It is unusual to appear on Judge Napolitano’s channel two days in a row but recent developments made it necessary. The Judge was unfamiliar with Gonzalo Lira and asked me to explain who he is and what is his current status. I told the Judge that Gonzalo hosted a very popular round table/podcast the specialized in interviewing guest experts and offering up his own analysis. I told the Judge that he is just like Gonzalo, only better looking. That got a big laugh from the Judge.
There has been a lot of uninformed commentary about Gonzalo, with some declaring him as some sort of intelligence asset. That is utter nonsense. No CIA case officer in their right mind would sign up someone like Gonzalo for several reasons. First, he is an American citizen. CIA is prohibited from recruiting U.S. citizens as intelligence assets. Second, Gonzalo’s commentary, analysis and hosted round tables did not in any way advance a U.S. Government position. Just the opposite — he was (and is) a strong critic.
One of my retired CIA buddies — an experienced, accomplished CIA Case Officer — provided me his evaluation of the videos:
The folks are irrationally polarized about Gonzalo. I had to chuckle at some of the conspiracy theories concerning Gonzalo and yourself. No self respecting case officer would handle someone as flamboyant as Gonzalo. The paperwork and ass chewings would be historic. The guy who said he did thousands of investigations reiterated the pitfall most police fall into; pick a suspect and make him guilty. There is a difference between a criminal investigation and a CI investigation. In a CI investigation you have to assume the guy on the other side of the mirror is just as smart as you are.
A few observations:
1. Yes, it looks like Gonzalo gained some weight. That is not unusual for people who are incarcerated. Metabolism slows down from lack of movement. I’ve seen it in others.
2. Gonzalo definitely had a “cave pallor” in the video, probably from not getting sun for three months or so.
3. His motorbike was loaded up, probably with everything he could take with him, indicating that he is bugging out.
4. His description of his beatings in jail were detailed. The bruised chest, the reaction of the cell boss and the apology from the perpetrator, seem too out of norm to be fabricated.
Although Gonzalo was released on bail on July 6, he did not acquire his passports and driver’s license until last week. That is why he did not make any attempt to escape until now. I am concerned now that Gonzalo’s attempt to cross into Hungary was thwarted. I am holding out hope that he discussed the Hungarian option as a diversion and has gone elsewhere. If he does not surface in the next day or two we must assume he was taken back into the custody of Ukrainian authorities.
The drama surrounding Gonzalo’s fate takes place against the growing desperation of Ukraine. Ukraine’s attack on Moscow on two consecutive days with drones had zero military benefit for Kiev. One likely motive for this weak effort is the West’s persistent delusional belief that Putin’s domestic support is wilting and that these types of attacks will galvanize hardliners to oust him. I also believe that Ukraine is hoping these attacks will provoke a Russian response that will compel NATO to intervene militarily on behalf of Ukraine.
This is a fool’s errand and underscores the panic that is taking hold in both Kiev and NATO. We learned from the classified documents leaked from Jack Teixeira’s Discord account that a total of 12 Brigades were trained for this offensive. Normally, a brigade consists of 5,000 soldiers. Just do the math. That means a maximum of 60,000 troops. Based on briefings from Russia’s Defense Ministry, Ukraine has suffered at least 30,000 casualties since the start of the counter-offensive on June 4th. If true this means that 50% of Ukraine’s trained counter offensive soldiers have been eliminated from the battlefield. Minister of Defense Shoigu reported today that Ukraine’s casualties for July alone are 20,000. Those are horrific, catastrophic numbers and Ukraine does not have a ready supply of fresh, trained troops to throw into the battle.
Reuters just came out with a report about the fierce, deadly resistance the Ukrainian troops are encountering from the Russians:
They rode into a kill zone. The timing was off. Many men were lost. In the end, they recaptured the ruined village of Staromaiorske, claiming Ukraine’s biggest advance for weeks.
Troops at the spearhead of Ukraine’s counteroffensive say a battle last week along the front in the southeast proved to be tougher and bloodier than expected, with plans going awry and an enemy that was well-prepared.
“The Russians were waiting for us,” said a 29-year-old soldier using the call-sign Bulat, from a unit sent into battle in armoured vehicles during last week’s assault. . . .
Tales of the battle of Staromaiorske, recounted to Reuters near the frontline in southeastern Ukraine, give an indication of why Kyiv’s boldest counteroffensive of the war, soon entering its third month, has proven a slower and bloodier slog than anticipated. . . .
The Russians have had months to prepare their fortifications and sow minefields. The Ukrainian attackers lack the air superiority that their NATO allies normally expect in their training drills.
The Russian defenders had set up “pre-sighted zones” in anticipation of the attack, said a 24-year-old Ukrainian marine with the call-sign “Dub”.
“They methodically destroyed the roads. They made pits that prevented driving in and out of the village, even in dry weather. Even walking was quite hard. You can’t use flashlights at night, but you still have to advance.”
Why are reporters and Western politicians surprised by this outcome? Yes, Russia spent four months (starting last October) constructing defensive lines under the command of General Surovikin. There were several videos on Telegram reporting on this:
During the entire time these barriers were being erected Ukraine did not make any attempt to attack the construction crews or try to blow gaps in the Dragon’s teeth anti-tank obstacles. Why? Because Ukraine does not have the air assets or long range missiles capable of making a dent in these integrated redoubts, trenches and mine fields. I believe that Western leaders are guilty of war crimes for pressuring the Ukrainians to carry out what are nothing more than suicide missions. Any senior NATO commander with half-a-brain should know that a frontal assault on these defenses without combat air and mobile artillery is doomed from the start.