QOTD: War Crimes

 

The headline here is that the US State Department has spoken:

Today, I can announce that, based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine.

I have up until this point been maintaining an open mind as to the question of war crimes. This has largely been based on two points:

  • It’s very hard to determine who fired a particular shell and why.
  • Civilians in a war zone are going to get killed. Doesn’t mean anyone wanted them killed; wars are messy.

I suppose I should also add that I’m not arguing from any legal definition of war crime here. I’m going from a gut level understanding. Killing the other guy’s soldiers is war. Intentionally killing the other guy’s civilians is a war crime. Bombing a military base and incidentally killing civilian contractors who happened to be on the base at that time is war.

Determining what is and what isn’t a war crime can get messy. For example, the State Department statement states that “Russian forces have destroyed … shopping centers, …” Here’s one example: Before: On Google Maps. After: Photo #6 here. Does blowing up that mall count as a war crime? I don’t actually know. If it’s filled with civilians obviously so. If it’s been evacuated and used as a defensive fortification by the Ukrainian military then no, that’s just war, and things get blown up in war.

Back to the State Department’s statement, there are two specific claims of war crimes made therein:

Many of the sites Russia’s forces have hit have been clearly identifiable as in-use by civilians.  This includes the Mariupol maternity hospital, as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressly noted in a March 11 report.  It also includes a strike that hit a Mariupol theater, clearly marked with the word “дети” — Russian for “children” — in huge letters visible from the sky.

These are two incidents I’ve read about. For the maternity hospital I’ll link you straight to the debunking of the debunking. (If there’s been a debunking of the debunking of the debunking I haven’t seen it.) Quoting a bit from the linked article:

Earlier, during an address to the United Nations on March 7 (two days before the bombing discussed in this article), Russia’s Permanent Representative Vasily Nebenzya also alleged that one of Mariupol’s maternity hospitals had been seized. However, he named a specific facility. Citing “local residents,” Nebenzya said that “having kicked out all the staff of Mariupol’s Maternity Hospital No. 1, the Ukrainian Armed Forces set up a firing position there.” The day after the bombing of Maternity Hospital No. 3 (March 10), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov — incorrectly citing Nebenzya’s claim — said that “this maternity hospital had long been seized by the Azov Battalion and other radicals.”

Suppose the Russians actually believed there was an Azov Battalion firing position in Maternity Hospital #1. The Russians give a command to fire upon No. 1, and the radio somehow garbles it to No. 3. The numbers aren’t similar sounding in Russian, but stick with me here. The Russian general thinks he’s firing on a legitimate target, the artilleryman thinks he’s got a legitimate order, and civilians needlessly die. Would that still constitute a war crime?

Take the second example, the theater in Mariupol. Here’s the (pre-war) satellite view from Google Maps. Click around, look at the photos of the place. NPR has the picture with the word дети here. Here’s after images. Is that a war crime? I still don’t know. Possibly the Russians thought something else was going on there, possibly they used a weapon that wasn’t capable of reading “children” before detonating. Possibly they were targeting something else nearby. (The Russian official line on this is that the attack was a false flag operation conducted by the Azov Battalion. I don’t find this credible.)

Then we have the State department weighing in. Do I trust the State department to be telling the truth about this? No. I trust the basic facts are there because I can verify them. A maternity hospital was shelled. I do not trust in the good faith of the American Intelligence community to honestly present what they actually know and believe to the public. I don’t trust in the competence of the federal government from Biden to Blinken all the way down to Bob the guy who runs diversity seminars at Langley to get the story right. Referencing the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights doesn’t help their story any.

After all that though, do I think Russia is committing war crimes in this war? Yes, I do. Wars are messy. It’s hard to know what’s actually happening. But if I don’t know there were any civilians in the bombed out malls then I also don’t know there weren’t any there. If I look at any individual story I can come up with a theory that no war crime took place here. The more stories I come up with though the probability that every last one of those theories is true gets smaller and smaller. In the end, even if every single civilian death in the war is an accident and not a war crime, well, Putin didn’t have to invade.

I think Russia is committing war crimes. That’s not very important news. The State Department thinks so too. That’s more important. The question now becomes “What are we going to do about it?”

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Hank from the Internet: “What are we going to do about it?”

    Shun them.

    • #1
  2. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    We also are inundated with glorious and moving stories of how every Ukrainian is defending thier homeland,  from Grammy’s to super models,  youth to double amputee grandad.  

    If everyone is an armed defender, then all are combatants.  

    Frankly,  for the devastation observed from the bombing,  i am shocked by the extremely low “civilian” body count. 

    Over in the Red Pill Lounge,  i commented that something really stinks about all this.  On one hand,  we have Putin, war criminal,  tyrant, evil, demented, psychopath,  etc, etc, on the other hand, he is the trusted leader who is simultaneously negotiating the US’ nuclear deal with Iran,  and as a result being granted most favored trading status with Iran.

    It stinks.  I really believe Ukraine was supposed to be the spoils awarded to Putin by TPTB, but they forgot to ask the Ukrainian people. 

    • #2
  3. Hank from the Internet Contributor
    Hank from the Internet
    @HankRhody

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    We also are inundated with glorious and moving stories of how every Ukrainian is defending thier homeland,  from Grammy’s to super models,  youth to double amputee grandad.  

    If everyone is an armed defender, then all are combatants.  

    Sure. If you take up a molotov cocktail to throw at the invaders then you’re a target, and I’m not going to classify your death as a war crime. Still, everyone? really? Do you think when they wrote ‘Children’ outside the Mariupol theater they meant this was the local rallying point for the children’s crusade?

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Over in the Red Pill Lounge,  i commented that something really stinks about all this.  On one hand,  we have Putin, war criminal,  tyrant, evil, demented, psychopath,  etc, etc, on the other hand, he is the trusted leader who is simultaneously negotiating the US’ nuclear deal with Iran,  and as a result being granted most favored trading status with Iran.

    It stinks.  I really believe Ukraine was supposed to be the spoils awarded to Putin by TPTB, but they forgot to ask the Ukrainian people. 

    What’s he getting paid off for? Helping us negotiate with Iran?

    • #3
  4. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    We also are inundated with glorious and moving stories of how every Ukrainian is defending thier homeland, from Grammy’s to super models, youth to double amputee grandad.

    If everyone is an armed defender, then all are combatants.

    Frankly, for the devastation observed from the bombing, i am shocked by the extremely low “civilian” body count.

    Over in the Red Pill Lounge, i commented that something really stinks about all this. On one hand, we have Putin, war criminal, tyrant, evil, demented, psychopath, etc, etc, on the other hand, he is the trusted leader who is simultaneously negotiating the US’ nuclear deal with Iran, and as a result being granted most favored trading status with Iran.

    It stinks. I really believe Ukraine was supposed to be the spoils awarded to Putin by TPTB, but they forgot to ask the Ukrainian people.

    Then there are the Russians and Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine who for years now have been subject to criminal attacks by Ukrainian nationalist militias. As common as Russia claims? No. Verifiable? Yes. In fact, Leftists were, until a couple of years ago, vociferously complaining about violent neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine

    Two wrongs doesn’t make a right, but payback is a [expletive.]

    Of course, the difference between the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is that the Russians who moved there until recently moved (in some cases involuntarily but “legally,” in some cases moving “to make a better life” (and, in many of not most cases, also legally under the laws then in force) were moved by their own government, and the land is now ruled by a more native government (though one strongly influenced if not controlled by the US State Department and other globalists, which helped install its government.)

    One of the underlying subtexts is that sovereign nationalism is bad, foreign controlled nationalism in the service of an eventual globalist system is good. The USSR used that approach. So does Soros, so does the US State Department, and so do the Democrats. The difference between the Ukrainian leadership and the Democrats is that the Democrats and their Republican collaborators want the foreign invasion of the USA and want the loss of US sovereignty while the Ukrainians they are supporting (and on whose behalf are talking up war) don’t want the foreign invasion and many don’t want the globalist agenda (though their leadership does. Meaning that  “let’s protect Ukraine’s sovereignty” is play to the suckers at home and  abroad. 

    Like Democrats and the GOPe talking about “democracy” while they lock the country down.

    • #4
  5. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Hank from the Internet (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Over in the Red Pill Lounge,  i commented that something really stinks about all this.  On one hand,  we have Putin, war criminal,  tyrant, evil, demented, psychopath,  etc, etc, on the other hand, he is the trusted leader who is simultaneously negotiating the US’ nuclear deal with Iran,  and as a result being granted most favored trading status with Iran.

    It stinks.  I really believe Ukraine was supposed to be the spoils awarded to Putin by TPTB, but they forgot to ask the Ukrainian people. 

    What’s he getting paid off for? Helping us negotiate with Iran?

    Here is an article that offers explanation. https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/team-biden-runs-syria-playbook-ukraine

    • #5
  6. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    I’m surprised that there’s no gradation of “war crimes”. There could be “war hate-crimes” which are, of course, worse. There could be “war sex-crimes”. Obviously, rape would fall into that category, but also what happened at Abu Grahib in Iraq (remember?), or a POW could be mis-gendered and sent to the men’s prison camp and denied hormone therapy.

    And there could be “war thought-crimes” when for example, someone argues that a “war crime” might just be collateral damage.

    If there are women and children killed, we first must determine if they are indeed women and children. I am not a biologist, but I played doctor as a kid – if you know what I mean -and made some interesting discoveries, but I have no credentials in the field. Strictly amateur.

    Good luck with your definitions. See you at the Tribunals!

    • #6
  7. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Asking some important questions. I think it’s of primary importance to ask why and to what end the State Department is making these statements.

    *******

    This post is part of the Quote of the Day (QOTD) Series, which is one of the group writing projects here on Ricochet. The other is the monthly group writing theme organized by @cliffordbrown, currently featuring musings from members on “Now and Then.” The Signup Sheet for April is here

    • #7
  8. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Last May, Michael Doran and Tony Badran wrote The Realignemnt for Tablet mag. Their thesis: Biden’s Middle East policy was a continuation of Obama’s (freeing Iran from sanctions and nuclear restrictions to install the mullahs as regional hegemons to keep the Saudis in line), and run by the same people.

    As @nohaaj mentioned, last week, in Team Biden Runs the Syria Playbook on Ukraine, Badran extended this analysis to Ukraine:

    [A]s it engaged in evermore shrill public denunciations of the undoubted evils of Vladimir Putin, [the Biden administration] was simultaneously working hand-in-glove with the Russian dictator to finalize a new agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. So how do we make sense of the administration’s public campaign to isolate Putin at the same time as it partners with the vilest man on the planet to cut a deal with a Russian client state? The key to understanding this seemingly erratic set of zigs and zags is the recognition that Team Biden is following the template that former President Barack Obama created in Syria a decade ago. Let’s call it the “Syria playbook.”

    Unlike most Republicans, Team Obama learned something from its mistakes. As in Syria, Ukrainian civilian casualties are scenery in the PR campaign, which in 2022 is much more effective than 2016.

    As was the case in Syria, all the moral outrage about the horrors of Russia bombing civilian neighborhoods is just the lead in to the Iran deal. The American horror at Putin’s aggression, in other words, is not merely performative, but functional—all the more so after the instrumentalization of Vladimir Putin in domestic American politics since 2016.

    . . .T]he administration has weaponized moral outrage over “Putin” in a messaging campaign against the Gulf Arab states and Israel. How can these countries be real U.S. allies when they don’t denounce “Putin”? While it’s perhaps unsurprising that the Gulf Arab states side with the authoritarian “Putin,” underscoring their incompatibility with American values, how can Israel call itself a democracy while it enables “Putin”? Like “the Palestinians” and “settlements,” “Putin” is a cudgel masquerading as a principled American stand on values that is meant to keep a downgraded Israel preoccupied and on the defensive as the administration gives nuclear weapons capacity to its enemy. If, with its faux outrage over “Putin,” the Obama-Biden crew manages to trip the Israelis into crossing a line with the actual Vladimir Putin, whom Obama helped install on Israel’s northern border, thereby complicating Israel’s ability to operate against Iran, then all the better.

    That is to say, the administration’s moral outrage really isn’t about Ukraine at all. It’s another tool in the service of its deal with Iran. Which is the common thread between the timing of Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine, and the U.S. reaction to it. It’s all pegged to the realignment. That’s the lesson of the Syria playbook.

    • #8
  9. Hank from the Internet Contributor
    Hank from the Internet
    @HankRhody

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    As mentioned, last week, in Team Biden Runs the Syria Playbook on Ukraine, Badran extended this analysis to Ukraine:

    Remind me what all this has to do with the topic at hand?

    • #9
  10. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Hank from the Internet: For the maternity hospital I’ll link you straight to the debunking of the debunking. (If there’s been a debunking of the debunking of the debunking I haven’t seen it.) Quoting a bit from the linked article:

    From the article: 

    The photos were taken by Evgeniy Maloletka — a well-known Ukrainian photographer — for the Associated Press (one of the biggest and most well-respected news agencies in the world).

    Yeah, sure. *vomits*

    I think Russia is committing war crimes. That’s not very important news. The State Department thinks so too. That’s more important. The question now becomes “What are we going to do about it?”

    Nothing. Nothing at all, at least to those at the top.  Maybe someone at some point will throw the book at a few grunts who may or may not deserve it, but those in positions of power never answer for their crimes, be they American, Russian or anyone else. You’ve got an unelected senile pedophile who armed terrorists all over the world sitting the White House pretending to be president…and most people couldn’t care less. 

    • #10
  11. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    The topic was war crimes. As in: If what Russia is doing is part of an agreement with team Obama/Biden and the US State Department, are the good hearted people supporting Ukraine useful idiots in a scheme to let Iran loose on the world with bags of money and nuclear weapons?

    Have they been manipulated by their own governments’ psywar operations? Laura Dodsworth demonstrates that this was indeed the case with COVID in the UK. 

    Here’s her conversation with Jan Jekielik:

    Did the USG (or at any rate the Fourth Branch) do this, act (again?) as a directly, or at one remove using Twitter, Facebook, and the MSM ?

    Was this part of how world opinion was mobilized “for Ukraine?” If Badran is correct, yes. Useful idiots being mobilized into supporting Ukraine in an international operation to set the stage for Iran’s rise.

    I’m not alone in suspecting that Ukraine is meant to take Americans’ eyes off the deliberate inflation and open borders agenda that the the USG is advancing. But the implication of the Badran and Doran/Badran pieces is that war in Ukraine is only the outer layer of the matrioshka and the next layer is Iran.

    Doran and Badran from last year:

    Is the new president forging his own path in the Middle East, or is he following in the footsteps of Obama? Until now, those who feared that his presidency might become the third term of Obama fixed their wary eyes on Robert Malley, the president’s choice as Iran envoy. When serving in the Obama White House, Malley helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, which sought accommodations with Tehran that came at the expense of America’s allies in the Middle East. In a revealing Foreign Affairs article, written in 2019, Malley expressed regret that Obama failed to arrive at more such accommodations. The direction of Obama’s policy was praiseworthy, Malley wrote, but his “moderation” was the enemy of his project. Being “a gradualist,” he presided over “an experiment that got suspended halfway through.”

    Badran from last week:

    Sure enough, the administration has weaponized moral outrage over “Putin” in a messaging campaign against the Gulf Arab states and Israel.

    If, with its faux outrage over “Putin,” the Obama-Biden crew manages to trip the Israelis into crossing a line with the actual Vladimir Putin, whom Obama helped install on Israel’s northern border, thereby complicating Israel’s ability to operate against Iran, then all the better.

    The ultimate goal is to enhance Iran’s ability to operate against Israel. And, logically, the United States.

    Will no one rid me of that turbulent priest country? Did Henry really keep his hands clean saying that in front of FitzUrs, de Tracy, de Morville and le Breton? Are the US’s hands clean when its democratically elected (and if you disagree, you’re an enemy of the State) leader tip Putin the wink? Especially given the US policymakers?

     

    • #11
  12. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Hank from the Internet: (The Russian official line on this is that the attack was a false flag operation conducted by the Azov Battalion. I don’t find this credible.)

    Give it a couple of days. 

    A closer look reveals that local residents in Mariupol had warned three days before the March 16 incident that the theater would be the site of a false flag attack launched by the openly neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which controlled the building and the territory around it.

    Civilians that escaped the city through humanitarian corridors have testified that they were held by Azov as human shields in area, and that Azov fighters detonated parts of the theater as they retreated. Despite claims of a massive Russian airstrike that reduced the building to ashes, all civilians appear to have escaped with their lives.

    Video of the attack on the theater remains unavailable at the time of publication; only photographs of the damaged structure can be viewed.
    https://thegrayzone.com/2022/03/18/bombing-mariupol-theater-ukrainian-azov-nato-intervention/

    Vacationing children undergo military training at a Ukrainian volunteer battallion base for the Azov far-right Uklrainian volunteers battalion, in Kiev on August 14, 2015 prior to the adults leaving to the battle fields of eastern Ukraine.Two people were killed in another round of intense shelling between Western-backed Ukrainian government’s forces and pro-Russian fighters in the separatist east, officials from both sides said. Ukraine’s military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said one soldier was killed and six wounded in the past 24 hours of fighting across the mostly Russian-speaking war zone. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP)

    Yeah, war is messy. 

    • #12
  13. Hank from the Internet Contributor
    Hank from the Internet
    @HankRhody

    Franco (View Comment):
    I’m surprised that there’s no gradation of “war crimes”. There could be “war hate-crimes” which are, of course, worse. There could be “war sex-crimes”. Obviously, rape would fall into that category, but also what happened at Abu Grahib in Iraq (remember?), or a POW could be mis-gendered and sent to the men’s prison camp and denied hormone therapy.

    Laugh all you like, but (again, ignoring the lawyering) there’s a practical, useful definition of war crimes. War crimes are anything that makes war more horrible than it needs to be, and they’re punished by reprisals. In the statement Blinken said that Russia was blowing up ambulances. If so, that’s the first I’ve heard of it. Consider the logic of attacking ambulances though, from a cold-blooded I-only-care-about-winning perspective. 

    If Russia is blowing up ambulances that makes it harder for Ukraine to win the war because they can no longer rely on injured soldiers recovering. But Ukraine then engages in reprisals; it starts blowing up Russian ambulances. That means neither side can recover injures soldiers, so neither side is left with an advantage. Net result, no medics for injured soldiers and the war is more horrible than it needs to be. (Again, I stress that this is an example and that I haven’t seen any evidence of any of this.)

    You can run that analysis for the other traditional war crimes. Launch an attack during a parley? Net result, no parleys, no negotiations, it’s war to the hilt. Execute prisoners? No prisoners will get taken. Torture is met with torture.

    And bombing civilians? By that logic Ukraine can respond by bombing Russian citizens. I don’t think Ukraine has the resources to do that right now. You can see the pattern though; if everyone is a combatant then everyone is a combatant and it becomes a war to extinction. That’s not good.

    • #13
  14. Hank from the Internet Contributor
    Hank from the Internet
    @HankRhody

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    From the article: 

    The photos were taken by Evgeniy Maloletka — a well-known Ukrainian photographer — for the Associated Press (one of the biggest and most well-respected news agencies in the world).

    Yeah, sure. *vomits*

    You got any different photos? I don’t trust the Associated Press but my butt isn’t in Mariupol with a camera either.

    • #14
  15. Hank from the Internet Contributor
    Hank from the Internet
    @HankRhody

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    The topic was war crimes.

    I’m glad you noticed. What does the entire rest of your comment have to do with it? I take your logic to be that if the Iran deal is the primary motivator of all this mess then Biden, Blinken, and the US will not do anything about Russian war crimes because punishing Russian war crimes jeopardizes the Iran deal. Is that the point you’re trying to make?

    • #15
  16. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Hank from the Internet (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    From the article:

    The photos were taken by Evgeniy Maloletka — a well-known Ukrainian photographer — for the Associated Press (one of the biggest and most well-respected news agencies in the world).

    Yeah, sure. *vomits*

    You got any different photos? I don’t trust the Associated Press but my butt isn’t in Mariupol with a camera either.

    I’ve seen lots but I don’t place any confidence in any photos or videos in this environment one way or another. One thing I do know is that the AP, Reuters, Bloomberg etc… aren’t well-respected by respectable people. 

    • #16
  17. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hank from the Internet: I think Russia is committing war crimes. That’s not very important news. The State Department thinks so too. That’s more important. The question now becomes “What are we going to do about it?”

    Or, what are we going to help Ukraine do about it? 

    If there is going to be some sort of war crimes tribunal, Putin’s army first needs to be defeated.

    • #17
  18. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    Many people say that the Ukraine war is taking Americans’ eyes off the deliberate inflation and open borders agenda that the the USG is advancing.

    Why would they say that? It’s just as likely that American eyes are being concentrated on those problems.  Has there been any polling data to show one way or another? 

    • #18
  19. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    Then there are the Russians and Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine who for years now have been subject to criminal attacks by Ukrainian nationalist militias.

    And there are the Russians and Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine who have been subject to criminal attacks by the thugs Putin has sent into the region.  That’s why they aren’t welcoming Russian soldiers with open arms. Putin has succeeded in de-Russifying the region, possibly for good.

    At least that’s what some observers are saying, and if true it would explain a lot of things that have been happening in the last month.

    As common as Russia claims? No. Verifiable? Yes. In fact, Leftists were, until a couple of years ago, vociferously complaining about violent neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine

    Speaking of leftists, Putin has been complaining all along about neo-Nazis in Ukraine.  Not that the term “neo-Nazi” means anything other than “somebody opposed to Putin’s government,” just as in Soviet days it meant, “somebody opposed to the Soviets.”

    • #19
  20. Hank from the Internet Contributor
    Hank from the Internet
    @HankRhody

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Give it a couple of days. 

     

    So, reading the article the evidence for the position is:

    • A Russian newspaperman claimed that a false flag attack on the theater was imminent before the attack happened.
    • The ever-present qui bono
    • Citizens leaving Mariupol report on Azov battalion war crimes.

    For the first, clicking through to the source (and running through Microsoft Translate) I’m seeing stuff like this:

    Today, for the Nazis defending themselves in Mariupol, the situation has finally become critical. Our troops drove three wedges into the city: from the village of Vinogradny, from Azovstal, and on the western side the fighting is already going on near the police school, these are several stops from the very center of the city.

    Machine translation noted, I’m going to assume this guy is a heavily pro-Russian source. 

    The citizens leaving Mariupol were interviewed by the Azbhakia Network News Agency. Looking at their English language news page I’m seeing stories with titles like “Outbreaks of a number of diseases in Russia look like they might be connected with biolabs in Ukraine” and “Russian Aerospace forces carried out strikes with high precision weapons on Ukrainian forces”. Again, I’m going to assume it’s a heavily pro-Russian source.

    That doesn’t mean either of these two newspapers is fabricating evidence but if we’re arguing that Ukraine fabricated the attack then it’s at least as plausible that Russia is fabricating evidence to deny culpability. I’m not going to extend any more credit to the Kremlin’s pet news sources than you do to the AP. 

    Lastly, the question of who benefits. It’s always worth considering but it always makes a couple assumptions; that people know what’s in their interest and that they only do things that are in their interest. Oh, and that we know what’s  people’s interests are. I take it as an indicator that something shady may have happened, but it doesn’t count as evidence that something shady has happened.

    • #20
  21. Hank from the Internet Contributor
    Hank from the Internet
    @HankRhody

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    Many people say that the Ukraine war is taking Americans’ eyes off the deliberate inflation and open borders agenda that the the USG is advancing.

    Why would they say that? It’s just as likely that American eyes are being concentrated on those problems. Has there been any polling data to show one way or another?

    While we’re on the subject of info-war generally I trust polls pretty much not at all. As far as a distraction goes I don’t know if it’d even work. I’m paying attention to Ukraine. I’m not paying attention to Ukraine every second of every day; I notice the price of groceries when I’m in the grocery store. That’s not to say they might not try that. 

    • #21
  22. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Hank from the Internet (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Give it a couple of days.

    So, reading the article the evidence for the position is:

    • A Russian newspaperman claimed that a false flag attack on the theater was imminent before the attack happened.
    • The ever-present qui bono
    • Citizens leaving Mariupol report on Azov battalion war crimes.

    For the first, clicking through to the source (and running through Microsoft Translate) I’m seeing stuff like this:

    Today, for the Nazis defending themselves in Mariupol, the situation has finally become critical. Our troops drove three wedges into the city: from the village of Vinogradny, from Azovstal, and on the western side the fighting is already going on near the police school, these are several stops from the very center of the city.

    Machine translation noted, I’m going to assume this guy is a heavily pro-Russian source.

    The citizens leaving Mariupol were interviewed by the Azbhakia Network News Agency. Looking at their English language news page I’m seeing stories with titles like “Outbreaks of a number of diseases in Russia look like they might be connected with biolabs in Ukraine” and “Russian Aerospace forces carried out strikes with high precision weapons on Ukrainian forces”. Again, I’m going to assume it’s a heavily pro-Russian source.

    That doesn’t mean either of these two newspapers is fabricating evidence but if we’re arguing that Ukraine fabricated the attack then it’s at least as plausible that Russia is fabricating evidence to deny culpability. I’m not going to extend any more credit to the Kremlin’s pet news sources than you do to the AP.

    Lastly, the question of who benefits. It’s always worth considering but it always makes a couple assumptions; that people know what’s in their interest and that they only do things that are in their interest. Oh, and that we know what’s people’s interests are. I take it as an indicator that something shady may have happened, but it doesn’t count as evidence that something shady has happened.

    Non-(overtly, anyway) sources on Azov and other attacks on civilians in the “autonomous” regions aren’t just last week. They go back years, and there is some independent verification.

    When you egg on a thug to fight someone, sure, the thug is responsible. But your hands aren’t clean. If the “thug” is a country known for war crimes, and you signal the thug that you won’t stop him if he does what he really wants to do, and you know that he doesn’t mind getting his hands bloody,  and your policy makers have strong financial interests in not having said thug succeed, though civilian casualties will help create the political climate to move several of your plans along. . .

    The thug is your stalking horse, his predictable crimes serve your agenda. . . defeating him protects your loot. . . Your accusations of “war crimes!” sound a little hollow.

    • #22
  23. Hank from the Internet Contributor
    Hank from the Internet
    @HankRhody

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Non-(overtly, anyway) sources on Azov and other attacks on civilians in the “autonomous” regions aren’t just last week. They go back years, and there is some independent verification.

    Hold on, while I’m here lemme quote

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Speaking of leftists, Putin has been complaining all along about neo-Nazis in Ukraine.  Not that the term “neo-Nazi” means anything other than “somebody opposed to Putin’s government,” just as in Soviet days it meant, “somebody opposed to the Soviets.”

    My default assumption is that whenever someone mentions a neo-Nazi group they’re talking about two skinheads and three FBI informants. As such when Putin gave de-nazification as one of his reasons for invading Ukraine I heard “I’ve got an explanation calculated to tickle the sensibilities of Western liberals” and ignored it. As such I haven’t actually done any looking into the Azov battalion yet, so they’re firmly in the “don’t know” category until I do.

    • #23
  24. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Hank from the Internet (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Over in the Red Pill Lounge, i commented that something really stinks about all this. On one hand, we have Putin, war criminal, tyrant, evil, demented, psychopath, etc, etc, on the other hand, he is the trusted leader who is simultaneously negotiating the US’ nuclear deal with Iran, and as a result being granted most favored trading status with Iran.

    It stinks. I really believe Ukraine was supposed to be the spoils awarded to Putin by TPTB, but they forgot to ask the Ukrainian people.

    What’s he getting paid off for? Helping us negotiate with Iran?

    Exactly this. For real. And there are apparently guarantees of exemptions from Ukraine war sanctions that effectively gut the “sanctions” the Biden regime and NATO are posturing over.

    • #24
  25. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Hank from the Internet (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Non-(overtly, anyway) sources on Azov and other attacks on civilians in the “autonomous” regions aren’t just last week. They go back years, and there is some independent verification.

    Hold on, while I’m here lemme quote

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Speaking of leftists, Putin has been complaining all along about neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Not that the term “neo-Nazi” means anything other than “somebody opposed to Putin’s government,” just as in Soviet days it meant, “somebody opposed to the Soviets.”

    My default assumption is that whenever someone mentions a neo-Nazi group they’re talking about two skinheads and three FBI informants. As such when Putin gave de-nazification as one of his reasons for invading Ukraine I heard “I’ve got an explanation calculated to tickle the sensibilities of Western liberals” and ignored it. As such I haven’t actually done any looking into the Azov battalion yet, so they’re firmly in the “don’t know” category until I do.

    I respect @thereticulator but am not convinced by this argument by appeal to authority.

    Badran’s assertion is that the war crimes in question were not just predictable. They were expected and, like the sinking of the Lusitania*, desired for propaganda purposes. Specifically, to serve “Biden”‘s Iran policy.’

    * Remember, Lusitania was sailing under a neutral (US) flag, and was purported to be carrying humanitarian aid. She was, but she also had on board a large covert arms shipment intended for a country Germany had invaded and was at war with. This was a violation of the laws of neutrality and made a German attack on Lusitania legal.

    I don’t know whether the US deliberately tipped off German intelligence, or just knew that sooner or later German intelligence would find out about one of the illegal arms shipments. Either way, Lusitania’s sinking by Germany was a highly effective information warfare (to use a term anachronistic to the WWI era) exploit. 

    • #25
  26. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    We also are inundated with glorious and moving stories of how every Ukrainian is defending thier homeland, from Grammy’s to super models, youth to double amputee grandad.

    If everyone is an armed defender, then all are combatants.

    Frankly, for the devastation observed from the bombing, i am shocked by the extremely low “civilian” body count.

    Over in the Red Pill Lounge, i commented that something really stinks about all this. On one hand, we have Putin, war criminal, tyrant, evil, demented, psychopath, etc, etc, on the other hand, he is the trusted leader who is simultaneously negotiating the US’ nuclear deal with Iran, and as a result being granted most favored trading status with Iran.

    It stinks. I really believe Ukraine was supposed to be the spoils awarded to Putin by TPTB, but they forgot to ask the Ukrainian people.

    Then there are the Russians and Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine who for years now have been subject to criminal attacks by Ukrainian nationalist militias. As common as Russia claims? No. Verifiable? Yes. In fact, Leftists were, until a couple of years ago, vociferously complaining about violent neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine.

    Two wrongs doesn’t make a right, but payback is a [expletive.]

    Of course, the difference between the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is that the Russians who moved there until recently moved (in some cases involuntarily but “legally,” in some cases moving “to make a better life” (and, in many of not most cases, also legally under the laws then in force) were moved by their own government, and the land is now ruled by a more native government (though one strongly influenced if not controlled by the US State Department and other globalists, which helped install its government.)

    One of the underlying subtexts is that sovereign nationalism is bad, foreign controlled nationalism in the service of an eventual globalist system is good. The USSR used that approach. So does Soros, so does the US State Department, and so do the Democrats. The difference between the Ukrainian leadership and the Democrats is that the Democrats and their Republican collaborators want the foreign invasion of the USA and want the loss of US sovereignty while the Ukrainians they are supporting (and on whose behalf are talking up war) don’t want the foreign invasion and many don’t want the globalist agenda (though their leadership does. Meaning that “let’s protect Ukraine’s sovereignty” is play to the suckers at home and abroad.

    Like Democrats and the GOPe talking about “democracy” while they lock the country down.

    Except the truth is that the Russophone Ukrainians are sick of Putin’s criminal thugs now running eastern Ukraine and have turned against their ethnic “white knight.” Further, Zelenskyy is no State Department/CIA stooge. He was the Trumpian anti-politician candidate who won in a shocking rejection of both the Kiev and Moscow elite factions in Ukraine.

    • #26
  27. Hank from the Internet Contributor
    Hank from the Internet
    @HankRhody

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    I respect thereticulator but am not convinced by this argument by appeal to authority.

     

    Sorry; I didn’t mean to appeal to the Reticulator’s authority there; I meant to say that I haven’t decided the question in favor of either perspective yet.

    • #27
  28. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Hank from the Internet (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    I respect thereticulator but am not convinced by this argument by appeal to authority.

     

    Sorry; I didn’t mean to appeal to the Reticulator’s authority there; I meant to say that I haven’t decided the question in favor of either perspective yet.

    Laura Dodsworth convinced me about the UK, and I simply can’t believe that the same work isn’t being done in the US (with the collaboration of the MSM )either by the USG directly or by the social media giants. Or both. On whoever’s behalf; remember that Rush used to say the the Democrats were the operational side and the agenda came from the media (Batya Ungar-Sargon has some interesting things to say about the woke media.)

    That would make my (and your, and a lot of other people’s) inability to inform yourself well enough to decide the question to our own respective satisfactions the intended result of information warfare waged by the PTB.us against the people of the US. Dodsworth describes it as a breach of the social contract.

    • #28
  29. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Further, Zelenskyy is no State Department/CIA stooge. He was the Trumpian anti-politician candidate who won in a shocking rejection of both the Kiev and Moscow elite factions in Ukraine.

    He was groomed by Clinton in 2012 and has been a deep state stooge ever since, just ask Trump. I keep saying this and everyone keeps conveniently ignoring it.

    If the Ukrainian election in 2014 was pro-Russia rigged  (as many in the West claim it was) necessitating a Graham/McCain supported revolution, what makes you think Zelensky’s was legit? Biden got 80 million votes,  remember. Trump was never supposed to win in 2016 either.

    • #29
  30. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Hank from the Internet (View Comment):
    Laugh all you like, but (again, ignoring the lawyering) there’s a practical, useful definition of war crimes. War crimes are anything that makes war more horrible than it needs to be, and they’re punished by reprisals. In the statement Blinken said that Russia was blowing up ambulances. If so, that’s the first I’ve heard of it. Consider the logic of attacking ambulances though, from a cold-blooded I-only-care-about-winning perspective. 

    I understand the concept of war crimes quite well. My father testified at the War Crimes Military Tribunals in Japan. He witnessed (and survived) what was called the worst maritime atrocity of WWII where survivors of a sunken merchant ship were brutally murdered in cold blood on the deck of a Jap submarine.

    In general, there were serious and significant war crimes perpetrated by the Nipponese… I would venture quite a lot more egregious and systemic than anything happening now in Ukraine.

    This is not to belittle the suffering the Ukrainian people are experiencing. Each and every casualty in Ukraine is in sense a ‘crime’, and certainly a tragedy. 

    But it’s not very practical at all in practice. First you have to win the war unquestionably to begin a war crimes trial. That probably won’t happen here.

    As an alternative you would need some unbiased respected international body to intervene. Last I looked, Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council along with China.

    In the case of a bomb hitting a civilian area causing casualties, you understand that that’s not really a ‘war crime’, right? Perhaps it could be if it could be proven that the commander ordered the targeting,  knowing it was a school or ambulance with no military value. Otherwise just about everyone participating in a war could be found guilty of “war crimes”. 

    So this talk of “war crimes” is mere rhetoric meant to fuel outrage and a sense of righteousness for propaganda purposes. I also believe Russia does not want civilian casualties for selfish reasons. There would be many more if they thought it would help and not hurt their cause.

    I am not defending the invasion or it’s tactics, I am merely requiring some perspective when dealing with loaded terms like “war crimes” and the usefulness of throwing around the charge.

    • #30
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