So, no war last Wednesday! I was slightly baffled by the Anglo-American pronouncements, which I presume were based on faulty intelligence, or more accurately, on flawed interpretations of reliable intelligence. Trying to predict President Putin’s intentions is not easy, since with respect he is playing his cards close to his chest. I’d hate to play a round of Texas Hold‘em with him!
I’m not sure that there is going to be a war. Russia has sufficient forces to defeat the Ukrainians in battle and their tactical dispositions have been sound. However, there remains considerable uncertainty about Russia’s strategic intentions.
Moreover, President Putin has two very valid reasons for not going to war:
(1) Lack of a sustainable, plausible, and just casus belli, and
(2) Lack of an exit strategy.
President Putin is a statesman, with respect. He’s not Joe Biden or Boris Johnson. He won’t go to war without either condition being fulfilled.
I’m not saying that Russia doesn’t have a just casus belli for declaring war on Ukraine. The problem is that they haven’t made it public. If you don’t make it public you can’t use it. Britain and America can’t complain, of course, having taken the decision to invade Iraq without declaring war and suppress the truth about Saddam’s involvement in 9-11. Other countries might complain, however.
Ukraine’s involvement in repeated attacks from her territory with the SHEWS high-energy weapon system would undoubtedly give Russia just cause to attack her, but if Moscow were to use that they would have needed to have started laying the groundwork by now, with satellite imagery and so on. Ukrainian involvement in shooting down MH17 would have given Russia just cause to declare war in 2014, given Kyiv’s outrageous attempt to blame Russia, but any declaration of war should have been made promptly.
Lack of an exit strategy
Occupying only a bit of Ukraine doesn’t make much sense to me as a strategy. As well as being more honorable than either Joe Biden or Boris Johnson, Vladimir Putin is also more intelligent, no offense intended. Any invasion of Ukraine is going to attract sanctions and opprobrium, given Russia’s decision to stay silent on the DVD’s role in setting up successive revolutions in Kyiv and Ukraine’s status as a German client state. Russia may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.
Capturing Kyiv would yield a huge intelligence haul, including on Joe and Hunter Biden’s dubious dealings with successive Ukrainian regimes. It would also allow Russia to annex the whole of Ukraine. What then, however?
Given the DVD’s support of the Ukrainians, it’s easy to see how Russian security forces could face years if not decades of insurgency. The Germans are past masters at setting up and sustaining insurgencies – just witness the problems the IRA in its various guises caused us, all under German direction.
Moscow isn’t willing to contemplate the one slight constitutional change – restoring the Romanovs – which might lead to a successful reunification of Russia and Ukraine. At the moment I don’t see a workable exit strategy.
Not being inexperienced in the art of backchanneling myself I have no doubt that there has been some furious backchanneling between Washington, Berlin, and Moscow in recent weeks. I sense that both Washington and Berlin have offered major concessions. Talk of ‘Western unity’ is absurd.
Not being involved and not knowing what Russia has gained behind the scenes it’s difficult to form a judgment. My sense is that President Putin and Russia have done well enough to pull back from declaring war.
This week’s title is not a misnomer. Russia is part of the West. St Petersburg, Vladimir Putin’s hometown, is one of the great cities of Europe. Russia is a Christian state, justly ruled in the Judeo-Christian tradition. She is also a modern democracy, with free and fair elections, unlike America, no offense intended.
Vladimir Putin regularly trounces his opponents in elections because he’s Russia’s best ruler since Catherine the Great and the opposition largely consists of cranks and idiots (a bit like Britain, in fact). Boris Johnson’s win by a landslide in 2019 did not mean that Britain was no longer a democracy – it just meant that he won big. Democracy does not necessarily mean instability.
Journalists in the rest of the West frequently confuse stability and strong leadership for autocracy. They also fall for any bit of propaganda the DVD cares to put out. No accusation against Russia is too silly for the MSM not to lap up. They even bought into that nonsense about dear old Pooters ordering the assassination of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who had a bee in her bonnet about alleged human rights abuses by Russian security forces in Chechnya. (As I have explained before on these pages there was the odd irregularity, usually after drink taken, but nothing worse than you might see in a typical Thames Valley Police station on a Saturday night.)
Falling for a German false flag operation (poor old Anna was bumped off by organized crime elements reporting to the DVD) is one thing. Deliberate lies about the Russian state and her president are quite another.
The three most egregious lies have been:
(1) The claim that Lt-Col Alexander Litvinenko was murdered in London in 2006 on Vladimir Putin’s orders.
(2) The claim that Russian separatists, backed by Moscow, shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014, and
(3) The claim that GRU agents poisoned Sergei and Julia Skripal in Salisbury in 2018 with novichok.
As the Cabinet Office was well known with respect, Colonel Litvinenko was not even murdered, let alone on Vladimir Putin’s orders. He knowingly ingested polonium as part of an insane plot by his unbalanced employer, Boris Berezovsky, to embarrass the Russian government. No doubt he was assured that it would be safe, as he swallowed the antidote, Prussian Blue, at the same time. It’s unlikely that he was warned that Prussian Blue is one of those antidotes which can be as dangerous as the poison.
The plan backfired and Litvinenko died of peritonitis, confirmed by the first autopsy. This important report was then suppressed. Whitehall knows full well that the accusation is a lie, but is now caught in a Watergate trap. Officials and ministers have lied for so long and so often that it is now impossible for them to tell the truth. Overcome with remorse, the highly unstable Berezovsky very properly topped himself in 2013. He has not been missed, frankly.
The lie that Russian separatists brought down MH17, a Boeing 777, in 2014 was exposed by myself and colleagues here at VT. The separatists were allowed to capture a Buk missile system, but not the arming codes. They were therefore quite incapable of firing a missile.
Moreover, as I explained at the time, MH17 was hit by two missiles, an air-to-air missile fired from a Ukrainian aircraft, and a surface-to-air missile fired by a Chinese SAM battery using their version of the Buk. The Russians are well aware of the truth and have been justifiably offended by the suggestion that they were party to the shooting down of an unarmed civilian airliner proceeding, on the course, upon her lawful occasions.
The truth about the MH17 shootdown is a no-go area for the MSM. All of the British, American, and European talk about a ‘free press’ is so much hot air. The MSM is just as frightened as the Soviet media was back in the days of the bad old USSR. The very thought of telling the truth about MH17 is enough to make newspaper editors run for the bathroom.
The same goes for GO2’s poisoning of the Skripals. As revealed for the first time on this site the agent used was BX, an Anglo-American nerve agent. It couldn’t possibly have been novichok, which has no safe low dose. Absorb novichok and you’re dead, period. You don’t end up sitting and smiling in a hospital bed.
Novichok was used in the follow-up attack, in Amesbury, which was probably a response by GO2 to the truth getting out on VT. However it came from nearby Porton Down, not Russia, that is to say, it was British novichok, not Russian. Ironically it rather looks as though GO2 has bumped off the poor old Skripals. Colonel Skripal, a former intelligence officer, almost certainly was smart enough to work out that he hadn’t been poisoned by novichok. He could never be allowed to speak.
Unsurprisingly, this ridiculous allegation has reduced the British government to a laughing stock in Russia. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss probably believes it, but in so doing has exposed herself as an intellectual lightweight, no offense intended. It’s hardly surprising that she has no standing in Moscow.
London and Washington know the truth about all these matters and need to come clean. Until they do so they have to accept that they have no moral authority to lecture Russia. If they want to influence Moscow they need to start acting in good faith.
Starmer and Savile
I’m no fan of Boris Johnson, as he knows, indeed he’s gone along with the Cabinet Secretary’s blocking of the application by my solicitors for a Royal Pardon.
Boris does not support the Rule of Law (which requires opposition to all wrongful convictions, not just those of people you like), but that doesn’t mean that he should be treated unfairly.
The left and the MSM, led by the state propaganda organization, the BBC, have piled into him over his perfectly proper attack on opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer over the latter’s willingness to let notorious pedophile, Sir Jimmy Savile, off the hook.
The PM’s accusation has been universally portrayed as untrue, but Sir Keir was the Director of Public Prosecutions in 2009 when the decision not to prosecute Savile was taken.
Not only was Sir Keir nominally in charge of the Crown Prosecution Service, but he personally asked Alison Levitt QC, as she then was (she has since been made a judge) to review the decision.
Although no one suggests that Sir Keir was the original reviewing lawyer, he was in charge, he was aware of the decision at the time or shortly thereafter and the buck stopped with him. The PM’s statement to the House of Commons was fair and balanced with respect.
The Savile pedophile ring was effectively run out of the Cabinet Office.
It supplied adolescent boys for abuse to both Prime Minister Edward Heath and the then Cabinet Secretary, Sir John Hunt.
Some of those boys were then brutally murdered, their bodies being dumped at sea off Heath’s yacht. The Cabinet Office also controls the CPS, indeed that’s why they set it up, which no doubt explains why the CPS protected Savile.
Whilst the initial decision on whether or not to prosecute may have been delegated to a junior the two questions for Sir Keir are:
(1) Why did he permit the Cabinet Office to interfere in the running of the CPS in the first place? and
(2) Why did he go along with the pretense that the CPS are independent?
I entirely agree with the PM, with respect, in his condemnation of the idiots who had a go at Sir Keir in the street. They didn’t look very bright, no offense intended, indeed some of them looked like believers in global warming, but lack of intelligence doesn’t justify violence, even against Labour MPs.
USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)
Some of you may have seen the video of the F-35C crash on the Vinson:
The Landing Signal Officer (LSO) is respectful to be congratulated for his quick reactions and prompt wave-off. I’ve never landed a plane on a moving airfield, in other words at sea, but the first part of the approach looked pretty good to me. However, the Lightning’s sink rate then increased, until she hit the deck, at which point everything went pear-shaped and Captain Scott Miller’s day was ruined. Thankfully the pilot ejected safely.
Before you have a go at him remember that landing a plane on a carrier is not a straightforward task, particularly if a sea is running. I well remember our pilot having to make continual adjustments on the approach as our C-2A landed on Enterprise (CVN-65) back in ’06:
[ Editor’s note: The video below shows a Navy plane landing. ]
Of course, the high sink rate at a critical juncture may not have been the pilot’s fault at all. He may have tried to correct it by increasing power and found that this FADEC software didn’t respond. I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised to hear that he’s telling the Navy that he was firewalling the throttle as he went in. I smell a slight whiff of sabotage!
You learn something new every day, at least I try to! My current reading is Colin Maggs’ excellent history of Britain’s railways, Great Britain’s Railways: A New History (Amberley, 2021).
I have been aware since childhood that the first rail passenger fatality in the world was President of the Board of Trade William Huskisson, who was struck by Robert Stephenson’s Rocket at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in September 1830.
However, until reading this with respect well-written book I was unaware that Huskisson was the leader of the progressive Tories. I had always regarded his death as a terrible tragedy. It is still a tragedy of course, but maybe not such a terrible one.
Thankfully the Prime Minister, the great Duke of Wellington, who held sensible views on parliamentary reform with respect, wasn’t injured. Huskisson panicked and was trying to climb into the Duke’s carriage when he was struck – he suffered from strangury, poor chap, and had probably stepped off the train for a quick pee.
Huskisson was the first and last Cabinet Minister to be killed in a train accident, efforts to persuade the then Labour Cabinet to join the GNER express from King’s Cross involved in the Hatfield Rail Disaster having failed. It is, you may think, one of the larger ironies of life that whereas we had rotten boroughs before the Great Reform Act of 1832 afterward we had rotten MPs.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.