The Massacre in Bucha


 


Topics Covered:

  • Russia-Ukraine Update---Bucha

  • Russia Ousted from U.N. Human Rights Council

  • U.S. President Calls Putin War Criminal

  • Global Elections Changing the Geopolitical Landscape

  • What is a 'Dog Whistle?'

  • More Global Elections

  • AUKUS Goes Hypersonic

  • Finland Ready for NATO Membership

  • Sri Lanka Protests

  • North Korea Nuclear Tests

  • DEFCON

  • Nun Kidnapped in Burkina Faso

  • History's Mysteries: The Tale of Cher Ami

 

Russia-Ukraine Update--Bucha:

What is the Russia Ukraine Update?

The news of this week has centered on the atrocities in Bucha, Ukraine. This is where a mass grave site was identified and an estimated 417 civilians killed. Some were murdered execution style, with their hands tied. Who they all were and how exactly they died are questions that remain under investigation as authorities labor to identify the dead.

Where is Bucha in relation to the capital Kyiv?

It is just over 50 km, or over 30 miles, north west of Kyiv.

Didn’t Russia say they were retreating from the Kyiv area?

They sure did. In the process of “retreating,” Russia has been regaining control of the areas surrounding Kyiv. The Russian military is regrouping for another offensive in the area. Civilian lives are suffering as Russia continues their campaign to control the capital city.

 

Russia Ousted from U.N. Human Rights Council:

This has to be a last straw for NATO. What are they doing in regards to this terrible situation?

NATO is still formulating plans for more sanctions. If you are looking for Putin to be tried

for war crimes, that is not in the plans for right now. However, the United States will ask the U.N. General Assembly to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.

Shouldn't that have been done a long time ago?

The United States ambassador to the United Nations and graduate from The Louisiana State University Linda Thomas-Greenfield called Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council a farce. I am one that has believed that same thing for a couple years now. This is a long time coming and I do hope that something comes of this.

Russia is in its second year of a three-year term on the council. The U.N. council cannot make legally binding decisions, but its decisions do send important political messages. It can also authorize investigations against various countries. With Russia sitting on the council, it will be difficult to proceed with any investigation into human rights violations by Russia. After a moment of silence for the deaths of Ukrainian civilians, the Russian Counsellor Evgeny Ustinov said, “We just held a minute of silence, and we do not oppose such a minute of silence. But we hope that all those present here, including the diplomats and U.N. representatives, will finally recall those thousands of people who have been killed and maimed by the authorities in Ukraine. And these are the people in Donbass.”

What would it take to remove Russia from the Human Rights Council?

It takes a 2/3 majority vote to remove a country from the council.

And has this been successfully done before?

Yes. In March 2011, Libya was removed from the Human Rights Council due to the crack down and killing of anti-government protesters by the long standing leader Muammar Ghaddafi. Seven months later, violent protesters killed the Libyan leader. This, in turn, extended an already deadly civil war.


***UPDATE***

Russia has been suspended from the Human Rights Council after a vote by the U.N. general assembly on Thursday, April 7.

 

U.S. President Calls Putin a War Criminal:


You said there would not be a declaration of war crimes against Putin by NATO, but didn’t U.S.President Biden publicly call Putin a war criminal?

This week, President Joe Biden said the killings allegedly committed by Russian forces in Bucha, are in fact a war crime. He called for a trial to take place against Russian President Vladimir Putin. President Biden did caution, "We have to gather the information. We have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue the fight, and we have to get all the details so this can be an actual -- war crime trial."

Additional sanctions are being discussed. Also, an inquiry into possible genocide in Ukraine is underway. Genocide is a term Ukrainian president Zelensky has used in reference to the atrocities currently happening in Ukraine. However, the U.S. and NATO have been clear they have yet to identify genocidal actions in the country.

 

Global Elections Changing the Geopolitical Landscape:


Can you explain how global elections are changing the geopolitical landscape?

Multiple elections around the globe are changing geopolitics while the world is on the cusp of WWIII.

Let me start in Hungary--a country straddling the fence during the Russo-Ukraine war.


Hungary’s nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orban, has won a fourth term in office with his party receiving 56% of the vote. That is an 18 percent lead over the next highest candidate, Peter Marki-Zay’s opposition alliance.

Orban said he had prevailed against a slew of enemies from “the left at home (in Hungary), the international left all around the world, the Brussels bureaucrats, the Soros empire with all its money, the international mainstream media, and in the end, even the Ukrainian president.”


This victory statement is seen outside of the region as an anti-Semitic dog whistle.

 

What is a 'Dog Whistle?":

For those listening who may not know, what is a dog whistle?

In politics, a dog whistle is the use of coded or suggestive language in political messaging to garner support from a particular group without provoking opposition. Much like a dog whistle is normally undetected by the human ear, an anti-Semitic dog whistle uses language that appears normal to the majority but communicates specific things to intended audiences.

What are the anti-Semitic dog whistles in the statement from Orban?

First, the statement on George Soros’s empire with all its money is an anti-Semitic trope that Jews control all the world finances and are an enemy to the common folk. The other is that he called the Ukrainian president, who is Jewish, an enemy of Orban’s party in Hungary.

 

More Global Elections:


What other elections are changing the geopolitical landscape?

Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan survived an attempt to oust him this week. This was after a no confidence vote was blocked in Parliament by the deputy speaker.

Pakistan's main opposition parties have been rallying for Khan's dismissal since he rose to power in 2018. The election was dramatic and mired in accusations of vote rigging and foul play.

Khan has requested an early election to retain his seat as prime minister of Pakistan. No Pakistani leader has completed a full five-year term as prime minister since the country's formation in 1947. There are now concerns Khan's move to call an early election could risk further political instability in the South Asian nation.

Any other country going through destabilizing elections?

There could be one soon in France. With just days to go before the election, Emmanuel Macron is facing a tough test from rival Marine Le Pen, suggesting the vote could be much closer than the last time the pair went head-to-head in 2017.

France has not reelected a sitting president for 20 years. With the conflict in Ukraine fueling a cost of living crisis, French voters are focusing more on security. Unfortunately for Macron, he has been viewed as a failure in his attempt at preventing war in Europe.

The rival Marine Le Pen, has been synonymous with the French far-right for much of the past decade. She has been photographed multiple times meeting with Putin during the 2017 elections. However, she's put French cost of living at the front of her platform. She is promising measures that would put, she claims, hundreds of Euros back in the pockets of each household. She also pledged to lift sales tax on 100s of household goods.

How do the polls look in that election?

France has a two-tiered election process. The first round of voting will occur on Sunday, and if no candidate wins a majority of votes (50% or more of the popular vote) the top candidates move into a runoff. In 2017, Macron defeated Le Pen 66.06% to 33.94%. This year appears to be a much closer race. Most political pundits believe Macron will win another 5 year term as president of France.

 

AUKUS Goes Hypersonic:


Speaking of France, it seems as if AUKUS is back in the news--which France has opposed. What is the update there?

News out of the Australian, U.K., and U.S. alliance is that there is work on hypersonic missiles between the three nations.

The Pentagon’s 2023 budget request already includes $4.7 billion for research and development of hypersonic weapons. It includes planning that would have a hypersonic missile battery fielded by next year, a sea-based missile by 2025, and an air-based cruise missile by 2027.

Australia stated the development of hypersonic missiles fit with their strategic plan released two years ago to enhance its military’s long-range strike capabilities. All three locations would be strategic in the event WWIII breaks out with Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea possibly teaming up to employ hypersonic missiles.


It sounds like these nations are finally being proactive in securing their countries against possible attacks.

It certainly does and it make sense after Russia used their arsenal of hypersonics in Ukraine.

 

Finland Ready for NATO Membership:


What is Finland doing in regards to NATO?

Finland's government is expected to submit a national security analysis to the country’s parliament this month. This would lead to Finland’s membership in the NATO alliance.

Would NATO accept their membership?

NATO allies stated they would welcome Finland and Sweden into the alliance if those countries decided to join.

What do the people of Finland think about joining NATO?

Public support for Finland’s NATO membership stood at 60 percent in March. This is a 34 percent increase since the fall of last year. Putin has definitely miscalculated the resolve of the people of the region, and his dream of a NATO-free Europe is being ruined by his own actions. The Finnish president has warned that applying for NATO membership would carry a “major risk” of escalation in Europe so we will keep an eye on that situation.

 

Sri Lanka Protests:

What is going on in Sri Lanka?

Protests are raging in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. They accuse the government of mismanaging the economy and producing an economic crisis with severe inflation, daily blackouts, and a shortage of fuel and essential items.

This week, Sri Lanka's President revoked a state of emergency after dozens of lawmakers walked out. This left his government in a minority in parliament. This could lead to a snap election that would oust the president’s brother-- who is currently prime minister of Sri Lanka.

The recent economic crisis has affected Sri Lanka’s global standing as it has temporarily closed its embassies in Oslo, Norway, and Baghdad, Iraq. the consulate general in Sydney, Australia, was also closed.

 

North Korean Nuclear Tests:


What else is happening in Asia?

According to analysts, North Korea is beginning underground nuclear weapons tests.

That seems like a huge geopolitical red flag.

It certainly is. South Korea is definitely taking notice. South Korea’s defense minister said his country may launch a preemptive strike on their northern neighbors due to increased activity at underground nuclear sites in North Korea.

How is that going over in North Korea?

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said, "The senseless and scum-like guy dare mention a ‘preemptive strike’ at a nuclear weapons state," and also warned South Korea could be subject to retaliation. Pak Jong Chon, an official within the North Korean government, warned that any slight misjudgment or ill statement against North Korea could result in "a dangerous conflict and a full-blown war."

 

DEFCON:

Is the U.S. reevaluating where we stand on the DEFCON scale?

The U.S. government does not officially post where we stand in the DEFCON warning system. However, the private intelligence organization “DEFCON WARNING SYSTEM” has moved from yellow to blue. This means there is a decreased likelihood of nuclear war. They do, however, caution that events occurring in the world require closer monitoring. It’ll be interesting to see what changes are made to the system if North Korea does go forward with underground nuclear tests.

 

Nun Kidnapped in Burkina Faso:


You mentioned a kidnapping in Burkina Faso. What can you tell us about that? Burkina Faso is dealing with two huge news stories this week. First, the country’s courts sentenced former President Blaise Compaoré to life imprisonment for the murder of his predecessor. Two others were also handed life sentences. Those individuals are Gilbert Diendéré (The leader of the 2015 coup.) and Hyacinthe Kafando (Leader of Compaoré’s Guards during the coup.).

The other situation is the kidnapping of an 83-year-old American nun in northern Burkina Faso. Sister Suellen Tennyson was taken to an unknown destination by her kidnappers. The U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso said in a statement that it was aware of reports of a U.S. citizen going missing and was working diligently with local authorities to verify these reports.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family. We hope for a swift release of Sister Suellen.

Yes. And we will keep all of you updated as we get more reports out of Burkina Faso.

 

History's Mysteries: The Tale of Cher Ami:

This week we will discuss the life of Cher Ami, which translates to 'Dear Friend.' He is famous for delivering a message from an encircled battalion despite serious injuries during the Meuse- Argonne offensive in October of 1918.

Cher Ami was a registered Black Check cock carrier pigeon. He was one of 600 birds owned and flown by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I. On October 3, 1918, Major Charles White Whittlesey and more than 550 men were trapped in a small depression on the side of the hill behind enemy lines without food or ammunition. They were also beginning to receive friendly fire from Allied troops who did not know their location. Surrounded by the Germans, many were killed and wounded. Only 194 men were still alive and not captured or wounded by the end of the engagement.

Due to previous messengers being killed or captured by German forces, Whittlesey began dispatching messages by pigeon. "Cher Ami" was dispatched with a note, written on onion paper, in a canister on his right leg. The note spoke of the location of the remaining fighters and held a plea for the allies to stop firing in their direction.

As Cher Ami flew back home, the Germans saw him and opened fire. After several seconds, he was shot down but managed to take flight again. He arrived back at division headquarters after flying 25 miles in just 25 minutes.He helped to save the lives of the 194 survivors. He had been shot through the breast, blinded in one eye, and had a leg hanging only by a tendon.

Cher Ami became the hero of the 77th Infantry Division. Army medics worked to save his life. When he recovered enough to travel, the now one-legged bird was put on a boat to the United States. Cher Ami was awarded the Croix de Guerre Medal with a palm Oak Leaf Cluster for his heroic service in delivering 12 important messages in Verdun. He died at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, on June 13, 1919, from the wounds he received in battle.

He is one of the first recipients of the Animals in War & Peace Medal of Bravery, that was awarded in 2019 for his bravery in battle.

 

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