John Atkinson Grimshaw A moonlit lane 1874
GOP Congresswoman SNAPS after DOJ indicts ANOTHER Biden Whistleblower:
"This can't continue… The American People have to know if Joe Biden was for sale… We're going to get as much evidence as we can so the American People can decide if Joe Biden belongs in PRISON." pic.twitter.com/pC368EDLoF
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) July 11, 2023
“I’m from the Ukraine … there's a large amount of Nazis in the Ukraine, and they actually killed my whole family” — Roseanne Barr
—> Since Obama is black, there can’t be any racism in the US?
Consistent application of the same logic leads to a paradox. pic.twitter.com/vaJnqNeZjQ
— Lord Bebo (@MyLordBebo) July 12, 2023
Our intelligence services have become obsessed with overturning regimes and meddling in the affairs of other countries, rather than just gathering information that can help them protect Americans. In the long term, this strategy does more harm than good for America, and causes… pic.twitter.com/EIcLaWBLfh
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) July 12, 2023
One of these things…
— Brock Riddick (@BrockRiddickIFB) July 12, 2023
“The price is not a secret: a Ukraine cleared of Ukrainians by Western weapons but with enough population left to serve NATO troops.”
The price of security guarantees from the Group of Seven (G7) is a Ukraine cleared of Ukrainians by Western weapons, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday. Earlier, Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov expressed concern over the G7’s security guarantees, saying that “Kiev will not believe in them until it finds out what their price is.” “The price is not a secret: a Ukraine cleared of Ukrainians by Western weapons but with enough population left to serve NATO troops. There is no need to deport anyone to Western Europe any more because people have moved there themselves,” the diplomat wrote on Telegram.
“NATO’s achievements are well known: the growing instability, destruction of countries, rampant terrorism, war crimes that are committed with impunity, the blood of civilians, including children, and the endless flow of refugees..”
The North Atlantic alliance intends to use Ukraine as a proxy for endless war while expanding into the Arctic and Asia in pursuit of neocolonial objectives, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, after a NATO meeting wrapped up in neighboring Lithuania. “The ‘collective West’ led by the US is not willing to accept the formation of a multipolar world and intends to defend its hegemony by all available means, including military ones,” the ministry said in a statement. What the West calls the “rules-based order” is nothing but a “license they granted themselves to violate international law,” and has nothing to do with the UN, which NATO frequently invokes, according to Moscow.
“NATO’s achievements are well known: the growing instability, destruction of countries, rampant terrorism, war crimes that are committed with impunity, the blood of civilians, including children, and the endless flow of refugees,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The bloc is now determined to “NATO-ize” Ukraine, treating the country as an expendable resource in a hybrid war against Russia, supplying Kiev with long-range weapons in order to prolong the conflict for as long as possible, the ministry added. Meanwhile, the US military-industrial complex is “happily rubbing its hands” at the prospect of selling its European allies replacements for weapons destroyed in Ukraine, at exorbitant prices. The ministry stated that the Western alliance was working to “ensnare” Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Moldova, as well as looking to turn the Arctic into “a zone of confrontation,” and to expand beyond the North Atlantic to the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia-Pacific, in pursuit of a “global NATO.”
“Washington and its allies are trying to impose their own rules and drain resources along their to proven neocolonial patterns,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The ministry said Russia will respond to threats “in a timely and appropriate manner, using all means and methods at our disposal,” the statement concluded. The Russian government sent a comprehensive security proposal to the US and NATO in December 2021, asking the bloc to withdraw its troops from Eastern Europe and guarantee Ukraine’s neutrality. Both Washington and NATO rejected Moscow’s request in January 2022. Russia views the bloc’s eastward expansion as a threat and has cited its ties with Kiev as one of the root causes of the armed conflict with Ukraine.
“..I think there’s seven principles that they have to meet, and Ukraine maybe meets two of them..”
“..unless they break every rule and principle they have, Ukraine does not meet the requirements for NATO..”
“He was saying in effect that the Ukrainians have failed in their counter-offensive and consequently Western military and financial aid to them will be winding down..”
Amid the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Group of Seven (G7) nations issued a statement pledging long-term security guarantees for Ukraine, including ensuring it has an advanced military and stable economy, and supporting reforms that would help Kiev to join Western blocs such as the European Union or NATO. The G7 statement came after NATO doubled down on refusing Ukraine’s admission while it remains locked in a military conflict with Russia, and back-and-forth criticisms between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and NATO members. Gilbert Doctorow, an international relations and Russian affairs analyst, told Sputnik it was “irrelevant” which international institution the West chooses to provide Ukraine with security guarantees.
“The only force that can provide meaningful security guarantees is the United States, and the US will not give Ukraine such guarantees because Congress will not give its consent,” he said. “Period.” “The NATO summit has been a disaster for Zelensky,” Doctorow said. “He failed on the battlefield, losing 26,000 soldiers and officers in the past month of his counter-offensive as well as losing most of the tanks, personnel carriers and other advanced equipment which NATO countries had supplied in the preceding weeks. The decision by the USA to quietly pull the plug on the Ukrainians is only natural and certainly not ‘absurd.’ The game is up.” Doctorow noted that UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace criticized Kiev at the NATO summit, saying Zelensky’s government should be more grateful for the aid it’s received, observing that over the last year, the Ukrainians have simply pivoted from pushing for one type of weapon until they receive it, then immediately pressing for another.
“I told them that last year, when I drove 11 hours to be given a list, that I’m not like Amazon,” Wallace said. Doctorow said Wallace’s remarks “should not be taken too seriously.” “He was saying in effect that the Ukrainians have failed in their counter-offensive and consequently Western military and financial aid to them will be winding down,” the analyst noted. Earl Rasmussen, a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel and international consultant, told Sputnik, “I personally don’t think they’ll ever be part of NATO – they are intended to be a battering ram and a mechanism to meet and confront Russia.” “No matter what was said back in 2008 and more recently, unless they break every rule and principle they have, Ukraine does not meet the requirements for NATO. I don’t know if they ever will,” he said.
“If you look at it, I think there’s seven principles that they have to meet, and Ukraine maybe meets two of them. The rest definitely not – nothing as far as democracy goes, as far as corruption goes, as far as a stable government, sound government practices and stuff it does not meet in that area at all.” “Also, they’re not even self-sufficient now. If it wasn’t for the funding coming from the West, the whole economy and the government would completely collapse. So they don’t want to put up notices. There’s no discussion on the action plan, no timeline provided whatsoever. It’s just a continual carrot to keep Ukraine [fighting] basically to the last Ukrainian. So it could drag this conflict on as long as possible. That’s their intention. It always was, it was the intent to weaken Russia – although that’s not going too well. But they have no reverse gear. They seem to want to double down no matter what.
[..] “A lot of soul searching is going on [in NATO] in the background. I don’t think you’re going to get a NATO majority – definitely Hungary wouldn’t support it, I think a lot of other countries would not as well, and it’d just be catastrophic to Europe if they got fully involved in [Ukraine] because NATO will not win. They would have to escalate to nuclear [war], and then nobody wins. But from a conventional perspective, Russia will win any type of confrontation with it. Even if the US got involved, I think Russia would win, at least if you look at the logistical perspective and the planning, the methodical nature, the percentage of artillery firing, the technology of the weapons systems, and the terrain that’s being fought [on]. Russia’s got escalatory dominance in this nature, not just over Ukraine, but over NATO in general. Bad mistake to push for Ukraine’s entry into NATO and to provoke Russia. It was a very, very bad mistake on the West’s behalf.”
It won’t exist long enough.
The Ukrainian crisis marks the first time in history that the United States has exposed itself to serious risks in defining the limits of its military presence in Europe. Any genuine move by Washington to invite Kiev into NATO would imply a willingness to enter into a direct military confrontation with Russia. A less risky option, many believe, would be to promise the Vladimir Zelensky regime some special bilateral guarantees. The NATO military bloc was created on the basis of the real division of Europe into zones of influence between the US and the USSR after the Second World War. As a result of the greatest armed confrontation in the history of mankind, the bulk of European states lost forever the ability to determine fundamental issues of their national policy.
These included, first and foremost, defense and the ability to form alliances with other countries. Europe was divided between the real winners of the conflict – Moscow and Washington. Only Austria, Ireland, Sweden, Finland and a small part of Switzerland were outside their zone of dominance. Both of the great powers had an informal right to determine the internal order of the territories under its control. This was because the countries concerned had lost their sovereignty as such. Even France, which continued to demonstrate freethinking for several decades, had no doubt on whose side it would fight in the event of a new global conflict. NATO was created in 1949 to formally deprive American allies of the ability to make their own foreign policy decisions and military doctrines. In this respect, the alliance was no different from the Warsaw Pact that had emerged in the USSR’s sphere of influence.
The relationship between the United States and other NATO countries has never been an alliance in the traditional sense. In the last century, classic alliances ceased to exist altogether – the gap in military capabilities between the nuclear superpowers and every other country in the world became too great. A military alliance between relative equals is possible, as it was until the middle of the last century, but nuclear weapons have made this impossible. The former sovereign states of Europe became a territorial base from which the great powers could negotiate in peace and act in war. The creation of NATO and the subsequent accession of countries such as Greece, Turkey, Spain and West Germany to the alliance was a formalization of the boundaries of US dominance that the USSR had already agreed to in bilateral relations.
After the Soviet collapse, extending American rule to Moscow’s former allies in Eastern Europe and even the Baltic republics was also not a policy that posed serious risks for Washington. Incidentally, this is why NATO has an informal rule of not admitting countries with unresolved territorial disputes with third states – the US has never been willing to occupy land whose ownership is disputed. NATO’s post-Cold War expansion was based on deception, with the US promising Moscow that it would not expand NATO to Russia’s borders. But, initially, Russia did not have the physical strength to resist. This meant that the US could occupy “unclaimed” states without the threat of immediate military conflict. The US approach to NATO remained true to the philosophy of the 1945 victors: there are no sovereign states, only controlled territories.
Once the decision was taken in Washington, it was only a matter of strategy to ensure that local governments made the “right” decisions. This was all the more so as the accession of new countries to NATO in the 1990s and 2000s was ‘packaged’ with the enlargement of the European Union. This gave local elites every reason to aspire to join the bloc, from which they expected tangible material benefits. For some – the Baltic states and Poland – membership in the club also provided the possibility of solving internal problems through an aggressive anti-Russian policy by fostering fear of the big neighbor to the east. In the Baltic states, the status of an American outpost was also used by elites to combat any local opposition from radical nationalists. For the countries that joined the bloc, NATO became a guarantee of internal stability. Since the most important decisions for them were taken outside their national political systems, there was no reason for internal competition and no danger of serious destabilization.
Orwell’s never far away: “..and included it in the Partnership for Peace program in 1994..”
The US neocons and their likeminded NATO allies have long been apparently seeking to knock Russia out of the political arena before trying to crack down on China in a bid to preserve the US dominance, retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski believes. “I think that the US officials and advisors (along with those in NATO) believe that they must be able to exploit Russian resources prior to any direct confrontation with China,” Kwiatkowski, who is also a former analyst for the US Department of Defense, told Sputnik. “The neoconservative ideology that over half of Congress embraces, and that the US defense and security complex embraces, envisions and demands a unipolar globe, with the US and its debt-funded governmental system, at the top. For them, this is an existential issue, albeit most Americans don’t see it that way.” It seems that Ukraine appeared a convenient candidate for the role of a “hammer” against Russia.
Ukraine has been a leading recipient of Western military supplies since the early 1990s when the country gained independence, with the US spearheading the initiative. In the first ten years after independence, Ukraine received almost $2.6 billion in assistance from the US. Until 2014, Ukraine had been receiving an estimated $105 million per annum, including foreign military financing. NATO’s North Atlantic Cooperation Council embraced Ukraine as a “partner country” in 1991 and included it in the Partnership for Peace program in 1994. Washington’s NATO ally, the UK, played an important role in the effort, holding joint military exercises with the Ukrainians, as well as providing training and funding to the nation’s armed forces. Thus, the first joint Ukrainian-British military exercises “Cossack steppe” were held in the second half of the 1990s as part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.
The NATO-Ukraine Commission was established in 1997 with the aim of developing the relationship between the nation and the bloc and directing cooperative activities. As per UK government documents, the Ministry of Defense spent approximately £3.9 million supporting Ukraine through the Defense Assistance Fund and the Conflict Pool between 2009 and 2014. Many of the activities funded through these mechanisms supported “command, control and communications capabilities (C3).” In particular, the UK held joint exercises with the Ukrainian military, provided military education to the nation’s specialists, and “contributions to NATO coordinated activities.” Both UK civilian and military personnel had been deployed to Ukraine during that period of time while Ukrainian personnel were sent to the UK.
Following the illegitimate coup d’etat in Kiev in February 2014, the West stepped up military assistance to the new Ukrainian authorities. Between 2014 and 2021, the United States provided over $2.5 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, which included the provision of trainers, selected weaponry systems (such as counter-mortar radars), and Javelin anti-tank missiles. The boost in military assistance was justified by NATO member states by the alleged “Russian invasion” in Donbass. However, it is well documented that Donbass declared independence in response to the illegitimate coup d’etat in Kiev fomented with the assistance of nationalist and neo-Nazi paramilitary groups and subsequent Russophobic policies of the new government. The Donbass breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk Republics started largely forming militias after the interim Kiev government kicked off what it called “anti-terrorist” operations (ATO) against the region.
“Kiev had been on the offensive with the Donbass with Western support, for a number of years, even before 2014, and this is well documented,” explained Kwiatkowski. “Other Eastern and Southern European countries had been ‘encouraged’ by Western powers, as we saw with Yugoslavia, to break up into smaller national and ethno-cultural countries, and the peaceful divide between the Czech Republic and Slovakia was also allowed and supported. This is primarily because the newly smaller countries added potential members to NATO and the EU – all controlled and controllable by the US-EU elites.”
— Sevim Dağdelen, MdB (@SevimDagdelen) July 12, 2023
Two articles about priorities. They differ.
Peace has always been a priority for Russia over combat, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Lenta.ru online daily commenting on peace initiatives regarding Ukraine. Asked whether ceasefire peaceful initiatives proposed by China, Indonesia, Vatican and Africa were premature Lavrov replied in the negative. “I would like to express my gratitude to our partners for their efforts to search for ways to settle the Ukrainian crisis peacefully,” he said. “We do not find their initiatives premature: for the Russian side, peace always has priority over combat.”
“So, let me remind you that we already participated in a negotiation process with Kiev, in the spring of 2022, and came close to a positive outcome,” he continued. “However, all efforts were undermined by the Anglo-Saxons, whose plans clearly did not include the cessation of hostilities. They have remained obsessed with the manic idea of inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia,” Lavrov added.
“..the most urgent, the most important task is a continued flow of military support..”
NATO believes its priority is to supply Kiev with advanced weapons systems and a huge amount of ammunition and spare parts for them, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday. “I think we realized many months ago that this is a war of attrition, meaning a battle of logistics. It’s important that we deliver different advanced weapons systems, but as important as delivering new systems is that we are able to maintain and sustain all the systems that are already there. An enormous amount of ammunition, spare parts maintenance and repair capacity,” he said at a news conference following a NATO summit.
Stoltenberg also said Ukraine’s future position at the negotiating table will hinge on the outcome of its counteroffensive. “I think it’s wrong to speculate exactly how this will be done in the future after the war ends. The most important thing now is to ensure that the war ends in a just and lasting way. That’s the reason why the most urgent, the most important task is a continued flow of military support,” he said. The NATO official earlier said the bloc had decided to spare Ukraine the requirement of executing a Membership Action Plan and pledged to invite the country to the alliance when all the conditions were met.
“Only the Ukraine-NATO commission has been upgraded to the council level,” the top Hungarian diplomat pointed out, adding that in the current situation, “this was the only right decision.”
Vilnius summit has produced only modest, small-bore results for Ukraine, with Kiev failing to obtain any timetable for accession to the bloc, while getting formal interaction upgraded to the council level as a consolation prize, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said. “The big question before the NATO summit was what Ukraine would obtain. Compared to the [pre-summit] expectations, held mostly by the Ukrainians themselves, the actual practical results were exceedingly modest,” Szijjarto, who is attending the summit together with Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said in an interview with Hungary’s M1 TV channel. He noted that Ukraine received neither an invitation nor a timetable for joining the alliance.
“Only the Ukraine-NATO commission has been upgraded to the council level,” the top Hungarian diplomat pointed out, adding that in the current situation, “this was the only right decision.” “It is quite clear that a country in a state of a war cannot be accepted into NATO because, according to the alliance’s own rules, this would entail the bloc as a whole being dragged into this war. So, I think that, right now, NATO made a responsible decision while managing to avoid an escalation in military action,” he explained. Szijjarto noted that Ukraine will now start drafting what is known as the annual national program for interacting with NATO, which should reflect reforms of both a military and political nature.
“NATO is not only a defensive alliance but also a values-based community. Thus, for example, Ukraine should take on the obligation to respect and protect the rights of minorities,” he said, emphasizing that Hungary will be paying special attention to this issue given Budapest’s concern over the treatment of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine. According to him, a decision on Ukraine’s compliance with the bloc’s membership criteria will be made later, taking into account the country’s actual performance. Earlier, Budapest had repeatedly stated that it would not support Ukraine’s aspiration to join NATO and the EU until the Ukrainian leadership stopped infringing on the rights of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region.
Piss off your biggest supporter…
Ukraine should adopt a less demanding tone when speaking to nations that are arming it to fight against Russia, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has suggested. “We are not Amazon,”he said. The remarks, which were quoted by the British media, were made during an event on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Lithuania on Wednesday. Wallace, who is normally a vocal supporter of Kiev, said it would help Ukraine’s cause if they displayed some gratitude. “Sometimes you are asking countries to give up their own stocks,” Wallace said. “Sometimes you have to persuade lawmakers on [Capitol] Hill in America. You have to persuade doubting politicians in other countries that it is worth it.” The British official said he heard complaints from US counterparts that Ukraine was treating their nation like an Amazon store, even as it provides billions of dollars worth of military assistance.
Wallace confirmed that this was “true,” and said he had been personally subjected to this kind of treatment by Ukrainian officials. He recalled driving for 11 hours to meet with a delegation last June only “to be given a list” of requests. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan made a similar public remark in Lithuania, asserting that “the American people do deserve a degree of gratitude from the US government for their willingness to step up [and aid Ukraine] and from the rest of the world as well.” Ukrainian officials, including President Vladimir Zelensky, have been critical of the US and its allies for not providing enough support or for providing it too slowly. The Ukrainian leader cited the supposedly unhurried pace of weapons deliveries as a key reason for underwhelming results from Kiev’s counteroffensive last month.
One of the latest outbursts from Zelensky came during the current summit, as NATO leaders declined to provide a roadmap for Ukraine’s accession to the US-led military bloc and said the country would still have to meet some conditions to qualify. He called the position “unprecedented and absurd.” The US delegation in Vilnius was reportedly infuriated by the verbal attack. The Americans perceived it as an attempt by Zelenksy to pressure the alliance into reconsidering its decision, according to media reports. It’s not the first time that Western irritation with Kiev’s communication style has been reported. Last June, US President Joe Biden reportedly told Zelensky to show “a little more gratitude”after snapping during a phone call.
“..While it’s not quite yet a full on ‘hero to zero’ story… things are certainly sliding in that direction..”
Bloomberg is just out with a devastating behind-the-scenes account of a hot-headed Zelensky at the NATO summit in Vilnius, and the growing Western backlash in the face of his obvious frustration and what’s being seen as ingratitude for the steady flow of billions of dollars in arms to Kiev. Apparently even the mainstream media agrees with our own assessment of the Ukrainian leader having thrown a “tantrum” as he complained about the “weak” and “absurd” NATO stance on Ukraine’s membership. The blistering tweet he issued in English while en route to Lithuania exposed cracks in the alliance, as Bloomberg highlights in the opening of its very revealing Wednesday piece:
Volodymyr Zelenskiy was running hot ahead of his sit-down with NATO leaders on Tuesday evening. The Ukrainian president had been angered earlier in the day by what he said was an “absurd” reluctance to give his country a clear timeline on membership. That outburst in turn riled the partners who have funneled billions of dollars of weaponry and aid into Ukraine’s defense against the Russian invasion — the US had been given no warning before Zelenskiy unleashed his attack on social media.
All day Wednesday, the above (very real) photo of an isolated and defeated-looking Zelensky standing amid NATO heads of state (with backs turned) circulated widely on social media. And things were even more tense behind the scenes, as Bloomberg writes: “Over dinner in Vilnius, with US President Joe Biden back at his hotel, the other leaders delivered a clear message to Zelenskiy, according to one person who was present. You have to cool down and look at the full package, Zelenskiy was told.” While it’s not quite yet a full on ‘hero to zero’ story… things are certainly sliding in that direction, given it’s unprecedented that the Ukrainian president who previously enjoyed rockstar status in Western capitals since the start of the invasion could be told to basically ‘cool it’!.
Bloomberg continues in reference to Zelensky: “He had, after all, been given a renewed commitment to eventual membership and new security guarantees from the Group of Seven nations. By the next day, the message appeared to be sinking in.” The publication was privy to some key Western leaders’ exact words, presenting the rare dressing down as follows: “Whether we like it or not, people want to see gratitude,” UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told reporters the following morning. “You’re persuading countries to give up their stock” of weapons and ammunition, he added.
This account of the behind-the-scenes wrangling is based on interviews with more than a dozen diplomats and officials involved in the summit who asked not to be named discussing private conversations. NATO leaders were trying to thread a needle on Ukraine’s membership bid when they arrived in Vilnius: They were seeking language that looked like progress and that Ukraine could sell as progress but fundamentally didn’t leave them any closer to getting dragged into a war with nuclear-armed Russia.
Ultimately the hawks (mainly among the Baltic and Eastern Europe states) have lost at Vilnius. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has admitted “There was a lack of political will.” Thus it appears that Zelensky’s angry, desperate tweet lashing out at Western partners was a last ditch effort at shaming NATO into conceding to its demands of being immediately fast-tracked to membership. Bloomberg reveals further, that “Crucially, it was the US and Germany that insisted on dialing back the commitment to Ukraine joining the alliance. Earlier drafts of the communique offered a clearer pathway to Ukraine eventually joining, but Biden and Chancellor Olaf Scholz were wary of going too far.”
“In the attacks by OUN and UPA units, supported by part of the local Ukrainian community, over 100,000 Poles were murdered..”
Accountability for the mass killings of Poles by Ukrainian nationalists during World War II is essential for reconciliation between the two nations, a resolution passed by the lower house of parliament in Warsaw has said. The document was adopted by lawmakers in the Sejm on Tuesday, as Poland commemorated the victims of wartime atrocities in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia 80 years ago. Members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), the militant wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), were the main perpetrators of the crimes, which Poland considers an act of genocide.
“In the attacks by OUN and UPA units, supported by part of the local Ukrainian community, over 100,000 Poles were murdered, often in a very brutal way,” the Polish MPs said. “Several hundred thousand people fled… fearing the same fate.” The OUN allied with Nazi German invaders in the hope of creating a Ukrainian nation state, and slaughtered groups that they deemed to be obstructing their cause. Their victims also included Jews, Czechs and Russians, along with ethnic Ukrainians who opposed the purges, the Polish resolution noted. The ethnic cleansing campaign was accompanied by the destruction of property, including items of cultural and religious significance.
“Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation, which was built over years by representatives of both nations, must also include recognition of guilt and commemoration of the victims,” the lawmakers stressed. Many Polish officials have said they expected Kiev to make gestures of accountability during the 80th anniversary of the tragedy. The Ukrainian government considers the UPA and its leaders to be national heroes, as they were fighting for Ukrainian independence from the Soviet Union. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky joined his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda last week for a joint commemoration in Western Ukraine, but did not offer a formal apology. Kiev’s ambassador to Warsaw, Vasily Zvarych, previously advised Poland against attempts to “pressure” his nation into taking “unacceptable” steps regarding their shared past.
“..to understand the true nature of the universe.”
The owner of Twitter and the founder of Tesla and SpaceX said on Wednesday that he has set up an artificial intelligence venture, xAI, which aims to figure out the world itself. “Announcing formation of xAI to understand reality,” Musk tweeted, with a link to the company’s freshly created profile on his social network. xAI is technically a separate company from Musk’s X Corp, but will work closely with his other enterprises “to make progress towards our mission,” according to the company website, which defines that mission as “to understand the true nature of the universe.” The people involved with xAI have previously worked at OpenAI, Google, Microsoft and Tesla, as well as the University of Toronto in Canada, and say they have contributed to “some of the most widely used methods” in the field of artificial intelligence, as well as breakthroughs such as the GPT chatbot.
Tesla’s shares rose 1.5% following the xAI announcement. According to public records, xAI was incorporated in March in the US state of Nevada. Musk is listed as the sole director. More details will be made available in a Twitter Spaces chat scheduled for Friday, the company promised. There has been speculation ever since about Musk’s intention to establish an AI enterprise. According to a disclosure from Business Insider, Musk acquired a substantial number of graphic processing units (GPUs) to fuel an upcoming generative AI offering. The Financial Times has also mentioned Musk’s aspirations to establish an AI company in direct competition with OpenAI, which has the support of Microsoft. It has been reported that Musk approached investors of SpaceX and Tesla to secure funding for the venture.
Two weeks after incorporating xAI, Musk signed an open letter with more than 1,000 researchers and tech executives, warning that AI could pose “profound risks to society and humanity.” The letter called for a six-month global pause on AI development in order to “give society a chance to adapt” to the rapidly-advancing technology. Musk has also spoken out on the potential for “civilizational destruction” posed by AI, pointing to the race between products such as ChatGPT and Bard. While Musk helped to found ChatGPT’s maker OpenAI in 2015, he left its board of directors by 2018 and has since criticized the company as a “closed source maximum-profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft.” One of the people Musk has brought on board xAI as a senior adviser is Dan Hendrycks, director of the Center for AI Safety, a nonprofit that seeks to reduce the risks posed by the technology.
The story gets uglier.
New evidence found by BBC News casts further doubt on the Greek coastguard’s version of events surrounding last month’s deadly migrant boat sinking, in which up to 600 people died. Two survivors have described how the coastguard pressed them to identify nine Egyptians on board as traffickers. A new video of the overcrowded boat foundering at sea also challenges the Greek coastguard’s account. It was taken when the boat was said to be on a “steady course”. BBC Verify has confirmed the footage was filmed when the coastguard claimed the boat was not in need of rescue. We have also confirmed that the larger vessel in the background is the oil tanker Faithful Warrior, which had been asked to give supplies to the migrant boat.
The official Greek coastguard account had already been challenged in a BBC Verify report – but now we have seen court documents which show serious discrepancies between survivors’ witness statements taken by the coastguards, and the in-person evidence later presented to a judge. A translator has also come forward with his account of a people-smuggling investigation last year, after a another group of migrants were rescued by the coastguard. He describes how witnesses from that incident were intimidated by the coastguard. The legal case collapsed before it could reach trial. The revelations raise fresh questions about how the Greek authorities handle such disasters. Both the Greek coastguard and Greek government did not comment and declined our requests for interview. Soon after the 14 June sinking, nine Egyptian men were detained and charged with manslaughter and people-smuggling.
But two survivors of the disaster say migrants were silenced and intimidated by Greek authorities, after suggesting the coastguards may have been to blame for the tragedy. For the past month, allegations have been made that the coastguard used a rope to tow the fishing vessel, causing it to sink. The two survivors we spoke to in Athens – who we are calling Ahmad and Musaab to protect their identities – say that is what happened. “They attached a rope from the left. Everyone moved to the right side of our boat to balance it,” says Musaab. “The Greek vessel moved off quickly causing our boat to flip. They kept dragging it for quite a distance.” The men described how they spent two hours in the water before being picked up by the coastguard.
When I ask how they knew it was that amount of time, Musaab says his watch was still working so he could tell. Once on land, in Kalamata, they claim the coastguard told survivors to “shut up” when they started to talk about how the Greek authorities had caused the disaster. “When people replied by saying the Greek coastguard was the cause, the official in charge of the questioning asked the interpreter to tell the interviewee to stop talking,” says Ahmad. Ahmad says those rescued were told to be grateful they hadn’t died. He says there were shouts of: “You have survived death! Stop talking about the incident! Don’t ask more questions about it!”
“His work embodies journalistic awareness-building at its best, and aims to change the world by democratic means – something that is direly needed.’”
The Akademie der Künste in Berlin has said it will award its annual Konrad Wolf Prize to Julian Assange. Though the Australian activist and founder of WikiLeaks is unlilkely to be able to attend the October ceremony as he is currently held at Belmarsh top security prison in London. Since 2019 he has been fighting attempts to extradite him to the US, where he is charged with the hacking – abetting former army private and whistleblower Chelsea Manning – of one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of America.
The jury said: ‘Julian Assange’s work and positions have focused our attention on illegal state actions, injustices, murders and war crimes – things that were meant to remain concealed and obscured from the public view, from the citizens – from us. Assange’s work has resulted in the disclosure of financial flows, hidden accounts and official e-mail correspondence, has uncovered images of murdered unarmed civilians and journalists in Iraq by members of the U.S. Army, disclosed arbitrary killings of civilians in Afghanistan and secret service projects aimed at the manipulation of public opinion, has brought to light the humiliation and torture in photos taken by laughing perpetrators at Abu Ghraib Prison and exposed the inhumane conditions of the still operational detention centre at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, which reminded us of what waterboarding means.
The list goes on. Julian Assange’s Wikileaks publicizes information about this – our – reality, so that we as citizens can recognize this reality and take action. ‘We open governments’ so that we know. It is a democratic act. Assange is a worthy laureate, who with his Wikileaks project has exposed government activity, wartime lies, war crimes and cover-ups. His work embodies journalistic awareness-building at its best, and aims to change the world by democratic means – something that is direly needed.’
Fun fact: a chicken can be hypnotized with its head down near the ground, by drawing a line along the ground starting at the beak and extending straight outward in front of the chicken
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) July 12, 2023
Has anyone seen this episode of SNL with Tom Hanks? The Rock had some pretty dark comedy. pic.twitter.com/fcwrO0KAqU
— Dom Lucre | Breaker of Narratives (@dom_lucre) July 11, 2023
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