As the 'Russian invasion’ scam reaches new heights it is time to look at the motives behind it.
The noise has become deafening.
> The U.S. intelligence briefing included specific reference to next Wednesday, February 16, as a start date for the ground invasion, three officials — based in Washington, London and Ukraine — told POLITICO. <
'Could' is doing a lot of work in those headlines.
Can we get it a bit more precise?
1am or 3am?
Which is it?
And in what timezone?
And 200,000 troops? Yesterday there were only 100,000. How can those have doubled over night?
There is also the question of why.
Why has the Biden administration created an artificial 'crisis' about a Russian invasion of Ukraine when such an invasion is neither planned nor likely to happen? Why is it claiming that a Russian invasion of the Ukraine is 'imminent' when Russia as well as the Ukraine deny that any will be coming.
Why does it distribute misleading satellite pictures of allegedly deployed tanks when those are directly next to the barracks where they belong? Why does it hype a 'Russian buildup’ when that is something that is claimed each and every year?
Jack Matlock, the last U.S. ambassador to the USSR, has one answer:
Maybe I am wrong – tragically wrong – but I cannot dismiss the suspicion that we are witnessing an elaborate charade, grossly magnified by prominent elements of the American media, to serve a domestic political end. Facing rising inflation, the ravages of Omicron, blame (for the most part unfair) for the withdrawal from Afghanistan, plus the failure to get the full support of his own party for the Build Back Better legislation, the Biden administration is staggering under sagging approval ratings just as it gears up for this year’s congressional elections.
Since clear "victories" on the domestic woes seem increasingly unlikely, why not fabricate one by posing as if he prevented the invasion of Ukraine by "standing up to Vladimir Putin"?
Actually, it seems most likely that President Putin’s goals are what he says they are – and as he has been saying since his speech in Munich in 2007. To simplify and paraphrase, I would sum them up as: "Treat us with at least a modicum of respect. We do not threaten you or your allies, why do you refuse us the security you insist for yourself?"
Alastair Crooke points to a different motive:
The authoritative Global Times in an editorial warns that the U.S. is instigating conflict in Ukraine in order to tighten bloc discipline – to corral European States back into the U.S.-led fold. No doubt, China makes the connection that Ukraine provides the perfect pivot for shepherding Europe towards America’s next stage of requiring a united front with the U.S. for the later task of barricading-in China, behind her borders.
In play, therefore, are key decisions that will define Europe for the future. On the one hand, (as Pepe Escobar noted some two years ago), “the goal of Russian and Chinese policy is to recruit Germany into a triple alliance locking together the Eurasian land mass à la Mackinder into the greatest geopolitical alliance in history – switching world power in favour of these three great powers, and against Anglo-Saxon sea power”.
And on the other hand, NATO was conceived, from the outset, as a means of Anglo-American control over Europe and more precisely for keeping Germany ‘down’, and Russia ‘out’ (in that old axiom of western strategists). Lord Hastings (Lionel Ismay), NATO’s first Secretary General, famously said that NATO was created to “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”.
This mindset lingers on, but the formula has acquired today a greater import, and a new twist: To keep Germany ‘down and price uncompetitive’ versus U.S. goods; to keep Russia ‘out’ from being Europe’s source of cheap energy; and to keep China ‘fenced out’ from EU–U.S. trade. The aim is to contain Europe firmly within America’s narrowly defined economic orbit and compelled to forgo the benefits of Chinese and Russian technology, finance and trade – thus helping towards achieving the aim of barricading China within its borders.
I find both explanations, the domestic one and the foreign policy one, very plausible and a combination of them is the most likely motive behind the plan for is affair.
The Washington Post explains how the campaign was hashed out and directed from the White House. Its headline though is misleading:
Inside the White House preparations for a Russian invasion
A “Tiger Team” of administration officials has spent the past several months preparing a clear series of responses, gaming out scenarios from cyberattacks and limited intervention to an invasion of Ukraine.
A more correct headline would have been "Inside the White House preparations of the 'Russian invasion’ scam".
Lets look into that:
As fears grow of potential Russian aggression against Ukraine, a “Tiger Team” led by the White House is quietly gaming out how the United States would respond to a range of jarring scenarios, from a limited show of force to a full-scale, mass-casualty invasion.
The White House team has staged two multihour tabletop exercises — including one with Cabinet officials — to bring the scenarios to life and assembled a playbook that outlines an array of swift potential responses, starting with Day One and extending through the first two weeks of an envisioned Russian invasion.
The effort, senior administration officials said, has not only helped them anticipate possible complications, but has also prompted them to take actions ahead of time, such as exposing Russian information warfare before it’s carried out to blunt its propaganda power.
The team preplanned their daily propaganda releases step by step:
The “Tiger Team” — a term referring to a diverse group of experts who are tackling a specific problem and that suggests alertness and a readiness to pounce — was created after National Security Council officials last October detected troubling signs of a massive Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border.
NSC officials readily admit they may be unable to precisely anticipate the moves of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military leaders. But the exercise and robust planning is still worth it, they said.
“The reality is that what the Russians may end up doing is not likely to be a 100 percent match for any of these scenarios,” [Jonathan Finer, deputy national security adviser to President Biden,] said. “But the goal is for them to be a close enough facsimile of what they end up doing that the plans are useful in terms of reducing the amount of time we need in order to respond effectively. That’s really the whole goal.”
The 'massive Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border’ has never happened in real life. Most of the Russian troops are hundreds of miles away from Ukraine.
It was the Washington Post which on October 30 2021 was the first to publish the claims by 'anonymous officials’ of a 'Russian buildup’.
(Side remark: The name 'Tiger team’ or 'Tiger squad’ was also used for the Saudi group that killed and hacked up a Washington Post opinion writer Jamal Khashoggi. Funny that the Washington Post piece does not mention that fact.)
Back to the 'tic toc’ the WaPo provides:
The Tiger Team was officially born in November, when national security adviser Jake Sullivan asked Alex Bick, the NSC director for strategic planning, to lead a planning effort across multiple agencies. Bick has brought in the Departments of Defense, State, Energy, Treasury and Homeland Security, along with the U.S. Agency for International Development to look at a possible humanitarian crisis.
The intelligence community is also involved, gaming out various courses of action the Russians might pursue and the risks and advantages of each, officials said.
While the official launch of the 'Tiger team’ might have been in November it is clear that the whole operation started earlier when the Ukrainians were asked to take part in the sham:
Simon Shuster @Shustry - 8:29 PM · Feb 14, 2022
Source close to Zelensky told me the U.S. first warned his team of a Russian invasion last fall, putting the chances at 80%. The Ukrainians didn’t buy it, but they saw an opportunity -- "more aid, more attention" -- and played along. Now they have regrets. Too much attention.
The CIA has flown paramilitaries from Ukrainian Nazi groups to the U.S. to train them:
While the covert program, run by paramilitaries working for the CIA’s Ground Branch — now officially known as Ground Department — was established by the Obama administration after Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014, and expanded under the Trump administration, the Biden administration has further augmented it, said a former senior intelligence official in touch with colleagues in government.
By 2015, as part of this expanded anti-Russia effort, CIA Ground Branch paramilitaries also started traveling to the front in eastern Ukraine to advise their counterparts there, according to a half-dozen former officials.
The multiweek, U.S.-based CIA program has included training in firearms, camouflage techniques, land navigation, tactics like “cover and move,” intelligence and other areas, according to former officials.
These groups will be the forces to use when the U.S. decides to launch some false flag 'Russian attacks’ on Ukrainian civilians.
As you watch it consider that every move in this is preplanned:
The playbook itself goes far beyond battlefield scenarios, looking at questions like how to address Ukrainian refugees who might stream into Poland and Romania, how to secure the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, exactly what sort of sanctions to impose on Moscow, and how to fight back against a sophisticated cyberattack.
The playbook — which synthesizes nearly three dozen papers and intelligence assessments commissioned by the team from various agencies — has been distributed to the various officials, including military and civilian leaders at the Pentagon.
The playbook also considers “second order” consequences, such as Russian retaliation for any penalties.
Those 'sophisticated cyberattacks’ will most likely come from the National Security Agency which is part of the Pentagon. When the White House will claim that it has evidence of a 'Russian cyberattack’ on Ukraine, which it is likely to do, keep in mind that anyone who claims to be able to find the real source of such an attack is selling snake oil.
Along the playbook the White House also released disinformation which claims that Russia will use such:
Among the Tiger Team’s top concerns is a Russian effort to promote the false narrative that it is Ukraine, aided by the West, that is preparing to launch an offensive in eastern Ukraine, and that Russia is the victim.
In recent weeks, the U.S. government has declassified intelligence about such efforts, including a potential “false flag” plot in which Moscow would stage an explosion that kills ethnic Russians in Ukraine or in Russia itself, and then blame it on Kyiv as a possible pretext for an invasion.
The White House has declassified nothing that anyone was allowed to see. As the NYT correctly remarked:
For all the disclosures, the Biden administration has provided no evidence of the disinformation plots they say they have uncovered.
The 'Russian invasion’ scamp was approved from the top:
In December, the Tiger Team held two virtual tabletop exercises to road-test various scenarios and responses. The first brought together deputy secretaries and the second involved Cabinet officials. Biden has reviewed the playbook and was briefed on the results, officials said.
“It’s one thing to consider each of these problems — energy, sanctions, military posture — in isolation. It’s quite another to put them all together and execute a plan on all of them,” the NSC official said. “What I saw over the course of this planning exercise was, including at the most senior levels, lightbulbs go on about the way the pieces fit together.”
The plan is integrated enough to allow for aims and achievements in multiple fields.
That is why I believe that both, Matlock and Crooke, are right in their guesses of the motives behind the 'Russian invasion’ scam.
There are domestic aims and there are foreign policy aims and the pieces of the plan fit them together.
But that is only so if the whole thing does not unravel. In real life no battle plan survives the first contact with the enemy.
Zelensky’s much criticized unwillingness to play his part of the show may just be one of the elements that will let it all fall apart.
Then there is Russia which is always good at creating real surprises. I bet that its security demands and the draft treaties it provided where not foreseen in the playbook. They already succeeded in pressing Biden into concessions the U.S. had previously been unwilling to make. More surprises in different areas will follow. As soon as the Olympics are over China may also come to play a role in this.
Big plans make for big failures.
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