While we run through the normal portions of our update, I really want to focus on something tangential, but related tonight. Specifically, the effect of the Starlink Snowflake destroying Twitter on the Ukrainian’s efforts to defend themselves against Putin’s re-invasion, others attempts to free themselves from tyranny and oppression, and just everyday people trying to survive natural disasters. We’ll get to most of that after the jump, but first let’s start with a quick update from Iran:
Astonishing scenes from #Iran. Protesters have burned down the house of Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s founder.
The house has been a museum for the past 30 years. This is an attack in the essence of the republic itself. pic.twitter.com/Qtk5jr5AR6
— David Patrikarakos (@dpatrikarakos) November 18, 2022
Well now it’s a party!
The BBC has the details:
Protesters in Iran have set fire to the ancestral home of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Images posted on social media show part of the structure in the city of Khomein being set ablaze.
News agencies have verified the videos’ location, but regional authorities denied there had been an arson attack.
Ayatollah Khomeini is said to have been born in the house, which is now a museum that commemorates his life.
The fire at his ancestral house is one of the latest incidents in a wave of nationwide demonstrations directed at his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his government.
The protests against Iran’s clerical establishment erupted two months ago after the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was detained by morality police for allegedly breaking the strict hijab rules.
Five members of the security forces were killed in the latest unrest on Thursday, according to Iranian state media.
Meanwhile, funerals for young Iranians said to have been killed by security forces sparked fresh demonstrations on Friday.
Crowds chanting “death to Ali Khamenei” gathered in the south-western city of Izeh for the funeral of a nine-year-old boy, Kian Pirfalak, who was shot dead by security forces, according to his family, although officials have denied this.
More at the link!
Here is President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier today. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
Good health to you, fellow Ukrainians!
All day long, the energy staff worked to restore the normal technical possibility of electricity supply, as a result today there are already significantly fewer emergency shutdowns.
As of the evening, in most regions where shutdowns continue, stabilization hourly schedules were in effect. Emergency shutdowns were used to a greater extent in the Odesa region and Kyiv.
The difficult situation with energy supply persists in a total of 17 regions and in the capital. Kyiv region and Kyiv, it’s very difficult in the Odesa region, and also the Vinnytsia region and Ternopil region.
Special “Points of Invincibility” were opened in Kherson today. The first two points. There will be more.
While electricity is restored in the city, people can charge their phones, stay warm, drink tea and get help. We have provided communication service there, there are “Starlinks”, etc.
We know that it is very difficult for people, because the occupiers destroyed everything before fleeing. But we will connect everything, restore everything.
Vice-President of the European Commission Dombrovskis was in Kyiv today. We talked with him, in particular, about energy. Financial cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union, the financing needs of our country until the end of the year and in the next year were also discussed in detail.
This year, we expect two tranches of macro-financial aid – EUR 2.5 billion in November and EUR 0.5 billion in early December.
We also discussed new sanctions against Russia, which may be introduced at the European level.
I spoke today with the student community of Ireland – a country that supports us fundamentally. Although it is a neutral country militarily, Ireland strongly defends European values and helps us politically and humanitarianly.
I made two requests to the Irish. The first is to promote at the pan-European level the need to strengthen sanctions against Russia. The second is to help us spread the truth about the events in Ukraine and about Russian terror.
I also addressed the participants of the security forum in Halifax, Canada, which is one of the world’s security forums. Once again, I presented the Ukrainian peace formula and invited Canada and our other partners to choose for themselves a component of the peace formula in which they can show their leadership as much as possible.
This is the point of the way we present our proposals for restoring peace.
We have broken them down into elements – what Russian aggression consists of. And we do everything to neutralize each of these elements and to neutralize the aggressor because of it.
Every day, I receive very positive feedback from the world about this approach of ours – major leaders support Ukrainian constructiveness. And I believe that we will be able to implement our peace formula.
The fierce fighting in the Donetsk region continues to this day, there has been no alleviation of hostilities or respite. About a hundred Russian attacks were repelled in the Donetsk region only yesterday. All our warriors who are holding out in Donbas are true heroes.
Today, I would like to pay particular attention to the border guards of the Kharkiv and Sumy detachments, who are currently operating in the Donetsk region. Their mortars help a lot, giving the invaders no rest. Nice job, guys! Thank you!
I also thank the warriors of the 4th operational brigade of the National Guard, which protects Ukraine in the direction of Bakhmut. Smart initiative and persistence are two things that produce extremely useful results.
Nowhere on the frontline do we give in to the enemy. We respond everywhere, we hold positions everywhere. We are preparing future successes in certain areas.
I spoke today with the President of Türkiye Erdoğan. Thanked him for the efforts to extend our grain export initiative.
We also discussed the details of our new humanitarian initiative Grain from Ukraine. I hope that Türkiye will join its implementation.
Of course, attention was paid to both security cooperation and energy situation.
Tomorrow we will have a very active day, not a day off at all. We are expecting news and opportunities for Ukraine. And we are already preparing the appropriate soil for them.
And today I want to say one more thing – congratulations. Congratulations to all sergeants of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on their professional day. Today, many kind words were said both in the army and in society.
Sergeants are truly the people who ensure real unity and understanding between commanders and soldiers. The sergeant corps is the true backbone of the Army, and I thank all of our sergeants who live up to those words.
Thank you to each and everyone who is currently serving in our defense forces!
Thank you to everyone who made the defense of Ukraine a part of their personal destiny!
Glory to our heroes!
Eternal memory and honor to those who gave their lives for the freedom of Ukrainians!
Glory to Ukraine!
Here is former NAVDEVGRU Squadron Leader Chuck Pfarrer’s most recent assessment of the situation in Kherson:
KHERSON AXIS/ 1430 UTC 18 NOV/ RU airstrikes hit Kherson area. UKR air defenses down 5 Shahed-136 UAVs, four RU cruise missiles and two RU guided missiles. UKR Gen’l Staff reports RU airstrike against Antonivka, a location deep in occupied S bank territory. pic.twitter.com/nSSBsfbU2r
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) November 18, 2022
Last night a couple of people emailed and a couple of people texted to ask me what I thought was going on with the Starlink Snowflake and his new toy. My response was that we may be watching a serious psychological breakdown play out in real time, a very bad and extended reaction to any number or combination of drugs, or a combination of both. However, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter as there are only two questions to ask. The first is the age old classic of cui bono/who benefits? The second is that even if we stipulate that the Starlink Snowflake is acting independently for whatever reasons he has, given that what he’s doing is going to make it harder for the Ukrainians to communicate to the world what is going on and their take on it, as well as people protesting tyranny and oppression like the Iranians in the tweet up top.
The only people that benefit from what the Starlink Snowflake are doing are tyrants, autocrats, and authoritarians. Destroying the platform, which is for all its issues and faults, is often the first and quickest way to get the word out about breaking news events – natural or manmade – just makes it harder to get the word out about them. Here are the abstracts from two different research articles on Twitter’s use for crisis communication:
This article examines the use of social media, specifically Twitter, in crisis communications during a natural disaster and how it can provide information, guidance, reassurance and hope to victims while keeping others across the nation and the world apprised of the situation so they can provide assistance, as needed. A case study looks at how the mayor of Houston, Texas, Sylvester Turner, used Twitter during Hurricane Harvey in August and September of 2017. The case study is analyzed using restorative rhetoric theory, revealing the use of Twitter by Mayor Turner to be a strong example of successful restorative rhetoric during a natural disaster. This research affirms the findings of other researchers that the restorative rhetoric stages overlap, and that the theory may be improved with some variation based on crisis type. This research also shows that Mayor Turner’s use of Twitter exemplifies best practices for using social media in crisis communications with very few opportunities for improvement. This article offers suggestions to crisis managers on how to use Twitter to prepare for, communicate during, and go forward following a natural disaster.
Twitter, a popular communications platform, is identified as contributing to improved mortality and morbidity outcomes resulting from the 2013 Hattiesburg, Mississippi EF-4 Tornado. This study describes the methodology by which Twitter was investigated as a potential disaster risk reduction and management tool at the community level and the process by which the at-risk population was identified from the broader Twitter user population. By understanding how various factors contribute to the superspreading of messages, one can better optimize Twitter as an essential communications and risk reduction tool. This study introduces Parts II, III and IV which further define the technological and scientific knowledge base necessary for developing future competency base curriculum and content for Twitter assisted disaster management education and training at the community level.
For good, bad, or otherwise, Twitter has become the default and go to for breaking news. And not just by reporters doing their initial reporting via tweet and thread in order to tease their longer form reporting. It is used to get the word out about crises and disasters, let alone lost pets and people. We’ve seen, and covered it here several times, a spontaneous from the bottom up counter-information warfare operation develop on behalf of Ukraine. By severely hamstringing, if not destroying Twitter, the people that benefit are the same usual suspects we’d list if we were playing: “is the Starlink Snowflake being run by (insert name of authoritarian scumbag here)”.
That’s enough for tonight.
Your daily Patron:
There isn’t a new Patron tweet today, but this should do:
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) November 18, 2022
Here is a new video from Patron’s official TikTok:
The caption machine translates as:
Meet my precious ducklings! As if he didn’t forget anyone🤭 #PatrontheDog #PatronDSNS