You have to go 14 paragraphs into the piece (that’s 14) before you get to this:
In a video seen by The Post, the man who the member said is OG stands at a shooting range, wearing safety glasses and ear coverings and holding a large rifle. He yells a series of racial and antisemitic slurs into the camera, then fires several rounds at a target.
Oh, he just happens to be racist and antisemitic? How charis-f--king-matic! You can just feel that mutual love! You’ll have to guess what kind of memes and offensive jokes OG’s online community was sharing. No, seriously. You’ll have to guess, because the Post just glosses right over that while talking about how all these poor folks were feeling like the pandemic was keeping them away from “their real friends.”
Seriously, this cloyingly sweet take on an online group that seems to have been centered on violence and racism and a guy who joins that group to share information in an effort to be deliberately harmful to both the U.S. and Ukraine is incomprehensible. The Proud Boys should get on the horn to The Washington Post—they need this kind of gleeful whitewashing.
Oh yeah, the name of this friendly group of God-loving guys doesn’t make it until near the end of the article. They called themselves “Thug Shaker Central.” Jesus would surely approve. We’re also reassured that OG “is not a Russian operative.” And, oh yeah, the Discord channel on which OG served up classified documents about the positions of Ukrainian forces and inside information on Ukrainian assets was called “Bear vs. Pig.”
If all this wasn’t enough, the article also adds the spice of neck-snapping contradiction:
The documents were another lesson for younger members in how OG thought the world really worked. The member said OG wasn’t hostile to the U.S. government, and he insisted that he was not working on behalf of any country’s interests … But OG had a dark view of the government. The young member said he spoke of the United States, and particularly law enforcement and the intelligence community, as a sinister force that sought to suppress its citizens and keep them in the dark. He ranted about “government overreach.”
What you can learn from this article appears to be three things:
- The person who posted the images of classified information from February apparently worked on a military base, liked big guns, and liked to film himself shooting those guns when spraying racist and antisemitic statements. He also viewed the U.S. government as a “dark” and “sinister” force.
- He joined an online community filled with guys who also liked to talk about how they loved God and guns while making racist and antisemitic statements. Which might otherwise be known as a collection of white Christofascists with violent fantasies.
- Even though he shared dozens of highly classified documents with that community over a period of years, and went out of his way to prove that these documents were real, and some of the members of that community recognized they were real, none of them bothered to do a damn thing about it.
If I’ve ever read an article that worked this hard to be kind to subjects involved, I can’t recall it. And I’ve spent seven years watching the media write about Donald Trump. This article … this is something. Though I can’t really say what. Here’s a little section from the middle:
The member met OG about four years ago, on a different server for fans of Oxide, a popular YouTuber who streams videos about guns, body armor and military hardware. He said a group of avid members found the server too crowded and wanted a quieter place to talk about video game tactics, so they broke off into their own, small group.
The Post doesn’t seem to challenge this idea, or follow up. Want to make a bet about why this group really decided they needed some alone space? Might it have something to do with the “memes, offensive jokes and idle chitchat” they wanted to share?
In any case … there you go. The Washington Post says the leaker was a fit, strong, charismatic young man who joined a God-loving community for companionship and tried to protect them from darkness and give some insight into the overreaching, sinister government by sharing a few dozen highly classified documents about how America was doing too much for hopeless Ukrainian pigs.
One other note on the leaker. CNN reports that President Joe Biden says the intelligence community is closing in. “There’s a full-blown investigation going on, as you know,” said Biden. “The intelligence community and the Justice Department. And they’re getting close.”
If “OG” is the leaker, he apparently helped out by posting several videos of his own apartment. Multiple articles are out this morning discussing how the intelligence community is once again tightening the screws and the military is further restricting access to information—steps that could make it more difficult to plan future actions.
Meanwhile, Ukraine says they’re not seriously harmed by any of the information released. Mostly because they didn’t trust U.S. security in the first place.
Decapitation video attributed to Wagner Group
On Wednesday evening, commentators on Russian state media claimed that the grotesque video of a Ukrainian prisoner being decapitated using a knife showed members of the Wagner Group mercenaries rather than regular Russian military. At first glance, this might be considered just the Russian military taking this opportunity to lob this disgusting crime over the wall to Wagner, especially since Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin is now reportedly investigating running for office in a party that is not the Vladimir Putin-favored “United Russia.”
However, CNN reports that there is another video that is circulating on Telegram (which I, fortunately, did not come across) that “appears to show the beheaded corpses of two Ukrainian soldiers lying on the ground next to a destroyed military vehicle.”
On the video, a Russian voice can be heard saying (translated): “They killed them. Someone came up to them. They came up to them and cut their heads off.”
This video was supposedly shot near Bakhmut, and is also attributed to members of Wagner Group. It’s also not dissimilar to actions that Wagner Group took in Syria. All of which makes it seem as if Wagner Group may be behind what has to be one of the more graphic displays of barbarity many of those unfortunate enough to watch the video have ever witnessed.
But it’s not as if their attitudes toward Ukrainians is unique.
“They don’t get the New Testament ethics, they get the Old Testament. A prophet personally cut the throats of 300 servants. These should be dealt within the same manner. They need to be liquidated without having second thoughts.”
This, according to this priest, is “wholly Christian.” Because, just like those people in the Discord group, he really loves God.
Though this appeared in comments yesterday, I’m adding it again here.
When do the tanks arrive?
When it comes to Leopard 2 and Challenger 2 tanks, the answer is: They’re already there. First groups of both tanks are already in Ukraine, as are crews who have been training in the U.K. and Poland.
But what about this …
The U.S. has taken steps recently to accelerate the arrival of Abrams M1A2 tanks for Ukraine, and just yesterday the Ukrainian minister of defense indicated that the U.S. intends to send more Abrams and more Bradleys than have been currently announced. However, all that said, it’s likely way too early to get excited about images of unmarked Abrams being moved around Germany.
According to the U.S. Defense Department, no Ukrainian troops have been trained to operate the Abrams. That statement doesn’t elaborate, but it’s also unlikely that any Ukrainian mechanics have been trained in how to maintain the tank, and drivers of all the supporting vehicles haven’t been trained, and clerks haven’t been walked through the logistics needed to support operation or maintenance of these tanks in the field.
The tanks moving around Germany may actually be those slated to go to Ukraine. However, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be on the front lines next week—not unless “OG” missed a big one while he was handing out secret information by the truckload.
If Ukraine is going to start a counteroffensive in the next few weeks, it will happen without the M1A2.
Two videos from Bakhmut
Russia is moving into the center of the city in force, with more armor supported by artillery across the river in the eastern part of the city. Russia sources are again claiming that “Bakhmut has fallen” and in fact, things do not look good. Remaining Ukrainian forces are grouped together in an area at the west of the city, but Russia still appears to be moving forward.
Still, Ukrainian troops are in the city. Are still holding positions. Are still moving and acting with a level of composure that seems almost superhuman. Bakhmut is not gone yet, and all we can hope is that the Ukrainian military is right when it says their sacrifice in the city is worth it.
One thing you might notice: The ground these guys are walking over looks pretty dry. After some rain in the next 24 hours, it looks like Bakhmut will have dry weather for at least the next week. Considering that dirt roads are serving an elevated role in moving people in (or out) of the city, that could help lend Ukrainian forces some much-needed flexibility over the near term.
Heck, let’s make it three videos. After the stories this morning, I need this.
The biggest thing on Russian media today—both state media and social media—isn’t either the leaked documents or the beheading. It’s Donald Trump. Trump’s Putin-praising interview on Fox, in which he appears to blame the U.S. for the invasion of Ukraine and the destruction of the Nordstream pipelines, is running on Russian state media with the regularity of Taylor Swift on the average music streaming service.
Just like the beheading videos, I’m not going to show it here.