by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
The plight of people living in Ukraine has taken a backseat to the theatrics of the U.S. mid-term elections for the past week or so, so if you have not seen any of the news reports coming out of Ukraine, it appears that the war is effectively over, as the capital city of Kyiv, along with other major urban areas, have had their infrastructure destroyed, as people face cold weather with no electricity, and have to line up for hours just to get water.
There is an old lesson of warfare that says “never believe your own propaganda.”
After the initial Russian strikes against Ukraine’s power grids and infrastructure the general narrative was that Russian cruise missiles and drones were ineffective, inaccurate and that the country’s utilities would be back up and running in no time. The message was reticent of previous propaganda out of Ukraine which requires constant theatrics of impending victory. As long as they act as if they are winning, billions in NATO dollars will continue to flow.
Russian tactics were decidedly restrained in the early months of the conflict, with the Kremlin mostly avoiding precision attacks on vital resources, including power, water and internet. This is a departure from traditional military doctrine, which the US followed when it invaded Iraq and decimated vast segments of their grid utilities at the onset of the war.
The Russian pull-back to lines in the Donbas region was a clear indication that their strategy was about to change and that wider strikes were inevitable.
Now, Ukraine’s grid amenities are being systematically destroyed, and it is reported that Ukrainians in major cities like Kyiv are lining up for blocks daily just to fill a few meager jugs with fresh water at city well pumps.
The lack of access to utilities changes the dynamics of the war drastically.
With winter looming, millions of civilians will face cold months without electric heat, light or easy access to water and food.
The predictable end result of this will likely be a flood of refugees into Europe. (Source.)
And while just a few weeks ago the corporate media was whipping everyone up into a frenzy about possible nuclear strikes by Russia, or false flag attacks inside Ukraine which would have escalated the war, this week the corporate media is widely reporting that negotiations with Russia, by both the U.S. as well as Ukraine, are now back on the table.
U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan made a surprise visit to Kyiv last week, where he met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and top Ukrainian officials. The White House National Security Council said the meetings were to “underscore the United States’ steadfast support to Ukraine and its people.” But two people familiar with the meetings and a Ukrainian government official said Sullivan did broach the idea of how this conflict ends and whether it could include a diplomatic solution. “He was testing the waters a bit,” said one person familiar with the meetings.
The Ukrainian official said that during his meetings with Zelenskyy’s government, Sullivan raised the need for a diplomatic resolution to the war and made the point that Ukraine’s leverage would be strengthened — not weakened — if it expressed openness to ultimately negotiating with the Russians. The official said that Sullivan had not tried to pressure Ukraine to enter into negotiations immediately or to take any specific steps. Instead, the official said, Sullivan expressed the view that Ukraine would able to maintain the support of Western allies better if it is perceived as being willing to reach an end to the conflict through diplomacy. (Source.)
If such negotiations ultimately end up with Russia hanging on to their annexed territories that they now claim are part of Russia, does that mean Russia “won”?
Well, that would depend on what your view is regarding why this conflict began in the first place.
As we reported back in September, an alleged leaked document from the U.S. military think tank RAND Corporation that was published about 1 month before Russia invaded Ukraine, stated that a weakened Germany and weakened Europe would strengthen the U.S. economy, by exporting more energy to Europe in place of the cheap energy they were purchasing from Russia, and by increasing U.S. military spending. See:
SMOKING GUN! Alleged RAND Corporation Leaked Document Written BEFORE Ukraine War Shows U.S. Planned the European Energy Crisis and Economic Collapse to Save the U.S. Economy
And indeed, U.S. exports of liquid natural gas (LNG) to Europe exploded, with 70% of LNG exports heading to Europe in September, in spite of the fact that production of LNG has been reduced in the U.S. this year.
U.S. producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) boosted exports to Europe in September even as a plant outage kept overall shipments below the average for the first eight months of 2022, Refinitiv Eikon data showed on Monday.
A June fire at the United States’ second-largest exporter Freeport LNG has the country’s output below its full processing capacity even as demand and prices for the superchilled gas soar on European buyers seeking alternatives to Russian gas.
Almost 70% of the cargoes, or 4.37 mt, headed to Europe, up from the 56% and 63%, respectively, in the previous two months. The higher shipments to Europe left fewer cargoes for Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean last month. (Source.)
Beside the profits the U.S. earned from exporting LNG to Europe at a much higher price than they could have purchased from Russia, the U.S. has spent at least $18.2 BILLION on the war, with more funding on the way. (Source.)
When you read these massive numbers in the corporate media as “going to Ukraine,” please understand that we are not really sending any money to Ukraine. That money is going to Wall Street, and corporate contractors who build weapons and machinery for wars.
So just as the funding for COVID slowed down this year, the war in Ukraine conveniently started to keep the Central Banks creating more money to send to Wall Street.
And while U.S. corporations are all too happy to receive all this money to make weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. is apparently less concerned about making sure all those weapons go to Ukraine, as several sources have reported that many of the arms shipped to Ukraine never make it there.
CBS got in trouble when they reported that only 30% of U.S. military aid ever made it to the front lines in Ukraine for a documentary they were producing.
CBS said it was updating a documentary that said most weapons sent to Ukraine don’t reach the front. It admitted that a figure it cited claiming only 30% of military aid arrives was out of date. The documentary angered some in the Ukrainian government. CBS said it was adding “new information.” (Source.)
Finland has reported that criminal gangs in their country are getting a hold of U.S. weapons that were supposed to go to Ukraine.
Europol, the European police cooperation organization, is reported to have warned in the summer that armed criminal groups could soon start smuggling weapons from Ukraine to EU member states.
According to Christer Ahlgren, superintendent of the Organized Crime Intelligence Unit of the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (Keskusrikospoliisi, KRP), Europol’s prediction has already become a reality in Finland:
“We are seeing signs that these weapons are already in Finland, (…) and we have already seen signs that weapons delivered to Ukraine have been found in Finland,” Ahlgren says.
The Finnish law enforcement official said this mostly means handguns and heavier weapons used by the military, such as machine guns. However, they know from their foreign colleagues that there is also great demand for explosive grenades and military drones, and “in other parts of Europe, we have also found anti-tank missiles from Ukraine.”
There are fears that the Javelin anti-tank missile could also make its way into the hands of Europe’s criminals. The missile was one of the keys to the Ukrainians’ successful defense in the early stages of the war, and the U.S. and Britain have been supplying Ukraine with countless quantities of this easy-to-handle weapon, which is highly effective against tanks. The missile reportedly appeared on the dark web for sale this summer, but there is no documented case of it being used in any attack outside of Ukraine.
Rifles, handguns and other weapons from Ukraine are not only landing in Finland, but have also turned up in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. (Source.)
The U.S. profiting from war in Ukraine through sales of LNG to Europe and funding military corporations in the U.S. has also been noticed by the Russian U.S. Ambassador who spoke out this week:
The United States is prolonging the conflict in Ukraine in order to profit from sales of military equipment and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov told Sputnik.
“The White House cannot escape responsibility for prolonging the conflict and killing innocent people. However, the United States continues with its maniacal persistence to adhere to the tactics of war of attrition by exhausting everyone – Ukrainians, Russians, Europeans as well as ordinary Americans,” Antonov said.
“There are several reasons for this, one of them being the presence of economic interest. The desire to ‘skim the cream’ through the mass sale of military equipment and LNG supplies: Only business, nothing personal.” (Source.)
Like Most Wars Involving the U.S., Big Oil is the Real Winner
Any negotiated settlement with Russia to stop the fighting in Ukraine, however, will probably not happen until February, so that Big Oil can finish their profits from the conflict after oil embargoes against Russia kick in, which will drive prices and profits for Big Oil up even further than they currently are, as Big Oil has already raked in record profits this year from the war.
Aggregate net income for publicly listed oil and gas companies operating in the United States exceeded $200 billion for the second and third quarters of the year, according to analysis of earnings reports and estimates carried out by S&P Global Commodity Insights for the Financial Times.
The media outlet reported over the weekend, citing the analysis, that US oil producers have cashed in on a period of geopolitical turmoil due to the conflict in Ukraine that has shaken up the global energy market and sent prices skyrocketing. The $200 billion figure, which included supermajors, mid-sized integrated groups and smaller independent shale operators, marks the sector’s “most profitable six months on record and puts it on course for an unprecedented year,” it wrote.
“Operating cash flow will likely be record-breaking – or at least very close to it – by year’s end,” executive director for upstream equity research at S&P, Hassan Eltorie, told the FT.
The report also noted that last week US President Joe Biden dubbed the outsized earnings a “windfall of war” and accused companies of “profiteering” from the conflict. Biden threatened to ask Congress to hit producers with higher taxes unless they invested the cash haul into pumping more oil to bring down prices at the pump.
Responding to the prospect of a windfall tax, Darren Woods, chief executive of ExxonMobil, which had its most profitable quarter ever, reportedly said his company’s chunky dividend should be considered its way of “returning some of our profits directly to the American people.” (Full article.)
Oil Prices Are Primed To Spike This Winter
Less than a month from now, an embargo on seaborne Russian crude oil exports to the European Union will come into effect. As a result, global oil supply is set to tighten considerably as Russia is the biggest oil and fuels exporter in the world. And the market is preparing.
Hedge funds once again like oil, and are buying it on the futures market in considerable volumes, according to Reuters’ John Kemp. Last week, the buying reached 22 million barrels of Brent crude and 15 million barrels of West Texas Intermediate.
Yet, with an EU embargo and a G7 price cap, what will almost certainly happen by the end of the year is that oil will become more expensive than it is now. Perhaps more worryingly, fuels – especially diesel – will become more expensive as the supply of crude oil tightens further while no new refineries are on the horizon.
The fuel situation is going to become a lot more complicated in February, too, when the EU’s Russian fuels embargo comes into effect. Currently, the European Union is importing some 400,000 barrels daily of Russian diesel, according to a Wall Street Journal report, as well as 1.7 million barrels daily of diesel from other suppliers. This 400,000 bpd will need to be replaced come February 5. And it will fuel higher inflation.
“Europe’s going to pay whatever these producers ask, and it’s going to be very, very high,” Benedict George, head of diesel pricing at Argus Media, told the WSJ. “If something unexpected happens, the price will go very high, very quickly because no one has anything to fall back on.” (Full article.)
Why Europe continues to self-destruct due to U.S. policy that wants these sanctions and embargoes enforced against Russia, is beyond my comprehension. Social unrest has already begun across Europe, mostly not reported in the corporate media, and that will probably get far worse as energy prices increase.
Returning to my original question in the intro, as the people in Ukraine suffer with no electricity and no water, if a settlement is reached and the fighting stops, who will have “won” and accomplished their mission?
Wall Street will come out the big winners. Even if the fighting stops, the money will undoubtedly continue to flow to defense contractors to build up armaments in Europe against the “Russian threat.”
The Ukraine people are the worst losers, followed by the European people and industries that are failing due to high energy costs, as well as the American people who will continue to face high inflation and rising energy costs as well.
Russia may gain territories that are mainly populated by Russian people, but at a great cost, both financially and loss of lives.
The Wall Street Industrial war manufacturers are already sounding the alarm over China, and setting the stage for more military spending claiming that we are falling behind in the arms race with China and Russia.
‘The Big One Is Coming’: Top US Military Commander Warns American Capabilities “Sinking”
A top US military commander has warned that the power of America’s military deterrent is ‘fading’ – and that America might not be adequately prepared for a large-scale military engagement.
“This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,” Navy Admiral Charles Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said at a conference last week, according to the WSJ Editorial Board.
“The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested” for “a long time.”
According to Richard, things are getting worse.
“As I assess our level of deterrence against China, the ship is slowly sinking. It is sinking slowly, but it is sinking, as fundamentally they are putting capability in the field faster than we are,” he said, adding “as those curves keep going,” it won’t matter “how good our commanders are, or how good our horses are—we’re not going to have enough of them. And that is a very near-term problem.”
Meanwhile, America was caught flat-footed last year when China tested a hypersonic missile that flew around the world. This means that Beijing can put any US city or facility at risk – perhaps without even being detected.
“We used to know how to move fast, and we have lost the art of that,” said Richard, who says the military talks “about how we are going to mitigate our assumed eventual failure” to keep up when it comes to ballistic subs, bombers or long range weapons.
“What’s it going to take? Is it money? Is it people? Do you need authorities?” (Full article.)
The Pentagon wants Congress to give them unlimited funding to manufacture more weapons.
Pentagon Expects Congress to Provide Wartime Purchasing Power
Bill LaPlante, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer, said that he expects Congress to grant the authority to allow wartime purchasing power at a level not seen since the Cold War, Defense News reported on Monday.
To continue arming Ukraine, LaPlante has been calling for the Pentagon to be granted the authority to lock in multiyear contracts for weapons purchases, which are typically reserved for procuring naval vessels and warplanes. The idea is to get arms makers the incentive to ramp up production.
The Senate has added an amendment to its version of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act to grant the authority. It would allow the Pentagon to make multiyear purchases through 2023 and 2024 of certain arms made by Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, and Raytheon, the former employer of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The Senate is expected to vote on its version of the NDAA sometime this month, and it will then negotiate the final version of the spending bill with the House. LaPlante expects the wartime purchasing powers to make it into the finalized version that will reach President Biden’s desk.
“They are supportive of this. They’re going to give us multiyear authority, and they’re going to give us funding to really put into the industrial base ― and I’m talking billions of dollars into the industrial base ― to fund these production lines,” LaPlante said on Friday. (Full article.)
Honestly, I doubt that the Wall Street Billionaires care one bit about people in Ukraine, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and elsewhere, as long as they can produce the weapons used in any conflicts in these areas.
The poor people suffering in Ukraine today prove that.
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