CLAIRE BERLINSKI, PARIS
🌾Grain wars and looting 📵Russia’s cryptophone failure 🐒🦠Monkeypox! 🗳️ Colombia goes to the polls 🇨🇦When white people lose their minds 🇨🇩M23 in DR Congo 🔏🪝Operation Claw Lock … and more.
… with hosts and experts from the United States accusing the US of a conspiracy to steal Ukrainian wheat. Belarusian opposition politician Franak Viacorka warns that right now, the issue of wheat exports and food security is the biggest thing that could divide Europe and the United States and break their united position on Ukraine. Russia knows that and “is driving the divisions” to its own benefit. The United Nations, Viacorka says, has already discussed and agreed on a partial lifting of sanctions on Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, a key Putin ally, in order to allow exports of wheat from Ukraine. Viacorka says both Putin and Lukashenko are mobilizing countries around the world and weaponizing food. “They are basically saying: if you don’t stop sanctions you will die of hunger. This blackmail is dangerous, and it shouldn’t work.”
🧳 Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine have sent home at least 58 metric tons of looted goods since the recent invasion began. Mediazona analyzed packages sent from 46 branches of a delivery firm near the Ukrainian border, identifying those sent by Russian soldiers by their weight. (In Russian.)
📵 Russia’s military-secure ERA cryptophone system has failed. Why was Moscow committed to a system that was so badly flawed?
Theoretically, Russian troops are not supposed to be using unsecured cellular phones. Yet that rule seems to be flouted … Perhaps the Russians saw using inexpensive commercial components living off a foreign cellular phone network as a cheap solution. They were dead wrong.
Russia’s infantry reserves are severely depleted and military officials are frantically trying to recruit to replenish them:
Since the beginning of the war, mobile enlistment offices have been spotted in the northern city of Arkhangelsk, in towns in the neighboring Murmansk region and at a pro-war concert in the city of Severomorsk. A delivery of mobile enlistment offices was reported to Russia’s Far East Military District in March, with men to be recruited across eastern and southern Siberia.
… For this genre of outlandish propaganda to take effect, it must resonate with deeper, subconscious needs of the population. There must be an additional emotional receptor beyond abstract imperial myths and national pride. Twenty years of repression and the systematic destruction of independent news, civic organisations, and political opposition have led to a profound atomization of Russian society. It is a society in which people cannot achieve even the most minimal changes in their country or their own lives due to corrupt bureaucrats, politicians, and judges. The result is a deep sense of powerlessness, fear, apathy, resentment, and negativity, paired with a negation of reality and the growth of ideological fiction. This “rebellion of the imagination against reality,” in the words of Mikhail Iampolski, automatically leads to an affirmation of lies. The country’s politics are constructed on a foundation of lies and the denial of obvious facts, harkening back to the political culture that Stalin’s propaganda state practiced so successfully. The line between falsehood and reality is intentionally and systematically blurred. Hannah Arendt has called this process “defactualization.” Russia’s defactualization is now at a stage where it will most likely lead to the self-destruction of state and society in the real world. All the military, economic, and human costs of war against Ukraine are deemed necessary to save face and to uphold a mirage of unwavering strength and imperial might.
Unlike in the case of the Uyghurs, in Ukraine there is graphic evidence of mass killings, such as in the town of Bucha, where bodies are lying in the dirt like piles of rags. Given such evidence of mass killings, can the international community now call Russia’s state violence in Ukraine genocide? Or as Dirk Moses argued in Lawfare, is the international community unable to call the violence genocide because it has not reached the magnitude of the Holocaust, which was pronounced as the “archetype of genocide by none other than Lemkin himself?”
Graham Allison: “The Biden administration isn’t very good at explaining its policies, but it does have a fairly coherent view. My interpretation is that we have four interrelated war aims. Point one: Ukraine survives. Point two: No third world war. Point three: a decisive strategic defeat for Putin’s Russia. And point four: strengthening the international security order.”
News: The Biden admin is preparing to send Ukraine advanced, long-range rocket systems—known as MLRS and HIMARS—that are now the top request from Ukrainian officials, multiple officials say.
Approval could be announced as soon as next week. https://t.co/wma6skIx8X
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) May 26, 2022
“It took the massacre in Bucha for us to dig into our own past,” says Tamara Chergoleishvili, founder of Tabula and the organizer of the exhibition called “Before Bucha there was Abkhazia.” “I was shocked by what we found, but even more so by how little we know and understand.”
🇫🇷 Macron is blowing his opportunity to advance France’s vision of European strategic autonomy:
While many Western leaders have made the perilous trip to Kyiv to demonstrate their support for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Macron hasn’t. … Numerous Western countries have trumpeted their military assistance to Ukraine, but France has remained conspicuously discreet about its own supplies of equipment and know-how. … More controversially, Macron has spent hours on the telephone listening to Putin’s anti-Ukrainian rants and trying — with little impact — to convey a contrasting picture of reality.
🐒🦠 Monkeypox likely spread by gay sex at two raves in Europe. (I can’t wait to read Tsargrad’s coverage—Claire.)
- 🗳️ Colombia goes to the polls on Sunday. The pact with the FARC has allowed for the growth of a political left, and former guerrilla Gustavo Petro is now leading the polls. No one is sure how the establishment and armed groups would react to the election of a left-wing president:
What many people outside Colombia forget is that signing the peace agreement was only the beginning of a long journey towards peace. It takes time to end decades of conflict. What matters now is how it is implemented, how the country handles the illegal armed groups that have filled the vacuum left by the FARC, and how well former fighters are able to reintegrate into society. In many parts of Colombia people still face as much if not more violence as they did before the peace deal.
- Petro is a former member of the April 19th Movement, or M19, a guerrilla organization active from 1970 to 1990 that took Supreme Court judges hostage during a siege at the Palace of Justice in Bogotá. He participated in the peace talks that led to the group’s demobilization.
- He’s promised to expand social programs, introduce guaranteed work with a basic income, create a public health system, increase access to higher education, halt new oil exploration, and raise taxes on the rich. His campaign has been propelled by the biggest, loudest and angriest youth electorate in Colombia’s history.
- Parliamentarians from over 20 countries have expressed their “grave concern” over the increasing threats of violence and assassination ahead of the elections. Petro’s security team uncovered a plan by paramilitary group La Cordillera to murder him, forcing the candidate to cancel a tour of Colombia’s coffee region.
🇨🇦 When white people lose their minds: On the anniversary of the Canadian “mass grave” that wasn’t:
But the first thing that needs to be said is about what all those shock-horror headlines about 1,300 Indian residential school graves add up to, in the real world. It’s this. No “mass grave” was discovered in Canada last year, and no Indigenous group claimed to have encountered anything of the kind. As for the sudden discovery of “unmarked graves,” so far as I have been able to determine no local Indigenous leader involved in the events even made such a claim.
Today, in one of those remarkable inversions of history, the charge that the United States is totalitarian no longer comes from the left but the right, from America’s growing contingent of self-proclaimed “post-liberal” intellectuals.
🚣🏿 Seventy-six migrants were presumed dead after their boat, which departed from Libya, sank off the coast of Tunisia. “Unfortunately they are a lot,” said Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration. “But also unfortunately, this isn’t anything new.” The shipwreck brings the total number of deaths in the central Mediterranean Sea this year to over 650. “We are consistent. People keep dying exactly like last year.”
In May 2021, coup leader Assimi Goïta, who received military training in Germany and elsewhere, himself installed as the country’s president. Under his leadership, the relationship with France worsened. After the military junta hired mercenaries from the Wagner Group, Paris resolved to end its mission in the country, with current plans calling for the last French soldier to vacate by September. Elections are allegedly to be held within five years at the latest. Journalists have been expelled or are no longer allowed into the country. …
The Wagner Group’s approach hasn’t just been on display in Moura, but also further to the west, in Diabaly. According to European military leaders, the Russians first surrounded the town to search for Islamists, then began torturing, interrogating and executing people. “European partners impose conditions. The Russians don’t,” says a European diplomat. Which makes them a convenient partner for military leaders and dictators. Samake, the opposition politician, believes “the Russians don’t care about Africa. All they want is to embarrass the West.” …
“Things are going to get worse,” a French military official tells DER SPIEGEL in Bamako. “But we will no longer be there as a scapegoat. At some point the people will likely rebel against Russia.” He also believes that the Wagner troops will continue to kill innocents on their hunt for Islamists—intentionally. “They pin responsibility for terrorism on the population.” He says that neither the mercenaries nor Moscow are very interested in Mali. Russia, the military leader says, is primarily interested in unleashing as much chaos with as little effort as possible—and to cause as much trouble for the West as it can. And the way things are currently looking, the strategy has proven successful.
According to the calculations of various aid agencies, only three percent of the humanitarian aid Somalia needs has thus far been met. … And more recently, aid supplies that have already been paid for are also missing. Almost half of the food that the WFP distributes to drought victims in Somalia used to come from Ukraine. Such a delivery was supposed to have arrived on March 10—1,188 tons of peas for famine-struck regions in Ethiopia and Somalia. The delivery had been scheduled to depart from the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, which is, like the rest of the country, under attack from the Russians. …
“There were some deliveries promised to us by donors that were suddenly rerouted toward Ukraine,” Daloum said. WFP headquarters in Rome confirms that some deliveries were rerouted to Ukraine instead of continuing to the crisis regions for which they had originally been intended. …
Indeed, global warming is essentially transforming large regions of Africa into unlivable wasteland. After years of economic improvement in many countries on the continent, famine has suddenly returned. And those crises have now been joined by a humanitarian catastrophe right in the heart of Europe, triggered by Putin’s merciless invasion of Ukraine. The world is bleeding from a growing number of wounds and the rich countries of the world are running out of bandages.
🇨🇩 DR Congo
- Heavy fighting is raging in eastern DR Congo between the army and M23 rebels, who are waging their most sustained offensive since a 2012-2013 insurrection that briefly overran the major city of Goma. The army recaptured its base in Rumangabo from the M23 but the rebels still appeared to control much of the surrounding area.
Fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is intensifying, with Ugandan and Burundian soldiers in pursuit of rebels and Congolese insurgents on the rebound. With help from its allies, Kinshasa should step up diplomacy lest the country become a regional battleground once more.
The uptick in fighting between M23 and government troops in fact started in late 2021. Moreover, it is only one of several ongoing armed confrontations in eastern DRC. The Allied Democratic Force, an insurgent Islamist group with Ugandan roots, continues to massacre people despite ongoing joint Uganda-DRC operations. Another is the proxy war in the highlands of Uvira and Fizi, not far from Burundi. And in Ituri at the northeastern tip of the DRC, different armed groups including the CODECO factions continue to wreak havoc. …
It is unlikely that the current flurry of [peace] initiatives will end the M23 and other rebellions for good, as long as the underlying historical issues fueling violence remain unaddressed.
🌍 MIDDLE EAST
While talks with Iran are at an impasse, the risk remains that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have altered the leverage of parties in the talks. Over time, US leverage against Iran may decline as global appetite for an alternative supply of oil and gas to replace Russian energy supplies becomes more desperate. This, when combined with the increasingly large number of countries and economies subject to US secondary sanctions, may dull the impact of US sanctions pressure against Iran and thereby limit the United States’ ability to ensure, via sanctions, that Iran’s malign activities do not threaten US interests.
- ☠️🇮🇱 Israel assassinated of Sayad Khodayee, the Iranian officer who was shot dead outside his home in Tehran last Sunday:
The Israelis told the Americans the killing was meant as a warning to Iran to halt the operations of a covert group within the Quds Force known as Unit 840, according to the intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified information. Unit 840 is tasked with abductions and assassinations of foreigners around the world, including Israeli civilians and officials, according to Israeli government, military and intelligence officials.
- This is the Jundishapur library in Tehran. The school was founded by the Sassanid emperor Shahpur I in 260:
- 🔏🪝 Since Operation Claw-Lock began on April 18 in northern Iraq, Turkey has ramped up drone strikes on PKK targets in northern Syria. The aim of the operation isn’t just to push the PKK away from the border. Turkey is creating de facto mini states where it plans to send back some of the 3.7 million Syrian refugees now living in Turkey. Animus toward refugees is growing, with violent attacks upon Syrian communities growing more frequent, exacerbated by Turkey’s economic meltdown. Turks see Syrians as stealing their jobs and leaching off their social security system.
- 📽️ Silent Invasion, a smash Turkish hit, is a dystopian dramatization of Turkey’s version of the Great Replacement Theory:
… The year is May 3, 2043. Turkey has assimilated many refugees and become Arabized. A corrupt society and indifferent bureaucrats have caused this new world to be created. Our main character, on the other hand, wonders how this country has come to be and wants the old order back …
It’s worth watching—you can get subtitles by using the gear icon at the bottom of the video to get captions, then choosing “auto-translate” and switching the language to English. You’ll be surprised how familiar these themes are. So, as you can see, the opposition is running on the idea that Erdoğan has allowed the country to be overrun by Syrians who are breeding uncontrollably. Thus Erdoğan needs to get rid of these refugees.
Thus operation Claw-Lock.
- 🇺🇸 The United States warned Turkey against launching a new military operation in northern Syria, saying it would put US troops at risk. Erdoğan said last Monday that Turkey would launch an operation in northern Syria to create a 30-kilometer buffer zone on the border.
- Cross-border military operations always boost poll ratings, and Erdoğan has a tricky election coming up. “Analysts said Erdoğan’s surprise announcement on Monday reflected his belief that the West would not oppose such operations at a time when it needs Ankara’s support for the Nordic countries’ bid to join NATO.” (The analysts are right—Claire.)
- 🧿 On Erdoğan’s neo-Ottomanism:
Erdoğan has let his 1,150 room Ankara Palace convince him he is a Sultan of a lost Caliphate, leading him to: antagonize Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood, host Hamas leaders in Istanbul, exploit post-explosion Beirut for influence, denounce Bahrain, colonize Somalia, interfere with Kashmir in favor of Pakistan, pursue an alliance with the Taliban through control of the Kabul Airport, and give tacit support to extremists carrying out beheadings in France. From Algiers to Somalia and from the Balkans to Baku, Erdoğan sees the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East as his own Topkapı Palace tulip garden.
- 🇫🇷 It’s Macron’s turn to try to reason with Erdoğan about Sweden, Finland, and NATO. They’re scheduled for a video call today. (In French.)
- 🇨🇾 Turkish Cypriots are meanwhile in an uproar over the latest financial protocol signed by authorities in the Turkish occupied north and Ankara, with trade unions threatening an indefinite general strike. The protocol signed is the latest in a series of financial bailout agreements, but it includes provisions such as changes to the constitutional right to assemble and demonstrate and monitoring all communication platforms to tackle misinformation. One provision provides for up to five years in jail for insulting Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar or Turkey, much the way Turkey’s laws prohibit journalists and opposition from insulting Erdoğan.
- ❗️The Islamic State’s most recent leader, Abu Hasan al-Hashemi al-Qurashi, appears to have been captured in a raid in Istanbul. (In Turkish.)
- Soul-searching and torment amid China’s Covid moment:Two years ago in April, Europe and America were grinding to a halt economically, socially, and politically because Covid was spreading like wildfire. Production and services virtually stopped while politics were in total disarray. … Now, two years later, following Covid’s mutation, China and Europe and America are in reverse positions. Life has gone back to normal in the West, which has been immunized by its effective vaccines and also the herd immunity gained by failing at harsh distancing.
- 👩🏼🚒 A firefighter in Shanxi province in central China climbed six floors to save a little girl who was hanging from a window:
Virtually none of Mr. Aslam’s trees, spread over four acres, produced mangoes. In a normal year, they would have yielded more than 25,000 pounds of fruit. “I have never witnessed this phenomenon before in my lifetime,” he said.”
- 💣 Bombs ripped through three minibuses in Mazar-i-Sharif and a mosque in Kabul, killing at least 16. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks in Mazar-i-Sharif.
- 🧕🏽 The Taliban’s policies show a “pattern of absolute gender segregation and are aimed at making women invisible in the society,” said Richard Bennett, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, directly after Taliban fighters broke up a women’s protest calling for the reopening of secondary schools for girls.
☦️🦇 The latest bats*hit from Tsargrad
Avian influenza, swine flu, camel flu. In the first cases of the coronavirus, bats were blamed, who were allegedly not sufficiently roasted by Chinese looking for culinary impressions. Now it's up to monkeys. And for a change—not monkey flu, but smallpox. Why do globalists need a new epidemic, why do our medical officials blindly obey WHO and how did it happen that there are mostly perverts among the sick?
By the way, the appearance of AIDS, according to one of the popular versions, was also attributed to monkeys. Like, some African either ate raw meat or entered into an unnatural connection with primate ... and it started. And one more thing.
Coincidence or proven scenario?
As AIDS was initially affected mainly by perverts, so the first cases of monkeypox in Europe were also recorded in this category of population. Maybe a coincidence. Or maybe a proven scenario. As we know, Western propagandists love proven scenarios very much.
(O, Tsargrad. You never let me down—Claire)
🥢 The CCP is so very sad for the poor little American children
By Global Times
A gunman killed at least 19 children and two adults on Tuesday in a Texas elementary school, according to US media. This outrageous school shooting was reportedly the deadliest in the US since a decade ago.
The response from the Biden administration was once again emotional and hypocritical. In a speech from the White House hours after the shooting, Biden portrayed it as “another massacre” and said, “As a nation, we have to ask when in God’s name we’re going to stand up to the gun lobby.” …
Biden and Harris are obviously playing the card of gun control months ahead of the mid-term election, in a bid to gain more votes. But such kind of operation will have little effect. “The right of the [American] people to keep and bear arms” is endowed by the US Constitution. And the US’ gun lobby is capable of persuading politicians. Against this backdrop, it is very difficult for the Democratic administration to do something on gun restrictions. …
From a moral perspective, guns are supposed to be controlled, as endowing ordinary Americans to bear arms has triggered so many tragedies. But unfortunately, gun violence will not go away as long as the US retains its current political system. The separation of powers and social pluralism in US society, which the country considers to be the pros and vitality of its system, precisely mirrors its fatal flaw when it comes to gun control.
The US prides itself on being a country of democracy, and ruled by the people, but gun violence exposes the exact opposite. Living in the US, ordinary people become victims of gun violence, and cannot participate in governing the country, and worse still, the safety of their lives and property cannot be guaranteed. US politicians are accustomed to talking about human rights, but they play political tricks on issues related to the Americans’ right to life and health, such as gun control, and racial discrimination. They have turned these issues into instruments and chips for partisan struggles and put their personal interests above the people’s.
More ironically, the US is good at spreading lies from the mouths of some scholars. One of the representatives is the so-called German scholar Adrian Zenz,To whom the Xinjiang police files were leaked: see yesterday’s Global Eyes. Obviously this is chapping their hides. who has fabricated many fallacies about human rights-related issues on China. But have any of them voiced their concern over the US’ gun shooting? The human rights situation in the US has been poor and deteriorating, and it is not qualified to point an accusing finger at other countries, such as China.
The double standards and hypocrisy of the US in terms of human rights fully prove that the so-called human rights are only tools of American politicians. Internally, it can be used to serve elections and political gain, while externally, it is nothing more than an instrument to contain competitors, manipulate and intimidate countries that do not obey Washington’s interests, and maintain its global hegemony.
New techniques in the nascent science of forecasting suggest that better tools can be built that give early-warning indicators of global catastrophic risks. If policymakers, researchers and funders embrace the possibilities of crowdsourced probabilistic forecasting as a new kind of Doomsday Clock, it might be possible to better see—and avert—the next crisis on the horizon.
… So that is the task: to unearth the interconnecting tendrils of issues, intertwining roots of problems that crisscross the world more intensely than ever, and whose larger significance is yet to be discovered. Before, the grand narrative of democracy used to pass over us, like a plane that you could board from a platform called “human rights.” Now we work with shovels. Prodding on a mound that seems just an anomaly in one corner of the garden, but upon excavating and pulling, its rhizomes lead us to the garden next door. This is a new mission for journalism. To work out why an issue in Manila is also about Silicon Valley and about Moscow and about you. To find the sudden intersection between countries no one ever thought about as part of a single map before. Because these new lines are there, they don’t need to be created—they need to be unearthed. And then one discrete event can have meaning for many, one newspaper article can resonate across borders. New publics, who never even thought of each other as having anything in common, can be brought together. And this new journalism needs to do more than just draw new lines and connect new audiences — it needs to dig out the contours of the discussion which offers the solution to the issues it unearths, offering its audiences a chance to transform from passive players to participants in the formulation of a future.
Economic mathematical models boil down the impact of climate change into a single algebra equation called the “climate damage function.” [But the] confident climate modeler cannot capture this dynamic with inflexible algebra.
🐒 Today’s animal: The Chimpanzee
Chimp chatter is interesting. It’s much more complex and structured than we thought:
The study shows that chimpanzees communicate with each other using hundreds of different sequences, combining up to ten call types across the whole repertoire. This is the first documentation of such a diversity of vocal production in non-human primates. Furthermore, the researchers show that calls—in combination with specific other calls—predictably occurred in certain positions in the sequence, following adjacency rules. These adjacency rules applied also to sequences with three call types.
Claire Berlinski is the editor of the Cosmopolitan Globalist.
|↑1||To whom the Xinjiang police files were leaked: see yesterday’s Global Eyes. Obviously this is chapping their hides.|