Wednesday 24th of April 2024

singing in italy waiting for tanks to rain from washington......

Tens of thousands of Italians have signed a petition protesting Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s planned address at a Eurovision-style song contest. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini told reporters that the event “should remain the festival of Italian song and nothing else.”

The petition, which blames the Ukrainian conflict on NATO and on Kiev’s “brutal repression” of Russian-speakers in Donbass, has gained around 33,000 signatures, Reuters reported on Friday morning.

It calls on the organizers of the Sanremo Music Festival – a Eurovision-style contest held every year since the 1950s – to withdraw their invitation to Zelensky, who is set to speak via video link on the final night of the contest on February 11. 

“Zelensky? I don’t know how he sings,” Salvini told journalists on Thursday. “If I have time to watch [state television] it will be to listen to songs, not to listen to anything else.”

Salvini said that while he supports the “Western position” on the conflict, the stage at Sanremo should “remain reserved for music.”

Former lawmaker Alessandro Di Battista is organizing a “counter-festival” to protest Zelensky’s appearance, Italy’s Il Post newspaper reported, while Gianni Cuperlo of the center-left Democratic Party declared that the Sanremo festival organizers shouldn’t “confuse” politics with entertainment.

In the 11 months since Russia’s military operation in Ukraine began, Zelensky has been on a PR blitz in the West. The former actor and comedian has addressed the Glastonbury music festival in the UK, spoken at the Cannes and Venice film festivals, and earlier this month appeared at the Golden Globes, all via video link from Kiev. 

Zelensky himself requested permission to speak at Sanremo, Il Post reported. 

Support for Zelensky and NATO’s efforts in Ukraine is lower in Italy than in most Western European countries. According to a poll published earlier this month, 50% of Italians oppose their country’s arms shipments to Kiev, while around the same number favor a quick end to the conflict, even if that involves Ukraine conceding lost territory.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has pledged her “full commitment to supporting the Ukrainian cause.” 







President Vladimir Zelensky has criticized Washington’s lack of speed in delivering heavy tanks to Ukraine. In an interview with Sky News on Friday, the Ukrainian leader also warned that Kiev would not be satisfied with a small number of tanks from the West.

Zelensky’s comments come after the US promised on Wednesday to supply Kiev with 31 M1 Abrams tanks, but cautioned that the delivery could take several months or more. The White House explained that it expects to acquire the machines from the industry, rather than pulling them directly from its own stocks.

However, Zelensky complained that if the American tanks arrive as late as August, it will be “too late.” He insisted that a handful of tanks “won’t make a difference on the battlefield.” 

The Ukrainian president told Sky News that Kiev currently needs “300 to 500 tanks” in order to be able to launch a counter offensive against Russia.

“It’s not about politics, it’s about specific results on the battlefield,” he said.

Zelensky also thanked the countries that have been delivering weapons to Ukraine and noted that a total of 12 countries have already committed to bolstering Kiev’s tank coalition.

Earlier this week, Germany officially approved the supply to Kiev of 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks from its own stocks and also gave permission to other countries to provide their own German-made armor to the Ukrainian army. Berlin said it expects to deliver the Leopards no later than the end of March.

Other countries that have also pledged their heavy armor to Kiev include the UK, Poland, Canada, Spain, Norway and the Netherlands.

Russia, meanwhile, has warned the West against continuing to supply Ukraine with weapons, arguing that it only serves to prolong the conflict. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also warned that German and US tanks will not change the outcome of the fighting and will “burn” like the rest of Western-supplied weaponry.






when russia decides.....


BY Michael Brenner


Never in memory has it been so daunting to figure out what’s going on during a major international crisis as with the Ukraine affair. 

That sad truth owes much to the total absence of truthful reporting and honest interpretative analysis by the MSM. We are served heavy portions of falsity, fantasy and farrago crudely mixed into a narrative whose relation to reality is tenuous. 

The near universal swallowing of this confection is made possible by the abdication of responsibility — intellectual and political — by America’s political class, from Washington’s high and mighty down through the galaxy of un-think tanks and self-absorbed academia.     

Now, the legion of scripters for this fictional story are working with renewed energy to incorporate a few fresh elements: President Joe Biden/NATO’s decision to send an eclectic array of armor to buttress Ukraine’s faltering forces; and the mounting evidence of crippling, incremental dismantling of its army by Russia’s superior military. 

As always, that reaction turns out to be an exercise in avoidance behavior. The roughly 100 tanks slated to arrive in piecemeal fashion over the coming year will be a “game-changer.” Putin’s army is a proven “paper tiger.” “Democracy” is destined to prevail over despotic barbarism. 

Or so we are told in stomach-churning doses of snake-oil. I guess that we all have ways of amusing ourselves. 

A systematic refutation of this mythic construction is both superfluous and futile. It has been done over the past year by able, experienced and thoughtful analysts who actually know what they are talking about: Colonel Douglas Macgregor, professor Jeffrey Sachs, Colonel Scott Ritter and a handful of others who together are relegated to obscure websites and scorned by the MSM. 

(Here is an acute analysis by Ritter in Consortium News of the actual military value of the infusion of tanks and other armor and what that move augurs for the war’s trajectory.) 

By way of introduction, I am adding my own assessment of the present strategic picture and where we are headed. It is based on inference — to some extent — as well as my reading of the conflict’s genealogy.  The main points are made in blunt, declaratory sentences. That strikes me as necessary to break through the fog of fabrications (lies) and calculated distortions which obscure what should be evident. 


Starting Points 

The crisis’ starting point was in February 2014 when the Obama administration inspired and orchestrated a coup in Kiev that usurped the democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych.  Victoria Nuland, U.S. assistant secretary of state, was there in Maidan Square cheer-leading and conniving together with her brother in color revolution, Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.

They collaborated with violent, extreme ultra-nationalist groups with whom Washington actively had been cultivating ties for a number of years.  Those ultras dominate Ukraine’s security service and the government’s key policy body, the Security Council, to this day.

The Maidan coup was the culmination of the deeply-rooted American objective of incorporating an anti-Russian Ukraine into the Western organizational orbit: NATO above all — as President George W. Bush sought to do as early as 2008. 

The picket-fencing of a Russia kept at the margins of an American directed Europe had been an objective since 1991. The emergence of a strong, highly effective leader as represented by Vladimir Putin quickened the perceived need to keep Russia weak and boxed in. 

The Donbass uprising/secession, provoked by the Maiden coup attended by the coming to power of rabid elements in Kiev dedicated to subjugating the country’s 10 million or so Russians, resulted in the autonomy of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts as well as the integration of the Crimea (historically and demographically part of Russia) into the Russian Federation. 

From that moment on, the United States fashioned and executed a strategy to reverse both shifts, to put Russia back in its place and to draw a stark line of separation between it and all of Europe to its West. 

Ukraine became a de facto American protectorate. Key ministries were salted with American advisers, including the Ministry of Finance headed by an American citizen dispatched from Washington. A massive program of arming, training and generally reconstituting the Ukraine army was undertaken. (In the years of President Barack Obama, the overseer of the project was Vice President Joe Biden.)



world war three is started by a stupid german woman........


Washington also used its influence to undercut the Minsk II accords wherein Ukraine and Russian signed onto a formula for peaceful resolution of the Donbass issue, supposedly underwritten by Germany and France, and endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. 

We now know from candid public testimony that Kiev, Berlin and Paris had no intention from the outset of implementing it. Rather, it was a device to buy time for strengthening Ukraine to the point where it could retake the “lost” territories by inflicting a military defeat on Russia. 

[Related: SCOTT RITTER: Merkel Reveals West’s Duplicity]

Preparations were made by the Biden administration to heighten tensions to the point where an armed conflict was inescapable. The sporadic shelling of Donetsk city (where 14,000 civilians were killed between 2015 and 2002, according to an official estimate by a U.N. commission) was increased several-fold, Ukrainian army units assembled en masse along the demarcated boundary. Russia preempted. The rest is history. 

(All of the above recitation is a matter of public record and documented.) 


Where Are We Now? 

Here, inference takes precedence. 

The Biden administration has committed itself to escalation by the deployment of previously precluded heavy weapons systems. It has strong-armed its Western European allies to provide armaments, too. Why? The people driving policy in Washington cannot stomach the prospect of a defeat.  

That is to say, a Russian crushing of the Ukrainian army, its incorporation of the claimed four provinces and the fatuous Western narrative shown to be little more than a string of lies. Too much in the way of prestige, money and political capital has been invested for that outcome to be tolerated. 

Moreover, just as Ukraine has been used cynically as an instrument for bringing Russia to its knees, so is the denaturing of Russia as a power seen as integral to the global confrontation with China that dominates all strategic thinking. 

The option of working out terms of co-existence and non-coercive competition with China has been rejected outright. America’s nearly entire political class is determined to reinforce the country’s global hegemony and is girding itself to do so. The rest of the country has yet to be informed, and it is too distracted to bother paying attention to the self-evident signs of what’s afoot. 

The strategic program was laid out in the notorious March 1991 memo by Paul Wolfowitz, the Pentagon’s then under secretary for policy, about preventing the rise of any rival superpower. That has become Scripture for most of the foreign policy community. 

(Its contents, along with the genesis of the neo-cons who adopted it long ago as holy writ, made the historic transformation from just one sect to being the semi-official doctrinal faith of the entire American imperium.)

The absolute failure to crash the Russian economy, thereby to open the way to political change in Moscow, and to render its supplement to Chinese power nugatory is a disappointment; but that does not faze the true believers. The United States has unified a bridled collective West as its willing pawns who acquiesce in whatever moves Washington wants them to follow.  

The signal event that punctuates that extraordinary subordination was Germany’s agreement to allow the United States (and associates) to blow up the Nordstrom pipelines, which successive Berlin governments had deemed essential to meeting German industry’s energy needs. 

One can rationalize it as the readiness of Chancellor Olaf Scholz to “take one for the team.” What team? What overriding national interest? The annals of history record no comparable instance of a sovereign state inflicting such severe damage on itself on its own volition.

An additional plus from the Ukraine affair, in the eyes of American policy-makers, is the crystallization of an international system whose foundational structure is bipolar — a “we vs. they” world similar to the Cold War —  convenient insofar as it places few demands on intellectual imagination or skillful diplomacy for which they have neither aptitude nor appetite. 

All members of the collective West have signed on to the Biden escalation plan. So, too, of course, the dominant factions in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government. 

There is good reason to think that the purpose of C.I.A. Director William Burns’ sudden visit to Kiev a few days before the Abrams tank deployment was announced was to ensure that there would be no defectors among Zelensky’s inner circle or other senior officials who might get cold feet at the prospect of Ukraine becoming the battleground for a Russo-American war with effects similar to what it had endured from 1941 – 1944. 

Burns’ visit was followed almost immediately by a massive purge of the leadership ranks along with officials at lower levels. The official line, accepted by the ever-pliable MSM, has been that this purge represented a virtuous anti-corruption campaign — albeit in the midst of a full-scale war. 

We’ve been told that Burns came all that way to clear up a few minor issues (and perhaps to take the baths?). Zelensky himself had become too much of an asset as the heralded savior of Ukraine to be disposed of himself — as was Ngo Dinh Diem in Vietnam in 1963.

Burns doubtless offered guarantees that he was secure — whomever else was going to be tossed overboard.  It is near impossible to see how the United States’ objectives can be reached in Ukraine. However, the neo-cons have no “reverse gear” — to use analyst Alexander Mercouris’ apt phrase. 

They have instigated a crusade aimed at securing America’s global dominance — forever and anon. Ukraine is a waystation on the road to that visionary Jerusalem. In their grand scheme, though, they have failed to bother with a coherent, feasible strategy for resolving the current crisis. 

As for President Joe Biden, he looks to be only nominally in charge. He has been entirely captured by the neo-cons. He hears no other voices. As a life-long, instinctive hawk, he leans in their direction. He is old and weak. 

Before the end of the year, we all are likely to face the moment of truth. Russian forces will be on the Dnieper and, in some places, beyond it. Ukraine’s army will be on its last legs — Abrams, Leopard IIs, Challengers, Bradleys etc. notwithstanding.  What does the outwitted and feckless Biden bunch do then? Anything is possible.       


Michael Brenner is a professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. [email protected]

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.









NATO never bombed anyone....




dumb germania


BY Finian Cunningham 


When the Leopard hulls are wheeled back with their turrets blown off, the political price for Berlin will become unbearable.

Germany is being played like a fiddle and the sound is a pathetic and plaintive one. Only days after Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany would not be supplying its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to fight against Russia, Berlin has done an embarrassing U-turn. The Leopards are coming.

Germany is to send “a company” of these fearsome battlefield weapons which amounts to about 14 of them, according to reports. What is more, Berlin is giving the proprietary authorization for other NATO members to also re-export the German-made tank to Ukraine.

Last Friday at a NATO-sponsored war summit at the U.S. Air Force Base in Ramstein, Germany, the Scholz government surprised many observers by resisting mounting calls from the United States and other NATO allies to release the Leopards. Scholz has been saying for months that he did not want to provoke Russia into an escalation of hostilities by such a move. How many times has he said that regarding other German weapons only to buckle and cave in?

Immediately after the Ramstein meeting, the pressure on Berlin was ratcheted up. The U.S., Britain, Poland and the Baltic states castigated and shamed Germany for showing cowardice. Warsaw taunted that it would send some of its Leopards regardless of Berlin’s say-so, thereby snubbing the German protocol that as the manufacturer of the tank it must authorize any re-export of the weapon.

The clincher move came from Washington. The Biden administration said it would send its M1 Abrams main battle tanks after previously saying it would not owing to logistical impracticalities. That surprise move pulled the stops from under Berlin’s public position that it would only supply the Leopards on condition that the U.S. would also send its tanks.

Here’s the thing though. U.S. President Joe Biden is ordering the supply of 30 Abrams but it will take months or even up to a year before the American tanks become operational in the war. This is because the Abrams is a bigger beast requiring more training of tank crews. Whereas the German Leopards are good to go.

Washington is no doubt pulling a fast one on Berlin. The Americans are daring the Germans to send their prime tanks to the front knowing that their own lumbering, gas-guzzling behemoths will be leading from the rear.

The whole sordid spectacle of Berlin’s U-turn from brow-beating and hectoring by Poland and the Baltic minions speaks of German humiliation. It does make you wonder what kind of blackmail material the Western intelligence agencies have on Scholz and his government for such a cringe-making capitulation.

History never repeats exactly. In 1941, when Nazi Germany crashed into the Soviet Union with its Panzer Tiger tanks it was the biggest land invasion in history under the steely, brutal leadership of the Third Reich. This time around, the tanks from Berlin are tokenism and under orders from a vacillating chancellor mocked even by his so-called allies as being a “liverwurst” (liver sausage).

It shows, however, that the German establishment is apprehensive about being set up in a dangerous political game by treacherous allies. Polls indicate that the German population is wary about escalating the war in Ukraine against Russia. The bitter, shameful memory of World War Two and the German-led extermination across Europe in which up to 30 million Soviet citizens died is too much to bear. For Berlin to be now indulging the U.S.-led charade about “defending democracy” in an incorrigibly corrupt Ukrainian regime is risking huge political capital at a time of intensifying social and economic hardship for the German people, as in every other Western state.

Factions within the German establishment know that obeying American orders is a reckless, bad idea. Military commanders have warned against sending the Leopards. Business leaders are also against the insane destruction of bilateral relations with Russia. Yet other factions of the establishment are bending their knee to Washington. Is it blackmail or ideological weakness? Probably both. Germany is after all an occupied US military zone with 40,000 American troops and bases, rather than a sovereign nation.

The American imperial overlords want to break Europe into suzerainty under US capital. Germany is the traction point for this American subjugation of Europe. Obliterating geo-economic relations with Russia (and China) is a vital part of the plan. However, there is a catch: the German link is brittle.

The tokenism of sending the Leopards is gravely provocative to Russia, but it won’t make a difference to the outcome of the war in Ukraine. The Kiev regime has been goading NATO for at least 300 tanks in order to purportedly push back Russian forces. A few dozen tanks from Germany and other European allies won’t cut the mustard. Furthermore, tanks in isolation under the lack of air cover won’t have the impact that is unrealistically assumed.

The provocation will nevertheless not go unanswered by Russia. Moscow has warned that it will destroy any tanks arriving from Germany, Poland, or elsewhere before these machines even get off the rail tracks and anywhere near the front line. With Russia’s air power and precision missiles, such a threat is not idle.

When the Leopard hulls are wheeled back with their turrets blown off along with incinerated corpses, the political price for Berlin will become unbearable. The squabbling among NATO minions will then go from simmering to boiling point. And the tracks will come off the NATO war machine.

The Kiev regime is shooting foot soldiers who refuse to obey orders to advance against superior Russian firepower on the battlefield. Washington’s demands on Berlin are tantamount to the same self-defeating coercion.