Developing. We are publishing this article as it is being written. Please check back for updates.
To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.
1) Anton Troianovski and Julian E. Barnes, “Russia’s War Has Been Brutal, but Putin Has Shown Some Restraint. Why?; Western officials are debating the Kremlin’s calculations in not trying harder to halt weapons shipments in Ukraine. Analysts wonder whether a bigger mobilization by Moscow is on the horizon,” New York Times, May 3, 2022 (Updated 11:14 a.m. ET);
2) David Ignatius, “Russia is losing on the electronic battlefield,” Washington Post, May 3, 2022 (6:42 p.m. EDT);1)
3) Roland Nelles (Washington), “Amerikas beste Kriegshilfe; Bei den militärischen Erfolgen der Ukrainer gegen die Russen spielen im Hintergrund die US-Nachrichtendienste eine wichtige Rolle. In diesem Fall erweist sich ihre Datensammelwut als Segen, Der Spiegel, den 1. Mai 202l2 (21:12 Uhr);
4) Abigail Hauslohner, Dan Lamothe and Hannah Allam, “Kremlin is targeting Ukraine resupply infrastructure, officials say,” Washington Post, May 4, 2022 “(7:41 pm EDT);
5) Julian E. Barnes, Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt, “U.S. Intelligence Is Helping Ukraine Kill Russian Generals, Officials Say,” New York Times, May 4, 2022, (7:40 p.m. ET).
The need for coordinated military censorship among the NATO countries
While the information in the article by Troianovski and Barnes is very informative to readers in the U.S. and NATO countries, it raises serious questions as to whether it should have ever been published.
What is the military objective in pointing out to the Russians what more they could be doing to defeat Ukraine and counter NATO?
This type of article will be used by advocates within the Russian military who favor taking more forceful action.
On May 3, almost as in response to the article, Russian forces carried out intensive strikes against Ukrainian railroad infrastructure.
Similarly, the detailed information provided by Roland Nelles in Der Spiegel on how American agencies are providing real- time military intelligence to Ukrainians in battle situations is interesting to readers in the U.S. and NATO countries, and goes far to allay fears that they were not doing enough.
But what is the military objective that is furthered by releasing this information publicly, so that the Russians can see it, and perhaps respond to it.
Why should Troianovski and Barnes be allowed to suggest to Russian military planners even stronger actions against Ukraine and the West that they might undertake?
Why should Germany allow the publication by Der Spiegel of an article which lays out in detail the kind of real-time military intelligence the U.S. has been providing to the Ukrainian military?
Why should the U.S. allow David Ignatius to publish highly sensitive information on the conduct of Electronic Warfare by the U.S. and Ukraine, and the critical nature of the help the U.S. has provided?
Moreover, for months we have watched retired generals on cable news networks, standing next to a screen displaying information about the location of Russian and Ukrainian forces, discussing what they think the Russians objectives might (should?) be, and the various options Ukrainian forces have to respond to Russian moves.
This is madness! Why should we let the commercial imperatives of our TV news channels lead to competition among retired generals for the best analysis of the best military moves by Russia or Ukraine?
There appears to be a great deal of naiveté involved here, and some gross underestimation of the abilities of Russian intelligence to secure military benefits from such revelations, wholly aside from the issue of whether such revelations might lead Putin to decide NATO is already engaged in the military conflict, and that he should react accordingly?
This laissez-faire approach to the reporting of militarily sensitive information is dangerous, and should be stopped as soon as possible.
There is an urgent need to establish some form of censorship of articles that might disclose militarily sensitive information to the Russians.
Military censorship will need to be coordinated among NATO and other countries contributing to the Ukrainian war effort, as the Nelles article in Der Spiegel demonstrates.
Obviously the censorship should not be bureaucratic and should be strictly limited to censoring military information that could be of use to the Russians.
The mechanism could even be largely voluntary on the part of large news organizations, requiring the approval of military censors only of articles that disclose certain categories of information.
A prerequisite for effective action to censor and prevent the disclosure of sensitive military information could be a recognition by the highest officials in the U.S. and NATO that we are, in effect, at war with Russia, and that we are likely to be at war for a long time. It may be an economic war for the moment, but we are furnishing munitions to the Ukrainians that are killing Russian soldiers.
We are in a real war.
The sooner we recognize that fact, the better off we will be.
And the sooner we establish the kind of minimal military censorship necessary to avoid prejudicing the war effort by allowing the publication of militarily sensitive information the better off we will be.
The Trenchant Observer
Only force can stop Putin
“Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2022.