Ukraine–Day 15

The invasion and resistance rages on as the Ukrainians thwart ‘Vlad the Invader’s’ forces attempt to subjugate the nation of Ukraine.

But sadly I need to step back and deal with more family stuff today.

I will return tomorrow with more updates.

Hopefully I did not let anyone down…..thanx for your understanding.

Be Well……

The Mystery Of Those Polish Planes

About a week ago there was much buzz about Poland sending some of the Soviet era MiGs to Ukraine for their air defense against the forces of ‘Vlad the Invader’…..

Whatever happen to that idea?

The saga so far…..

Kamala Harris is in Warsaw Wednesday to thank Poland for receiving masses of Ukrainian refugees, reports the AP—and to mop up a late-developing diplomatic headache. The Polish government on Tuesday evening offered to hand over Soviet-era MiG-29 jets to the US, which would then give them to Ukraine. The Pentagon replied by calling the plan “not … tenable,” and it turns out Poland didn’t float the idea with the Biden administration before going public with it. The exchange was quickly branded as “a rare sign of disunity among NATO allies.” Context and analysis:

  • The Boston Globe explains that Vladimir Putin has made clear that if planes used by Ukrainians use a neighboring country’s base, it will view that country as being involved in the conflict. Should that country be a NATO member and should Russia retaliate with force, Article V of the NATO treaty would kick in. “It stipulates that an attack on one allied country is an attack on all of them.”
  • At the Guardian, Patrick Wintour writes the issue comes down to a subtle but crucial shift. The original idea the US put forth would have seen Poland supply Ukrainian pilots with its MiGs; the US would supply fighter jets to Poland to occupy the resulting gaps. With its Tuesday suggestion, Poland tweaked things so that it would have the appearance of a “US, NATO, or EU scheme but not a Polish one … [as] Poland felt the plan unduly exposed its citizens to Putin’s ire.”
  • As for why these planes, the AP provides some background: Soviet-made MiG-29 and Su jet fighters like those used by former Soviet-bloc NATO members Poland, Bulgaria, and Slovakia are what the Ukrainian air force uses; its pilots aren’t trained to fly US-made fighter jets. Polish pilots can fly those and sees the possibility of the US replacing whatever it directs toward Ukraine.
  • But that still leaves open the question of where the MiG-29s would be based (“it isn’t clear if Ukraine would be able to safely house and service them in the long run, given the warfare on its territory,” per the AP) and how to get them there. Polish pilots are NATO pilots, so flying them in would be a risky proposition. Poland’s Tuesday night offer would have seen the jets flown to the US air base in Ramstein, Germany.
  • Wintour’s take: “Russia retains air superiority. Ukrainian pilots who were being trained in Poland to fly the planes are now grounded with no machines with which to defend their country. An opportunity has been squandered.”
  • At the Telegraph, Nick Allen writes that Harris won’t just be tasked with smoothing things over, but also with working to find another method of getting planes into Ukrainian hands. He points out that Ukraine’s defense attache in Washington, Maj. Gen. Borys Kremenetskyi, reiterated that his No. 1 priority is strengthening his nation’s air defense: “It can be ground-based air-defense systems. It can be fighter jets. Whatever possible.”
  • CNN reports that prior to Harris’ morning departure, “intensive conversations” took place within the administration about how to coordinate with Poland in a way that would end up with Ukraine getting jets

Why is this such a sticking point, you may ask…well I can offer a small amount of help….

The Pentagon said Wednesday that the US does not support sending Polish warplanes to Ukraine since the move is too “high risk” and would not significantly improve Ukraine’s ability to fight Russia.

“We assess that adding aircraft to the Ukrainian inventory is not likely to significantly change the effectiveness of the Ukrainian air force relative to Russian capabilities. Therefore, we believe that the gain from transferring those MiG-29s is low,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

“The intelligence community has assessed the transfer of MiG-29s to Ukraine may be mistaken as escalatory, and could result in significant Russian reaction that might increase the prospects of a military escalation with NATO. Therefore, we also assess the transfer of the MiG-29s to Ukraine to be high-risk,” he said.

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Poland had the “green light” to send MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine despite the obvious risk of escalation with Russia. Poland responded by offering to send the aircraft to a US base in Germany, giving Washington the option to send the planes to Ukraine.

(antiwar.com)

Confused?

Join the club.  I have studied conflict for years and none of them make much sense because of treaties, agreements and BS….Ukraine is proving no different….just the most recent.

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I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Insurrection Update #25

A quick break from one conflict in Ukraine to an internal conflict here in the US…..

My series on the failed coup has hit some slow times but there are major news stories being generated around 06 January and the insurrection that was attempted….

The ex-president is being shown to have an active part in the violence of that day….

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol says it has evidence that then-President Donald Trump and his campaign “engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States” and illegally attempted to obstruct the counting of electoral votes and certification of the 2020 election results in Congress. The committee made the allegations in a court filing Wednesday that is part of its attempt to persuade a judge to give the committee access to lawyer John Eastman’s emails, CNN reports. Eastman, a right-wing lawyer who was on the campaign team and allegedly involved in the Jan. 6 planning, has been claiming attorney-client privilege and sued to block the release of the emails, Politico reports.

In what is being called a “major” release of its findings and, per the Hill, the “most serious” accusations leveled against Trump so far, the panel submitted excerpts of almost a dozen depositions and laid out Eastman’s alleged efforts to plan a legal strategy justifying then-VP Mike Pence’s overturning of the election results, and his alleged continued pushing of Pence to do so even after the mob of rioters stormed the Capitol. Accused by Pence’s counsel of being to blame for the “siege,” Eastman responded, “The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so the American people can see for themselves what happened.” The committee says Eastman knew he was asking Pence to violate the law, but carried on anyway.

Appears that one insurrectionist took the easy way out…..

A 37-year-old man awaiting sentencing for his role in the Capitol riot has died by suicide—and his family blames “the constant delays in hearings.” Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, resident Matt Perna was due to be sentenced April 1, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. In an obituary, his family said postponements had dragged the case out for more than a year. “Because of this, Matt’s heart broke and his spirit died, and many people are responsible for the pain he endured,” they said, among them “his community (which he loved), his country, and the justice system.” Perna was out on bail and the Mercer County Coroner’s office confirmed Tuesday that he died by suicide at his residence on Friday.

According to the Department of Justice, Perna was arrested on Jan. 19, 2021 and pleaded guilty to all four counts against him—including a felony count obstruction of an official proceeding—as part of a plea agreement on Dec. 17 last year. Prosecutors said Perna spent around 20 minutes inside the Capitol building during the Jan. 6 riot and posted a video on Facebook later that day, NBC reports. “It’s not over, trust me,” he said. “The purpose of today was to expose Pence as a traitor.” A person who knew Perna contacted the FBI after the agency shared his photo and asked for the public’s help.

In Perna’s obituary, his family said he went to Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 rally to “peacefully stand up for his beliefs.” “Matt’s family stood by him during this devastating ordeal, and are extremely proud of his passion for life and his pursuit of many dreams,” they wrote. “His actions last year are not looked down upon, instead his family is grateful and humbled by his courage.” They said Perna was “ushered in by police” and did not “break, touch, or steal” anything inside the building. A sentencing memo had not been filed in his case, but others who have pleaded guilty to the same felony obstruction count faced recommended sentences of more than two years, WUSA9 reports.

Apparently this is one criminal that will not “take a bullet for freedom”

Proud Boys leader is indicted on conspiracy charges…..

A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted the leader of the right-wing Proud Boys on a conspiracy charge stemming from the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, the Justice Department announced.

Enrique Tarrio, 38, was arrested in Miami on a charge of conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, a felony that federal prosecutors have brought against hundreds of Capitol riot defendants and carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison.

Tarrio is being charged alongside five co-defendants affiliated with the Proud Boys who were all indicted early last year and have since pleaded not guilt to an effort to “stop delay and hinder the certification of the electoral college vote.”

https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/597325-proud-boys-leader-indicted-on-conspiracy-charge-over-jan-6

Finally!  A major conviction of a moronic insurrectionist…..Guilty of ALL charges…..

Guy Wesley Reffitt was found guilty Tuesday of all five counts against him related to the Capitol riot, reports NBC News. In the first federal trial stemming from the Jan. 6 violence, Reffitt was convicted of storming the Capitol with a holstered gun, among other things. He faces serious jail time when sentenced, and the AP sees the guilty verdict as a potential “bellwether” for future riot cases.

  • The charges: He is charged with five counts, including obstruction of Congress, a charge originally meant to criminalize activities like tampering with documents or witnesses—defense lawyers tried to have it dismissed, arguing it was being taken too far, but judges are allowing a jury to decide, for the first time, whether it can apply to cases like this, the New York Times reports. That charge, the most serious, carries a sentence of up to 20 years, WUSA 9 reports. He is charged with four other felonies: two different civil disorder counts, being on restricted ground with a firearm, and obstruction of justice.
  • His kids are key witnesses: Two of the 49-year-old’s children will testify to the fact that he issued death threats should they turn him in, per WUSA 9. The obstruction of justice charge involves threats of physical force, which the 19- and 17-year-old kids will speak about, the station says, adding that recordings they made of him will be introduced as evidence. The 19-year-old is reportedly estranged from his family now.
  • Militia group: Another key witness will be an alleged fellow member of the Three Percenter militia group who authorities say traveled to DC from Texas with Reffitt; the witness was offered immunity in exchange for his testimony.
  • Setting the tone: As the Times explains in its look at the case, this trial will likely “set the tone” for dozens more that are scheduled to happen this year. “For the first time in a courtroom, [prosecutors] will present a broad portrait of the violent chaos that erupted that day and seek to persuade a jury that the pro-Trump mob that Mr. Reffitt is accused of joining struck at the heart of American democracy by disrupting the transition of presidential power.”
  • How long will this take? Jury selection is Monday, with opening arguments and testimony likely starting by Tuesday afternoon. The trial could last a week or longer, depending how long jury deliberations take.
  • Juror bias? Defense lawyers have argued that DC jurors will be biased against Jan. 6 defendants, and as such, judges will be closely watching for signs of bias, the Washington Post reports. “Reffitt’s prospective jurors Monday will be the subjects of a kind of trial-within-a-trial, scrutinized by both parties and the wider public, with potential ramifications for Capitol breach defendants to come.”
  • Jailhouse letter: Last week, Reffitt penned a defiant letter saying he’s ready to “receive the bullet of freedom,” WUSA 9 reports.

About damn time!

Time for these people to face the music that created….all should be put on the ‘no-fly list’…..there should be stiff penalties for their actions….I feel some are getting off too light for the participation.

We have a good news/bad news thing going on with hate groups….

As far as raw counts go, they’re down: In its annual report released Wednesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) said it recorded nearly 300 fewer hate groups in 2021 as compared to the year prior, logging 733, and about 80 fewer anti-government groups, logging 488 of those. But the Hill reports the SPLC made clear that a lower number doesn’t necessarily mean that what these groups espouse is on the wane. “Rather than demonstrating a decline in the power of the far right, the dropping numbers of organized hate and antigovernment groups suggest that the extremist ideas that mobilize them now operate more openly in the political mainstream,” reads the SPLC report.

Indeed, the report notes that most of those arrested over their alleged role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack had no formal ties to right-wing groups. The SPLC report sees a pattern, noting that “the growth of a mainstream reactionary right-wing movement in 2021 is inextricably linked to the powerful racial justice movement that mobilized Americans in 2020.” It highlights similar parallels in US history: the formation of the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction, and the “massive resistance” to school desegregation the US witnessed during the civil rights era.

Like I said….good news/bad news…..

There will be more updates as long as there are trials for their part in the 06 January failed coup.

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“lego ergo scribo”