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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
Number of posts: 5,973

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The Conservative Party and Putin's Russia: a story of total moral failure [Twitter video]

It's a 10-minute video, but worth the investment of time:
Led By Donkeys

The Conservative Party and Putin's Russia: a story of total moral failure

[Twitter video]

Just in case anyone imagines any new leaves are being turned over by our glorious party of government ...
BBC Politics

"Both Will Smith and me having our wives attacked - at least I didn't get up and slap anybody"

Chancellor Rishi Sunak tells @BBCLauraK he finds criticism aimed at his wife over shares she owns in a company operating in Russia "very upsetting"

#BBCNewscast https://bbc.in/35upXng

[Twitter video]

Somebody needs to tell Sunak he needn't compete so hard in the Utter Crassness Heats during the jostling for position of Johnson's successor. He likely has it in the bag given his inability to grasp mere commoners' household economics anyway.

If she likes Russia so much, why doesn't she go live there?

Sorry, I'm relishing throwing back a line that was regularly chucked at we Western peaceniks when we were trying to do something about impending nuclear armageddon back in the 1980s.

I may not tire of doing this any time soon.

PMQs: "... what first attracted the Prime Minister to the billionaire Russian oligarchs?"


Jon Jones

If you missed it, here's the video of the best PMQs question ever asked by @MattWestern_

Great work, Matt. 👍

[Twitter video with subtitles]

For our American friends, this is a riff on a legendary question the late great Caroline Aherne's character "Mrs Merton" asked UK celebrity magician Paul Daniels' wife Debbie McGee during Merton's spoof talk show.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on way home to UK. UPDATE: Now back in the UK

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman detained in Iran nearly six years ago, is on her way to the UK, her MP has said.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was at the airport in Tehran, Tulip Siddiq told BBC News.

She is in a holding room with fellow British-Iranian detainee Anoosheh Ashoori, she said.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in 2016 - accused of plotting to overthrow Iran's government, which she denied.


Latest reports from a number of sources are that her plane has now taken off safely.

No doubt Johnson and Truss will preen and gloat later when she finally lands, but nobody should forget that her captivity might have ended years ago had Johnson not opened his stupid gob at the wrong moment, and even then, her and her family's ordeal could have almost certainly been cut short if the government had settled its debt to Iran earlier.


Alex Tiffin

NEW - The moment you have all been waiting for!

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashouri reunited with their families.


[Twitter video]

It looks like the Ratcliffes' reunion took place behind the privacy screens, but here they are:

Intelligence Committee's brutal swipe at Boris Johnson for ignoring Russian cash fears

The Committee savaged the Prime Minister for ignoring their repeated calls to ensure the UK is 'no longer a safe haven for the oligarchy and their enablers'

The Committee sent the Prime Minister a copy of the Russia report along with a detailed classified annex more than two years ago highlighting the need to disrupt "illicit financial activity".


At the time, the committee said the Government was "slow to recognise the existence of the threat" of Russian meddling and influence.


"As the Intelligence and Security Committee made very clear in its 'Russia' report, the UK has been welcoming Russian money for many years with few questions - if any - being asked about the provenance of this considerable wealth.

"When we sent our report, together with a detailed classified annex, to the Prime Minister over two years ago, we highlighted then that there was an urgent need for the UK Government to disrupt this illicit financial activity, and questioned the efficacy of the measures which were in place.

"It is hoped now that this new legislation is at least the first step toward giving the authorities - and in particular the National Crime Agency which leads this effort - the necessary clout and greater powers to ensure the UK is no longer a safe haven for the oligarchy and their enablers."


It says the scheme allowed a route for dirty money to be "recycled" in "what has been referred to as the London 'laundromat'.

And it's not just money that was laundered.

It says the money was invested in building influence across the UK establishment - including "PR firms, charities, political interests, academia and cultural institutions" - all of whom were "willing beneficiaries of Russian money."


I can't be the only person who's incandescent every time I see Johnson on TV braying about how Russia and these horrible oligarchs have to be hemmed in, knowing that he's partied, accepted favours from, and been in league with a number of them for years, and quite likely still is, as goodness knows what kompromat they have on him.

Now the shit's hit the fan in spectacular fashion, he can't be allowed to wriggle out of this corrupt mess he's been party to for far too long.

He's already sold the country down the river and indirectly and directly consigned too many to misery and death. When will enough be enough?

UK ignored warnings over contractor behind Ukraine visa 'chaos'

TLSContact had ‘sole focus’ of making money while ‘human aspect’ was ‘not at all valued’, Home Office watchdog was told last year

Priti Patel ignored warnings that the Home Office contractor which told desperate Ukrainian refugees to wait weeks for visa appointments had the “sole focus” of making a profit and a history of squeezing cash out of applicants, openDemocracy can reveal.

It was claimed yesterday in Parliament that TLSContact’s visa centre in Rzeszow, Poland, had turned away applicants who had queued in freezing temperatures for hours, saying it had no slots available until the end of April. Reports on social media claimed the firm had been pressuring Ukrainians to pay for extra services beyond its basic free appointments.

The Labour MP Clive Efford slammed the situation as “complete chaos”.

Now it has emerged that the home secretary was told by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration in November 2021 that TLSContact was so hell-bent on making profit that its use posed a risk of “reputational damage” to the UK. The firm has been handed government contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds since 2014.

A lot more here: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/ukraine-visa-chaos-contractor-tlscontact-priti-patel/

Professor of Strategic Studies sums up how screwed Russia's assault seems to be

An analysis by Phillips P. OBrien, Professor of Strategic Studies, University St Andrews, Scotland, author of How the War was Won and Second Most Powerful Man in the World. Editor in Chief, War in History:

A tweet thread on why we are almost certainly overestimating the amount of strength the Russian Army has on hand, and the amount they can actually get to Ukraine when their first force losses get so high that it starts becoming combat ineffective. Yes, its logistics. @BoringWar

The Russian Army, like the Soviet Army before it, has manifested significant logistics problems for decades, and if anything the preliminary evidence is that the problem might be worse than expected. You can start with this report.

Soviet Logistics in the Afghanistan War

Basically Soviet logistics as shown in Afghanistan were too rigid, top heavy and wedded to doctrine. What it means is that when things went wrong, there was signficant problem adjusting. The way Soviet logistics was so road centric (and weak for that) is telling

Since the end of the Cold War, the Russians have undertaken nothing at all close to their deployment to attack Ukraine, which would be a challenge to any force. But is probably doubly for them as their logistical development also seems not to have progressed much.

Indeed the Russian Army now seems to have fallen prey to one of the great temptations of many militaries created by dictators--lots of flashy weapons but little consideration about how to deliver them (few trucks).

Indeed looking at this @WarOnTheRocks estimate, they Russians will struggle at 90 miles from working railheads. And they still suffer from the inflexibility mentioned by earlier reports at Afghanistan.

Feeding the Bear: A Closer Look at Russian Army Logistics and the Fait Accompli - War on the Rocks

Here is another article highlighting the significant truck problem faced by the Russians (and their reliance on civilians to keep going--which will be a real handicap in any protracted war in Ukraine).

The Russian Army Depends On Civilians to Keep It Supplied. This Could Be A Problem In Ukraine.

If anything, early indications in Ukraine are that the Soviet Logistics problems are worse than expected. There are the basic problems of tire maintenance that has doomed some of the most expensive equipment Russia possesses. See @TrentTelenko for a few great threads

There is indications that basic rations have not been kept up to scratch, with soldiers given food seven years out of date, and at the same time running out of food already and having to loot from Ukrainian civilian supplies.

Putin's troops given food 7 years out of date as low morale and military flaws hinder invasion

Clearly there is Ukrainian understanding of these weaknesses, which has led to their very effective and constant efforts to attack Russian convoys--and guess what they are doing. Destroying large numbers of precious Russian trucks.
And if Ukrainian claims are anywhere near the truth, they are destroying some of the most important--fuel trucks. As of today, the Ukrainians have claimed to destroy 60 Russian fuel carriers--which would be a significant blow. aa.com.tr/en/russia-ukra….

Ukraine claims over 10,000 Russian soldiers killed since war

One of the reasons the famous 40-mile convoy is such a disaster is that much of it is valuable trucks--which are probably out of fuel, with dead batteries, stuck in the mud and not salvageable. You can scan the convoy here.
Why does this all matter--it reveals that almost certainly that Russian combat strength started significantly below the stated levels, and is dropping fast as damaged but not destroyed equipment still in Russian hands cant be repaired and resupplied.

And all of this will get worse as Russia's weak link of trucks further wastes away. It is impossible to calculate how far below stated levels of strength Russian forces are because of these logistic difficulties. A very conservative guess would be around 25%

Iam getting that figure from my own calculations in How the War was Won on WWII logistics for the Luftwaffe. Regularly one quarter of Luftwaffe aircraft were out of commission because of basic logistical problems. As the war went on, it was much higher than 25%.

btw, logistic difficulties might also help explain the incredibly deficient performance of the Russian Air Force. Both seeming to have insufficient supplies of directed munitions (thus having to use large numbers of dumb bombs), which means they have to fly low and be shot down.

Also might explain how relatively few Russian planes overall they can maintain in operations. Much fewer in number than expected before the invasion started.
So, we give a very false idea of the realities of war when we talk about number of troops, AFVs, planes that the Russians deployed for the invasion. They started with fewer in combat conditions than we know, and it looks like Russian truck support is suffering hugely.

Logistics, as it always does, will play a significant role in determining this war, right now the signs are not good for Russia, but people are mostly ignoring it and talking, as always, about tanks and planes....

Retweeted this but probably should have put this here. This should terrify the Russians if it means what it could mean. They are already running out of trucks.
Ukrainian path to victory is clear. Go for every Russian truck they can see, particularly fuel trucks. Russian Army will freeze in its tracks.

Btw. Replacing military grade trucks with civilian ones is catastrophic on many levels. You have to stick to better roads, they are less robust and you can’t stock spare parts for all the different models

We might be about to witness a logistic collapse


Original Twitter thread here: https://twitter.com/PhillipsPOBrien/status/1500213943012319252
To add to OBrien's closing points, a cold snap is forecast for Ukraine in the next week. This will be bad news for the population deprived of power, but even worse for the Russians' continued assault, given how bogged down their vehicles already are outside the dryer south and the fact it looks like their reinforcements may largely be ordinary civilian vehicles of various types.

I LIKE this idea!


Duncan Jones

I think the US and EU may need to consider placing sanctions directly on those British government officials working to protect Russian oligarchs from UK sanctions.

Somebody help me here.

If various countries have been seizing Russian oligarchs' multi-million-pound yachts seemingly willy-nilly, then presumably arguing the legal tosses later, how the hell are there "legal problems" that have to be carefully negotiated before the UK government can seize oligarchs' London Moscow Road etc. mansions and other assets?


Chris Bryant
This is what the UK should be doing.

Italy seizes yachts and villas from Russian oligarchs, say state sources


Trent Telenko on that stalled Russian convoy's many problems again

I don't have time right now to do a tidier copy and paste of the Threadreader version, but here's the basic text:

Lady's and Gentlemen, boys & girls, it is time saddle up for another installment of the "Mud and Truck Maintenance in Ukraine" feed.

And this one will be a doozy, because we are talking about Russian truck refueling in the 64km column north of Kyiv. 🧵

1/ Image
I am going to expand on this earlier tweet on the satellite photo montage.

The Rasputitsa, bad tire maintenance, vehicle overcrowding, and lack of fuel have isolated most of this Russian Army column from its rear.

No matter what kind of fuel conservation techniques they engaged in. The 1st 17km or so of that 64 km Russian Army column is out of fuel.

They planned a 3-day operation which is in its 8th day.

And given the temperatures and radio use, those vehicles have dead batteries.
This is why that Russian 41st CAA general was killed.

He showed up at the head of the column to unscrew the logistical mess, screaming at people and waving his arms in the air in visual range of a Ukrainian Army Sniper.
As for why the Ukrainians haven't rolled up those Russian troops in a 'motti' yet. They were busy.

The Russian Hostomel airbase occupation force had to be annihilated to keep fuel from being airlifted in by helicopter.
The head of this 64km column ain't going anywhere. With or without fuel. The Russians can get neither fuel trucks nor wreckers there.

And this "drop dead effect" is proceeding along the column from south to north. The ONLY way that column will move at all is backwards first
This is assuming it moves at all before the Ukrainians destroy it.

The front and middle of the column showed up with food, fuel & ammo for 3-days, & we are 8-days into the war.

The column is packed so tight that you can only refuel about 100-200 meters of column at a time
via a--holes & elbow by jerry cans. Then carefully back out those refueled trucks in order to get to the next 100 meters with the refueling truck and jerry cans.

It would take a week a month from now, when the ground dries, to unf--k this mess.
The Russian Army will not be able to move trucks off road before then.

Nor in a lot of cases will the Russian Army tanks in that column be able to move off road.

The Russians have formed the world's longest POW camp. And the Ukrainians don't have to feed it.

There simply hasn't been anything like this in warfare since the Anglo-American Anzio beachhead in 1944.

11/ Image
The Russian troops in the 40-50 km of the traffic jam closest to Kyiv will run out of food before the jam can be cleared to them.

They'll have to abandon their vehicles and walk north just to get food.

The reason the Russian column got to be so long was due to Russian Army officers “fulfilling the plan”.

They might be shot by the chain of command for disobeying orders to advance into the traffic jam, but won’t be if they obey orders to fulfill the plan.

I'm not saying Ukraine will win or even that Ukraine can prevent Kyiv from being encircled.

I am saying the Russian Army troops in the first 50 kilometers of that 64 km column will have nothing to do with it.


The Ukrainians really do want to motti that column.

Click through for the full version: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1499894935209795594.html

The Twitter thread is here: https://twitter.com/TrentTelenko/status/1499894935209795594

How poor maintenance may be crippling Russian Army convoy advances in Ukraine

Ex-Defense Contract Management Agency quality auditor Trent Telenko explains what may be contributing to the Russian Army's failure to advance along some fronts:

Trent Telenko

This is a thread that will explain the implied poor Russian Army truck maintenance practices based on this photo of a Pantsir-S1 wheeled gun-missile system's right rear pair of tires below & the operational implications during the Ukrainian mud season.

For the sin of being the new guy, I was the DCMA quality auditor in charge of the US Army's FMTV "vehicle exercise program" at the contractor manufacturing them from the Mid-1990's to the mid-2000's Then we got more new guys.

Short form: Military trucks need to be...

...turned over and moved once a month for preventative maintenance reasons.

In particular you want to exercise the central tire air inflation system (CTIS) to see if lines have leaks or had insect/vermin nests blocking the system.

CTIS Controller & CTIS diagram👇👇

One of the biggest reasons for the repositioning, per TACOM logistic Representatives, was that direct sunlight ages truck tires.

The repositioning of Trucks in close parking prevents a lot of this sun rotting and cycling the CTIS keeps the tire sidewalls supple.

When you leave military truck tires in one place for months on end. The side walls get rotted/brittle such that using low tire pressure setting for any appreciable distance will cause the tires to fail catastrophically via rips.

See early video:
Now look at the same Pantsir-S1 tire sidewalls after the Ukrainians tried to tow or drive it out of the mud.

The right rear tire fell apart because the rips in it were too big for the CTIS to keep aired up.

No one exercised that vehicle for 1 year
There is a huge operational level implication in this. If the Russian Army was too corrupt to exercise a Pantsir-S1. They were too corrupt to exercise the trucks & wheeled AFV's now in Ukraine.

The Russians simply cannot risk them off road during the Rasputitsa/Mud season

And there is photographic evidence of this.

There are 60(+) Russian army trucks crowded & parked on this raised road bed to avoid the fate of the mud-bogged Pantsir-S1.

Given the demonstrated levels of corruption in truck maintenance. There is no way in h--l that there are enough tires in the Russian army logistical system.

So their wheeled AFV/truck park is as road bound as Russian Army columns were in the 1st Russo-Finnish War.

What that means is that as long as and where ever the Spring Rasputitsa is happening. The Russian Army attack front is three wheeled AFV's wide.

When the Ukrainians can block the road with ATGM destroyed vehicles. They can move down either side of the road like Fins in 1939

...destroying Russian truck columns.

The Crimea is a desert and the South Ukrainian coastal areas are dryer. So we are not seeing this there.

But elsewhere the Russians have a huge problem for the next 4-to-6 weeks.


The original Twitter thread is here: https://twitter.com/TrentTelenko/status/1499164245250002944
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