Trip to Yalta
Colonel Cassad, Aug 28 2014 16:27
Invited to participate in the media event in Yalta. Is the conference where presentations will be given Glaziev and Delyagin, but what is most interesting, the event is expected to feature Boroday, Mozgovoi and … drums with great fanfare … Strelkov. Actually, given that the trip from here to Yalta takes less than an hour, there is no reason not to go. So if Strelkov is there I shall try to get a photo and post it, for those who still doubt. Well, plus there expected arrival of various experts in Ukraine, including some well-known bloggers, so some may be able to do some interviews. Some there will be wondering, who the hell would have guessed a month and a half ago that we, as representatives of the Crimean electronic press, would be invited to attend the “Infoforum” on security issues in the modern Internet. Such rare events were discouraged by state bureaucratic officialdom and various pundits in the spirit “Do you know how dangerous the Internet is?” I hope this time there will be more fun. However the topic of Russia, Ukraine and Novorossia something there is initially more alive, so you can see where the yacht of ideological officialdom now tends sailing in this matter, as well as to listen to those who are familiar with the real, not the television picture of the war in the Donbass. So tomorrow expect news from Yalta.
Something amusing: the junta officially announced in the person of his representative, that the Russian invasion of Ukraine didn’t happen after all. The problem for the junta is that it makes absolutely no difference whether there are or not. There are troops, there are no troops. It doesn’t matter. Today they say no, tomorrow will be saying they’re there again. To prove it is impossible. Especially when things at the front is going so badly and the junta beat all of Ivanovo. However a bit of tar add to, the junta yesterday more than 350 deadweight losses, but the losses in these battles there were up to 40 non-refundable. Just remember that there is war and our people are getting themselves killed in it, helping with their blood and their lives to forge our common victory in the Novorossia. Remember those who never returned from the battle. Also remember those that died in Donetsk during the bombardment, as the junta crashes but continues to vent its anger on the civilian population of Novorossia, savaging Donetsk with missiles and shells. Hopefully, its will and its power to kill civilians won’t last much longer.
They’re not saying the Russian paratroopers didn’t happen, though:
Ukrainian authorities denied reports about the Russian invasion
Radio Svoboda (RFE/RL entity – RB), Aug 26 2014
The Council of national security and defence of Ukraine (NSDC) refuted reports of Russian military invasion of the Ukraine. Speaking in the program “Freedom of speech” on ICTV channel, the representative of the national security and defense Council Andrei Lysenko said that he had recently communicated with the border guards and the military, and Russian tanks and troops in the Donetsk region had not been seen. Thus, according to Lysenko, provides information about the appearance of the column of about 100 pieces of military equipment in the area Gukovo, Rostov region; it is being monitored. Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian journalist Roman Baccala reported with reference to the border guards and soldiers of the volunteer forces of the invasion of the Russian regular troops to Ukraine from town in the direction of Novoazovsk. As posted by Baccala Facebook, soldiers, supported by about 30 tanks dug in the territory of Donetsk region is 8 kM and took control of the six border villages; exhibited roadblocks, the Russian military does not hide insignia. On Monday reported the defeat of the Russian troops of the column of Russian military equipment, which tried to make a breakthrough on the same side of the border.
The winning flag
Colonel Cassad, Aug 28 2014 12:31
Colonel Cassad, Aug 28 2014, 2:26
Today I will be in Sevastopol. Rostov generally show failed, only a few took a walk along the promenade where they are building a large bridge over the river (river Chorna – RB). Basically had to travel around the city. The city is large and spacious, but as warned readers tube pretty tight. When came for shoes in the “Golden Babylon”, I was identified by one of the readers on the street. That’s glory. Colleagues of course, troll about it all day. In the near future will establish a more extensive material flow. Achieved agreements important for us in Novorossia, and on days of our work in Novorossia will acquire a new quality, what would be the appropriate announcement. From an organizational point of view, the trip to Rostov turned out to be very productive. Plus got a little souvenir from under Izvarino. “Kassad” in recent days made a huge leap, topping a million visits per day, leaving at the same level as the “Mouthpiece of Totalitarian Propaganda” and “Voice of Sevastopol”. This is primarily thanks to our sharing of Cassad TV and Military Marker, which are gaining increasing popularity. And this despite the fact that the site is now essentially is in beta and will soon change both in terms of design and in terms of structure. Today or at least tomorrow I announce the photo gallery, there will be pictures associated with war in the Donbass. A lot of work, so the resource itself is ready, but just don’t have time to pour a proper number of photos for the start. The main obstacle in our work (besides money), this lack of man-hours: a lot of tasks, few people.
a) http://segodnyanews.ru/analytics/gumanitarka-dlya-terroristov-kto-finansiruet-lnr-4068/ – junta again exposes us – we are sponsoring terrorists in the Donbass in the order of the FSB
b) http://informator.lg.ua/?p=17881 more detailed (with pictures) proceedings of our criminal activity, the Voice of Sevastopol this turns out to be an extremist organization. SBU Hello!
c) http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.ru/2014/08/janes-defense-vs-colonel-casad-someone.html Usaian financial analyst asks the question, who is lying in terms of coverage of the war in the Donbass, Colonel Cassad or the famous magazine Jane’s Defence Weekly? So to say, master of international horizons.
Moments of war
Colonel Cassad, Aug 27 2014 22:45
Tomorrow I will fly in Sevastopol, so the review will be tomorrow as you arrive and get to the house.
The fronts of the new Russia in the dynamics.
Volunteers from the Caucasus patrolling.
Fighting in Ilovaisk. Video from the junta.
Militia in the school from which punitive in the video above were expelled.
Tank of the DND in the area Gai – Novoazovsk.
Mass desertion from punitive action.
The junta drives on the front fresh raw meat.
The situation at the front.
500 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered to the army of the South-East
Max, Voice of Sevastopol, Aug 28 2014 11:21
From sources in the army of the South-East there are reports that about 500 of the Ukrainian military surrendered. The defeat of the Ukrainian hordes at Ilovaisk, Elenovka and Starobeshevo slammed the pot and made resistance useless, reports Agency Voenkor.info from Ilovaisk. Moreover, the absence of the reserves requested from Kiev dramatically undermined the desire of the soldiers to fight for foreign interests. The Agency reports that formed the operational vacuum does not give the Nazis the ability to hold the whole cities and regions. Today, the militia entered Novoazovsk, and on the road leading to Donetsk through Telmanova and Starobeshevo, already there was not one Ukrainian soldier.
At the same time the DND headquarters reported taking under its complete control over the boundaries of the former Donetsk region with Russia. The headquarters told RIA Novosti:
Following several days of offensive to the south of Donetsk region, including along the border with Russia, we have taken control of the entire border. We control all three checkpoints on the border: Marinovka, Novoazovsk and Uspenka.
51st brigade ceased to exist.
Customs, Voice of Sevastopol, Aug 28 2014 10:13
51st mechanized brigade has lost about 100 fighters in the battles of Ilovaisk. About 50 soldiers were captured by the enemy. This was reported by the volunteers. The first news about the complex situation in the 51st brigade was reported in social networks by volunteer from the Vladimir-Volyn Roman Martynyuk:
The information he was asked to disclose to the relatives of the officers of the 51st OMBR: today in Ilovaisk district, captured about 40 soldiers and officers of the 51st brigade. Due to the environment and fighting has killed an unknown number of fighters, probably tens.
In comments to the message of Martyniuk, users have reported details of the 250-man group: injured 22 people, others killed, wounded or taken prisoner. Information about large losses confirmed in Facebook from Basil Nagorno, chief editor of the newspaper “Volyn-Nova”:
Called from Kiev our Volyn fighter that is returned from a vacation in the area ATO. Asks for advice on where to go. He called to his comrades, most phones do not respond. One picked up the phone and said that his “unit” 51st brigade practically doesn’t exist. Items, weapons, which they passed, all burned. Friends groups make their way from the environment, where exactly I don’t know. We covered a lot of their posts today…” The soldier asks, “Well, we came out east, and where I go now? I do not know who is my commander, nor where they are, or why they delayed. There will be criminal proceedings…”
This seems to be all that’s left of them:
evidently blumenthal changed his headline, or someone did, because the slug still says “monstrous allegations”
Gaza Residents Share Allegations of Abuse, Claim Israeli Soldiers Used Them as Human Shields
Max Blumenthal, Alternet, Aug 26 2014
Mahmoud Abu Said could hardly speak about what happened to him when the soldiers first arrived to his neighborhood. His eyes filled with tears, the muscles in his face began to twitch, and his voice faltered. As the baby-faced, 19-year-old resident of Rafah in Southern Gaza recounted how Israeli soldiers used him as a human shield, torturing and then kidnapping him, he collapsed into a plastic chair. He muttered:
I feel so afraid. It’s not normal. I feel weak and I’m not myself.
Mahmoud was among several residents of the Gaza Strip who provided me with testimony of being used as human shields by Israeli forces during their ground invasion in July. He is also among the young men from various locations around the besieged coastal territory who told me they were kidnapped by Israeli soldiers, taken to a prison in southern Israel, physically abused and interrogated about activity by armed resistance groups operating in Gaza. The Israeli military and its international corps of supporters have accused Hamas of exploiting residents of the Gaza Strip as human shields, hoping to deflect from the whopping toll of civilian casualties they caused. But interviews with Plastelinans from Gaza’s border areas revealed the opposite to be true: Israel has repeatedly used defenseless civilians to shield themselves from potential guerrilla attacks, brutally abusing young men like Mahmoud Abu Said during their invasion of Gaza. The practice is not only a war crime that violates international human rights law, it was outlawed by the Israeli Supreme Court in 2005. As we stood on the porch of the ransacked home of Mahmoud’s family, a drone buzzed incessantly overhead while squadrons of F-16s roared by. The red tile roof above us had been punctured with gaping holes from Israeli shrapnel. The interior of the house had been trashed by the soldiers who transformed it into a shooting gallery. The house next door was reduced to a pile of rubble. But nowhere was the damage exacted by Israeli forces more apparent than in Mahmoud’s bloodshot eyes and nearly catatonic expression. His friend exclaims:
Traumatized! He’s completely traumatized.
After a drink of water, Mahmoud managed to pull himself together. He recalled what happened when the soldiers arrived on Jul 14 during the first stage of Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. The entire Abu Said family had gathered at his spacious home, including 30 cousins. When a platoon of Israeli troops appeared in the dirt road outside the house, the terror began. After ordering the family to evacuate the house under the shelling their army had just initiated, the soldiers called for Mahmoud’s father, Abd’ul-Hadi el-Said. As soon as he appeared at his doorstep, they shot him in the chest, leaving him to die. Miraculously, after bleeding for two hours, he managed to survive and seek medical help. The rest of the family fled west away from the oncoming troops. However, the soldiers grabbed Mahmoud and refused to allow him to leave. Mahmoud said the Israeli troops dragged him back into his house, blindfolded him and wrapped him in a blanket on the floor as they began to blow holes in the walls to use as makeshift sniper slits, what US troops in Afghanistan called “murder holes”. Then the soldiers stripped Mahmoud to his underwear, handcuffed him, slammed him against a wall and began to beat him. With an M-16 at his back, they forced him to stand in front of open windows as they hunted his fleeing neighbors, sniping directly beside him at virtually anything that moved. When they were not using him as a human shield, Mahmoud said, the soldiers left him alone in the room with an unleashed army dog who was periodically ordered to attack him. It was on the top floor of Mahmoud’s home, in a darkened crawl space, that an Israeli sniper killed two of his neighbors through a murder hole. Saleh Israibi and Ala Abu Shabab, two young men who had attempted to flee under the intensifying Israeli shelling, were killed in front of their own homes. According to Saleh Israibi’s father, Suleiman, his 22-year-old son was shot to death while attempting to rescue a neighbor he found bleeding in the street. I met Suleiman Zreibi in front of the ruins of his home, which Israeli forces destroyed with a combined salvo of missiles and artillery shells. Behind him was the car his son once drove for a living. It too had been destroyed by Israeli shells, turned to a hulk of gnarled metal. Suleiman Zreibi declared:
We’ve been suffering, and it started more than 60 years ago, not yesterday. When I build a house, the Israelis bomb it. When I try to make a living, they destroy my business. When I try to have a child, they kill him.
While Suleiman Zreibi escaped to a UNRWA school where he has been living for the past 40 days, about which he remarked, “the life there is shitty,”Mahmoud Abu Said was kidnapped by the Israeli soldiers who used him as a human shield, taken to southern Israel and placed in a prison cell. Every three hours, Mahmoud said, he was blindfolded and taken to questioning sessions where interrogators beat and slapped him as they demanded information about tunnel networks and armed resistance activity. After six days and coordination with the ICRC, Mahmoud said he was released back into the Gaza Strip. When I left the Abu Said home in Rafah, proceeding through the rocky lanes that lined the shattered neighborhood, I stepped across the shards of spent Israeli munitions dumped indiscriminately on residents over the course of several weeks. Mortar shells, Usaian-made Mark-82 500-lb “dumb bombs,” drone missiles, and spent bullet casings. These were Israel’s calling cards in southern Gaza. The harrowing visions of Rafah blended into the desolate landscape of Beit Hanoun, another border city Israel flattened during its ground invasion of Gaza, and where marauding soldiers forced an entire family to serve as their shield against guerrilla retaliation. The city of Beit Hanoun is situated in the north-eastern corner of Gaza, just at the edge of the Israeli-imposed buffer zone, and therefore in one of vulnerable areas in the strip. It is one of the first areas Israel destroyed when it mounted its ground invasion in July. When I arrived during a five-day ceasefire that began on Aug 14, the sound of gunshots marking the discovery of new bodies sounded in the distance. Thousands of residents had returned for the first time to the ruins of their homes to survey the damage. The city was destroyed by Israel’s Givati Brigade, an infantry division led by the religious-nationalist Col Ofer Winter. In a Jul 10 letter to his troops, Winter pledged a “holy war” on the people of Gaza, vowing to punish them for committing the sin of blasphemy. Winter wrote:
History has chosen us to be the sharp edge of the bayonet of fighting the terrorist enemy from Gaza which curses, defames and abuses the God of Israel’s battles. I turn my eyes to the sky and call with you: Shema, Yisrael: Adonai eloheinu, Adonai achad! God, Lord of Israel, make our path successful, as we are about to fight for your people Israel against an enemy who defames your name.
At the easternmost outskirts of Beit Hanoun, I met Abd’ul-Rahman, a 50-year-old farmer who had lost almost everything to the Israelis. In 2005, Israeli bulldozers razed his citrus trees to extend the buffer zone, wiping out trees that provided oranges to the entire Gaza Strip. They then destroyed the wells he used to irrigate his land. And when they returned this year, they leveled his four-story home, killed his flock of 80 goats and incinerated the five tons of wheat he had stored. Bees buzzed all around us as we spoke, the remnants of an apiary Abd’ul-Rahman had kept until it was obliterated by Israeli bombs. His fate was a reminder of the continuous, unrelenting nature of Israeli violence against the residents of Gaza’s border communities. Abd’ul-Rahman said:
In the blink of an eye, everything my father worked for for 70 years was gone. During the past month, I feel like I aged two years.
Unlike in areas like Shujaiya, where residents were bombarded without warning, many of Beit Hanoun’s locals were able to escape ahead of the Israeli onslaught. When Abd’ul-Rahman returned to his home during the first temporary ceasefire, however, he found rubble of his neighbors’ home littered with human flesh and dismembered limbs. Some had not been able to escape after all. The dead were all members of the Wahadan family, one of the 89 families completely or mostly liquidated by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip during the seven weeks of Operation Protective Edge. According to Abd’ul-Rahman and several of his neighbors, Israeli troops from the Givati Brigade ordered the Wahadan family to remain in their home as the rest of the residents from the area fled, warning them that if they attempted to evacuate they would be shot. They were turned into human shields as members of the Izz’ed-Din Qassam Brigades staged period attacks on the occupying Israeli forces, attempting to dislodge them from the area. Though Israeli forces knew the Wahadan family was still inside their home, because they had ordered them to remain there, they did not attempt to evacuate them when a bombardment was called in. According to Abd’ul-Rahman, at least 10 members of the Wahadan family were trapped in the house when it was attacked. All of them died and their body parts were not removed for 10 days. Here are the names of the dead I collected from Abd’ul-Rahman and his neighbors:
- Hatem Wahadan, 50
- Samira Wahadan, 30
- Jamila Wahadan, 28
- Fatma Wahadan, 50
- Tzaki Wahadan, 70
- Suhad Wahadan, 70
- Sumud Wahadan, 20
- Ghena Wahadan, 2
The Wahadans’ neighbors told me two members of the family survived: 10-year-old Hussein Wahadan and 12-year-old Ahmed Wahadan. Israeli troops kidnapped them and held them in a jail for several days. I was unable to locate either of the boys. However, in the northern Gaza Strip town of Umm al-Nasser, I encountered other families who told me they were used as human shields by invading Israeli soldiers, and more young men who said they had been kidnapped and violently interrogated. The testimonies aligned in a clear pattern, forming a dizzying portrait of systematic violent levelled against the largely defenseless civilian population of Gaza’s border communities. Roads scarred by Merkava tank tracks and irreparably damaged homes defined the landscape of Umm al-Nasser in the northern Gaza Strip. The town’s impoverished population of Bedouin farmers was among the first to bear the brunt of the Israeli invasion that began on Jul 17. When I visited a month later, the psychological wounds locals bore from their experience were still fresh. Just off the main square, in a cinderblock home tucked behind corrugated tin gates, 35-year-old Reem Adameeri described how she and several members of her family were used as human shields by the Israeli soldiers who had invaded Umm al-Nasser. According to Adameeri, on the night of the invasion her house was completely surrounded by soldiers, tanks and bulldozers. A sniper had taken a position from a white house down the main street, while shells rained down in the other direction. She was trapped inside with seven members of her own family, 14 members of her brother’s family, and many of her neighbors. Adameeri recalled:
We witnessed death everywhere. It was really hard.
That morning, after a night of heavy shelling, a few of the older women emerged from the home with a white flag. Once she made contact with the soldiers occupying her village, who berated her and her family for not having attempted to evacuate earlier, Adameeri said she saw 20 members of neighboring families sitting in the middle of the main street, a few dozen meters in front of a tank. The troops ordered her and her family to do the same: sit for hours in front of Israeli tanks parked in the center of Umm al-Nasser. Among those seated in the middle of the street were six members of the Mismeh family. Kamal Ahmed Mismeh, 55, and his wife, 50-year-old Miasar Mismeh explained they were forced to sit in the center of town in the front of a tank. The Umm al-Nasser residents I spoke to reported no signs of military activity by the Qassam Brigades or other armed factions in the area, insisting that the Israelis were able to take their village in a matter of minutes. Yet Israeli forces resorted to force against the civilian population anyway, leveling the local kindergarten and shelling residents as they attempted to evacuate. Faraj’alah Jarrad, 55, a farmer from the outskirts of Umm al-Nasser, said:
It was like 1948. Actually, it was worse than 1948.
Were the trapped residents of Umm Al-Nasser used as human shields? Kamal Mismeh said he and his neighbors were forced to sit in the middle of the road for three hours between 6:30am and 9:30am on Jul 18. They were in the immediate proximity of tanks, but Mismeh maintained that they were not held close enough to convince him that he was being used by the soldiers to shield themselves from potential harm. However, Faraj’alah Jarrad told me that when he witnessed the group seated before the tank as he and his family evacuated, they were clearly being used as human shields. Jarrad recalled that the men were forced to strip down to their underwear before they were positioned in front of the tank. His testimony was confirmed by several members of his extended family I interviewed in the village and the nearby city of Beit Lahiya. It was in Beit Lahiya, in a small apartment off a busy street, that I met Afeef Jarrad, 32, and his 26-year-old brother, Ahmad. They had been forced to cram into an apartment with their parents, wives and children as their home in Umm Al-Nasser was badly damaged in the invasion. The situation was less than optimal, but a far better arrangement than the dank Israeli prison cells where they had languished for days after being kidnapped. Following a night of intense shelling as Israeli troops poured into Umm Al-Nasser, the Jarrad family found soldiers throughout their village as soon as they emerged from their home. They were ordered to march 2 km to the nearest UN school. Even the elderly were sent on the trail with no time to prepare. Afeef and Ahmad Jarrad had to stay behind. They said the Israelis forced them into an armored vehicle, driving them toward a prison in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, beating them along the way. In the prison, Afeef and Ahmad were interrogated every few hours about the Qassam Brigades, the tunnels and anything related to armed resistance. Ahmad said he was blindfolded for two days straight. Afeef recalled:
There was no sleep. They sat us on the chair for six hours and sat us in the cell, then brought us back to the chair three or four hours later. We didn’t know if it was night or day. I was bound to a chair during the long questioning sessions. The conditions were unspeakable. They threw food in our face that even a dog wouldn’t eat.
Afeef was held for eight days, while his brother remained in jail for 16 days. In the end, they said they provided their interrogators with nothing of value. They had never been in contact with any armed faction. They were simply two civilians who had been violently abused by Israeli forces during the invasion that left their home and hometown in ruins. Released from the Israeli jail, they were sent home to the more spacious prison called the Gaza Strip. The ceasefire announced on Aug 26 has given the beleaguered residents a reprieve from the Israeli military’s ongoing assault. Almost every family I encountered in Gaza was touched by the violence, with more than a few left to bury their loved ones in abrupt mourning ceremonies. As a vaguely defined ceasefire sets in, they are left to wonder if they will ever receive justice for the suffering they endured.
this manages not to mention the ‘hannibal doctrine’ aspect, which is that israel flattened a whole neighbourhood in order to prevent its own captured soldier from surviving to become a hostage
Why Israel’s bombardment of Gaza neighborhood left US officers ‘stunned’
Mark Perry, al-Jazeera Usaia, Aug 27 2014
The cease-fire announced Tuesday between Israel and Plastelinan factions, if it holds, will end seven weeks of fighting that killed more than 2,200 Gazans and 69 Israelis. But as the rival camps seek to put their spin on the outcome, one assessment of Israel’s Gaza operation that won’t be publicized is the Usaian military’s. (well, you’re publicizing it, so it is being publicized – RB). Though the Pentagon shies from publicly expressing judgments that might fall afoul of a decidedly pro-Israel Congress, senior Usaian military sources speaking on condition of anonymity offered scathing assessments of Israeli tactics, particularly in the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City. On Jul 20, a live microphone at Fox News caught Jackass Kerry saying sarcastically:
It’s a hell of a “pinpoint operation”!
Jackass’s comment followed the heaviest bombardment of the war to that point, as Israeli artillery rained thousands of high-explosive shells on Shujaiya, a residential area on the eastern edge of Gaza City. A high-ranking Usaian military officer said that the source of Kerry’s apparent consternation was almost certainly a Pentagon summary report assessing the Israeli barrage on which he had been briefed by an aide moments earlier. According to this senior Usaian officer, who had access to the Jul 21 Pentagon summary of the previous 24 hours of Israeli operations, the internal report showed that 11 Israeli artillery battalions, a minimum of 258 artillery pieces, according to the officer’s estimate, pumped at least 7,000 high-explosive shells into the Gaza neighborhood, which included a barrage of some 4,800 shells during a seven-hour period at the height of the operation. Senior Usaian officers were stunned by the report. Twice daily throughout the operation, a select group of senior Usaian military and intelligence officers at the Pentagon received lengthy written summaries of Israeli military action in Gaza. The reports, compiled from information gleaned from open sources, Israeli military officers with whom Usaian officials speak, and satellite images, offered a detailed assessment of Israel’s battlefield tactics and the performance of its weaponry, a considerable portion of it supplied by Usaia. Although these reports shy from offering political judgments on the operation, a number of senior Usaian military officers who spoke about the contents of those daily reports were highly critical of some of the IDF’s tactics, particularly in the Israeli ground invasion of Shujaiya. An official spokesman at the Pentagon declined to comment on the contents of this article.
On Jul 16, the IDF dropped leaflets into Shujaiya, warning residents of an imminent Israeli attack and urging them to evacuate the area. The next day, after a short artillery preparation, three IDF units, led by the Golani Brigade, began a ground assault into the neighborhood to destroy Hamas bunkers and break up Hamas formations. The incursion went well at first, with Golani soldiers meeting little resistance. But by late afternoon of Saturday Jul 19, forward elements of the brigade were running head-on into well-organized Hamas units, and some IDF formations were pinned down in vicious fighting in Shujaiya’s streets and alleys. What had been envisaged as a limited ground operation was not going as planned, with Hamas units emerging from tunnels and bunkers in attempts to exploit IDF weaknesses. The Hamas units were well-prepared and trained, with their formations hidden so well that Israeli soldiers were rarely able to pinpoint their locations. An Israel civilian adviser to the IDF’s chief of staff said at the time:
The ground assault into eastern Gaza City was poorly handled. The Hamas fighters showed an unexpected tenacity and were far more effective against our armored units than we’d anticipated.
By late Saturday night and into Sunday morning, the fight had devolved into a series of vicious small unit clashes, with IDF squads facing off against Hamas squads, sniper units and teams carrying lethal anti-tank rockets. In one eight-hour period starting early on Jul 20, the IDF suffered 13 dead, seven of them in an APC that caught fire after a Hamas sapper team detonated an anti-tank mine beneath it. When the IDF moved to retrieve the bodies and the stricken APC, Hamas fighters targeted the rescue vehicles and engaged in gun battles with IDF combat teams as the rescue convoy retreated. In the early hours of that Sunday morning, with IDF casualties mounting, senior officers directed IDF tank commanders to “take off the gloves” and “to open fire at anything that moves,” according to reports in the Israeli press. The three Israeli units assaulting Shujaiya were never in danger of being defeated, but the losses the IDF suffered in the four-day house-to-house battle embarrassed IDF commanders. By the afternoon of Jul 19, even before Israel had suffered most of its casualties, the scale of resistance prompted Israeli battlefield commanders to blanket Shujaiya with high-explosive artillery rounds, rockets fired from helicopters and bombs dropped by F-16s. The decision was confirmed at the highest levels of the IDF. By Sunday night, Plastelinan officials were denouncing the bombardment of Shujaiya as a massacre, and international pressure mounted on the Israeli government to explain the heavy casualty toll being inflicted on Gaza civilians. The IDF told the press that Shujaiya had been a “fortress for Hamas terrorists,” and reiterated that while Israel had “warned civilians” to evacuate, “Hamas ordered them to stay. Hamas put them in the line of fire.” Jackass’s hot-microphone comments reflect the shock among Usaian observers at the scale and lethality of the Israeli bombardment. A senior Pentagon officer with access to the daily briefings said:
Eleven battalions of IDF artillery is equivalent to the artillery we deploy to support two divisions of Usaian infantry. That’s a massive amount of firepower, and it’s absolutely deadly.
Another officer, a retired artillery commander who served in Iraq, said the Pentagon’s assessment might well have underestimated the firepower the IDF brought to bear on Shujaiya. He said:
This is the equivalent of the artillery we deploy to support a full corps. It’s just a huge number of weapons.
Artillery pieces used during the operation included a mix of Soltam M71 guns and Usaian-manufactured Paladin M109s (a 155-mm howitzer), each of which can fire three shells per minute. The senior Usaian military officer said:
The only possible reason for doing that is to kill a lot of people in as short a period of time as possible. It’s not mowing the lawn, it’s removing the topsoil.
Lt-Gen (Retd) Robert Gard exclaimed when told the numbers of artillery pieces and rounds fired during the Jul 21 action:
Holy bejeezus, that rate of fire over that period of time is astonishing. If the figures are even half right, Israel’s response was absolutely disproportionate.
A West Point graduate who is a veteran of two wars and is the chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington, he added that even if Israeli artillery units fired guided munitions, it would have made little difference. Even the most sophisticated munitions have a circular area of probability, Gard explained, with a certain percentage of shells landing dozens or even hundreds of feet from intended targets. Highly trained artillery commanders know this and compensate for their misses by firing more shells. So if even 10% of the shells fired at combatants in Shujaiya landed close to but did not hit their targets, a higher-than-average rate of accuracy, that would have meant at least 700 lethal shells landing among the civilian population of Shujaiya during the night of Jul/21. And the kill radius of even the most precisely targeted 155-mm shell is 164 feet. Put another way, as Gard said, “precision weapons aren’t all that precise.” Senior Usaian officers who are familiar with the battle and Israeli artillery operations, which are modeled on Usaian doctrine, assessed that given that rate of artillery fire into Shujaiya, IDF commanders were not precisely targeting Plastelinan military formations as much as laying down an indiscriminate barrage aimed at cratering the neighborhood. The cratering operation was designed to collapse the Hamas tunnels discovered when IDF ground units came under fire in the neighborhood. The senior Pentagon officer said:
Initially, Israel’s artillery used suppressing fire to protect their forward units, but then poured in everything they had in a kind of walking barrage. Suppressing fire is perfectly defensible. A walking barrage isn’t.
That the Israelis explained the civilian casualty toll by saying the neighborhood’s non-combatant population had been ordered to stay in their homes and were used as human shields by Hamas reinforced the belief among some senior Usaian officers that artillery fire into Shujaiya was indiscriminate. The senior Usaian officer said:
Listen, we know what it’s like to kill civilians in war. Hell, we even put it on the front pages. We call it collateral damage. We absolutely try to minimize it, because we know it turns people against you. (Bullshit, in Iraq you did exactly what you are criticising here – RB). Killing civilians is a sure prescription for defeat. But that’s not what the IDF did in Shujaiya on Jul 21. Human shields? C’mon, just own up to it.
reuters catches up with the captured paras – what is important here is still the half-baked russian “admission”
I went into all this at some length yesterday, and my argument is that Russia has not officially “admitted” that these clowns were really Russian paras at all. What happened was that RIA Novosti got some Foreign Office source to say, “well, if they did cross the border, it was by accident, this sort of thing happens in the opposite direction all the time, and we just send them back without any fuss.” Then RIA Novosti reframed this as an actual admission, ie “Yes they did cross, but it was by accident.” Anyway, read all the stuff I did yesterday, with the comments. I included the four brief videos released by the Ukrainian SBU of these supposed paras “confessing”, but if I manage to find verbatim translations of what they said, I shall run the whole lot again – RB
Captive Russian paratroopers say they didn’t realize they were in Ukraine
Margarita Chornokondratenko, Reuters, Aug 27 2014
KIEV – A group of Russian paratroopers captured by Ukrainian forces said on Wednesday they had embarked on what they believed was a routine training patrol and had not realized they were on Ukrainian territory until their detention. Kiev has accused the servicemen of conducting a “special mission” in support of a separatist pro-Russian insurgency in its eastern regions. Moscow denies the charge, saying the troops had strayed across the border by mistake. Nine of the 10 captured soldiers told a news conference in Kiev they had received very little information before setting off on their patrol and that they had no previous combat experience. The 10th soldier was wounded and is now in hospital. Serviceman Ivan Romantsev, the self-appointed leader of the group, said:
We are not informed at all. We either got lost or not. We were sent there. We didn’t know the way or where we were going.
Sergeant Vladimir Savosteyev, who was sporting a black eye he said was the result of shelling, said:
We understood that we were on Ukraine’s territory when we entered camp, when we were captured and they explained that we were on Ukrainian territory. We went on training like this lots of times. We did the same things. The only difference is they were held in other places.
It was not clear from their answers if their superiors in the Russian military had given them clear orders to cross the border. They were detained on Monday with personal documents and weapons in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s military said more Russian soldiers had entered its territory on Wednesday in a fresh incursion, though the charge could not be immediately verified. The accusation quickly dented any sense of cautious optimism about the situation one day after the presidents of Russia and Ukraine agreed to work towards ending the war. The captured Russian soldiers, who are being held by Ukraine’s security service (SBU), said they had been treated well by their captors and that their views of the months-long conflict had changed after they experienced it for themselves. Romantsev, who together with most of the other paratroopers was dressed in green camouflage fatigues, said:
We saw with our own eyes what is going on here. We were here. We talked to your lads. They talked to us. We realized they are good lads. We understand that what is shown on TV does not correspond to reality. It is war indeed. We are ordinary soldiers and we don’t want to fight. It is the high command that is fighting.
Television news has played a vital role in shaping public perceptions of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where many of the largely Russian-speaking population watch Russian news. Russian media tend to project the Kremlin view that the ousting of Yanukovich in February was the work of a “fascist junta” and that the separatist rebellions are a response to unjust practices and military action by Kiev against Russian speakers. Moscow denies Kiev’s charges that it is sending weapons and fighters to help the separatists in eastern Ukraine. Usaia & Euia have backed Kiev by imposing economic sanctions on Moscow in a standoff that has prompted both Russia and NATO to step up military maneuvers.