Monday, June 26, 2023

Spy vs Spy

 Under Surveillance,

  What kind of a "mutiny" is managed by allowing mutinous troops and leaders to join the regular army or move to the allied country next door without formal charges?
  Trick question, right? It's not how any country handles mutiny. The traditional management is either bullet or noose, so it might have been a trick mutiny, right?
(Jenny and I had a busy weekend driving to Dallas and back to pick up our older son from his first (engineering) work trip to Japan, then helping him move, as did his brother. We got all of the large items moved and a lot of the other items, too. I have been catching up.)

  It's easy to see this now that the facts are present, but it was not possible to know what was happening Saturday morning. There were charges brought by Vlademir Putin about the mutiny, but they named no names. We all assumed that they pointed towards Prigozhin and Wagner, but we had known for months that the Russian military was quite compromised since the Defense Department leaks of Airman Jack Teixeira, which showed detailed knowledge of the internal workings of the Russian military. They were vague and grainy about anything going on in Ukraine. They were fed to Jack, who was sternly told 2-3 times in 2022 to "stop looking at intelligence unrelated to your job", as he kept doing so and reporting it to his private-chat buddies.
  Jack was a leak who was being fed certain classified information, so that others (Russia) would see it, while not knowing that they were being fed selected information. This information would worry them about traitors in their ranks at high levels. How could they identify traitors and flush them out?
  I was suspicious of Prigozhin loudly and emotionally calling the heads of the Russian military "traitors" for months on TV. How could that be allowed, even if his forces were managing the Bakhmut-meat-grinder stoically, and taking high losses? Was this part of an operation to flush out traitors with a decoy?
  In recent days Prigozhin made statements that might have been scripted, about Ukraine causing much higher Russian casualties, as his actions reached a crescendo, taking the Russian military command headquarters near the 3 way border of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, then marching a column of men north to Moscow with heavy military armor. At the same time, Saturday, he was talking with BelarussianPresident Lukashenko, "negotiating amnesty for his men and himself". Russians at all levels were convinced this was real, and barricaded the road to Moscow, removing Wagner recruiting ads from Russian billboards.
  There were numerous calls for Prigozhin's execution from all levels of Russian society and the military. There were reports of Russian army attacks on Wagner forces, and of Wagner forces shooting down Russian helicopters. There were videos, but those videos were never substantiated as being what was reported, and there have been denials of these fraternal killings. President Putin made it very clear that Russian fraternal killings served the west and harmed Russia.
  As things stand today there are no charges against Prigozhin or his men. Many Russian military forces seem to have moved North and west, to striking range of Kyiv, across the Belarusian border, and the world is split between believing that Prigozhin was serious, and believing that Prigozhin was playing a carefully crafted role to unify and purify Russian military and civilian leadership, while flushing out traitors. 
  I think it was a counter-scam against the west. MI-6 was supposedly running the western coup-plot. Prigozhin played along. At some point other coup-participants would be activated, and they could be identified by their actions, or by the intercept of messages to them with orders. If this is correct, we will see reshuffling in the Russian halls of power, and some elites losing power, and probably some holdings.

Simplicus has this (and so much more):
​  ​In the background of all this, the Lukashenko negotiations were being carried out and they ended up reaching an agreement. At the time of this writing there are rumors that Shoigu (and possibly Gerasimov) are in fact getting the axe, but this could be completely fake. For instance:
​  ​A source close to PMC Wagner: In addition to the resignation of Shoigu, it is also planned to change a number of FSB generals, including the head of the FSB for Moscow and the Moscow Region Alexei Dorofeev, today the Moscow defense system passed a stress test in case of a sudden invasion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the direction of Moscow, none of the heads of regional The UFSB, including the capital, did not pass this test, and if Prigozhin had not turned around, then shedding blood, as he puts it, he would have entered Moscow. Further, with such a leaky defense system, the war with Ukraine cannot be continued, now there will be serious reshuffles, both in the Ministry of Defense and in the FSB.
​  ​In fact, some are theorizing that the entire operation was to root out traitors in Moscow​.

​John Helmer in Russia had this Saturday evening:
​  ​Without the public support of any political figure in Russia, military or police unit, regional governor, or the officers of his Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin and his thousand rank-and-filers have agreed to return to their base camps on terms negotiated late on Saturday afternoon between Prigozhin and Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarus President.
​  ​The one-armed rebellion has failed with recriminations, immunity from prosecution, and  almost no bloodshed.
..​Before the radio broadcast began, Putin made his 5 minute, 34 second speech to the country at 10 am. Unusually,  he addressed the camera on his feet. Read the speech in full here.  
​  ​There have been no personal statements from either Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu or chief of the General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov, the targets of Prigozhin’s public attacks.​..​
​   During the hours of the rebellion on Friday and Saturday, along the line of contact in the Ukraine there appears to have been no breakthrough by Ukrainian forces. Instead, the Russian Defense Ministry has reported: “Tonight, the Russian Aerospace Forces launched a group strike with high-precision long-range weapons at the centres of radio intelligence and aviation equipment of the Ukrainian Air Forces at the Kanatovo airfields in the Kirovograd region, as well as the Dnipro.  All assigned objects are hit. The target of the strike has been achieved.”  
​  ​“In addition, on June 23, in response to a strike on a road bridge across the Chongar Strait, a warehouse with Storm Shadow cruise missiles was destroyed at a Ukrainian airbase near the settlement of Starokonstantinov in the Khmelnitsky region. During the day, the armed forces of Ukraine continued unsuccessful attempts of offensive actions in the South Donetsk, Zaporozhye, Donetsk and Krasno-Limansk directions.”
​  ​A total of 515 Ukrainian forces were reported killed in action. French Caesar howitzer and US M-777 howitzer units were reported hit.
​Aleks at Black Mountain Analysis (Serbia) has this: United Russia summation:
 The news came out that a deal has been reached between Prigozhin and President Lukashenko of Belarus. I do not want to speculate too much about that deal. Yes, there are circulating suggestions what the detail entails. But we can be sure, whatever information reaches the surface, it is only for the public. We will need to wait some time (days/weeks) to see the impact on the ground.
​  ​Bottom line is: Prigozhin goes to exile to Belarus with some of the Wagner fighters. Most Wagner fighters will be disarmed, interrogated and if they did not commit any major crime, incorporated into the Russian army. The march on Moscow is over.

​Andrei Martyanov (Russian ex-military) still takes the mutiny at face value:​

US military analyst, Larry Johnson sees this: 
​  ​It appears that the roots of the narrative that Prigozhin was going to betray Russia starts in 2022. Someone with ties to Western intelligence had a relationship with Prigozhin and began sounding him out about collaborating with the West. Prigozhin let his Russian intel bosses know about the pitch and the Russians decided to build an op that would present Prigozhin as a disgruntled patriot, boiling in anger at the incompetence of Russian leaders. The Russians fed this by letting Prigozhin launch vicious verbal attacks on Shoigu and Gerasimov and, if we are to believe the Jack Teixeira discord leaks, even passed intel on the locations of Russian troops to his intel handler.
​  ​Here is the interesting part of this hypothesis — who made the decision to launch Prigozhin? A credible argument can be made that the Prigozhin’s Western handlers decided that Friday was the day and ordered him into action. But I think this was stage managed in the Kremlin. Putin and his intel chiefs knew what the West was trying to foment in Russia and realized that Ukraine and NATO were reeling from their feckless counter offensive and its attendant massive losses in men and materiel. Why not use the coup attempt as a good cover story for the mass movement of troops all along the line between Moscow and Rostov on Don?

​  John Helmer has this about Jack Teixeira's case, which started Friday, but there are no reports. Thanks Christine.
​  ​Jack Teixeira (lead image, left), the US Air Force national guardsman arrested on espionage allegations in April, is scheduled to appear in a Boston federal court for his arraignment on the prosecution’s charges this Wednesday, June 21.  
​  ​Six counts were listed in the grand jury indictment filed in court on June 15. The 10-page paper reveals new evidence contradicting the case against Teixeira which has been published in the mainstream media based on official government leaks to the Bellingcat propaganda organization and the New York Times, which are working together against Teixeira and against the intelligence disclosures attributed to him.  
​  The new court evidence is now pointing to the likelihood that Teixeira’s access to highly classified documents prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (lead image, right) at the end of February this year had been facilitated for him by senior US Air Force (USAF) officials.
​  ​If provable, Teixeira will plead not guilty and his lawyers will prepare the defence case of entrapment. If embarrassing to the Pentagon and the Justice Department, Teixeira may be offered a plea bargain of guilty in exchange for no trial of the evidence and a reduced jail sentence.
The section of the Espionage Act which is the basis of Teixeira’s prosecution, 18 United States Code Section 793(e ), provides ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for  conviction  on each count. The 21-year old is facing the equivalent of a life sentence.

​  Big Serge has a late day synthesis:​ Russo-Ukrainian War: The Wagner Uprising , Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wild Ride
​  ​The events of the past weekend (June 23 - 25, 2023) were so surreal and phantasmagorical that they militate against narration and defy description. On Friday, the infamous Wagner Group launched what appeared to be a genuine armed insurrection against the Russian state. They occupied portions of Rostov on Don - a city of over 1 million people, regional capital, and headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District - before setting off in an armed column towards Moscow. This column - replete with heavy military equipment including air defense systems - came within a few hundred miles of the capital - virtually unmolested by Russian state forces - before abruptly stopping, announcing that a deal had been brokered with the aid of Belorussian President Aleksandr “Uncle Sasha” Lukashenko, turning around, and heading back to Wagner bases in the Ukrainian theater.​..​
..It sounds weird, of course. You’ve heard of gunboat diplomacy - now we get to see tank-based contract negotiations. Yet it is clear that the dispute over Wagner’s independence and status vis a vis Russian military institutions was at the heart of this. Earlier this month, Prigozhin announced his intention to disobey a presidential order that required his fighters to sign MoD contracts by July 1.
  Prigozhin’s statement this morning (Monday, June 26), however, was extremely instructive. It focused almost exclusively on his central grievance: Wagner was going to be absorbed into the institutional military. He doesn’t take this to its conclusion and note that this would nationalize his highly profitable business, but his comments leave no doubt as to his motivation. Here are a few key points that he makes:
  Wagner did not want to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense
  Absorption into the MoD would mean the end of Wagner: “This unit was supposed to cease its existence on July 1.”
“The goal of our campaign was to prevent the destruction of Wagner Group.”
  But what did Prigozhin think would happen? What was his optimistic scenario? Likely, he hoped that general anti-bureaucratic and anti-corruption sentiments, combined with Wagner’s popularity and fame, would lead to an upswell of support for the group which would put the government in a position to acquiesce to Wagner’s independence.
  It was a bold decision. Facing institutional absorption, Prigozhin gambled on a measured destabilization campaign that would rock the country just enough to spook Putin into cutting him a deal. Prigozhin might have convinced himself that this was a clever and decisive roll of the dice that could turn things in his favor. I rather think that they were not playing dice at all. They were playing cards, and Prigozhin had nothing in his hand...
​..​Russia handled the Wagner uprising extremely well, and its management of the crisis points to a high degree of state stability.
​  ​Now, what I am not saying is that the uprising was good for Russia. It was clearly a net-negative in several ways. Russian aircraft were shot down by Wagner and Russian pilots were killed. Prigozhin was then allowed to walk away after causing these deaths - a stain on the government. There was widespread confusion which does nothing good for morale, and operations in the Southern Military District were disrupted by Wagner’s occupation of Rostov.

​  Gilbert Doctorow reports that discussions in Russian media continue to take this mutiny in dead-earnest:​
​  ​For these reasons, Simonyan said, such a possibility of armed conflict on the home front had to be avoided at all costs. And to those who object that the terms of the settlement violate the legal norms of the Russian Federation, her answer is that laws are not God-given but are written by men to regulate relations and maintain order in the country. The legislators cannot foresee extraordinary circumstances wherein strict observance of legal norms would have exactly the opposite effect and cause complete disorder and chaos. Therefore the settlement of the crisis as it turned out deserves our support.
​  ​A diametrically opposite opinion, also very well argued, was made by Lieutenant General in retirement and State Duma member Andrei Gurulyov, who, like Simonyan, is an occasional panelist on the Solovyov  show, where he may be said to represent hardliners on issues of patriotism and civic duty. Gurulyov said flatly that treason such as Prigozhin committed must be punished by the physical elimination of the perpetrators, by a bullet to the head.

​  Simplicus has this about the next desperate step by NATO/Ukraine.
​  ​Nuclear Falseflag on Zaporozhye NPP Heats Up + Major Wagner Updates and More
​  ​The situation can only be considered urgent as Ukraine has now made their full intentions crystal clear. If before we suspected with high confidence, now it is plain fact. They intend to destroy the ZNPP plant as a last ditch attempt to ‘activate NATO’ by blaming Russia.
​  ​A completely coordinated campaign over the last few days has affirmed this. Not only was Budanov’s maiden speech after reappearing from his Kalibrated cranial trepanation centered on Russia’s alleged ‘mining of the ZNPP’ basement, but now several new instances of highly coordinated messaging have been released by Ukraine and its Western controllers.

​  Matt Taibbi: ​ The Elite War on Free Thought
  This is straight out of Orwell. Instead of having “ambiguities” and “shades of meaning” on Covid-19, they reduced everything to a binary: vax and anti-vax.
  They eliminated ambiguities by looking into the minds of users. In the Virality Project if a person told a true story about someone developing myocarditis after getting vaccinated, even if that person was just telling a story – even if they weren’t saying, “The shot caused the myocarditis” – the Virality Project just saw a post that may “promote hesitancy.”
  So, this content was true, but politically categorized as anti-vax, and therefore misinformation – untrue...
​..​They also applied the binary to people.
​  ​This was new. Old-school speech law punished speech, not the speaker. As a reporter I was trained that if I commit libel, if I wrote something defamatory that caused provable injury to someone, I would have to retract the error, admit it, apologize, and pay remuneration. All fair!  But the court case wouldn’t target me as a person. It wouldn’t assume that because I was wrong about X, I would also be wrong about Y, and Z.
​  ​We saw NGOs and agencies like the FBI or the State Department increasingly targeting speakers, not speech. The Virality Project brought up the cases of people like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The posts of such “repeat offenders,” they said, are “almost always reportable.” They encouraged content moderators to make assumptions about people, and not to look on a case-by-case basis. In other words, they saw good and ungood people, and the ungood were “almost always reportable.”​...
​..​If you apply these techniques fifty million, a hundred million, a billion times, or a billion billion times, people will soon learn to feel how certain accounts are deamplified, and others are not. They will self-sort and self-homogenize...
​..​One last note. As Michael and I found out recently with regard to the viral origin story, things deemed politically good often turn out to be untrue, and things deemed ungood turn out to be true...
​.​.Not long ago we were told in no uncertain terms the Russians blew up their own Nord Stream pipeline, that they were the only suspect. Today the U.S. government is telling us it has known since last June that Ukrainian forces planned it, with the approval of the highest military officials. But we’re not expected to say anything. We’re expected to forget...
​..​We have been complaining about censorship, and it’s important to do that. But they are taking aim at people in a way that will make censorship unnecessary, by building communities of human beings with no memory and monochrome perception. This is more than a speech crisis. It’s a humanity crisis. I hope we’re not too late to fix it.

​  ​Confidential’ documents released by BioNTech to the European Medicines Agency reveal tens of thousands of serious adverse events and thousands of deaths among people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during a time period when the vaccine makers insisted they saw no “safety signals.”

  Sasha Latypova on COVID "bioweapon countermeasures":  I un-archived some key posts which I am including into this Summary of Everything:
​  ​Overall characterization of what is going on: the federal and most of the state governments are gone and captured. Whatever is running the federal gov agencies (e.g. HHS) really intends to kill you, or at least substantially injure you, damage your reproductive capacity and repossess your assets in the process. The aim is to reduce the population and terrorize the survivors enough to establish a totalitarian control over much of the world’s territory. Nobody is coming to save you, your survival and that of your children is in your hands only. Do not comply.

​Out of the Loop (pictured with family yesterday after moving adventure)

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