The government and the media want a license to lie with impunity

Classified documents reveal the reality of the war in Ukraine to be far different from how it’s described by the administration and the media.  New reporting suggests Ukrainian officials are stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and purchasing fuel from their enemy.  The government and the media ignore all this, however, and focus exclusively on the leaker.

Last week, a 21 year old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, Jack Texeira, was arrested for allegedly leaking hundreds of pages of classified documents in what many are claiming is the biggest national security breach since Edward Snowden revealed the government’s massive surveillance program in 2013.  Like Mr. Snowden, Mr. Texeira was apparently a government contractor, whose military rank did not allow him access to top secret information, but whose role managing information systems, in this case Cyber Transport Systems, allowed him to pilfer content reserved for top military officials as part of the Pentagon’s daily briefings.  Mr. Texeira originally began posting this information to a chatroom on Discord with less than 30 participants last December, but the materials ultimately made its way into other chat rooms and then the wider world via social media.  The New York Times initially reported that he “oversaw a private online group named Thug Shaker Central, where about 20 to 30 people, mostly young men and teenagers, came together over a shared love of guns, racist online memes and video games.”  This, however, has since been scrubbed from their reporting and it appears Mr. Texeira was ardently anti-war, leaking the documents primarily to make a political statement.  “This guy was a Christian, anti-war, just wanted to inform some of his friends about what’s going on,” one teenager told the Times, which first revealed the emergence of the classified materials on public forums.  Mr. Texeira’s purpose, of course, is irrelevant to whether he committed a crime, and in that regard it seems pretty clear he will be convicted under the Espionage Act (at the least), likely serving a decade or more in prison, as he probably should.

At the same time, Mr. Texiera’s guilt or innocence should not prevent us from a clear-eyed assessment of what the documents, once classified, now in the public domain, reveal.  Contrary to President Biden’s insistence that all is well, “I’m concerned that it happened, but there is nothing contemporaneous that I’m aware of that is of great consequence,” he noted while in Ireland, the documents are of critical importance to our foreign policy in Ukraine and elsewhere.  To paraphrase the President, the consequence of learning that our leaders and their willing accomplices in the mainstream media have been lying both about the outcome of the war effort and our own involvement in it could not be greater.  For more than a year, the Biden Administration and most members of Congress, whether Republican or Democrat, have been insisting that Russia is steadily losing the war and, thanks to our supply of weaponry and other aid plus aggressive sanctions, a catastrophic defeat is inevitable even if they cannot provide a precise time table.  We are supposed to believe this because Russia has suffered devastating losses of both men and equipment.  The claim is that up to 223,000 thousand Russians have died in the war effort compared to up to 131,000 Ukrainians.  The Hill, for example, claimed in February that “Russian combat deaths in the first year of its war on neighboring Ukraine have likely now exceeded the combined death toll of all of its wars since World War II, according to new research from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).”  This number was supposedly backed by British Intelligence, which claimed on Twitter, “forces for the Russian Defense Ministry and private contractors have likely suffered 175,000 to 200,000 casualties since the start of the war. Intelligence indicates that includes between 40,000 to 60,000 soldiers killed.” The documents, however, tell a far different story, believing those numbers with only “low confidence” and putting the actual count of Russians killed at no more than 43,000, meaning we have likely been exaggerating the death count by a factor of five, a not insignificant number.

Similarly, we have repeatedly been told that Russia is on the verge of defeat at the hands of Ukrainian forces.  The ongoing Battle of Bakhmut, part of Russia’s spring offensive, is a recent case in point, supposedly proving to be a disaster for the Red Army against much tougher than expected Ukrainian resistance.  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley insisted, while under oath, to Congress last month that the battle had turned into a “slaughter-fest.”  “Russians are struggling in a big way” and “They are getting slaughtered, the Russian troops are.”  For the last 20 or 21 days, “Russians have not made any progress whatsoever in or around Bakhmut…The Ukrainians are doing a very effective area defense that is proving to be very costly to the Russians,” he said.  It’s “a slaughter-fest for the Russians. They are getting hammered in the vicinity of Bakhmut and the Ukrainians are fighting very, very well.”  At the time, barely two weeks ago, “Western officials estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 Russian troops have been killed or injured in the city, while NATO predicted that Russia was losing five soldiers for every Ukrainian killed,” as described by Business Insider.  The classified documents, however, reveal a far different truth.  In February 2023, the Ukrainian position was described as “catastrophic” and the soldiers were running out of supplies while suffering from low morale.  They have so far been able to hold on, but only by using elite units suffering high casualties and losing their seasoned forces.  The UK now claims Ukrainian forces are pulling back and Russia is “re-energized” in their assault.  Further, despite some $120 billion in aid from the United States alone, our classified intelligence suggests that Ukraine’s air defenses will be completely depleted as soon as next month, meaning the reality on the ground, as told to our commanders in secret, is much closer to a war of attrition that the Russians are winning and might well prevail soon.

The generals and the President clearly know this, of course, but that has not stopped them from insisting the precise opposite.  “President Putin thought he could defeat Ukraine quickly, fracture the NATO alliance and act with impunity,” General Milley told reporters following a meeting with NATO defense ministers in Brussels in February.  “He was wrong. Ukraine remains free. They remain independent. NATO and its coalition has never been stronger. And Russia is now a global pariah, and the world remains inspired by Ukrainian bravery and resilience,” he continued.  “In short, Russia has lost; they’ve lost strategically, operationally and tactically, and they are paying an enormous price on the battlefield.”  This is either wishful thinking at best or a bold faced lie at worst, especially troubling in either case when our plan is to remain committed to the existing strategy however long it takes as we are repeatedly told. Given the documents also reveal that the Biden Administration and the Pentagon have been untruthful when it comes to our direct involvement in the war, the situation becomes doubly perilous.  For the past fifteen months, we have been led to believe that this was a battle between Ukraine and Russia with the United States and broader NATO alliance providing only aid and military supplies.  Last November, a Facebook user claimed “Boots are on the ground in the Ukraine. Biden is bringing us closer to WW3” and a Twitter user insisted the “Pentagon just confirmed US boots are on the ground in Ukraine.”  Reuters promptly fact checked these claims and found them to be false, insisting “U.S. military personnel are inspecting weapons delivery at various locations in Ukraine and there is no proof of combat forces present in the country.”  To support this conclusion, they quoted Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder, who said “small teams that are comprised of embassy personnel” are conducting “inspections of security assistance delivery” in an effort to “track U.S.-provided capabilities and to prevent the illicit spread throughout Eastern Europe.”  “We’ve been very clear there are no combat forces in Ukraine, no U.S. forces conducting combat operations in Ukraine,” General Ryder added. “These are personnel that are going out in areas where they’re not going to be in harm’s way to conduct these types of inspections.”  Last May, Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed, “This is a war between Russia and Ukraine. NATO is not involved.”

This now appears to be yet another lie.  The number of troops is small, at 15 along with some 85 additional support staff, part of a contingent of about 100 NATO forces in theater, but their role is huge.  The United States and our NATO allies are apparently running the show, training, funding, and arming three quarters of the forces involved  “12 combat credible [brigades] can be generated for the spring Counteroffensive: 3 internationally by Ukraine, and 9 are US, Allied & Partner trained and equipped.”  The US military has also drawn up detailed battle plans for these offensives, including an effort to cut off Crimea from Russian occupied territory when conditions are “favorable” in May.  We have come to see our combination of roles in training the Ukrainian military, planning broader deployments in Europe, and potentially in Ukraine itself as part of a single effort, reporting the combined results at once.  There is no other way to read this than to conclude the United States and NATO are most certainly running a proxy war against Russia with Ukraine as the intermediary despite the administration’s protestations to the contrary.  United States troops, even a small number, are undoubtedly in harm’s way and should some of them die at the hands of the Russians, it’s anyone’s guess how this may escalate.  That all of this has been done in secret, under the cover of lies, and without any vote in Congress suggests a recklessness bordering on insanity.  This is, after all, how the war in Vietnam began and one needn’t be a historian to know how that turned out.  Precisely what does President Biden and his top military think will happen if the Russians down a United States’ helicopter and kill everyone on board?

These leaks have coincided with troubling new reporting from Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh, who claimed that top officials in the Ukrainian government including President Volodymyr Zelensky himself have embezzled $400 million in US civilian and military aid, and are actively buying Russian diesel fuel in violation of our sanctions, funding the very enemy we are supposed to be sworn to defeat.  “It is unknown how much the Zelensky government is paying per gallon for the fuel, but the Pentagon was paying as much as $400 per gallon to transport gasoline from a port in Pakistan, via truck or parachute, into Afghanistan during the decades-long American war there.  What also is unknown is that Zelensky has been buying the fuel from Russia, the country with which it, and Washington, are at war, and the Ukrainian president and many in his entourage have been skimming untold millions from the American dollars earmarked for diesel fuel payments. One estimate by analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency put the embezzled funds at $400 million last year, at least; another expert compared the level of corruption in Kiev as approaching that of the Afghan war, ‘although there will be no professional audit reports emerging from the Ukraine.’”  “Zelensky’s been buying discount diesel from the Russians,” an intelligence official told Mr. Hersh. “And who’s paying for the gas and oil? We are. Putin and his oligarchs are making millions” on it.  Further, the United States has apparently brought this specific issue to the attention of the Ukrainians, who have ignored our concerns and continue to steal US taxpayer money.  “The issue of corruption was directly raised with Zelensky in a meeting last January in Kiev with CIA Director William Burns. His message to the Ukrainian president, I was told by an intelligence official with direct knowledge of the meeting, was out of a 1950s mob movie. The senior generals and government officials in Kiev were angry at what they saw as Zelensky’s greed, so Burns told the Ukrainian president, because ‘he was taking a larger share of the skim money than was going to the generals.’”  Nor is this the first bombshell from Mr. Hersh in recent months.  He reported in detail earlier this year how the United States planned and carried out the attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines in September 2022 in one of the most daring acts of war against a foreign power in recent memory.

Sadly, the mainstream media has studiously avoided both stories to the point where The New York Times recently claimed “It may be in no one’s interest to reveal more” about what happened to the pipelines, almost tacitly admitting they have no interest in the truth and the truth itself has no value anymore.  Simultaneously, the media has dutifully covered Mr. Texiera and the leaked documents, only with a rather obtuse focus on the threat to national security as described by the national security state itself rather than a consideration of what the documents themselves mean for our national security.  Thus, CNN runs lengthy stories on the frantic hunt for the leaker while barely mentioning that the leaks themselves reveal a government that has been lying to the American people at the highest possible levels for more than a year.  The same is true almost everywhere you look.  “Is this a dangerous person?” Josh Campbell asked on CNN in a recent roundtable.  “This Air Guardsman who’s now been taken into custody, had talked about being a gun enthusiast, had been at gun ranges. He’s obviously a member of the military.”  Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling chimed, in “And he’s the big guy in the scene. Somehow, he has access to this kind of information, and that makes him even larger.”  Glenn Gerstell added, “The person who thinks they know better than everyone else, they’re smarter than everyone else in their view” while the anchor concluded “And this is a 21-year-old man. He is described as a gun enthusiast. Feels like in some of these descriptions, somebody who’s maybe hungry for power.”

It is true that the incident occurred because of national security shortcomings that should be addressed and the media should cover them, but the real national security story is still what the documents reveal, not how they were obtained.  It is the Biden Administration that has placed maximum importance on victory in Ukraine and backed the Ukrainian government to the tune of $120 billion and counting.  It is they who have assured us that Russia would ultimately be defeated, and that we would not be engaged in a proxy war with a nuclear power.  In addition, it is they who have positioned this as a matter of national security where the future of democracy is at stake and we have no choice except to win.  The documents and Mr. Hersh’s reporting clearly reveals that they have been lying the entire time, and the reactions from politicians and the mainstream media suggest they seek to continue to do so with absolute impunity. Lies, lies, and more lies are not the foundation for a functioning democracy.


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