. Nobody has been wearing them around this area since the state let up last may or so. I also had Delta last August and i’m still here. Didn’t need to go to the hospital either. You do realize when you say things like that you sound exactly the same as the people who say anyone who got the jab is going to die right?

          1. ChiGal

            heard of long Covid?

            crippled is not the preferred nomenclature these days but there have been a zillion links to articles and studies here about permanent disability that impacts about a third of those infected, including the asymptomatic, often not showing up for months.

            time to pay attention

            1. Mr. House

              excellent rebuttal! I have heard of it. Now this is just my personal exp. but i know no one suffering from it. And please don’t say wait a few months a response.

        2. Stick'em

          No masks?
          No masks is a form of virtue signalling. One’s status in a group is elevated whenever one pays a cost as an individual to show one’s adherence to the standards of group conformity. If everyone else does it or believes it, you do too. Even if it endangers one’s own health. Being a martyr has a long history in Christianity for a reason.

          Not wearing a mask singals one is a real enough Christian to believe God will protect you… and if not, then you simply weren’t a real enough Christian to start with. Your bad.

          That’s signalling one’s virtue, as described in yesterday’s discussion:

    2. ambrit

      “Modern” Evangelical christianity has always had a ‘robust’ relationship to hucksterism. See the book and film “Elmer Gantry” for a clear eyed analysis of the phenomenon back a hundred or so years ago. Heavens, a more recent film that delves closely into this is “Marjoe,” about a child prodigy “Man of faith.” The original Marjo gortner cooperated fully in the making of the film. It’s fascinating viewing.
      Stay safe!
      Remember, as noted Public Health Expert Trotsky said: “You may not worry about the Pandemic, but the Pandemic worries about you!”

      1. Mr. House

        What religion doesn’t have elements of Hucksterism? My own observations point to it being a crutch for people who really want community. Is that any different then the secular religions we see these days IE pop culture, some off shoot politics and so forth?

        1. Janie

          I went as a guest to a similar church, but larger, in a Denver suburb, about half black and half white. The founding pastor’s mission statement what about overcoming segregation in today’s church. I was impressed by the social outreach: GED classes, alcoholics anonymous and related, car repair and carpool assistance, roommate pairing and house finding, job postings. Congregation was young, enthusiastic and welcoming. IOW, everything was great except the dogma

    3. Safety First

      I was going to suggest that you post up some photos for the Commentariat to independently assess your bunny potential, but then suddenly remembered that this was a family website…

    4. kareninca

      But that is just one branch of Christianity. I’m a believing Christian, and an ardent mask-wearer, and I only attend worship on zoom. And many (not all) of the Christians in my denomination do the same. And even in the case of the church you visited, you only saw the people who are not rational; you didn’t see the ones who attended on zoom; I am going to guess there were some. And I know many, many atheists who take every risk.

      People can be irrational about medical risks, whatever their faith or lack thereof.

  13. antidlc

    CDC announces sweeping agency review

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday announced in an internal email a sweeping review of the agency.

    CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told employees that Jim Macrae, associate administrator for primary health care at the Health Resources and Services Administration, would be conducting a one-month review of the organization that has been in the public spotlight amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Walensky said that on Monday, Macrae will begin evaluating current COVID-19 efforts and “provide me with insight on how the delivery of our science and program can be further strengthened during this critical time of transition.”

    The cynic in me says that the “insight on how the delivery of our science and program can be further strengthened” will be more privatization.

    1. Nikkikat

      I hope the first thing he recommends is the firing of Walensky. Along with any staff she brought with her. Then head over to the NIH and send Fauci with them. I doubt you could find more incompetence any where.

    1. Ignacio

      Indeed one may not agree with all but even if so the exercise he does is excellent. One has to stick to the first paragraph ideas on how anyone is influenced by her/his past and experience. The article is sad, and the saddest thing which I completely agree with is that we are all being towed to a new reality in which democracy, human rights etc loose value against what he calls atavistic traits.

    2. pjay

      Thank you for this. It is quite a tour de force, and the best statement – by far – against the Russian invasion of Ukraine that I have read. In fact I do not agree with all his points regarding the Ukrainian conflict; or rather, I think he omits some crucial factors necessary to understand Russia’s actions not only in Ukraine, but also earlier in Crimea and even Chechnya (which he also strongly condemns). Others will certainly disagree with some of his observations about Russia or Putin. But that said, this is a model for presenting one’s position honestly and thoroughly with reference to one’s own “experiences and background knowledge.” Well worth reading by anyone, whatever your position on this conflict.

      1. juno mas

        Agreed. His views reinforce the idea that where you sit (life experience) has a lot to do with where you stand (personal perspective).

        His reasoning is based on what he sees important; like the rest of us.

        I do take issue with Russia is the instigator in Ukraine. As I’ve said in comments before: Ukraine is what happens when you taunt a nation with a powerful military, and share a long border. War is ugly. That’s why diplomacy is so important. Something the US does not understand. (The US has been taunting the Kremlin for decades—big mistake.)

        Also notice who supplied Ukraine with weapons and is NOT dying on the battlefield. (See a pattern here?)

        And not being a “super power” is facile. Any nation that can defend its borders and project nuclear weapons anywhere on the globe is a lethal military super power. If Russia were Libya it would have been bombed relentlessly by NATO and the US.

    3. Rainlover

      Murray says toward the end of the article that it took 3 weeks to write it. His effort has produced a non-inflammatory thoughtful look at how propaganda distorts a whole population’s view of a war as has been amply demonstrated over the past six weeks especially. Murray’s grouping at the end of seemingly opposing facts that are both true is worth reading the lengthy post.

      And thanks for the addition of a new word to my vocubulary: kataskopocracy — rule by spies. Very hard to spell much less pronounce.

  14. ambrit

    Am I the only one who noticed that the “No Peeing Toward Rissia” sign is in English while everything else there is in Norwegian?
    Yet another “Staged News Event.”
    [Fun Fact: When I ‘googled’ the word ‘norwegian’ to check the spelling, the first six links were commercial “advertising” based information modules. The Internet is fast becoming useless for the pursuit of knowledge.]

    1. JohnA

      The Norwegians and Russians either side of the border always used ot have very amicable arrangements, even pre 89. Then ever increasing US hostility and more and more US troops stationed nearby pretty much permanently (against the Norwegian constitution that feared any such thing after the Nazi occupation in WW2), and things have gone down hill ever since.
      And Stoltenberg is proving to be even more of a walking talking disaster puppet than his danish predecessor in NATO, Anders ‘Fogh of War’ Rasmussen.

      1. digi_owl

        Yeah, i think the biggest event at the border after WW2 (keep in mind that unlike the rest of Europe, soviet troops withdrew from Norway and let Norwegian forces, led by the crown prince no less, assume control) was soon after Stalin died.

        This involved the sudden appearance of soviet forces at the border, possibly in response to a NATO exercise further south. Beyond that it as relatively calm even at the height of the Cuban crisis.

        I have even read a story involving a border marker that the river had washed away from the Russian side and deposited in Norway. The Norwegian commander contacted the Russians, and they arranged for a formal handover. During that meeting the Russians showed up with field chairs and a table, vodka, and caviar, so the officers could toast the occation.

        And yeah, one may wonder how far up Stoltenberg’s backside DC has their hand. And even more so for how long. Did they arrange for his position as a thank you for him playing in their favor during his years as a Norwegian politician?

    2. voteforno6

      That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s fake. I was overseas a few years ago, and talking to a person from Norway who spoke perfect English with an American accent – he could’ve passed for American, even though he’s never been to the USA.. From what he said, in Norway they learn a foreign language from a very early age, and it seems for most of them it’s English.

      1. ambrit

        Well, I will agree that the people of Norway are generally a much better educated population than America’s.

      2. digi_owl

        Been some decades since i was at school, but back then English was a required second language. Later on you could pick a third, usually either German or French (though i hear Spanish has gotten some interest in more recent years, likely because of the number of retired relatives that has “moved” there).

        1. amechania

          Took a look at a map, and it seems the road on the other side of that river runs all the way to crimea.

          Wasn’t able to tell much else.

          1. JohnA

            Well a thousand years ago, give or take a few centuries, the Vikings used to make their way from scandinavia to Istanbul to trade via riverways through eastern Europe. They would sail as far as they could along a river, then carry the boat to the next waterway and carry on.

      3. Bart Hansen

        It was written in English so that the joke would be more widely appreciated. And, yes, Norwegians know our language, and they don’t all struggle with the accent like Stoltenburg.

    3. digi_owl

      Most likely it is only tourists that get up to such antics. Perhaps US tourists in particular (i here there are a fair few up in Vardø, perhaps there to see the new NSA radar being installed).

      As i recall, there are some warnings for tourists regarding the Norway-Finland-Russia border tripoint as well. Something about not walking around the point as the Russians do not take kindly to unsanctioned crossings even if there is no fence. Instead tourists are advised to take such behavior to the Norway-Finland-Sweden border tripoint. There they have arranged for easy access, even though the point is some distance into a lake.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Facebook paid GOP firm to malign TikTok”

    Nothing personal. It’s just business. Buried near the bottom of that Washington Post article is the reason why Facebook did this when it said ‘The company has unveiled a TikTok clone, a short-video feature called Reels, and promotes it heavily in its Instagram app.’ And there you go. They played the China card to get a bunch of Congress people to go after them which would clear the road for their own product. As Facebook is becoming more and more a place for older people to hang around on, they needed Reels to try and attract younger kids back in.

  16. Michael Ismoe

    The Ukrainian city of Mariupol is become “a Ukrainian Alamo,” a US general said. Retired Gen. David Petraeus referenced the 1836 Battle of the Alamo from the Texas Revolution.

    Someone needs to give Zelensky a US history book. There were zero survivors and Texans have been whining about it for nearly two centuries. I guess that’s the plan Didn’t the “Heavenly Hundred” get their own Ukrainian holiday? How do you “celebrate” the loss of 60,000 troops?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Bit of a bummer that. You hope for Rorke’s Drift and instead you end up with Isandlwana.

    2. super extra

      Someone needs to give Zelensky a US history book. There were zero survivors and Texans have been whining about it for nearly two centuries

      I lolled. I’ve noticed the weird push in US domestic news to frame the Ukranians ‘like Texans’ (love their guns, big personalities, like to cuss? They also use Texas’ size as a proxy for Ukr’s size). Texas being ‘like a whole other country’ as the old travel ad used to say – very much not a commentary on the demographics of the state but in terms of actual culture – Texas-style, politically, is not actually a winner in most of the country.

      Semi-related, last week on NBC Nightly News there was a segment on Ukranians crossing the border and going into ICE detention for a month. The woman who was detained said, through a translator, that she didn’t expect to be thrown in jail for requesting asylum. I guess the big news networks are just going to let that slide without mentioning the situation at the border for the last decade? after all, she was white and had blue eyes! but I just don’t think that’s going to go over so well with the non-whites who have been detained and disappeared into ICE detention for years with nobody to agitate to the media for their release.

    1. digi_owl

      I am weary that he starts of by basing his “insights” on a US made theory.

      You would think that he would have something more direct regarding their next door neighbor.

    2. Safety First

      I am going to count to ten, breathe deeply, and politely but firmly disagree with just about every point this guy is making. Which, in a way, is basically recycling the old Cold War era dichotomy between the “liberal West and autocratic East”. Mixed in with some veiled racism, because of course it would be (e.g. the “not a lot of blondes due to Mongols” comment). For @*($&@$ sake, it’s almost as if the divine right of kings was not a thing anywhere outside of Muscovy, or as if in no other country in the world does a majority of citizens get their news from what’s on the telly…

      …not to mention the fact that his whole approach is all “freudism” and zero “marxism”, i.e. nations do things because of some genetics-based pop psychology (Adolph says hello!), and not material or objective factors.

      As well, some of his basic facts are wrong (e.g. about Khodorkovsky). And OF COURSE he references Kennan’s Long Telegram, which itself is a master class in getting every single conceivable point wrong…well. Factually wrong. Politically very much right, from the standpoint of where the Truman White House was at that time.

    3. Polar Socialist

      According to wikipedia that dude was an advisor during the reform of Ukrainian intelligence in 2020. Not saying that makes him biased, but I think using terms like “Vladimir the First” about Putin is revealing.

      He also believes that war crimes is “the Russian way of war”. Which is a bit thick coming from a man advising Ukrainians during a civil war including shelling of civilians and civilian infrastructure…

    4. David May

      My hat goes off to that Finnish guy: he managed to cram (almost) every ham-fisted cliché about Russia in to one take. Truly awful. If this is the level of Western “intelligence” we are doomed.

  17. Jason Boxman

    Now tracking has shifted to what is known as “first party” tracking. With this method, people are not being trailed from app to app or site to site. But companies are still gathering information on what people are doing on their specific site or app, with users’ consent. This kind of tracking, which companies have practiced for years, is growing.

    Fun times.

    Winnars? Google, Amazon, possibly Meta anyway in the next few years. Because platform monopolies collect huge reams of data, anyway.

    You’re Still Being Tracked on the Internet, Just in a Different Way: Apple and Google are pushing privacy changes, but a shift in digital tracking is giving some platforms a bigger advertising advantage.

  18. Andrew

    I have been trying to explain the world power shift in extent to people with frugal attention spans.
    Country A Has the last great resource bonanza on earth.
    Country B Has the largest, most efficient manufacturing and logistics base on earth.
    Country C Has over 650 trillion dollars in predicated wealth based on dubious assets .

    If Country C is not friendly with neither Country A or B but they are friendly with each other, where does that leave C.

  19. digi_owl

    As best i recall, Sweden, like parts of Canada, have privatized a large portion of its care facilities. And the ongoing bruhaha is that the companies running those places were cutting corners left and right.

    And that Stoltenberg statement proves once more that NATO is USA’s imperial mercenaries, and that Stoltenberg is DC’s sock puppet. The only question is if he turned that way when he joined NATO, or if he has been that way since he entered Norwegian politics (i lean towards the latter, but then many would proclaim me a communist).

    1. Congold

      Stoltenberg used to demonstrate against NATO in the 70’s, when you could argue the alliance made sense. He later made his bones as Prime Minister for Norway participating in the bombing of Libya. You have to commit to war crimes to work for NATO and the US foreign service.

      1. digi_owl

        I do find some mention of him demonstrating against the Vietnam war, apparently because his sister dragged him along. But beyond that i dunno.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “EU to propose import ban on Russia coal, chemicals, wood -source”

    I don’t know about the other materials but the price of coal is skyrocketing lately. I was reading that ‘Russia is the world’s third-largest exporter of thermal coal and is Europe’s top supplier’ so for the EU to announce this is yet another example of the European art of financial seppuku. They are actually looking for an alternate supply of thermal coal on places like Indonesia and Australia – on the other side of the planet. Inconceivable-

  21. Tom Stone

    It could be worse,Harris wants the grift keep on giving so a nuclear holocaust is less likely and HRC will either have a stroke or be so hoarse from screaming obscenities that she won’t be able to speak for a week.

  22. playon

    The propaganda blitz on twitter re Ukraine is unrelenting. Every single day the top story in the right hand margin is “Zelensky says”, “Zelensky asks” etc. This has been going on for weeks. I can’t think of any time where a foreign leader has gotten that amount of publicity.

    1. Tvc15

      Agreed, it’s gross and I ignore as much as possible. I’d say Netanyahu appeared to have the U.S. msm media and Washington in his pocket too.

  23. Bob Kavanagh

    RE: river border between Russia and Norway. Do only English speaking(reading) visitors urinate in this river?

  24. Brunches with Cats

    Re: Amazon chat app

    Just begging for a parody of George Carlin’s Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV:

    “Nobody gives you a list, that’s the problem. … You have to say them to find out which ones they are.”

  25. Charlie Sheldon

    Re: That stuck ship in the Chesapeake Bay, Ever Forward (Ever Stuck). She is gonna be there for weeks and weeks and weeks. When a container is hoisted from a ship or a truck, there is a spreader above the container, attached to the crane, and from this spreader extend four points – flippers -which hover over the corners of the container and then lock into the corner units. Once all four corners are attached, then the container can be lifted – with a ship to shore crane, the spreader rises, lifting the container, and then swings back over the ship to a truck waiting on the shore. The big barge mounted cranes which will be brought to the grounded ship will need booms at least 180 feet long, maybe longer, long enough to reach 40-50 feet above the highest containers on that ship, which surely are at least 120 feet over the water right now. The thing is, the standard spreader won’t work from such a barge crane, I don’t think, because the spreader will be attached from a single point instead of two points like from a container crane, and as such can swing and rotate in the wind. And, without a spreader as such, they will need some way to attach those corners properly and securely. My guess is, thinking about it, maybe they will try a spreader, but they will need someone standing on the container or next to it to guide the unit properly over the corners. All of which to say, cycle time for such a lift will be a minimum of 5 minutes a cycle, and I am guessing more like, 10-15 minutes a cycle, at the very least. Then when the container is finally lifted off the stack the container will start swinging in the air, twisting, maybe swinging back and forth, and the crane operator has to lift the box well off the ship, then away, then guide it down to a barge, again needing people on that barge to guide the container into place and remove the spreader. It’s going to be slow and a learning experience.

    The Coast Guard, I think, said they need to take off 5000 containers to lighten the ship enough to come free. Will the empties count? They weigh, like, a couple tons each, only. Point being, if we assume they have to remove 5000 containers with two barge cranes, and each barge crane can do 5 lifts an hour (12 minute cycle) that comes to 10 containers an hour. At 24 hours a day that is 240 containers a day, 10 days for 2400, 20 for 4800. Three weeks! But this doesn’t include time to reposition the barge crane, or the receiving barges, which means moving anchors and placement, nor does it consider weather, wind, changing from a filled barge to a new, empty barge… We can assume, though, they won’t be able to do this work in the dark, so if we halve the available lifting time, now we are at 6 weeks. Minimum.

    If you want to know more about how containers are lifted from ships with an alongside standard crane talk to the Port of Cleveland, they have re-established container service there since 2014, an amazing and great story, and there they don’t use container cranes but cranes on wheels on the dock. They show good information as to how exactly they offload the shops and how long it takes. Cleveland can do as many as 20 moves an hour, one every 3 minutes, but there is a huge difference between what happens in Cleveland and what must happen with the Ever Stuck. The cranes in Cleveland have operator cabins mounted high enough above the ground to be above the top of the stacked containers on the very small ships using the St Lawrence River, only 3 or 4-high, off a ship deck only 10 feet from the water, unlike the Ever Stuck where the deck is about 50 feet from the water and the containers stacked eight-high from there. This means the crane operator maneuvering the spreader can see, him or herself, how the spreader drops onto the container. With the Ever Stuck, the guy in the crane operation cab is down by the water surface, entirely blind….

    I might be entirely wrong, here, but I am thinking the Ever Stuck might be out there in the mud all spring and summer.

    1. Robert

      To Charlie Sheldon
      You have described the process of lightering Ever Forward pretty well. In the case of the cranes, I think these will come alongside on a Jack-Up barge. This will overcome the height difference between the sea level and the height of the container stacks. This will also avoid the heeling moment on a floating barge, that would be created by having a 30-ton weight on the end of a 180-foot boom. The mobile cranes with a container spreader on a single point, are capable of rotating 90 degrees left or right. I believe these could be fitted to the fixed crane on the JU barge, but I’m not sure. The other alternative would be to drive the Mobile crane aboard a flat-deck JU barge that is free of any obstructions.
      I read that the ILA (longshoremen) are at their training facility, and taking classes, to allow those interested, to gain some sort of certification to safely undertake this type of work. It will be difficult, dangerous, and slow if they have to resort to using a manual spreader hanging from the single-point crane hook. Yeah, I’m thinking months for this job.

  26. diptherio

    Don’t think I’ve seen this mentioned here yet:

    Our top story, from the American Banker, is that the Philadelphia City Council voted on March 3rd 15-1 to become the first U.S. municipality to create a public bank. The goal is not to compete with local banks and credit unions, but to use city money – through loan guarantees and other credit enhancements – to expand their ability to lend to BIPOC businesses. The city has yet to finalize how it will finance the venture, but it might consider offering micro-bonds issued in small denominations for local grassroots investors. This is similar to the Green Bank in Connecticut which offers support to solar installation programs. Public-banking advocates in California are now exploring micro-bonds to seed their planned public banks throughout the state.

  27. Screwball

    Twitter has suspended Scott Ritter.

    And from the you can’t make this up file; Biden has appointed a Pelosi staffer to the SEC. Of course.

    1. TimH

      Per Gonzalo Lira, SR was suspended for suggesting that Bucha was the work of the Ukrainian National Police, and that Twitter is deplatforming those questioning the narrative.

      Note that Russia has submitted evidence to the United Nations Security Council… be interesting to see what that is.

  28. kareninca

    I am not sure that I “have antibodies” yet. I have been taking prophylactic “I” weekly since June. I’ve used Xlear nasal spray since the beginning of the pandemic. I have type O negative blood (that seemed helpful, at least at one point). I avoid going out except for grocery shopping and veterinary and elderly-relative-medical visits, and always wear a mask. I haven’t seemed to have had covid yet, and since Jan. 1st of this year I’ve tested weekly (for my volunteer activity, which is not a group thing), and so far the test has been negative (they are admittedly crappy home tests). No-one in my household seems to have caught it yet (I’m not vaccinated; the other two are vaccinated and boosted).

    I’m now also taking Turkey Tail mushroom capsules. This is not medical advice!! It just seems like a good thing for the immune system, from what I read.

    I don’t think that these are magical preventatives, and I doubt that my (apparent) luck is going to keep holding. It will be interesting to see how people in my subset fare going forward, with new strains.

  29. Swamp Yankee

    Thano you, Yves, re: Puritans. I am an historian of early New England, and you are absolutely correct. The Puritans were actually quite raunchy, just within marriage.

    People tend to confuse them with the Victorians, who also read their own ideas on sexuality back onto the 17th century. Thus the popular picture of dour, anti sex Puritans. Not accurate, as you note.

  30. Adam Eran

    In fairness to the Victorians: The Victorian Age

    From John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman chapter 35:

    In you resides my single power
    Of sweet continuance here. — Hardy, “Her immortality”

    At the infirmary many girls of 14 years of age, and even girls of 13, up to 17 years of age, have been brought in pregnant to be confined here. The girls have acknowledged that their ruin has taken place…in going or returning from their (agricultural) work. Girls and boys of this age go five, six or seven miles to work, walking in droves along the roads and bylanes. I have myself witnessed gross indecencies between boys and girls of 14 to 16 years of age. I saw once a young girl insulted by some five or six boys on the roadside. Other older persons were about 20 or 30 yards off, but they took no notice. The girl was calling out, which caused me to stop. I have also seen boys bathing in the brooks, and girls between 13 and 19 looking on from the bank –Children’s Employment Commission Report (1867)

    What are we faced with in the nineteenth century? An age where woman was sacred; and where you could buy a thirteen-year-old girl for a few pounds–a few shillings, if you wanted her for only an hour or two. Where more churches were built than in the whole previous history of the country; and where one in sixty houses in London was a brothel (the modern ratio would be nearer one in six thousand). Where the sanctity of marriage (and chastity before marriage) was proclaimed from every pulpit , in every newspaper editorial and public utterance; and where never–or hardly ever–have so many great public figures, from the future king down, let scandalous private lives. Where the penal system was progressively humanized; and flagellation so rife that a Frenchman set out quite seriously to prove that the Marquis de Sade must have had English ancestry. Where the female body had never been so hidden from view; and where every sculptor was judged by his ability to carve naked women. Where there is not a single novel, play or poem of literary distinction that ever goes beyond the sensuality of a kiss, where Dr. Bowdler (the date of whose death, 1825, reminds us that the Victorian ethos was in being long before the strict threshold of the age) was widely considered a public benefactor; and where the output of pornography has never been exceeded. Where the excretory functions were never referred to; and where the sanitation remained–the flushing lavatory came late in the age and remained a luxury well up to 1900–so primitive that there can have been few houses, and few streets, where one was not constantly reminded of them. Where it was universally maintained that women do not have orgasms, and yet every prostitute was taught to simulate them. Where there was an enormous progress and liberation in every other field of human activity; and nothing by tyranny in the most personal and fundamental.

    At first sight the answer seems clear-it is the business of sublimation. The Victorians poured their libido into those other fields; as if some genie of evolution, feeling lazy, said to himself: We need some progress, so let us dam and divert this one great canal and see what happens.

    While conceding a partial truth to the theory of sublimation, I sometimes wonder if this does not lead us to the error of supposing the Victorians were not in fact highly sexed. But they were quite as highly sexed as our own century–and, in spite of the fact that we have sex thrown at us night and day (as the Victorians had religion), far more preoccupied with it than we really are. They were certainly preoccupied by love, and devoted far more of their arts to it than we do ours. Nor can Malthus and the lack of birth-control appliances quite account for the fact that they bred like rabbits and worshiped fertility far more ardently than we do. Nor does our century fall behind in the matter of progress and liberalization’ and yet we can hardly maintain that this is because we have so much sublimated energy to spare. I have seen the Naughty Nineties represented as a reaction to many decades of abstinence; I believe it was merely the publication of what had hitherto been private, and I suspect we are in reality dealing with a human constant: the difference is vocabulary, a degree of metaphor.

    The Victorians chose to be serious about something we treat rather lightly, and the way the expressed their seriousness was not to talk openly about sex, just as part of our way is the very reverse. But these “ways” of being serious are mere conventions. The fact behind them remains constant.

  31. RobertC


    Special for Jerri-Lynn by Indian diplomat (retired) M. K. BHADRAKUMAR India’s dilemma over West vs. Russia

    However, what Indian analysts fail to grasp is that the Ukraine conflict is in reality a template of the Indo-Pacific strategy. Equally, it is also a fact of history that in the era of colonialism, Manichean allegories — “democracy versus autocracy” in the present case — have had a way of surging in the dominant and hegemonic phases of imperialism.

    If you’re new to the evolving importance of India start here India: Pursuing its National Interest in the Multipolar World

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

      Thanks for the the Bhadrakumar link. I hadn’t seen it and will now make a point of checking his blog regularly.

  32. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    The Atlantic Council offered four scenarios for How will the Russia-Ukraine war reshape the world? Here are four possible futures. that are well-worth reading. Two involve nuclear weapons.

    The spectrum of possible outcomes ranges from a volatile new cold or hot war, to a frozen conflict in Ukraine, to a post-Putin settlement in which Russia becomes part of a revised European security architecture.

    — A frozen conflict
    — A double cold war
    — A nuclear apocalypse
    — A brave new world

  33. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    WRT resilc’s link Biden’s Folly in Ukraine

    Despite Japan’s public display of solidarity with Washington, Tokyo really made its bed with Eurasia when Tokyo signed on to membership in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Program (RCEP), the world’s largest trade bloc. Predictably, Tokyo already declared it will not ban Russian oil and natural gas imports and Japan will continue to work with Russia on important joint economic projects.

    Examining Japan’s Sea lines of communication you see there are basically two: South past its near-neighbor China and East to its far-neighbor America.

    Japan has examined its SLOC and is diplomatically dancing to keep both open.

  34. RobertC

    Sometimes Peter Van Buren of We Meant Well fame essays are blighted by bitterness but his Biden’s Sanctions Will Backfire is the essential Van Buren:

    Biden has fallen into the Cold War trap. He cannot accept there is little that can be done about Ukraine. Every world problem is not America’s to resolve, and every world problem cannot be resolved by America. If he persists in his quixotic quest to defeat Putin, Biden may usher in a China-centric economic system to displace the Western one. Just as Iran was the real winner in the U.S.-Iraq wars, so may China be in this struggle. Unintended consequences are still consequences.

    1. RobertC

      I consider this to be Peter Van Buren’s finest essay Olympic Optimism from the North Korean Spy I Met

      I saw Ms. Park stare down the barrel of a rifle she held herself, and understand her duty. She asked for rice.

      After reading his books and essays I have no doubts he loves his fellow man although maybe not the political systems they must live in. And in spite of the occasional bitterness he remains an optimist. He is one of my go-to essayists.

  35. jrkrideau

    I have been skipping thorough the posts so some one may have remarked on this earlier. If so please forgive me. If anyone followed the link to the Russian UN rep, and followed the video link to the Police link, I found it amusing that in one spot in the National Police video in Bucha the cyclists were speaking Russian and in another spot the woman had a sign on her gate saying “children” in Russian.

    Those Ukrainian police seem fairly easy about language. Good for them.

  36. ChrisPacific

    I did some source checking on a human interest piece on the Bucha events with interviews that was syndicated in our local media from the Washington Post. It listed four contributors to the story as ‘Washington Post staff,’ so I searched for them.

    Three of the four had LinkedIn pages, while the fourth had various social media feeds. None were journalists, although the one with social media accounts claimed to be acting as one (but she was clear that it wasn’t her job). Of the three with LinkedIn pages, two were in film production and one was in marketing. All four were Ukrainian and appeared to be based in or near Kiev. Other than the article and attribution, no other connections to Washington Post were evident for any of the four.

  37. LawnDart

    Russian Lawmaker Says He Wants Alaska Back

    Last Sunday, parliament member and longtime Putin flunky Oleg Matveychev said on a Russian news program that the West should have to pay “reparations” for the harm sanctions are causing. These reparations, he said, should include “return of possessions, including possessions of the Russian Empire, Soviet Union and even parts of Russia that are now occupied by the United States.” He wasn’t claiming U.S. troops are occupying some part of what’s now Russia, but that U.S. citizens are currently squatting here on what he says is still Russian property.

    Matveychev, the poor fool… He does realize that if he wants Alaska, Russia has to take Sarah Palin as part of the package?

  38. Late Introvert

    Am I the only one to notice this sentence from the Craig Murray article?

    “I had asked her to set up a lunch for me with an official from the Polish Foreign Ministry, to discuss eventual EU accession.”

    Isn’t that the problem? Pushing Eastern Europe toward NATO, and then being surprised at the blowback?

    Yes, I’m conflating the EU with NATO, duh.

  39. Skunk

    The presence of anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibodies does not necessarily reflect efficient neutralization, International Journal of Infectious Diseases

    GM’s point is well-taken, but precise definitions are a cornerstones of science. The issue in the article may seem like just semantics to a virologist or biochemist, but if virologists and biochemists were in charge of public health, the pandemic response wouldn’t be the debacle that it currently is.

    Instead, politicians are in charge of public health decisions, whether or not they also happen to be virologists (some are both). The point of the article is that verbiage related to “antibodies” is commonly encountered in messages for public consumption related to the vaccines. Booster vaccines are described as “raising the levels of antibodies.” Typically, it is implied that higher levels of antibodies are desirable and are the measurable criterion of protection from serious infection. For this reason, the semantics related to antibody levels are important.

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