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By John Helmer, Moscow

In a single strike with a new naval weapon on Friday (lead image, left)  Russian forces have stopped the French plan to deliver tanks to the Ukrainian battlefront; triggered the replacement of Moldova’s prime minister; and tightened the siege on Odessa, accelerating the choice the city residents will make between Kiev  and Moscow.  

“The time has come for me to announce my resignation”, Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita (centre) said in Chisinau, the Moldovan capital, explaining that she had been unable to “manage so many crises caused by Russian aggression”.  

At almost the same time, over the Bering Sea off the Alaska coast, the White House and Pentagon announced that US fighter jets had shot down a small, unarmed object in the sky. The shoot-down, they said, followed after land, sea and aerospace defences had failed to identify the target after tracking it for 24 hours. “We have no further details about the object at this time,” US Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press briefer, revealed, “including any description of its capabilities, purpose, or origin.  The object was about the size of a small car.”  

The news of the two military operations and their strategic significance are analyzed in the first broadcast of “War of the Worlds”, the new TNT Radio show (right) by George Eliason and John Helmer.

“We know now”, Orson Welles began his radio broadcast  on October 10, 1938, “in the early years of the twentieth century, this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man’s… Across an immense imperial gulf, intellects —  vast, cool, unsympathetic — regarded this earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.”

Source: https://www.youtube.com/  
Orson Welles added “imperial” to his script, changing the original words and date of the attack from the book by H.G.Wells, who had written and published his story between 1895 and 1897.

That was the script for the original broadcast of “War of the Worlds”, which aired on US radio on October 10, 1938, triggering audience panic. Orson Welles, and forty years before him, H.G.Wells, the story’s author, weren’t talking about the Germans who invaded Poland a year later, on their way to attack the Soviet Union and start World War II.

The imperial gulf in their script wasn’t the one between Europe and the US Government which is being fought over today on the Ukrainian battlefield, and in Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, which President Joseph Biden will visit in a few days’ time.  

The intelligences Welles revealed weren’t Biden’s, or the Pentagon’s, or the Germans and Poles.  In that original story,  the war was started by aliens from the planet Mars. In the version of the war which these earthlings have launched against Russia in Europe and China in Asia, the intelligences are theirs – and in this new weekly broadcast they will be watched closely, then analyzed on air. Click to listen to the first episode here.  

Source: https://tntradiolive.podbean.com/

The military, political and strategic significance of the Zatoka bridge as NATO’s supply route to the eastern front of the Ukrainian forces has become clear since the first demolition attack last April.  The US propaganda platform Bloomberg revealed the bridge’s military role last May, when road and rail hubs in the area were hit.

Bloomberg map and labelling. Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/

Strikes against the rail lines in the vicinity were recorded in July  and in August.  Russian targeting of the Ukrainian rail network was analyzed last December by a Russian source here.   With each one of these operations, Moscow was sending a warning to Romania, Moldova, France and NATO that if they escalated and attempted to join the Ukrainian battlefield with their weapons, military experts and advisers, running the gauntlet of the Zatoka bridge, they would be attacked.

NATO escalation followed. Romania has been showing off its French tanks, Israeli drones, and US HIMARS missile batteries since last December;  it is paying at least $6 billion for the new military equipment, spending 2.3% of its Gross Domestic Product on defence – a higher proportion than any other NATO member state except the US.

French AMX armoured fighting vehicles and Le Clerc tanks flying French and NATO flags on “exercise” in Romania in the last week of January. These weapons remain on Romanian territory. Sources: https://valahia.news/ and https://www.shutterstock.com/and https://english.mapn.ro

The escalation of NATOs warfighting weapons and operational plans in Romania during January put pressure on the Moldovan government next door, and the country’s Prime Minister Gavrilita, to allow the transit of these weapons across Moldovan territory and into the Ukraine, via the Zatoka bridge. Between Smardan, on the Romanian side of the border with Moldova, and Zatoka is a road distance of just over 300 kilometres. Smardan is the location of the French and Romanian “exercises” last month. 

Source: https://www.google.com/maps/

The pressure proved too much for Gavrilita who, though pro-NATO personally and willing to agree to the transit herself, was afraid that public and political opposition among Moldovans might block the roads, triggering countrywide protests and visible resistance to Moldova’s joining the war against Russia. The US, French, and NATO reaction was to replace Gavrilita with Dorin Recean. US university-educated like the Romanian President, Maia Sandu. Recean has been paid a US salary for many years,  As Recean  substituted for Gavrilita and took office in Chisinau, the Russian General Staff delivered its warning to him at Zatoka. That wasn’t the only Russian military warning Recean was given that day.  

Gavrilita’s exit statement revealed her reluctance to continue in office. She repeated to the Financial Times of London her personal anti-Russian line and her fear of pro-Russian sentiment among Moldovan voters. “If the government had the same support at home, we would have progressed faster,” she said. To the newspaper she added that “Moldova was being subjected to hybrid warfare by Russia, including disinformation, cyber attacks and influence operations.” .  The Japanese-owned propaganda organ against both Russia and China omitted to report the French and US military deployments in Romania, the Russian operation at Zatoka, and the Ukraine supply operation in Moldova.  

The Romanian government has now indicated its nervousness, announcing that no Russian missile had entered its airspace last week after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed that it had.  

Follow George Eliason’s report of evidence on the British and Ukrainian planning for undersea operations against Russian targets, including Nord Stream, in the broadcast. Here is ex-British Prime Minister Elizabeth Truss’s tweet, sixty seconds after the Nord Stream explosions were set off.

 Source: https://www.youtube.com/

For more on the Seymour Hersh story, and background to George’s report, click to read this.  For additional analysis and corrections of Hersh’s claims, and of those by Matt Taibbi and London reporters John Pilger and Craig Murray, read this.  

The record of the US and Canadian air defence and military performance in the first action against the Chinese balloon, was analyzed here.  

The second episode, on Friday February 10, was reported at the White House and Pentagon briefings that day.  “We have no further details about the object at this time, including any description of its capabilities, purpose, or origin.  The object was about the size of a small car, so not similar in size or shape to the high altitude surveillance balloon that was taken down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4.”

Source: https://www.defense.gov/
Ryder “note[d] some of the object’s characteristics. For example, he said the object did not have the capability to navigate itself and was subject to the direction of wind gusts and other atmospheric factors.”  

Just after the TNT broadcast went to air, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced by two tweets  that he and Biden had spoken by telephone,  and that Elmendorf airbase fighter aircraft had then shot down a third object, this one over Canadian territory in the Yukon.  No casualties on the ground have been reported so far. Neither Trudeau nor the White House and Pentagon has allowed press questions about the latest incident.

Source: https://twitter.com/JustinTrudeau/

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is silent on what has happened.   “We don’t know a lot right now”, US television network NBC revealed, reporting Trudeau’s tweets.    

The Pentagon then followed with this statement.  “Following a call between the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States, President Biden authorized U.S. fighter aircraft assigned to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to work with Canada to take down a high-altitude airborne object over northern Canada today. NORAD detected the object over Alaska late Friday evening.  Two F-22 aircraft from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska monitored the object over U.S. airspace with the assistance of Alaska Air National Guard refueling aircraft, tracking it closely and taking time to characterize the nature of the object.  Monitoring continued today as the object crossed into Canadian airspace, with Canadian CF-18 and CP-140 aircraft joining the formation to further assess the object.  A U.S. F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory using an AIM 9X missile following close coordination between U.S. and Canadian authorities, to include a call today between Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Minister of Defence Anita Anand. As Canadian authorities conduct recovery operations to help our countries learn more about the object, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be working closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”

The Canadian state media have reported their officials as admitting they had been tracking a “small cylindrical object” for at least twenty-fours  before it was destroyed by a missile several metres larger than its target.  “Defence Minister Anita Anand said in a news conference the ‘small, cylindrical object’ was about 40,000 feet (around 12.2 kilometres) above ground and downed — due to possible risks to civilian aviation — at around 3:40 p.m. ET about 100 miles (around 161 kilometres) from the U.S. border in central Yukon. A senior government source with direct knowledge of the situation told CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] News that the Canadian government was first alerted to the object Friday night when it was still travelling through Alaska. The source added the object crossed into Yukon on Saturday morning and Trudeau ordered the shoot down by whichever country arrived at it first.”

US officials had been claiming for a week that the reason they had not shot the Chinese balloon down for the week of its flight across Canadian and US territory was that they did not want to risk hitting civilians on the ground.  According to this latest Canadian claim, Trudeau lacked Biden’s qualms. “ ‘I want to assure Yukoners that at no time was the safety of Yukoners at risk,’ Ranj Pillai, the territory’s premier, said in a statement. ‘I also want to commend the prime minister for taking decisive action to protect Yukoners and all Canadians.’ While Trudeau described the object as ‘unidentified,’ Maj. Olivier Gallant, a NORAD spokesperson, told The Associated Press that the military had determined what it was but would not reveal details.”

The NORAD source can be read in the AP report here.  

By keeping top secret US and Canadian intelligence on what the object was,  the Canadian prime minister, Yukon premier, and US officials have kept themselves politically safe from the evidence that they have lost the capability to distinguish in the sky between hostile and harmless threats to their countries.

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