The very same people in the United States Government that brought us several years of “Russia Collusion” fraud, are now claiming Russia is planning a “fake” attack by Ukraine, complete with video of corpses, blown up buildings, crying civilians, and downed Turkish Drones, to justify an Invasion.
“We don’t know definitively that this is the route they are going to take, but we know that this is an option under consideration,” the deputy national security adviser, Jonathan Finer, told MSNBC, adding that the video “would involve actors playing mourners for people who are killed in an event that they would have created themselves”.
Finer added: “That would involve the deployment of corpses to represent bodies purportedly killed, of people purportedly killed in an incident like this.”
The Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby, said the video would have purported to show a Ukrainian attack on Russian territory or Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine and would be “very graphic.” He added that the US believed that the plan had the backing of the Kremlin.
“Our experience is that very little of this nature is not approved at the highest levels of the Russian government,” Kirby said.
US officials said the video would show Turkish-made Bayraktar drones taking part in the fabricated attack as a way of implicating NATO.
The claims are being made in the midst of a war of nerves between Russia and the US and its allies, in which diplomatic exchanges and intelligence briefings are playing out alongside a relentless Russian military buildup around Ukraine’s borders, and US and allied threats of devastating punitive economic measures if an attack goes ahead.
Administration officials said the plan was to use the video as evidence of Ukrainian “genocide” against Russian speakers to justify Russian military intervention. By going public, the US hoped to stall or slow down Moscow’s plans.
Finer said it would “make it much more difficult for them after the fact to claim that they had to do whatever they decided to do”.
The New York Times and Washington Post first published versions of the account given by administration officials, noting that the officials did not provide evidence for the US claims. (HT REMARK: Just like the Russia Collusion nonsense?)
Britain said it agreed with the US assessment, having conducted its own analysis of the intelligence reports. The two countries routinely share intelligence as part of the wider Five Eyes network – and London has been as ready as Washington to highlight what both see as an acute Russian threat to Ukraine.
Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, said the disclosures were “clear and shocking evidence of Russia’s unprovoked aggression and underhand activity to destabilize Ukraine”. She added: “The UK and our allies will continue to expose Russian subterfuge and propaganda and call it out for what it is.”
The US and UK have alleged that Russia has deployed operatives inside Ukraine to stage false-flag attacks and has recruited Ukrainians to take over a puppet government that would collaborate with Russian occupation forces. (HT Remark: Just like the EU and US did in Ukraine in 2014??)
James Roscoe, a British diplomat at the United Nations said: “Russia says it will never invade Ukraine. Unless it is provoked. So ‘just in case’ it is provoked it has massed over 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border.
“But how is it that they are able to anticipation that provocation?” Roscoe asked on Twitter. “Perhaps because they are planning to stage that provocation?”
While massing troops around Ukraine, Russian officials have made repeated claims, without evidence, that Kyiv was planning to attack Russia or Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine rather than the other way round.
Last week, a Moscow-backed separatist leader in eastern Ukraine, Denis Pushilin, repeated a frequent Russian claim that Ukraine had plans to launch a chemical attack on the breakaway region.
Thursday’s claims were the latest in a series of US briefings on American intelligence assessments, some of which have irritated Ukraine’s leadership and been rebuffed by officials in Kyiv.
Last weekend, Reuters and CNN cited senior US officials claiming Russia had moved blood supplies close to the border, indicating a potential imminent military attack. Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Hanna Maliar, denounced the blood supply claim, calling it a provocation designed “to spread panic and fear in our society”.
On Thursday, Maliar said she had checked that claim with Ukrainian intelligence agencies, which had their own sources.
“It simply wasn’t true. We found no information to back this up, we did not see any blood supplies moved to the front or even in the civilian hospitals around the front,” she said, in an interview at a military airfield at Boryspil, outside Kyiv.
“It’s really important to look at the sources. These sources were anonymous, and I don’t think it’s right to use anonymous sources that cannot be checked,” she said.
Earlier on Thursday the Biden administration and US intelligence came out with some explosive and outlandish claims, saying Russia is planning to release a videodepicting graphic scenes of a “staged false explosion with corpses, actors depicting mourners, and images of destroyed locations and military equipment,”as CNN described it. This in order to justify a military invasion of Ukraine, given the false flag operation would feature Russian-backed separatists under attack by Ukrainian forces.
Given such a narrative has been advanced in public, grabbing global headlines, but without so much as a shred of evidence – even mainstream media pundits are scratching their heads. Watch Associated Press writer Matt Lee demolish the State Department’s Ned Price, who refuses to provide any level of proof backing the bizarre and surprising claims. “This is like Alex Jones territory you’re getting into now!” Lee points out…
Throughout the past month, both sides of the Ukraine crisis have accused the other of waging “information wars” – however, these new claims, complete with details of crisis actors and war scenes and corpses being “staged”, have reached new levels of the absurd. US Secretary of Defense spokesman John Kirby had told reporters earlier Thursday afternoon that “We do have information that the Russians likely to want to fabricate a pretext for an invasion – which again, is right out of their playbook.”
The AP’s Lee incredulously points this out to an increasingly agitated Ned Price, who doubles down during the testy exchange, even suggesting that anyone questioning the Biden admin narrative is merely being fed ‘Russian disinformation’…
Lee challenged Price, saying the State Department had presented “no evidence” that Russia has actually created a “crisis actor” video and insisting that he wouldn’t be satisfied with the administration’s claims alone.
“If you doubt the credibility of the U.S. government, of the British government, of other governments and want to, you know, find solace in information that the Russians are putting out, that is for you to do,” Price responded.
Lee then pointed that given the extraordinary claims, some level of evidence is demanded given the mounting numbers of whopping government lies over the past two decades, including ‘Iraq WMDs’.
Price hid behind the “that’s classified” classic line often used whenever government officials want to shut down legitimate skepticism of their claims…
“Like, ‘crisis actors’? This is Alex Jones territory you’re getting into,” he said. “Where is the declassified information?,” he repeated multiple times.
In pressing for evidence to justify the administration’s claims, the veteran reporter referenced numerous U.S. intelligence failures that led to catastrophe in recent decades, including the “weapons of mass destruction” speculation that served as a pretext for America’s 2003 military intervention in Iraq as well as the U.S. timeline for Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban that was totally upended in August.
“That’s not evidence, Ned, that’s you saying it.”
“I would like to see some proof that you can show that shows what the Russians are doing. I’ve been doing this a long time…I remember Iraq and that Kabul’s not going to fall,” Lee then asserted.
Price retorted: “I’m sorry you’re doubting the information that is in the possession of the US government” – as if it was some kind of gotcha response. Hilariously, it wasn’t the first time today that the Biden administration pulled this kind of clumsy ‘if you doubt what I’m saying you must be with the enemy’ tactic… Price sneeringly dismissed Lee as a Russian propagandist for refusing to accept wild evidence-free government assertions at face value. The administration did the same thing earlier in the day when questioned about the special forces raid on the Syria-Turkey border…
Washington’s written response to Moscow’s security proposals was leaked and published by the Spanish newspaper El Pais. While the US isn’t willing to give a written guarantee that Ukraine won’t ever join NATO, the document contained serious offers from the US on the issue of arms control.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been concerned that US MK 41 missile launchers that are deployed in Romania can fit Tomahawk missiles that could potentially target Russia. In the written response, the US said that it was willing to discuss a “transparency mechanism to confirm the absence of Tomohawk cruise missiles” at US bases in Romania and Poland.
In exchange for the verification method, which would likely be in the form of on-site inspections, the US wants Russia to offer “reciprocal transparency measures on two ground-launched missile bases of our choosing in Russia.”
Russia is also seeking a mutual ban on the deployment of short and medium-range missiles in Europe that were previously prohibited under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which the US withdrew from in 2019. The US said it’s prepared to start talks on “arms control for ground-based intermediate and shorter-range missiles and their launchers.”
At this point, there is only one major piece of nuclear arms control between the US and Russia, the New START treaty, which puts limits on the deployment of nuclear warheads, Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers. Last year, President Biden and Putin agreed to extend New START for five years.
The US proposed to Russia to begin negotiations on a follow-on to New Start “immediately.” The document reads:
“We share the goal of sustaining limits on intercontinental-range delivery vehicles currently subject to New START … In addition, we must include new kinds of nuclear-armed intercontinental-range delivery vehicles in follow-on arms control agreements. We also must discuss non-strategic nuclear weapons and non-deployed nuclear warheads.”
Another major concern for Moscow is the potential deployment of US missiles and combat troops to Ukraine. The US said it’s “prepared to discuss conditions-based reciprocal transparency measures and reciprocal commitments by both the United States and Russia to refrain from deploying offensive ground-based missile systems and permanent forces with a combat mission on the territory of Ukraine.”
Neither the US nor Russia commented on the contents of the leaked document on Wednesday, but the Pentagon did confirm its authenticity. Putin said Tuesday that the US is ignoring its main concerns related to NATO expansion, but the Russian leader said he still favors talks.
Even with the NATO issue, the US has signaled it might be willing to give Moscow an informal guarantee that Ukraine won’t be joining the alliance anytime soon. Russia wants a guarantee in writing since the US broke a verbal promise it made at the end of the Cold War not to expand NATO eastward. But if there are real deals made concerning bans on missile and troop deployments to Ukraine, that could alleviate Moscow’s main worries of what a Ukrainian NATO membership could mean.
On Wednesday the White House walked back its prior consistent assertions that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was “imminent”. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki and other admin had in the last week or more doubled down on the word (which included Blinken in media statements) even as Ukraine’s President Zelensky openly disputed the alarmist assessment, essentially telling Biden directly to ‘calm down’ the hyped rhetoric.
Moscow too, blasted Washington’s “hysteria” – with Putin on Tuesday saying the US is trying to goad Russia and Ukraine into war in order to justify far-reaching sanctions and isolating the Russian economy. Here’s Psaki, straight-faced, awkwardly trying to explain her own sudden narrative shift after weeks of “the Russians are coming!”…
“I used it once. I think others have used that once, and we stopped using it because I think it sent a message that we weren’t intending to send, which was that we knew that President Putin had made a decision,” Psaki said at an afternoon press briefing.
“I would say the vast majority of times I’ve talked about it, I’ve said he could invade ‘at any time,’” she added, trying to obfuscate her own unambiguous prior messaging.
Her reference of “others have used that once” is a clear attempt to shift blame. And obviously the ‘we didn’t intend to send this message’ half-hearted explanation and with no apology is absurd, given the clear meaning of the words, centered on “imminent”.
CNN reviews of the fact that the administration was called out by its own allies:
The discrepancy caused some frustrations to break into the open. Last week, Psaki’s description of an attack as “imminent” drew anger in Kyiv. Ukrainian officials, including Zelensky, disagreed, and said the descriptions could cause panic and economic turmoil.
“There is a feeling abroad that there is war here. That’s not the case,” Zelensky said during a news conference last Friday.
It wasn’t just in Ukraine, but mainstream US media a week ago issued a flood of fearmongering headlines suggesting WW3 with Russia was on the horizon. Based on the fake news coming from the White House of an “imminent” Russian invasion, the American public began bracing for yet another major foreign conflict which the beltway establishment seemed itching to get involved in.
But now it’s being exposed increasingly as a classic “wag the dog” scenario.
* * *
Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson was the only major prime time network pundit to expose the “imminent” Russian invasion of Ukraine as fake news in real time…
Biden’s Wag the Dog Ukraine script is crumbling
From the Saker
Russia is slowly dialing up the pain dial
It has begun. Small stuff, but quite worth mentioning.
- The Belarusian military has taken control of a Ukie reconnaissance drone and forced it to land. The Ukie ambassador was summoned. Details here.
- Russia has banned the German propaganda outlet Deutsche Welle. Here is a machine translation of the official announcement on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website:
On the content of response measures against the German media operating on the territory of the Russian Federation in connection with the ban on the broadcasting of the RT DE TV channel in Germany
MEDIA RELEASE As part of the response measures announced on February 2 in response to the unfriendly actions of the FRG to ban satellite and other broadcasting of the German-language television channel RT DE, the Russian side intends to implement the first stage of response measures: – closure of the correspondent office of the German television and radio company Deutsche Welle in the Russian Federation; – cancellation of accreditation of all employees of the Russian Bureau of Deutsche Welle; – termination of satellite and other broadcasting of the Deutsche Welle television and radio company on the territory of the Russian Federation; – initiation by the competent authorities of the Russian Federation of the procedure for considering the issue of recognizing Deutsche Welle as a foreign mass media outlet acting as a foreign agent; – launching the process of forming a list of representatives of state and public structures of Germany involved in restricting the broadcasting of RT DE and otherwise putting pressure on the Russian media operator, who will be banned from entering the territory of the Russian Federation. The list is not expected to be published. Information on the next steps in the response will be posted in due course.
Better late than never.
There is a lot more going on, I will be back with an analysis later.
First, I need to report a few things:
- Due to the current crisis, the blog’s readership has sharply risen.
- We have been contacted by enough excellent moderator candidates to fulfill all our needs.
- The Internet is literally exploding with speculations about tomorrow’s Putin-Xi meeting. Frankly, I prefer to wait for some official information before offering any analyses, which means that, unless something dramatic already happens tomorrow, you can expect my analysis of the development of the Sino-Russian alliance by Saturday.
- Shoigu is in Belarus. Belarusian and Russian officials have already declared that Belarus intends to purchase most of the hardware Russia brought for the current Russian-Belarusian military exercises. They also declared that 1) Belarus needs to secure the Belarusian-Banderastan border and 2) position the hardware needed to be able to instantly deploy a solid anti-access/areas-denial (or A2/AD) “cupola” over all of Belarus (and much of the airspace near Belarus, but that was understood, not openly statement)
- Lukashenko totally gave up on his past “multi-vectorness” and made a rather blunt statement “Полезут – получат. Вот и вся война” which is hard to translate but it is still worth trying, I suggest “if they show up, they will get it. That’s gonna be the whole war“. The good thing is that most Poles will have no problem translating this into Polish 🙂
It is interesting to compare the Russian delegations to Minsk and Beijing: the top military folks are in Belarus, the top civilians in China. This indicates how Russia will reply to the West’s non-reply: military developments towards the West and economic developments together with China.
By the way, by now, the following Ukie politicians have declared that the Minsk Agreements are categorically unacceptable to Banderastan (and who cares if they are mandated by a UNSC Resolution:
- Alexei Danilov, the current Secretary of the Ukie National Security and Defense Council
- Dmitrii Kuleba, the current Ukie Minister for Foreign Affairs
- “Ze” himself
In the meantime, the EU (including such supposed “dissident countries” like
Serbia or Hungary) has renewed the sanctions against Russia for not implementing the Minsk Agreements.
Correction: Serbia did NOT sanction Russia. Serbia sanctioned Belarus. My bad. Same difference though. Or maybe even worse, since Hungary is member of the EU, but Serbia is not (yet).
The fact that the Minsk Agreements do not involve Russia in any way, shape or form does not register in their official political verbiage. Neither does the fact that top Nazis officials have declared that they will never accept them, or even talk to the LDNR.
Instead, one of the most powerful man in the Ukraine, Arsen Avakov, has declared that he knows for a fact that the Ukie military is much more powerful than the Russian one.
As for the list of Ukie officials who have promised that they will “liberate” the LDNR and Crimea is too long to list here. With the entire Ukrainian opposition either exiled, or in jail or, at least, silenced, you can say that this is now the “national consensus” in Banderastan.
Funny how the calendar works: yesterday the German Chancelor told Russia that she should not invade the Ukraine (which, coming from a German politician, is already priceless). Yesterday was also the anniversary of the Soviet victory against the huge German force in Stalingrad.
I leave you with some footage of the joint Belarusian-Russian military exercises: