The backroom conversations and classified files of Foreign Ministries and Departments of State must be a wonderland of speculations and conditionals, of grand schemes and short-term crises. But, judging by the utterances of two former Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Poland’s Ministry is up there with the best of them.
[H]e negotiated and signed the Poland-Russia regional visa-free regime, Poland-U.S. missile defense agreement, and—together with foreign ministers of Germany and France—the accord between the pro-EU opposition and Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2013.
Unfortunately, the latter accord was rendered meaningless by the Maidan coup of 2014. Before this small hiccup, Foreign Policy had ranked him in its top 100 “global thinkers” for “telling the truth even when it’s not diplomatic.” High praise indeed, and Mr Sikorski continues to live up to it. When the Nord Stream pipelines were sabotaged, and in disregard of the official narrative that “the Russians did it,” Mr Sikorski told the inconvenient truth by tweeting a photo of the gas bubbling up in the Baltic, with the caption, “Thank you, USA.” Only a week ago, Sikorski was asked during a radio interview, whether he thought that “ the government of PiS [Poland’s ruling ‘Law and Justice’ party] at some point thought about partition” of Ukraine. He responded, “I think there was a moment of hesitation in the first ten days of the war, when we all did not know how it would go, and perhaps Ukraine would collapse.” It was but a moment though, which was how long it took for the Polish Prime Minister to condemn his comments as “no different from Russian propaganda.”
You will remember THE Chinese Spy Balloon. The big white one with the dangly bits. It was a remarkably capable balloon, as you would expect from a spy balloon.
One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the balloon was able to linger in the winds over specific areas. “We saw it do that. It loitered over certain sites. It went left, right. We saw it maneuver inside the jet stream. That’s how it was operating,” the official said, adding that the craft had propellers and rudders.
[I]mages of the latest balloon [were] captured by photographers on the ground with telephoto zoom lenses…Such long-distance visual evidence contrasted with remarks by John Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman. “It had propellers,” Kirby says. “It had a rudder, if you will, to allow it to change direction.” Civilian photos provided no signs of a rudder aboard the balloon, and it is not clear how such a control surface would help steer a spherical, slow-speed object. Kirby also may have been speaking metaphorically about a rudder.
A metaphorical rudder would certainly be a ground-breaker for balloon technology, but no more so than metaphorical propellors. The same article informs us that “a pattern has developed of Chinese spy flights by slow-moving high-altitude balloons, which had gone apparently undetected by U.S. surveillance systems.”
“I will tell you that we did not detect those threats, and that’s a domain awareness gap that we have to figure out,” [General Glen] VanHerck [head of North American Aerospace Defense Command] says.
You know, Glen, this domain awareness gap is not a good look, especially as Karine and the “intelligence community” were already on top of this.
[T]he intelligence community kept track of China’s spying balloon campaign in other parts of the world. Congress was briefed about the program in August, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre says. “There has been a program that has been in effect,” Jean-Pierre adds. “We have kept Congress abreast on that. But I don’t have anything more to say or to share.”
Fair enough. It is a secret, after all. Especially from North American Aerospace Defense Command. But Glen’s boys, of whom he is incredibly proud, did splash the balloon. Sighs of relief all round. But it wasn’t over yet. On Friday the 10th, another object was spotted over Alaska.
“It was difficult for the pilots to glean a whole lot of information,” [John Kirby] said, adding, “There was a limit to how much they could divine”… Fighter aircraft first saw it late Thursday night, it was a small object, and they were flying at high speed…
This one was only the size of a small car, and was at mere 40,000 feet. A U.S. official described it as “cylindrical and silver-ish grey.” Cylindrical? Was there, somewhere along the chain of misinformation, a stenographer who did not know the difference between spherical and cylindrical? Divination’s not what it’s cracked up to be. Ask King Saul. In the event, to an anxious public’s great relief, it was shot down near Deadhorse, Alaska. I kid you not.
On the left, we see the location of this wonderfully-named, but unincorporated, township. On the right is an image from SondeHub, a site that tracks radiosonde launches and returns worldwide. The black circles are regular launch sites. Note the one right at the tippy-top of Alaska. That’s the airport at a place called Barrow. Launches occur every six hours, starting at midnight UTC.
Here’s a weather balloon being launched in Phoenix. Attached to he balloon is the radiosonde transmitter which measures and reports, at least, pressure, temperature and humidity. There’s usually a parachute inside the balloon. It ascends gradually to about 28km, expanding as pressure decreases, until the balloon bursts. By then it will be 5m or more in diameter, depending on the balloon. The sonde then comes to earth under the parachute. Somewhere in this ascent, say at around 40,000 feet, it will be, maybe, the size of a small car.
Having ensured the Warhol fame of Deadhorse, Alaska, did the U.S. administration take the providential hint? Was that ever a remote possibility?
#metoo said Justin, the Wonder Boy, the very next day, Saturday, and another “cylindrical” object bit the dust in the Yukon. US and Canadian citizens had barely had a chance to sleep off the tranquillisers when another UFO appeared over Lake Huron, as if mocking both countries. F-16s, a refuelling tanker, and a AWACS aircraft were despatched. The UFOs were unsportingly varying their approach, and the F-16 pilots had trouble working out what this one looked like.
Out of their identification struggles there finally popped an octagonal object. The second missile fired at “The Octagon” brought it down. I’m impressed that the AIM-9X Sidewinder was able to bring any of the latter three – let’s just call them balloons – down.
On Sunday, when the shooting had died down, Gen. Glen was press-ganged again. As the N.Y. Post reported ,
Asked whether he had ruled out an extraterrestrial origin for three floating objects shot down by warplanes in as many days, Gen. Glen VanHerck said: “I’ll let the intel community and the counterintelligence community figure that out…I haven’t ruled out anything”.
It was a click-bait bonanza. It was also a fine example of how a mendacious officialdom and an equally mendacious media need only the slightest provocation to set up a feedback loop of mutual incitement. However, there have been some glimmers of sanity. A former Secretary of Defense for President Trump, Mark Esper, said, “My hunch is that these are weather balloons or scientific experiments put aloft by another country, a company or some none profit.” The Pentagon issued a memo on the Yukon raider. The “cylindrical” object was a “small, metallic balloon” with tethered payload below. Metallic, as in those shiny helium-filled St Valentine’s hearts, one presumes.
Somewhat less reassuring was the report of “a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity” that the Chinese Spy Balloon “originally had a trajectory that would have taken it over Guam and Hawaii but was blown off course by prevailing winds…” Can this be the same balloon that “loitered over certain sites…[that] went left, right. …[that] maneuver[ed] inside the jet stream”? None other. This was clearly a failure of the metaphorical rudder, or the metaphorical propellor, or both. Or maybe this breakthrough in surveillance technology, with its unparalleled advantages over passé satellites, can’t tell Guam from the Aleutians.
This US Administration is in charge of what is still the most powerful military in the world, is far and away the most expensive, and has a huge nuclear arsenal. Try not to dwell on that.
Not quite a Chinese Spy Balloon (hereafter CSB), but a very good illustration of the principles involved in this kind of spying.
It’s a product of the Google Loon project, development of which commenced in 2011 as a cheap alternative to satellites to provide worldwide internet connectivity by using balloons. (I’ll refer to the balloons as “Loons.”) This is a longer video about Loon, but the principle of navigating balloons is explained from 3:57 through to 4:59. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to stop automatically.) It uses a ballonet, a ballon within a balloon. Air is pumped into or evacuated from the ballonet, changing the buoyancy of the system, and giving it the capability to rise or fall. The Wikipedia entry gives an altitude range of 18km to 25km, or from about 60,000ft to 80,000ft. Because of the often extreme variation of wind speed and direction at different altitudes, the direction and speed of drift can be controlled to some extent.
This site displays global wind pattern animations for various altitudes. From the menu, you may change the height, given in hPa, from the surface (about 1013hPa) up to 10hPa, corresponding to about 25km. 500hPa is about 5km. It’s very pretty. Pressure at 65,000 feet is about 57hPa, so there is no exact correspondence in the animation to the purported 65,000ft altitude of the CSB.
Loons have no means of propulsion; they drift with whatever winds they encounter at their altitude. This is unlike a dirigible or airship, which has propellor propulsion, and an elongated shape to minimise cross-section in the direction of travel. The Loon is a spheroid, wider than it is high, at full expansion. In this it differs from a normal weather balloon, or indeed a CSB. The Chinese, in the Global Times, have unhelpfully referred to the balloon as an “airship,” a designation for which the images give no support. None of the images I have seen show anything but a sphere with a dependent array of solar panels and, no doubt, antennae. This balloon probably contains a ballonet, because the same article refers to the object’s “limited self-steering capability.” The U.S. Defense Department is not persuaded.
But a U.S. defense official rejected such claims, telling The Post that it lingered near sensitive sites including Malmstrom Air Force Base, which has a nuclear missile silo field. The Washington Post
The offical did not attempt to explain the means by which this mal-lingering was achieved.
This whole episode has been an exercise in more-or-less calculated media and political insanity. The scariest possibility out of this lunacy is that there were senior Pentagon officers who actually believed that this was a “Chinese spy balloon.” That possibility is very remote, but the alternative is terrifying in another way; men who knew the reality were complicit in whipping up anti-China hysteria. This in the context of senior commanders having recently set the date for war with China as soon as 2025.
Now a second CSB has been spotted passing over Latin America—searching for lost U.S. nuclear missile silo fields, no doubt. Lingering somewhere in this madhouse, and encouraging this inflammatory circus, there may be those who seek to turn attention away from the war in Donbas, because they see that war as a distraction from, and the run-down of weapons stocks as a danger to, preparation for war with China. Motives may be even more pacific; wanting to end a bloody conflict that was never going to be “won,” and which risks setting Europe on fire. Even so, inflaming relations with China in order to achieve immediate aims is potentially suicidal. Still, even as the U.S. has the firewall of Europe and the Atlantic between it and Russia, having the firewall of Taiwan, Japan and the Pacific between it and China may encourage the taking of such risks.
The term “line ball” is sometimes used to indicate an argument that could go either way. In tennis, though, any part of a ball that does hit any part of the line, is “in.” At the highest level of tennis, players flirt with the lines all the time, and there are many “line balls,” or, as they now seem to be called, close calls. The latter I discovered when watching broadcasts of the Australian Open matches. I also discovered, to my great surprise, that there were no longer any linesmen, or even any lineswomen. The Hawk-Eye system is automatically making the calls. And if anyone has questions about the call, there is an instant replay of the bounce of the ball, and super closeups of the impact mark of the ball on the court. Isn’t technology wonderful?
Looking for information about Hawk-Eye turns up these sources, among surprisingly few others:
The replay in “instant replay,” is not, strictly speaking, a “replay.” It’s actually a “preplay.” There are 10 (in some reports 12) cameras in the Hawk-Eye system. None of them are anywhere near the lines. The cameras are arrayed around the court in high positions looking down on the play. They record at up to 340 frames per second, and feed that information to the associated computers. [What they are looking at is the ball strike and the subsequent trajectory of the ball. On that basis, the entire trajectory of the ball, including the bounce, is predicted. The ball could, in fact, be called “out” before it crosses the net.] As was pointed out in comments, the previous sentence is, as far as can be determined from inadequate documentation, incorrect. It is only the ball tracking on the approach to the bounce that is taken into account. [See comment by Sancho Panzer.]
That explains why Hawk-Eye never shows any actual footage of the ball in the vicinity of the line. It’s a simulation. This will be obvious to cricket lovers. Hawk-Eye for tennis is a development of the original product for cricket. Those balls do not go through the batman’s leg and on to, or past, the wicket.
For something upon which so much rests, there is a paucity of public information about the system. The software is proprietary, and not even the mathematical modelling has been revealed. Not many questions about calibration seem to have been answered, and things like the number of cameras differ in different reports. In an article in New Statesman from 2015, Harry Collins discussed the accuracy of the system, and the secrecy surrounding it.
So we telephoned the firm to talk about [accuracy] and we hit a wall. As sociologists of science we had spent decades chatting with scientists about this kind of thing but suddenly we were told this information was private and lawyers were on call.
Hawk-Eye had been creeping in through the outside courts for a few years, but in 2021 Covid-19 was the rationale for its full-scale introduction across all matches in both the Australian and US Opens. Think how many Covid deaths were prevented by getting rid of all those linesmen around the court.
Let’s suppose that there is a lot of money to be won or lost in betting on the results of major tennis matches. Now imagine that some disreputable but technically adept persons manage to gain access to the software of the system. These nefarious people introduce into the system a bias factor that can be invoked from the control system, or better yet, remotely. The bias is only applied to very close calls to reverse them, with the direction of the reversal depending, of course, on the player.
Who would notice? Players are being conditioned to mistrust their own perceptions and go with the Hawk-Eye call. For example, at the Aussie Open in 2021, Dominic Thiem said, “If the electronic call is out, the ball is out, so there’s no room for mistakes. I like it.” Spectators, live and remote, are shown the “definitive” animation almost immediately. A major match between the world’s top players will often come down to matters of millimetres, and those are the very players who are aiming close to the lines more often.
One of the videos referred to above mentions International Tennis Federation testing of the system in 2006. “Results showed the system to have a mean error of only 2.6mm when compared to a high-speed camera located on the playing surface.” So why not just use the high-speed camera? A competitor, Foxtenn, has done just that. Their high-speed cameras watch the lines, and their replays feature not just the simulation of point of impact, but the actual footage of the ball. But the imagery is coming from a computer, so anything is possible.
That’s the general problem. The world is presented to us as digital information mediated by computers, and all the virtue can be hacked out of the virtual. Once you accept that you must take on faith the video imagery that you see, just as you must the digital photo images, destination Dystopia is much closer.
I was struck by a particular sequence in the movie the first time I saw it (on the TV, I’m have to confess) two or three years ago. WolfmanOz’s commentaries on movies brought that sequence to mind again. If you haven’t seen Parasite, it is probably best not to read this post, which is certainly a spoiler. I apologise for the quality of the video clips, which come from screen captures.
I know nothing of pre-Christian Korean religious practice or folk lore, but a cursory search yielded a whole Pantheon, represented, for example, like so.
It’s easy enough to see which ones are dangerous, and the convention that is used. It may be that all of the elements of Parasite can be accounted for in terms of Korean mythology. Nonetheless, major elements of the movie strike me as being specifically Christian.
The two main families of the story are the Kims – father Ki Taek, mother Chung Sook, daughter Ki Jung and son Ki Woo – and the Parks – father Dong Ik, mother Yeon Kyo, daughter Da Hye, and young son Da Song. The Kims are scroungers living in the lower reaches of the city in a sub-basement with windows at street level. The Parks are wealthy, living on the heights in a house designed by a famous architect. A successful contemporary of the Kim children is going overseas, and recommends the son to take over his tutoring of the Park’s daughter. This friend brings to Ki Woo from his grandfather a scholar’s stone, for no obvious reason. It’s a grace. Scholar’s stones, or landscape stones, are microcosms of mountainous landscapes; a kind of bonsai mountain.
Daughter Ki Jung’s talent for fraud begins to shine through as she expertly forges qualifications for Ki Woo, who, unlike his contemporary, is not attending university. Ki Jung is subsequently represented by Ki Woo as an art therapist for the Park’s son, Da Song. She immediately exerts iron control over both the son and the mother, showing an enviable ability to bend others to her will. This young woman is CEO, or at least, Vice-President (Human Resources), material. Mrs Park, obsessed with all things American, calls Ki Woo Kevin, and Ki Jung, Jessica.
By similarly polished deceit and manipulation, the Parks’ driver is replaced by Kim the Elder. The housekeeper, Moon Gwong, was inherited by the Parks from the original owner, the architect himself, so she is a tough proposition. In elaborate choreographed interactions, the Kims manoeuvre Mrs Park into dismissing her without notice. She is then replaced, of course, by Mrs Kim.
The whole family is now employed by the Parks, who then leave for a camping holiday to mark son Da Song’s birthday. The Kims are sprawled over the living room furniture enjoying the Park’s food and booze, as the rain begins to come down more and more heavily. Then Moon Gwong rings the doorbell and begs to be let in for something she has forgotten. Beneath the basement, hidden behind shelves and a blast door, is a deeper basement bomb shelter, and living down there is Moon Gwong’s husband, Geun Se, who has been emerging at night to get food ever since the Parks moved in.
The couple discover the family relationship of the Kims, and after some slapstick, they are restrained by the Kims in the shelter, when Mrs Park calls to announce they will be home in a few minutes. Only Chung Sook is supposed to be in the house. More slapstick. At this point, as father, son and daughter scatter into hiding, Mrs Kim serves dinner to Mrs Park, and Bong Joon Ho begins to reveal his purpose.
The three are trapped until the Park parents fall asleep on the sofa, when they escape from the house and into this startling sequence.
The colour keys in this are critical. As the descent begins, the dominant colour is green, most noticeable in the place where it changes – the road tunnel. As the Kims descend we see the green stripes on the walls and green characters on the footpath lights. The first bright burst of red is from the taillights of a car turning at the end of the tunnel as they shuffle towards it. From that point, the colour key is red. It seemed to me on first viewing, and does still, that this sequence is a descent into the Inferno; paradoxically, in the context of a flood, yet nonetheless obviously. Notice the son’s momentary reluctance to be swept down by the flood.
All of the reviews and commentaries that I have seen insist that the movie is built around class divisions and tensions. The division is deeper than that. It is the division between the earth-dwellers – the Parks – and the denizens of the underworld. The flawed earth-dwellers, snobbish, supercilious, gullible, live in the green world of the Parks’ garden, whose lawn and trees are the background to most of what happens in the Park home.
In Bong Joon Ho’s universe, it seems, the underworld is populated with demons, ghosts, the restless dead and lost souls, all of whom interact with the overworld and its people. When the Kims arrive at their flooded sub-basement, the correspondence of the underworlds is reinforced by intercutting the scenes as they recover what they can, with scenes from the underworld of the Park home, where Moon and her husband are bound, and the wife is dying from injuries sustained when she was kicked down the stairs by Mrs Kim.
Through this appalling chaos run themes of conscience and repentance, focussed on the mysterious scholar’s stone, which is what Ki Woo rushes into the sub-basement to rescue, and which rises through the floodwater to meet him.
Up to this point, the Kim family has expressed its optimism through its “plans,” as seen during the descent, and where the “plan” is often a plot or scheme. The refugees from the flood sleep in a gymnasium, and the son asks the father what the plan is. Ki Taek’s answer reveals a resignation of despair; Ki Woo’s reveals a resignation of optimism and the significance of the stone.
For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.1Corinthians 10:4
The Rock clings, follows, nags the conscience and, when necessary, leads, even into the valley of the shadow of death.
Despite two attempts, Ki Woo cannot be killed, or even permanently injured, with the stone. Note the spreading pools of blood and what looks for all the world like water on the floor from which Geun Se picks up the stone the second time.
Mio caro bene!
Non ho più affanni e pene
no ho più pene al cor.
nel seno mio già sento,
che sol vi alberga amor.
I no longer know suffering and pain,
I no longer have grief in my heart,
Seeing you happy,
I feel that in my heart
Now only love abides.
Handel Rodelinda Mio Caro Bene
The flies settle on Geun Se’s body as soon as he stops moving. The final trigger for Ki Taek’s rage is Mr Park’s disgust at Geun Se’s smell. This theme runs through the movie. The Kims’ scheme is almost brought undone when the son, Da Song, announces that all four smell the same. Back in the sub-basement, Ki Jung points out that their common scent comes not from common soaps or deodorants, but from where they live. As the Kim family waits under the table to escape the Park home, Mr Park muses on Ki Taek’s smell. It’s a bit like boiling a rag, and is sometimes smelled on the subway. The flies know, though, the smell of the dead.
Bong Joon Ho’s underworld is an eclectic Purgatory; one in which destinations are yet to be decided; to which redemption may come; from which resurrection is possible. It is the spiritual basement of the world. Looked at another way, this is the most sophisticated zombie movie ever made.
Ki Woo and Chung Sook survive the carnage, and return to their familiar underworld. Ki Taek retreats to that other underworld beneath the basement of what was the home of the Park family.
This final scene is filled with the most extraordinary joy. I think everyone feels it, and the credits close on this sense of spiritual elevation, whatever unsolved puzzles Bong leaves them with. The Good News is like that.
Six people died at Wieambilla. Not two. Not three. But six. Almost lost in the public clamour about the deaths of the police officers, is the death of the neighbour, already attributed to the now-dead occupants of the property. Unlike the police officers, he was not doing his job, he was not following the orders of his boss. He was being a neighbour.
The three occupants of the property have been tried and convicted of three murders in the court of mass media mediated opinion. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the only trial they will get. The Queensland Police Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) has ensured that. No-one in public discourse has offered a word of dismay or regret for the deaths of these three people. Let me do so. I am dismayed that these people are not in custody. I regret that they shall not be put on trial so that allegations against them can be tested. There will be a coronial inquest, but that is no substitute for a trial in which the interests of the defendants are forcefully put. Who will cross-examine the police?
This leads to the burning question that no-one is asking: why are these people not in custody? A police recruiting document for SERT included the following elements of the job description:
Siege incidents SERT has the capability to provide specialist tactical skills for the containment, evacuation, negotiation and resolution of siege incidents. Armed offender intervention SERT has the capability to provide specialist tactical skills for the detention, apprehension and arrest of armed offenders. High Risk Warrant Execution SERT can perform entry to premises in high risk situations for the purpose of detaining people…
SERT possesses a Lenco Bearcat (one of which we have seen in action against demonstrators in Melbourne recently), a Lenco Bombcat, for the Explosives Ordnance Response Team, and a OzBot Titan robot, “that can remotely, breach doors and windows, assist in the rescue of hostages, deliver and retrieve items in dangerous locations, and improve situational awareness with its digital camera.”
There was a 28km2 exclusion zone around the property. SERT was present, as were a large number of other Queensland police officers, and the Police helicopter. It seems that conditions were conducive to the resolution of the siege without further loss of life. Yet all three of the alleged offenders are dead, and, if the broadcast sound of the final volley of shots is to be relied upon, they all died within a few seconds.
As far as I am aware, Queensland Police have not even attempted to explain why a peaceful resolution was not possible. On the face of it, a decision was taken to kill these three people, and that decision was carried out by SERT. If such a decision were made, who made it? To any reflective observer, let alone one with a commitment to the rule of law, this possibility is profoundly disturbing. If, and I stress if, a militarised, heavily armed Police force decides that it can take the law into its own hands, a great leap forward has been achieved in the progressive totalitarianism to which we are being subjected.
Note the irony here. At least one of the three had expressed just such concerns. If it turns out that SERT has obliged with a demonstration of their validity, Heaven help us.
The buds begin to appear towards the end of November, just before Advent. Thoughtfully, the trees vary in their timing, some retaining their vibrant heads of blossom well into January, but for the most part, their display is at its most spectacular in the third and fourth weeks of Advent with a show that always thrills me. And how did they know that red and green are the colours we would come to associate with Christmas? What reds, orange-reds and green they are. They fairly burst with joyful colour.
It’s Brisbane, and the trees are, of course, Poincianas, named after Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy, who was a governor of St Kitts. Officially, they are Delonix regia, and are also known as flame of the forest or even flame tree, but we have a better candidate for that. The name which probably suits them best is flamboyant. They go by many names across India and S.E. Asia.
Keep your pines and firs, with their un-snowed-upon branches gracelessly upright, desperately needing baubles and drapes of tinsel to convey festivity. I’ll walk outside and, where the passion for subdivision and six-packs has not destroyed them, look across the suburban hills to pick out the splashes of red, even yet, with contributions from the occasional flame tree still afire with the fading remnants of its peculiarly intense red.
I know Advent is penitential, but, but… what a season it is. If we must forgo a springtime Easter, we have at least subtropical summer Christmas. Praise God!
On 25th of March, 2022 (keep the date in mind) Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Defence Minister, released figures for Russian army casualties in the month-long war, or “special military operation,” in Ukraine. 1,351 Russian servicemen had been killed, and another 3,825 wounded. NATO sources put the number killed at between 7,000 and 15,000.
On 22nd of September, Shoigu updated the figures to 5,937 Russian servicemen killed. Neither of these numbers included Donbas militiamen, or the Chechen forces, or mercenaries of the Wagner Group. Up to that time, much of the fighting in northern Donetsk and in Luhansk had been conducted by the Donbas militias, who had been carrying the main burden of the fighting with the Ukrainian army since 2014, by the mercenary Wagner Group, and by forces comprised primarily of Chechens under a Chechen leader. Both of the latter were engaged in the fighting around the city of Bakhmut, a vital supply link for Ukrainian forces which had been shelling the city of Donetsk since the war broke out in 2014.
The Daily Mail reported that three gatherings of some Downing Street staff had taken place during November and December of 2020. This was the lifting of the lid on the cesspool of cynicism that characterised the political response to Covid-19 all over the Western world, with the notable exception of Sweden.
In January and February of 2022, the lid was completely unseated. Up to twenty events involving Government staffers, most frequently Downing Street staffers, were investigated. These included two parties in Downing Street on the eve of the funeral of Prince Philip.
24th February, 2022
Russian commences “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine.