TOC Ready Room 24 August 2022: Notes on the Boxes of Mar-a-Lago; the end of an old order continues

What’s wrong and right with the world.

The big news from the last 48 hours is that the Biden White House actually did know in advance of the Mar-a-Lago raid, and in fact had been involved in the issue of the documents held at Mar-a-Lago since at least April of 2022 (and probably earlier).  So the original claim that the Biden White House didn’t know about it was false.

That point has been gone over vigorously since it came out Monday night.  But the latest information on the Mar-a-Lago/classified information dust-up also confirms my previous discussion of the classification issue (and here).

In addition to that discussion, I offer as preparation an excellent 7-odd minutes with Megyn Kelly and former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright, which packages a pretty comprehensive overview of the things that matter. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 24 August 2022: Notes on the Boxes of Mar-a-Lago; the end of an old order continues”

TOC Ready Room 22 July 2022: Biden returns from MidEast, with prejudice; CNN v. Bannon; Bonus tag

What’s wrong and right with the world.

We’re on deck with a full-up Ready Room today, after a relatively extended blogging hiatus.  Strap in for some serious (if selective) situational awareness.

Biden’s Middle East adventure

It turns out to be a good thing I didn’t get the segment on President Biden’s Middle East trip posted on Sunday, as originally planned.  Quite a bit has ensued since Sunday, all of it fallout from the essential failure of Biden’s junket, and the fallout is significant.  It’s what needs to be highlighted up front.

Here’s the short list of fallout items.  We’ll look at a few implications with each topic.

On Sunday, a senior Iranian official made a rare statement about nuclear weapons, and baldly averred that Iran is capable of producing them. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 22 July 2022: Biden returns from MidEast, with prejudice; CNN v. Bannon; Bonus tag”

U.S. renders forensic opinion on Abu Akleh shooting

What would be a better answer.

As an Independence Day treat, the U.S. State Department on Monday announced its conclusions on the shooting of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin in May 2022.

It was reported earlier this weekend that the Palestinian Authority turned over to the U.S. a bullet the PA has said it recovered from Abu Akleh’s body after her death.  Israeli media said afterward that the bullet was then turned over to Israeli authorities for analysis, with U.S. personnel present throughout the process.

Other reporting contradicted that assertion, Continue reading “U.S. renders forensic opinion on Abu Akleh shooting”

TOC Ready Room 9 April 2022: Russia-Ukraine, Adieu mon status quo; Echoes of info ops dance in our heads

What’s wrong and right with the world.

The first order of business in the Ready Room is the state of the status quo six-odd weeks into the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Per our RR convention, this won’t be an in-depth look.  But it’s important to point out that the status quo has already changed, in ways that are likely to be irreversible, and that have been flying under the radar up to now.

I think a lot of people realize this is happening, even if they can’t readily think what the specific details are.  Only one border has been breached so far, after all.  NATO hasn’t been drawn into “World War III.”  How bad can it be?

We’ve looked at one detail already:  the immediate failure of NATO’s missile defense linchpin. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 9 April 2022: Russia-Ukraine, Adieu mon status quo; Echoes of info ops dance in our heads”

TOC Ready Room 24 Feb 2022: Putin in Ukraine, “C’mon man” Thursday edition

C’mon man.

We now proceed to wait-and-see mode on practically everything, as the intelligence coming out of the combat theater will be uniformly unreliable at this point.  We can at least say with some confidence that Kyiv has not fallen, and it doesn’t appear that Russia has established full control of the Odessa environs, much less the entire southern coast.

Various unrealistic claims have been made about the number of Russian weapon systems destroyed, shot down, etc. by the Ukrainian armed forces, and there’s no point in overloading on salt to go with them.  I wouldn’t assert that the Ukrainian defense minister is deliberately lying, but the chaos of combat is probably clouding the vision of battle damage assessors.  Some of the numbers don’t seem to add up because there’s been no evidence of the kind of combat that would produce such losses – but there are big chunks of Ukraine into which we have little visibility, at least in real time.

As others have mentioned, watching activity around Lviv, in the west, will be informative. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 24 Feb 2022: Putin in Ukraine, “C’mon man” Thursday edition”