When you read some so-called bombshell report dishing the dirt on some Top Secret U.S. operation in the New York Times or the Washington Post, you need to understand that this was not the result of some intrepid, eager beaver reporter who took the initiative and came up with a nifty idea for a story. Such stories are based on official or sanctioned leaks and always have an ulterior motive. This is not so much about informing an ignorant public about reality, rather it is either propaganda or signalling a shift in U.S. policy.
The New York Times published such a piece today under the title, Commando Network Coordinates Flow of Weapons in Ukraine, Officials Say. Ooohhh! Commando Networks. Sounds sexy and sinister:
As Russian troops press ahead with a grinding campaign to seize eastern Ukraine, the nation’s ability to resist the onslaught depends more than ever on help from the United States and its allies — including a stealthy network of commandos and spies rushing to provide weapons, intelligence and training, according to U.S. and European officials.
Much of this work happens outside Ukraine, at bases in Germany, France and Britain, for example. But even as the Biden administration has declared it will not deploy American troops to Ukraine, some C.I.A. personnel have continued to operate in the country secretly, mostly in the capital, Kyiv, directing much of the vast amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces, according to current and former officials.
At the same time, a few dozen commandos from other NATO countries, including Britain, France, Canada and Lithuania, also have been working inside Ukraine. The United States withdrew its own 150 military instructors before the war began in February, but commandos from these allies either remained or have gone in and out of the country since then, training and advising Ukrainian troops and providing an on-the-ground conduit for weapons and other aid, three U.S. officials said.
I want to ensure you understand the first key “talking point”–the C.I.A. is still in Ukraine and working with both Ukrainian military and intelligence services “directing vast amounts of intelligence.” This totally destroys any claim that the United States Intelligence Community does not know what is the true status and operational capability of the Ukrainian Army. You see, if you are passing intel to the Ukrainians you are also in a position to glean what they are capable of doing with such information.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say that the CIA bubba in Kiev gets word that Russians are massing 5 Battlion Tactical Groups northeast of Mariupol. Mr. CIA gives that intel, with precise geographic coordinates to his Ukrainian counterpart. One would expect the Ukrainians to launch some sort of attack with fixed wing aircraft or missiles or artillery or armored units on that Russian force. In the real case of Mariupol, Ukraine failed to stop the Russian offensive and the city was captured, along with 2500 members of Ukraine’s AZOV Battalion.
At that point, Mr. CIA bubba has to report back to headquarters in McLean, Virginia why Ukraine failed to act on the intelligence. Was it because the intel was wrong? Was it because Ukraine ignored the intel? Or was it because Ukraine had no operational resources capable of acting on that intel? Regardless of the answer, the information flowing back to CIA Headquarters is supposed to give the analysts some evidence for drawing conclusions about the failure to act on that intelligence.
The next critical talking point in the NY Times piece concerns the news that U.S. special forces and special operations forces supposedly are not operating in Ukraine. We have left that dirty, dangerous work to commandos from Britain, France, Canada and Lithuania.
But all of this is window dressing to distract from the real news in the NY Times piece. It is in the last five paragraphs of the article:
The Ukrainian military’s most acute training problem right now is that it is losing its most battle-hardened and well-trained forces, according to former American officials who have worked with the Ukrainians.
The former Trump administration official said Special Operations Command had small groups of American operators working in the field with Ukrainian officials before the war. The American teams were sometimes called Jedburgh, a reference to a World War II effort to train partisans behind enemy lines, the official said.
The modern special operations teams mainly focused on training in small-unit tactics but also worked on communications, battlefield medicine, reconnaissance and other skills requested by Ukrainian forces. Those efforts, the official said, ended before the Russian invasion but would have been helpful if they had continued during the war.
Having American trainers on the ground now might not be worth the risks, other former officials said, especially if it prompted an escalation by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
“Would the enhancement of the training be worth the possible price that is going to have to be paid?” Mr. Wise said. “An answer is probably not.”
Got that? The most acute problem is that the best Ukrainian troops are dead, wounded or captured. There are no first rate troops left to train. Oh my. That is a problem and the United States is not going to put any of our troops into harms way. That is, for now, the Biden Administration’s policy. Putting “modern special operations teams” on the ground to train Ukrainians is, per the NY Times piece, too great a risk and carries a price that is not worth the outcome.
Eric Newhill says
Yes, a very revealing article. Thanks for pointing it out, Larry. The CIA has known the real situation on the ground for a while, even back when the media and politicians were pissing away 10s of $billions and lying to us.
Certain mutual former friends/affiliates on another site have been saying that the US is conducting ongoing training of Ukrainian troops on US/NATO weapons systems, in Poland, and the pipeline back to UKR is long and wide. I have been skeptical because UKR losses, confirmed by UKR itself, seem to me to have been greater than conceivable replacement volumes. Anyhow, this article, basically a leak as you point out, puts that pro-UKR propaganda to rest.
One doesn’t see too much mention of UKR in the news anymore and what little one does see isn’t rosy for UKR.
Larry Johnson says
Right Eric. Reading the tea leaves is not too tough if you know what to look for. Noise and the absence of noise tell different stories.
So after instigating this whole thing, egging on the Ukies, paying off Zelensky to keep the war going, the US decides that it is not worth the risk to follow through.
Interesting message to other would-be “allies” of the US.
So basically it is “We will pick the fight for you then bail once it goes wrong so as not to look bad and leave you holding the bag.”
I agree and would add that this is has been the pattern of US / western military intervention since Korea.
Use and sometimes even create the conflict for some macro geo political objective; pay off and subvert local elites so that they forget their own country’s national interest; then bail when things get tough enough that there is political blowback at home.
The only questions are how long until we exit, how many local lives are lost (always a multiple of US / western) and how wrecked the country concerned gets. Plus of course the precise narrative that gets spun to justify the whole thing as the defence of freedom and the rules based order.
domino theory if south vietnam puppet govt fall the whole south east asia will be red , turned out another nonsense propaganda from US as usual
Just ask the Kurds etc in follow through. Only winners are publicly embraced. Not failing Nazis and a few patriots left to rot.
Expect narrative on Zekensky to change from hero to stubborn and traumatized ignoring wise advice to give land for peace. No more Oscar invites for him.
kurdish situation is very complicated , there is no single monolithic ‘kurd’ as these spread among multiple region of different nation and they are not all in favor of the greater kurdistan nonsense peddled by israeli and pro israeli neocons. The blowback and resistance among regional nations are far too strong and it is impossible for US supported kurds to survive if the US pulled out from the region.
Now ukraine is more straight forward , from russia’s side it is clear their intention to demilitarize and denazify ukraine from the beginning , that means a change of govt in ukraine and the outlawing of all nazi insignia which means a massiv e refugee flow of nazis into poland and baltics which means a group of messed up fanatical people making problem to the host govt of poland and baltics
Eol Awki says
I believe the USA is simply preparing the ground for the time Ukraine collapses and is out for the count. But they are not about to leave the scene by any means. They really do want Zelensky to fight to the last Ukrainian so they will offer as much support as necessary to that end and stretch the war out as far as humanly possible, inflicting as much damage as possible on Russia.
i dont see much hope for zelensky and his close friends staying in ukraine, after all they all british citizen and will be afforded stay in UK after ukraine collapses
Gerald Celente doesn’t call the NY Times “The toilet paper of record” for nothing. Now the G7 imbeciles are doing their best to see that a lot more Ukrainian troops become dead, wounded or captured. Just sickening.
Just words. G7 can barely flush their own toilets, populations turning against them. All their aid is conditional with no fixed dates
It’s nonsense. They are cutting aid off but don’t want to say it
Ukraine rump is hot potato UK an US are trying to push financially on to stupid EU.
so the 2 stars on langley were from this ukraine covert operation i presume ?
i wonder if these from CIA special action division full of ex special force types or there are SOCOM operatives under ukraine flag playing cowboys and indians with the russians..
i guess russia will take reciprocate action in other theatre of war , maybe a shotdown of US blackbag helicopters shipping their beloved ISIS foot soldiers around the world.
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) disclosed on Monday that two of its officers have died in the line of duty, but the circumstances surrounding their deaths remain classified, indicating that they worked undercover.
The deaths were disclosed as part of the agency’s annual memorial ceremony, which took place on Monday before the Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The wall is emblazoned with stars to honor fallen officers
During the ceremony, CIA added two new stars to the Memorial Wall, commemorating exceptional officers whose legacies will live on and whose service must remain known to only a select few,” the agency said in a statement.
CIA Director William Burns attended the ceremony and presented the families of the most recently fallen officers with marble replicas of their loved ones’ stars.
It seems the truth of the situation is now going mainstream This is from Sky News and while presented with an up-beat tone, it nevertheless confirms things are looking grim for Ukrainian forces..
I hadn’t read your previous post which referred to this item, so please be kind enough to delete my comment.
I’m interested in getting numbers from the Severodonetsk and Lysychansk cauldron. First it was 20.000 troops, 15.000, now we are at 4500. How many did got trapped? Incapacitated and surrendered? It is helpfull to know how much the real losses are, because they always exaggerate.
Also ther’re explotions at ammunitions depots on Russian side. Might this have something to do with HIMARS? 80km is deep behind the frontline and they have pin point accuracy.
I think it’s time to strike harder as Ukraine now also uses terrorist tactics. Only when they’re death or surrender it will end. NATO will keep supplying an endless amount of weapons, more and better making it harder for Russia which means more Russian losses. If you have foreign fighter use them as leverage, and use them in return for weapon supplies. Lets see how the public thinks if the blood is on their hands.
there is no “endless” supply of weapons from NATO
this is reality not videogame
M Droy says
” rather it is either propaganda or signalling a shift in U.S. policy.”
Or just American dead to be announced soon.
We can censor all reference to the official Russian announcements that many mercenaries and advisers were killed in the 3 big Caliber missile attacks on training centers.
But we can’t stop all the families from speaking out.
What’s also noteworthy in the last 5 paras that LJ calls out is the use of the past tense:
“the US *had*…”, “Those efforts, the official said, *ended* before the Russian invasion..”
Well, maybe they did and maybe they didn’t end. Maybe “had” should be “has”.
The professionals – overt/covert/quiet/QPs – know the game. The NYT’s use of the past tense is not for them, it’s for the “ordinary” reader. // It’s *always* about creating, shaping, and controlling the narrative.
D.E. Murray says
But two weeks ago the headline ran:
“U.S. Lacks a Clear Picture of Ukraine’s War Strategy, Officials Say”
Now we’ve got intel on the ground….
Somebody clear this up, please!
Chris Chuba says
The other thing to note, most of our efforts were to support a post-occupation resistance. Surprise: that doesn’t help in the conventional war that we are having now. The type of organization for resistance cells is totally different than for a standing army.
I could be wrong, but I never believed that Russia wanted to swallow all of Ukraine.
Putin has made many speeches about how you cannot force people to choose a govt they do not want.
So the two stars that went up on the wall at the CIA just after Maripol fell were the only ones still in country?
the stars are confirmed dead CIA field agents , afaik the missing or captured agents wont get a star unless it is confirmed dead
James Owen says
“Or was it because Ukraine had no operational resources capable of acting on that intel?”
This is likely 100% the case. Having good intelligence, and being able to take advantage of it, are two different things.
Ritter is wrong then. They are not pulling out their most experienced intelligent soldiers and sending them to train on the latest m777s. He was arguing with you on some channel I thought what he is saying doesn’t jive with the photographs coming across SlavaZ Rybar Zsu Hunter and other telegram channels. Those pictures of captured troops you can only feel sorry for: shoe laces missing skinny teenagers in undershirts older middle aged men. Most groups say they have lost 2/3. Ritter is intelligent but a typical bipolar — his expansive logic depends on things that are often hot air.
I didn’t see much difference between Ritter’s stance and Larry’s stance on said interview. He just stated the obvious: by supplying training and weapons, the conflict can be prolonged and made more onerous for Russia. He also stated that this will result in a less favorable outcome for Ukraine.
And once conventional warfare is over, the West will probably support unconventional warfare as noted here
Of course none of this benefits the average Ukrainian. It only guarantees that misery and bloodshed continues. And in the West it is all sold with the language and conditioning drummed into our heads about WW2.
– It’s a struggle of good vs evil,
– you can’t negotiate with evil like Chamberlain did
– Putin is Hitler.
The left has this latent anger which you see also a lot in male school teachers pediatricians and psychology workers –it comes from they have to like every PC person a lot of these people are not very likeable so they lie to themselves — this is costly and it comes back out in anger. School teachers cannot discipline or get mad a obnoxious behavior ditto inpatient mental hospitals or pediatricians. The anger is activated like a lightening rod to people who ignore PC rules — (Trump).
This is my theory on Trump disorder syndrome.
I dont think it is the left per say, I think the neocons control both sides. Victory Nuland has no problem transforming fromDick Cheney’ staff to Obama’s assistant Secretary of State. Give a politician a few $s and they’ll sell us down the river.
Of course on could argue that the Neocons are leftist. They certainly are on board with mass immigration and multiculturalism.
Neocons are the most intractable Putin haters that is certainly true. No they are not leftists. The leftists are really a bit less ardent in this Ukraine support thing. I should be careful writing these. Neocons are convinced Putin is Hitler and a tough stance is the best response. They may even right but I just don’t like the West any more. I want the old multipolar nation states back. I like different looking currencies and stamps. I admit my flaws. I liked the US of 1950. I don’t like the one we have today. I dislike PC stuff I dislike the feminization of every thing. I am an unrepentant toxic white male.
i totaly agree with some of yor points..in deed US of 1950 was at that time in charge of over 80 % of wolrd industriy and GDP 50 % or such thing, agree with the feminization but i totaly disagree with that afirmation that putin is Hitler..ok u did not say it direclty but this is how i see it…i cant see him, like this and my country had a lot to suffer from Soviet Union but today Russia is not Soviet Union and Putin is not a bad person….he want the best5 for his cpuntry if that mean to be Hitler then i supuse that he is…but……all the rest i m at 100 % with your opinion
This is the last one. I see the possibility of the nationalists flipping to pro russian. This won’t be done overtly. What will come out of that is a Belarus like Ukraine with little opposition. There will be a few angry ones but blood is thicker than water and these 2 cultures are not that different.
Out of their interchange I got that they differed on how many of these retrainable soldiers there are. This labeling of Putin as an absolute evil is a tendency of the left to have lots of latent anger and people their world with black and white evil bad characters. Russia’s only choice right now is to win and see if more pliable nuanced parties come into power.
Bert Huber says
USA are defending Ukraine … to the last ukrainian