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About this blog: Real power doesn't reside with those who make the final decision, but with those who decide what qualifies as the viable choices. I stumbled across this insight as a teenager (in the 1960s). As a grad student, I belonged to an org...  (More)

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Missile hitting Poland: Almost certainly Ukrainian, not Russian. Creating false memories with slow release of details

Uploaded: Nov 16, 2022
Does the corporate media understand that it is fueling demand for escalations that could result in nuclear war? Do they care in the slightest? Do they see themselves as anything more than an unquestioning distributor of propaganda? I'm going to step through the slow release to the public of information that should have been demanded from earlier on, and reporting highlighting skepticism about official claims when crucial details were withheld.

The first media pieces on this event had headlines that were all variants of "Russian Missile Strikes Poland", and cited an unnamed US "official" as the source. No details. Subsequent stories emphasized that since Poland was a member of NATO, this would be an attack on a NATO member that could trigger a NATO military response. This is likely what will stick in the reader's memory. When corrections and details are released in a trickle, they don't have the impact to override that first impression.

As of the completion of this blog, Reuters has reported "^Poland blast may not be due to missile fired from Russia, Biden says^" (November 15, 20229:29 PM PST), and the US Government has not yet walked it back.

UPDATE of 2022-11-16@5:09pm PDT: The media narrative pivoted from "Russian missile" to "Russian-made missile". Probably false. Ukraine continued its manufacturing of missiles -- and other weapons -- from the Soviet-era. Ukrainian-made missiles -- evidenced by serial numbers and other markings -- are being used in this war.

As details were added, there were conspicuous absences. The reporting next included that this incident occurred during another in a series of large-scale Russian missile attacks on Ukraine's electrical grid and some other pieces of its energy infrastructure. According to ^BBC reporting (@00:39)^, "Ukraine's Public Broadcaster reported that the strikes had targeted Kyiv (Kiev) and the wider region, Kharkiv, Poltava, Mykolaiv, Dnipro and several other towns and cities nationwide."

Whoa!! The named cities are all far to the east of the Polish border. A quick check with Google Maps shows that Kyiv (Kiev) is the closest, at almost 300 miles. But what is missing from the list is the city of Lviv, which is only 40 miles from the Polish border. Lviv is a major waypoint between Poland and Ukraine for weapons, ammunition, supplies, foreign fighters and Ukrainian troops returning from training. Consequently has been a frequent target of Russian missile attacks since the beginning of the war. So, what does this omission imply??

A bit more before I provide a map summarizing this.

It then leaked out in various major news outlets that the missile had landed in the small farming community of Przewodow, about 40 miles north of Lviv. Then it was a farm near there. Then a photo showing that it hit a tractor pulling a large cart, killing two people. With photos from the scene of the remnants of the missile, multiple independent experts spotted features that identified it as coming from an ^S-300^ air defense system. The S-300 was developed by the Soviets in 1978 and has upgraded versions that are still in widespread use. The photos also showed that the explosion was small, consistent with it being an air defense missile.
Note: On the web and social media, there are multiple reputable sites that take information from official statements, from sites that appear to be strongly associated with each side, and from multiple independent analysts, including former US military intelligence officers. They are far more reliable and informative than the corporate media.

Typically multiple air-defense missiles are launched against each incoming missile in order to raise the probability of a successful interception. But some of these missiles fail to self-destruct before returning to the surface.

Trying to save the narrative that it was a Russian missile, various media outlets carried the claim that there had been instances of S-300 missiles being converted to attack surface targets, which was true to that extent. Unasked was whether the Russians could have an S-300 launcher within range. Wikipedia is largely reliable for specifications of military systems. Let's quickly consult it. The ^results^ are that the range of the S-300 missile variants top out at 250 miles, with most being under 50 and 100 miles. If you don't already have it bookmarked, search will quickly find multiple reputable maps showing the area controlled by the Russians. I already knew this, so I skipped to Google Maps to measure the distance such a missile would have had to travel. It was over 500 miles. No way this could have happened.

As promised: ^A map showing the above locations and distances^ (^http://bit.ly/3WYu1BY^).

OK, I realize that the corporate media has given up on fact-checking the narrative that it is pushing, but claims that are refuted by the top results of a Google search are insults to the mildly curious reader.


So what are the interesting questions about how this minor incident was pushed on the public? I don't see a good argument that the highly regarded Polish military intelligence didn't know almost immediately that this wasn't a Russian missile, much less a Russian attack on Poland. So why did Poland immediately make this an issue for NATO? Poland has been pushing for NATO intervention in Ukraine, but while this incident was inadequate for that purpose, it could be greasing the skids.

Another potential motive comes from when the Soviets (Stalin) redrew the borders of eastern Europe after WW2. A large area that had historically been Polish was transferred to Ukraine, with Poland getting a sizeable chunk of pre-war Germany. Romania also lost significant territory to Ukraine and Hungary lost some. Since spring, unattributed maps have been circulating showing the partition of Ukraine after the war. They all assume substantial returns of those territories. Poland has rejected their being interested in the readjustment. Belarus has stated that it will resist having a NATO country -- Poland -- on its southern border.

A subtext to this incident is that Russia is desperate because it is losing the war. For example, the media claims that the Ukrainian offensive in the Kherson Oblast (administrative region) drove the Russians back across the Dnipro (Dnieper) River. The Russian advance into this area early in the war was regarded as ill-advised because it stretched Russian and allied forces too thin. The Ukrainians did not win any significant battles in this offense: The Russians withdrew and the Ukrainians entered the evacuated areas days later. The Russians withdrew because their supply lines had been compromised: There are few bridges across the Dnipro in this area, and the US-supplied missiles were accurate enough to hit bridges, incrementally destroying them. And Ukrainian missile strikes had breached the dam that created a huge reservoir. If that dam suffered a serious failure, the flow would wipe out all the bridges -- permanent and temporary -- and flood large portions of the west bank of the river, which the Russians had decided they needed to evacuate. ^Map^ (^http://bit.ly/3O9Oq2V^).

On the battlefield during the "offensive", the Ukrainians suffered casualties at 5-8 times what the Russians did (according to solidly pro-Ukrainian media such as the New York Times and the Washington Post). Military analysts have been astonished by Ukraine's profligate expenditures of troops to gain small amounts of territory or to delay withdrawing long after the battle had been lost. In contrast, the Russian approach has been to give up land to save the lives of their troops.

An ^abbreviated index by topic and chronologically^ is available.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by DeForrest Langley, a resident of Los Altos,
on Nov 16, 2022 at 8:08 am

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[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]

Posted by Bette Graham, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 16, 2022 at 8:38 am

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[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]

Posted by Common sense, a resident of another community,
on Nov 16, 2022 at 9:46 am

Common sense is a registered user.

"Does the corporate media understand . . . Do they care . . . Do they see themselves as anything more than an unquestioning distributor of propaganda?"

Keep in mind, US mainstream media for much of their history have been generically an entertainment, not an information, industry. It's implicit in their reward structure, how they prosper.

Scholarly writing is rewarded for accuracy, care, durability. Media writing, in contrast, is rewarded for drawing audience and sales (newspaper copies, page views). Who cares if early stories were wrong or reckless, if you can sell later ones to the same customers?
And nothing sells better than anxiety.

Posted by John Donegan, a resident of another community,
on Nov 16, 2022 at 10:04 am

John Donegan is a registered user.

The reporting of our media certainly has earned a lot of skepticism for their frequent detachment from reality, but that may not always reflect an institutional intention. When reporting a story in which few facts are known, there seems to be an inclination to embellish in order to flesh out the story to say SOMETHING to satisfy the reader/viewer. Combine that with 22 year old writers fresh out of college with the strongly-held opinions of the young, and the demise of old-style editors who actually read the filler that is cranked out, well, you can understand why the reporting is not always reliable

Posted by Greg Nealon, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Nov 16, 2022 at 10:23 am

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[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]

Posted by Caroline Johnson, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Nov 16, 2022 at 1:01 pm

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[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]

Posted by Helen Wilcox, a resident of Community Center,
on Nov 17, 2022 at 8:40 am

Helen Wilcox is a registered user.

Reportage of this incident was potentially complicated because the missile in question was an older Soviet-made S-300 that was left in the Ukraine following the breakup of the USSR and later used by Ukrainian air defense against the Russians.

The scenario is no different than trying to establish who shot someone else with a Soviet-era AK-47.

Posted by Forrest Miller, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 17, 2022 at 2:04 pm

Forrest Miller is a registered user.

It is my understanding that some Republicans in Congress are in favor of reducing arms shipments to Ukraine.

Whether this is a sound move is debatable as the United States and its NATO allies are walking a fine line in terms of further aggravating and forcing Russia to take more extreme measures.

Posted by Paly Grad, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Nov 17, 2022 at 9:01 pm

Paly Grad is a registered user.

Concerning Putin's invasion of Ukraine, if President Biden supports granting sovereign immunity to Mohammed bin Salman in the Khashoggi civil case, would Resident Biden also supprt granting sovereign immunity to Vladimir Putin?

Web Link

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 17, 2022 at 9:09 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@Helen Wilcox "incident was potentially complicated ... older Soviet-made S-300"

1. Who manufactured the missile was irrelevant because as soon it was IDed as an S-300: Its max range was known which meant the impact point was too far to be reached from Russian-occupied territory.

2. "Soviet-made" is not "Russian-made": During the Soviet era, Ukraine was a major manufacturer of missiles.

3. Reporting in alternate media is that the missiles that struck Poland were tracked by radar, both by the Ukrainian unit that launched it and by US/Poland/NATO.
That means the governments of the US (unnamed intelligence official), Ukraine and Poland all lied
(intentional deception with a known falsehood). An Associated Press (AP) repeater was the first to provide wide-spread distribution to US corporate media.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 17, 2022 at 9:12 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@Forrest Miller: 1 of 2
> "... some Republicans in Congress are in favor of reducing arms shipments to Ukraine."

Those Republicans are too few to be meaningful. US foreign policy has been dominated since at least the 1950s by the Military Industrial Complex ("MIC") and neo-Conservatives (neoCons). While neoCons had claimed to be anti-Communist and for the spread of democracy, that is not in evidence for decades. From their actions, they support a "strong defense" -- code for the US being the world's only superpower -- and economically for the US being the world hegemon.

Expect nothing from Congressional Democrats. When a group of 30 sent a ^letter dated 2022-10-24 to Biden^ saying "In conclusion, we urge you to make vigorous diplomatic efforts in support of a negotiated settlement and ceasefire..." They were immediately swatted down and the letter was withdrawn the very next day, with some signatories repudiating it. Criticism came from what little remains of the anti-war left: ^"Perspective: 24 hours after calling for negotiations to end Ukraine war, DSA and 'progressive' Democrats demand escalation"^ - World Socialist Web Site.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 17, 2022 at 9:16 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@Forrest Miller: 2 of 2
> "Whether this is a sound move is debatable...aggravating and forcing Russia to take more extreme measures."

Any such debate should take into account the US's war goals. Those goals do not include protecting Ukrainian sovereignty nor its democracy. At the end of March, negotiations were being finalized along the lines described in a 2022-03-16 Financial Times article ^"Ukraine and Russia explore neutrality plan in peace talks:: Fifteen-point draft deal would involve Kyiv renouncing Nato ambitions in return for security guarantees"^. Russia later announced that its withdrawal of troops from around Kyiv on March 29 was done as a show of good faith -- the article mentions that such would be needed. In early April, the UK Prime Minister called Zelensky and then flew to Ukraine to meet with him, delivering the message that Ukraine should reject the agreement and that the UK (Boris Johnson) and the US (Biden) would commit to providing the weapons and support to continue the war. That agreement would have had Russia withdraw to the boundaries before the war -- which explicitly did not include Crimea.

As to whether Ukraine is a democracy, you can easily find abundant discussion of that with Google search. It starts with opposition parties being banned, their media shut down, their leaders imprisoned, and leaders killed in other countries.

Senior US and NATO officials have openly stated four goals:
1. Regime change. The Russian alternatives to the Putin administration are unpalatable -- Communists and ultra-nationalists favoring militarism and expansion -- so the expectation is that the West would install a puppet.
2. Breaking up Russia into multiple countries.
3. Destroying a large part of Russian military power, with some calling for the demilitarization of Russia east of the Ural Mountains.
4. Crippling the Russian economy. This would help force (1) and (3) and be a consequence of (2) and on its own, eliminate Russia as a competitor.

Posted by Byron Scott, a resident of Mountain View,
on Nov 18, 2022 at 7:38 am

Byron Scott is a registered user.

The NATO goals pertaining to the curtailment of the Russian military and economy makes sense.

Countries such as Russia, The People's Republic of China, North Korea, and Iran are not friends nor allies of the United States and must be kept in check.

Preserving the Ukraine makes the world safer by providing another buffer against Russia

Posted by Lucille Watson, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Nov 18, 2022 at 8:00 am

Lucille Watson is a registered user.

> if President Biden supports granting sovereign immunity to Mohammed bin Salman in the Khashoggi civil case, would Resident Biden also supprt granting sovereign immunity to Vladimir Putin?

I suspect that Biden's granting of immunity to MBS has more to do with maintaining a steady flow of oil between Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Granting sovereign immunity to a despot like Putin serves no actual purpose and would generate resentment among Ukrainians who have fought valiantly to preserve their sovereignty and independence.

Posted by Jennifer Fisher, a resident of Mountain View,
on Nov 18, 2022 at 8:31 am

Jennifer Fisher is a registered user.

To my knowledge, Russia and the United States were only allies at one point in modern history and that was during World War II. Since then they have been adversaries.

If defending the Ukraine promotes American global supremacy, then it must be carried out to ensure our country's best interests.

Posted by Kendra Akers, a resident of another community,
on Nov 18, 2022 at 9:30 am

Kendra Akers is a registered user.

The United States has also promised to defend Taiwan against a wrongful PRC invasion.

Russia and China are our enemies.

Posted by Luther Carlson, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Nov 18, 2022 at 12:10 pm

Luther Carlson is a registered user.

Maybe the delay in accurate news reportage was due to the information temporarily being designated 'classified' by Pentagon and CIA officials immediately following this occurrence.

It is important not to provide hostile nations like Russia and China with information pertaining to our actual knowledge and intentions.

And since these matters are out of the hands of ordinary American citizens, their need to know is also minimal.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 18, 2022 at 8:08 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@Kendra Akers "The United States has also promised to defend Taiwan against a wrongful PRC invasion."

Promising and doing so are very different.
After the Pelosi visit -- euphemism "provocation" -- the PRC staged a military exercise that was widely interpreted as a practice run of a blockade. All the military assessments I have seen conclude that the US does not have the capability to militarily intervene.

The PRC (Xi) had earlier stated that 2049 was China's target for reunification. Have the provocative actions and statements by the current administration affected that date? My guess is they haven't: The PRC has long demonstrated a careful, measured response to provocations.

What would the PRC gain from a military invasion? Taiwan is valuable not for its physical resources, but for its capital resources, that is, its people and its manufacturing facilities. Would regaining the land be worth destroying the capital resources, especially since those capital resources are important to the current PRC economy?

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 18, 2022 at 8:11 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@Luther Carlson

> "And since these matters are out of the hands of ordinary American citizens, their need to know is also minimal."

Perhaps the public's "need to know" is regarded as "minimal" by the powers-that-be because they don't want "ordinary American citizens" being involved in important decisions. Getting into a potentially nuclear war is something we should be involved in. Recognize that it was a months-long campaign of lies that took us into the Iraq War (Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11; Weapons of Mass Destruction).

> "...information temporarily being designated 'classified'..."
But it wasn't. Poland and Ukraine quickly announced the missile(s) hitting and an unnamed high US government official informed the AP and through it, the generic media.
The photos of the missile that killed the farmers quickly became available on social media and produced widespread identification of it being an S-300. The photos were likely taken with a smartphone by a neighbor or other civilian responding to the explosions. After that, it was trivial lookups in Internet/open/public sources, as I outlined in this blog. Confirmation -- not "accurate reporting" -- from governments came only after the public had published a conclusive analysis. Except for the Ukrainians, who were still insisting that it was a Russian missile.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 18, 2022 at 8:12 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@Jennifer Fisher "If defending the Ukraine promotes American global supremacy..."
@Byron Scott "The NATO goals pertaining to the curtailment of the Russian military and economy makes sense."

I was well into a response when I realized that it needed to be a follow-on blog.

Posted by III, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 19, 2022 at 2:52 pm

III is a registered user.

WHO CARES??????????
Was fired in Self Defense against a
trump like lunatic, AKA Putin a terrible dictator.....
If Putin does not invade Ukraine, we do not have
terrible defense driven mistakes by Ukranian forces.
WHO CARES. Its about Putin a invading dictator,
& Trumps otherfriend along with Kim the North Korean Dictator.
It is not about Ukraine and their defense of their country.

Posted by Lorraine Decker, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Nov 19, 2022 at 3:15 pm

Lorraine Decker is a registered user.

It was an accident regardless of who fired it. War is always marked by human tragedy and human error.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 19, 2022 at 6:16 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

((Readers: This comment has been flagged as "objectionable".
It might be the mention of violent crimes or that the reader disagrees with my position or ...
"Objectionable" covers too wide a range in today's culture.
Unfortunately, the blogging system doesn't provide the ability for the flagger to explain why and such flags are inherently anonymous (as are comments).
-- Douglas Moran, the blogger


Truth matters. Especially since reality often punishes those who operate on delusions.
Ukraine (Zelensky) tried to use this accident to drag the US, via NATO, even deeper into this war, potentially escalating into WW3. For example, NATO troops becoming involved in the fighting on a large scale could lead to Russian strikes again their bases and supply lines in their home countries, escalating to strikes against their energy infrastructure (electricity, natural gas, petroleum). Under the US "Shock and Awe" doctrine, those targets would be hit hard in the opening hours of a war.

The argument that Ukraine is not responsible for its actions because "Russia made them do it" has already been established:
* Ukraine shelling scored a direct hit on a building storing uranium rods from nuclear reactors, which fortunately didn't become a "dirty bomb". The West's response: Russia's fault -- if Russians hadn't been present, the Ukrainians wouldn't have shelled it. Consequently, Ukrainian shelling of the nuclear power plant continues.
* In related shelling, Ukraine repeatedly hit facilities controlling the 6 nuclear reactors at that plant. Fortunately, there was enough redundancy to prevent an uncontrolled shutdown of the reactors. Such a shutdown could have resulted in a Chernobyl-style meltdown. Would we accept the Ukrainians claiming "Not our fault! The Russians made us do it."
* Then, there have been multiple videos taken by Ukrainian troops and posted on social media of them murdering, maiming and torturing Russian Prisoners of War (POWs). The West and the UN have failed to condemn such war crimes. When Russia took the latest of these atrocities to the UN, the UN could muster only a bland, vague, generic statement: "We have called on all parties to the conflict to thoroughly investigate all reports of human rights violations and to bring the perpetrators to justice." So the UN has yet again washed its hands of needing to do anything beyond issuing a press release.

Posted by Truth Be Told, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Nov 20, 2022 at 2:46 pm

Truth Be Told is a registered user.

What is the crux of this discussion?

Please clarify as I am unclear as to whether it is about news reportage, governmental discretions, or all of the above.

Beatrice Larson

Posted by Bryce Young, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Nov 20, 2022 at 4:03 pm

Bryce Young is a registered user.

I'd be more concerned about ICBMs armed with nuclear warheads landing in the United States from China or North Korea than one errant surface to air missle in Poland.

What happens in Poland or the Ukraine stays in those areas.

Posted by Stacy Windom, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Nov 21, 2022 at 8:38 am

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[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]

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