Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Feb 262024
 
 February 26, 2024  Posted by at 9:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  68 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Pink peach trees (Souvenir de mauve) 1888

 

Why War Bonds Are Returning in Europe (Luongo)
Surge of “Little Green Men,” and Metal is Poised to Strike (Trader Stef)
Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed (BBC)
Kiev Demanded Victory Plan From Military With No Resources – Zaluzhny Aid (RT)
Putin Defeated US Plan For Russia – Nuland (RT)
Most Ukraine Aid ‘Goes Right Back’ To US – Nuland (RT)
The Untold Half of the Zaluzhny Story (Snider)
CIA Built “12 Secret Spy Bases” In Ukraine – NYT (ZH)
Xi Isn’t Destroying China’s Economy – He’s Changing It (Fomenko)
EU Must Find ‘Enormous Amount’ Of Money To Face Global Challenges – Draghi
10 Ways A Second Trump Term Could Be More Extreme Than The First (Pol.)
Fani Willis Demands Judge Reject Cellphone Evidence (ZH)
The Show Trial against Julian Assange (Scheidler)
If We Don’t Keep Sending Billions To Ukraine, The War Might End (BBee)

 

 

 

 

Orf

 

 

KSP

 

 

 

 

Mike Benz 3 minutes

 

 

AI Tucker Carlson narrating The Lord of the Rings

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excellent from Tom Luongo. Who, interestingly, seems to put power relations on their head. With the demise of EU industry, we think the US is in charge. But:

“..Europe wants the US to be a vassal after spending itself to death fighting the phantom menace of Putin. Eurobonds are the real story. The rest is just noise..”

Why War Bonds Are Returning in Europe (Luongo)

The fate of these SURE bonds and all future EC bond issuances hangs in the balance here. In fact, the future of the EU itself hangs in the balance. And that’s why I was contacted by Sputnik News yesterday to give my thoughts on this subject. “Eurobonds are the Holy Grail for European integration,” Tom Luongo, financial and geopolitical analyst, told Sputnik. “PM Kallas is telling you what the plan is. The EU’s Achilles’ heel is the euro itself and its lack of central taxing authority.” “Eurobonds, issued through the European Commission, of this type are another way of handing that authority to Brussels, bypassing member state central banks and legislatures,” he added. “If one was cynical, which I am, one would suspect that the EU’s support for the war in Ukraine was mostly driven by this desire to centralize power in Brussels,” Luongo argued. “You start a war in Ukraine by purposefully crossing Russia’s red lines, drive inflation up locally, and empty the military coffers of all the post-WWII weapons and ammunition that is now outdated. (…)

If you are losing, as you are now, you play up the threat of Russia not stopping at Ukraine to justify shifting your domestic spending to a military build-up, issuing Eurobonds to pay for it.” This plan for war bonds was shepherded by the usual suspects for EU militarization, French President Emmanuel Macron and EU President Charles Michel. And I want to stress here that nothing about this project is economic. It is purely political. They will expend whatever political capital they must to force this outcome on the people of Europe. To folks like Macron, Michel, Ursula Von der Leyen and their bosses, European bourgeoisie and proletariats alike are just tax cattle. No wonder they are so against them eating beef. So, let’s connect another couple of dots. Because now it should be obvious that this is why they threatened Hungary’s Viktor Orban with economic devastation for holding up their $50 billion aid package for Ukraine.

They need to keep Ukraine going to justify now spending another $100+ billion to launder into failing French and German banks sitting on massive losses from all the debt they bought during the NIRP (Negative Interest Rate Policy) period. This is just the beginning of their plans for transferring sovereignty out of the hands of the member states and handing it to Brussels. But to sell this to global investors they have to prove to the world they have all the wayward voices under control. Sovereign debt is secured through taxation and the productive capacity of the population. At this point the EU has neither. Now when I think about what all the principle players have been harping about for the past couple of weeks the common theme was NATO uber alles. This was echoed by everyone from President Biden at his latest press conference and Vice President Harris at Munich, to Hillary Clinton, clearly on more than a proof of life tour.

We had Alexei Navalny’s death used to raise money for war. Reports of Russia shooting US satellites out of orbit. Locusts! It never stops with these people. There’s always a convenient Russian or Chinese bogeyman lurking behind every headline. But the underlying theme is to keep the money flowing into NATO. Trump’s comments on standing aside if Putin attacked a NATO country that didn’t pay its way were used by all of them to breathlessly support MOAR NATO. But, in the end, this is just about the exercise of raw power against domestic populations. Putin and his army are no more a threat to Berlin than they are a threat to Kiev at this point. NATO, and the plans to morph it into a global police force under UN control, is the reason for all of this. Europe wants the US to be a vassal after spending itself to death fighting the phantom menace of Putin. Eurobonds are the real story. The rest is just noise.

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“..Those who are using nuclear blackmail against us should know that the wind rose can turn around.”

Surge of “Little Green Men,” and Metal is Poised to Strike (Trader Stef)

Yesterday, NATO’s Secretary General Stoltenberg interviewed with Radio Free Europe and noted in the context of discussing F-16s that Ukraine has the right to self-defense, including “striking legitimate Russian military targets outside Ukraine.” It’s not a coincidence that Stoltenberg expressed that point of view after Ukraine experienced the sudden collapse of Avdiivka that I covered in the “Surge of ‘Little Green Men,’ and Metal is Poised to Strike” Part XVIII and its Twitter thread. Russia has repeatedly expressed that existing international law grants the right to militarily strike a third party or nation state’s infrastructure that provides weapons and/or logistical support to an enemy during war. In the context of the NATO’s proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, that includes striking U.S., NATO members, and allied territory.

It was also made clear that any weapon systems delivered by third parties through Ukraine would be targeted upon identification, which already occurred on numerous occasions using conventional weaponry and hypersonic missiles armed with non-nuclear warheads. Don’t you think the U.S. striking Iran-backed proxies and supply lines in the Middle East that supported Hamas in its war against Israel validates Russia’s legal authority to strike NATO territory? Putin has been exceptionally restrained based on circumstances surrounding the war in Ukraine and the proliferation of legacy media narratives. “Medvedev predicts Apocalypse in event of Russia-NATO war… “Leaders should tell the bitter truth to their voters instead of treating them as brainless idiots. They should explain to them what will really happen instead of repeating the deceitful mantra about readiness for a war with Russia.” – Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev, Feb. 2024”

The issue with Ukraine utilizing F-16s to strike Russian troop positions or target inside Russia proper is it no longer has a sovereign airbase capable of supporting F-16s (Col. Douglas Macgregor’s Aug. 2023 analyses). It also lacks the integrated space-based and land-based communications technology required to execute sorties that must be supported by NATO or U.S. AWACS, miscellaneous functions and intelligence from NATO members, and spare parts and supplies support from the U.S. If an attempt is made to buildout a new or existing airfield, Russia will incinerate that location in the same way it already disabled Ukraine’s airbases and air force. That leaves a distinct possibility of F-16s entering the battlespace via a third-party nation. The moment any fighter jets are detected within Ukraine, in its airspace, or approaching the battlefield frontline they will be targeted and destroyed.

That scenario immediately raises the possibility of NATO activating its Article 5 provision for war against Russia, then war will be declared on the collective West by Russia and its strategic allies. Putin openly admits that Russia cannot match NATO’s combined conventional military strength despite its own superior manufacturing base and logistical advantages, so any attack by NATO would be considered an “existential threat.” That opens the door to tactical nuclear weapons being used to blunt the enemy on a battlefield. Where it goes from there depends on the collective West’s response, which will be answered in kind by Russia.

“I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff. The citizens of Russia can rest assured that the territorial integrity of our Motherland, our independence and freedom will be defended – I repeat – by all the systems available to us. Those who are using nuclear blackmail against us should know that the wind rose can turn around.” – Putin, Sep. 2023

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Guys like Col. Macgregor and Scott Ritter insist it’s at least 10 times that.

Big Serge on X: “Obviously Zelensky’s new claim that total Ukrainian losses are only 31,000 would seem to be starkly at odds with their December statement that the AFU needs 20,000 replacements per month to keep up with burn.”

Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed (BBC)

Ukraine’s president says 31,000 soldiers have been killed since Russia’s full-scale invasion began. Volodymyr Zelensky said he would not give the number of wounded as that would help Russian military planning. Typically, Ukrainian officials do not make public the numbers of servicepeople killed in the war. It comes after the defence minister said half of all Western aid for Ukraine has been delayed, costing lives and territory. “At the moment, commitment does not constitute delivery,” Rustam Umerov said in a televised address on Sunday. Ukraine is currently experiencing a variety of setbacks in its mission to drive Russia from its territory. Mr Umerov said that the lack of supplies put Ukraine at a further disadvantage “in the mathematics of war”. “We do everything possible and impossible but without timely supply it harms us,” he said.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius warned in November that plans to deliver a million artillery shells by March would not be met. In January, the European Union (EU) said just over half of these would reach Ukraine by the deadline and that the full promised amount would not be there until the end of 2024. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, blamed a lack of production capacity but Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said allies had been stepping this up. Ukrainian forces have often complained of shortages in their war with Russia. President Volodymyr Zelensky said one of the reasons Ukraine’s highly anticipated counter-offensive did not start earlier last year was the lack of weapons. That counter-offensive largely failed – one of a number of setbacks Kyiv has faced after some early successes in repelling Russia after it invaded in February 2022.

Last week, it was announced that troops had withdrawn from the key eastern town of Avdiivka – Moscow’s biggest win in months. Mr Zelensky also blamed this partly on faltering Western weapon supplies. The Biden administration, meanwhile, has said the hold-up in Congress of a $60bn aid package for Ukraine led to the fall of the town. Despite the delay, Ukraine’s prime minister sounded an optimistic note. “We are deeply convinced that the United States will not abandon Ukraine in terms of both financial support and military, armed support,” Denys Shmyal said on Sunday. His comments come after Mr Zelensky pressed members of the G7 – the world’s richest democracies – to increase their “vital support” in order for his country to win the war. “You know perfectly well that we need all this in time, and we count on you,” he said at a virtual meeting.

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When you let a piano playing penis overrule and replace your popular top general…

Kiev Demanded Victory Plan From Military With No Resources – Zaluzhny Aid (RT)

The Ukrainian government wanted the military to figure out how Kiev could defeat Russia but failed to provide data on what resources it had to achieve that goal, an adviser to former Ukrainian commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny has said. In an interview with The New York Times published on Saturday, General Viktor Nazarov offered a glimpse into one of the reasons for the rift between the country’s military and civilian authorities last year. He noted that army officials were troubled by demands from the government in Kiev, which wanted them to draw “a road map for victory without telling them the amount of men, ammunition and reserves they would have to execute any plan.” The general lamented that this was one of the factors the civilian authorities “did not understand or did not want to understand” when they asked the military without any strategic reserves to come up with strategic plans.

Nazarov’s comments echoed the remarks of his ex-boss prior to his sacking. In an opinion piece for CNN earlier this month, Zaluzhny blasted “imperfections of the regulatory framework,” as well as the partial monopolization of the national defense industry, which he said resulted in production bottlenecks and exacerbated dependence on foreign arms shipments. In his November article for the Economist, the ex-top commander also suggested that the conflict was now at “a stalemate,” with both sides having the technological capability to know what the other one is doing, making any advances on the battlefield problematic. Zelensky fired Zaluzhny, who oversaw Ukraine’s botched counteroffensive last year, as well as several other top commanders earlier this month. The Ukrainian president has described the decision as “a reboot,” noting that “some things were not changing over the recent period of time.”

Some media reports, however, suggested that Zelensky wanted to get rid of Zaluzhny as a potential political rival who was popular with the rank and file. Zaluzhny was replaced by General Aleksandr Syrsky, whom Politico described as a “butcher” unpopular with the troops who supposedly resented his willingness to throw them into “fruitless assaults.” Even before Ukraine’s chaotic retreat from the strategic Donbass city of Avdeevka, Syrsky admitted that Kiev was in a “difficult” frontline situation. He has also said that Ukraine has now “transitioned” from offensive actions to strategic defense. However, commenting on the top brass reshuffle, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that Moscow did not expect it to have any significant impact on the battlefield.

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The CIA had control of the Kremlin under Yeltsin. They thought they had it made. Then they themselves selected Putin.

Putin Defeated US Plan For Russia – Nuland (RT)

Vladimir Putin’s Russia is “not the Russia that we wanted,” Acting US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has told CNN. Nuland explained that Washington wanted a compliant leader in the Kremlin who would “westernize” the country. “It’s not the Russia that, frankly, we wanted,” Nuland told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday. “We wanted a partner that was going to be westernizing, that was going to be European. But that’s not what Putin has done.” Putin’s predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, enjoyed Washington’s support as he oversaw the rushed privatization of the Russian economy in the 1990s. Yeltsin’s reforms saw the rise of the so-called ‘oligarchs’, who amassed huge fortunes selling Russia’s natural resources to Western buyers, while the majority of the population dealt with declining life expectancy, soaring crime and homicide rates, and the collapse of the ruble.

Putin, who first took office in 2000, is widely credited with taming the oligarchs, imposing public order, and reversing the economic and social decline of the 1990s. Putin initially sought friendly relations with the West, telling American journalist Tucker Carlson earlier this month that he asked then-US President Bill Clinton whether Russia could one day join NATO, only to be rejected. Putin nevertheless reached out to Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush, with a proposal that the US, Russia, and Europe jointly create a missile defense system. While Bush’s team initially expressed interest, Putin said that “in the end they just told us to get lost.”

A combination of NATO expansion, American support for jihadist groups in the Caucuses, and Nuland’s orchestration of the coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014 made it clear that the US and its allies were not interested in cooperation, Putin told Carlson. Nuland told Amanpour that Putin has “destroyed his own country” by intervening in Ukraine, and that the US will “continue to tighten the noose on him,” presumably by supplying Kiev with weapons and imposing additional economic sanctions on Moscow.

However, successive rounds of sanctions have failed to “crater” the Russian economy, as US President Joe Biden predicted they would in 2022. Instead, the International Monetary Fund predicts that Russia’s economy will grow by 2.6% in 2024, while the US’ will expand by 2.1%. Likewise, the unprecedented influx of Western arms failed to rescue Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive from failure. The operation fizzled out in the autumn after Kiev lost around 160,000 men and failed to retake any of its lost territory, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. Russian officials have repeatedly said that they are ready to negotiate an end to the conflict, but that Ukraine must accept the loss of its former territories and commit to neutrality.

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How to grow your economy on top of dead bodies..

Most Ukraine Aid ‘Goes Right Back’ To US – Nuland (RT)

Washington spends most of the money allocated as aid for Ukraine on weapons production at home, Acting US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said in an interview with CNN this week. Commenting on the pending aid package which Congress failed to approve before going on winter recess, Nuland said she has “strong confidence” that it will pass, as it addresses America’s own interests. “We have to remember that the bulk of this money is going right back into the US economy, to make weapons, including good-paying jobs in some forty states across the US,” she stated, adding that support for Ukraine in America “is still strong.” Lawmakers in the House of Representatives blocked a bill requested by US President Joe Biden for an aid package for Kiev worth $60 billion, most of which is earmarked for weapons, earlier this month.

They are expected to restart discussions on the package after they reconvene on February 28. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also recently said that roughly 90% of the financial assistance for Ukraine is spent on domestic production of weapons and equipment. At a press conference on December 20, he said additional tranches would “benefit American business, local communities, and strengthen the US defense industrial base.” According to Germany’s Kiel Institute, which tracks international support for Kiev, Washington allocated nearly €68 billion ($73.7 billion) in aid for Ukraine between January 24, 2022 and January 15, 2024, including roughly €43 billion ($46.6 billion) in military aid. However, Kiev has been increasingly demanding more aid from its Western backers.

Several days ago, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky warned visiting American legislators that Kiev would “lose the war” against Russia without Washington’s assistance, according to US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Russia has criticized the US and other Western states for their military support for Kiev, arguing that it is only dragging out the conflict. According to a recent survey from the Harris Poll and the Quincy Institute, a growing number of Americans do not support US military aid to Kiev unless it is tied to peace talks. Only 22% of respondents said Washington should continue ‘unconditionally’ providing Ukraine with financial assistance, while 48% said new funding must be conditioned on progress toward a diplomatic solution. Around 30% said the US should halt all aid.

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Everything new about Zaluzhny is now censored and silenced.

The Untold Half of the Zaluzhny Story (Snider)

There were probably many reasons why Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky fired Ukraine’s popular commander in chief of the armed forces, Valerii Zaluzhny, on February 8, but one of the biggest seems to have been a disagreement over how to go forward in a war that seemed to have overwhelmingly turned against them. Zelensky spoke of a need for “the same vision of the war,” and Zaluzhny said “a decision was made about the need to change approaches and strategy.” When the war began, Zelensky said that Ukraine “will definitely win” but stressed life over land. “Our land is important, yes, but ultimately it’s just territory.” He said that “Victory is being able to save as many lives as possible. Yes, to save as many lives as possible, because without this nothing would make sense.” But actions speak louder than words. Zelensky began to define victory as the reclamation, not only of land lost during the war, but of Crimea and all of Ukraine’s pre-2014 territory.

Zelensky insisted that Ukraine stay on the offensive. He insisted on moving forward, “Whether it’s by a kilometer or 500 meters, but forward every day.” Zaluzhny saw Zelensky’s strategy of fighting for Bakhmut and Avdiivka at any cost as a strategic disaster that was costing Ukraine too much in weapons and in lives. Zaluzhny argued for preserving lives over forfeitable territory, lest Ukraine lose its land and its army. In General Oleksandr Syrsky, Zelensky found the commander who would execute his vision and carry out his orders. Syrsky fought the Battle of Bakhmut. His performance there, and in other battles, gave him the reputation of a commander who is willing to give orders that lead to little real gain and lots of real loss of life. “Some soldiers say his orders are unreasonable, at times sending men to their obvious deaths,” The Washington Post reports. According to The Economist, he “has a reputation for being willing to engage the enemy, even if the cost in men and machines is high.”

His reported willingness to put “his men in danger to reach his military goals” has earned him the nicknames “Butcher” and General 200, 200 being the code for a soldier’s corpse. Syrsky is also seen as being a commander who is close to Zelensky and who will not question his orders. The replacement of Zaluzhny by Syrsky signals Zelensky’s intent to push ahead with the suicidal war of attrition and fight for every inch of land despite the cost in lives. Aware of the optics of the choice in the public and, perhaps especially in the armed forces, Kiev assuaged the perception of Syrsky as “being indifferent to military casualties.” In his first statement as commander in chief, Syrsky said, “The lives and well-being of our servicemen have always been and remain the main asset of the Ukrainian army.”

But, again, actions speak louder than words. General Syrsky’s first words were about protecting the lives of his men, but his first actions were about fighting for every inch of territory. On February 11, just three days after the change in command, Syrsky ordered the reinforcement and defence of Avdiivka, a strategic town that faced imminent loss to the Russian army and enormous loss of Ukrainian lives. Zaluzhny would have withdrawn his troops, preserved lives and moved the front to more defensible positions. Syrsky deployed the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade, one of the best armed and trained and most successful brigades in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It did not go well. It went exactly as Zaluzhny said it would, and Syrsky was forced to respond exactly as Zaluzhny had said they should. But now the response was carried out in disarray instead of in an orderly, planned fashion. Perhaps Zelensky should have stuck with Zaluzhny.

In sending in reinforcements instead of retreating, Syrsky said the “goal of our operation is to exhaust the enemy, inflict maximum losses on him.” The opposite happened. Less than a week later, on February 17, Syrsky announced the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Avdiivka. “Based on the operational situation around Avdiyivka, in order to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of servicemen,” he said, “I decided to withdraw our units from the city and move to defense on more favorable lines…The life of military personnel is the highest value.” That’s exactly what Zaluzhny advised Zelensky to do. But the situation was worse than at first reported. Zaluzhny would have preplanned the retreat and executed it according to a plan. Zelensky and Skysky’s stubbornness turned the already costly loss into a disaster.

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I doubt the NYT piece told Russia anything they didn’t already know.

CIA Built “12 Secret Spy Bases” In Ukraine – NYT (ZH)

On Sunday The New York Times published an explosive and very belated full admission that US intelligence has not only been instrumental in Ukraine wartime decision-making, but has established and financed high tech command-and-control spy centers, and was doing so long prior to the Feb. 24 Russian invasion of two years ago. Among the biggest revelations is that the program was established a decade ago and spans three different American presidents. The Times says the CIA program to modernize Ukraine’s intelligence services has “transformed” the former Soviet state and its capabilities into “Washington’s most important intelligence partners against the Kremlin today.” This has included the agency having secretly trained and equipped Ukrainian intelligence officers spanning back to just after the 2014 Maidan coup events, as well constructing a network of 12 secret bases along the Russian border—work which began eight years ago.

These intelligence bases, from which Russian commanders’ communications can be swept up and Russian spy satellites monitored, are being used launch and track cross-border drone and missile attacks on Russian territory. This means that with the disclosure of the longtime “closely guarded secret” the world just got a big step closer to WW3, given it means the CIA is largely responsible for the effectiveness of the recent spate of attacks which have included direct drone hits on key oil refineries and energy infrastructure. “Without them [the CIA and elite commandoes it’s trained], there would have been no way for us to resist the Russians, or to beat them,” according to Ivan Bakanov, former head of the SBU, which is Ukraine’s domestic intelligence agency.

A main source of the NYT revelations—disclosures which might come as no surprise to those never willing to so easily swallow the mainstream ‘official’ narrative of events—is identified as a top intelligence commander named Gen. Serhii Dvoretskiy. Clearly, Kiev and Washington now want world to know of the deep intelligence relationship they tried to conceal for over the past decade. It is perhaps a kind of warning to Moscow at a moment Ukraine’s forces are in retreat: the US is fighting hand in glove with the Ukrainians. And yet the revelations contained in the NY Times report also confirm what President Putin has precisely accused Washington of all along.

[..] Among the most interesting and curious moments of the NYT report is a description of the CIA program’s expanse under the Trump administration. The report suggests that the true scope may have even been hidden from Trump. The Russian hawks in his administration quietly did the ‘dirty work’, we are told: “The election of Trump in November 2016 put the Ukrainians and their CIA partners on edge. Trump praised Putin and dismissed Russia’s role in election interference. He was suspicious of Ukraine and later tried to pressure its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to investigate his Democratic rival, Biden, resulting in Trump’s first impeachment.”

The report then emphasizes, “But whatever Trump said and did, his administration often went in the other direction. This is because Trump had put Russia hawks in key positions, including Mike Pompeo as CIA director and John Bolton as national security adviser.” And further, “They visited Kyiv to underline their full support for the secret partnership, which expanded to include more specialized training programs and the building of additional secret bases.” Given the attempt to place Trump in a negative light (he had to be ‘tiptoed around’…), it will be interesting to see how he and his campaign respond to the report. But more consequential will be the reaction of Putin and the Kremlin in the coming days.

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“..Xi Jinping deliberately set about changing the structure of China’s economy in order to end a growth boom based solely on real estate and debt..”

Xi Isn’t Destroying China’s Economy – He’s Changing It (Fomenko)

If there’s one thoroughly unoriginal strand of thought on China present in the mainstream media today, it is the idea that China’s economy has been wrecked, and that Xi Jinping’s policies are to blame. Such commentary, pushed by every major mainstream outlet on a weekly basis, frequently promotes a narrative of the “end” of China’s rise, often talks about “decline” and squarely places responsibility on Xi Jinping, who supposedly ended the dynamic of an open and prosperous China for increasingly centralized, authoritarian rule and a return to communist fundamentals. Such an article was pushed this week by the editorial board of the Washington Post, in a piece titled “Xi is tanking China’s economy. That’s bad for the US”. The article was hardly original in its premise, stating the above argument pretty much word for word.

When this argument is pushed, it always conveniently ignores the broader context that the world economy is in dire straits, and moreover the more pressing elephant in the room, that American foreign policy has been deliberately detrimental if not outright antagonistic to global economic prospects as a whole. The idea of this narrative is to push the psychological warfare aspect that China is failing in order to dampen the optimism of businesses, undermine the Chinese economy and therefore push US foreign policy goals. This deliberately paints over the geopolitical, economic, and domestic considerations which have all driven a change in China’s own strategy and position. It is easy to denounce the “tyrannical rule of Xi Jinping” in a cliché and blame him for everything that has apparently gone wrong, but more difficult to paint an assessment as to why China’s internal and external environment today is not the same as it was ten years ago.

First, what is always, always ignored is that Xi Jinping deliberately set about changing the structure of China’s economy in order to end a growth boom based solely on real estate and debt. The newspapers love to waffle on about the “real estate crisis” and Evergrande, but can you imagine how big the problem would have been had previous policies been continued and China pushed for obscene 10% growth targets based on an explosion of debt? Xi Jinping ended this and initiated a process of deleveraging which deliberately slowed down China’s economic growth to around 6% when he came to power. Why? Because debt is not a sustainable mechanism and his policy has been literally to push the real estate industry into a managed recession, even if that has short-term repercussions.

Secondly, Xi Jinping’s policy has been to reinvent China’s economy to meet upcoming challenges by transforming it from a low end, export, real estate boom economy, into a high-end technological powerhouse. Instead of investing aimlessly in local government real estate booms, China has redirected state money to building up high-value industries including renewable energy, computing, semiconductors, automobiles, aviation, among other things. It is primarily this bid to become the global technological leader (by default of size) that has triggered the backlash from the US on an economic level and thus the bid to try and cripple China’s technological advance through export controls, which in fact show little evidence of working.

In addition to that, the global economic environment China operates in, has changed. The US has terminated its longstanding policy of open economic integration in favor of protectionism, bloc alignment, and the geopoliticization of supply chains. It has, in turn, created geopolitical conflicts with Russia and China and demanded its allies cut or reduce economic ties to the targeted countries. In doing so, the US has also attacked Beijing on a number of fronts using issues such as Xinjiang, Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong as weapons to smear China’s image, implement sanctions, and of course an all-embracing campaign of negative publicity to create uncertainty and destroy the optimism of China’s rise.

These policies inevitably have consequences on Beijing, which makes the country feel less secure, more suspicious, and therefore less open to the outside world. That isn’t as much a possible indictment of Xi Jinping as it is a structural reality of politics. The CIA for example, is relentless in trying to strengthen its presence in China, but if China arrests someone or links them to spying, the media will respond by calling Beijing paranoid, insecure and coercive, showing how the narrative will skewer the country no matter what. However, the point still remains that it is more challenging for China to grow in this environment than it was before. New challenges create new policies, and when the mainstream media pretend that Xi is the instigator of all the change and “spoiling” China’s chances, they are simply lying on multiple levels. It is a multifaceted psychological warfare campaign which opts for simple explanations rather than telling you the bigger picture of why China changed.

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“Draghi stressed the necessity to channel European private savings, because “public money will never be enough..”

EU Must Find ‘Enormous Amount’ Of Money To Face Global Challenges – Draghi

The European Union needs to invest an “enormous amount of money in a relatively short time” to deal with the deep challenges the bloc is facing, former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Saturday. Draghi, who has been tasked with producing a high-level report on the EU’s competitiveness, met with EU ministers on Saturday in Ghent, Belgium, to discuss the best way to come up with the needed funds. He presented EU governments with his diagnosis: The three pillars the EU has relied on — energy from Russia, exports from China, and the U.S. defense apparatus — are no longer as solid as before, and on the green and digital transitions alone the EU would have to spend €500 billion a year.

The funding gap between Europe and the United States in terms of investment is equivalent to half a trillion euros a year, and a third of that would be public money, Draghi told the ministers, according to his assistant. All the participants appeared to agree on what needs to change to boost EU competitiveness, from lowering energy prices to reducing regulatory burdens, but divisions emerged when talking about public money. “They made clear that a lot of discussions would be needed in the months to come,” the Draghi aide said, adding that Draghi called for “bold action” on the matter of investments. Draghi stressed the necessity to channel European private savings, because “public money will never be enough,” but he also put on the table options to find funds at the EU level, according to the aide.

The EU could create a new common cash facility, such as debt or loans, or use private partnerships where the European Investment Bank would have a role to play. French President Emmanuel Macron and others support the idea of new common debt. EU Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni has pitched many times the idea of a sort of second Next Generation EU fund, but the proposal has not generated enthusiasm among all countries. Asked about the need for new common funds earlier this month, Germany’s Economy Secretary Sven Giegold told POLITICO: “It’s well known” that the German government is in favor of “increasing the spending path into research and development, climate, innovation and so on, which is certainly needed in global competition. But as you know, at the moment, about 70 percent of the EU budget does not go into these future-oriented sectors.”

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Trump the dictator has become a prominent narrative..

10 Ways A Second Trump Term Could Be More Extreme Than The First (Pol.)

Trump’s campaign has repeatedly dismissed media reports about his potential second-term agenda, saying in a statement in November that policy recommendations from his conservative allies “are certainly appreciated and can be enormously helpful” but “are just that — recommendations.” “Unless a second term priority is articulated by President Trump himself, or is officially communicated by the campaign, it is not authorized in any way,” the statement from campaign advisers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita said. But both supporters and critics of the ex-president predict that a reelected Trump would wage a more focused and aggressive attack on the status quo. This time, they say, he would be far more knowledgeable about the mechanics of wielding executive power. Having placed so many conservatives in federal judgeships, he would face less resistance from the courts. And he would be more determined to place loyalists, not rules-obsessed traditionalists, in senior roles.

Trump’s second term would be “dramatically more comprehensive and more aggressive and more determined to profoundly change the establishment,” said former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who wrote a 2017 book called “Understanding Trump.” The outside proposals drawing so much attention “are worth being aware of,” he said, “because they give you a sense of what it would mean to put Trumpism into effect.” President Joe Biden’s campaign said voters need to be informed about proposals that would “undermine democracy, rip away rights and freedoms, and make Americans’ lives as miserable as humanly possible if Trump is reelected.” “Americans should know the stakes of this election,” Biden campaign spokesperson Seth Schuster said in a statement to POLITICO, “and Trump has made them as clear as day.”

These are among the policy changes that both fans and foes of the former president say people can expect if Trump wins in November: As a candidate, Trump has both claimed credit for the demise of Roe v. Wade and cast himself as a moderate on abortion rights — and he has frustrated anti-abortion groups by refusing to openly embrace or rule out a national ban. Yet those same groups, in collaboration with veterans of Trump’s previous administration, are drafting plans for a sprawling anti-abortion agenda that would all but outlaw the procedure from coast to coast, including in states whose laws or constitutions guarantee reproductive rights. The proposals would go far beyond his first-term anti-abortion policies — which Biden has since lifted — and would lean heavily on executive branch actions, bypassing a stymied Congress.

The prospect terrifies abortion rights supporters, who see a second Trump administration as a threat to all the work they’ve done during the last two years to restore and defend abortion access at the state level. Their reasons for worry grew after The New York Times reported this month that Trump has privately told aides and supporters that he could support a national abortion ban after the 16th week of pregnancy. “We cannot ballot initiative our way out of this fundamental crisis of rights,” said Deirdre Schifeling, chief political and advocacy officer for the American Civil Liberties Union, one of many groups bracing for Trump and a Republican Congress to attempt to override state abortion protections. “I have no doubt that they would try to impose a federal abortion ban, restrict birth control, and do lots of things that are way out of step with what people in this country want.”

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From what I understand the system is far more precise than she lets on. It doesn’t place you somewhere in the neighborhood, but at an exact location.

Fani Willis Demands Judge Reject Cellphone Evidence (ZH)

Fulton County DA Fani Willis is reeling after evidence was submitted to the court suggesting that she and special prosecutor Nathan Wade lied about when their romantic relationship began. To recap, Wade and Willis claimed that their relationship began sometime in early 2022 – after Willis hired Wade to help her go after Trump in the Georgia election interference case. Wade’s cell phone records disprove their official story, however. As The Reactionary notes, “Trump’s attorneys were able to obtain, by subpoena to AT&T, Wade’s cell phone records from 1/1/2021 through 11/30/2021. Wade’s location data was analyzed by an investigator hired by the attorneys – an analytical tool which generated geolocation data that pinpointed Wade’s presence at DA Willis’s South Fulton Condo during that time period.

Here are the highlights: • Wade and Willis exchanged “over 2000 voice calls and just under 12,000 texts messages” from January 1, 2021 through November 30, 2021. • Geolocation data indicates Wade was at DA Willis’s condo “at least 35 occasions”. The data revealed he was “stationary” at the condo “and not in transit.” • Wade’s visits to DA Willis’s condo were corroborated by texts and phone calls. According to the report: On November 29, 2021, “following a call from Ms. Willis at 11:32 PM, while the call continued, [Wade’s] phone left the East Cobb area just after midnight and arrived within the geofence located on the Dogwood address [the condo] at 12:43 AM on November 30, 2021. The phone remained there until 4:55 AM.” • On September 11, 2021, Wade arrived at the condo address at approximately 10:45 PM. He left the address at 3:28 AM and arrived at his Marietta residence at 4:05 AM. He then texted DA Willis at 4:20 AM.”

Now, Fani wants the evidence tossed – claiming that some of the data is inadmissible for technical or procedural reasons. Willis argued in a response that the cell phone data fails to “prove anything relevant,” and should be tossed because it contains “both telephone records that have not been admitted into evidence and an affidavit and other documents containing unqualified opinion evidence.” Because of this, Willis argues that the court should exclude the new information, or at least consider her “rebuttal evidence that demonstrates the unreliability of the unqualified opinion evidence improperly introduced by Defendant Trump.” She also claims that the new evidence is inadmissible because the defense counsel provided no written notice of its introduction, no summary of the expert’s testimony, and no information as to the expert’s qualifications. And even if he’s legit, the phone records don’t prove anything.

“The records do nothing more than demonstrate that Special Prosecutor Wade’s telephone was located somewhere within a densely populated multiple-mile radius where various residences, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other businesses are located,” she wrote, adding that the records may have even been obtained illegally. In a Saturday post to Truth Social, Trump argued that the new evidence shows that Willis is full of shit and should be disqualified. “Based on the fact that District Attorney Fani Willis and her Lover were together long prior to the filing date of their Fake Lawsuit against me and many other innocent people, despite their sworn testimony to the contrary, this case must be determined as OVER and, of no further force or effect,” he wrote. “Among other things, in close coordination and conjunction with the DOJ and White House (numerous 8-hour meetings between the Biden people and them in D.C.!), this case was all about stealing close to $1 Million Dollars for Lover Wade, and Election Interference, whereby a vicious and heinous attack is made on Crooked Joe Biden’s Political Opponent.”

Judge Kaplan

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Placing Assange in the tradition of Ellsberg and Seymour Hersh.

The Show Trial against Julian Assange (Scheidler)

The revelations of whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and journalists such as Julian Assange have shown that in the shadow of the so-called war on terror, a vast parallel universe has emerged in recent decades that is obsessed with the illegal spying on its own citizens and the arbitrary imprisonment, torture and killing of political opponents. This world is largely beyond democratic control, indeed it is undermining the democratic order from within. However, this development is not entirely new. In 1971, leaks revealed a secret FBI program for spying on, infiltrating and disrupting civil rights and anti-war movements, which became known as COINTELPRO. In the same year, the New York Times published the Pentagon Papers leaked by whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, which showed that four successive US administrations had systematically lied to their citizens about the extent and motives of the Vietnam War and the massive war crimes committed by the US military.

In 1974, Seymour Hersh revealed the CIA’s secret programs to assassinate foreign heads of state and the covert operation to spy on hundreds of thousands of opponents of the war, which ran under the code name “Operation CHAOS”. Driven by these reports, the US Congress convened in 1975 the Church Committee, which carried out a comprehensive review of the secret operations and led to greater parliamentary control of the services. Julian Assange is part of this venerable journalistic tradition and has made a decisive contribution to its renewed flourishing. However, there is one important difference to the 1970s: Today, the most important investigative journalist of his generation is openly persecuted, criminalized and deprived of his freedom. When states declare the investigation of crimes to be a crime itself, society enters a dangerous downward spiral, at the end of which new forms of totalitarian rule can emerge. As early as 2012, Assange remarked, at the time with regard to the increasingly comprehensive surveillance technologies: “We have all the ingredients for a turnkey totalitarian state”.

If the US authorities succeed in convicting a journalist for exposing war crimes, this would have another serious consequence. In the future, it would become even more difficult and dangerous to expose the sordid reality of wars, especially those wars that Western governments like to sell as civilizing missions with the help of embedded journalists. If we do not learn the truth about these wars, it becomes much easier to wage them. Truth is the most important instrument of peace. Julian Assange has not yet been extradited and sentenced. Over the years, a remarkable international movement has formed for his release and the defense of press freedom. Many parliamentarians around the world are also raising their voices. The Australian parliament, for example, supported by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, passed a resolution by a large majority calling for Assange’s release. A group of over 80 members of the German parliament have joined in.

However, the German government is still refusing to exert any serious pressure on Joe Biden’s government, which continues to persecute Assange. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who as the Green Party’s candidate for chancellor had spoken out in favor of freeing Assange, has persistently avoided questions on the subject since joining the government. Her ministry has left questions from MPs about the case unanswered for months, only to then make elusive rhetorical excuses. The leading politicians of the governing German coalition, who like to loudly present themselves as the guardians of democracy and the rule of law, must finally take action in this case of political justice and unequivocally demand the release of Julian Assange before it is too late. However, this would require overcoming the cowering attitude towards the godfather in Washington and actually standing up for the much-vaunted values of democracy.

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“This is America. We can’t let this happen..”

If We Don’t Keep Sending Billions To Ukraine, The War Might End (BBee)

Congress issued a dire warning to the American people Friday, sternly reminding voters that if they do not keep sending billions of tax dollars to Ukraine, the war might end. “This is America. We can’t let this happen,” said Senator Chuck Schumer in a press conference. “Our donors at Lockheed Martin, General Dynamic, Teledyne, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Burisma are running out of patience. If we don’t inject their weapon supply chains with fresh cash immediately, Ukraine and Russia might be forced to broker a peace deal.” “I shudder at the thought.”

Foreign policy experts concurred that essential defense contractors and Ukrainian shell companies will run out of money to launder within a few weeks, which might force the hands of Russian and Ukrainian leaders to sign a peace treaty and stop slaughtering each other. “I don’t want to imagine a world where people on the other side of the globe aren’t killing each other with American weapons,” said Secretary of State Blinken. “I urge Congress to put aside their differences and support this endless war. For America.” At publishing time, Republicans had shown willingness to send more funding to Ukraine in exchange for a promise of future conversations to plan potential negotiations to secure the southern border maybe someday.

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Crow

 

 

Bus

 

 

Prince

 

 

Cat bottle

 

 

Monitor

 

 

KIndness

 

 

This intrigues me

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in wartime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 252024
 
 February 25, 2024  Posted by at 9:33 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  26 Responses »


Paul Cézanne Sugar Bowl, Pears and Blue Cup c.1866

 

House Democrats Could Vote Against Certifying Trump If He’s Elected (Fox)
Trump Seeks Dismissal of Mar-a-Lago Case, Says Jack Smith Lacks Authority (ET)
McCaskill: Media Must Stop Fact Checking Joe Biden (Turley)
China Lashes Out At ‘Agent Of Trouble’ NATO (RT)
2 Years After the Start of the SMO, West is Totally Paralyzed (Pepe Escobar)
Collapse of Operation Citadel 2.0 (Sivkov)
Mood In Zelensky’s Office ‘Grim’ As US Aid Delayed – Politico (RT)
Ukraine Ready For War With China If US Asks – MP (RT)
Growing Rift Over Further Arming Ukraine ‘Jeopardizes EU Unity’ (Sp.)
US Spent ‘Decades’ Worth of Weapons Supplies on War in Ukraine – Senator (Sp.)
US Sees No Chance Of Ukraine Peace Before Election – WSJ (RT)
Netanyahu’s Post-War Plans for Gaza Call for Indefinite Occupation (Antiwar)
UK’s Failed Trident Missile Test Emblematic of Its ‘Decline and Demise’ (Sp.)
Former Panama Border Chief: UN Is Behind the Chaos at US–Mexico Border (ET)
New York Prosecutes Couple For Fraud (BBee)

 

 

 

 

Tucker Obama

 

 

Miller

 

 

 

 

Tucker Steve Kirsch

 

 

 

 

Bukele

 

 

 

 

“.. liberal and conservative justices alike seemed inclined to dodge the question of his eligibility altogether and throw the decision to Congress.”

House Democrats Could Vote Against Certifying Trump If He’s Elected (Fox)

A new piece published in The Atlantic this week floated the idea that there might be room for House Democrats to vote against certifying former President Trump for office if he wins re-election. The article, written by staff writer Russell Berman, argued that if the Supreme Court declined to weigh in on whether Trump is eligible to run for office under the 14th Amendment, then House Democrats could take it upon themselves to vote against certifying him, as it’s up to them to say he’s ineligible. Berman wrote that “legal scholars say that, absent clear guidance from the Supreme Court, a Trump win could lead to a constitutional crisis in Congress. Democrats would have to choose between confirming a winner many of them believe is ineligible and defying the will of voters who elected him.”

The theory stems from the Colorado Supreme Court case to kick Trump off the state’s primary ballot, which the U.S. Supreme Court took up and heard oral arguments for earlier this month. As Berman’s piece suggested, if the high court does not come down one way or another on whether Trump is eligible for office – as Colorado’s court argued he violated the 14th Amendment’s “Insurrection” clause – then Democrats who believe he is ineligible will have a decision to make. Berman continued: “In interviews, senior House Democrats would not commit to certifying a Trump win, saying they would do so only if the Supreme Court affirms his eligibility. But during oral arguments, liberal and conservative justices alike seemed inclined to dodge the question of his eligibility altogether and throw the decision to Congress.”

He also noted that “Democrats have a serious chance of winning a majority in Congress in November,” so they would have the power to do something. Additionally, he reminded readers that “in early 2021, every House Democrat (along with 10 Republicans) voted to impeach Trump for ‘incitement of insurrection,’ and a significant majority of those lawmakers will still be in Congress next year.” Given those factors, Democrats who believe that Trump committed insurrection and have the majority in Congress might feel compelled to decide whether Trump enters office, if the Court declines to declare he’s eligible. Berman asked Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., currently a leading contender for the U.S. Senate in California, what would happen if the Supreme Court declined to weigh in on Trump’s eligibility. “I don’t want to get into the chaos hypothetical,” Schiff replied, though he did note that if the court said Trump was eligible, he would certify him.

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“President Biden’s DOJ is paying for this politically-motivated prosecution of Biden’s chief political rival ‘off the books,’ without accountability or authorization..”

Trump Seeks Dismissal of Mar-a-Lago Case, Says Jack Smith Lacks Authority (ET)

Former President Donald Trump filed several motions to dismiss a classified documents case being pursued against him in Florida on Thursday, arguing that, amongst other things, special counsel Jack Smith “lacks the authority” to prosecute the case. In one of four motions, attorneys for the former president contend that neither the U.S. Constitution nor Congress had officially established the special counsel’s office, rendering Mr. Smith’s appointment invalid. Furthermore, they argue that the special counsel’s office is being funded “off the books” by the Biden administration. The motion, which cites the Appointments Clause, argues that Attorney General Merrick Garland did not have the authority to appoint a “like-minded political ally” as special counsel “without Senate confirmation.” “As such, Jack Smith lacks the authority to prosecute this action,” the motion reads.

President Trump’s lawyers argue that the only remedy is to dismiss the superseding indictment. The Appointments Clause stipulates that all federal offices, except for the president’s, must be established by Congress and appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate. This is with the exception of federal offices created through the Necessary and Proper Clause, which empowers Congress to make laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested in the government. “There is, however, no statute establishing the Office of Special Counsel,” the motion reads. “As a result, because neither the Constitution nor Congress have created the office of the ‘Special Counsel,’ Smith’s appointment is invalid and any prosecutorial power he seeks to wield is ultra vires,” meaning beyond his authority. In addition to arguing that Mr. Smith’s appointment was unlawful, the four motions argued that the case should be dismissed on the basis of presidential immunity, the Presidential Records Act, and unconstitutional vagueness.

Mr. Garland appointed Mr. Smith as special counsel on Nov. 18, 2022, to “prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation” into President Trump’s handling of classified documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. President Trump’s attorneys argue in their Thursday filing that Mr. Smith, at best, is classified as an employee rather than an “officer” under the statutes cited by Mr. Garland in making his appointment, which they say lacks the legal foundation required by the Appointments Clause. Attorneys for the former president argue that Mr. Smith’s office is drawing from an endless “off the books” pot of money from the Department of Justice (DOJ) instead of the ordinary budget process, in violation of the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution. “President Biden’s DOJ is paying for this politically-motivated prosecution of Biden’s chief political rival ‘off the books,’ without accountability or authorization,” the motion reads.

President Trump’s attorneys, Christopher Kise and Todd Blanche, note in their motion that Mr. Smith’s office spent nearly $13 million in Fiscal Year 2023. According to the filing, this money did not come from the DOJ’s budget but from the “permanent indefinite appropriation” only available to independent counsels appointed under the Independent Counsel Act or other law—and not to special counsels. “Smith is not an independent counsel, but the nearly $13 million that Smith spent in Fiscal Year 2023—with no accountability—is more than 10% of the annual budgets of DOJ’s Tax and Environment and Natural Resources Divisions,” the motion reads.

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“..The only blemish on the great country of America worldwide is, in fact, Donald Trump.”

McCaskill: Media Must Stop Fact Checking Joe Biden (Turley)

MSNBC contributor and former Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill has been one of the most vocal voices attacking critics of Joe Biden and opposing any investigations into his family or his policies. She attacked journalists and others who spoke in favor of free speech, calling them “Putin apologists” and Putin lovers. Now she is lashing out at the media for fact checking Joe Biden’s false claims . . . any false claims. McCaskill called The New York Times “ridiculous” for a story correcting Biden’s false claims about the economy. She warned the media that they are only helping Trump by pointing out Biden’s false or misleading claims: “What everyone says when you travel, ‘Well, you wouldn’t elect him again, would you? Hasn’t the country learned? You wouldn’t ever give this guy power again, would you? Tell us that he’s not going to be re-elected. Please, tell us you’ve learned your lesson.’ So The only blemish on the great country of America worldwide is, in fact, Donald Trump.”

She then added, “Can I make a suggestion? I move that every newspaper in America quits doing any fact checks on Joe Biden until they fact check Donald Trump every morning on the front page. It is ridiculous that The New York Times fact check Joe Biden on something. I mean, he vomits lies, Trump vomits lies. And he, every day over and over and over again. And it’s just ridiculous that The New York Times is doing a fact check on Biden while they let Trump- they’re numb to the torrent of lies coming out of Trump’s mouth.” It is that easy. Just stop fact checking. Of course, the media has always fact checked Trump with a certain glee. Such fact checks are a good thing and Trump has been legitimately criticized for many claims.

However, McCaskill and others believe that the media must fall in line with the effort to reelect Biden. The Washington Post previously gave Biden a rare “bottomless Pinocchio” for his false claims. According to McCaskill, that must stop at least until after the election. The public simply does not need to know such facts when democracy is at stake. It appears that ignorance is bliss when it comes to politics. Of course, it was Benjamin Franklin who said “being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”

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“..stop saber-rattling, and do things that are genuinely conducive to world peace.”

China Lashes Out At ‘Agent Of Trouble’ NATO (RT)

NATO should cease its “saber-rattling” and start promoting global peace, Chinese envoy Zhang Jun has said at a UN Security Council meeting dedicated to the second anniversary of the conflict in Ukraine. The struggle between Moscow and Kiev, which started on February 24, 2022, is a “tragedy that could have been avoided,” Zhang stressed in his address on Friday. ”The situation Europe is facing today is closely related to the repeated eastward expansion of NATO since the end of the Cold War,” he said. Russia singled out preventing Ukraine from joining NATO as one of the main goals of its military operation in the neighboring country. Moscow warned on numerous occasions that it viewed Kiev’s possible membership in the US-led military alliance as a major threat to its security.

The Chinese envoy underlined the need to “respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries,” who are members of the UN. “Regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding a military bloc,” he added. ”We encourage NATO to do some soul-searching, come out of the cage of Cold War mentality, and refrain from acting as an agent of trouble instigating bloc confrontation,” Zhang said. He also called on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “to look at the world through an objective lens, stop saber-rattling, and do things that are genuinely conducive to world peace.” According to the envoy, the parties to the Ukraine conflict should work towards creating “favorable conditions for the resumption of negotiations… not man-made obstacles to make peace harder to achieve, much less to supply weapons, stoke the fire and pour oil on it, and to profit from the prolonged crisis.”

In an interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that “the promise was that NATO would not expand eastward” after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. But the West deceived Moscow, with the US-led bloc adding new members from among Eastern European and former Soviet states on several occasions since then, he said. In 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland were the first former Soviet-bloc nations to join NATO. An even bigger wave of expansion occurred in 2004 when Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia became members. At its Bucharest summit in 2008, the alliance said that Georgia and Ukraine would become members in the future, spurring vigorous protests from Russia.

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“..the destruction of the European economy has been a massive tactic, historic victory for the Hegemon..”

2 Years After the Start of the SMO, West is Totally Paralyzed (Pepe Escobar)

Exactly two years ago this Saturday, on February 24, 2022, Vladimir Putin announced the launching – and described the objectives – of a Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine. That was the inevitable follow-up to what happened three days before, on February 21 – exactly 8 years after Maidan 2014 in Kiev – when Putin officially recognized the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. During this – pregnant with meaning – short space of only three days, everyone expected that the Russian Armed Forces would intervene, militarily, to end the massive bombing and shelling that had been going on for three weeks across the frontline – which even forced the Kremlin to evacuate populations at risk to Russia. Russian intel had conclusive proof that the NATO-backed Kiev forces were ready to execute an ethnic cleansing of Russophone Donbass.

February 24, 2022 was the day that changed 21st century geopolitics forever, in several complex ways. Above all, it marked the beginning of a vicious, all-out confrontation, “military-technical” as the Russians call it, between the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder, its easily pliable NATOstan vassals, and Russia – with Ukraine as the battleground. There is hardly any question Putin had calculated, before and during these three fateful days, that his decisions would unleash the unbounded fury of the collective West – complete with a tsunami of sanctions. Ay, there’s the rub; it’s all about Sovereignty. And a true sovereign power simply cannot live under permanent threats. It’s even feasible that Putin had wanted (italics mine) Russia to get sanctioned to death. After all, Russia is so naturally wealthy that without a serious challenge from abroad, the temptation is enormous to live off its rents while importing what it could easily produce.

Exceptionalists always gloated that Russia is “a gas station with nuclear weapons”. That’s ridiculous. Oil and gas, in Russia, account for roughly 15% of GDP, 30% of the government budget, and 45% of exports. Oil and gas add power to the Russian economy – not a drag. Putin shaking Russia’s complacency generated a gas station producing everything it needs, complete with unrivalled nuclear and hypersonic weapons. Beat that. Xavier Moreau is a French politico-strategic analyst based in Russia for 24 years now. Graduated from the prestigious Saint-Cyr military academy and with a Sorbonne diploma, he hosts two shows on RT France. His latest book, Ukraine: Pourquoi La Russie a Gagné (“Ukraine: Why Russia has Won”), just out, is an essential manual for European audiences on the realities of the war, not those childish fantasies concocted across the NATOstan sphere by instant “experts” with less than zero combined arms military experience.

Moreau makes it very clear what every impartial, realist analyst was aware of from the beginning: the devastating Russian military superiority, which would condition the endgame. The problem, still, is how this endgame – “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine, as established by Moscow – will be achieved. What is already clear is that “demilitarization”, of Ukraine and NATO, is a howling success that no new wunderwaffen – like F-16s – will be able to change. Moreau perfectly understands how Ukraine, nearly 10 years after Maidan, is not a nation; “and has never been less than a nation”. It’s a territory where populations that everything separates are jumbled up. Moreover, it has been a – “grotesque” – failed state ever since its independence. Moreau spends several highly entertaining pages going through the corruption grotesquerie in Ukraine, under a regime that “gets its ideological references simultaneously via admirers of Stepan Bandera and Lady Gaga.”

None of the above, of course, is reported by oligarch-controlled European mainstream media. The book offers an extremely helpful analysis of those deranged Polish elites who bear “a heavy responsibility in the strategic catastrophe that awaits Washington and Brussels in Ukraine”. The Poles actually believed that Russia would crumble from the inside, complete with a color revolution against Putin. That barely qualifies as Brzezinski on crack. Moreau shows how 2022 was the year when NATOstan, especially the Anglo-Saxons – historically racist Russophobes – were self-convinced that Russia would fold because it is a “poor power”. Obviously, none of these luminaries understood how Putin strengthened the Russian economy very much like Deng Xiaoping on the Chinese economy. This “self-intoxication”, as Moreau qualifies it, did wonders for the Kremlin. By now it’s clear even for the deaf, dumb, and blind that the destruction of the European economy has been a massive tactic, historic victory for the Hegemon – as much as the blitzkrieg against the Russian economy has been an abysmal failure.

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Konstantin Sivkov is Vice President of the Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences for Information Policy, Doctor of Military Sciences.

Collapse of Operation Citadel 2.0 (Sivkov)

The goals of the Ukrainian army’s offensive in the summer of 2023 and the size of combat groups formed to carry it out are to a certain extent comparable with what the German military fielded for its Operation Citadel in 1943. This gives us the grounds for calling Kiev’s offensive in the summer of 2023 Operation Citadel 2.0. Considering its military-political consequences, the collapse of Citadel 2.0 meant not simply the Ukrainian army’s military-strategic defeat but also the collapse of the consolidated West’s hybrid blitzkrieg. We can state boldly that the so-called counteroffensive attempted by the Ukrainian military in the summer of 2023 was an event against whose background all the other developments could hardly attract so much attention. This is not surprising because this counteroffensive was of key significance in the standoff between the West and Russia as its outcome largely shaped not only the situation in the special military operation area, Russia and Ukraine but also trends of the changing global situation.

Therefore, it is quite natural that all leading media outlets paid much attention to the fronts of the special military operation, giving details of the tactical situation in key frontline areas. However, open sources of information have not yet offered an operational-strategic analysis of this key event of the past year at least in broad outline. This analysis is, perhaps, available in special classified literature, though, but is inaccessible to the public at large. That is why, this requires an operational-strategic review of the events that took place in the summer of 2023 in open media sources as this effort is vital for our people to understand their scope and significance. Aside from the operational-strategic aspect proper, we should pay attention to military-political implications of these developments. It is quite natural that we can hardly make such a detailed analysis within one article and, therefore, we will focus on the most important aspects showing the dimension and significance of these events.

We should primarily say that the actions undertaken by the Ukrainian army in the summer of last year were not a counteroffensive proper. This was a classical strategic offensive operation carried out by the Ukrainian army’s grouping. For this operation, the enemy created a formidable grouping of forces, which numbered almost 160,000 personnel (110 battalions), 2,100 tanks and other armored vehicles, 960 field artillery guns and 114 aircraft. Such an amount of artillery helped create a fire density of up to 10 guns per km of the frontline in the directions of the main attack. The Ukrainian military set up substantial stocks of ammunition: over 500,000 155mm shells, more than 150,000 shells of other calibers, 560,000 mortar rounds and 50 Storm Shadow long-range precision cruise missiles. This density of the Ukrainian army’s artillery and ammunition stocks enabled it to carry out as many as 190 firing missions daily.

The so-called strategic reserve created with the help of Western aid constituted the basis of that grouping of forces and included 20 brigade-level large units numbering 80,700 personnel, of whom more than 60,000 had undergone instruction in Western training centers on the territory of the United States, Britain, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Therefore, over 45% of the grouping’s personnel and more than 75% of the strategic reserve were trained under NATO standards. In other words, precisely the NATO-trained personnel confronted Russian troops .

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“..keeping Ukraine in an artificial shortage of weapons… allows [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to adapt to the intensity of hostilities..”

Mood In Zelensky’s Office ‘Grim’ As US Aid Delayed – Politico (RT)

The “frustration” in Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s office is “palpable,” Politico reported on Friday. According to the news site, the Ukrainian president is growing impatient waiting for more military aid from Washington. The atmosphere in Kiev has been “quite grim, and frustration was palpable” in recent weeks, “a person close to Zelensky’s office” told Politico. “Almost everyone is convinced that the aid will come soon,” the source said, adding that “while the president’s office is waiting for good news from the US, it is also working to improve mobilization and war planning.” The US has already doled out around $45 billion in military aid to Kiev, out of a total of $113 billion allocated for Ukraine. However, the $45 billion war chest has been all but expended, and US President Joe Biden is currently lobbying Congress to pass a foreign aid bill that would include another $60 billion worth of arms, ammo, and other military support.

However, the bill has been stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, with the GOP refusing to bring it to a vote unless it is tied to increased funding for border security and a tightening of US immigration law. At a meeting in Lviv this week, Zelensky told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that Ukraine “will surely lose the war” if Congress fails to pass the bill, Schumer claimed on Friday. Russian forces captured the key Donbass town of Avdeevka last weekend, driving Ukrainian forces from a stronghold that they had occupied and fortified since 2014. Zelensky insisted from the moment Avdeevka fell that the town would have remained in Ukrainian hands had the US provided him with adequate weapons and ammunition. “Unfortunately, keeping Ukraine in an artificial shortage of weapons… allows [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to adapt to the intensity of hostilities,” he said.

The White House and the Pentagon have both warned that without more American funding, the situation in Avdeevka could soon be repeated in other Ukrainian-held cities and towns. Aside from a worsening shortage of ammunition, Zelensky is also facing a “critical” manpower shortage, the Washington Post reported earlier this month, adding that this deficit could result in collapse along the front. Ukraine has lost more than 383,000 men since the conflict began two years ago, according to the latest tally from the Russian Defense Ministry. Despite the scale of Kiev’s losses, Zelensky is currently aiming to conscript another 450,000-500,000 soldiers, using a mobilization law currently making its way through parliament. In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Zelensky said that his military would soon “prepare a new counteroffensive, a new operation.”

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“[The] United States of America told [us that] we will be with you ‘as long as it takes.’ Now it’s time to keep the promises.”

Ukraine Ready For War With China If US Asks – MP (RT)

Kiev is ready to assist the US in a war against any enemy, be it Iran, North Korea, or China, a senior Ukrainian MP has said, claiming that his country would prove to be a valuable military ally. In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday, Aleksey Goncharenko doubled down on calls for the US to send Ukraine more military aid amid gridlock in Congress. “[The] United States of America told [us that] we will be with you ‘as long as it takes.’ Now it’s time to keep the promises.” Goncharenko rebuked US politicians for focusing too much on the looming 2024 presidential election, saying Ukraine should not be a “victim” of this. He also claimed that supporting Ukraine serves Washington’s interests regardless of who wins the race for the White House.

In the event of a future war, the Americans “will need people who will stand shoulder to shoulder with them,” but not many nations would be willing to go all-in to support the US, the lawmaker said. ”Ukrainians are ready… We are ready to stand with the United States shoulder-to-shoulder, either in trenches near Tehran, or in North Korea, or near Beijing. No difference,” he stated. “Because we appreciate your support.” Despite his plea for more Western military aid, Goncharenko argued that Ukraine has “the second strongest army in the free world” after the US, making it “a very valuable ally.”

“But today we need your support to defend our country,” he added, blaming gaps and delays in arms shipments for the loss of the strategic Donbass city of Avdeevka last week. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian retreat from the heavily fortified city, which was often used as a launching pad to target civilians in Donetsk, turned into a disorganized rout with heavy casualties. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the capture of Avdeevka is “certainly a success,” adding that it needs to be advanced further. Last year, Putin claimed that the Ukrainian government was defending the interests of other countries rather than its own, and that the West was using Kiev as “a battering ram” and a “testing ground” against Russia.

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“..governments in Western Europe “don’t understand that many in the east would never trust them again” if the Ukraine project fails..”

Growing Rift Over Further Arming Ukraine ‘Jeopardizes EU Unity’ (Sp.)

There is a growing rift in Europe between the east and the west over continuing to aid the regime in Kiev, Bloomberg reported. Germany, Spain, Italy, and others are being pressured to dip deeper into their own stocks of arms, regardless of the fact that propping up Ukraine has been exhausting their own defense capabilities. Ukraine continues to fail on the battlefield, with the loss of its stronghold of Avdeyevka particularly painful for Kiev’s nationalists. Furthermore, Ukraine’s troops are also running critically low on stocks of artillery shells, feeding into the panicky sentiments gaining a foothold in diplomatic circles in countries that are staunch supporters of NATO’s proxy war against Russia. The latter are described as believing that once Moscow prevails in the Ukraine conflict, the entire “European integration project could be jeopardized,” with the aforementioned rift becoming “an indelible scar.”

Amid deepening fractures within the EU, governments in Western Europe “don’t understand that many in the east would never trust them again” if the Ukraine project fails, a top European official was cited warning. The West “doesn’t seem to get the urgency,” another official ostensibly said. How to scrape together funds to prop up the Kiev regime while not letting the EU exhaust its own defense capabilities was one of the concerns at the Munich Security Conference last weekend. With countries like France eager to kick start Europe’s own defense industry, as arming Ukraine has already resulted in depleted weapons and ammunition stocks, Eastern European countries are reportedly accusing the wealthier Western states of still not doing enough for Kiev. After sending billions’ worth of weapons to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s nationalist forces, the West is now facing a plethora of procurement problems.

Last month, several EU leaders and officials admitted that a joint initiative to give Kiev the promised one million artillery rounds before the end of March 2024 would not make the deadline. Furthermore, Eastern European countries are described as lamenting the procrastination over providing Ukraine with longer-range firepower. Support for Ukraine is “looking fragmented,” the outlet underscored. It recalled that earlier in the week, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell was quoted as writing to ministers, urging to dig “further into your stock, where possible; placing orders by procuring on your own or – preferably – jointly from the European industry; buying ammunition immediately available on the market; or financing Ukrainian industry.” However, countries such as France, Greece, and Cyprus are against dipping into EU funds to place orders with, for example, NATO ally Turkiye, according to cited sources.

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“I hate to say it, but I think it’s all about the money..”

US Spent ‘Decades’ Worth of Weapons Supplies on War in Ukraine – Senator (Sp.)

US Republican Senator J.D. Vance has been a vociferous opponent of aid for the Kiev regime, warning at the Munich Security Conference that America’s defense industry doesn’t produce enough munitions for this. On the stalled Ukraine aid package in the Senate, Vance claimed that it would not “fundamentally change the reality on the battlefield.” The US has spent decades’ worth of weapons on the proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) said in an interview at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). As a result, the US has been thrust into a situation where it might not be able to meet the needs of its own national security, the Republican from Ohio warned. “We have expended decades’ worth of supplies of American weapons” on the Ukraine conflict, Vance said. He deplored the destruction of the American manufacturing base over the years, which has resulted in that, “We don’t make enough of that stuff on our own.”

“Yet at the same time they want us to send all of our critical weapons overseas,” the politician pointed out. According to Vance, “the elites of America have fundamentally failed their own people” in several ways in their reaction to the Ukraine conflict, and he called out the Democrats for being “obsessed with Russia,” the “Russia collusion hoax,” which has clouded their judgment. “It is absurd for the US to devote so many resources, so much attention, and so much time to a border conflict six thousand miles away while out own US southern border is wide open,” insisted the Republican, adding: “We now no longer have the weapons in store to actually prosecute our own national security. Let’s focus on our own problems.” In a broadside targeting President Joe Biden, whose US foreign aid package that includes $60 billion for Ukraine is currently stuck in Congress, he succinctly pointed out: “If the thing you care most about is a conflict six thousand miles away you should not be a leader of this country.”

Elsewhere during the CPAC interview, Vance speculated that the Biden administration’s lack of effort to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Ukraine is rooted in financial interests. “I hate to say it, but I think it’s all about the money,” Vance said on Friday, adding that lots of money and resources being sent to Ukraine are getting “skimmed off the top.” The Ohio senator attempted to get across the same message at the recent Munich Security Conference. Vance argued that the US cannot continue to support Ukraine as its defense industry doesn’t produce enough munitions. “You don’t win wars with GDP or euros or dollars. You win wars with weapons, and the West doesn’t make enough weapons,” he was quoted as saying. Weighing in on the stalled aid package to Ukraine, and whether it could make an impact if it passed the US House, the Republican was cited by Politico as saying: “it doesn’t change the fundamental facts — that we are limited in the munitions that we can send, that Ukraine is limited in terms of its own manpower. The situation has to fundamentally change for them to make significant battlefield gains.”

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They don’t want peace. They want a forever war.

US Sees No Chance Of Ukraine Peace Before Election – WSJ (RT)

Western leaders have reportedly dismissed the possibility of reaching a negotiated peace agreement to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict before US voters go to the polls later this year. “Officials in Washington and European capitals are skeptical about the prospects of any peace talks with Russia and discount any possibility of a deal before the US presidential elections in November,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The Kiev regime has insisted that Russian forces vacate all of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territory, the outlet added, while US support could crumble if Donald Trump defeats incumbent President Joe Biden. The political stakes are even higher than when the Ukraine crisis began two years ago because Western leaders have invested billions of dollars in Kiev’s defense while repeatedly vowing to continue their backing “as long as it takes,” the WSJ said.

A Ukrainian defeat could shatter Washington’s geopolitical credibility, especially if Biden’s government fails to continue providing aid. “The level of US investment in the project of Ukraine’s independence has increased, and therefore the extent to which US credibility is judged based on Russia’s ability to accomplish or not accomplish its objectives in Ukraine,” Samuel Charap, a senior political scientist at Washington think tank RAND Corp., told the newspaper. “If there were to be a dramatic reversal of fortunes in Ukraine, there would be a whole lot more confidence in the emerging pseudo-bloc of Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.” Moscow has always been open to peace negotiations and would welcome any US efforts to end the Ukraine conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin told American journalist Tucker Carlson in an interview earlier this month.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said this week that neither Ukraine nor its Western backers are willing to end the bloodshed, leaving Moscow no choice but to continue fighting until its objectives are achieved. He suggested that the US election has little bearing on the issue because both Republicans and Democrats view Russia as an “adversary and a threat.” US House Republicans have meanwhile declined to approve Biden’s request for $60 billion in additional Ukraine funding. Washington ran out of money for Ukraine aid last month, after exhausting $113 billion in previously approved spending. Biden blamed Trump’s congressional allies for last week’s fall of Avdeevka, a key Donbass stronghold for Kiev, to Russian forces.

“It’s not just that American aid has been cut, but it’s been cut without warning and without giving us any time to adjust,” former Ukrainian Defense Minister Sergey Zagorodnyuk told the WSJ. He added, “If this crisis is not resolved, and Ukraine doesn’t receive the assistance, it will become a huge gift to Putin.” Washington’s European allies are so “spooked” by the potential loss of US protection that some German politicians have discussed seeking protection from nuclear-armed France and the UK, the report said. “It tells you about the level of doubt and fear about the world that we are entering – the one with the US not being there for us and where the hostile superpowers of Russia and China are potentially lining up against us,” said Thorsten Benner, director of the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin.

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“..Tel Aviv has ignored nearly all of Washington’s requests over the past four months with no impact on US aid shipments to Israel.”

Netanyahu’s Post-War Plans for Gaza Call for Indefinite Occupation (Antiwar)

Israel has released its first draft of its plans for post-war Gaza. Throughout the four months of a brutal onslaught, Israeli forces have decimated the Strip and killed 30,000 Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s post-war plans call for “operational freedom of action in the entire Gaza Strip without a time limit” and “demilitarization” of Palestinians. The Israeli government first released the document to some media outlets on Thursday. According to the translation from NBC News, the document says, Israel will “maintain its operational freedom of action in the entire Gaza Strip, without a time limit,” and “The security perimeter being created in the Gaza Strip on the border with Israel will remain as long as there is a security need for it.”

Israel is also requesting control of the border between Egypt and Gaza. Netanyahu’s plan may face resistance in Washington and Cairo. Egypt has demanded that Israel not deploy its forces along the border. The US has asked Israel not to expand buffer zones in Gaza. However, Tel Aviv has ignored nearly all of Washington’s requests over the past four months with no impact on US aid shipments to Israel. Netanyahu says he will not allow the rebuilding of the Strip to begin until the Palestinians have been “deradicalized.” Additionally, Tel Aviv plans to have complete control over the future political system in Gaza. Netanyahu says the Strip will be fully demilitarized. President Joe Biden has requested that Netanyahu allow Arab states to finance the reconstruction of Gaza and allow the Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern Gaza in the process of creating a sovereign Palestine.

Netanyahu’s proposal did not mention the PA. The Israeli government has repeatedly stated that it will not allow the PA to control Gaza or the Palestinians to have a state. In the statement released by the Israeli government, Netanyahu says, “Israel utterly rejects international diktats over a final-status agreement with the Palestinians.” Netanyahu additionally plans to shut down UNRWA, the main aid agency in Gaza, that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians rely on for survival. Tel Aviv recently accused the UN Relief and Works Agency of employing 12 people who took part in the Hamas attack in Israel. However, a US intelligence community assessment only endorsed the claim with “low confidence.”

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“Stop acting aggressive because you’re going to get the fight you’re asking for and you’re in no way prepared for it.”

UK’s Failed Trident Missile Test Emblematic of Its ‘Decline and Demise’ (Sp.)

On Wednesday, US media reported that the UK Royal Navy tested an unarmed Trident II missile in January, but the missile failed, falling just feet from the submarine it launched from. The failure was the latest in a string of embarrassing events for the Royal Navy. The recent missile failure by the UK military “is entirely linked to the kind of decline and demise of the UK as a serious nation,” Phil Kelly, a political contributor and socialist activist told Sputnik’s Political Misfits on Thursday. “It’s a nation that is in a deep economic and political crisis, and the military reflects that,” Kelly underscored. “I compare them to the [Scooby-Doo] character Scrappy-Doo because they run around after the United States as a small henchman talking up a bit beyond their own capabilities,” he added before mentioning a string of failures by the UK Royal Navy, including two warships colliding in the Gulf of Yemen.

“It’s a clown show that really isn’t fit for [its] purpose.” Like the Scrappy-Doo character, the UK Royal Navy acts supremely confident in its abilities, but can not back up its bravado. “This is an army, let’s not forget, that retreated at speed after a failed 20-year occupation of Afghanistan. They were beaten by men in pickup trucks… who’s [now] shaking its saber and threatening Russia, China, and Iran,” Kelly explained. “It’s kind of like that small man syndrome in a bar. Stop acting aggressive because you’re going to get the fight you’re asking for and you’re in no way prepared for it.” Kelly noted that not only is the UK military experiencing significant equipment problems, but it is also failing to meet its recruitment goals, calling it a “huge crisis” and doubling down on the fact that the issues are not limited to the naval branch.

“They used to have this great tagline about their main battle tank, the Challenger Two, that they said… had not been lost on the battlefield since it launched a couple decades ago. The tank itself managed about two to three weeks when it arrived in Ukraine before one of them was left as a burning hulk.” “If [the failed Trident missile launch] happened in North Korea, Western media would have been laughing at it,” Kelly said. “Here, we have the UK completely unable to launch a missile, which has cost an exorbitant amount of money while health and education are falling into rack and ruin.”

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“This isn’t a conspiracy theory,” he said; the “invasion” at the U.S. southern border is “strategic engineered migration.”

Former Panama Border Chief: UN Is Behind the Chaos at US–Mexico Border (ET)

The former director of Panama’s border patrol told The Epoch Times that the United Nations’ migration agenda is behind the chaos at the U.S. southern border and that U.N. partners are making things worse instead of better. Oriel Ortega, now a security and defense consultant to Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo, said during a Feb. 22 interview that he saw a jump in migration in 2016, at the same time that more nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) moved into Panama. That increase corresponded with the U.N.’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration meeting in 2016. Two years later, 152 nations—including Panama—voted in favor of the compact to manage global migration. The United States voted against it. But under the U.N., the migration process has been anything but orderly, Mr. Ortega said. “It’s completely opposite right now,” he said through an interpreter.

Documents show that in 2023, a record 500,000 migrants traveled through the dense jungle known as the Darien Gap from Colombia into Panama. Migrants from around the world are flying into South and Central America to start their journey because countries such as Suriname and Ecuador don’t require a visa to enter. Their final destination is the United States. The book “Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy,” written by Kelly Greenhill, suggests that weaker countries are using migration to destabilize their more powerful adversaries. Joseph Humire is the executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society and an expert on unconventional warfare. He told The Epoch Times that he believes that’s what Americans are seeing at the U.S. southern border now. “This isn’t a conspiracy theory,” he said; the “invasion” at the U.S. southern border is “strategic engineered migration.”

Mr. Ortega agreed that the NGOs have “exacerbated” mass migration problems. “Instead of helping, they’re being part of the problem,” he said. “It’s not the migrants themselves that are creating a national threat; it is the organized crime, and it is these international organizations.” At the Lajas Blancas camp in Panama, migrants have access to a number of large maps provided by NGOs that display detailed migration routes heading to the United States. One map is from HIAS, an NGO founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which recently received $11 million from the United States in two grants awarded for Latin American migrants.

Paxton

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“If they cannot pay by tomorrow, we will begin kidnapping their children to hold as ransom.”

New York Prosecutes Couple For Fraud (BBee)

Local couple Marty and Shelly Cross have been officially charged with fraud after listing their home for $499,000 when it ultimately sold for slightly less. “The Cross family knowingly and willfully tried to get a good deal when they sold their home,” explained Attorney General Letitia James. “The State of New York hereby assesses the Cross family a fine of $50 million for their egregious actions. If they cannot pay by tomorrow, we will begin kidnapping their children to hold as ransom.” According to sources, the bank had performed an appraisal and actually approved a loan for the buyer at $499,000, though ultimately after negotiations the selling price was slightly less. “Yes, the bank agreed to the price set by the Cross family,” admitted James.

“That doesn’t mean Mr. and Mrs. Cross did not commit fraud! Banks, as we all know, are poor and helpless and at the mercy of whatever amount of money people ask for. The feeble, powerless bank is the victim here, having been duped by the Cross family – and they will pay!” The Cross family were reportedly caught completely off guard by the charges, believing they had submitted a reasonable asking price. “All we did was ask for what we wanted! No one had to agree to it. I had no idea asking for the price you wanted for your home was illegal,” said Shelly. “I have to be frank, I just don’t quite see how our negotiating the price with the seller and the bank did fifty million dollars of damage to the State of New York. I’m really struggling to make the connection.” At publishing time, Letitia James had put up billboards across New York with the faces of the Cross family and how much they owed in fines.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

RFK Fauci

 

 

Vaxx

 

 

GVDB

 

 

Lion vs tiger

 

 

Couple

 

 

Leopard

 

 

bbee

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in wartime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 242024
 


Grete Stern Sueño No. 1: Artículos eléctricos para el hogar 1949

 

The Dark and the Light (Kunstler)
New Cell Phone Records Prove DA Willis Affair (Techno Fog)
CBS Causes Uproar After Seizing the Notes of Investigative Reporter (Turley)
NATO Will Allow Ukraine To Attack Inside Russia With F-16s – Stoltenberg (RT)
Zelensky Promises ‘New Counteroffensive’ (RT)
Europe Has ‘Dim, Lackluster Technocrats’, Not Strong Leaders – Medvedev (TASS)
Why Won’t The West Admit That The Maidan Coup Was Based On A Lie? (RT)
Kiev’s Sponsors Should Hold ‘Discreet’ Talks With Moscow – Ukraine Envoy (RT)
How Russia Could Respond to West’s Potential Frozen Asset Seizure (Sp.)
Dutch PM Has No Right to Sign 10-Year Ukraine Security Agreement – Musk (Sp.)
The Elites Versus The Rest Of Us (Utter)
The Axis of Asymmetry Takes On The ‘Rules-Based Order’ (Pepe Escobar)
Ukraine, Gaza Conflicts Isolate US, Europe (Sp.)
Censors Who Rigged The 2020 Election Are Now Stealing 2024 (Fed.)
Julian Assange Faces ‘A Living Death Sentence’ In A Concrete Coffin Cell (DM)

 

 


Scott McNealy’s famous ‘What were you thinking?’ rant to investors for bidding Sun Microsystems’ stock price up to 10x sales during the DotCom bubble Keep in mind that $nvda is now trading at over 40x sales…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Informant

 

 

Watters AI

 

 

Walsh

 

 

 

 

“Mr. Trump volunteered to play role of exorcist in this grand psychodrama. Whatever else you make of him, he has shown a lot of fortitude..”

The Dark and the Light (Kunstler)

The poison killing our country is pervasive untruth. Every institution we have relied on to run the public interest has become a factory churning out lies, evasions, and misdirection — not unlike the way mRNA “vaccines” turned the cells in your bodies into tiny generators of spike proteins destroying your organs. Likewise, half the population, apparently, thinks this is a good thing, that we need more lawfare — the perversion of law by attorney perverts — and that we need ever more lies, evasions, and misdirection (just as the degenerates who run Harvard declare their student body needs more mRNA boosters to remain in school). Since the doctors have all failed — miserably and dishonorably — America needs an exorcism. The poisons in our system are actual persons carrying out their programmed assignments, just as the spike proteins in the bodies of millions act as individual agents of destruction in your body.

What possible invocation can drive out the likes of Mayorkas, Christopher Wray, Avril Haynes, William Burns, Merrick Garland, Lisa Monaco, Marc Elias, Norm Eisen, Jack Smith, Jake Sullivan, Marc Zuckerberg, Mandy Cohen, Rachel Maddow, Daniel Sachs Goldman, Jamie Raskin, Mitch McConnell, Charles “Chuck” Schumer, “Joe Biden” (the remnant of a person, after all), and a thousand others in high places behaving in a way indistinguishable from demons? What explains their devotion to untruth? What motivates them? Can it possibly be the mere perqs and comforts of their positions? Are they answering a call? And who is issuing that call? Or are they just trapped by their many years of lying continually, fearful of getting cast into prison? Are you asking yourselves: what will satisfy these maniacs? Anything short of the ruin of our country? What will their coveted power be worth in a ruined country? Mr. Trump volunteered to play role of exorcist in this grand psychodrama. Whatever else you make of him, he has shown a lot of fortitude.

Eight years ago, when he came on the scene, he appeared to not know that his opponents were actually demons seeking to wreck the country; rather just low persons sunk in the most common venial corruption, and others mere zealots steeped in futile utopian fantasies of perfecting the flawed human condition. He learned eventually the that the situation was more dire than he ever imagined. His opponents came after him hard from the get-go and keep coming at him. Russia is the knout they use in the attempt to flay him alive. “Russia Russia Russia” has been one long, elaborate lie. They’re going at it again, pretending that Mr. Trump seeks Russian help interfering in the fall election, despite the plain fact that all previous invocations of “Russia Russia Russia” were revealed to be untrue, and maliciously so — and that all the actual election interference originated with the gang shouting “Russia Russia Russia.” It looks like more than half the country is refusing to fall for it this time. Thus, the resort to lawfare, the five cases (so far) designed to bankrupt Mr. Trump and gain a felony conviction for objecting to the election shenanigans of 2020.

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Something tells me we’re not talking about the smartest folk here..

New Cell Phone Records Prove DA Willis Affair (Techno Fog)

The lawyers for President Trump have Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade’s cell phone records. And it’s bad for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. The official story from the Fulton County DA and her former lover Nathan Wade, made through sworn filings and sworn testimony, was that their “personal relationship” started in 2022. In a February 2, 2022 filing, DA Willis submitted Wade’s affidavit to the Court which stated: “In 2022, District Attorney Willis and I developed a personal relationship.” DA Willis and Wade both testified that the relationship started sometime in early 2022. But Wade’s cell phone records disprove their official story. In a filing this morning from President Trump’s attorneys, records indicate that the “relationship” between DA Willis and Wade was romantic well-before Wade’s November 1, 2021 appointment by Willis as Special Prosecutor.

Trump’s attorneys were able to obtain, by subpoena to AT&T, Wade’s cell phone records from 1/1/2021 through 11/30/2021. Wade’s location data was analyzed by an investigator hired by the attorneys – an analytical tool which generated geolocation data that pinpointed Wade’s presence at DA Willis’s South Fulton Condo during that time period. Here are the highlights:

• Wade and Willis exchanged “over 2000 voice calls and just under 12,000 texts messages” from January 1, 2021 through November 30, 2021.

• Geolocation data indicates Wade was at DA Willis’s condo “at least 35 occasions”. The data revealed he was “stationary” at the condo “and not in transit.”

• Wade’s visits to DA Willis’s condo were corroborated by texts and phone calls. According to the report: On November 29, 2021, “following a call from Ms. Willis at 11:32 PM, while the call continued, [Wade’s] phone left the East Cobb area just after midnight and arrived within the geofence located on the Dogwood address [the condo] at 12:43 AM on November 30, 2021. The phone remained there until 4:55 AM.”

• On September 11, 2021, Wade arrived at the condo address at approximately 10:45 PM. He left the address at 3:28 AM and arrived at his Marietta residence at 4:05 AM. He then texted DA Willis at 4:20 AM.

It’s important to note that Trump’s investigator is under a serious time constraint, due to the nature of the proceedings before Judge Scott McAfee, and wasn’t able to analyze all of the Wade/Willis data, which he described as voluminous. The two visits listed above – those are just a small fraction of the 35+ trips that Wade made to DA Willis’s condo. If his review continues, then more revelations will follow. The extensive communications between DA Willis and Wade – the thousands of calls and tens of thousands of texts – indicate something more than what they described as a friendship. And combined with the late-night visits, with Wade appearing at her apartment for a few hours before heading home, this is definitive proof that their romantic relationship started long before what they told the Judge.

Beck Fani

Watters Fani

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I bet this is about finding out what she has on Biden and Hunter. Then they’ll return (most of) her notes.

CBS Causes Uproar After Seizing the Notes of Investigative Reporter (Turley)

There is trouble brewing at Black Rock, the headquarters of CBS, after the firing of Catherine Herridge, an acclaimed investigative reporter. Many of us were shocked after Herridge was included in layoffs this month, but those concerns have increased after CBS officials took the unusual step of seizing her files, computers and records, including information on privileged sources. The position of CBS has alarmed many, including the union, as an attack on free press principles by one of the nation’s most esteemed press organizations. I have spoken confidentially with current and former CBS employees who have stated that they could not recall the company ever taking such a step before. One former CBS journalist said that many employees “are confused why [Herridge] was laid off, as one of the correspondents who broke news regularly and did a lot of original reporting.”

That has led to concerns about the source of the pressure. He added that he had never seen a seizure of records from a departing journalist, and that the move had sent a “chilling signal” in the ranks of CBS. A former CBS manager, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said that he had “never heard of anything like this.” He attested to the fact that, in past departures, journalists took all of their files and office contents. Indeed, the company would box up everything from cups to post-its for departing reporters. He said the holding of the material was “outrageous” and clearly endangered confidential sources. [..] A source within the the union, SAG-AFTRA, confirmed that it has raised this controversy with CBS and remains extremely concerned about the effect of this action on journalistic practices and source confidentiality. The union believes this is “very unusual” and goes far beyond this individual case. “It is a matter of principle,” a union spokesperson added. “It is a matter of serious concern. We are considering all of our options.”

For full disclosure, I was under contract twice with CBS as a legal analyst. I cherished my time at the network. I have also known Herridge for years in both legal and journalistic capacities. CBS is one of the world’s premier news organizations, with a legendary history that includes figures from Murrow to Walter Cronkite to Roger Mudd. That is why the hiring of Herridge was so welcomed by many of us. The network was at risk of becoming part of the journalistic herd, an echo-chamber for Democratic and liberal narratives. It had been mired in third place for ages, and it was moving in the wrong direction by alienating half of the country. Herridge had been a celebrated investigative reporter at Fox News. An old-school investigative journalist, she is viewed as a hard-driving, middle-of-the-road reporter cut from the same cloth as the network’s legendary figures.

The timing of Herridge’s termination immediately raised suspicions in Washington. She was pursuing stories that were unwelcomed by the Biden White House and many Democratic powerhouses, including the Hur report on Joe Biden’s diminished mental capacity, the Biden corruption scandal and the Hunter Biden laptop. She continued to pursue these stories despite reports of pushback from CBS executives, including CBS News President Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews. Given the other layoffs and declining revenues, the inclusion of Herridge was defended by the network as a painful but necessary measure. But then something strange happened. The network grabbed Herridge’s notes and files and informed her that it would decide what, if anything, would be turned over to her. The files likely contain confidential material from both her stints at Fox and CBS. Those records, it suggests, are presumptively the property of CBS News.

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Deliberate escalation.

“..the F-16 is capable of delivering B61 gravity bombs. “So, if one of those planes takes off from a NATO nation – what would that be? An attack on Russia. I shall not describe what could happen next..”

NATO Will Allow Ukraine To Attack Inside Russia With F-16s – Stoltenberg (RT)

Once Ukraine receives F-16 fighter jets it will be free to use them against military targets inside Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has told American state-run media. Stoltenberg was speaking to RFE/RL for an interview which is scheduled to air on Friday. According to snippets released in advance, the NATO head has argued that Ukraine has the right to self-defense against Russian “aggression,” which would include “striking legitimate Russian military targets outside Ukraine.” As to when the government in Kiev might actually receive the promised jets, Stoltenberg would not say. Each NATO member that has pledged to deliver them has different policies and will decide themselves, he explained.

While some of Ukraine’s backers want the jets in action as soon as possible, they will have a stronger impact if the pilots are well-trained and there are enough maintenance and support crews on hand, according to Stoltenberg. “So, I think we have to listen to the military experts exactly when we will be ready to or when allies will be ready to start sending and delivering the F-16s,” he said. “The sooner the better.” Ukraine has long demanded the F-16 as a way to combat Russian air superiority. Denmark and the Netherlands have both pledged to contribute some of their jets, with President Vladimir Zelensky putting the total number at 42. The first Ukrainian pilots training in the West finished their classes in the UK in December.

The way the US-made jet is designed means it might have difficulties operating from Ukrainian runways, sparking speculation that they could be flown from Poland, Romania or the Baltic states instead. Russia has repeatedly warned such a deployment would be an escalation of the conflict and may even risk nuclear war, as the F-16 is capable of delivering B61 gravity bombs. “So, if one of those planes takes off from a NATO nation – what would that be? An attack on Russia. I shall not describe what could happen next,” Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian president and deputy head of Russia’s National Security Council, said in an interview on Thursday.

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“..if Kiev loses its soldiers, it “will lose everything..”

Bit late perhaps?

Zelensky Promises ‘New Counteroffensive’ (RT)

Ukraine is planning a new counteroffensive against Russia despite a string of recent setbacks including the failure to break through Moscow’s defenses last year and the loss of the strategic city of Avdeevka in Donbass, President Vladimir Zelensky has said. In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Zelensky acknowledged that some Western backers have expressed impatience with Kiev and the perceived lack of progress, asking him “when we will finish the war, when will we win.” The Ukrainian leader stressed that his utmost priority is to avoid heavy casualties, and that if Kiev loses its soldiers, it “will lose everything,” even if the West provides it with the most advanced weapons. “To defend [is] the task number one and then to continue our successful story on the Black Sea” he said, adding that Russia is preparing certain “surprises” in the region, without elaborating further.

The “south is very important,” he continued, noting that Kiev’s other priority is to hold the line in Donbass, and that “of course, we will prepare a new counteroffensive, a new operation.” Zelensky cautioned that the ultimate plan depends on many factors, and declined to give a possible timeframe for a new push. Ukraine attempted a large-scale offensive early last summer but failed to make any substantial progress despite being reinforced with a massive amount of Western military hardware. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said Kiev suffered colossal losses in the campaign, with more than 215,000 troops lost in 2023 alone.

Last week, Russian troops took full control of the heavily fortified city of Avdeevka, which was frequently used as a launch ground for attacks on Donetsk, many of which have targeted civilians. The Russian Defense Ministry said the Ukrainian troops left their positions in a “disorderly retreat,” losing some 1,500 soldiers in the process. The New York Times, citing sources, has suggested that Moscow may have captured up to 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers during the rout. Commenting on the retreat, Zelensky called the decision to leave Avdeevka “absolutely logical,” saying its goal was to spare the lives of Ukrainian troops.

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“..They would tear him to pieces and say: ‘We will be attacked instantly, Cossacks will be galloping around Paris again, and the world will simply collapse!'”

Europe Has ‘Dim, Lackluster Technocrats’, Not Strong Leaders – Medvedev (TASS)

The current leaders of European countries are mostly “dim, lackluster technocrats” who are engaged in pursuing “Euro-Atlantic ideals” instead of resolving national problems, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Russian media, including TASS. “In Europe, as I have said many times, all the true leaders are gone. A generation of dim, lackluster technocrats has arrived, who endorse only Euro-Atlantic ideals. Instead of dealing with their national problems, they follow instructions from Washington,” he said. Medvedev explained that there are exceptions among European leaders, such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, or Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, “but this only confirms the rule.”

“And all the rest are people who do not have their own position,” the politician stated. In his opinion, the previous generation of European figures had the inner strength to raise objections when issues were important to their countries. But this does not mean that they took Russia’s side or abandoned any European ideals, the politician noted. “No, but they could object. To the extent that during the period when de Gaulle was the French president, France suspended its participation in the military component of NATO, and considered it the right thing to do. Can you imagine anyone even mentioning that now? They would tear him to pieces and say: ‘We will be attacked instantly, Cossacks will be galloping around Paris again, and the world will simply collapse!'” Medvedev surmised.

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Because the story is too sordid.

Why Won’t The West Admit That The Maidan Coup Was Based On A Lie? (RT)

Political scientist Ivan Katchanovski – of the University of Ottawa – revealed last year, in a paper, that the February 2014 massacre of Ukrainian protesters by sniper fire, a defining moment of the Western-backed Maidan coup, was not published by an academic journal for “political reasons.” In a lengthy Twitter thread, Katchanovski first laid out the circumstances behind the rejection of his article, and the bombshell evidence included in it. The paper was initially accepted with minor revisions after peer review, and the journal’s editor offered a glowing appraisal of his work, writing: “There is no doubt that this paper is exceptional in many ways. It offers evidence against the mainstream narrative of the regime change in Ukraine in 2014… It seems to me that the evidence the study produces in favour of its interpretation on who was behind the massacre of the protesters and the police during the ‘Euromaidan’ mass protests on February 18-20, 2014, in Ukraine, is solid. On this there is also consensus among the two reviewers.”

As the editor noted, the massacre was a “politically crucial development,” which led to the “transition of powers in the country” from the freely elected Viktor Yanukovich to the illegitimate and rabidly nationalistic administration of Aleksandr Turchinov, a former security services chief. It was endlessly cited in Western media as a symbol of the brutality of Ukraine’s government and an unprovoked attack on innocent pro-WesternMaidan protesters, who allegedly sought nothing more than democracy and freedom. Rumors that the killings were a false flag intended to inflame tensions among the vast crowds filling Maidan, and provoke violence against the authorities, began circulating immediately. No serious investigation into what happened was ever conducted by the Western media, with all claims that the sniper attacks were an inside job dismissed as Kremlin “disinformation.” However, even NATO’s Atlantic Council adjunct admitted in 2020 that the massacre was unsolved and that this “cast a shadow over Ukraine.”

It may not remain unsolved for much longer though, due to an ongoing trial of policemen at the scene on the fateful day. The legal action has been unfolding for well over a year and has received no mainstream news attention at all outside Ukraine. Katchanovski drew heavily on witness testimony and video evidence that has emerged over the course of the trial in his suppressed paper. For example, 51 protesters wounded during the incident testified at the trial that they were shot by snipers from Maidan-controlled buildings, and/or witnessed snipers there. Many spoke of snipers in buildings controlled by Maidan protesters shooting at police. This is consistent with other evidence collected by Katchanovski, such as 14 separate videos of snipers in protester-controlled buildings, 10 of which clearly feature far-right gunmen in the Hotel Ukraina aiming at crowds below.

In all, 300 witnesses have told much the same story. Synchronized videos show that the specific time and direction of shots fired by the police not only didn’t coincide with the killings of specific Maidan protesters, but that authorities aimed at walls, trees, lampposts, and even the ground, simply to disperse crowds. Among those targeted by apparently Maidan-aligned snipers were journalists at Germany’s ARD. They weren’t the only Western news station in town at the time – so too were Belgian reporters, who not only filmed Maidan protesters screaming towards Hotel Ukraina for snipers not to shoot them, but also participants being actively lured to the killing zone. This incendiary footage was never broadcast.

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Very few people in Ukraine could call for this. But Melnik is the person who “..called German Chancellor Olaf Scholz an “offended liver sausage” and told Elon Musk to “f**k off”..”

Kiev’s Sponsors Should Hold ‘Discreet’ Talks With Moscow – Ukraine Envoy (RT)

Kiev’s foreign backers should contact Russia behind the scenes to find out its conditions for peace with Ukraine, former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany Andrey Melnik, who now represents the country in Brazil, has said. In an interview with the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, Melnik was asked to comment on a poll which revealed that, given the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive last year and gains by Russian forces in recent months, 64% of Germans now believe that Kiev has lost the conflict with Moscow. The diplomat called the results of the survey “bitter” and acknowledged that “our partners have the right to say: ‘okay, we tried, we helped, but now it doesn’t work anymore.’” However, he insisted that Ukraine’s defeat would “be a threat to Germany’s security.”

According to Melnik, Berlin must now focus on what else it can do to help Kiev, including supplying “Taurus [missiles], fighter jets, more anti-aircraft defenses and ammunition.” The ambassador suggested that considering how things stand at the moment, “it would at least be wise if our allies could discreetly contact Moscow to find out whether there’s real willingness to compromise. Under what conditions and guarantees, for example, would the Russians be ready to withdraw from the occupied territories.” “It’s not about lazy compromises or restoring a false calm on the global stage, but about leaving no stone unturned,” he said, adding that “conducting exploratory talks doesn’t mean giving up one’s interests.” At the same time, Melnik claimed “the Russians have done everything they can to destroy trust.

From Ukraine’s point of view, it is impossible to forge a deal.” “Nevertheless, our partners, including in the Global South, should use their diplomacy to end the war this year,” he stressed. Melnik was removed from the post of Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany in summer 2022 after a series of scandals. Notably, he called German Chancellor Olaf Scholz an “offended liver sausage” and told Elon Musk to “f**k off” on social media. “I might’ve been able to do my job less passionately from time to time so as not to offend some people,” he acknowledged. The diplomat explained that his harsh tone was justified by the need to put pressure on the government in Berlin to provide more aid to Ukraine in the first month of the conflict with Russia.

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“..with a negative effect on the US balance of trade, hence on US inflation and economic growth, all of which could increase unemployment, poverty and fiscal deficits in the United States.”

How Russia Could Respond to West’s Potential Frozen Asset Seizure (Sp.)

A group of international law experts and practitioners from Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US are seeking to bolster the legal case for seizing frozen Russian Central Bank assets, Bloomberg news agency has reported. In a letter obtained by Bloomberg, the experts argue that such actions are allegedly allowed under international law, citing the ongoing Ukraine conflict as a pretext. The letter, however, did not elaborate on what legal mechanism (if any) these experts could use for possible a seizure. Shortly after the start of Russia’s special military operation, Western countries slapped comprehensive sanctions on Russia, including the freezing of about €260 billion ($280 billion) in securities and cash, with more than two-thirds of the sum immobilized in the EU.

“I do not think that it is possible on legal grounds to confiscate frozen assets of the Russian Central Bank, even though these assets are held in some Western countries such as the US, the UK, Germany or France,” Sergio Rossi, professor of macroeconomics and monetary economics at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, told Sputnik. Touching upon potential ramifications, he suggested that speculation about the possibility of confiscating the assets on a legal basis “could induce a number of European or US stakeholders to seize these assets held in their own countries in order to give them to Ukraine, so as to reduce the expenditures of their own governments in support of Ukraine.” This may, in turn, “give rise to some reputational risks at international level, since these countries might be considered less trustworthy in managing foreign financial capital, which is thereby subject to confiscation in a not-too-distant future, particularly in view of the existing huge geopolitical tensions, notably between China and the United States, in the Middle East or in the Red Sea,” according to Rossi.

When asked what countermeasures one should expect from Moscow if the US and the EU take action in this regard, the pundit suggested that the Russian government could sell “a relevant share of its Western assets, particularly US and European bonds and equities.” Russia then “could invest this capital in a number of economic activities across the so-called ‘Global South’ countries, particularly in the BRICS+, namely, Brazil, India, China, South Africa, and some other countries whose economy is emerging in the currently multi-polar globalization,” per the expert. Similarly, he did not rule out that Russia could sell “huge amounts of US dollars across the foreign exchange market, thereby inducing a relevant depreciation of the greenback, with a negative effect on the US balance of trade, hence on US inflation and economic growth, all of which could increase unemployment, poverty and fiscal deficits in the United States.” He also indicated that others may follow the Russian move, “thereby impacting on Western economies negatively, in a period when both the US and the EU already have their own economic and social problems to address properly and for the common good,” Rossi concluded.

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All that to get the NATO job.

Dutch PM Has No Right to Sign 10-Year Ukraine Security Agreement – Musk (Sp.)

US entrepreneur Elon Musk said outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte does not have the legal authority to sign a security treaty with Ukraine for ten years. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO made the statement in response to a post by political commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek on social network X regarding the Netherlands’ ten-year military assistance agreement with Ukraine. Vlaardingerbroek said “the opinion of the Dutch People” had not been asked. “Doesn’t seem like he [Rutte] has the legal authority to do this,” Musk wrote in response. The Dutch Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday that the Netherlands would sign a security agreement with Ukraine for the next 10 years. It said the deal means the Netherlands will help Ukraine defend itself and achieve further integration into the EU and NATO.

Ukraine earlier signed similar agreements with the UK, France, Germany and Denmark. Reports also said a similar document could be signed with Italy in the near future. Russia has been conducting a special military operation in Ukraine since February 24, 2022. President Vladimir Putin has said the operation aims to “protect people subjected to genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years.” According to the president, the ultimate goal of the operation is to liberate Donbass and create conditions that guarantee Russia’s security. Russia earlier sent a note to NATO because of arms supplies to Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said any cargo that contains weapons for Ukraine will become a legitimate target for Russia.

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“..In a sort of reverse Genesis, these would-be deities seek to save the earth from humanity..”

The Elites Versus The Rest Of Us (Utter)

Far too many unelected, bureaucratic pencil-pushers in Washington and Brussels have been granted nearly complete control over those they are supposedly to serve, due to the cravenness of their elected “bosses.” These duplicitous diplomats and sanctimonious “servants” sneer self-righteously at those who they derisively say cling to their God and their guns, as they arouse themselves by marinating in their own supposed superiority. The West and its signature values of limited representative government, respect for the individual, free will, free markets, discipline, work ethic, and reasoned faith led the world out of the Dark Ages. Bizarrely and remarkably, the truth of the matter is that elites in the Western media, government, entertainment, and academia are now revolting against the same values that changed the world so much for the better. Progressive?

In America, the Biden administration is putting the kibosh on gas stoves and, now, all new liquid natural gas export approvals, ostensibly to fight climate change — but, some believe, more likely just to piss off political opponents. Mindbogglingly, various Western governments are essentially declaring war on farmers, or at least farming, again purportedly to combat global warming. So what will 8 billion people eat? The elites say, “Let them eat bugs!” Indeed, you will eat ze bugs…and be happy! The globalists at the WEF have taken it upon themselves to plan our subjugation. In a sort of reverse Genesis, these would-be deities seek to save the earth from humanity. At the 2024 Forum, the global aristocracy vowed to ramp up censorship of dissenting opinion.

If they can successfully implement broad-based censorship of those with whom they disagree, there is no hope for the rest of us to throw off our shackles. Period. That is why the American Founders wrote — and enshrined — the First Amendment to the Constitution. The elites believe they know what’s best for everyone else, and the planet at large. But in reality, they are far more concerned with what’s best for them — and their image as virtue-signaling champions of a supposedly utopian future. It is up to us to ensure that their assault on logic, morality, and sanity does not succeed — no matter the consequences.

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“Yemen’s fight for “our people” in Gaza is a matter of humanistic, moral, and religious solidarity – these are foundational tenets of the rising eastern “civilizational” powers..”

The Axis of Asymmetry Takes On The ‘Rules-Based Order’ (Pepe Escobar)

The Axis of Asymmetry is in full swing. These are the state and non-state actors employing asymmetrical moves on the global chessboard to sideline the US-led western rules-based order. And its vanguard is the Yemeni resistance movement Ansarallah. Ansarallah is absolutely relentless. They have downed a $30 million MQ-9 Reaper drone with just a $10k indigenous missile. They are the first in the Global South ever to use anti-ship ballistic missiles against Israel-bound and/or -protecting commercial and US Navy ships. For all practical purposes, Ansarallah is at war with no less than the US Navy. Ansarallah has captured one of the US Navy’s ultra-sophisticated autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), the $1.3 million Remus 600, a torpedo-shaped underwater drone able to carry a massive payload of sensors. Next stop: reverse engineering in Iran? The Global South eagerly awaits, ready to pay in currencies bypassing the US dollar.

All of the above – a maritime 21st-century remix of the Ho Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam War – spells out that the Hegemon may not even qualify as a paper tiger, but rather as a paper leech. Into the Big Picture – linked to the relentless ongoing genocide perpetrated by Israel in Gaza – steps a true leader of the Global South, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Lula spoke in the name of Brazil, Latin America, Africa, BRICS 10, and the overwhelming majority of the Global South when he cut to the chase and defined the Gaza tragedy for what it is: a genocide. No wonder the Zionist tentacles across the Global North – plus its Global South vassals – went bonkers. The genocidals in Tel Aviv declared Lula as persona non grata in Israel. Yet Lula did not assassinate 29,000+ Palestinians – the overwhelming majority of whom were women and children. History will be unforgiving: it’s the genocidals that will eventually be judged as personae non grata to all of humanity.

What Lula said represented BRICS 10 in action: this was obviously cleared before with Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, and, of course, the African Union. Lula spoke in Addis Ababa, and Ethiopia is now a BRICS 10 member. The Brazilian president was extremely smart in timing his Gaza fact-check to be on the table during the G20 meeting of Foreign Ministers in Rio. Way beyond BRICS 10, what’s happening in Gaza is a consensus among the non-Western G20 partners – who are actually a majority. No one, though, should expect any serious follow-up inside a divided G20. The heart of the matter remains in the facts on the ground. Yemen’s fight for “our people” in Gaza is a matter of humanistic, moral, and religious solidarity – these are foundational tenets of the rising eastern “civilizational” powers, both domestically and in international affairs. This convergence of principles has now created a direct link – extrapolating to the moral and spiritual spheres – between the Axis of Resistance in West Asia and the Slavic Axis of Resistance in Donbass.

Extreme attention should be paid to the timescale. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) forces and Russia have spent two hard-fought years in Novorossiya just to arrive at the stage where it becomes clear – based on the battlefield and cumulative facts on the ground – that “negotiations” mean only the terms of Kiev’s surrender. In contrast, the job of the Axis of Resistance in West Asia has not even started. It’s fair to argue that its strength and full sovereign involvement have not been deployed yet (think Hezbollah and Iran). Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, with his proverbial subtlety, has hinted there’s, in fact, nothing to negotiate on Palestine. And if there would be a return to any borders, these would be the 1948 borders. The Axis of Resistance understands that the whole Zionist Project is unlawful and immoral. But the question remains how to throw it, in practice, into the dustbin of History?

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“The US failed in its goal to isolate and divide Russia but did succeed in its unstated goal of deindustrializing Europe..”

Ukraine, Gaza Conflicts Isolate US, Europe (Sp.)

The US failed in its goal to isolate and divide Russia but did succeed in its unstated goal of deindustrializing Europe, war correspondent and analyst Elijah Magnier told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Thursday. “The world is changing indeed, not only because of the war on Russia in Ukraine but also the war in Gaza […] the Development of the BRICS countries [and] the increase of the Shanghai Cooperation. All these indications lead to one reality, the beginning of the end of US hegemony.” “Fifty nations gathered to defeat Russia and they failed… Ukraine has been defeated and Europe is defeated,” Magnier added, noting later that Russia’s economy is doing much better than Europe’s. In addition, the conflict in Gaza has wiped out any remaining pretense of Western moral superiority.

“We are confronted [with] the war on Gaza, where none of [that] moral ground is translated into punishment of those who are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. This is where, today, the Americans are completely isolated, along with their European partners.” America can only survive through wars, Magnier argued, resulting in NATO threatening war with China when it cannot handle much weaker adversaries. “The US and UK are failing in front of non-state actors in the Red Sea [like] the Ansar Allah Houthis… So how can we understand that the Americans are ready to start a war against Russia and then against China?” Co-host Wilmer Leon brought up what he believes to be the “unstated” goal of the war in Ukraine, “the de-industrialization of Europe” which, unlike the stated goal of defeating Russia, “seems to be doing quite well.”

Magnier agreed and expressed shock that Germany has seemingly declined to react. “The Nord Stream II pipeline was blown up and the Germans refused to investigate the terrorist act,” noting that energy prices are rising throughout Europe, even though there are still some European countries buying Russian gas. “When energy is unaffordable… there is a migration of European industry to the United States where energy is cheaper.” “This is [how] the Americans succeeded in putting the Europeans, literally, on the floor, and this is something that Europeans understand, realize, [and] are fully aware of, but, surprisingly, they’re not really reacting and stopping all this useless war that is [leading] them nowhere but to the destruction of the European industry and economy.”

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I’ve posted the Mike Benz interview(s) before.

Censors Who Rigged The 2020 Election Are Now Stealing 2024 (Fed.)

If you didn’t see Tucker Carlson’s interview last week with Mike Benz, you need to take an hour and watch the whole thing. In a mind-bending narrative about the emergence of what Benz calls “military rule” through an online censorship industry in the U.S., he lays out in startling detail just how corrupt and tyrannical the U.S. defense and foreign policy establishment has become. Most importantly, Benz, the executive director of the Foundation For Freedom Online, explains how a constellation of federal agencies and publicly funded institutions, under the pretext of countering “misinformation,” rigged the 2020 election and are right now smothering the First Amendment and rigging the 2024 election through massive state-sponsored censorship online. The 2020 election and the Covid-19 pandemic, says Benz, were the “two most censored events in human history.” And 2024 is shaping up to be the same, thanks to the emergence of a federal censorship-industrial complex.

The problem here is profound, with deep historical roots that go back to the aftermath of World War II and the creation of the CIA along with a host of U.S.-funded international institutions. But for our purposes, it suffices to understand the problem in its two most recent stages: the period from 1991 to 2014, and from 2014 to the present. At the outset of internet privatization in 1991, free speech online was seen as an instrument of statecraft. At that time, says Benz, internet free speech was championed by the U.S. foreign policy and defense establishments as a way to support dissident groups around the world in their efforts to overthrow authoritarian or disfavored regimes. It allowed the U.S. to conduct what Benz calls “insta-regime change operations,” in service of the State Department’s foreign policy agenda. The plan worked really well. Among other things, free speech on the internet allowed U.S.-backed groups to assert control over state-run media in foreign countries, making it much easier to overthrow governments.

The high-water mark of this way of deploying free speech online, Benz explains, was the Arab Spring in 2011 and 2012, when governments the Obama administration considered problematic — Egypt, Tunisia, Libya — all began falling in so-called Facebook and Twitter revolutions. During that time, the State Department worked closely with these social media companies to keep them up and running in those countries, to be used as tools for protesters and dissident groups that were trying to circumvent state censorship. But all of that changed in 2014 after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine toppled the government of Viktor Yanukovych and there was an unexpected pro-Russia counter-coup in Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine. Later that same year, says Benz, when the people of Crimea voted to be annexed into the Russian Federation, “that was the last straw for the concept of free speech on the internet in the eyes of NATO.”

Thereafter, NATO, the CIA, and the State Department, together with the intelligence agencies of our European allies, did an about-face on internet free speech. They began instead to engage in what amounted to hybrid or information warfare to censor what they saw as Russian propaganda online. These efforts quickly spread beyond Ukraine and Eastern Europe to include the censorship of populist groups on the right that were emerging across the EU as a response to the Syrian migrant crisis. By the time Brexit emerged in the summer of 2016, explains Benz, NATO and the foreign policy establishment felt there was a real crisis afoot; the problem was spreading west from Central and Eastern Europe, and it had to be stopped. If it wasn’t, then Brexit might trigger the collapse of the entire EU, along with NATO and the entire constellation of supranational institutions that relied on NATO. The entire postwar architecture of institutions might come crashing down, all because the hearts and minds of the people were being swayed. So went the thinking, anyway.

As far as the national security establishment was concerned, citizens were being swayed by Russian and far-right propaganda, and we can’t have that. Under these circumstances, free speech was the last thing that could be allowed to flourish online. Censorship became the order of the day. As Carlson put it, these NATO and EU leaders identified their new enemy as democracy within their own countries — their own voters, in other words: “They feared that their people, the citizens of their own countries, would get their way. And they went to war against that.” And then Trump was elected. From that moment — and indeed, as we know from the Russia-collusion hoax, even before Trump was elected in November 2016 — the U.S. foreign policy and defense establishments, which had done so much to censor and weaponize the internet overseas, turned their attention to American citizens.

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Chilling. Bone.

Julian Assange Faces ‘A Living Death Sentence’ In A Concrete Coffin Cell (DM)

Just days from now, Wikileaks boss Julian Assange could be standing shackled on a British airfield preparing to board a plane to the US. Once he disembarks and the sound-proofed door of a supermax prison cell closes behind him, the man who’s made himself America’s most wanted will – finally – be silenced. Lawyers fear the 52-year-old could be confined alone in a ‘concrete coffin’, a 12ft by 7ft chamber – with a window 3ft high but just four inches wide, designed to ensure that the inmate has no view other than sky or wall. Inside it, his bed, desk and stool will be made of poured concrete too. Under this regime, meals are passed through a slot in the door and inmates use a stainless steel sink, toilet and shower inside their cell, meaning they don’t even leave to eat or wash. Once every 24 hours, they are allowed out for an hour to exercise in a small, individually caged space, often sunken, like an empty swimming pool, to prevent them getting any sense of their bearings within the prison complex.

The CIA plan to kill Julian Assange in London

A 2012 class-action lawsuit brought against America’s Federal Bureau of Prisons revealed how a sentence in this sort of facility tests the sanity of the toughest inmates. They ‘interminably wail, scream and bang on the walls of their cells. Some mutilate their bodies with razors, shards of glass, sharpened chicken bones, writing utensils, and whatever other objects they can obtain. A number swallow razor blades, nail clippers, parts of radios and televisions, broken glass, and other dangerous objects’. Security is, of course paramount. Both prisoners and their cells, which are constantly monitored by CCTV, are searched frequently. Outside, 12ft high walls topped with razor wire, turreted guard towers, floodlights, motion censors and dog patrols mean the likelihood of escape is minute.

Most notorious of all is ADX Florence, an institution in Colorado nicknamed the Alcatraz of the Rockies, which was memorably described by one former warden as ‘a clean version of hell’. It was the possibility of Assange being entombed there, under what are known as special administrative measures (solitary confinement and the severest restrictions), that temporarily halted his extradition back in 2020. Now it’s back on and in its endgame following two climactic days of hearings in London’s High Court this week. Two judges, Dame Victoria Sharpe and Mr Justice Johnson, yesterday reserved their judgment pending further submissions from both sides. They are expected to rule on whether the extradition, originally agreed by former home secretary Priti Patel in 2022, can go ahead, or whether Assange has the right to another appeal, some time next month.

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Elephant Hat

 

 

Henry

 

 

Victims

 

 

 

 

Garra rufa

 

 

Gray whale

 

 

Bathtubs

 

 

 

 

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Feb 232024
 
 February 23, 2024  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  62 Responses »


Jean-Michel Basquiat Aboriginal 1984

 

Julian Assange’s Grand Inquisitor (Chris Hedges)
Totally Corrupt Weaponized Law Used As a Weapon (Paul Craig Roberts)
Kiev and Odessa Are Ours – Medvedev (RT)
Arming Ukraine With F-16s Could Trigger Nuclear War – Medvedev (RT)
Biden Disgraced US With Putin Insult – Kremlin (RT)
Seize Frozen Russian Assets In Navalny’s Name – German MP (RT)
Give Us All Your Heavy Weapons, Kiev’s Security Chief Tells EU (RT)
‘Almost Nobody’ Believes Ukraine Will Win – Orban (RT)
Von der Leyen’s Foreign Policy Subordinates Europe to US (Sp.)
Biden Backs Dutch PM Rutte for Top NATO Job (Sp.)
Red Lines: Will Iran Enter The Regional War? (Cradle)
Will Netanyahu Bring Down Biden? (Jeffrey Sachs)
Lara Trump Vows Largest-Ever Legal ‘Ballot Harvesting’ Operation (ET)
What the Left Has Bequeathed Us (Victor Davis Hanson)
Biden Dogs Accused of Dozens of Additional Attacks at White House (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Tucker Trump

 

 

Fitton

 

 

 

 

Tulsi

Vivek

 

 

Tucker immigration

 

 

UN Nada

 

 

 

 

“Julian contacted the US government, as Summers told the court, and spoke to them at length, in an attempt to prevent the unredacted cables from being published. In the end, the U.S. State Department chose not to act. ”

Julian Assange’s Grand Inquisitor (Chris Hedges)


Kangaroo Courtship by Mr. Fish

The prosecution for the U.S., which is seeking to deny Julian Assange’s appeal of an extradition order, begun by the Trump administration and embraced by the Biden administration, grounded its arguments on Wednesday in the dubious affidavits filed by a U.S. federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Virginia, Gordon Kromberg. The charges articulated by Kromberg — often false — to make the case for extradition did not fly with the two High Court judges, Jeremy Johnson and Dame Victoria Sharp, who are overseeing Julian’s final appeal in the British courts. The prosecuting attorneys, under questioning from the judges, were knocked off balance when challenged about the veracity of several of the claims which Kromberg made in support of the indictment against Julian. This was especially the case when the attorneys argued that the classified documents Julian released in 2010 — known as the Iraq and Afghan war logs — were not redacted.

These unredacted documents, they told the court, jeopardized the lives of those named in the documents and caused some to “disappear.” As defense lawyers Edward Fitzgerald KC and Mark Summers KC made clear, and the judges seemed to acknowledge, the documents were indeed redacted by Julian as he worked with media partners, such as The Guardian and The New York Times, when WikiLeaks published classified military documents concerning the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, along with U.S. State Department cables. The unredacted versions were first published by the website Cryptome after two reporters from The Guardian published a book with the passcode to the documents, leading to their publication by other online organizations. Julian contacted the US government, as Summers told the court, and spoke to them at length, in an attempt to prevent the unredacted cables from being published. In the end, the U.S. State Department chose not to act.

U.S. officials have sheepishly admitted they have no evidence of anyone named in the documents being harmed. Other allegations — such as that Julian tried to help Chelsea Manning, who leaked the documents, decode a password hash to access documents or protect her identity, or that he sought to conspire with computer hackers — have also been debunked. A report provided to Judge Baraitser by a U.S. military forensic expert found that even if Manning was able to decode the password hash (which neither she nor anyone at WikiLeaks ever did) it would not have provided access to documents, it would not have provided her with anonymity and it would not have given her access to documents which she did not already have. The expert also described that someone with Manning’s technical knowledge, skill and experience, as well as her lawful access to Top Secret materials, would have known this. But these Kromberg-inspired canards are all the U.S. has, so it uses them.

By the end of the day, it seemed likely that, probably by April, since requested written briefs have to be turned into the judges in March, the two judges will permit an appeal on at least a few of the points. This will, conveniently for the Biden administration — which I expect does not want to take on the contentious issue of extraditing Julian while fueling the genocide in Gaza — mean that any extradition would occur after the election. The two-day hearing was Julian’s last chance to request an appeal of the extradition decision made in 2022 by the then British home secretary, Priti Patel and of many of the rulings of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser in 2021. If Julian is denied an appeal he can request the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for a stay of execution under Rule 39, which is given in “exceptional circumstances” and “only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm.” But it is possible the British court could order Julian’s immediate extradition prior to a Rule 39 instruction or decide to ignore a request from the ECtHR to allow Julian to have his case heard by the court.

Jen Robinson

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“This is America today. Law has no meaning. It is nothing but a weapon. We can have zero confidence it its application and zero confidence in its outcomes..”

Totally Corrupt Weaponized Law Used As a Weapon (Paul Craig Roberts)

The Democrats appear to be the New Stalinist Party. My conclusion is based on how they abuse law. President Trump has suffered eight years of legal abuse from Democrats and their corrupt prosecutors and judges. It began with Russiagate led by the CIA, Justice (sic) Department, and FBI. It was a total orchestration long since disproved. Then there were a series of concocted nonsense allegations–strippergate, documents gate, insurrection gate and two concocted and failed impeachment attempts. The Democrats then rescued their failed attempts by rolling them into indictments, which the Democrat controlled corrupt United States Justice (sic) Department and Soros-implanted Trump-hating Democrat state attorneys generals and district attorneys leveled against Trump. Some of these fake charges are falling apart, because the black female prosecutors are so stupid and incompetent that they have disqualified themselves and should actually face indictment for perjury.

As US Senator J.D. Vance recently said, “It’s like every other two-minute clip I watch of this Fani Willis interview she admits to committing another felony.” Of all the indictments, the most absurd is the one presided over by what must be the most corrupt judge in human history–New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron. The Trump-hating NY Attorney General, apparently another Soros implant, charged on her own with no civil complainants against Trump that he damaged unidentified people by overstating the value of his properties in his loan applications. She has zero evidence for the charge. Indeed, all of the lenders and every real estate valuation expert said that there was nothing wrong with Trump’s valuations. Lenders said they didn’t care about the valuations, they just wanted Trump’s business. Regardless, the ideological black woman implanted into NY “justice” by Soros’ money indicted Trump for civil fraud.

The trial was arranged to go to Engoron, who would not be satisfied if Trump were drawn and quartered in public view on the courthouse steps. Engoron has made the most stupid rulings based on nothing but his own hatred 0f Trump. The corrupt fool stupidly ruled without evidence that Trump’s real estate was worth a small fraction of what independent real estate evaluators place as the value of the properties. He simply ignored the facts in order to rule as he wanted. Engoron issued an order cancelling the Trump Organization’s business certificates. Apparently, he couldn’t make it stick. So now he has imposed a $350 million fine on Trump and his executives despite the fact that the NY Attorney General Letitia James, who is also busy at work trying to destroy a well-read website that documents the overrunning of the United States by recruited immigrant-invaders, has not a shred of evidence to support her hate-driven charge.

The American presstitute media hate Trump as much as Letitia and Engoron and have already ruled that Trump is guilty. So again we have an American convicted, just like Derick Chauvin, despite the fact that all of the evidence shows that he is innocent. This is America today. Law has no meaning. It is nothing but a weapon. We can have zero confidence it its application and zero confidence in its outcomes. American prisons are full of innocent people like the “insurrectionists” who could not afford to strand trial and who knew that if they did stand trial they would be punished for doing so. The way American “criminal justice” (sic) works is that a defendant, innocent or guilty, admits to a lessor offense, that is he admits to a crime that never happened, in order to avoid trial for a crime that he did not do, but conviction for which his sentence would be much longer.

“Law and Order Conservatives” have never caught on. Indeed, it was their outrage over “liberal judges” who let criminals off too easily that helped to produce a system in which everyone is guilty by accusation alone and self-incrimination. Where are all these liberal judges in Trump’s case, in the case of the 1,000 American patriots in prison because they attended a political rally in support of the President of the United States?

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Haven’t heard that for a while. And now it comes from Putin’s alter ego.

“Kiev is a Russian city, and a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation emanates from it..”

Kiev and Odessa Are Ours – Medvedev (RT)

Russia will have to continue fighting Ukraine until it takes Kiev and the coastal city of Odessa, former President Dmitry Medvedev has claimed. Both cities have “Russian roots” but are being run by US-led enemies of Moscow, meaning they present an existential threat, according to the senior official, who currently serves as deputy head of Russia’s National Security Council. The remarks were extracts from an interview that Medvedev gave to Russian media, which he shared on social media on Thursday. “Where should we stop? I don’t know,” he said, adding that a lot of “serious work” lies ahead. “Will that be Kiev? Probably. This should be Kiev too. If not now, then sometime later. There are two reasons. Kiev is a Russian city, and a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation emanates from it,” he said.

In a separate video, Medvedev addressed the southern Ukrainian port of Odessa, urging it to “return home.” “We in the Russian Federation have long been waiting for Odessa, if only because of its history and what kind of people live there and what language they speak. It is our Russian city,” he claimed. In May 2014, 42 pro-Russia supporters were burned to death in Odessa, a predominantly Russian-speaking city, having been trapped by a mob that supported the Western-backed protests in Kiev that would later overthrow the democratically elected government of Ukraine. Medvedev identified the source of the threat to the existence of Russia as an “international brigade of the opponents of Russia, led by the US,” who he claimed are in control of Kiev.

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“..The doomsday clock “is ticking” and has “sped up considerably..”

Arming Ukraine With F-16s Could Trigger Nuclear War – Medvedev (RT)

Supplying Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets poses a risk of triggering a nuclear conflict, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has warned. NATO member states are currently training Ukrainian pilots to operate F-16s ahead of the expected transfer of the aircraft. Kiev has been asking for the Western fighter jets for months, saying they were needed to combat Russian air superiority. ”An accidental, unintentional outbreak of a nuclear conflict is not something to be discarded, which is why all those machinations around Ukraine are dangerous,” Medvedev said in an extensive interview with Russian journalists, as quoted by TASS on Thursday.

The deputy head of Russia’s National Security Council cited the US-designed aircraft as a possible trigger, noting that Kiev wants them despite having no ground infrastructure to operate them. ”So if one of those planes takes off from a NATO nation [on a Ukrainian mission] – what would that be? An attack on Russia. I shall not describe what could happen next,” he said. “Such a development may not be even sanctioned by the NATO leadership and the US.” nRussian officials previously warned that delivering F-16s to Ukraine would be highly problematic, considering that the jets can deploy nuclear gravity bombs.

Medvedev said Russia’s standoff with the US and its allies was not at a stage that would force people to hide in a nuclear shelter, but described it as worse than the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The doomsday clock “is ticking” and has “sped up considerably,” he added. The doomsday clock – a representation of the likelihood of a global catastrophe maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – is currently 90 seconds to midnight, having advanced 10 seconds last year. The clock was first launched in 1947, when it was set at 23:53. Its most optimistic time was in the 1990s, when it was 17 minutes to midnight. Its current time is the closest it has ever been to midnight or ‘doomsday.’

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“.. The spokesman suggested that Biden was emulating a “Hollywood cowboy” to appeal to domestic audiences..”

Biden Disgraced US With Putin Insult – Kremlin (RT)

Americans should be ashamed of their leader after their president reportedly called Russia’s Vladimir Putin a “crazy S.O.B.” during a public event, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. Joe Biden’s alleged name-calling occurred during a fundraiser on Wednesday. According to US media, Biden singled out the Russian president while arguing that climate change was a worse threat for humanity than a nuclear conflict. Officials in Washington have claimed that Putin resorted to “nuclear blackmail” when discussing the Ukraine conflict. Moscow has denied this characterization. “This is a great disgrace for [the US],” Peskov said on Thursday, when asked about the reported incident. “If the president of that nation uses that kind of language, that is shameful.” The spokesman suggested that Biden was emulating a “Hollywood cowboy” to appeal to domestic audiences. Such remarks “can hardly hurt any foreign head of state, let alone President Putin,” Peskov added.

Biden has in the past used the same insult that he reportedly directed at Putin on Wednesday. During a press briefing in 2022, he exclaimed “what a stupid son-of-a-bitch,” after a member of the press corps asked him about inflation. In 2018, he resorted to the same language while bragging at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, about pressuring Kiev to fire its prosecutor general. He threatened to withhold a credit line. “I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch, he got fired,” Biden recalled of events in 2016, when he served as vice president. Last week, media reported that Biden had called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an “a**hole” on three different occasions in private conversations with other people, including with Democratic Party donors. He was said to have been venting frustration over Israel’s refusal to follow US suggestions on how it should prosecute its military campaign in Gaza.

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It’s still theft.

Seize Frozen Russian Assets In Navalny’s Name – German MP (RT)

Russia’s assets that remain frozen in the West should be confiscated in response to the death of opposition activist and anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny, German parliament member Norbert Rottgen has said. This money should be used to provide more arms to the Ukrainian military for use in the conflict with Russia, Rottgen suggested in his speech to the Bundestag on Wednesday. Legislation that would allow the confiscation of an estimated $300 billion in assets owned by the Russian central bank, which were blocked by the US and the EU after the outbreak of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev in February 2022, should be named “Navalny Laws,” he added. Navalny died last Friday in a Russian prison, where he had been serving a lengthy sentence stemming from the violation of the terms of his earlier fraud sentence and his “extremist activities.” The opposition figure had denied any wrongdoing, describing the charges as politically motivated.

According to the prison authorities, Navalny suddenly “felt ill” after a walk and collapsed, with efforts to resuscitate him failing. The cause of the 47-year-old’s death remains unclear, but a source has told RT that it may have been the result of a blood clot. An investigation is ongoing. Rottgen was quick to blame the Russian president for Navalny’s passing, saying: “this murder was of course a matter for the boss. [Vladimir] Putin is the perpetrator.” The lawmaker from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) also insisted that Germany’s deliveries of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine must “now be ramped up.” Frank Schwabe from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is part of the ruling coalition, also blamed Putin for the activist’s death. “We demand further sanctions for the Russian regime and must do everything we can to help Ukraine win,” he said.

Omid Nouripour, the leader of the Greens, another member of the ruling coalition, suggested that the Russian president bears “at least political” responsibility for what had happened to Navalny. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier said it was “completely unacceptable” for Western politicians to make “outrageous statements” regarding Navalny’s death while the investigation into the case is still ongoing. Moscow has repeatedly said that the seizure of its funds by the US and the EU would be tantamount to “theft” and would trigger a response. Russian officials have also warned that such an “illegal” move could further undermine global trust in the Western financial system.

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“.. the “Kiev regime” is an accomplice in this Western scheme and a threat to the Ukrainian people themselves..”

Give Us All Your Heavy Weapons, Kiev’s Security Chief Tells EU (RT)

The EU should donate all its heavy weapons to Kiev, Ukrainian national security council chief Aleksey Danilov has said, claiming that the arms will in any case be useless in future conflicts. Discussing the perceived threats to the EU, Danilov told national media on Wednesday that the bloc is facing the potential rise of ultra-right forces, but suggested that nobody can predict what the security situation will be in two or three decades’ time. “This issue needs to be tackled now. We have great experience, and we understand that Europe will not need those guns, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and other hardware for its next war,” he declared. “They urgently need to donate them all to us, as Denmark did.” The Danish government has decided to give all its artillery systems to Ukraine, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced last week.

”We have weapons, we have ammunition, we have air defense, that we don’t have to use ourselves at the moment, that we should deliver to Ukraine,” she added, referring to all EU states. Danilov argued that in the future, current weapons will effectively be “scrap,” claiming that Kiev would have defeated Russia already if it had been given enough arms. Ukraine remains determined to prevail in the conflict, the official insisted, suggesting that with more Western arms donations, Kiev would ensure Moscow is not a “threat” to European NATO members. ”We are prepared to achieve the task of destroying the Russian Federation,” he stated. Moscow perceives the Ukraine conflict as a US-led proxy war against Russia, in which Ukrainian troops are being used as cannon fodder. Russian officials have claimed that the “Kiev regime” is an accomplice in this Western scheme and a threat to the Ukrainian people themselves.

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“..the immediate future is bleak for the European Union due to the way the Ukraine conflict is unfolding..”

‘Almost Nobody’ Believes Ukraine Will Win – Orban (RT)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said the immediate future is bleak for the European Union due to the way the Ukraine conflict is unfolding. He made the comments during a Fidesz-KDNP parliamentary faction conference behind closed doors on Wednesday, according to media reports. Orban, who is a prominent critic of the bloc’s policies and has opposed its funding of Kiev’s conflict against Russia, predicted a major victory for conservative parties in the European Parliament elections in June. ”The war will not end. Europe’s burden will become heavier, because financial support for Ukraine will decrease due to disputes in the US amid the presidential election,” he told the conference, according to the newspaper Magyar Nemzet. ”Supporting the Ukrainians has a huge political price. Farmers are revolting all over Europe, and almost nobody believes in the victory of the Ukrainians,” Orban added.

There may be a change in policy from Brussels after the elections, and Washington could also alter its course following the presidential election later this year, he suggested. Orban’s prediction regarding the outcome of the Ukraine conflict appears to be consistent with the views of citizens in 12 EU member states who were surveyed recently by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). The results of the opinion poll were released on Wednesday and showed that only 10% of respondents believed Ukraine would beat Russia on the battlefield. Twice as many believed Russia would prevail, while 37% said a compromise settlement was the most likely outcome. Hungarians were the most pessimistic about a Ukrainian victory, with just 5% considering that this was the likely result of the conflict. A total of 31% predicted that Russia would win.

17 year old Ukr

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“..if Russia continues to be treated as the ultimate Other, to be excluded from the European security architecture and treated as a pariah, Europe’s demise will be accelerated and its recovery difficult to envisage.”

Von der Leyen’s Foreign Policy Subordinates Europe to US (Sp.)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s foreign policy has failed to strategically weaken Russia, created a perception of eroding the sovereignty of member states and made Europe more subordinate to the United States than at any point during the Cold War, experts told Sputnik. Earlier in the week, von der Leyen confirmed that she would run for reelection as EU Commission chief. She also announced a new European defense strategy to be unveiled in three weeks. The strategy will consist of four main points: spending more, spending better, spending “more European” by investing billions of European taxpayers’ money, and using the experience of the conflict in Ukraine to “outsmart Russia” on the battlefield.

“Facts on the ground suggest that the EU’s foreign policy, or lack thereof, has failed to strategically weaken Russia or bring an end to the conflict in Ukraine. Rather, the narrative surrounding Russia serves as a pretext to consolidate power within the EU,” Adriel Kasonta, a London-based political analyst, said, adding that “the war in Ukraine, once seen as a rallying point for European unity, is now perceived as a smokescreen for a broader agenda of centralization.” The expert noted that von der Leyen’s vision for the EU has been criticized for making the bloc more federalist and dominated by unelected bureaucrats. “The foreign policy trajectory represented by von der Leyen is marked by a push towards increased militarization and defense spending. A looming specter of a unified EU army has fueled fears that member states will witness a gradual erosion of sovereignty,” Kasonta explained.

In the latter part of her term, von der Leyen has reportedly forged a strong relationship with US President Joe Biden, who is also up for reelection later this year, due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and Biden’s vocal internationalist stance, in contrast to his predecessor Donald Trump. Nevertheless, as Washington turns more attention to Asia, a trend that began during the Barack Obama administration, Europe is grappling with what it means for the continent. “As Washington pivots towards Asia to counter China, Europe finds itself urged to continue the proxy war on behalf of its transatlantic ally. This has translated into a recalibration of priorities, with more focus on military might and less emphasis on climate discussions. The EU’s trajectory, it seems, is bending towards aligning itself with American interests, even at the expense of its original environmental commitments,” Kasonta said, while also noting that growing discontent with the EU’s green policies also pushed von der Leyen “towards a shift in priorities.”

Srdja Trifkovic, the foreign affairs editor of the paleoconservative magazine Chronicles, pointed to von der Leyen’s close ties to the US foreign policy establishment. “Thanks to the war in Ukraine, von der Leyen has managed to bring Europe under American control more firmly than it had been at any time during the Cold War,” Trifkovic said. He also observed that the anti-Russian sentiment displayed by van der Leyen and people like her goes beyond a simple antipathy to the government of President Vladimir Putin and instead constitutes “loathing all things Russian,” as Trifkovic put it. “There is a remarkable mixture of hostility and repulsion that is primarily culturally motivated, rather than geopolitically driven,” Trifkovic continued, adding that “if Russia continues to be treated as the ultimate Other, to be excluded from the European security architecture and treated as a pariah, Europe’s demise will be accelerated and its recovery difficult to envisage.”

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Rutte is as much an American lackey as von der Leyen is. But still, who wants to head a club so much in decline?

Biden Backs Dutch PM Rutte for Top NATO Job (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden is supporting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to replace Jens Stoltenberg as the next NATO secretary general, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing a US official. The support of the president of the United States is likely to sway more allies to get on board with Rutte’s nomination, the report said. Politico reported earlier on Wednesday that two-thirds of NATO countries are now backing the Dutch prime minister’s nomination to become the next leader of NATO this year, but the decision requires unanimity among all NATO member states.

The report also cited NATO officials as saying that Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Latvian Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins are not in the mix of potential candidates since they have not put forward their candidacies. Stoltenberg’s term as NATO secretary general was due to expire in October 2022, but it was extended for another year, until September 30, 2023, against the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis. In July, the alliance extended his term for another year, meaning that Stoltenberg will remain in the post until October 1, 2024. He is the second-longest serving NATO secretary general after former Dutch Foreign Minister Joseph Luns, who held the post from 1971 to 1984.

Tucker NATO

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“Tehran’s approach is to apply pressure on Washington via non-aggressive methods – without entering the war..”

Red Lines: Will Iran Enter The Regional War? (Cradle)

On 14 October 2023, Iran issued a stern public ultimatum to Israel, cautioning that unless it ceases its genocidal assault on Gaza, significant repercussions will ensue, likening them to “a huge earthquake.” Tehran’s envoy to the UN later clarified that the Islamic Republic would only intervene in the Gaza war if the occupation state were to jeopardize Iranian interests or citizens. Given the events of the past four months, this raises the question: What are Iran’s red lines, and at what point would Tehran opt for direct confrontation? To grasp Iran’s motivations and reactions, it’s critical to understand its red lines—those non-negotiable boundaries it staunchly defends. At the heart of this lies the survival of the Islamic Republic itself, which recently celebrated its 44th anniversary. Any encroachment on Iran’s territorial integrity or vital interests triggers a defensive response to deter potential threats.

Foremost among these red lines are any broad attacks on Iran’s maritime assets, energy infrastructure, and strategic interests. Assaults on vital economic nodes like oil refineries or shipping lanes will likely prompt swift and resolute reactions from Iran’s leadership, signaling a readiness to safeguard national assets at any cost. Previously, the Iranian government denied involvement in the Hamas-led resistance Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. While ideologically aligned with Palestinian resistance factions, Tehran insists on their autonomy, wary of direct involvement that could destabilize its domestic front. Nevertheless, support for other allies in the Axis of Resistance like Hezbollah remains unwavering, serving as a deterrent against external aggression targeting Iran’s strategic depth. So far, Tehran has moved to influence Israel’s war in Gaza on the level of diplomacy, demanding the immediate cessation of killings, the lifting of the blockade on humanitarian aid, and the withdrawal of the Israeli military from the Gaza Strip. The key aims of the Iranians are to prevent a serious blow to the Palestinian resistance and its military capabilities and to prevent another mass displacement of Palestinians from their lands.

From Iran’s perspective, resistance against Israel and the US represents a cornerstone of the Islamic Republic’s strategic vision – part of its wider anti-imperialist struggle in West Asia, and ambition to force the US out of the region. Many in Tehran believe the Gaza war is orchestrated in Washington, with the US serving as Israel’s primary advocate in global arenas like the UN Security Council. As such, Iran aims to undermine US influence by exacerbating divisions between Washington and Tel Aviv. Despite Israel’s resolve to continue its campaign of ethnic cleansing, Iran’s strategy hinges on exploiting this discord, using diplomatic channels to influence US policy without resorting to direct confrontation. In essence, Tehran’s approach is to apply pressure on Washington via non-aggressive methods – without entering the war.

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“Netanyahu pursues the religious ideology of 7th century BC in the 21st century..”

Will Netanyahu Bring Down Biden? (Jeffrey Sachs)

The cabinet of Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is filled with religious extremists who believe that Israel’s brutality in Gaza is at God’s command. According to the Book of Joshua in the Hebrew Bible, dated by scholars to the 7th century BC, God promised the land to the Jewish people and instructed them to destroy the other nations living in the promised land. This text is used by extreme nationalists in Israel today, including by many of the 700,000 or so Israeli settlers living in occupied Palestinian lands in violation of international law. Netanyahu pursues the religious ideology of 7th century BC in the 21st century. Of course, the vast majority of the world today, including the vast majority of Americans, are certainly not in line with Israel’s religious zealots. The world is far more interested in the 1948 Genocide Convention than in the genocides supposedly ordained by God in the Book of Joshua. They don’t accept the Biblical idea that Israel should kill or expel the people of Palestine from their own land.

The two-state solution is the declared policy of the world community, as enshrined by the UN Security Council, and of the U.S. government. President Joe Biden is therefore caught between the powerful Israel Lobby and the opinion of American voters and of the world community. Given the power of the Israel lobby, and the sums it expends in campaign contributions, Biden is trying to have it both ways: supporting Israel but not endorsing Israel’s extremism. Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken hope to entice the Arab countries into yet another open-ended peace process with the two-state solution as the distant goal that is never reached. Israeli hardliners would of course block every step of the way. Biden knows all of this but wants the fig leaf of a peace process. Biden also hoped until recently that Saudi Arabia could be lured into normalizing relations with Israel in return for F-35 fighter jets, access to nuclear technology, and a vague commitment to an eventual two-state solution… someday, somehow.

Carter

The Saudis will have none of it. They made this clear in a declaration on February 6, stating: The Kingdom calls for the lifting of the siege on the people in Gaza; the evacuation of civilian casualties; the commitment to international laws and norms and international humanitarian law, and for moving the peace process forward in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council and the United Nations, and the Arab Peace Initiative, which aims to find a just and comprehensive solution and establish an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as capital. Domestically, Biden confronts AIPAC (the innocuously named American Israel Public Affairs Committee), the lead organization of the Israel lobby. AIPAC’s long-running success is to turn millions of dollars of campaign contributions into billions of dollars of U.S. aid to Israel, an amazingly high return. Currently, AIPAC aims to turn around $100 million of campaign funding for the November election into a $16 billion supplemental aid package for Israel.

So far, Biden is going along with AIPAC, even as he loses younger voters. In an Economist/YouGov poll of January 21-23, 49% of those aged 19-29 held that Israel is committing a genocide against the Palestinian civilians. Only 22% said that in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, their sympathies are with Israel, versus 30% with Palestine, and the remaining 48% “about equal” or unsure. Only 21% agreed with increasing military aid to Israel. Israel has utterly alienated younger Americans. While Biden has called for peace based on the two-state solution and a reduction of violence in Gaza, Netanyahu has brazenly brushed Biden aside, provoking Biden to call Netanyahu an asshole on several occasions. Yet it is Netanyahu, not Biden, who still calls the shots in Washington. While Biden and Blinken wring their hands at Israel’s extreme violence, Netanyahu gets the U.S. bombs and even Biden’s full backing for the $16 billion with no U.S. red lines.

China ICJ

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“‘Hey, I just clicked on this to donate to the president … [and] I think it goes to the RNC, I don’t know if I trust that,’” she said. “That’s a problem.”

Lara Trump Vows Largest-Ever Legal ‘Ballot Harvesting’ Operation (ET)

Lara Trump says efforts of “historic” proportions are needed to ensure that Republicans, including her father-in-law, former President Donald Trump, win the Nov. 5 election. Ms. Trump says she is ready to take on that challenge if she becomes co-chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), as President Trump has recommended. In an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times before a Feb. 21 campaign stop, Ms. Trump declared: “We need to have the biggest legal ballot harvesting operation this country has ever seen.” Ballot harvesting, which is legal in many states, allows people to deliver other voters’ absentee or mail-in ballots to election officials. Some fear this practice facilitates election fraud. Republicans have long frowned upon it; Democrats have taken advantage of it. “Whether or not they [Democrats] do it legally, that’s up for discussion,” Ms. Trump said.

In any case, Ms. Trump says it’s time for Republicans to start “attacking the game differently.” Ms. Trump’s remarks to The Epoch Times, and later, to supporters, provided new insights about her vision for a revamped and reinvigorated RNC. “It feels, for a long time, like the Democrats have been playing chess and we’ve been playing checkers,” she said. Her goal is for the Republican Party “to be the opposite, to be steps ahead of them, and on our toes, and ahead of the game, and facing forward the whole time.” Ms. Trump, the wife of President Trump’s son, Eric, also advocates two other efforts that she says would be unprecedented. Republicans need to be urged to vote early, not just on election day, as they typically have preferred, she said. She also wants to see the RNC’s program for training poll watchers expanded nationwide.

“They don’t just stand in the background and kind of keep an eye out and look around for things,” Ms. Trump said. “They physically can count how many ballots are coming in, and how many ballots are going out.” Such measures are needed “to reassure people in a time like we’re in right now, where they really feel like there wasn’t something quite right about the 2020 election, and people still have a lot of unanswered questions,” she said. Ms. Trump said that the RNC, which is suffering from depleted coffers and anemic fundraising, must restore trust among Republican donors. “I’ve had family members of mine call me and say, ‘Hey, I just clicked on this to donate to the president … [and] I think it goes to the RNC, I don’t know if I trust that,’” she said. “That’s a problem.”

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“..welcome 8-million illegal aliens to “surge” into America on the premise a new constituency might support agendas that American citizens do not..”

What the Left Has Bequeathed Us (Victor Davis Hanson)

The Left has created new rules for national politics. Here are 20 some precedents they now have established for America in the future:

1) When in control of the Senate, demand the end of the filibuster; when not, don’t.

2) Call for the end of the Electoral College–but only if it appears to recently favor the candidate of the opposition.

3) In an election year, change any state balloting laws deemed unhelpful through administrative fiat or court order to favor your political candidate.

4) Seek to flip electors from voting in accordance with the popular vote count in their states; indict as an insurrectionist any of the opposition who dare do the same.

5) Raid the home of any opposition ex-president who removed classified files; exempt any sitting president of your party who did the same.

6) Swarm the private homes of, and then bully and intimidate any, Supreme Court officials, politicians, or citizens you oppose.

7) Appoint two special counsels: one to go after the current chief presidential opponent in an election year; the other to exempt and excuse the sitting president for the very crimes charged against his rival.

8) Lobby to remove any oppositional president through the 25th Amendment; smear any one as ageist who suggests a cognitively challenged sitting resident of your party should be subject to similar invocations of the 25th Amendment.

9) Exempt thousands of arrested rioters from charges of 120 days of arson, looting, injuring 1,500 law enforcement officers, and assault—but only if they are radical supporters of your party.

10) Excuse any demonstrator or rioter for desecrating public monuments and cemeteries or shutting down bridges and freeways, or swarming and disrupting the Capitol Rotunda—but only if they agree with you and/or are pro-Hamas. Otherwise, ensure the charged face lengthy prison sentences.

11) Try to pack the Supreme Court—but only if justices you don’t like are in a majority.

12) Seek in an election year to remove a presidential opponent off state ballots for crimes for which he has never been charged, much less convicted of.

13) First target a presidential opponent, and then change, warp, or redefine laws to convict him. Weaponized prosecutors should always indict their political opponents in jurisdictions where they are guaranteed like-minded justices and jury pools.

14) Violate the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (the prohibition of “excessive fines”) by having sympathetic judges level multimillion-dollar fines to bankrupt the opposition candidate during a presidential campaign. The more there is no victim of a crime, the higher fines should be leveled for “damages”.

15) Open the border by destroying all the protocols and executive orders of a predecessor president. Then welcome 8-million illegal aliens to “surge” into America on the premise a new constituency might support agendas that American citizens do not. Then call the nonexistent border “secure,” while blaming a predecessor president for having left it secure.

16) Have local prosecutors invent criminal acts of an opposition national presidential candidate in efforts to make it impossible for him to campaign for the presidency.

17) Use the FBI to hire out social media auditors to censor any news deemed problematic for the correct presidential candidate.

18) Hire a foreign national to concoct a smear dossier about one’s opposition political nominee. Ensure the FBI also uses and pays the foreign national to spread untruths among the media and administrative state.

19) On the eve of any major national or midterm election, ensure a president drains the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gasoline prices.

20) On the eve of any major national or midterm election, ensure a president promises to cancel billions of dollars in contracted federal student loans.

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“..I have never come across a case with such a long history of dog attacks from multiple animals in one family..”

Biden Dogs Accused of Dozens of Additional Attacks at White House (Turley)

We have been writing about alarming record of the dogs of the Bidens attacking staff and Secret Service agents through the years. At first, the story was a humorous distraction as some of us wondered if the First Family had a vicious dog. It then became more alarming as each of the dogs were found to be attacking staff and had to be eventually removed. Even. more worrisome was the response of the White House and President Joe Biden, who dismissed a Secret Service agent’s account and brushed off the incidents. Now, a report indicates that Commander is responsible for at least 24 attacks. The record shows not only a lack of concern by the Bidens for staff, but a bizarre litany of vicious German Shepherds in their care. We began our discussion of these incidents with Major, who continued to attack staff until the press finally reported on the complaints from staff. Only when it became a public embarrassment did the Bidens send Major to Delaware.

Major was adopted in November 2018 from an animal shelter. Then, after the coverage died down, the Bidens simply brought Major back to the chagrin of the Secret Service. He then proceeded to continue to bite agents and staff. It was then discovered that their other dog, Champ, was also chomping on staff and agents. Again, the White House dismissed the concerns. First lady Jill Biden’s press secretary Michael LaRosa told CNN: “Yes, Major nipped someone on a walk. Out of an abundance of caution, the individual was seen by WHMU and then returned to work.” The difference between “nipped” and “bitten” is that you are bitten by other people’s dogs. Your dog however only nips, which is somewhere on the spectrum between a lick and a complete devouring. Then a book came out that detailed these attacks and the President himself seemed to attack an agent.

The book, “The Fight of His Life,” by author Chris Whipple details Biden’s continued mistrust of the Secret Service and his alleged avoidance of saying anything in front of agents. Biden has long had tense relations with the Secret Service, particularly after female agents complained about his exposing himself to them by insisting on swimming in the nude. The book claims that Biden has his own “deep state” conspiracy theories. Biden reportedly views the Secret Service as essentially the enemy within, suggesting that it is populated by “MAGA sympathizers” due to the fact that the service “is full of white ex-cops from the South who tend to be deeply conservative.” However, this is a major escalation in that reportedly strained relationship. In one eight-day period, agents were bitten every day. Indeed, outside of the White House, the Biden dogs would qualify for strict liability under the common law as displaying a vicious disposition.

After prior incidents, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the injury as “minor” and insisted that Major was just “getting acclimated and accustomed to their surroundings and new people.” He was then sent away to Delaware with Champ. It was the equivalent of a politician going into “treatment” at the height of a scandal. Major was later returned to the White House but proceed to “acclimate” himself on the limbs of Secret Service agents. The White House failed to disclose the incidents and only partially confirmed past attacks when pressed by the media. Joe Biden was then quoted as saying that he does not trust the Secret Service and believes that one agent is outright lying about one attack by Major. The President is quoted as saying “Look, the Secret Service are never up here. It didn’t happen.”

The incident was reported by the agent and photos were taken to document that attack. The President’s denial of the location ignored the confirmed attack itself. Other agents complained about the disregard of the agents by the Bidens in the repeated attacks, including one agent who reportedly insisted that the president personally pay to repair a ripped coat after one attack on March 6, 2021. Then Commander was brought in to replace Major. Commander then started to bite people. Again, neither the Bidens nor the White House seemed particularly concerned for the staff and brushed off questions. It now turns out that the attacks increased but the press were not informed . . . again. According to new internal USSS documents obtained by CNN, that does not even include additional incidents that were previously reported involving executive residence staff and other White House workers.

[..] I have taught torts for three decades, including animal liability. In that time, I have never come across a case with such a long history of dog attacks from multiple animals in one family. There is no question that the Bidens would be strictly liable in these attacks, but have been allowed to escape such liability due to the fact that this is the official residence. Under the common law, the Bidens could claim that Major and Commander were entitled to “one free bite.” They are well beyond that threshold. The “one free bite rule” is a commonly misunderstood torts doctrine — suggesting that you are not subject to strict liability until after the first time your dog bites someone. In fact, you are subject to strict liability whenever you know or have reason to know of the vicious propensity of your animal. That can be satisfied by conduct such as frequent snapping or aggressive behavior.

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Bad dog

 

 

Lifeguard

 

 

Staircase

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in wartime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 222024
 


Joan Miró Personnages Rythmiques 1934

 

Is Truth As Mighty As Evil? (Paul Craig Roberts)
If Assange is Extradited No Journalist in World Is Safe (Ex-UN Expert (Sp.)
Julian Assange’s Day in Court (Chris Hedges)
US ‘Always Planned’ For Assange to Die in Prison (Sp.)
New York AG Says She May Seize Trump Buildings, Assets (ET)
New York’s Perverse Incentive in Pricing Trump Out of an Appeal (Turley)
Biden Told His Campaign Staffers To Focus On ‘Crazy’ Trump Statements (RT)
Biden Struggles To Board Air Force One (RT)
Hunter Biden Goes Full Trump in a Flurry of Court Filings (Turley)
Ukrainian Forces Failed to ‘Hold Their Own in Avdeyevka’ – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
Russia Is ‘A War Machine’ – Trump (RT)
Monkey With A Grenade: Nukes In EU Hands Would Be A Nightmare (Amar)
Munich Conference Shows Evaporating Western Optimism On Ukraine (TASS)
Narrative on Ukraine, Palestine Has Accelerated Western Media’s Decline (Sp.)
‘Sue and Settle’ Looks to Some Like Crony Democracy (RCW)

 

 

 

 

Tucker Stella

 

 

Greenwald

 

 

 

 

Ron Paul Assange

 

 


“This is actually insane and it’s by design. Biden is importing so many illegals that it’s enough to replace conservative voters in many swing states.”

 

 

Charles Payne

 

 

Trump ad
https://twitter.com/i/status/1760075223964000700

 

 

CIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

“.. there is nowhere in the West a countervailing power to the Evil that is engulfing us.. Try organizing one, and the FBI will arrest you or the CIA will assassinate you..”

Is Truth As Mighty As Evil? (Paul Craig Roberts)

“In a compelling piece of live television, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was recently confronted by a COVID-19 vaccine injury victim during an unscripted question and answer session. Describing the pain and trauma he suffered, audience member John Watt told the Prime Minister how he had been left with no help at all after the vaccine caused him to develop a heart condition. Already under pressure over his links to a hedge fund that has seen massive returns from an investment in COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna, Sunak was like a rabbit caught in the headlights.” [..] people have finally realized that it was the Covid mRNA “vaccine” that did the harm. It also offers a possible, perhaps even likely, explanation as to why political leaders in the West all served as advocates for the death jab.

Were they alerted to the money-making opportunity in advance in order to be properly invested for the orchestrated “pandemic”? There are suspicions that Britain’s First Indian Prime Minister was. Today we know the facts. The mRNA jabs did not protect, did not prevent transmission, did not reduce the severity of the disease, but actually made the “vaccinated” more likely to catch Covid and to die or be injured from it. We also know that few of the deaths were from the virus. The deaths were from non-treatment with known effective preventatives and cures– ivermectin and HCQ–which were banned in order to go forward with the deadly “vaccination” and from mistreatment with ventilators. We know that the mRNA jabs have killed and maimed more people than the labratory-created virus itself.

And we know that no one has been held accountable. We know that the massive deaths and injuries from the death jab continue to be denied by the presstitutes and Big Pharma shills, such as the FDA, CDC, NIH, medical associations, and medical schools. We know that the corrupt medical profession continues to promote the death jabs.In other words, there is no shame, no sense of responsibility in the medical, media and political establishments. How can people stand for this? How can people stand for being callously murdered for profit and control? The public’s sheep-like response to mass murder guarantees another round of mass murder, just as the world’s refusal to do anything about the US-Israeli genocide of the Palestinians guarantees more genocides. Indeed, genocide is the agenda of the World Economic Forum and Bill Gates. They say there are too many people, and to save the planet the people have to be culled along with the cattle and sheep.

How can it be that elites can be so open about their intentions and they are not arrested? If you or I announced a plan to get rid of a single person, SWAT teams would descend on us. But the elite can announce their intention to eliminate 7.5 billion people and nothing happens. Not even Trump objects, nor Putin, nor Xi. These three are the only leaders the political world has. Why are they silent? Are they part of the plot, as so many now claim? Why would Trump, a billionaire with a beautiful wife, spend 8 years in the stress of persecution and indictment if he were part of the plot? He has lost 8 years of his life trying to represent the American people. I am certain that the rot in the intellectual mind of the West is not part of the Russian and Chinese mental framework. Moreover, if everyone was in the plot, it would not be a plot. It would be a happening that already would have happened.

The world’s problem is located in the West. It is a problem of lost belief in liberty and Christian morality. Indeed, it is the organized destruction of belief that has freed Satan and released him upon the world. How did it happen that the United States was transformed into the most immoral, other than Israel, government on earth, a servant of Satan.It was Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who identified the problem in his famous speech to the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. As he stood at the podium, his opening words referring to President George W. Bush, were “yesterday at this very podium stood Satan himself, speaking as if he owned the world. You can still smell the sulfur.”

I have spent my life in defense of the Constitution, sound economic policy and in defense of truth. It has been my great distress to see the widening gap between agenda-controlled narratives and truth. Evil is a powerful force, and truth alone is not a match for it. The pen is mightier than the sword, but it doesn’t seem to be mightier than Evil. As I have previously noted, there is nowhere in the West a countervailing power to the Evil that is engulfing us.. Try organizing one, and the FBI will arrest you or the CIA will assassinate you. No one will come to your defense.

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“Assange’s extradition would mean that the United Nations is totally irrelevant..”

If Assange is Extradited No Journalist in World Is Safe (Ex-UN Expert (Sp.)

A legal team of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is fighting to prevent his extradition to the US where he will face 17 counts of espionage and one charge of computer misuse. Assange, who made classified data provided to him by Chelsea (born Bradley) Manning in 2010 public, shedding light on the US’ alleged war crimes during its invasions and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, could receive a prison term of up to 175 years. “If Assange were to be extradited to the United States, no journalist in the world would be safe,” Alfred de Zayas, professor of international law in Geneva, former UN independent expert on international order (2012-18), and a retired senior lawyer with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, told Sputnik. “Essentially it would mean that any journalist who publishes information that the US government does not like would be subject to persecution and prosecution. His extradition would set a very toxic precedent that the core principle of refugee law and asylum law no longer protects persons who have a well-documented fear of persecution, as codified in article 1 of the Geneva Refugee Convention.”

De Zayas explained that this principle, known as “non-refoulement”, is customary international law and its violation would entail breaches not only of the Geneva Refugee Convention but also of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the UN Convention against Torture (Article 3) and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. “Non-refoulement is peremptory international law, what we lawyers call ‘ius cogens’. It is peremptory international law, and also a fundamental norm enshrined in the domestic law of all civilized states,” stressed the professor. Furthermore, Assange’s extradition “would be the culmination of 14 years of vicious lawfare, of the destruction of the rule of law in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Ecuador, all complicit in this scandal and all too public,” argued de Zayas.

The retired UN expert highlighted that his colleague, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Professor Nils Melzer, visited Assange in the UK’s Belmarsh prison and called his detention “torture,” and urged the WikiLeaks founder’s immediate release. “Melzer also published a book ‘The Trial of Julian Assange’ which documents the corruption of the administration of justice in the US, UK, Sweden and torture. His revelations are far more serious than the famous Emile Zola essay “J’accuse” that revealed in 1898 the trumped-up case against Alfred Dreyfus, who had been wrongly convicted of treason and banished to Devil’s Island. Melzer documents how the courts in the above countries have all abandoned their independence and have acted in the service of politics.”

De Zayas pointed out that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention examined the case and determined that Assange’s detention “constituted a violation of article 9 of the ICCPR and demanded his release.” In his capacity as UN independent expert on international order, de Zayas personally met Assange in 2015 at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and similarly demanded his release. The then UN expert also called for the adoption of a Charter of the Rights of Whistleblowers that should protect them from prosecution and ensure that the public is not kept in the dark about crucial matters. “Assange’s extradition would mean that the United Nations is totally irrelevant and that the calls by UN official organs and rapporteurs can be ignored in total impunity,” De Zayas concluded.

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“..all dusty Victorian props employed in a modern Anglo-American show trial.”

Julian Assange’s Day in Court (Chris Hedges)

By the afternoon the video link, which would have allowed Julian Assange to follow his final U.K. appeal to prevent his extradition, had been turned off. Julian, his attorneys said, was too ill to attend, too ill even to follow the court proceedings on a link, although it was possible he was no longer interested in sitting through another judicial lynching. The rectangular screen, tucked under the black wrought iron bars that enclosed the upper left hand corner balcony of the courtroom where Julian would have been caged as a defendant, was perhaps a metaphor for the emptiness of this long and convoluted judicial pantomime. The arcane procedural rules — the lawyers in their curled blonde wigs and robes, the spectral figure of the two judges looking down on the court from their raised dais in their gray wigs and forked white collars, the burnished walnut paneled walls, the rows of lancet windows, the shelves on either side filled with law books in brown, green, red, crimson, blue and beige leather bindings, the defense lawyers, Edward Fitzgerald KC and Mark Summers KC, addressing the two judges, Dame Victoria Sharp and Justice Johnson, as “your lady” and “my lord” — were all dusty Victorian props employed in a modern Anglo-American show trial.

It was a harbinger of a decrepit justice system that, subservient to state and corporate power, is designed to strip us of our rights by judicial fiat. The physical and psychological disintegration of Julian, seven years trapped in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and nearly five years held on remand in the high-security HM Prison Belmarsh, was always the point, what Nils Melzer the former U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture calls his “slow-motion execution.” Political leaders, and their echo chambers in the media, fall all over themselves to denounce the treatment of Alexei Navalny but say little when we do the same to Julian. The legal farce grinds forward like the interminable case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce in Charles Dickens’ novel Bleak House. It will probably grind on for a few more months — one can’t expect the Biden administration to add the extradition of Julian to all its other political woes. It may take months to issue a ruling, or grant one or two appeal requests, as Julian continues to waste away in HM Prison Belmarsh.

Julian’s nearly 15-year legal battle began in 2010 when WikiLeaks published classified military files from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — including footage showing a U.S. helicopter gunning down civilians, including two Reuters journalists in Baghdad. He took refuge in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, before being arrested by the Metropolitan Police in 2019 who were permitted by the Ecuadorian embassy to enter and seize him. He has been held for nearly five years in HM Prison Belmarsh. Julian did not commit a crime. He is not a spy. He did not purloin classified documents. He did what we all do, although he did it in a far more important way. He published voluminous material, leaked to him by Chelsea Manning, which exposed U.S. war crimes, lies, corruption, torture and assassinations. He ripped back the veil to expose the murderous machinery of the U.S. empire.

The two-day hearing is Julian’s last chance to appeal the extradition decision made in 2022 by the then British home secretary, Priti Patel. On Wednesday the prosecution will make its arguments. If he is denied an appeal he can request the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for a stay of execution under Rule 39, which is given in “exceptional circumstances” and “only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm.” But the British court may order Julian’s immediate extradition prior to a Rule 39 instruction or may decide to ignore a request from the ECtHR to allow Julian to have his case heard by the court.

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“If [Julian Assange] is sent to the US, they’re just going to delay the trial as long as they can so that they can guarantee that he’ll die in jail..” “That’s always been the plan.”

US ‘Always Planned’ For Assange to Die in Prison (Sp.)

On Tuesday, the final appeal for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to avoid extradition to the United States began. Days earlier, his wife and lawyer, Stellar Assange, warned that if the journalist is not released soon, the stress of the case and his confinement could kill him, adding that he “will die” if extradited to the US. “His health is in decline, mentally and physically. His life is at risk every single day he stays in prison, and if he’s extradited, he will die,” Stellar Assange said at a media briefing in London. Julian Assange, an Australian national, could face up to 175 years in prison if extradited to the United States on espionage charges. But the US has no plans for Assange to stand trial in the United States, Dan Kovalik, a professor, human rights lawyer and peace activist told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Tuesday. “If [Julian Assange] is sent to the US, they’re just going to delay the trial as long as they can so that they can guarantee that he’ll die in jail,” Kovalik explained. “That’s always been the plan.”

Kovalik noted that there is documented evidence that the CIA plotted to kill Julian Assange in 2017 which revealed their intentions. “Here’s a guy, even if you believe everything is true that they’re charging him with, he is not charged with any violent crime. There’s no reason for him to be in jail while he awaits extradition… They’re holding him so that he’ll die,” Kovalik said. The US government would like to avoid an actual trial with Assange, Kobalik contended, because their misdeeds would come to light. “[Defense lawyers] could call a former secretary of state [or] a former secretary of defense. It would be a circus and it would not go well for the United States.” “People would be called from the US government, present and past, to talk about their crimes, to talk about the war crimes, the things that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have exposed. So they don’t want any part of that,” Kovalik predicted.

Co-host Wilmer Leon mentioned the seeming lack of support in US media for Assange, even as WikiLeaks’ revelations are reported on by those media outlets. Pointing to a Washington Post article that included the passage “US prosecutors want him to stand trial. They allege he violated the Espionage Act when he conspired to obtain thousands of classified documents related to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” “Well, if he has conspired to obtain, then what does The Washington Post do? What does The New York Times do? What do most mainstream media outlets do as they gather information for their stories?” Leon asked. “They even gathered [information] from WikiLeaks,” Kovalik replied. “The New York Times, The Washington Post…. And those papers haven’t stood by Julian Assange when they’ve used his materials for their own stories. It’s just a disgrace. “I mean, the whole thing is just a travesty. It’s an absolute travesty of any idea of due process and justice,” he concluded.

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“..while also noting that she has her eyes on the Trump Building in Lower Manhattan..”

New York AG Says She May Seize Trump Buildings, Assets (ET)

New York Attorney General Letitia James said on Feb. 20 that she’s prepared to seize former President Donald Trump’s buildings and assets if he can’t pay the penalty imposed in the state’s civil fraud case. The former president was recently ordered to pay nearly $355 million and barred from doing business in New York state for three years by state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron. During an interview with ABC News, Ms. James said that it was “really not my business” if President Trump doesn’t have the money to pay the penalty, while also noting that she has her eyes on the Trump Building in Lower Manhattan. “If he does not have funds to pay off the judgment, then we will seek, you know, judgment enforcement mechanisms in court, and we will ask the judge to seize his assets,” she said.

“We are prepared to make sure that the judgment is paid to New Yorkers, and yes, I look at 40 Wall Street each and every day,” she added, referring to the Trump Building. President Trump’s attorneys have vowed to appeal the case; he and his attorneys have described the case as a “political witch hunt” and the verdict as “manifest injustice.” Throughout the trial, the Trump team accused Justice Engoron of judicial malpractice, and the president has asserted that he should be the one being awarded damages. Responding to the Trump camp’s intention to appeal and their sentiment, Ms. James expressed confidence that her office would prevail. “I cannot be paralyzed by fear. And I cannot allow anyone to bully me into silence. And I cannot allow anyone to have a chilling effect on the work that I do and this office does each and every day,” Ms. James said. President Trump’s legal team has argued that no fraud occurred and that the state attorney general failed to prove intent to defraud.

He has said that there were “no victims because the banks made a lot of money.” In her comments on Feb. 20, Ms. James rejected such arguments, reportedly saying that financial fraud isn’t a victimless crime. The attorney general reportedly said that leveling the playing field is within her wheelhouse and that if the average person isn’t allowed to inflate the value of their assets to secure loans, then neither should President Trump. Ms. James brought the lawsuit against President Trump and his co-defendants in 2022. Justice Engoron found President Trump liable and ruled that he inflated his assets to get better loans weeks before the trial began. In addition to civil fraud cases, President Trump faces four criminal cases ahead of the 2024 elections. These include a case related to “hush money” payments before the 2016 elections, two cases related to his attempts to challenge the results of the 2020 elections, and a case related to the handling of classified documents.

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“..you have nothing to fear from confiscatory actions unless you are Trump in New York. Which is precisely why this decision should be overturned..”

New York’s Perverse Incentive in Pricing Trump Out of an Appeal (Turley)

Oscar Wilde wrote that “moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” Justice Arthur Engoron took that line to heart with his absurd imposition of $455 million in fines and interest against Donald Trump and his corporation. It succeeded wonderfully with New Yorkers, who celebrated the verdict like a popular public execution. It also worked wonderfully to make it difficult to appeal. Much of the criticism of the decision focused on the unprecedented use of the law and the excessive size of the fine. The New York statute has been on the books for decades and has always been something of an anomaly in not requiring an actual victim or loss to justify disgorgement or fines. Even the New York Times agreed that it could not find a single case in history where this statute was used against an individual or a company that did not commit a criminal offense, go bankrupt, or leave financial victims.

Engoron then combined that unprecedented application with an equally extraordinary penalty, which is greater than the gross national product of some countries. He disgorged hundreds of millions in a case where not one dollar was lost by anyone. Indeed, the “victims” wanted to get more business from Trump and are now being prevented from doing so by Engoron. There is also an added inequity to Engoron’s decision. Under New York law, Trump cannot appeal this ruling without depositing the full amount, including interest, in a court account. Even for Trump, $455 million is hard to come by. Likewise, a bond would require a company to guarantee payment for a defendant who has been barred from doing business in New York and is facing the need to liquidate much of his portfolio.

Nothing succeeds like excess for judges like Engoron. By imposing this astronomical figure, he can make it difficult or impossible for a defendant to appeal, absent declaring bankruptcy or selling off assets at distress prices. The excessive fine and its basis raise serious statutory and constitutional questions. Many of us believe it should be substantially reduced or tossed out entirely. First, however, Trump must come up with almost half a billion dollars to park with the court. Even with a bond, the high costs of securing a guarantor could come at a premium. It would cost a fortune to the bond holder just to carry the risk even if Trump prevails on appeal. The combination of the draconian fine and the threshold deposit for appeal has produced a shudder throughout the New York business community. The city is already experiencing an exodus of businesses and individuals from the top tax brackets. Rising crime, taxes, and eat-the-rich politics have made New York a hostile environment for businesses. At a time with rising costs from undocumented migrants, even Mayor Eric Adams is alarmed about the loss of his high earners.

The case brought by Attorney General Letitia James was unnerving for many. James previously sought to dissolve the National Rifle Association and campaigned on bagging Trump on some unnamed offense. The ecstasy expressed by many in the city reinforced the image of a thrill-kill chase around the island of Manhattan, like a corporate version of “Lord of the Flies.” Watching the celebrations probably caused many executives to check time shares in Florida. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has rushed to assure businesses that there is “nothing to worry about” after the corporate public execution of Trump and his company. But the best that politicians like Hochul and Adams can offer is that you have nothing to fear from confiscatory actions unless you are Trump in New York. Which is precisely why this decision should be overturned.

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“..in an effort to portray Trump as unstable and not fit for the presidency..”

Biden Told His Campaign Staffers To Focus On ‘Crazy’ Trump Statements (RT)

US President Joe Biden has personally instructed his reelection campaign aides to intensify their focus on rival Donald Trump’s “inflammatory” statements, CNN reported on Tuesday, citing two insider sources. The Democrat reportedly told his most senior staff to concentrate on the “crazy sh*t” the Republican frontrunner says in public in an effort to portray Trump as unstable and not fit for the presidency. “Donald Trump is the polar opposite of everything President Biden stands for and has accomplished since he took office, and the campaign’s top priority over the next nine months will be laying out that stark choice for voters,” Ammar Moussa, director of rapid response for the Biden campaign, told CNN in a statement.

The campaign is said to be concerned that voters have forgotten the “outrageous and unacceptable” aspects of Trump’s presidency and are looking at Biden’s predecessor’s tenure through “rose-colored glasses.” Last week, Biden repeatedly took aim at his rival over Trump’s suggestion that he would not defend America’s NATO allies who are falling behind in their defense spending targets. The president described Trump’s attitude as “appalling” and “un-American.”

The instruction to harp on Trump’s divisive statement was reportedly handed down to staffers before special counsel Robert Hur described Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory” in his report about the president’s mishandling of classified documents. The White House pushed back against Hur’s unflattering characterization of the president, and Biden has himself insisted that he has no problems with memory. “I know what the hell I’m doing,” he told reporters at a press conference this month. He, nevertheless, raised some eyebrows at the same event when he mixed up the names of the leaders of Egypt and Mexico while discussing the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. An ABC-Ipsos poll published earlier this month found that 86% of voters believe Biden should not run for reelection due to his age. He is the oldest president in US history and would be 86 by the end of a second term if reelected.

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And that’s on the small stairs at the back of the plane.

“..Americans 65 and older who are on Medicare are required to take a “cognitive assessment” as part of their annual “wellness visit.”

Biden Struggles To Board Air Force One (RT)

US President Joe Biden tripped twice on Tuesday as he boarded Air Force One for a flight to California. Although the White House has insisted he is in excellent health, the 81-year-old Democrat has persistently refused to take a cognitive test during his annual health exams. Cameras at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland captured Biden stumbling while going up the steps to the presidential jet, barely avoiding a fall. The latest incident comes as the president faces public demands to have his mental acuity checked. Biden “should come out and debate and to show the American public that he has the cognitive capacity to do this very, very difficult job,” his former challenger for the Democratic nomination Robert F. Kennedy Jr., now an independent candidate, said last week.

Meanwhile, 84 House Republicans wrote an open letter demanding that the commander-in-chief submit to a cognitive test, or face being replaced under the 25th Amendment. “If you are too mentally impaired to stand trial, as your own Department of Justice claims, then we are concerned that your mental state is not at a competent level to serve as the leader of the free world,” said the letter, written by former White House physician Ronny Jackson, who treated presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump before becoming a congressman from Texas. The letter came after special counsel Robert Hur, who was investigating Biden’s improper handling of classified documents, concluded that the president should not be charged because it would be difficult to persuade a jury that an “elderly man with a poor memory” could have committed a serious felony.

Biden is due for his annual physical, though the White House has not revealed the date of the examination. Following his last physical, in mid-February 2023, Dr. Kevin O’Connor declared Biden “healthy, vigorous” and “fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.” Biden had two brain surgeries in 1988, to deal with life-threatening aneurysms. Dr. O’Connor’s report said that “an extremely detailed neurologic exam” found no indication of stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, but noted that the president did not take a cognitive test. Under the 2011 Affordable Care Act – passed when Biden was Barack Obama’s vice president – Americans 65 and older who are on Medicare are required to take a “cognitive assessment” as part of their annual “wellness visit.”

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“The only thing that remains is for Hunter to declare that he is only trying to Make America Great Again..”

Hunter Biden Goes Full Trump in a Flurry of Court Filings (Turley)

Last week, some of us were struck by how Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis seemed to morph into the man she is prosecuting in Georgia. In her mocking, combative testimony February 15, Willis lashed out against the media, the lawyers and many in the public for questioning her ethics in hiring her former lover as lead prosecutor. Where former President Donald Trump was roundly condemned for such testimony in court, Willis was celebrated by many as showing that she is a “great lawyer” and righteous champion. Now, Hunter Biden also seems to have gone full Trump in court and no one appears to have noticed. In a flurry of motions, Hunter is seeking to dismiss indictments in two states. However, his arguments are strikingly familiar. He is challenging the appointment of the special counsel, alleging selective prosecution and raising strategic leaks as reasons to strike all of his pending charges.

The motions are ripped from the pages of Trump challenges, which were widely panned by the media. No longer. Hunter has filed a flurry of nine separate motions seeking to dismiss charges against him. His arguments included challenging the authority of special counsel David Weiss as improperly appointed. Hunter maintains that “this prosecution is not legally authorized because David Weiss was unlawfully appointed as Special Counsel and Congress has not appropriated funds for the Special Counsel’s investigation or this prosecution.” He argues that DOJ regulations instruct the attorney general to appoint a special counsel from outside the government, but Weiss was working as U.S. attorney for Delaware. During the recent Trump appeal in Washington, there was also a claim that Special Counsel Jack Smith’s work was unconstitutional, though the challenge was based on the absence of an authorizing statute.

Hunter is also arguing selective prosecution and that the Justice Department caved into political pressure to target him despite a lack of criminal evidence. Much like Trump, Hunter is also arguing that leaks showed the bias and hostility of the Justice Department against him. At the same time, Hunter is pursuing a challenge to the underlying gun law that his father has championed as strengthening gun control laws. Worst yet for many on the left, Hunter is adopting an argument from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun rights groups in calling such laws unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. Hunter is pursuing the arguments from Bruen v. New York Rifle & Pistol Association, which his father has condemned. He insists that requirements that you not be an actual drug addict run against the history and tradition of the Second Amendment.

If he pushed forward on these claims, Hunter Biden could face opposition from the Biden administration in seeking to expand Second Amendment protections in court. Yet, if successful, he would be the first Biden to be honored by the NRA. Hunter is also adopting one of the most criticized practices of Trump in attacking the whistleblowers who came forward with allegations against him. Where Trump attacked the whistleblowers in the Ukraine controversy, Hunter has attacked IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler. Hunter is also arguing selective prosecution and that the Justice Department caved into political pressure to target him despite a lack of criminal evidence. Much like Trump, Hunter is also arguing that leaks showed the bias and hostility of the Justice Department against him.

Of course, adopting the same arguments and rhetoric of Trump does not make you Trump. That appears the critical distinction for many in the media, as it was for Willis. These arguments are being soberly analyzed on media platforms where Trump’s prior arguments were categorically rejected. The only thing that remains is for Hunter to declare that he is only trying to Make America Great Again by nullifying independent counsels and expanding the Second Amendment. Indeed, it could be the start of a Biden MAGA movement.

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“Russian strength grows every day. Not only are they not suffering horrific losses on the battlefield, but they’re getting stronger..”

Ukrainian Forces Failed to ‘Hold Their Own in Avdeyevka’ -Scott Ritter (Sp.)

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin earlier this week that an operation to take control of Avdeyevka was carried out with minimal losses. According to Shoigu, an area of 31.75 square kilometers has been freed as a result of the capture of the town from Ukrainian nationalists. Speaking to Sputnik, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter said that Ukraine lost the battle of Avdeyevka for several reasons, the most dominant of which is that they simply don’t have the firepower necessary to stabilize the battlefield. “They [Ukrainian forces] have no more artillery rounds that enable them to flood the battlefield, break up Russian attacks, and support counterattacks. They don’t have air defenses to stop Russian air power from coming in and dominating the battlefield. They have insufficient drones to replace artillery fire support. Simply put, the Ukrainians are unable to hold their own on the battlefield,” Ritter pointed out, describing the situation as “the Avdeyevka end game.”

When it comes to the unmanned aerial vehicles, “even when Ukrainian soldiers use the drones because they can’t stop the Russian air power, the drone operators are targeted and eliminated,” according to Ritter. He recalled that Ukrainian troops had been “pushed out of Avdeyevka, heavily fortified, if not the most heavily fortified, position in the entire Ukrainian defensive lines.” The former US Marine Corps intelligence officer underlined that when freeing the town, “the Russians didn’t suffer the heavy casualties that the Ukrainians claimed. “But the notion that the Russians lost everybody, there’s nothing left, is absurd. Russian strength grows every day. Not only are they not suffering horrific losses on the battlefield, but they’re getting stronger,” Ritter emphasized.

He suggested that the liberation of Avdeyevka could be “the beginning of the end of the Ukrainian combat cohesion along their entire front line.” “Avdeyevka is not a one-off situation, it is the situation that will be replicated again and again, until which time Ukrainian military is no longer able to mount a cohesive defense. At that point of time, the special military operation will come to an end, because the goal of demilitarization would have been achieved,” Ritter underscored. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) earlier said in a statement that the liberation of Avdeyevka “made it possible to push the front line away from Donetsk, significantly securing the city from terrorist strikes by the criminal Kiev regime.” The MoD added that the Russian military’s Tsentr (Center) Battlegroup continues offensive operations to further liberate the Donetsk People’s Republic from Ukrainian nationalists.

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“..[It’s] what they do. They’ve defeated Hitler, they’ve defeated Napoleon..”

Russia Is ‘A War Machine’ – Trump (RT)

Russia is a “war machine” that has defeated powerful invaders in the past, former US President Donald Trump said during a town hall meeting on Tuesday, as he explained his opposition to sending billions of dollars in additional aid to Ukraine. Trump, who is seeking a new presidential term in this year’s election, highlighted Russian military prowess after the town-hall host, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, cited Kiev’s desperation to get the American money. “They say without that money, Ukraine will definitely lose the war, which would then empower Vladimir Putin and endanger our allies,” Ingraham said, referring to an argument made by US President Joe Biden.

Trump reiterated his earlier claims that, were he in the White House, the hostilities would not have erupted and that he could end them “in 24 hours” should voters put him back in the Oval Office. He also argued that EU nations, for whom the stakes in the conflict are higher than for the US, should pay more to support Kiev. “They have to start paying up,” he stated. “We have an ocean in between us. They don’t have that ocean,” he said. “You know why they have not paid? Cause nobody asked them.” “I feel very bad… Remember this: you are really up against a war machine in Russia. [It’s] what they do. They’ve defeated Hitler, they’ve defeated Napoleon,” Trump added Republican opposition in the US House to more aid for Ukraine stands in the way of an appropriation of over $60 billion for Kiev under a bill that was passed by the Senate this month.

The Biden administration claims that by keeping the flow of weapons into Ukraine the US would prevent a direct confrontation with Russia in the future. After defeating Kiev, this argument assumes, Moscow will certainly attack a NATO member, forcing Washington to send its troops to the rescue. Russia’s leadership has denied having such an intention and sees the Ukraine conflict as one triggered by NATO encroachment. The only scenario in which Russian troops could be sent into a NATO member state such as Poland is if it were attacked by the US-led military bloc first, President Vladimir Putin told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in a recent interview. “You don’t need to be an analyst to understand that getting involved in a global war goes against common sense. A global war would bring all of humanity to the brink of destruction,” the president explained.

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“..Russia – that famous gas station sending out its shovel-wielding soldiers to capture German washing machines..”

Monkey With A Grenade: Nukes In EU Hands Would Be A Nightmare (Amar)

With its farmers rebelling, its economy declining, and its traditional parties decaying, you’d think the European Union has enough to worry about at home. Yet its thoroughly detached elites love to think big. And what’s bigger than nuclear weapons? That’s how they have ended up falling for one of Donald Trump’s typically blunt provocations. The former – and likely future – American president has warned that NATO members not spending enough on defense won’t be able to count on US protection on his watch. Eminently sensible – why do declining but still comparatively wealthy EU states keep behaving like defense beggars? – Trump’s threat has triggered various predictable meltdowns. The White House archly tut-tutted about the “appalling and unhinged” rhetoric of a man who is not, unlike the current president Joe Biden, overseeing a genocide together with Israel.

Go figure, as they say in the US. On the other hand, many Republicans have displayed demonstrative insouciance, if not outright agreement. And that is certain to reflect what many ordinary Americans think as well; that is, if they think about Europe at all. And as if the Big Scary Orange Man hadn’t done enough damage yet, next came the Pentagon, which (sort of) revealed that Russia – that famous gas station sending out its shovel-wielding soldiers to capture German washing machines – is building, if not a Death Star, then at least something equally sinister out there in space: Sputnik déjà vu all over again, as America’s greatest philosopher might have said. All of that, of course, against a background of incessant NATO scaremongering, which, it seems, has succeeded in spooking NATO most of all.

No wonder then that inside EU-Europe, reactions to Trump’s taunting sally have been marked by serious abandonment anxiety. One of its symptoms has been a call for the bloc – or Europe’s NATO members; the issue is fuzzy – to acquire its own nuclear force. One way or the other, Christian Lindner, Germany’s minister of finance, made time from razing the state budget in an economy that his cabinet colleague, the children’s book author and minister of the economy, Robert Habeck, has just labeled “dramatically bad,” in order to pen an article calling for France (not subordinating its nukes to NATO) and Britain (not even in the EU anymore) – two small nuclear powers – to step in as the new security sugar daddies by expanding their nuclear umbrellas over everyone else.

Katarina Barley, eternally fresh-eyed vice president of the European Parliament and the top EU election candidate of the German Social-Democrats – a party leading a deeply unpopular government while approaching extinction in the polls – and Manfred Weber, head of the conservative faction in the European Parliament, have kept things more general: They simply suggest that the EU should get its own doomsday weapons, somehow. Donald Tusk, freshly re-established as Poland’s EU-subservient viceroy, has made similar noises. Well, who cares about details, right? That attitude of “on s’engage et puis on voit” has, after all, proven a smashing success in Ukraine. In reality, this is not a problem caused by Trump: That, in a world of more than one nuclear power, the US nuclear umbrella over any place other than the US itself is – and can only be – fundamentally unreliable is, of course, a perennial, structural problem. Those who prefer realism to wishful thinking have always understood this.

[..] The EU is a large bloc of countries in an increasingly unstable and lawless world where the ever-wider proliferation of nuclear weapons will be inevitable. Hypothetically, such an entity would be a candidate for owning such weapons. Yet, in reality, the EU lacks three essential qualities to even consider acquiring them: It is far too fractious, it has no serious concept of its own interests as apart from and, indeed, opposed to the US, and it lacks an elite that could remotely be trusted with weapons capable of ending the world. There, it is of course, not alone. But isn’t one US on planet Earth bad enough already?[..]

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“..Ukraine has still retained the scientific and industrial potential for the production of nuclear weapons..”

Munich Conference Shows Evaporating Western Optimism On Ukraine (TASS)

The gloomy atmosphere at the annual Munich Security Conference showed that the West’s once-swaggering optimism on Ukraine has all but evaporated, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a comment on the Ukrainian crisis. “On February 16-18, the 60th Munich Security Conference was held, which was reduced to discussing the situation in Ukraine with a focus on how to forestall the complete collapse of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We noted the dispirited atmosphere that permeated the meeting. There is no trace of the former optimism among the Western [cheerleaders for Ukraine],” the diplomat noted. “If just a year ago they were brimming with confidence in the imminent victory of their Kiev puppets, this time around they could barely conceal their skepticism and pessimism. Apparently, Europe and the United States are beginning to understand the impossibility of defeating Russia,” Zakharova stated.

At the same time, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that the international community should take very seriously the threats of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to reconsider the country’s renunciation of nuclear weapons. “In February 2022, Zelensky, in his speech at the very same Munich [Security] Conference, threatened to reconsider Kiev’s renunciation of nuclear weapons [under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum],” the diplomat said. “We are convinced that the international community should take such reckless statements very seriously. Moreover, Ukraine has still retained the scientific and industrial potential for the production of nuclear weapons that was created in the Soviet era.”.

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“His prospects for electoral success going forward are slim and none.”

Narrative on Ukraine, Palestine Has Accelerated Western Media’s Decline (Sp.)

Over the past few months, multiple major legacy media outlets announced significant layoffs of their news departments, including CNN, LA Times and Vox, among others. The latest series of layoffs is part of a larger pattern going back years of former media institutions being gutted, closed or sold off. Historian and author Dr. Gerald Horne told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Tuesday that the decline of mainstream Western media was accelerated by the press’ narratives on the conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine. “I think that an astute historian would point out that the Ukraine crisis helped to trigger or helped to accelerate the continuing decline of the news media,” Horne said, adding that the media crisis was “accelerated on October 7, 2023, because it’s no secret that the Zionist lobby has a stranglehold over a good deal of the US media.”

Horne also noted the US media coverage of the death of Alexey Navalny, particularly its lack of coverage of his documented Islamophobia. “We want to get an account of what happened when we pick up a newspaper or tune into CNN, but instead we oftentimes just get the current line of the neocons, or the neoliberals,” he explained, adding that there is “no guarantee” that CNN will be around by the end of the decade. The crisis goes beyond just the media, Horne argued, saying it is a crisis of “the entire capital system” and is part of “the inevitable demise of capitalism.”

“You see a similar crisis unfolding in Europe,” Horne said. “The party of [German] Chancellor [Olaf] Scholz is on the ropes because he has led his country into an abyss [by going] along with the Ukrainian caper and misadventures. His prospects for electoral success going forward are slim and none.” But it’s not only Scholz who’s headed down a troubled political future, Horne said, pointing out that French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are in similar positions. “All in all, it’s not a good look or good prognosis for the North Atlantic countries,” he concluded.

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“Sue-and-settle is part of an even broader effort known as “lawfare..”

‘Sue and Settle’ Looks to Some Like Crony Democracy (RCW)

When the Biden administration announced in 2022 that it would remove some 4 million acres of federal land in Western states from oil and gas exploration, environmental groups hailed the decision as a milestone in their fight against global warming. “With the oil and gas industry bent on despoiling American’s public lands and fueling the climate crisis, this is a critical opportunity for the Biden administration to chart a new path toward clean energy and independence from fossil fuels,” said Jeremy Nichols, a director with WildEarth Guardians. But Nichols could just as easily have slapped himself on the back: The administration’s move was part of a private settlement of a lawsuit filed by WildEarth and others over the objections of energy consortiums, whose efforts to intervene in the matter were dismissed.

A similar thing happened last August, when the Biden administration announced it had agreed to exclude 6 million acres of the energy-rich Gulf of Mexico seabed from exploration to settle a lawsuit brought by environmental groups, including the Sierra Club – an announcement that triggered operational delays for the industry and expensive litigation to overturn. Administration critics say these moves reflect the resurgence of a practice embraced by the Obama administration and rejected during Donald Trump’s presidency: “sue and settle.” The tactic is simple: An advocacy group sues a federal agency for failing to enforce laws or regulations. Agency officials and the plaintiffs then come to a private agreement and that deal is ratified by the courts via a binding consent decree.

The practice is common at every level of government. New York City, for example, is obligated to house and feed tens of thousands of migrants because of a consent decree it entered into to settle a 1979 lawsuit brought by advocates for the homeless. But it is most prevalent in the environmental field, where well-funded groups commonly sue the Environmental Protection Agency or the Bureau of Land Management within the Department of the Interior alleging failure to enforce provisions of the Clean Air Act or regulations regarding federal leases for energy production. Although such consent decrees do not have the force of laws passed by Congress or regulations issued by the government that have gone through formal review and allow for public comment, they set the rules of the road. Critics say it has allowed government to advance policy goals that cannot be achieved through normal democratic channels.

“It’s not really an adversarial lawsuit, and with a settlement agreement and consent decree the case is never really over,” said Dave Tryon, director of litigation at the free-market Buckeye Institute. “The EPA is anxious to increase its power and control; it’s always happy to expand that.” The legal maneuver represents, according to this view, a return to the proverbial smoked-filled backrooms of politics. Huddled privately, without input from citizens or businesses that may be adversely affected by the decisions – let alone the public at large – lawsuits that often involve parties more simpatico than adversarial are settled. The plaintiffs and defendants are familiar to one another from years in the environmental lobbying and litigation world – and because of the “revolving door” between environmental groups and Democratic administrations. These like-minded players approach the issue seeking similar goals, a process that has only intensified with the Biden administration and leftist environmental groups sharing the belief that global warming is an existential threat.

“Overall, it’s harkening back to the bad old days – they do this in order to avoid scrutiny and bypass the regulatory process,” said Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, an advocacy arm of the Institute for Energy Research. “It’s a way to advance an agenda that may be rejected by voters. It’s a nefarious practice in which the agency and the environmental groups get what they want.” Sue-and-settle is part of an even broader effort known as “lawfare,” in which political parties and advocacy groups seek to achieve their goals not through elections or legislation but in the courts. This encompasses everything from President Trump’s “stop the steal” efforts to overturn the 2020 election through the courts to myriad efforts by Democrats, whose lawfare campaigns have ranged from getting courts to confiscate Trump’s businesses and charge him criminally to removing him from the 2024 ballot.

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Vivek Elon

 

 

 

 

Tiny house

 

 

Chain reaction

 

 

 

 

Cow steals shoes

 

 

Drinking water

 

 

Anaconda

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in wartime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 212024
 
 February 21, 2024  Posted by at 9:46 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  42 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Landscape with House and Ploughman 1889

 

Assange ‘Too Ill’ To Attend Last Chance UK Appeal Against US Extradition (RT)
President Trump’s Kafkaesque Civil Trial in New York State (Calabresi)
Pay to Play: Trump Faces a Staggering Cost for Appeal (Turley)
US ‘in Decline’ Today Due to ‘Ignorance, Arrogance’ – Pakistani Senator (Sp.)
What Happened To Alexei Navalny This Time Round (Helmer)
The US Is Planning for the Aftermath of Ukraine War (van den Ende)
How The Rosneft Refinery In Germany Is Being Expropriated (Helmer)
Germany Nationalizes Rosneft Deutschland, Poland Will Help (Andrei Gurkov)
As Ramadan Approaches, Israel Threatens War On Lebanon (Harb)
The Resistance Has a Plan for Israel (Alastair Crooke)
The Ever Expanding War (Paul Craig Roberts)
10 Million Illegals Have Entered The US Under Biden (ZH)
Germany Retreats Into The Middle Ages As Its Economy Declines (Henry Johnston)
Fixation on CO2 Ignores Real Driver of Temperature (ET)

 

 


MattOBranain: My rough sketch while trying to listen on a difficult audio feed. At front two Counsels for #Assange, to right behind them Gareth Perice, then from right John Shipton, @GabrielShipton, @Stella_Assange, behind them @ChrisLynnHedges. Also saw @CraigMurrayOrg and @suigenerisjen.

 

 

Trump Haley

 

 

Mike Benz

 

 

 

 

Thomas

 

 

Tucker Boris

 

 

Rogan Phil

 

 

 

 

“..the victim of his ‘crime’ (journalism) is a state rather than a person–the definition of a political offense, which the US-UK extradition treaty explicitly forbid..”

Assange ‘Too Ill’ To Attend Last Chance UK Appeal Against US Extradition (RT)

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is “too ill” to attend his appeal against the UK’s decision to extradite him to the US, his lawyers have said. The US wants him on 17 charges of espionage tied to WikiLeaks’ publication of State Department and Pentagon files in 2010. Assange, 52, has been held largely in solitary confinement in the Belmarsh maximum security prison in England since 2019, when Ecuador revoked his asylum at American insistence. The Australian-born publisher had requested to appear in court personally, but was unable to do so due to poor health, according to his lawyers. “The world is watching,” Assange’s wife Stella said outside the court house. She accused the US of abusing the legal system to “hound, prosecute and intimidate” and argued that the US “plotted to murder” her husband – referring to revelations that the CIA sought to kill Assange in 2017, when he sheltered in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

“What’s at stake is the ability to publish the truth and expose crimes when they’re committed by states,” Stella Assange told the dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday. Protesters carried Australian flags and signs that said “Free Julian Assange” and “drop the charges.” The Australian parliament passed a motion, supported by the country’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, calling for Assange’s release from British captivity in the run up to the appeal. “The outrageous part of the UK’s years-long ‘trial’ to condemn Julian Assange to die in an American dungeon is that the victim of his ‘crime’ (journalism) is a state rather than a person–the definition of a political offense, which the US-UK extradition treaty explicitly forbid,” NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said on X (formerly Twitter).

Activists outside the court chanted “US, UK, hands off Assange” and “There is only one decision – no extradition,” among other slogans. This week’s hearing will decide whether Assange will be allowed to appeal the 2022 decision by the UK government to extradite him to the US. His attorneys have argued that the extradition would amount to punishment for political opinions and violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

If the appeal fails, Assange will apply to the European Court of Human Rights and seek a Rule 39 order to stop the extradition while it considers the case, Stella Assange has said. In 2010, WikiLeaks published the US military’s Iraq and Afghanistan “war diaries,” as well as a trove of State Department cables. One of the videos, later known as “collateral murder,” showed a US helicopter killing 11 people in Iraq, including two Reuters journalists. Suspecting the Swedish “sexual assault” case was a pretext for the US to arrest him – correctly, as it later emerged – Assange sought asylum in Ecuador, which has no extradition treaty with Washington. He spent the next seven years in the country’s embassy in London, blocked from leaving by the British authorities.

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Kafla indeed.

President Trump’s Kafkaesque Civil Trial in New York State (Calabresi)

Donald Trump has been ordered to pay a $355 million fine and has been barred from doing business in New York State for three years. Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump to pay essentially all of his cash reserves of $400 million, which fine if upheld would force Trump to sell some of his real estate holdings to raise cash to live on. Once interest is added on the total fine will rise to $450 million. This is all on top of an $83.3 million fine Trump must pay for allegedly defaming the writer E. Jean Carroll. The fines in total could deprive Trump of between 11% and 13% of his wealth. Trump’s adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric have also been fined, and they are barred from doing business in New York State for two years. Ivanka or Melania Trump could legally run the Trump businesses for the next two years, but Judge Engoron appointed retired U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones to continue in her role as an “independent monitor” of the Trump business empire but expanded her authority to review financial disclosures before they are submitted to third parties.

Judge Jones can hire an independent director of compliance, and she has the authority to compel Trump to sell some or even all of his businesses down the road. This is all punishment for Trump allegedly committing fraud by falsely inflating and deflating the value of his real estate assets to pay lower state taxes and to receive more favorable loans from banks. The New York State laws used to go after Trump have NEVER been used in this way, historically, and while Trump may owe some back state taxes, if Judge Engoron is right, not a single bank claimed that it had been defrauded by Trump in the loans it had made to him. This is truly a victimless crime. Bankers took the stand at Trump’s civil trial testifying that they would have gladly made loans to Donald Trump given his extraordinary success as a businessman. It must also be noted that the banks that made loans to Trump did not take his assessment of the net worth of his assets at face value but made their own independent assessments of the value of Trump’s assets.

This is apparently standard practice in the New York State real estate market where borrowers often overstate the value of their assets. The bottom line is that a never before used New York State penalty has been twisted into a tool for a grossly excessive fine and more seriously the completely inappropriate appointment of Judge Jones as an “independent monitor” who can micromanage the Trump business, which she is not competent to do, and to even order the dissolution of the Trump Business in New York State. This outcome was pursued by Letitia James, a politically ambition Democrat, who is the Attorney General of New York State, and who hopes to win a future Democratic primary for Governor of or Senator from New York State.

Ms. James and Judge Engeron have essentially turned a vaguely worded New York State law into a modern day Bill of Attainder targeted at Donald Trump both for political gain and because they despise his political views and desperately want to call his truthfulness into question as he runs for President of the United States in 2024. In doing this, the have violated Trump’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech and of the press; his Fifth Amendment right not to be deprived of liberty or property without due process of law; his Fifth Amendment right not to have property taken away from him except for a pubic use with just compensation being paid; his Eighth Amendment right not to be made to pay an excessive fine; his Article IV, Section 2 right as a citizen of Florida to do make and enforce contracts in New York on the same terms as are other New Yorkers; and his Fourteenth Amendment right to be free to pursue an occupation without unnecessary and burdensome regulation.

The civil fraud judgment against Donald Trump is a travesty and an unjust political act rivaled only in American politics by the killing of former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton by Vice President Aaron Burr. If the New York State appellate courts do not reverse this judgment, the U.S. Supreme Court MUST grant cert on this case and reverse Judge Engeron’s outrageous decisions. National, presidential politics will be permanently altered if a local State’s legal system can be used in this way against candidates for President of the United States. This case raises a national issue of profound importance and if the New York State appellate courts do not address it, the U.S. Supreme Court MUST!

O’Leary

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“..every day, Trump is being hit by roughly $90,000 in just interest increases.”

Pay to Play: Trump Faces a Staggering Cost for Appeal (Turley)

In the wake of the massive judgment against Donald Trump, many in New York are celebrating the prospect that the former president could be forced to sell off his property just to be able to appeal the $355 million judgment against him. While Trump has good grounds to object to this excessive fine, he still has to come up with close to a half billion dollars just to make his arguments to the New York Court of Appeals. In order to file an appeal, the courts require a deposit for the full amount of the damages or a bond covering the full amount. Even with escrow options, the call for cash or collateral can be enough to put some executives in a fetal position. It can be challenging enough for many companies drained from years of litigation. For Donald Trump, the demand for $355 million plus $100 milion in interest could force a fire sale on properties to pony up just the deposit.

Many of us have been critical of the ruling of Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron who imposed the astronomical fine despite finding that Trump’s “victims” not only did not lose a single dollar but made handsome profits. Indeed, these banks testified that they wanted to continue to do business with Trump as a “whale” client, but Engoron is now barring them from doing so. Putting aside the merits of this judgment, the threshold deposit rule magnifies the unfairness of this New York law that does not require that anyone actually lose money to claim hundreds of millions from a company. One can argue that, if upheld, any insolvency is the fault of the company. However, this rule can force insolvency just to seek review of a judgment. For Trump, even this fine would only amount to roughly 14-17% of his wealth. The addition of the recent $83.3 million in damages imposed in a separate New York courtroom for defamation would bring the demand to over half a billion dollars in deposits with interest.

So, by making the fine so large, Engoron not only makes an appeal difficult, but could guarantee that Trump will lose tens of millions even if his judgment is dramatically reduced or tossed out. On top of this looming penalty, however, he already owes the writer E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million in damages from a separate defamation case that concluded in January. His legal fees are also mounting as he battles four criminal cases at the federal and state level. There is already speculation of whether Trump will have to leverage or sell his iconic properties at distressed prices. He has 30-days to ante up with the court and buyers could use that deadline to their advantage. The added amount is due to another New York provision imposing a massive 9 percent interest rate on judgments. That means that every day, Trump is being hit by roughly $90,000 in just interest increases.

Trump could secure a bond, but such a guaranty would come at its own premium price. However, a bonding company requires a defendant to put up 10% for the total and would lose that amount even if he prevailed. That is a roughly $45 million cost just to secure the right to an appeal. In this case, the cost could be higher given the judgment and the bar on Trump doing business for three years in New York. The expectation is that Trump can make the deposit or secure a bond to avoid what some gleefully called a “fire sale” on this properties. The deposit is now being celebrated as an added indignity and penalty. However, as New Yorkers cheer this moment, many business are likely wondering “but for the grace of God go I.” Undervaluing or overvaluing property is a common practice, particularly in real estate. That is why representations, like the one made by the Trump Corporation, come with a warning that estimates are their own and that the banks need to make their assessments.

Faced with high crime and high taxes, the spectacle in Manhattan is only likely to accelerate the exodus of businesses and high-earners from the city. That prospect has already alarmed Gov. Kathy Hochul who declared “business people have nothing to worry about, because they’re very different than Donald Trump and his behavior.” That sounds a lot like “you are fine so long as you are not Trump.” Yet, that is not reassuring to businesses who want a legal system that is based on something other than selective and arbitrary enforcement. Attorney General Letitia James campaigned on bagging Trump without even bothering to name the offense. She also sought to dissolve the National Rifle Association. The line between doing business and a public execution appears to be the dubious discretion of Letitia James. That is not the type of assurance that most businesses would accept in risking billions in investment. Despite the high taxes and falling services in New York, the city remained a draw for business as a commercial and legal center. The experience and objectivity of courts in dealing with business disputes was a selling point for companies.

That has been shattered by the James campaign and the Engoron ruling. Telling business to just “don’t be like Trump” is more menacing than consoling. Letitia James is now the face of New York corporate law — it is the “face that launched a thousand ships” . . . toward Florida. Businesses can get lower taxes, lower crime, better schools, and a better regulatory environment in virtually any other state. Fewer are likely to want to come for the shows, but stay for the disgorgement. Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary said Monday that he would “never” invest in New York after this absurd judgment. Creating an ad hoc business code for Trump undermines the city’s reputation as a premier jurisdiction for corporate and tax law. If the rate of exit increases, it will impact not just employees working for these companies (like the Trump companies) but the vast network of supporting businesses, including law firms. As New York politicians campaigning on “eat the rich” platforms, the confiscatory Trump judgment leaves many in the city wondering if they could be the next course.

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“The US I knew was a very strong and inclusive society, welcoming towards foreigners. They used to be multicultural and multireligious. Now I see a lot of paranoia and a lot of xenophobia in the US..”

US ‘in Decline’ Today Due to ‘Ignorance, Arrogance’ – Pakistani Senator (Sp.)

The reasons why the United States failed in Afghanistan and Iraq and is “in decline” today are its “ignorance and arrogance,” the chairman of the defense committee of the Senate of Pakistan, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, told Sputnik. “The US policy towards certain countries in Asia is sometimes based on the combination of ignorance and arrogance. Arrogance, because they are a big country, because they think of themselves as a superpower, they think they know it all. But they don’t. They don’t know the culture and the values of other countries. And also ignorance, because they don’t understand the people of these places. This is why they failed in Afghanistan, this is why they failed in Iraq,” Sayed said in an interview.

These are the same reasons why the US is “in decline” now and has been like that for some time, he added. The senator explained that he used to live in the US, received a masters degree from one of the most respected US universities in Washington — Georgetown, and worked in the US Congress as an intern. However, the country had changed a lot since then and the US he knew “was different.” “The US I knew was a very strong and inclusive society, welcoming towards foreigners. They used to be multicultural and multireligious. Now I see a lot of paranoia and a lot of xenophobia in the US. They call the Chinese threat, the Russian threat, the Islamic threat … That’s nonsense. They are returning to the 50s. So for me the modern US is a very strange, exclusive and divisive America,” the senator said.

In October 2001, a US-led coalition launched an invasion of Afghanistan. However, the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in August 2021, triggering the collapse of the US-backed government and accelerating Washington’s troop pullout. On August 31 of the same year, US forces completed their withdrawal from the country, ending the 20-year-long military presence. In March 2003, the US-led coalition invaded Iraq without a UN Security Council resolution. Consequently, the total of excess deaths related to the war amounted to 654,965 as of October 2006, according to The Lancet journal’s survey. The US troops withdrew from Iraq in December 2011. Despite that, to date, the US and coalition forces remain a notable military presence in the country, with military bases.

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“Inside Russia, it has been obvious for a long time that in or out of prison, Navalny alive was politically insignificant; now even less. The new western propaganda is as ineffectual for Russians as Navalny was himself.”

What Happened To Alexei Navalny This Time Round (Helmer)

Since a pack of lies about Alexei Navalny won last year’s Oscar for the best documentary film of the year when he was alive, there’s no doubt he can win another Oscar when he’s dead. But alive or dead, the prize-winning propaganda of Navalny’s story bears no resemblance to the truth. This is what happens in wartime, especially when the side which is losing the war on the battlefield – that’s the US, NATO and the Ukraine – claims to be winning the war of words against Russia. The Navalny story is now in two parts: Part 1, the Novichok in his airport cup of tea, in his hotel water bottle, and then in his underpants which causes Navalny’s collapse, but fails to be detected by Russian doctors in Omsk, by German doctors in Berlin and Munich, and then by Swedish and French state laboratories. Part 2, Navalny’s sudden death after he had taken a walk in the IK-3 penal colony in the village of Kharp, in the Russian Arctic region of Yamalo-Nenets.

The first part took 62 reports in this archive to expose the faking; the most telling evidence of this came from Navalny himself in the documented tests of his blood, urine and hair. According to these data, Navalny’s collapse was the outcome of an overdose of lithium, benzodiazepines, and other drugs. Part 2 of the Navalny story began last Friday, February 16, with the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) announcement, followed by an official telegramme to his mother in Moscow, that he had died just after two in the afternoon, Yamalo-Nenets time; that was just after noon Moscow time. Two hours later the Russian media began carrying the official announcement. The wording of the last line of the announcement is significant. “The causes of death are being established”, the FSIN statement said. Causes — plural.

In the UK coroner’s court practice, what this means is that there is likely to have been a sequence of causation, medically speaking, with the first or proximate cause of death identified as heart, brain, or lung injury or failure; and the second, intervening or contributory cause of death such as biochemical factors, including prescription drugs in lethal combination; mRNA anti-Covid vaccination triggering fatal blood clots; or homicidal poisons. For example, in the case of the alleged Russian Novichok death of Dawn Sturgess in England in 2018, the evidence is of British government tampering with the post-mortem reports to add Novichok when it wasn’t identified at first. In Navalny’s case, poisoning on the order of President Vladimir Putin has already been announced as the cause of Navalny’s death without evidence at all. The delay time required for the complicated processes of forensic pathology and toxicology to establish the evidence has been reported in the Anglo-American media to signify cover-up and body snatching. Meduza, an oppositionist publication in Riga, reports that “a doctor who advised Navalny’s associates” has said that blood clotting was “an unlikely cause of death” – this is medically false.

In speculation of poisoning as cause of death, there is at least as much likelihood that Navalny, his team, and their CIA and MI6 handlers devised a repeat of the August 2020 Tomsk operation; decided when Navalny met with his lawyer at the prison on February 14; but implemented two days later without the resuscitation Navalny himself was expecting. The Anglo-American propaganda warfare army is already pronouncing the contributory Cause 2– Putin did it — as the cause of Navalny’s death. If the Russians announce the proximate Cause 1 as cardiac arrest or brain aneurism, without a Cause 2, they won’t be believed. In the short term, Cause 2 cannot be established with credibility in Russia since it took the British government ten years, 2006-2016, to fabricate their story of Russian polonium poisoning in the Alexander Litvinenko case. In the Russian Novichok cases in England, it has so far taken six years of court, police and pathologist proceedings, 2018-2024, without outcome, and another two years will follow.

The problem for readers to interpret what has happened is that the Anglo-American propaganda warfare machine is better at what it does than the Russian side. But then when it comes to war with guns, not words, the Russian side is far superior, as can be seen in the Ukraine right now. Accordingly, the Kremlin has decided to concentrate on the main fight. Inside Russia, it has been obvious for a long time that in or out of prison, Navalny alive was politically insignificant; now even less. The new western propaganda is as ineffectual for Russians as Navalny was himself.

Nap Navalny

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“Nowhere outside the U.S. can you find as many American politicians in one place as at the Munich Security Conference this year.”

The US Is Planning for the Aftermath of Ukraine War (van den Ende)

According to the Rand Corporation, there are two scenarios for the United States: “after” the less favorable war or “after” the more favorable war. The prominent think tank for U.S. policymaking recently published a long report on the so-called aftermath of the war in Ukraine. Washington and its NATO allies have to admit that the U.S. is losing another proxy war together with its satellite states of Europe. Previously they lost in Afghanistan (after more than 20 years, a second Vietnam), also recently in Syria and Iraq, and now in Ukraine. Even so-called “Russia experts” in Europe admit that Ukraine is losing. “I do not rule out that Ukraine will lose the war this year. Europe has misjudged the Russian army,” says Belgian “Russia expert” Joris van Blade to De Standaard. Russia has the initiative again and the Russian people are not going to stop the war, he thinks. “We have missed historic opportunities to make Europe safer.”

According to the Rand study, two scenarios are possible: a so-called “hardline” or a “softline” postwar. Of course, the U.S. prefers a softline postwar outcome, where they still have room for manipulation and possible coup d’état and Balkanization (partition) of Russia just like they did in former Yugoslavia. According to Rand, the U.S. military presence in Europe has increased to around 100,000 personnel since the start of Russia’s Special Military Operation in February 2022. The United States deployed attack aviation from Germany to Lithuania; Patriot air defense systems from Germany to Slovakia and Poland; and F-15 tactical fighters from the United Kingdom to Poland. In addition, European countries are sending F-16s to Romania, as the Netherlands recently indicated. These F-16s are capable of attacking Russian cities. Washington characterized these deployments as part of a wartime surge to deter Russia from expanding its aggression beyond Ukraine to attack U.S. allies in Europe.

Leaders in Europe are almost hysterical. One after another, they proclaim that Russia is going to invade Europe, starting with Moldova, the Baltic States, and Poland. The Netherlands, Germany, and France are warning their people to expect an attack from Russia, as is Sweden, which recently joined NATO. The population is being frightened by the unhinged rhetoric of their politicians. Conscription must be reactivated and Germany even has a concept ready to recruit migrants (about 1.5 million serviceable men) and entice them to get a passport. European leaders are also concerned about the upcoming elections in the U.S. after Republican contender Donald Trump made comments suggesting he would quit NATO and let Europe fend for itself. They are worried that the U.S. might abandon them. During a recent NATO conference in Brussels, a lot of war rhetoric was spoken. “We live in an era where we have to expect the unexpected,” said Dutch NATO Admiral Rob Bauer. Meanwhile, the Danish and German defense ministers have warned of a potential war with Russia within five years.

The U.S. and European leaders assume the “hardline” scenario is likely in the next few years. They proclaim through their mouthpieces in the corporate-controlled news media that Russia is becoming much more “risk-acceptant”. Therefore, it is calculated that a hardline approach may increase NATO’s ability to deter purported Russian aggression. It’s that time of year again for the hawkish Munich Security Conference, in Bavaria, Germany. This is the forum where President Putin provoked alarm when he gave his famous speech in 2007, making it clear that the unipolar world was over and a multipolar world would emerge in the foreseeable future. Putin’s prognosis caused much chagrin for Western leaders. This year’s theme at Munich is animated by Trump’s supposed undermining of NATO.

The appeal for support from the U.S. has become more urgent among some European politicians. Ukraine lacks weapons and ammunition, they openly say. Russia is sometimes five times superior on the battlefield. In addition, a U.S. support package worth around $60 billion was approved by the Senate last week but the Republican-dominated House of Representatives could reject it – and so far it looks like it will. Europe, in turn, would not be able to fill this gap and, therefore, Ukraine will lose the proxy war for the U.S. and the West. In addition to the presence of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, the European leaders and lobbyists will also use the opportunity in Munich to lobby Republican Senators and Representatives to support Ukraine (with money). Nowhere outside the U.S. can you find as many American politicians in one place as at the Munich Security Conference this year.

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2 articles, one topic. Germany steals a Russian company.

How The Rosneft Refinery In Germany Is Being Expropriated (Helmer)

This is how the war in the Ukraine doesn’t end, not for the Germans and the Poles. So long as they can, they plan to steal or destroy Russian assets west of what used to be Kievan Ukraine; and mobilize the US military bases in both countries to reinforce and defend their larcenies. The German political party which promises to continue this war for the employment of German workers and the enrichment of German executives and shareholders will win the next election, replacing the Social Democratic Party and the Greens as the party of war. The post-Ukraine strategy of the Stavka starts here — To Berlin! On Friday last, the Russian language edition of the German state medium Deutsche Welle (DW) published a report of German and Polish government plans for the expropriation of PCK, the Rosneft crude oil refinery at Schwedt in northern Germany, and the Rosneft network of operating assets in Germany, Poland, and Austria.

The German assets of Rosneft, the Russian state oil production company under worldwide sanctions, had been placed under what the German government called “fiduciary management” by an “independent” state regulator in September 2022. This was announced at the time as a temporary arrangement to comply with the sanctions, renewable every six months, but leaving undisturbed the Russian ownership of the assets. This scheme was renewed at six monthly intervals, as Rosneft has reported. There was nothing independent about the BNA or what it has been doing every six months. BNA stands for the Federal Network Agency — Bundesnetzagentur für Elektrizität, Gas, Telekommunikation, Post und Eisenbahnen. It claims to be “an independent higher federal authority with its main office in Bonn operating within the scope of business of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV). We have been responsible for Germany’s essential electricity, gas, telecommunications and postal infrastructures for over 20 years.”

“Within the scope of” is a German fig leaf for “under control”. “Our task,” BNA says, is “to ensure fair and non-discriminatory competition for all market participants. Our success and our expertise in regulation led to the energy and rail sectors also being placed under our responsibility.” This was not what the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz intended when it commenced its takeover of Rosneft and assigned BNA the role of camp guard. BNA described what it was doing to “safeguard security of supply in Germany…on the basis of the Energy Security of Supply Act (section 17 EnSiG) until 15 March 2023. This basis enables the fiduciary to take action to keep the business running in accordance with its importance for the functioning of society in the energy sector. The fiduciary management may be extended under certain conditions… The decision to introduce fiduciary management was prompted by…by the sanctions imposed on Russia…The fiduciary management means that the original owner no longer has authority to issue instructions.”

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“The German government is running out of time: on March 10, when the next decision on the transfer of Rosneft Deutschland under the so-called trust management of the state expires..”

Germany Nationalizes Rosneft Deutschland, Poland Will Help (Andrei Gurkov)

Expropriation of Rosneft’s German assets is becoming increasingly likely. Warsaw is ready to provide oil to the Schwedt refinery and replace supplies from Kazakhstan. But what about compensation? The nationalization of Rosneft’s German assets is becoming more and more likely, and new signals from Poland reinforce this impression. The German government is running out of time: on March 10, when the next decision on the transfer of Rosneft Deutschland under the so-called trust management of the state expires. Berlin, apparently, no longer wants to extend this regime introduced in September 2022 for six months, because they seek a stable, not temporary, solution to the fate of the oil refinery in Schwedt — PCK Raffinerie Schwedt. This is exactly the case, although Rosneft has other assets in Germany.

But in this refinery, the state-owned Russian concern actually owns 54%, and maintaining Moscow’s control over a strategically important enterprise seems to the German authorities to be too much of a risk, especially against the background of the growing threat from Russia. After all, PCK Raffinerie Schwedt provides petroleum products to a significant part of East Germany and, above all, to the capital of the country, Berlin, with its approximately four million inhabitants. The intention of the German government to put an end to the legally suspended state of the plant has clearly strengthened after the recent elections in Poland. They brought to power a pro-European coalition, which German politicians trust much more than the previous Polish government. Relations between the two countries are currently warming rapidly, as evidenced by the talks between the new Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on February 12.

Therefore, the visit of Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy of Germany Robert Habeck to Warsaw the next day, February 13, played an important, and perhaps decisive role in determining the next concrete steps with regard to Rosneft Deutschland. “Poland has helped a lot in the past to provide oil to the east of Germany,” the German minister recalled after the talks and made it clear that in the event of the expropriation of Rosneft, the supply of the plant in Schwedt would improve, since the Polish side is ready to significantly increase the pumping of oil through its territory towards Germany from the port of Gdansk. According to the Reuters news agency, citing an informed source, Warsaw assured Berlin even before Habeck’s arrival that it would be able, if necessary, to completely replace the volumes of Kazakh oil currently flowing to Schwedt.

Some explanations are needed here. Until 2023, this refinery, built six decades ago in the GDR on the border with Poland, operated exclusively on oil coming from the USSR and then from Russia via the Druzhba oil pipeline. In response to the full-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine, the European Union imposed an embargo on Russian oil transported by tankers, but not on supplies via the Druzhba pipeline system, since several Eastern European EU members are still heavily dependent on them. However, the German government decided for its part to completely abandon Russian oil. Since last year, the Schwedt plant has been supplied with oil purchased on the world market in three ways. From the German Baltic port of Rostock via a longstanding and not very powerful pipeline that was originally laid down as a backup — through the Polish port of Gdansk, from where oil is pumped through Poland using the westernmost segment of the Druzhba, and from Kazakhstan in transit through the Russian territory on the same Druzhba.

Germany strongly emphasizes its desire to increase oil purchases in Kazakhstan, cooperation with which is becoming more intensive. However, there are fears that in the event of the nationalization of Rosneft’s German assets, Moscow will block the Druzhba oil pipeline as a retaliatory measure and thereby [stop] the supply of Kazakh oil. [..] It is noteworthy that articles in the German media about Robert Habeck’s negotiations in Warsaw, and in general about the future of Rosneft Deutschland, in effect do not consider the option of Rosneft selling this company and its assets. This is despite the letter with such a proposal, as the economic newspaper Handelsblatt wrote in early February, from the head of the Russian concern Igor Sechin to the German government. But Berlin, the publication concluded, “has placed its bet on expropriation.”

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“..the regional backlash threatens to undermine US diplomacy, unravel Arab normalization deals with Israel, and jeopardize US business interests throughout West Asia..”

As Ramadan Approaches, Israel Threatens War On Lebanon (Harb)

Tel Aviv’s mounting threats to destroy Beirut as it has done to Gaza, coupled with growing Israeli public support for aggressive military action against Lebanon, have spiked tensions on the northern battlefront in recent days. Furthermore, the precarious game at play in Washington – which has done absolutely nothing to impede Israeli occupation forces from launching an assault on Rafah and uprooting more than a million Palestinians from their last refuge on the Egyptian border – is driving the war to a volatile, dangerous brink. Adding fuel to this already incendiary mix are two critical factors. First, Israel’s targeted strikes on Lebanese civilians, exemplified by the recent attacks in Nabatiyeh and Al-Sowanah, have provoked a stern response from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, who vowed retribution, declaring that “the price of civilian blood will be blood.”

Second is the approaching month of Ramadan, a sacred period observed by hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide, which adds a transnational dimension to these developments. Fasting Muslims from Indonesia to Morocco will grow increasingly frustrated with Washington’s inaction in preventing genocide and the displacement of over two million Palestinians in Gaza, many of whom are on the brink of starvation. Despite US assurances that it is pressuring Israel to mitigate casualties, the relentless onslaught has resulted in an appalling daily death toll of around 300, with nearly 29,000 lives lost, and over 60 percent of homes and infrastructure decimated. When Nasrallah declared that “for every drop of blood shed in Gaza and the entire region, the primary responsibility falls on [US President Joe] Biden, [US Secretary of State Antony] Blinken, and [US Secretary of Defense Lloyd] Austin,” his words resonated deeply – not only within the Islamic world but with millions globally – calling for an end to the war by halting the influx of American weapons to the Israeli military.

The US State Department has received multiple warnings from diplomats in the region of the growing resentment toward Washington for its complicity in Israel’s genocidal campaign. Despite its tone-deaf attempts to adjust its stance and emphasize a need to protect Palestinian civilians, the regional backlash threatens to undermine US diplomacy, unravel Arab normalization deals with Israel, and jeopardize US business interests throughout West Asia. Speaking to The Cradle, sources close to the Axis of Resistance in Lebanon said the next fortnight carries the potential for a catastrophic escalation, particularly if Israel intensifies its military aggression during Ramadan and advances its plans to displace Palestinians from Rafah.

Additionally, the discontent among Israeli settlers displaced by Lebanese resistance operations along the northern border poses further risks, with officials in Tel Aviv contemplating drastic measures to ensure calm, including potential military action – a preview of which southern Lebanese civilians have recently witnessed. The discontent among northern settlers grows as they grapple with the new security dynamics in the aftermath of the Hamas-led Al-Aqsa Flood operation on 7 October. Extending over 100 kilometers from Naqoura to the Shebaa Farms and penetrating 5 to 10 kilometers deep, this border strip has seen the displacement of thousands of settler families.

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“..They want us to pay a price without Israel committing to a thing..”

The Resistance Has a Plan for Israel (Alastair Crooke)

In a speech on Tuesday, Hizbullah leader Seyed Nasrallah said that the Party will continue the border offensive until at least the Gaza massacre stops. The war in Gaza however, is far from over. And Nasrallah warned that even were a ceasefire to be reached in Gaza, “should the enemy perform any action, we will return to operating according to the rules and formulas that existed before. The purpose of the resistance is to deter the enemy, and we will react accordingly”. Israel’s Defence Secretary Gallant has underlined that contrary to international consensus expectations, he too expects the war in Lebanon to continue. Gallant said the military has stepped up its attacks against Hizbullah by one level out of ten: “The Air Force planes flying currently in the skies of Lebanon have heavier bombs for more distant targets. Hizbullah went up half a step, whilst we, a full one … We can attack not only at 20 kilometres [from the border], but also at 50 kilometres, and in Beirut and anywhere else”.

It is not clear what ‘red line’ Hizbullah would have to cross for Israel to significantly escalate its response to much higher levels; Israeli leaders have suggested that an attack on a strategic site; or an attack leading to major civilian casualties; or a substantive barrage on Haifa might constitute the breaking point. Nonetheless, with three military divisions rather than the usual one now deployed in the north of Israel, the IDF has more forces poised for action on the northern border than it has preparing for an incursion into Rafah – at this point. It is clear, as Chief of Staff Halevy has specified, that Israel is “preparing for war” against Hizbullah (more than preparing for Rafah). Is the threat to Rafah a bluff to put pressure on Hamas to concede on the deal and hostages? One way or another, both Israel’s political and military chiefs are adamant: The IDF will incurse into Rafah – ‘at some point’. The qualitatively different Hizbullah’s strike on Safed on Israel’s northern regional command HQ on Wednesday – which that resulted in 2 dead and 7 further casualties – is being treating in Israel as the gravest attack since the start of the war, with Ben Gvir calling it a “declaration of war”. Subsequent Israeli attacks killed 11 people, including six children, in a barrage of strikes on villages across southern Lebanon, in retribution for the Safed blitz – with the fierce exchange of fire still continuing.

The ‘Safed Strike’ deep into the Galilee very likely was intended to signal that Hizbullah is not about to capitulate to western demands that it provide Israel with a ceasefire that is intended to facilitate evacuated Israelis to return to their homes in the north. As Nasrallah confirmed in a scathing attack on those external (Western) mediators who serve only as Israel’s lawyers, and neglect to address the massacres in Gaza: “It is easier to move the Litani River forward to the borders, than to push back Hezbollah fighters from the borders, to behind the Litani River … They want us to pay a price without Israel committing to a thing”. In these circumstances, Nasrallah clarified that residents of northern Israel will not return to their homes – warning that even more Israelis risk being displaced: “‘Israel’ must prepare shelters, basements, hotels and schools to house two million settlers who will be evacuated from northern Palestine, [were Israel to expand the war zone].”

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“..The inaction of Putin, China, and Iran has steeled the American neoconservatives in their agenda of American hegemony..”

The Ever Expanding War (Paul Craig Roberts)

As I previously wrote, the Israeli/American intention is to expand the war against Hamas to Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. The expansion has begun. The latest news is that Israel has struck deep into Lebanon: “War Expands With Massive Israeli Airstrikes 60km Deep Into Lebanon.” The Arabs, likely restrained by Putin, have once again sat on their butts while Israel picks them off one by one. Only the Houthis but not a single Arab or Muslim country came to Hamas’ help. Consequently, the Arabs sat sucking their thumbs while Gaza and Hamas were destroyed. The arabs accepted Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people. Evil prevails when it is left unopposed. If Hezbollah, Syria, the Iraqi militias, and Iran had joined Hamas’ attack, Israel today would not exist. Having missed their chance, they will now be knocked off one at a time by Israel and Washington.

Already before Israel is finished with Palestine, Israel has attacked with missiles and jet fighters deep into Lebanon. It appears that the Israeli-Washington strategy is to attack Lebanese cities to set off civil war between the Lebanese army and the Hezbollah militia so that Israel can take advantage of civil war in Lebanon to drive Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon and take possession of the water resources that Israel covets. When Hezbollah is finished, Washington and Israel will wipe out the Iraqi militias and attack Syria, a section of which containing the oil fields Washington already occupies. The Russians left the liberation of Syria unfinished. Syria has the Russian air defense system but apparently is not permitted to use it against Washington and Israel. Once Iraqi militias and Syria are out of the picture, Iran, sitting there on its huge number of missiles, doing nothing, will be next.

When Iran falls, the CIA’s Jihadists will be released into the Russian Federation, Central Asia, and China’a troublesome province. The inaction of Putin, China, and Iran has steeled the American neoconservatives in their agenda of American hegemony. As Putin, XI, and Iran seem determined to sit out conflicts that not only affect them but are directed against them, Washington will continue to run over red lines until a war is forced. Putin has been deceived, betrayed, demonized, and given the West’s cold shoulder for two decades, and he still wants to negotiate with those who have thrashed him? Negotiation with a government that has proven it doesn’t keep the agreements is a form of reality denial. As the evidence indicates, the Western world is in moral and social collapse, so its destruction will be no loss. The question is whether the values the Christian West once stood for will find expression elsewhere.

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Pretty crazy..

10 Million Illegals Have Entered The US Under Biden (ZH)

A record 7.3 million illegal aliens have crossed the southwest border under President Biden’s watch, a number which according to Fox News.is greater than the population of 36 individual states. That figure is sourced from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which has already reported 961,537 Southwest land border encounters in the current fiscal year, which runs from October through September, and if the current pace of illegal immigration does not slow down, fiscal year 2024 will break last year’s record of 2,475,669 southwest border encounters — a number that by itself exceeds the population of New Mexico. The total number of southwest land border encounters since Biden assumed office in 2021 is 7,298,486, CBP data shows.

That number is larger than the population of 36 U.S. states including: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. In fact, the only states that are not in danger of being “replaced” are the blue ones. Compared to the largest U.S. states, the 7.3 million number is about 18.7% of California’s population of 39 million, 23.9% of the state of Texas and its 31 million residents, 32.3% of the population of Florida and 37.3% of New York. It’s more than half the size of Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio. As Fox News graphically describes, were the number of illegal immigrants who entered the United States under President Biden gathered together to found a city, it would be the second-largest city in America after New York.

Shockingly, that total does not include an estimated additional 1.6 million illegals who entered the US at other locations, nor 1.8 million known “gotaways” who evaded law enforcement, which would make the total bigger than the population of New York. Taken together, over 10 million migrants have crossed into the U.S. illegally during the Biden administration, a record Biden’s critics assert could only be achieved by intentionally refusing to enforce the law. “This unprecedented surge in illegal immigration isn’t an accident. It is the result of deliberate policy choices by the Biden administration,” said Eric Ruark, Director of Research for Numbers USA, a nonprofit that advocates for immigration restrictions.

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“..renewables can’t power modern civilization is because they were never meant to. One interesting question is why anybody ever thought they could.”

Germany Retreats Into The Middle Ages As Its Economy Declines (Henry Johnston)

Bloomberg recently foretold the end of Germany’s days as an industrial power in an article that begins with a depiction of the closing of a factory in Dusseldorf. Stone-faced workers preside with funereal solemnity over the final act – the fashioning of a steel pipe at a rolling mill – at the century-old plant. The “flickering of flares and torches” and “somber tones of a lone horn player” lend the scene a decidedly medieval atmosphere. Intentional or not in their inclusion of such evocative detail, the Bloomberg writers offer potent imagery for Germany – not only because the country is regressing economically but because its elites are increasingly guided by an atavistic force: the abandonment of reason. As hard economic realities lay bare the futility of its utopian energy plan and the consequences of numerous terrible decisions mount, Germany is experiencing what Swedish essayist Malcom Kyeyune calls “narrative collapse.”

The peculiar offspring of this, Kyeyune argues, is a turn toward ritual, superstition, and taboo. It is a malaise afflicting the entire West, but Germany is suffering a particularly acute case. Kyeyune defines this as an occurrence “when social and political circumstances change too rapidly for people to keep up, the result tends to be collective manias, social panics, and pseudo-religious revivalist millenarianism.” The abandonment of reason can be conceived of in various ways. Quite a lot of ink has already been spilled about the irrationality behind Germany’s fantastically improbable climate policy. Indeed, the quasi-religious verve with which this program has been rolled out speaks to something of a loosening of the country’s moorings. But as we will see shortly, the problem goes far beyond an attachment to unattainable policy goals. Prominent German business executive Wolfgang Reitzle argued that for the government to deliver on its climate and energy policy, capacities for wind and solar power would have to be more than quadrupled, while storage and back-up capacities would have to be massively increased.

Such a plan is “neither technically feasible nor affordable for a country like Germany,” Reitzle argues. What it is then, he concludes, “is simply insanity.” Michael Shellenberger, in a piece for Forbes magazine in 2019, points out that the initial impetus for seeking to transition to renewables emerged from the idea that human civilization should be scaled back to sustainable levels. He cites German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s 1954 landmark essay ‘The Question Concerning of Technology’ and subsequent work by the likes of Barry Commoner and Murray Bookchin as espousing what emerged in the 1960s as a much more austere vision for the future of civilization. Shellenberger concludes that the reason why “renewables can’t power modern civilization is because they were never meant to. One interesting question is why anybody ever thought they could.”

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“..temperature doesn’t follow CO2—instead, CO2 follows temperature, which, itself, is due to solar activity.”

Fixation on CO2 Ignores Real Driver of Temperature (ET)

Each year from 2023 to 2030, climate change sustainable development goals will cost every person in economies such as the United States $2,026, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development estimates. In lower-income economies, the per-person annual cost ranges from $332 to $1,864. In total, the global price tag comes to about $5.5 trillion per year. Separately, a report from the left-aligned nonprofit Climate Policy Initiative found that in 2021 and 2022, the world’s taxpayers spent $1.3 trillion each year on climate-related projects. It also found that the “annual climate finance needed” from 2031 to 2050 is more than $10 trillion each year. “Anyone who willfully denies the impact of climate change is condemning the American people to a very dangerous future,” President Joe Biden said on Nov. 14, 2023, while announcing $6 billion in new investments through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). “The impacts we’re seeing are only going to get worse, more frequent, more ferocious, and more costly.”

At its signing in August 2022, President Biden said the IRA “invests $369 billion to take the most aggressive action ever—ever, ever, ever—in confronting the climate crisis and strengthening our economic—our energy security.” A report from Goldman Sachs put the dollar amount much higher, stating, “Critical funding for this next energy revolution is expected to come from the IRA, which will provide an estimated $1.2 trillion of incentives by 2032.” The trillions of dollars being poured into new initiatives stem from the goals set by the United Nations’ Paris Agreement’s legally binding international treaty to “substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions” in the hope of maintaining a temperature of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

But any decrease in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions won’t have an effect for hundreds to thousands of years—even under the most restrictive circumstances, according to some experts. “If emissions of CO2 stopped altogether, it would take many thousands of years for atmospheric CO2 to return to ‘pre-industrial’ levels,” the Royal Society states in a report on its website. The organization describes itself as a “fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists.” “Surface temperatures would stay elevated for at least a thousand years, implying a long-term commitment to a warmer planet due to past and current emissions,” the report states. “The current CO2-induced warming of Earth is therefore essentially irreversible on human timescales.”

A frequently asked questions page on NASA’s website holds the same position. “If we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, the rise in global temperatures would begin to flatten within a few years. Temperatures would then plateau but remain well-elevated for many, many centuries,” NASA states. And, other scientists say, that’s because CO2 isn’t the culprit in the first place. “CO2 does not cause global warming. Global warming causes more CO2,” said Edwin Berry, a theoretical physicist and certified consulting meteorologist. He called Royal Society’s position on CO2 “pure junk science.” Ian Clark, emeritus professor for the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Ottawa, agreed that if all greenhouse gas emissions ceased today, the Earth would continue warming—but not because of CO2. He said that contrary to popular opinion, temperature doesn’t follow CO2—instead, CO2 follows temperature, which, itself, is due to solar activity.

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Vaxx

 

 

Cat perfume

 

 

Dinosaur Size
https://twitter.com/i/status/1760025082657706403

 

 

Blink an eye

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in wartime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 202024
 


Vincent van Gogh Lane near Arles 1888

 

Julian Assange Judge Previously Acted For MI6 (Dec.UK)
Brandon, Rotting in the (White) House (Kunstler)
Democratic Lawmaker Urges Vote Against Biden (Sp.)
Biden’s Lies On Top Of Lies On Top Of Lies (Victor Davis Hanson)
US Threatens to Veto New Gaza Ceasefire Resolution at UNSC (Antiwar)
A Nuclear Power Cannot Lose In War (Medvedev)
Putin Is The New Climate Change (Marsden)
Euromaidan Triggered Ukraine’s Nine-Year War on Donbass (Sp.)
Ukraine Used US Chemical Weapons Against Russian Troops – MoD
Helping Crimea Recover From Decades Of Ukrainian Misrule (Scott Ritter)
About Navalny’s Death (Lubos Blaha)
Germany Gives Timeframe For Possible Russian ‘Attack’ On NATO – Bloomberg (RT)
Czech PM Labels Protesting Farmers ‘Supporters Of Moscow’ (RT)
Houthis Attacked UK Ship in Gulf of Aden, Vessel Severely Damaged (Sp.)
2024 Is the Last Year of Free Speech and Democracy in the Western World (PCR)

 

 

 

 

RFK Assange

 

 

Ai Weiwei

 

 

Yanis Julian

 

 

Waters

 

 

Assange DDN

 

 

Hillary

 

 

Liz Cheney

 

 

Udo

 

 

 

 

Eric Trump

 

 

 

 

Craig Murray syas he’s at the courthouse, but doesn’t know if he can attend the hearing. Julian doesn’t know either if he can attend his own hearing.

Julian Assange Judge Previously Acted For MI6 (Dec.UK)

One of the two High Court judges who will rule on Julian Assange’s bid to stop his extradition to the US represented the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the Ministry of Defence, Declassified has found. Justice Jeremy Johnson has also been a specially vetted barrister, cleared by the UK authorities to access top secret information. Johnson will sit with Dame Victoria Sharp, his senior judge, to decide the fate of the WikiLeaks co-founder. If extradited, Assange faces a maximum sentence of 175 years. His persecution by the US authorities has been at the behest of Washington’s intelligence and security services, with whom the UK has deep relations. Assange’s journalistic career has been marked by exposing the dirty secrets of the US and UK national security establishments. He now faces a judge who has acted for, and received security clearance from, some of those same state agencies.

As with previous judges who have ruled on Assange’s case, this raises concerns about institutional conflicts of interest. Exactly how much Johnson has been paid for his work for government departments is not clear. Records show he was paid twice by the Government Legal Department for his services in 2018. The sum was over £55,000. Justice Johnson became a deputy High Court judge in 2016 and a full judge in 2019. His biography states he has been “often acting in cases involving the police and government departments”. As a barrister, in 2007 he represented MI6 as an observer during the inquests into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed. Johnson worked alongside Robin Tam QC, previously described by legal directories as a barrister who “does an enormous amount of often sensitive work” for the UK government.

Johnson was appointed to “sit in on the hearing” At the time, Foreign Office sources could not recall “a previous occasion when MI6 [had] appointed lawyers to an inquest”. MI6 was reportedly “so concerned by possible revelations” during the inquest that Johnson was appointed to “sit in on the hearing”. He reportedly received a brief from MI6 in advance of the inquest, and was tasked with providing “such assistance as the coroner may require”. Johnson has also represented the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) on at least two occasions. In 2013, he acted for the department during the high-profile Al-Sweady inquiry, which looked into allegations that “British soldiers torture and unlawfully killed Iraqi prisoners” in 2004. The MoD’s lawyers said the Iraqi allegations were a “product of lies” and that those making the claims “were guilty of a criminal conspiracy”.

Johnson argued there was “compelling and extensive and independent forensic evidence” to refute the case. The five-year inquiry, which cost around £25m, exonerated the British troops. Johnson also acted for the MoD in 2011, in an appeal case against Shaun Wood, a Royal Air Force (RAF) serviceman. Wood had the previous year won his case claiming compensation against the MoD, arguing his neurological condition akin to Parkinson’s disease was caused by exposure to organic solvents while serving in the RAF. The judge upheld Wood’s claim against the MoD, which had admitted a breach of duty but disputed that this had caused the damage claimed by him.

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“What have they got left? AI-contrived photos of Mr. Trump having sex with a manatee in the intercoastal waterway off Mar-a-Lago?”

Brandon, Rotting in the (White) House (Kunstler)

We’re also informed in recent days by the Department of Justice that “Joe Biden” is not mentally competent to answer for anything in a court of law, should someone inquire into the signal irregularities emerging from the fugitive annals of his long career. Of course, “Joe Biden” running for reelection is one of the greatest gags ever put over on the American public. But more astounding yet is that half the country persists in pretending to believe it. They are egged on in every possible way by persons in high places of government fearful of going to prison if the Democratic Party loses its grip on the levers of power.

Since “Joe Biden” is not actually calling the shots, one naturally wonders who is responsible for all the dubious achievements of the past three years. I guess we’ll find out when Mr. Trump wins that election in November, an outcome increasingly guaranteed unless “Joe Biden” (or, let’s face it, our Intel Community) takes the final decisive step of bumping off the Golden Golem of Greatness. What have they got left? AI-contrived photos of Mr. Trump having sex with a manatee in the intercoastal waterway off Mar-a-Lago?

In New York City, the Woke lunatics did a victory dance after Judge Arthur Engoron, beaming his Joker smile, laid a $350-million fine on Mr. Trump for conducting a set of normal real estate transactions with a bank that profited from doing business with him. Many are still trying to figure out how that amounts to a crime of any sort. Don’t suppose that the check is in the mail, though. There is an appeals process that leads, you may be sure, to a dismissal of that inane judgment and the puerile hypotheticals that the case derived from. And, by and by, you also might expect a countersuit for malicious prosecution when all that smoke clears. New York Attorney General Letitia James, lacking impulse control, is for the moment enjoying the fulfillment of her campaign promise to “get Trump.” Waiting to see how much she enjoys losing her law license in the days to come.

Every reaction provokes an equal and opposite reaction, Newton’s Third Law states. It manifested shortly after Judge Engoron’s end zone dance when a call went out over the Internet for America’s truckers to refuse loads inbound to New York City. We’ll have to stand by to see how that develops. No more bok choy, Texas beef, or Meyer Lemons for you, “progressive” denizens of the Five Boroughs! Embrace the suck! The genius part is that, unlike the 2022 Canadian truckers’ action in Ottawa, the American truckers will not be cluttering up New York’s streets with their rigs, license plates on view, leaving them vulnerable to such pranks as the shutdown of their bank accounts. All they’ll do is sit innocently at home back in Kentucky and Missouri, enjoying a break from the rigors of the highway. Is that a crime? Arguably no more than doing a normal real estate deal in good faith with a willing lender was a crime.

The truckers have promised to include Washington DC next in their delivery boycott. The K-Street lobbying gang won’t be buying any influence for a while over platters of grilled branzino and Mariscos Molcajete. Maybe there will be a few Cliff Bars left in the Farragut Square 7-Eleven and they can do business in their cars. As for “Joe Biden,” his minders have probably laid in enough Ensure for a well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory to get by for a few weeks — until the magic moment when, alas, he must needs be thrown under the bus of expediency to keep their game going.

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“..Trump won Michigan in 2016 with a margin of just 10,700 votes; Michigan has an Arab American population of some 211,000..”

Democratic Lawmaker Urges Vote Against Biden (Sp.)

In the latest example of opposition to US President Joe Biden from within his own party, Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib publicly urged Michigan voters to oppose the president in the state’s primary election next week. Rep. Tlaib made the call Saturday in a video posted by the Listen to Michigan campaign on the X social media platform. Listen to Michigan is an organization of pro-Palestine activists in the state organizing opposition to Biden’s support for Israel’s deadly campaign in Gaza, which has killed some 29,000 people. “It is important as you all know to not only march against the genocide, [to] not only make sure that we’re calling our members of Congress and local electeds and passing city resolutions all throughout our country, it is also important to create a voting bloc – something that is a bullhorn to say ‘enough is enough,” said Tlaib, the first Palestinian American member of US Congress. “We don’t want a country that supports wars and bombs and destruction,” she added. “We want to support life. We want to stand up for every single life killed in Gaza.”

Tlaib and other activists are urging Democrats to vote “uncommitted” in the party’s presidential primary election next Tuesday rather than supporting Biden or any of his challengers. Activists portray the move as a show of opposition to the president’s handling of the Palestine-Israel crisis. Biden has attempted to express modest criticism of Israel through leaked statements to the press alleging consternation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but the US president has continued to back the country with the frequent provision of financial support and lethal aid. In December the Biden administration even bypassed Congress to rush an “emergency” arms shipment to Israel, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirming the move was necessary in response to an alleged imminent security threat to the United States.

Observers have noted Blinken could be impeached on perjury charges for the dubious claim, which is unlikely to generate opposition given the significant influence of AIPAC and other Zionist groups in US politics. “This is the way you can raise our voices,” Tlaib continued. “Don’t make us even more invisible. Right now we feel completely neglected and just unseen by our government. If you want us to be louder then come here and vote ‘uncommitted.’” Tlaib made the statement standing outside of an early voting location in Dearborn, a major hub of the Arab American community in Michigan. Pro-Palestine activists have warned Biden that his unrelenting support for Israel could cost him reelection in November, with Michigan representing a crucial swing state for the president. Former President Donald Trump won Michigan in 2016 with a margin of just 10,700 votes; Michigan has an Arab American population of some 211,000.

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X thread.

“Well apart from his cognitive decline, Biden himself is a pathological prevaricator.”

Biden’s Lies On Top Of Lies On Top Of Lies (Victor Davis Hanson)

In the last week, Joe Biden had flat-out lied in the most egregious fashion in so many ways. In his disastrous press conference of last week, he claimed that special counsel Hur’s report exonerated him. Anyone who read the findings concluded exactly the opposite. According to Hur, Biden would have been indicted for his willfully unlawful removal of classified documents except for two reasons: one, the Department of Justice protocols apparently prohibit indicting a sitting president; and two, Biden suffers such cognitive decline that the special counsel believes a jury would more likely pity him into acquittal than convict him of what he is certainly guilty. He lied that Hur brought up his son’s death (“How in the hell dare he raise that?”).

In fact, Biden as is his serial wont, raised it, and does on a regular basis, usually deliberately and further lying that his son died while on military duty in Iraq (he died six years subsequently as a civilian in Walter Reed Hospital), and always contorting the death to enhance his own greater sense of grieving. He lied that he notified authorities when he discovered that he unlawfully had taken out classified documents to various residencies (perhaps for over some 30 plus years during his senatorial and Vice Presidential tenures). In fact, Biden only admitted that he had apparently for decades unlawfully removed classified files in 2017, to his ghostwriter in a recorded tape, and then he hid that fact and kept quiet for five years—until his administration’s special counsel began to investigate Trump for the same thing. Note the worried ghostwriter erased the tape of Biden’s confession as soon as he learned there was an appointment of a special counsel. (Destroy evidence much?)

He lied that the files bore no classification marks. In fact, they did and do. He lied that he kept the files safe in a secure location. In fact, the special counsel report includes several photographs of the Biden garage, in which there were sloppily stored, open, and torn boxes of classified documents amid a complete mess of junk. He lied that Trump’s once secure border is somehow responsible for Biden’s intentionally open border. He just lied that Trump caused the 2022 Putin invasion of Ukraine on Biden’s watch that never occurred on Trump’s. It is not enough that the Biden team must wildly lie daily that the non-compos-mentis President is dynamic, impressive in his recall and cognition, and stands out as the most astute mind in most of this meetings. Well apart from his cognitive decline, Biden himself is a pathological prevaricator.

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“The US has already used its veto power on the Security Council to veto two resolutions calling for an end to the onslaught..”

US Threatens to Veto New Gaza Ceasefire Resolution at UNSC (Antiwar)

The US is threatening to veto a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza at the UN Security Council as the US continues to provide political cover for the Israeli massacre of Palestinians. US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement that if the resolution, which is being drafted by Algeria, was brought to a vote, it would not be adopted. Thomas-Greenfield justified US opposition to a ceasefire by pointing to US efforts to push for a new hostage deal between Israel and Hamas. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vetoed hostage talks last week, and Qatar, the mediator of the negotiations, said Saturday that things were not looking “promising.” Thomas-Greenfield said Algeria’s resolution would “run counter” to US efforts on the hostage deal. “We have communicated this concern repeatedly to our colleagues on the Council.

For that reason, the United States does not support action on this draft resolution. Should it come up for a vote as drafted, it will not be adopted,” she said. The US has already used its veto power on the Security Council to veto two resolutions calling for an end to the onslaught. The Biden administration has also dismissed the International Court of Justice’s ruling that it’s “plausible” Israel is committing genocide and continues to provide unconditional military support for the slaughter. Thomas-Greenfield said the resolution would get in the way of US “diplomacy” related to pushing for a hostage deal. “It is critical that other parties give this process the best odds of succeeding, rather than push measures that put it — and the opportunity for an enduring resolution of hostilities — in jeopardy,” she said.

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X thread.

A Nuclear Power Cannot Lose In War (Medvedev)

“Some time ago I wrote in my Telegram channel: “A nuclear power cannot lose in war.” Immediately, sniveling Anglo-American lackeys popped up with hysterical cries: “No, that’s not true at all, even the USA has lost wars.” This is an obvious lie. I wasn’t talking about Vietnam, Afghanistan, or dozens of other places where Americans waged colonial wars of conquest. I was writing about historical wars where defending one’s Homeland occurs. Defending one’s land, people, and values. These are the wars nuclear powers have never lost to anyone. Why am I writing about this again? Well, I’m reading the words of various Pistoriuses with shaps, and I’m thinking: are they really such idiots or are they just pretending? “The world cannot afford Russia’s victory in this war.” How so? Here’s how.

Okay. Let’s imagine for a moment that Russia lost, and “Ukraine with its allies” won. What would such a victory mean for our enemies – the neo-Nazis and their Western sponsors? Well, as it has been said many times, a return to the borders of 1991. That is, the direct and irreversible collapse of present-day Russia, which includes new territories according to the Constitution. And then a furious civil war with the final disappearance of our country from the world map. Tens of millions of victims. The death of our future. The collapse of everything in the world. And now the main question: do these idiots really believe that the Russian people will swallow such a division of their country? That we will all reason approximately like this: “Well, alas, it happened. They won. Present-day Russia has disappeared. It’s a pity, of course, but we have to continue living in a collapsing, dying country, because nuclear war is much scarier for us than the death of our loved ones, our children, our Russia…”? And in such a case, will the leadership of the state headed by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation hesitate to make the most difficult decisions?

So here’s the thing. It will be completely different. The collapse of Russia will have much more terrifying consequences than the results of a normal, even the most protracted war. Because attempts to return Russia to the borders of 1991 will lead to only one thing. To a global war with Western countries using all the strategic arsenal of our state. Towards Kyiv, Berlin, London, Washington. Towards all the other beautiful historical places long targeted by our nuclear triad. Will we have the courage for this, if the disappearance of our thousand-year-old country, our great Motherland, is at stake, and the sacrifices made by the Russian people over the centuries will turn out to be in vain? The answer is obvious. So it’s better to let them return everything before it’s too late. Or we’ll take it back ourselves with maximum losses for the enemy. Like Avdeevka. Our warriors are heroes!”

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“..von der Leyen laments the Russian president’s attempt to “blackmail” Europe with fossil fuels while at the same time saying that whatever’s left of them can’t disappear fast enough. If that seems like a contradiction, it is.”

Putin Is The New Climate Change (Marsden)

It’s hard to tell if she’s blaming him or crediting him, but European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a meeting of the Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on February 13th that “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s attempt to blackmail our union has utterly failed. On the contrary, he really pushed the green transition.” [..]

Germany is the canary in the coal mine for the EU green transition, having gone all-in, and clearly wind and solar weren’t ready for prime time when the cheap Russian gas tap was effectively turned off – first through the EU’s own anti-Russian sanctions that complicated payment for sales, then when it was blown up altogether. This is why the German economy is taking a hit, with the country’s own national statistics office now qualifying the economic environment as “marked by multiple crises,” as last year’s GDP dropped by 0.3%, with high energy prices as one of the top contributing factors. If mighty gusts of wind could singlehandedly prevent German deindustrialization as industry bails to less fantasy-powered jurisdictions, then Queen Ursula’s speeches alone would have long since done the job. In this latest one, von der Leyen laments the Russian president’s attempt to “blackmail” Europe with fossil fuels while at the same time saying that whatever’s left of them can’t disappear fast enough. If that seems like a contradiction, it is.

The truth is that Putin just served as a convenient pretext for something that Brussels had long wanted to do anyway, but was prevented from doing because of how it feared the average EU citizen would react. It’s now obvious what the impact of the green transition is on inflation as energy costs have skyrocketed. If the EU had pulled a stunt like this by simply caving to Washington’s relentless insistence that it renege on Nord Stream pipeline gas, telling Europeans that it was pivoting to far pricier US liquified natural gas – at least until it could figure out how to use the basic elements of earth to live like a developed country using tactics from the Stone Age – people would have gone ballistic and wondered what the heck was really going on. Putin came along just in time to rescue the transition from the growing skepticism of the climate-change excuse, fueling popularity for the right-wing populist parties calling the Brussels establishment out for its use of it to manipulate citizens into compliance with their agenda.

What agenda, exactly? Profits, first and foremost. Ask the farmers currently protesting all across Europe against a heavy-handed Brussels bureaucracy put into place that increasingly controls their production using everything from climate change policies that put precious farmland into the state’s hands through buyouts of climate change policy offenders, to pro-Ukraine trade policies that crush domestic production in favor of Ukraine’s Western-backed corporate Big Farming, like Bayer, Monsanto, Cargill, and DuPont. When the Ukraine conflict went hot, Queen Ursula just substituted Putin for the climate-change excuse, then kept hammering the need to plough cash into renewable energy projects that just happen to be dominated by European and American big finance and their investors, like US defense contractor General Electric, Germany’s BASF, Shell, and BP. Von der Leyen dropped a hint herself that all this is about not wanting to share the pie outside of her coffee klatch.

“The old fossil fuel economy is all about dependencies. The new clean energy economy is all about inter-dependencies,” she said, pointing out that “clean energy can be produced anywhere.” And that means being able to keep the profits among your friends and supporters. Interesting that she used the term “inter-dependencies” rather than “independence.” You’d think that national sovereignty would be a good thing. But apparently not when it could mean a country being able to tell Brussels to bugger off. Both climate change and national security are profitable causes, first and foremost. They should just be honest about that rather than trying to hard-sell it with virtue-signaling and bogeymen. But it’s the increased authoritarianism to control emissions or the ubiquitous “Russian threat” by introducing policies and tools that can also be used to quash domestic dissent, that are even more troubling. And for Brussels that seems to be a nice bonus.

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“It all started back in 2004, when the first Maidan, dubbed the Orange Revolution, and [the West’s] interference in the presidential elections happened. I think at that moment everyone realized exactly what was happening.”

Euromaidan Triggered Ukraine’s Nine-Year War on Donbass (Sp.)

The “Russian Spring” in Donbass was a grassroots movement that began when the Euromaidan protests were raging in Kiev, Alexander Matyushin, call sign “Varyag,” former commander of the “Varyag” detachment and war correspondent, told Sputnik. The protests started on November 21, 2013, with up to 2,000 protesters gathering in Kiev’s central square, Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), after then-President Viktor Yanukovich refused to sign an EU association agreement. “Nikolai Azarov, Yanukovich’s closest aide and adviser, at the 11th hour calculated that switching to European standards would indebt Ukraine at a scale one had never imagined,” Matyushin said. “The transition envisaged changing everything, starting from sockets to railway tracks, everything had to be rebuilt. [The Yanukovich government] concluded it was unprofitable and refused [to sign the agreement with the EU – Sputnik]. After that, students took to the streets and were dispersed by Berkut on camera, which caused a wave of indignation in Kiev. From that point Euromaidan started to gain momentum.”

“Historically, the southeast [of Ukraine] has always gravitated towards Russia,” Matyushin said. He recalled that in 1919, Vladimir Lenin, then head of the Soviet government, integrated Donbass into the Ukrainian Socialist Republic against the will of the region’s population. After the collapse of the USSR, the 1994 plebiscite in Donbass concerning the region’s federalization and making Russian a second official language was similarly ignored by the then-Ukrainian government. By the time of Euromaidan, the southeastern and northwestern parts of Ukraine had already been divided over the future of the country: the former sought to integrate with the EU, while the latter wanted to develop economic ties with Russia, according to Matyushin. “The southeast included the territories from Kharkov to Odessa, the so-called Novorossiya, along with Crimea. And separately, there was the northwest, where these Ukrainian [nationalist] tendencies were strong,” he said.

The split became especially visible in 2004, when the Western-backed Orange Revolution on Maidan square brought Viktor Yushchenko to power in Kiev, the war correspondent pointed out. “And all the economic vicissitudes starting from 2004, when there was a severance of relations [between Russia and Ukraine], i.e. the gas war, the sugar war, etc., hit Donbass very hard because its industries relied, in particular, on cheap Russian gas.” In 2005, the Yushchenko government unilaterally initiated a review of tariffs for the transit of Russian gas to Europe through the territory of Ukraine, which led to the termination of a long-term Russo-Ukrainian gas contract that had fixed the fuel price for Kiev at $50 per 1,000 cubic meters until 2010. The increase in gas price dealt a blow to Donbass, which “blamed the Western Ukraine protege Yushchenko” for the economic turndown, Matyushin noted.

Another driver for the split was the glorification of WW2-era Nazi collaborators by the Yushchenko government. Yushchenko openly praised the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)* responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Jews, Russians, Roma, and Poles during Nazi Germany’s occupation of Ukraine and granted the titles of Hero of Ukraine to OUN-UPA leaders Roman Shukhevych and Stepan Bandera in 2007 and 2010, respectively. He also declared Ukrainian NATO membership a priority in 2008. According to the war correspondent, over 10 years – from 2004 to 2014 – the ideological and political rift between western and eastern Ukraine deepened dramatically. The 2014 Euromaidan events became the catalyst for the final division, he underscored.

“We had understood from the very beginning that everything that happened on Maidan could not lead to anything good,” Maya, warrant officer and commander of the support platoon of the 1st Slavic Brigade, told Sputnik. “I think the majority [of Ukrainians] also knew and understood that the West was involved in this. It was not the first time that the West had interfered in the domestic affairs of our state. It all started back in 2004, when the first Maidan, dubbed the Orange Revolution, and [the West’s] interference in the presidential elections happened. I think at that moment everyone realized exactly what was happening.”

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Surprised?

Ukraine Used US Chemical Weapons Against Russian Troops – MoD

Russia has recorded cases of Ukrainian troops using US chemical munitions during the special military operation, Lt. Gen. Igor Kirillov, the head of the radiation, chemical and biological defense troops of the Russian armed forces, said on Monday. “During the special military operation, cases of US chemical weapons used by the armed forces of Ukraine were recorded,” Kirillov told a briefing The Ukraine military used US-made chemical grenades dropped from UAVs several times against the Russian armed forces in 2023, and this January, Ukrainian units used an unknown toxic chemical against the Russian troops, which led to burns, nausea and vomiting. “Ukraine, with the complicity of Western countries, does not limit itself to the use of non-lethal chemicals, actively using chemicals from the list. I would like to draw attention to the statement by representatives of the Ukraine armed forces about the availability of such compounds at their disposal, including analogues of the combat toxic substance Tabun, which is included in List 1 of the Convention [on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction],” Kirillov said.

The head of the Kherson region administration, Saldo, was poisoned with ricin in August 2022, the substance was detected in biomedical samples, the head of the Russian Chemical Defense Forces, Kirillov, has said. The head of the Lugansk People Republic Leonid Pasechnik in December 2023 received a severe poisoning with phenolic compounds, said the head of the RHBZ troops Kirillov. Before that, Pasechnik’s poisoning had not been reported. The Russian Defense Ministry reported on the facts of the use of poisonous substances by the Ukrainian military:
• On August 19, 2022, a toxic chemical, an analog of the warfare poisoning agent “Bi-Zet,” was used.
• A similar substance was found on January 28, 2024, during operational-search activities in a cache in Melitopol. It was in vials labeled “Biosporin”.
• On February 8 and 16, 2023, cases of using hydrocyanic acid with drones were registered.
• On January 31, 2024, the Ukrainian Armed Forces used an unknown toxic chemical that caused burns. Analysis showed the presence of a compound known as anthraquinone.
• On December 28, 2023, American-made gas grenades loaded with a substance called “CS” capable of causing skin burns and respiratory paralysis were dropped in the area of Krasny Liman.
• On June 15, 2023, a drone carrying a plastic container with a mixture of chloroacetophenone and chloropicrin was used against Russian troops near Rabotino.

Read more …

“Ukraine effectively destroyed Crimea’s agricultural industry..”

Helping Crimea Recover From Decades Of Ukrainian Misrule (Scott Ritter)

As the Russian military operation against Ukraine approaches its third year, the focus on the ongoing conflict has allowed another anniversary to go relatively unnoticed – it’s now around ten years since the violent events in Kiev’s Maidan square that put in motion the circumstances which precipitated the current conflict. Over the course of five days, from February 18 to 23, 2014, neo-Nazi provocateurs from the Svoboda (All Ukrainian Union ‘Freedom’) Party and the Right Sector, a coalition of far-right Ukrainian nationalists who follow the political teachings of Stepan Bandera and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, engaged in targeted violence against the government of President Viktor Yanukovich. It was designed to remove him from power and replace him with a new, US-backed government. They were successful; Yanukovich fled to Russia on February 23, 2014.

Soon thereafter, the predominantly Russian-speaking population of Crimea undertook actions to separate from the new Ukrainian nationalist government in Kiev. On March 16, 2014, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, both of which at that time were legally considered to be part of Ukraine, held a referendum on whether to join Russia or remain part of Ukraine. Over 97% of the votes cast were in favor of joining Russia. Five days later, on March 21, Crimea formally became part of the Russian Federation. Shortly afterwards, Ukraine built a concrete dam on the North Crimean Canal, a Soviet-era conduit transporting water from the Dnieper River that provided around 85% of the peninsula’s water supply. In doing so, Ukraine effectively destroyed Crimea’s agricultural industry. Then, in November 2015, Ukrainian nationalists blew up pylons carrying power lines from Ukraine to Crimea, thrusting the peninsula into a blackout that prompted a declaration of emergency by the regional government.

The Ukrainian assault on Crimea’s water and electricity was merely an extension of the lack of regard shown to the Crimean population during the two-plus decades that Kiev ruled the peninsula. The local economy was stagnant, and the pro-Russian locals were subjected to a policy of total Ukrainization. In general, the Gross Regional Product (GRP) of Crimea was well below the average of Ukraine (43.6% less in 2000, and 29.5% less in 2013.) In short, the Kiev government made no meaningful attempt to develop Crimea culturally or infrastructurally. The Crimean Peninsula was in a state of decay perpetrated by Ukrainian governments. The damming of the North Crimean Canal and the destruction of the electrical transmission lines were simply the radical expression of the indifference shown by Kiev.

In the years that followed the return of the peninsula to Russian control, there has been a gradual improvement in the economy of Crimea. The Russian government undertook a $680 million program to bolster water supplies which involved repairing long-neglected infrastructure, drilling wells, adding storage capacity, and building desalination plants. While this effort wasn’t sufficient to save much of Crimea’s agriculture, it did provide for the basic needs of the population. The Russian government also constructed the Crimean ‘Energy Bridge’, laying down several undersea energy cables across the Kerch Strait that effectively compensated for the loss of power brought on by the destruction of the Ukrainian power lines.

But the greatest symbol of Russia’s commitment to the people of Crimea was the construction of a $3.7 billion, 19-kilometer-long road-and-rail bridge connecting Krasnodar Region in southern Russia with the Crimean Peninsula. The bridge is the longest in Europe. Construction began in 2016, and it was opened for car traffic in a little more than two years. It has become a symbol of pride for the Russian people and their leadership; President Vladimir Putin personally drove across the bridge during its formal opening ceremony in 2018. The rail line was opened to passenger traffic in 2019, and freight traffic in 2020. The construction of the Crimean Bridge coincided with the building of the Tavrida Highway, a 250-kilometer, $2.5 billion four-lane road connecting the Crimean Bridge with the cities of Sevastopol and Simferopol. Construction of the road began in 2017 and is still ongoing.

Read more …

X thread. Lubos Blaha is Vice Speaker of the Slovak Parliament.

About Navalny’s Death (Lubos Blaha)

It’s sad, of course, that the man died, but it’s strange that the whole West is now cheerfully promoting conspiracy theories here, and his death has not even been investigated. Putin definitely didn’t need his death, Navalny would have had to spend the next decades in prison and he didn’t threaten anyone politically. According to officials, the cause of his death was a blood clot. We don’t know anything else, the case is being investigated, everything else is conspiracies. I will not pretend that I will cry all night because of Navalny now – thousands of children are dying in Gaza and all the media spit on them, they will now talk on air for a week only about this one American agent.

They better look at what the British and Americans are doing to Julian Assange, who is in custody on the verge of death in this glorious West, which prides itself on freedom of speech and protection of journalists. Let them remember how they remained silent when the American journalist Gonzalo Lira, who criticized Zelensky, recently died in Ukrainian custody. They didn’t even remember about it. And today they will moralize about Navalny’s death. Again, it’s always sad when a person dies, but this is pure hypocrisy. – FRWL reports

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”I can’t predict if and when an attack on NATO territory might occur,”[..] “But it could happen in five to eight years..”

Germany Gives Timeframe For Possible Russian ‘Attack’ On NATO – Bloomberg (RT)

Russia may attack NATO within the next five to eight years, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has claimed in an interview with Bloomberg. Pistorius was speaking on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference over the weekend. NATO leaders and defense officials met in Germany to discuss current geopolitical challenges, in particular the situation in Ukraine and military aid to Kiev. ”I can’t predict if and when an attack on NATO territory might occur,” Bloomberg quoted Pistorius as saying. “But it could happen in five to eight years,” he claimed. According to the outlet, EU countries are increasingly alarmed over Russia’s success on the battlefield, the potential reduction in US support for the region, and the fact that they are not prepared for an attack.

On Saturday, Russian forces liberated the key town of Avdeevka in a significant battlefield victory, inflicting heavy casualties on Ukrainian troops. The Ukrainian defeat came as a $60 billion emergency aid package for the country remains held up in the US Congress. “The problem with Europe is it doesn’t provide enough of a deterrence on its own because it hasn’t taken enough of an initiative,” J.D. Vance, a Republican senator and an opponent of Ukraine aid said in Munich, as quoted by Bloomberg. “The American security blanket has allowed European security to atrophy,” he added.

German tabloid Bild reported last month that the German Defense Ministry was developing a plan of action in case Russia attacks a NATO state following a victory in its conflict with Ukraine. In December, Bild cited the intelligence service of a European country as saying that Russia could attack Europe in the winter of 2024-25. Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the same month that Russia has never had plans to attack NATO. The fears of a ‘Russian threat’ in the EU are being fueled by the US, as Washington fears losing its dominance on the European continent, Putin said.

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Idiot.

Czech PM Labels Protesting Farmers ‘Supporters Of Moscow’ (RT)

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala has claimed farmers protesting against EU agriculture policies, environmental requirements and high energy prices are “supporters of Russia”. On Monday, hundreds of tractors blocked off sections of Prague and disrupted traffic outside the country’s Agriculture Ministry as demonstrators demanded that the EU’s Green Deal, which calls for regulations on the use of certain chemicals and greenhouse gas emissions, be rejected. The farmers have argued that the Brussels’ proposals place a heavy burden on their businesses, making products more expensive and less competitive, especially when compared to non-EU imports, such as those coming from Ukraine.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), however, Fiala dismissed the demonstration and suggested that the farmers who took their tractors to Prague on Monday have “little to do with the fight for better conditions for farmers.” “The demonstration is organized by people who, for example, do not hide their support for the Kremlin and pursue goals other than the interests of farmers,” Fiala wrote, adding that the Czech government would only deal with those who “really represent farmers and talk together about what our agriculture needs.” He also noted that Monday’s protests in the Czech capital were not organized by the country’s largest farmers organizations, such as the Agrarian Chamber, the Agricultural Union, and the Association of Private Agriculture.

The three groups have announced plans to hold a separate demonstration against the EU’s green policies on Thursday in a joint action with farmers’ associations from other EU member states. The Agrarian Chamber has stated that farmers will lead their tractors and other machinery in convoys to the Czech border, but have stressed that the demonstration would be symbolic and will not interfere with the operation of the border. Similar protests have swept the EU in recent months, taking place in countries like Poland, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Bulgaria, Latvia, and Slovenia. Demonstrators have been demanding more government aid for the agriculture sector, less bureaucracy from Brussels, as well as tighter controls on imports from non-EU countries.

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“As a result of the extensive damage the ship suffered, it is now at risk of potential sinking in the Gulf of Aden..”

Houthis Attacked UK Ship in Gulf of Aden, Vessel Severely Damaged (Sp.)

Yemen’s Houthi movement, also known as Ansar Allah, has attacked a UK Rubymar cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said on Monday, adding that the vessel was severely damaged.”The Naval forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces carried out a specific military operation, targeting a British ship in the Gulf of Aden, ‘RUBYMAR,’ with a number of appropriate naval missiles. Among the results of the operation were the following: The ship suffered catastrophic damages and came to a complete halt. As a result of the extensive damage the ship suffered, it is now at risk of potential sinking in the Gulf of Aden,” Saree said in a statement on Telegram. The Yemeni air defenses were also able to shoot down a US-made Drone, MQ9, “with a suitable missile while it was carrying out hostile missions against our country on behalf of the Zionist entity,” the spokesman added.

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“our” government in Washington is financing the replacement of American Democracy subject to the will of the people with the government’s protection of the elite institutions..”

2024 Is the Last Year of Free Speech and Democracy in the Western World (PCR)

Tyranny is easy to establish over peoples who have confidence in their Constitutional rights and integrity of their institutions. The more patriotic the population is, the more susceptible it is to deception and betrayal by government. Try telling patriots what is happening to them, and they will call you a commie for speaking badly about their beloved country. Christian evangelicals have no opposition to the evil that is engulfing us, because they have been brainwashed that they will escape it by being wafted up to Heaven. The growth of evil is actually their escape from a sinful world into Heaven. The more evil, the sooner their escape. For most of the rest, liberal interventionists and hegemonic neoconservatives have taught that America is exceptional and indispensable, so how can anything go wrong.

Combine these awareness-blockers with the fact that uncomfortable truths are a bad news turnoff, and that censorship is being established as a national security matter with the argument that it makes us safe and “protects democracy.” Consequently, the criminalization of truth is rushing ahead. Even the word “truth” is slated to become a hate word that cannot be spoken. Any information that you have saved that helps you to understand the tyranny that is engulfing us should be stored in thumb drives and not in the cloud as all information undermining of the “consensus-building institutions” will be consigned to the memory hole. [..] Note: The Atlantic Council, one of the main anti-democratic “consensus-building (false narrative) organizations,” is possibly associated with the Burisma/Hunter Biden scandal.

Burisma, a Ukrainian company, put Hunter Biden on its board and paid him large sums of money for his father’s protection against prosecution of the company by Ukrainian authorities. US Vice President Biden actually admitted on TV, indeed he was proud of it, that he used billions of dollars in US taxpayers money to threaten Ukraine to withhold the US aid unless Ukraine fired the prosecutor, an offer Ukraine could not refuse. Atlantic Council board members Sally Painter is under investigation by the US Justice (sic) Department for illegal lobbying on behalf of Burisma. She and former Atlantic Council board member Karen Tramontano created a partnership between the Atlantic Council and Burisma. Burisma contributed $300,000 to the Atlantic Council. Perhaps it was the purchase price for Burisma officials to speak at Atlantic Council forums and for prestigious Atlantic Council members to speak at a Burisma conference in Ukraine in 2018. All of this to show American protection of the company to Ukrainian prosecutorial authorities.

In 2021 the United Arab Emirates Embassy donated more than $1 million to the Atlantic Council, and the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs added another $100,00-250,000. This might have been the purchase price for the Atlantic Council to use its influence to have the UN choose the UAE for the location of its 2023 climate change conference. Apparently, the Atlantic Council did not make the required or proper disclosures of the UAE’s donations. The Atlantic Council, a principal member of the anti-democratic censorship industry is supported by the hapless, unaware American taxpayers by grants of taxpayer’s money from the Departments of Defense, State, and Energy and by the US Agency for International Development. Thus, it is clear that “our” government in Washington is financing the replacement of American Democracy subject to the will of the people with the government’s protection of the elite institutions that have changed the definition of democracy to mean the service of their agendas.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Elon law

 

 

 

 

Deep sleep

 

 

 

 

Covers
https://twitter.com/i/status/1759649058069623161

 

 


I said no pictures!

 

 

 

 

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Feb 192024
 
 February 19, 2024  Posted by at 2:11 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  6 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Red Vineyards at Arles 1888

 

 

Interesting assessment fom Andrew, but I have my doubts. He sees Germany take a leading role in Europe, but I think it’s in no position to do that, neither militarily nor financially. How the mighty have fallen.

 

 

Andrew Korybko:

 

Russia finally captured the Ukrainian fortress town of Avdeevka following a protracted battle that ended in Kiev’s chaotic retreat and the abandonment of its wounded troops. The timing took place as the Western elite met in Germany for this year’s Munich Security Conference over the weekend, which conveniently enabled them to plan their next moves in this proxy war. No significant financial or military aid is expected, however, despite Ukraine’s newly clinched security pacts with Germany and France.

Rather, as was explained here earlier in the month when analyzing the latest Biden-Scholz Summit in DC, the West’s focus will be on the long-term containment of Russia in Europe beyond the borders of that former Soviet Republic. To that end, Germany’s role as the US’ preferred “Lead From Behind” partner in the EU will become more prominent, which will take the form of connecting the “military Schengen” with the revived Weimar Triangle in order to accelerate the construction of “Fortress Europe”.

The preceding three hyperlinked analyses explain these concepts more in depth as well as their relationship, but they can be summarized as Germany exploiting its comprehensive subordination of Poland to resume its long-lost superpower trajectory after a nearly eight-decade-long hiatus. The reason why the West’s attention will turn towards accelerating this geostrategic shift instead of clinging to its proxy war on Russia via Ukraine after Avdeevka is because it’s now clear that the latter is a lost cause.

Russia already won the “race of logistics”/“war of attrition” with NATO that Secretary General Stoltenberg declared almost exactly one year ago as proven by the counteroffensive’s failure and the subsequent reversal of this conflict’s dynamics whereby Ukraine is now once again on the defensive. Former Command-in-Chief Zaluzhny’s replacement Syrsky explicitly admitted this last week before the disastrous retreat from Avdeevka, which is regarded as Kiev’s last major fortress in Donbass.  

The stage is now set for a forthcoming Russian offensive that could steamroll through the rest of this region in the best-case scenario from Moscow’s perspective and the worst-case one from the West’s. That’s not to say that this will indeed happen because the so-called “fog of war” makes it impossible to accurately discern Ukraine’s full defensive capabilities behind the Line of Contact (LOC), but it’s not without reason that the West is panicking and Zelensky decided to blame them for his latest defeat.

He complained that a so-called “artificial lack of weaponry” was responsible in an allusion to the congressional deadlock over more Ukraine aid, which Biden agreed with to pressure his political foes. Navalny’s unexpected death on Friday was taken advantage of by anti-Russian hawks to demand that the House pass the Senate’s proxy war funding bill when it resumes its session later this month, but even if it’s approved, the problem is that the US has already expended its stockpiles.

While it’s possible that it could dip into those reserves that it’s saved for meeting its national security needs and coerce its vassals into doing so as well, the fact of the matter is that the counteroffensive’s failure in spite of much larger aid given to Kiev up until then suggests that this won’t make a difference. Whatever might be sent would be used solely to hold the LOC as long as possible and prevent a Russian breakthrough in order to perpetuate the stalemate that Zaluzhny was the first to admit had set in by fall.

Truth be told, that description was inaccurate since the LOC continues gradually moving westward and the pace might speed up after Russia’s capture of Avdeevka. President Putin already signaled that he won’t stop until his security guarantee requests are met through military or diplomatic means after recently regretting that he hadn’t ordered the special operation to begin sooner and saying on Sunday after the fall of that Ukrainian fortress town that victory is “a matter of life and death” for Russia.

It remains unclear when and on what terms the conflict will end, but the writing is on the wall and it clearly reads that Russia’s security guarantee requests will be met to some extent or another, ergo why the West is now planning for a decades-long “confrontation” with Russia per Stoltenberg’s own words. Therein lies the significance of the geostrategic shift that was identified earlier in this analysis regarding Germany’s role as the US’ top “Lead From Behind” partner for containing Russia in Europe.

In furtherance of that goal, NATO’s continental-wide “Steadfast Defender 2024” drills – the largest since the end of the Old Cold War – will be aimed at optimizing the partial implementation of the “military Schengen” between Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands, which France is expected to soon join. The Baltics will likely also participate as well given that they require support for building their so-called “Baltic Defense Line”, which could extend up to the Arctic if Finland gets involved too as expected.

The revived Weimar Triangle comes into play since Germany requires French backing because Berlin can’t realistically do all of this on its own, which in turn necessitated Poland’s military subordination to its western neighbor via the abovementioned logistics pact between them. A military corridor from France to Estonia, which could reach Finland via Denmark-Sweden (the second of whom is a NATO aspirant and expected to join this new “Schengen”), is therefore taking shape before the world’s eyes.

Russia’s capture of Avdeevka will therefore reverberate across Europe by accelerating the implementation of these long-term containment plans seeing as how NATO’s proxy war on it through Ukraine is obviously a lost cause after the fall of that former Soviet Republic’s latest fortress town. It’s this geostrategic dynamic that observers should pay more attention to than anything else since the resumption of Germany’s long-lost superpower trajectory is a development of global significance. 

 

 

 

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Feb 192024
 
 February 19, 2024  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Assange – by Mr. Fish

 

Julian Assange’s Final Appeal (Chris Hedges)
We Have Seen Assange’s Plight In A UK Prison (RSF)
2024: The Year from Political Hell – Martin Armstrong (USAW)
The Genocide of the West (Paul Craig Roberts)
Biden & Blinken – Rule of Illegal Power Over Rule of Law (Ralph Nader)
Western Europe Could Become The New Ukraine (Bordachev)
Everything Happening in Ukraine Matter of Life, Death for Russia – Putin (Sp.)
Denmark Will Give All Its Artillery To Ukraine – PM (RT)
Biden Offered Prime Time Russian TV Slot (Sp.)
French “Democracy” Establishes Medical Tyranny (Paul Craig Roberts)
Von der Leyen Wants Second EU Term – Bild (RT)
Netanyahu To Be Ousted – Israel Media (RT)
ICJ to Examine 57 Years of Israeli Occupation of Palestine (Wilkins)
Hunter’s Lawyers Balked at Kevin Morris Laptop Conspiracy Theories (Turley)

 

 


Anthony Bourdain: “Today nearly everything is made in China — except for courage, it’s made in PALESTINE!”

 

 

Assange

 

 

 

 

Tucker invasion

 

 

Mike Benz

 

 

 

 

Ted Cruz

 

 

Gorka Taibbi

 

 

 

 

God have mercy.

Julian Assange’s Final Appeal (Chris Hedges)

If Julian Assange is denied permission to appeal his extradition to the United States before a panel of two judges at the High Court in London this week, he will have no recourse left within the British legal system. His lawyers can ask the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for a stay of execution under Rule 39, which is given in “exceptional circumstances” and “only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm.” But it is far from certain that the British court will agree. It may order Julian’s immediate extradition prior to a Rule 39 instruction or may decide to ignore a request from the ECtHR to allow Julian to have his case heard by the court. The nearly 15-year-long persecution of Julian, which has taken a heavy toll on his physical and psychological health, is done in the name of extradition to the U.S. where he would stand trial for allegedly violating 17 counts of the 1917 Espionage Act, with a potential sentence of 170 years.

Julian’s “crime” is that he published classified documents, internal messages, reports and videos from the U.S. government and U.S. military in 2010, which were provided by U.S. army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. This vast trove of material revealed massacres of civilians, torture, assassinations, the list of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay and the conditions they were subjected to, as well as the Rules of Engagement in Iraq. Those who perpetrated these crimes — including the U.S. helicopter pilots who gunned down two Reuters journalists and 10 other civilians and severely injured two children, all captured in the Collateral Murder video — have never been prosecuted.

Read more …

Christophe Deloire is secretary-general and Rebecca Vincent is director of campaigns at Reporters Without Borders (RSF) .

We Have Seen Assange’s Plight In A UK Prison (RSF)

Given the high stakes for journalism and press freedom, we have been dismayed to be confronted with extensive barriers to our UK-focused work on Assange’s case. Our prison visits followed months of fighting for access after the prison arbitrarily barred us in April 2023, when we were refused entry for a vetted prison visit on the grounds that the prison had received “intelligence” that we were journalists. As a non-governmental organisation (NGO), our role differs from that of journalists. We sought access to discuss our advocacy efforts directly with Assange rather than to interview him for a media report. Over the next four months, we sought legal advice, submitted subject access requests, secured an intervention by a member of parliament, and engaged in extensive correspondence with Belmarsh. In August 2023, the block on our access was finally lifted, and we became the only NGO that has been able to visit Assange in prison.

This is not the first time the British system has created obstacles to our work on Assange’s case. We have experienced extensive and evolving barriers to accessing court hearings as NGO observers, often having no choice but to queue outside for up to five hours, very early in the morning and sometimes in freezing temperatures, to secure one of the few spaces in the public gallery. At one point during the pandemic, we were threatened with arrest simply for queueing to get into court. This absurd series of restrictions meant that RSF was the only NGO to monitor the full proceedings. We have not experienced such barriers, which effectively violate the principles of open justice and the right to a fair trial, in any case we have monitored in any other country. But these difficulties are nothing compared with the violations Assange has faced directly, including the fact that he has not been allowed to attend court hearings in person since 6 January 2021 – the last time he was seen outside prison walls.

Prisons are always grim places, and high-security Belmarsh is no exception. It’s hard to describe how Assange himself is faring in this environment, which is a stark contrast to his previous life of freedom, or even to his years at the Ecuadorian embassy. Assange’s worrying state of mental health, and his risk of suicide, have been well-documented in the medical evidence presented to court. But he is still very much involved in his case and fighting for his future. These visits allowed us to discuss and evaluate Assange’s situation with him, and RSF’s interventions led to him finally being permitted a typewriter, which he had been requesting for three years. On our last visit in January, he was clearly unwell and in pain, with a broken rib due to excessive coughing from a respiratory illness. It is a bleak and unjust situation, but it’s also clear how much worse the conditions of extradition and long-term detention in the US would be, which he may not survive.

Of course, Assange should not be in prison anywhere – not in the UK, nor the US, nor Australia, as was suggested to the UK court by the US authorities. No one, anywhere, should be targeted for publishing information in the public interest. Assange should be immediately released – perhaps through a political solution if not the courts, given the political nature of the case against him. The possibility of extradition is dangerously close. From 20 to 21 February, a panel of two high court judges will consider Assange’s final application to appeal against the order for his extradition. Any grounds that are rejected this time cannot be further appealed against, leaving the European court of human rights as his only further recourse.

In the meantime, Assange is in a high-security prison nearly 4,000 miles from the epicentre of the case, reading through a pile of books in his cell, finally typing some letters, and chatting with the few visitors who manage to navigate the myriad obstacles to get in. He has referred to his possible extradition as “Day P” – the day he might be put on a plane. It remains to be seen whether the British judiciary will deliver some form of justice at this late stage by preventing extradition, or whether the UK will become the country that enables a historically damning blow to press freedom, and the right of all of us to know.

Read more …

“60% of the world is going to the polls in 2024 to vote for a new government. You might as well throw them into a tumbler, shake well and see what comes out.”

2024: The Year from Political Hell – Martin Armstrong (USAW)

Legendary financial and geopolitical cycle analyst Martin Armstrong is predicting political turmoil, civilian unrest, war and a big economic downturn in 2024 in a new report called “The Year from Political Hell.” It’s not just a US election year, but it is an election year for more than half of the world. This is a global phenomenon which no one can be sure of the outcome. Armstrong explains, “This is not just the United States election. This is what you hear on the news locally. However, step outside this country, and, for example, Indonesia just voted in a leftist government. You have the EU going for elections. You have on May 2nd all the local elections in Britain. You have Russian elections on May 7th. 60% of the world is going to the polls in 2024 to vote for a new government. You might as well throw them into a tumbler, shake well and see what comes out. I mean it’s all over the place.”

On the war front, get ready for more mass killing, and don’t be surprised if it goes nuclear. Armstrong predicts, “There will be nuclear weapons. The neocons keep telling people on Capitol Hill that Russia would never use a nuke because they know we would use them back. That is nonsense! If you are about ready to conquer somebody, and this is all they’ve got left, they are pushing the button. . . . These people, all they want is war. They don’t care. They really do not care. They don’t care about the economy. They don’t care about anything.”

Armstrong says the coming war will make the economy “crash in 2024” as people get scared, spend a lot less and save a lot more. Armstrong says, “What we are looking at is a contraction in spending because of uncertainty. This is what these neocons are creating, and they don’t want to listen to anybody, and it is just their agenda, and they don’t care what happens to the country. . . .We are looking for a contraction of 12% to 18%. GDP is not going to be rising, but you are going to find inflation still rising.” Armstrong also says to look for “a rebellion in government debt” as people lose faith in governments around the world. This rebellion in government issued debt will include US Treasuries, according to Armstrong. This means interest rates will continue to trend upward and not downward.

On volatility in the markets, Armstrong predicts, “Look for volatility to start around July, and there may be some false flags too.” Armstrong continues to say Trump is still looking like he can “win in a landslide in 2024,” but expect the Deep State to pull every dirty trick in the book to keep him out of office. Armstrong points out, “If Trump gets back in power, they are all fired. . . . They know they are losing power. Instead of reforming and doing the right thing, they clamp down and they think they can retain power by pressing us even more. Sorry, but that’s what creates revolution.” In closing, Armstrong says, “Pretty much everything is going wrong for the Deep State. . . . confidence in government has collapsed everywhere.” This is what makes the Deep State Dems, RINOs and Neocons very dangerous. By the way, Armstrong says he would be a buyer of physical gold to hold as a core asset.

Read more …

“From the Woke perspective, which has risen to the ascendancy in the intellectual outlook in the West, all normal people are undesirables..”

The Genocide of the West (Paul Craig Roberts)

Are NGOs another example of liberal goody two shoes good intentions going wrong, or are they an organized plot against white countries? Whatever the answer, NGOs have certainly done enormous harm to white countries. After many years of negligence, Putin finally partially cracked down on Western-financed NGOs that were organizing disruptive events in Russia and creating the image of Putin as a dictator. Putin’s government required foreign-financed NGOs to register as foreign agents. Documented reports from independent journalists have established that NGOs are spearheading the immigrant-invaders who are overrunning the United States. As I recently reported, NGOs are actually recruiting “people of color” into the ranks of immigrant-invaders, providing them with transportation, money, and maps of the pathways to the US border that are supplied with accommodation, food, and health care.

One of the most important NGOs underwriting the immigrant-invaders seems to be the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), of which the current director of the US Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, himself a Jew, was a board member until December 2020. According to an article on substack, HIAS has received $100,000,000 from the US government in the past three years. If this is true, then the Biden regime is underwriting the immigrant invasion with US taxpayers’ money. The long-term, ongoing invasion of the EU and UK has benefited enormously from NGOs, especially from the moral support the NGOs provide for the invasion and for their work in conditioning Europeans to accept immigrant-invaders as the moral thing to do. You might remember the reports of the German women whose reward for welcoming the immigrant-invaders was to be raped by them. When the women complained of being raped, they were branded “racists.”

The story is the same in Sweden and Norway. NGOs are largely a post-1990 phenomena. Recently there have been reports of the impact of foreign-funded NGOs in diversifying Ireland’s population and transforming its culture in Woke directions that elevate the legitimization of sexual perversion above Christian morality. US billionaire Chuck Feeney has underwritten pro-immigrant-invader NGOs in Ireland. In Ireland NGOs have been successful in bringing abortion in under the cover of human rights. Other NGOs focus on legitimizing sexual perversion, such as Lesbians In Cork. In other words, the NGOs serve as weapons with which to revolutionize society and to replace natural life with Woke ideology and its amoral and immoral values.

Every Western country is being watered-down with diverse elements that destroy the unity of the country, turn it into a tower of babel, replace sexual and Christian morality with legitimization of sin, and transform traditional citizens into undesirables, arrogantly rejecting the majority as Hillary Clinton did Trump voters when she branded them “Trump deplorables.” From the Woke perspective, which has risen to the ascendancy in the intellectual outlook in the West, all normal people are undesirables. Consequently large numbers of NGOs have been, and are being, created, and huge sums are being funneled into them to take our culture away from us. No one is funding a countervailing effort. Indeed “our” governments provide matching funds for the NGOs. This is what I mean when I speak of the genocide of the West.

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“..this lawless, Israeli government-indentured Congress which refuses even to demand a ceasefire..”

Biden & Blinken – Rule of Illegal Power Over Rule of Law (Ralph Nader)

Among the puzzling questions that the media chooses to ignore is asking high government officials why they are exercising the illegal use of power that violates the rule of law which they are required to obey. This week, the Veterans for Peace (VFP) made it very easy for reporters to pose questions by sending an open letter (See veteransforpeace.org) to the Inspector General of the U.S. State Department and Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, invoking several U.S. statutes that require the “termination of provision of military weapons and munitions to Israel.” Josh Paul, a former senior official in the State Department’s office charged with reviewing weapon transfers to foreign countries, said: “The Secretary and all relevant officials under his purview should take this letter from Veterans for Peace with the utmost seriousness. It is a stark reminder of the importance of abiding by the laws and policies that relate to arms transfers.”

What laws are being violated by the State Department daily as it approves ships and cargo planes full of weapons of mass destruction to be used in Israel’s war crimes and genocide against hundreds of thousands of Gaza’s civilians, mostly children and women? These are the laws highlighted in the VFP letter:
• The Foreign Assistance Act, which forbids the provision of assistance to a government which “engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”
• Arms Export Control Act, which says countries that receive US military aid can only use weapons for legitimate self-defense and internal security. Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza goes way beyond self-defense and internal security.
• The U.S. War Crimes Act, which forbids grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, including wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and unlawful deportation or transfer, perpetrated by the Israeli Occupying Forces.
• The Leahy Law, which prohibits the U.S. Government from using funds for assistance to units of foreign security forces where there is credible information implicating that unit in the commission of gross violations of human rights.
• The Genocide Convention Implementation Act, which was enacted to implement U.S. obligations under the Genocide Convention, provides for criminal penalties for individuals who commit or incite others to commit genocide

Under these laws, the State Department has a “Conventional Arms Transfer Policy” which, the letter notes, “prohibit [U.S. weapons transfers when it’s likely they] will be used by Israel to commit … genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, [including attacks intentionally directed against civilian objects or civilians protected] or other serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights laws.” The VFP letter continues, “Dozens of authoritative complaints and referrals made by hospital administrators in Gaza, as well as by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Palestine Authority, South Africa, Turkey, Medicins san Frontieres, UNRWA, UNICEF, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the World Food Programme have confirmed that there is an ongoing human rights and humanitarian disaster due to Israel’s cutoff of water and electricity, deliberate destruction of sewage infrastructure and delaying of aid shipments by Israeli forces.”

If you are wondering why these laws are not being enforced – the answer is that individual citizens or groups of citizens do not have any “legal standing” to sue Secretary Blinken, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. Only a Committee of Congress, backed by a Senate or House Resolution, can take the State Department to federal court. That action to enforce Congressionally passed and enacted laws is not likely to happen in this lawless, Israeli government-indentured Congress which refuses even to demand a ceasefire. Mike Ferner, VFP National Director, observed “Just as any good soldiers can recognize when they are given an unlawful order, we believe some State Department staff are horrified at the orders they’re given and will decide to uphold the law, find the courage to speak out and demand an end to the carnage.”

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“..journalists are persistently interested in the topic of a ‘potential war with Russia’ because they see it as a good selling point to their readers..”

Western Europe Could Become The New Ukraine (Bordachev)

A side effect of the tragic Ukrainian problem for Russian foreign policy is that it helps us to understand the degree of economic and moral decay that our other Western neighbors would have to reach in order to pose a threat to our security. It is these two factors – impoverishment and spiritual decline – that create a critical mass necessary for an adventurer to drag his country into a destructive conflict. So far, as public opinion polls show, the citizens of Western European countries do not see any potential for aggressive behavior towards Russia. Despite the fact that some NATO military leaders and even politicians have suddenly started talking about the possibility of a military conflict, the inhabitants of its member states in Europe do not perceive Russia as a threat at all. Therefore, they have no feelings of aggression towards us. However, this state of affairs could change, and the most important thing is not the geopolitical situation, but the internal situation of our neighbors to the West.

The military-political conflict between Russia and NATO over Ukraine has been accompanied by hostile rhetoric in the media and political circles of Western countries that is unprecedented by the standards of recent decades. We can see how this goes through stages. It is not difficult to see the distribution of roles among the various representatives of Russia’s adversaries in Europe and North America. Now, for example, representatives of military structures are the most active. Literally every week, the Russian media discusses another statement by a British, Danish, or Dutch commander on the alleged inevitability or high probability of an armed conflict between Russia and NATO within a few years. With the same frequency, new NATO ‘secret plans’ for war with Russia are leaked to the Western European media. As a rule, they are poorly adapted to the mass-reader scenarios of yet another hypothetical exercise. The question inevitably arises – should we take all this at face value? So far, there seems to be a certain cunning in such statements.

Especially since the main organizers of the Ukraine crisis – the Americans – prefer to remain silent on the matter and are not throwing around theories about the likelihood of a direct armed conflict with Russia. The situation is fundamentally different for Washington’s European allies. First of all, Western European military and political leaders act with no formal accountability for their words. Since all security and defense decisions within NATO are made by the US, any general or politician in Europe can say whatever he wants; his words mean absolutely nothing in practice – especially since military spending is in the hands of the civilian authorities, and they are in no hurry to spend money on military exercises. Secondly, it is clear to Western European military leaders that politicians are in no hurry to fulfil the promises they made in the early stages of the conflict. As early as March 2022, for example, the German chancellor loudly proclaimed a U-turn in Berlin’s defense policy, an increase in real spending on armaments, and a build-up of military forces.

So far, nothing has been done, and the state of the German economy is not conducive to new spending that goes beyond supporting the welfare of citizens and the corporate sector. Thirdly, journalists are persistently interested in the topic of a ‘potential war with Russia’ because they see it as a good selling point to their readers. And the generals have to answer direct questions that European men in uniform, due to their lack of intellectual flexibility, cannot delicately avoid. And generally speaking, their job is to prepare for war, even if they know they will never have to fight it. Civilian heads of military departments also fall for this bait. A few days ago, for example, journalists had to literally torture the bellicose meaning out of an interview with Poland’s new defense minister.

It should be noted that officials directly involved in US military planning, as well as representatives of Eastern European countries, are more circumspect in their statements. Even officials and military officers from the former Baltic republics of the USSR have not yet issued statements of comparable alarm to their counterparts in Western Europe. Nor does NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speak of a direct armed conflict as a foreseeable probability. American restraint and better coordination between the US and those which directly represent its interests in Europe are probably at work here. Of course, German, Swedish, Dutch, and Danish generals cannot count on the same quality of communication with Washington that Warsaw has. And the Americans themselves, to their credit, are rather cautious when it comes to strategic issues – despite their adventurism and constant desire to test Russia’s patience ‘on the ground’.

The assessments of European generals and officials are even more contradictory when compared with the opinions of their populations. The Bundeswehr general’s comments on the likelihood of war with Russia were published alongside the results of an opinion poll showing that 71% of Germans do not consider Russia a military threat. The annual Munich Security Conference, the West’s main ‘production meeting’ on its relations with the rest of humanity, has produced a report devoted in part to Western Europeans’ attitudes to various threats. Observers have already noted that Russia has fallen to ninth place on the list of ‘threats’ this year. Clearly, the Western European populace no longer feels that Russia threatens them in any way. More importantly, they have no reason to be aggressive towards Russia themselves.

The real causes of major armed conflicts such as world wars are always linked to socio-economic factors. For the naturally cautious German nation to become a bunch of cannibals, it first had to sink into the economic misery and moral oppression of the 1920s. Before that, demographic growth and the unresolved social problems of industrialization created the necessary mass of people willing to kill and die on the fields of the First World War.

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“For them [the West], this is an improvement in their tactical position. While for us it is fate, it is a matter of life and death,..

Everything Happening in Ukraine Matter of Life, Death for Russia – Putin (Sp.)

Everything that is happening in the Ukrainian direction is a matter of life and death for Russia, it is the fate of the country, whereas for the West it is only a matter of their tactical position, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “I think that for ourselves, and even more so for listeners and viewers abroad, it is important to understand the course of our thoughts, to understand our condition, to understand how sensitive and important this is for our country — everything that is happening in the Ukrainian direction. For them [the West], this is an improvement in their tactical position. While for us it is fate, it is a matter of life and death,” Putin said, commenting on the historical part of his recent interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson. Last week, Putin sat down for an interview with Carlson, discussing the Ukraine conflict, the Nord Stream sabotage, Russia-NATO relations, artificial intelligence, and other topics. The interview has attracted huge interest around the world. The video has been viewed 202 million times on X. On YouTube, the video has been viewed over 17.4 million times.

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“..other EU member-states should follow suit..”

Denmark Will Give All Its Artillery To Ukraine – PM (RT)

Denmark will transfer all of its artillery to Ukraine, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a panel debate at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. According to her, despite production issues, Copenhagen and the EU in general have enough arms stockpiled to supply the country with the necessary weaponry. Kiev has increasingly complained of personnel and ammunition shortages on the front lines, appealing to its Western supporters for more financing and arms. However, Brussels is yet to finalize its next aid package, while the EU’s earlier pledge to provide Ukraine with one million artillery rounds by March this year has not been met. “If you ask Ukrainians – they are asking us for ammunition now, artillery now.

From the Danish side, we decided to donate our entire artillery to Ukraine,” Frederiksen stated, adding that other EU member-states should follow suit. “I am sorry to say, friends, but there is still ammunition in stock in Europe. This is not only a question about production because we have weapons, we have ammunition, we have air defense, that we don’t have to use ourselves at the moment, that we should deliver to Ukraine,” she said. Frederiksen noted that it would be ineffective to wait for the US aid package to come through to make decisions on supplies to Ukraine. US lawmakers failed to approve additional funding of around $60 billion for Kiev before going on winter break, and are expected to resume discussions on the package on February 28.

“We have to speed up and scale up, no matter what will happen in the US. We as Europeans need to be able to protect ourselves, and to protect ourselves we need to deliver what is needed in Ukraine now. The responsibility for Europe has to be in Europe and we have to do more,” she stated. Denmark is among the major suppliers of weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It also spearheaded an effort to help Ukraine procure F-16 fighter jets and train its pilots to fly the warplanes last year, and is a member of the so-called ‘drone coalition’, a recently-formed group of countries that has pledged to give Kiev one million drones to fight Russia.

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“..on Russia 1, the country’s most popular TV channel.”

Biden Offered Prime Time Russian TV Slot (Sp.)

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down for an interview with US journalist Tucker Carlson to discuss the Ukraine conflict, the Nord Stream sabotage, Russia-NATO relations, artificial intelligence and other topics. Dmitry Kiselev, general director of the Rossiya Segodnya media group — Sputnik’s parent company — said he had sent a request to the White House for an interview with US President Joe Biden. “We believe that our countries lack the ability to listen and hear each other, and we believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin has set a worthy example by agreeing to an interview aimed at the American viewer,” the letter said. “The interview is planned to be conducted by me, Dmitry Kiselev, CEO of the Rossiya Segodnya Media Group and host of the highest-rated Sunday news and analysis program Vesti Nedeli on Russia 1, the country’s most popular TV channel.”

If it goes ahead, the interview would be translated into foreign languages and distributed on Sputnik’s Telegram channel, the ria.ru website, and numerous media platforms and social networks of the media group in Russia and around the world “In general, in a good way, US President Biden must respond to all this. The best and most spectacular option for the White House would be a mirror interview with a Russian journalist. As we have a saying, waiting for an answer, like the nightingale of summer,” Kiselev said in his program.

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“Does the Kremlin comprehend that its de-nazification agenda cannot be limited to Ukraine but must be applied to the entirety of the Western world?”

French “Democracy” Establishes Medical Tyranny (Paul Craig Roberts)

Professor Michel Chossudovsky, director of Global Research, has examined the new French law that defines dissent from official medical narratives as a “sectarian aberration” and criminalizes dissent from medical narratives, such as “the mRNA vaccine is safe and effective.” The law also creates a new crime called “provocation to abstention from medical care.” A French citizen is guilty of a crime if the person refuses a vaccine or medical treatment handed down by authorities. Had the law been in place during the mass vaccination campaign with the deadly mRNA “vaccine,” all who refused would have received three years imprisonment and paid a 45,000 euro fine. This ensures that next time everyone will receive the “vaccine,” because if you refuse you will be imprisoned and the prison rules will require you to be “vaccinated.”

The new law also protects the pharmaceutical corporations from any accountability for the deaths and health damage their lies caused by criminalizing French citizens–including doctors and medical scientists–who speak against the Covid-19 “vaccines.” This demonstrates the power of Big Pharma over democracy, which with this death blow given to free speech and medical fact no longer exists in France. This is a very serious development. It is an official act by an alleged “Western democracy” that criminalizes truth. For example, French medical scientists who find that the mRNA “vaccines” result in death and health injury will be imprisoned if they report their findings. The new French law takes the determination of medical fact out of the hands of medical scientists. The “fact” henceforth is whatever Big Pharma’s paid shills among politicians and medical “authorities” say it is.

Something similar has occurred in Germany. The distinguished German attorney Reiner Fuellmich was about to file a lawsuit supported by thousands of medical doctors and attorneys against the mRNA manufacturers when he was kidnapped by the German state and imprisoned in Germany where he is currently standing trial on trumped up charges brought by what appears to be paid “witnesses.” This is not the way democracies operate. As I have written on many occasions, Western countries have ceased to be democracies. The people have no voice. The countries are governed by the agendas of the elites and powerful corporations with the money to purchase the laws that serve their agendas and interests. The people who run for office are the people approved by these elites. Trump was the exception, and look at what has happened to him. The ruling elite have made their point: “Cross us and we will destroy you.”

Western governments serve at the expense of the people the material interests of the powerful and ideologies such as the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset.” Dutch and Irish governments are dispossessing under the rubric of “global warming” farmers of their flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, thereby driving up food prices by curtailing the supplies of meat, milk, butter, and cheese, while simultaneously allowing entry to hordes of immigrant-invaders whose support the people are forced to undertake. Today a “Western democracy” is an institution that forces citizens to support interests that are not their own. We are now witnessing, with the new French law, with the German government’s kidnapping of Reiner Fuellmich, with the American persecution of medical scientists who truthfully reported the mRNA danger, the Stalinist indictments of President Trump, and with media that no longer serve as watchdogs over the government but as propaganda ministries for government lies, the legalization and institutionalization of the tyranny that has displaced democracy in the Western world.

A large percentage of Western peoples are so indoctrinated and brainwashed that they do not see what is happening. Moreover, Western countries having been turned into towers of babel means there is no social unity, which makes it impossible to oppose the tyranny as some of the diverse elements see tyranny useful in suppressing political and ideological opponents. In the US the Democrats’ policy of wide-open borders for “people of color” but not for whites is dispossessing Americans of their own country. Despite public opposition to the policy, it has moved into high gear with, according to official numbers, entry each year of immigrant-invaders in numbers equivalent to 12 cities the size of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There is no doubt whatsoever that the goal is to replace the white American population who are powerless to do anything about it. Meanwhile the Western governments foment wars with Russia, China, and Iran and expect the demoralized citizens they are dispossessing to supply the army. Does the Kremlin comprehend that its de-nazification agenda cannot be limited to Ukraine but must be applied to the entirety of the Western world?

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She’s addicted to power.

Von der Leyen Wants Second EU Term – Bild (RT)

Ursula von der Leyen will formally announce her candidacy for a second term as president of the European Commission on Monday, German tabloid Bild has reported. Von der Leyen has already hinted that she seeks a second term, promising on Saturday to appoint a dedicated “defense commissioner” if she holds on to her office. To secure a second term, von der Leyen will first have to be nominated by her faction in the European Parliament, the centrist European People’s Party (EPP). Speaking to Reuters last month, EPP lawmaker Daniel Caspary said the party would nominate von der Leyen at a congress in March, “if that’s what she wants.” Should the EPP emerge as the largest party in June’s European elections, which it is projected to do, von der Leyen’s candidacy would then be put before the European Council.

From there, a majority vote by the council’s 27 members followed by the parliament’s final approval would see the German installed for another five-year term at the helm of the commission. Opponents of von der Leyen, chief among them Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, will have few opportunities to stymie her nomination. Despite the fact that Hungary will hold the council’s rotating presidency after the elections, no one member state can veto a majority vote in her favor. Additionally, the EPP is a big-tent organization of centrist and center-right parties, meaning potential dissenters like Italy’s Forza Italia will be easily overruled by von der Leyen’s Christian Democrats and their allies. Von der Leyen has already strongly suggested that she will seek a second term. “If I would be the president of the next European Commission, I would have a commissioner for defense,” she said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, without spelling out what this commissioner’s responsibilities would be.

Since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began, von der Leyen has positioned herself as one of Kiev’s most ardent Western backers. She has authorized 12 packages of sanctions on Russia, overseen the dramatic expansion of the so-called ‘European Peace Facility’ – a €12 billion ($12.9 billion) fund used to funnel weapons to Ukraine – and hurried Ukraine’s bid for EU membership through the normally drawn-out application process. So antagonistic is her relationship to Moscow that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reportedly forbade US President Joe Biden last year from endorsing her bid to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as secretary-general of NATO. According to Germany’s Welt newspaper, Scholz felt that von der Leyen’s hardline anti-Russian stance “could prove to be a disadvantage in the long term.” Von der Leyen will return to Berlin from Munich on Sunday, and is expected to announce her candidacy after a discussion with her fellow Christian Democrats on Monday, Bild reported.

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“..last thing we need right now is elections.”

Netanyahu To Be Ousted – Israel Media (RT)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be able to retain power after the country’s military has concluded its operation against Hamas in Gaza, Ynet media outlet has claimed, citing anonymous sources within his Likud party. Amid mounting calls for early elections, the Israeli leader insisted on Saturday that now is “not the time for politics,” suggesting that the next vote will take place “in a few years.” Multiple opinion polls have demonstrated that Netanyahu’s approval ratings and those of his Likud party have been on the decline since Hamas militants conducted their deadly surprise incursion into Israeli territory on October 7, 2023. Back in December, the Israel Democracy Institute, citing survey results, claimed that more than two-thirds of Israelis want general elections to be held as soon as hostilities in Gaza are over.

A survey conducted earlier this month showed that opposition parties would secure as many as 75 of the Israeli parliament’s 120 seats if elections were held now.In its report on Saturday, Ynet quoted an unnamed senior member of Likud as predicting that “whoever was prime minister on October 7 will finish his post at the end of the war.”Another staffer from Netanyahu’s party allegedly contended that no matter “how much Netanyahu postpones the end and how much he doesn’t want to, at the end of this war we will go to elections.” According to the media outlet, the anonymous Likud bigwig added that the prime minister would be forced to call a snap election either by members of his own political force or by other parties making up the ruling coalition, with everyone understanding that “this is what’s going to happen.”

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Netanyahu dismissed calls for a snap election, insisting that a vote for the Knesset should take place as scheduled, that is, in October 2026. “I suggest we don’t concern ourselves with that during the war,” the prime minister said, arguing that the “last thing we need right now is elections.” Netanyahu warned that internal political division in Israel would play into the hands of Hamas. The opposition Yesh Atid party released a statement describing the prime minister’s comments as “another performance by an unfit prime minister who, by all accounts, has long lost the public’s trust and continues to flee from the responsibility of the greatest failure to the Jewish people since the Holocaust.” “Israel needs change. Elections are the order of the day,” the party argued.

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“..a week of hearings on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestine..”

ICJ to Examine 57 Years of Israeli Occupation of Palestine (Wilkins)

More than 50 countries are set to participate in next week’s hearings at the International Court of Justice focusing on Israel’s illegal 57-year occupation of Palestine, a forum that follows the Hague tribunal’s finding last month that Israel is “plausibly” committing genocide in occupied Gaza. The ICJ—also known as the World Court—will hold a week of hearings on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, which dates to the Israeli conquest of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, Syrian Golan Heights, and Egyptian Sinai Peninsula during the 1967 Six-Day War. “The International Court of Justice is set for the first time to broadly consider the legal consequences of Israel’s nearly six-decades-long occupation and mistreatment of the Palestinian people,” Human Rights Watch senior legal adviser Clive Baldwin said in a statement.

“Governments that are presenting their arguments to the court should seize these landmark hearings to highlight the grave abuses Israeli authorities are committing against Palestinians, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.” The West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights remain under Israeli military occupation six decades after their conquest. The United Nations—to which the ICJ belongs—and many international NGOs contend that, despite removing its troops and settlers from Gaza two decades ago, Israel continues to occupy Gaza by controlling the besieged enclave’s airspace, territorial waters, and the entry and exit of people and goods. Since the October 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have killed or wounded more than 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza while forcibly displacing around 90% of the population. Numerous Israeli leaders have called for the renewed physical occupation, Jewish resettlement, and ethnic cleansing of the strip.

During the current assault on Gaza, occupation forces have also killed at least 388 Palestinians, including 99 children, in the West Bank, according to U.N. human rights officials. Israeli settlers have for decades been steadily colonizing the occupied territories under the protection of the IDF, while ethnically cleansing Palestinians whose lands and homes they steal. Next week’s hearings come on the heels of the ICJ’s provisional ruling last month in a case led by South Africa—which will be the first nation after Palestine to present at next week’s hearing—that Israel is “plausibly” committing genocide in Gaza. The tribunal ordered Israel to “take all measures within its power” to adhere to its obligations under Article II of the Genocide Convention.

Earlier this week, South Africa urgently appealed to the ICJ to act amid the looming threat of an Israeli ground invasion of Rafah. More than 1.5 million Palestinians, most of them refugees ordered to flee to the south of Gaza by invading Israeli forces, are crammed into what is now one of the world’s most densely populated places. On Friday, the ICJ declined to take any additional action against Israel, while reiterating that the “perilous situation” in Rafah “demands immediate and effective implementation of the provisional measures indicated by the court” in last month’s ruling.

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“..including the threat from Morris to sue me for defamation if I continued to raise ethical concerns over his conduct..”

Hunter’s Lawyers Balked at Kevin Morris Laptop Conspiracy Theories (Turley)

We have previously discussed the controversial representation of Kevin Morris of Hunter Biden, including the threat from Morris to sue me for defamation if I continued to raise ethical concerns over his conduct. Now a report by the New York Times suggests that even Hunter’s other lawyers had concerns over Morris’s claims, particularly the fostering of a conspiracy theory to deny the authenticity of the infamous laptop of Hunter Biden. According to the New York Times, Kevin Morris “quietly pushed a complex theory under which the repair shop was a front and the information had been made public through a cast of characters including a psychiatrist who had treated Mr. Biden’s addiction using ketamine therapy and the Trump-allied operative Roger J. Stone Jr.” That is notable because many in the media picked up on the conspiracy theory despite ample evidence that the laptop was genuine.

Indeed, a similar theory was contained in the now debunked letter of former intelligence officials just before the election — a letter widely used in the media to effectively shutdown coverage. Some later admitted that they assumed the emails were genuine. The Washington Post’s Phillip Bump and others pushed the conspiracy theory. Indeed, in 2021, when media organizations were finally admitting that the laptop was authentic, Bump was still declaring that it was a “conspiracy theory.” Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Bump continued to suggest that “the laptop was seeded by Russian intelligence.” What is equally astonishing is that in 2023 the Post expressly stood by Bump’s reporting on the laptop and other debunked claims. The media report suggests that Chris Clark and Joshua Levy stopped working on the case as the false claims were being pushed. It is not clear if they support the reporting in the Times. Levy reportedly exited from representation in March 2023 after “unease and dissent” over the Hunter Biden legal team and its direction.

Clark withdrew shortly after he admitted that Hunter’s notorious 2017 WhatsApp text demanding money from a Chinese businessman was genuine. In the message, Hunter literally describes his father sitting next to him to drive home the threat, declaring “I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled…I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight…I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father.” Morris has increasingly appeared to be something of an enabler for Hunter, reinforcing a persecution complex while funding his lavish lifestyle. What is striking about the report is that the conspiracy theory is precisely the type of disinformation that the Biden Administration has alleged against critics to seek their censorship, throttling, and banning on social media.

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Dog turtle

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Feb 182024
 
 February 18, 2024  Posted by at 9:46 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  69 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn The Storm on the Sea of Galilee 1633
On March 18, 1990, the painting was stolen by thieves disguised as police officers. They broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, and stole this painting, along with twelve other works. The paintings have never been recovered, and it is considered the biggest art theft in history. The empty frames of the paintings still hang in their original location, waiting to be recovered.

 

Obscene Award Vs Trump Is Testing New York Legal System’s Integrity (Turley)
Cultural Marxism and the Corruption of Common Law (Brooks)
From Censorship to Criminalizing Dissent (Jeffrey Tucker)
Navalny Timeline (Maria Zakharova)
Transcending Adveevka (Pepe Escobar)
Throwing Good Money After Bad in Ukraine? (CN)
Europe Is Losing Dignity By Obediently Submitting To US – Lavrov (TASS)
Germany Blocked Von Der Leyens NATO Bid – Welt (RT)
EU To Get ‘Defense Commissioner’ – Von der Leyen (RT)
France Warns Of ‘Economic Shock’ From Russian Victory (RT)
Suicide Pact Threatens to Flood EU With 75 Million More Migrants (MN)
Texas To Build Military Base Camp On Mexico Border To House 1,800 Soldiers (ZH)
American Doctor In Gaza: What I Saw Wasn’t War – It Was Annihilation (LAT)
Plastics Cannot Be Recycled and Producers Know This (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Neil Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

 


Celtic Park, Glasgow, Sat Feb 17

 

 

 

 

Biden Navalny

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..Engoron fulfilled Oscar Wilde’s rule that the only way to be rid of temptation is to yield to it. He ordered everything short of throwing Trump into a wood chipper..”

Obscene Award Vs Trump Is Testing New York Legal System’s Integrity (Turley)

In laying the foundation for his sweeping decision against former President Donald Trump, Judge Arthur Engoron observed that “this is a venial sin, not a mortal sin.” Yet, at $355 million, one would think that Engoron had found Trump to be the source of Original Sin. The judgment against Trump (and his family and associates) was met with a level of unrestrained celebration by many in New York that bordered on the indecent. Attorney General Letitia James declared not only that Trump would be barred from doing business in New York for three years, but that the damages would come to roughly $460 million once interest was included. That makes the damages against Trump greater than the gross national product of some countries, including Micronesia. Yet the court admitted that not a single dollar was lost by the banks from these dealings. Indeed, witnesses testified that they wanted to do more business with Trump, who was described as a “whale” client with high yield business opportunities.

Undervaluing and overvaluing property is a longstanding practice in New York real estate. The forms submitted by the Trump organization cautioned the banks to do their own estimates and the loans were paid in full and on time. Yet, the New York law used by James is a curiosity because it does not actually require a victim. Indeed, everyone can make ample profits and still allow for an investigation into “repeated fraudulent or illegal acts.” Having campaigned on bagging Trump on any basis, James turned the law into a virtual license to hunt him down along with his family and his associates. Engoron proved the perfect judge for the case. The opinion itself seems almost cathartic for the jurist who struggled with Trump inside and outside of court. In the judgment, Engoron fulfilled Oscar Wilde’s rule that the only way to be rid of temptation is to yield to it. He ordered everything short of throwing Trump into a wood chipper.

The size of the damages is grotesque and should shock the conscience of any judge on appeal. Even if the Democrat-appointed judges on the New York Court of Appeals were to ignore the obvious inequity and unfairness, the United States Supreme Court could intervene. State courts tend to get a significant amount of deference in the interpretation of their own laws. After all, if New York wants to turn Wall Street into a remake of “The Hunger Games,” it has only itself to blame as other businesses flee the state. The impact on New York business is likely to be dire. New York is already viewed as a hostile business environment, with the top end of its tax base literally heading south as taxes and crime rises. This draconian award is only going to deepen concerns over the arbitrary application of the law by figures like James, who previously sought to disband the National Rifle Association. (She has shown less interest in cracking down on liberal organizations like Black Lives Matter or the National Action Network of Al Sharpton despite their own major financial scandals.)

As James gleefully uses this law to break up a major New York corporation, it is hard to imagine many businesses rushing to the Big Apple. This follows Democratic politicians such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) campaigning against Amazon seeking to open new facilities in the city. After this week, drawing new businesses to the city is going to be about as easy as selling country estates during the French Revolution. The one hope for New York businesses may be the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite the deference afforded to the states and their courts, the court has occasionally intervened to block excessive damage awards.

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“..as specious allegations come before American courts, folks can’t help noticing that the so-called “oppressed” usually win..”

Cultural Marxism and the Corruption of Common Law (Brooks)

Legal scholars once insisted that “justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.” Everyone should be able to expect a fair trial that’s accurately covered by public news organizations. But unbiased judges and honest reporters are in short supply. While Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is facing unprecedented indictments, journalists are still insisting that American justice is fair and impartial. The left’s recourse to “lawfare” requires judges and journalists to conceal the truth rather than expose it. Legacy news organizations say there’s no evidence of the “weaponization of justice” or a “two-tiered” legal system. But, as specious allegations come before American courts, folks can’t help noticing that the so-called “oppressed” usually win.

For example, in 2019 American advice columnist E. Jean Carroll suddenly accused Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. Mr. Trump vigorously denied the allegations, but Ms. Carroll was permitted to sue him for defamation and battery. One could have guessed the outcome of this case before it began. The left views Donald Trump as an arch-oppressor, and E. Jean Carroll was seen as an “oppressed” victim. In May 2023, a New York jury found the former president liable for defamation and sexual abuse and awarded E. Jean Carroll $5 million in damages. In January of this year, Mr. Trump was found liable in a second defamation suit, and Ms. Carroll was awarded an additional $83.3 million. The second award was unprecedented. Late in January, Breitbart News reporter Hannah Bleau Knudsen revealed several facts about this case that she said the establishment media didn’t want the public to know.

First, there were no witnesses and no surveillance video of the attack, which was alleged to have occurred in a downtown New York department store. The plaintiff came forward with her story while promoting a book titled “What Do We Need Men For?,” which featured a list of “The Most Hideous Men of My Life.” The dress she claimed to be wearing during the alleged attack was not for sale in the year she initially claimed the event occurred. Despite her public reputation for being very open about sexual matters, she didn’t accuse President Trump until some 30 years after the alleged encounter. Her entire story was very similar to a 2012 “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” episode, titled “Theatre and Tricks,” in which an individual talks about a rape fantasy in Bergdorf Goodman. In a November 1993 edition of Elle, before the alleged abuse, Ms. Carroll had made a joke associating sex with Bergdorf Goodman.

E. Jean Carroll’s case was financially backed by anti-Trump Democrat mega-donor Reid Hoffman. One of her lawyers is Roberta Kaplan, whose wife is a Democratic Party activist. In fact, her lawsuit was only able to proceed after New York Democrats created a 2022 “Adult Survivors Act,” which allowed judges to overlook the usual statute of limitations for such charges. Judgments in cases that are tried in partisan-charged venues such as New York City or Washington DC, have almost become forgone conclusions. A steep decline of common law principles will not bode well for the future of the American Republic. Who would have thought that in 2024 American citizens would be witnessing a partisan special prosecutor seeking the U.S. Supreme Court’s permission to put the opposing party’s presidential candidate on trial months before a presidential election.

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“Can you imagine? Criticize a wind turbine or pandemic lockdowns and find yourself hauled in front of a judge!”

From Censorship to Criminalizing Dissent (Jeffrey Tucker)

A major battle is brewing throughout the Western world over the basic principle of free speech. Is it going to be protected by law? It’s not entirely clear what the outcome will be. We seem to be on the precipice of a potential calamity if the courts don’t decide the right way. Even if we squeak out a victory, the question is already in play. Our free speech rights have never been more fragile. Turn your attention to France right now. In the dead of night, a new law slipped through the General Assembly that would make it a crime to criticize mRNA shots. Critics call it the Pfizer law. It calls for fines up to 45,000 euros and possibly three years in prison for debunking an approved medical treatment. Like all Western nations, criticism of the mRNA platform has already been subjected to vast social-media censorship. Even given this, there has been a major and global consumer turn against these shots. People are not convinced that they are necessary, safe, or effective. Still, government imposed mandates for everyone, billions of people worldwide.

This was a form of conscription that has driven a deep divide between the rulers and the ruled. Rather than back down, however, governments, which have been captured by pharmaceutical interests, are going to bat for the companies and the technology to threaten imprisonment of anyone who speaks out openly against them. Here is where censorship becomes severely weaponized. It’s the next logical step. First you deploy every power to keep the distribution channels of information free of dissent. When that doesn’t entirely work, simply because people find alternative means of getting the word out, you have to intensify matters and institute outright controls. It stands to reason that this would happen. After all, the whole point of censorship is to curate the public mind to put down opposition to regime priorities. When mainstream corporate media is falling apart and new media is rising, the next stage is to go the full way to flat-out criminalize opinion, like any totalitarian government.

We are very close to that stage. If it can happen in France, it can happen throughout Europe, then the Commonwealth, and then the United States. We know this much about politics today. It is global. The elites that have seized control of our governments coordinate across borders. This is why it is hugely important to pay attention to what’s going on across the pond. As a second item, I’m alarmed to read the lead piece in the New York Times opinion section that celebrates a defamation case about which I had not previously heard. It is by Michael Mann, professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He had sued a writer for the Competitive Enterprise Institute for taking issue with Mann’s climate change model, and the so-called hockey stick in particular.

This is not my area of specialization at all but I have no doubt that mainstream climate science should be subject to vigorous criticism. If the COVID era has taught us anything, it is that the “scientific consensus” can be outrageously wrong and needs a check that comes in the form of writing, some of it zippy and cutting. Dr. Mann filed a defamation lawsuit. Defamation is a very high bar: it means to deliberately lie about something with the intention to harm. One might not suppose that many things could qualify as that, certainly not criticism of a climate model. Indeed, most defamation lawsuits are dismissed outright simply because this country generally values free speech. This one, however, was accepted by the judge in Washington, D.C. court. After a full decade in litigation, and a full hearing, the jury ended up deciding in favor of the plaintiffs. One defendant, Rand Simberg, has been told to pay $1K and the other, Mark Steyn, $1M. Simberg says he will appeal and stands by every word that he wrote. Steyn agrees and is ready to appeal.

Essentially this verdict is criminalizing hyperbole, said the defense attorney. The op-ed writer, however, says this is justice. “Our recent trial victory may have wider implications,” he says. “It has drawn a line in the sand. Scientists now know that they can respond to attacks by suing for defamation.” He mentions in particular people who have disagreed with the COVID consensus—disagreeing with Anthony Fauci—or otherwise make “false claims about adverse health effects from wind turbines.” Can you imagine? Criticize a wind turbine or pandemic lockdowns and find yourself hauled in front of a judge!

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There is talk of bloodclot(s). Paul Craig Roberts concludes Navalny died of mRNA.

Navalny Timeline (Maria Zakharova)

“The reaction of Western leaders, politicians and the media to the news of the death of Alexei Navalny once again demonstrated their hypocrisy, cynicism and unprincipledness. The “in any situation, blame Russia” scheme is in action. Moreover, for each case there is a preparation according to the manual. Let’s look at the chronology. Today at approximately 14:19, a message was published on the website of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug about the death of convicted Alexei Navalny in correctional colony No. 3. Literally 15 minutes later, a torrent of carbon-copy accusations began pouring in:

– 14:35 – Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström: “Terrible news about Navalny. If the information about his death in a Russian prison is confirmed, this will be another heinous crime of the Putin regime”;
– 14:35 – Norwegian Foreign Minister Bart Eide: “Deeply saddened by the news of Navalny’s death. The Russian government bears a heavy burden of responsibility for this”;
– 14:41 – Latvian Foreign Minister Edgar Rinkevich: “Whatever you think about Navalny as a politician, he was just brutally murdered by the Kremlin. This is a fact and something that everyone should know about the true nature of the current Russian regime”;
– 14:50 – Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky: “Russia still treats foreign policy issues the same way it treats its citizens. It has turned into a cruel state that kills people who dream of a beautiful, better future, like Nemtsov and now Navalny, who was imprisoned and tortured to death”;
– 14:51 – French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejournet: “Navalny paid with his life for the fight against the system of oppression. His death in a penal colony reminds us of the realities of Vladimir Putin’s regime”;
– 15:02 – President of the European Council Charles Michel: “The EU holds the Russian regime solely responsible for this tragic death”;
– 15:10 (during a press conference) – leader of the Kyiv regime Zelensky: “Obviously, he was killed by Putin, like thousands of others who were tortured.”
– 15:16 (in the media), 16:50 (in social networks) – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: “Russia must establish all the facts, answer very serious questions”;
– 15:20 – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte: “Navalny’s death illustrates the unprecedented cruelty of the Russian regime”;
– 15:30 – President of Moldova Maia Sandu: “Navalny’s death in a Russian prison is a reminder of the regime’s blatant oppression of dissent”;
– 15:35 – German Foreign Minister Annalena Bärbock: “Navalny, like no one else, was a symbol of a free and democratic Russia. That’s why he had to die”;
– 15:43 – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: “A grim reminder of what Putin and his regime are”;
– 15:49 – Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson: “The Russian authorities and President Putin personally are responsible for the fact that Navalny is no longer with us”;
– 16:14 – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz: “Navalny paid with death for his courage. This terrible news once again demonstrates how Russia has changed and what kind of regime is in power in Moscow”;
– 16:25 – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “Navalny’s death in a Russian prison, as well as one man’s obsession and fear, only highlight the weakness and rot at the heart of the system that Putin built. Russia bears responsibility for this”;
– 17:28 – French President Emmanuel Macron: “In today’s Russia, free people are placed in the Gulag and sentenced to death.”

In a short period of time, within two hours (from 14:19), Western politicians and the media at their side were able, as it were, to obtain the results of a forensic examination that had not yet been carried out, conduct an investigation, blame Moscow and render a verdict. There is no other explanation other than the fact that all these reactions were prepared in advance. [..] “We might be able to believe in this incredible, miraculous speed if the whole world had not just watched the helpless ‘investigation’ of terrorist attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipeline that stretched out over many months and turned up empty,” the ministry added.

Navalny

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“The people of Novorossiya, as much as Yemeni Houthis, have Faith imprinted in their DNA..”

Transcending Adveevka (Pepe Escobar)

Avdeevka. The name sounds like an incantation. Like Debaltsevo, or Bakhmut. The incantation summons the figure of a cauldron. As it stands, and it’s all moving at lightning speed, it takes only 2 km for the cauldron to be closed. Virtually all roads and muddy trails are under massive Russian fire control. There may be up to 6,000 Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) soldiers left. They have nowhere to go. They are already in – or are going straight to – Hell.= “The Butcher” Syrsky, who has just been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the AFU amidst a nasty dog fight in Kiev, immediately got himself a fresh cauldron. Old habits die hard. The morale and psychological state of AFU fighters is in tatters. Azov batallion neo-nazis are being decimated by massive artillery, FPVs and FABs. Still, AFU generals are setting up the P.R. stage for another “victory” – a replay of Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo, even as the actual retreat, evacuation or “extraction” will proceed through the Corridors of Hell.

In fact, the only player who has successfully extracted himself from Hell, just in time, was Gen Zaluzhny. To quote Dylan: “Strike another match/ go start anew.” During my vertiginous journey across Donbass, only a few days ago, Avdeevka – the incantation – was omnipresent. At a meeting in a secret compound plunged in darkness in the western outskirts of Donetsk, two top commanders of Orthodox Christian batallions, while discussing tactics, noted that the fall of Adveevka would be a matter of days, maximum weeks. The symbology is quite transcendental. Kiev has been fortifying Adveevka non-stop for nearly 10 years – essentially to keep shelling civilians in Donetsk and other parts of Donbass with impunity, ad infinitum. Donetsk remains extremely vulnerable – and the shelling persists. The strength, resilience and faith of the residents of this historic mining town – and the surrounding countryside – are deeply moving.

In a very special conversation with Alexander Dugin, we both made it clear, directly and indirectly, that the working classes of Novorossiya are spiritual brothers of the oppressed in Palestine and Yemen. Yes, the Axis of Resistance in West Asia is mirrored by the Slavic Axis of Resistance in the black soil of the steppes. As much as Russia may have been drawn to a civilizational war against the collective West, that is also a spiritual war. The proxy war by the Hegemon against Russia in Ukraine is as much a geopolitical gamble as a war of Western nihilism against Russian Orthodoxy. I did mention the parallel between Orthodox Christianity and Shi’ism to a top commander; he may have been bemused, but he definitely got the message. After all, he must have instinctively noticed it was the rejected, harassed and bombed in Orthodox Christianity and Islam who have re-awakened the Orthodox and Islamic civilizations for a transcendental war of survival – supported by faith.

Way beyond the Adveevka incantation – a sort of catalyst of all these times of trouble, as Mother Mary of God eventually comes offering solace – what struck me in this vertiginous journey in Donbass is Almighty People Power. Civilians are the true heroes of the full liberation of Novorossiya, as much as the people scattered across Greater Syria – encompassing Palestine, Syria and Lebanon – Iraq and Yemen. These are the souls who have endured a Hell on Earth much more toxic and much longer than the Adveevka cauldron, since Zionism and its subsequent eschatological garrison-settler colonial offspring took over the Holy Land. The people of Novorossiya, as much as Yemeni Houthis, have Faith imprinted in their DNA. Those deeply committed commanders and soldiers that I met in Novorossiya close to the front lines mirror the popular consensus.

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“Ray McGovern and Lawrence Wilkerson argue the U.S. should accept that no amount of U.S. funding will change Russia’s will and means to prevail in Ukraine.”

Throwing Good Money After Bad in Ukraine? (CN)

On July 13, 2023, President Joe Biden announced Russian President Vladimir Putin “has already lost the war.” That was six days after C.I.A. Director William Burns, normally a sane voice, had called the war a “strategic failure” for Russia with its “military weaknesses laid bare.” Earlier, in December 2022, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines reported that the Russians were experiencing “shortages of ammunition” and were “not capable of indigenously producing what they are expending.” We advise caution, as these same people now say that Ukraine can prevail if the U.S. provides $60 billion more. Do they think they can change geography, overcome Russian industrial might, and persuade the Russians that Ukraine should not be a core interest of theirs? Recall President Barack Obama’s reasons for withholding lethal weapons from Ukraine.

In 2015, The New York Times reported on Obama’s reluctance: “In part, he has told aides and visitors that arming the Ukrainians would encourage the notion that they could actually defeat the far more powerful Russians, and so it would potentially draw a more forceful response from Moscow.” Senior State Department officials spelled out this rationale: “If you’re playing on the military terrain in Ukraine, you’re playing to Russia’s strength, because Russia is right next door. It has a huge amount of military equipment and military force right on the border. Anything we did as countries in terms of military support for Ukraine is likely to be matched and then doubled and tripled and quadrupled by Russia.” The above words were spoken by then-Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken on March 5, 2015 to an audience in Berlin. It turns out President Obama was right. It is hard to understand why Blinken (and Biden) chose the way of President Donald Trump, who gave lethal weapons to Ukraine, over the way of Obama.

So much for geography and relative strength. What about core interests? In 2016 President Obama told The Atlantic that Ukraine is a core interest of Russia but not of the U.S. He warned that Russia has escalatory dominance there: “We have to be very clear about what our core interests are and what we are willing to go to war for.” Earlier, when a saner William Burns was ambassador to Russia, he warned of Moscow’s “emotional and neuralgic reaction” to bringing Ukraine into NATO. Braced on the issue by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in February 2008, Burns reported that Russia’s opposition was based on “strategic concerns about the impact on Russia’s interests in the region” and warned then that “Russia now feels itself able to respond more forcefully”. Burns added: “In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene.”

The overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 gave immediacy to Russia’s warnings on Ukraine and its fear that the West would try to effect “regime change” in Russia, as well. In a major commentary, “Russian Military Power”, published in December 2017, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency concluded: “The Kremlin is convinced the U.S. is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine. Moscow views the United States as the critical driver behind the crisis in Ukraine and the Arab Spring and believes that the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych is the latest move in a long-established pattern of U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts …”

Is Putin paranoid about “U.S. regime change efforts?” D.I.A. did not think him paranoid. And surely Putin has taken note of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s remarks in April 2022: “One of the US’s goals in Ukraine is to see a weakened Russia. … The US is ready to move heaven and earth to help Ukraine win the war against Russia.” In sum: Russia has both the will and the means to prevail in Ukraine – no matter how many dollars and arms Ukraine gets. Obama was right; Russia sees an existential threat from the West in Ukraine. And nuclear powers do not tolerate existential threats on their border. Russia learned this the hard way in Cuba in 1962.

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The Europeans are grown-up people. May they take care of their own fate..”

Europe Is Losing Dignity By Obediently Submitting To US – Lavrov (TASS)

The United States is openly engaged in pumping resources out of European countries, while Europe in its obedient submission is losing strategic autonomy and the sense of dignity, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the plenary session of the forum of supporters for the fight against modern practices of neocolonialism For Freedom of Nations. “Against the backdrop of economic problems, the Americans have openly engaged in pumping resources out of Europe. They are cutting off promising markets and reliable energy sources. For the sake of this, they blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines without hesitation and ordered Germany and the rest of Europe to swallow this humiliation. Europe quietly obeyed, forgetting about its former timid speculations about strategic autonomy and dignity,” Lavrov emphasized. He pointed out that now “the European industry is literally being forced to choose between transferring operations overseas and ruin.” “The Europeans are grown-up people. May they take care of their own fate,” Lavrov said.

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“..von der Leyen’s antagonism toward Moscow “could prove to be a disadvantage in the long term..”

Germany Blocked Von Der Leyens NATO Bid – Welt (RT)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz intervened last year to prevent European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen from becoming NATO’s next secretary general, Germany’s Die Welt newspaper has said. Scholz reportedly felt that von der Leyen’s hardline anti-Russian stance would be a problem “in the long term.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg received a fourth extension to his term as head of the military bloc last July. While Stoltenberg may remain in office until October, the alliance’s leaders have already begun jockeying to replace him. At the end of last year, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested von der Leyen to President Joe Biden as a potential replacement, Welt reported on Saturday. Biden approached Scholz with the idea, but was shot down, the report claimed, citing “several high-ranking EU officials and top diplomats.

“Scholz was categorically against von der Leyen becoming NATO chief,” one of these sources said. The German chancellor reportedly told Biden that the position of secretary-general is too important “to leave to a Christian Democrat from Germany,” and that von der Leyen’s antagonism toward Moscow “could prove to be a disadvantage in the long term,” in the newspaper’s words. There is no formal process by which NATO chooses its secretary-general. Instead, member states discuss candidates among themselves until a consensus is reached. NATO’s largest military power and de-facto controlling member, the US, is said to favor a woman for the role. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was suspected to be a prime candidate last year, until she traveled to Washington in June and – according to Welt – failed to impress Biden or members of Congress. Stoltenberg’s term was extended a month later.

While Washington apparently wants a woman at the helm, Biden has already ruled out another leading female candidate, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. According to Welt, the US president considers Kallas too critical of Moscow and incapable of building stable relations with the Kremlin when the conflict in Ukraine eventually ends. With von der Leyen, Frederiksen, and Kallas out of contention, the Netherlands’ caretaker prime minister, Mark Rutte, is now described in the media as a frontrunner for the job. Welt’s sources stated that “support for him is increasing,” and that leaders in 21 member states – including Biden and Scholz – are prepared to endorse his candidacy. While Biden may have favored a woman, Rutte is reportedly seen as someone who could work with either him or former President Donald Trump, should the latter defeat Biden in this November’s election. “The decision should, if possible, be made before the European elections in June,” a NATO diplomat told Welt. This weekend’s Munich Security Conference, the paper noted, will provide ample opportunity for Rutte to bring more supporters on board.

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Ursula saw Germany’s move to block her coming. She’ll start her own NATO.

EU To Get ‘Defense Commissioner’ – Von der Leyen (RT)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will appoint a dedicated “defense commissioner” if she retains her post after EU elections in June, she said on Saturday. The precise duties of the role are unclear. “If I would be the president of the next European Commission, I would have a commissioner for defense,” von der Leyen said at the Munich Security Conference. Creating such a post would be a “reasonable” decision, she added. Von der Leyen and her 27 commissioners are not directly elected by European voters. Instead, a president of the commission is nominated by the European Council and approved or rejected by the European Parliament. If confirmed, the president then selects 27 commissioners, usually one from each member state.

The next commission will be formed while Hungary – whose prime minister has an antagonistic relationship with von der Leyen – holds the council’s rotating presidency. While right wing parties are projected to surge in June’s parliamentary elections, von der Leyen’s centrist European People’s Party (EPP) will likely remain the largest faction in the 720-seat legislature. The EPP has backed the appointment of a defense commissioner. In a draft manifesto seen by Euractiv last month, the party stated that whoever takes the post should be in charge of ensuring the EU spends 0.5% of its shared budget on defense and directs an equal share to overhauling the bloc’s ailing arms industry. Von der Leyen did not expand on these responsibilities, nor did she suggest whether a defense commissioner would have any input into the bloc’s overall military strategy, which was set out for the first time by the European Council in 2022.

The commission president said that it is an “open” question as to which nationality would get the post. However, she added that it is “important” for an Eastern European to receive a good portfolio, and “this is a good portfolio.” Earlier this week, an anonymous EU diplomat told Politico that Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas are leading candidates for the position. Both are vocal backers of Ukraine, with German media reporting on Saturday that Kallas reportedly missed out on a chance to replace Jens Stoltenberg as NATO’s secretary general due to her overly hawkish stance on Russia.

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“Today’s efforts to support Ukraine are nothing compared to those we would have to deploy against a Russia that feels victorious..”

France Warns Of ‘Economic Shock’ From Russian Victory (RT)

A potential Russian victory in Ukraine could deal an economic blow to the West because Moscow would gain control of vast resources, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne has said. In an opinion piece for the French daily Le Monde published on Saturday, the minister argued that Moscow wanted Paris to believe that it would be “more reasonable to abandon the Ukrainians to their tragic fate.” He protested against this point, saying that “the French are not fools” and that there were few things that “would be more contrary” to the country’s interests. Beyond the security risks, however, a Russian victory would also have powerful economic repercussions for the West, Sejourne said. “Allowing Russia to seize the Ukrainian black lands, which are among the most fertile in the world, would be to abdicate a part of food sovereignty, accept unbridled inflation, and provide Russia with unprecedented means of pressure and extortion,” he stated.

Recalling that Ukraine accounts for 30% of global wheat exports, the minister claimed that Moscow’s control over those resources would enable it to “attack our own farmers.” He also said that Europe would be at “an immense risk” if Russia were allowed to continue controlling the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, the largest facility of its kind on the continent, without elaborating on why. “Europe and the world, the French people would suffer an unprecedented economic shock,” Sejourne stressed. Russian troops seized the power station in March 2022 shortly after the start of the Ukraine conflict. After four former Ukrainian regions, including Zaporozhye, voted to join Russia later the same year, the facility was transferred to state ownership.

Sejourne went on to urge the West to resist the “temptation of fatigue.” “Today’s efforts to support Ukraine are nothing compared to those we would have to deploy against a Russia that feels victorious,” he said, insisting that the current policies would allow Kiev’s backers to keep control over prices. Russia has repeatedly warned the West against supporting Ukraine with arms, warning that it will only prolong the conflict. The Russian military also said last month that it had eliminated several dozen mercenaries in Ukraine, saying that most of them were French-speaking. While Paris initially denied that there were any French mercenaries in Ukraine, it later admitted that a number of French nationals had indeed joined Kiev’s forces, although it insisted they had no links to the national government.

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Just like Texas.

Suicide Pact Threatens to Flood EU With 75 Million More Migrants (MN)

The EU has passed a migration pact dubbed “the suicide of Europe” which could lead to the continent being flooded with as many as 75 million new migrants. The European Parliament’s LIBE committee passed the act on Wednesday, which formalizes the distribution of migrants to member states and punishes those that refuse to take them. Because cultural enrichment and diversity is “our greatest strength,” countries that try to maintain their national identity without being subsumed by migrants will be hit with severe financial penalties. Marine Le Pen, the leader of National Rally’s parliamentary wing, previously said the pact would lead to “the suicide of Europe,” adding that it was a deal with the devil and represents an “organized plan of submersion of Europe and the nations which compose it.”

Member states will be forced to accept migrants or pay a massive financial penalty of €25,000 per migrant. This makes little sense given that we’re constantly reminded of how mass migration is such an economic boon and is both inevitable and vital to maintaining GDP levels. However, it makes total sense when you understand that such claims are completely fraudulent. “The next question is how many they will force on us. Now they are deciding that. So they are creating rules that give Brussels the right to say how many migrants they will distribute,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán last year. “So, several countries have indicated that they do not agree. We do not want to implement it. In the end, we are facing a very unpleasant turn of events here.”

Orbán questioned why, if accepting migrants was so financially profitable, are western European nations trying to offload them onto Hungary. Róbert Gönczi, an analyst at Hungary’s Migration Research Institute, pointed out that migrants distributed to Hungary normally end up leaving for Sweden or Germany, where they receive far bigger welfare payments. “The redistribution system could also create intra-EU flows from the countries where these migrants have been relocated to the countries where they actually want to leave, as typically the destination countries have not changed,” said Gönczi.

“However, it would now be necessary for other EU countries to welcome these migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, he added. The real problem is that the reinforcement of the EU’s external borders would be less or not at all, which is what is really needed.” As we previously highlighted, there is no appetite whatsoever for the EU simply to impose proper border controls. The new leader of Frontex, the European Union agency tasked with securing borders, recently called for open borders and vowed to appease left-wing pro-mass migration activists. “Nothing can stop people from crossing a border, no wall, no fence, no sea, no river,” said Hans Leijtens, which was a bizarre statement given that’s his one job.

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The Supreme Court said Biden could remove barbed wire. It said nothing about Texas putting up new wire.

Texas To Build Military Base Camp On Mexico Border To House 1,800 Soldiers (ZH)

In the latest signal of his resolve to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States, Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday announced that the Lone Star State will build a military base along the Rio Grand at the border city of Eagle Pass. Spanning 80-acres, “Forward Operating Base Eagle” will house upwards of 1,800 Texas National Guard soldiers supporting Operation Lone Star, and will be expandable to house 2,300. Texas Maj. Gen. Thomas Suelzer said the camp will have 300 beds by mid-April, and will add another 300 beds every month after that. “Before this effort here, they had been living in conditions that were atypical for military operations,” Abbott said at a press conference in Eagle Pass. “Because of the magnitude of what we’re doing, because of the need to sustain and actually expand our efforts of what we’re doing, it’s essential that we build this base camp for the soldiers.”

As it is, soldiers are housed all over the area, varyingly living in hotels, tents and even some private houses. Some bear long commutes. “Illegal crossings are down and, coincidentally, razor-wire barrier is up,” said Abbott. “We will continue to muster the efforts are needed to make sure that Texas does the job that the United States Congress has mandated. The United States Congress has mandated for barriers to be built on the border. Biden is not building those barriers.” Eagle Pass has been in the national spotlight in recent months, a flashpoint in the ongoing battle between Texas and the federal government over border security, including state authority to enforce immigration laws. Earlier this year, Texas seized control of a 47-acre park in the city, a park that has been a major avenue of illegal immigration.

The Texans also began barring US Border Patrol agents and watercraft from the property, which they’ve used as a staging area for processing migrants. The new base, located about 6 miles south of the park, will include a 700-seat dining facility, workout equipment, a recreation center and laundries, vehicle maintenance bays, weapons storage rooms and a helipad. Soldiers will have individual rooms. In January, the US Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could proceed with removing razor wire installed by Texas at the Eagle Pass border. However, a defiant Gov. Abbott not only slammed the order and barred federal agents from accessing the razor wire, he also added even more. On Friday, officials said they will add more barriers extending to the north and south of Shelby Park, the recreational site seized by the state in January, add three fan boats to the river-patrol capacity, and expand drone and radar capabilities.

Some 3,000 Texas troops are deployed along the 1,200-mile-long Mexican frontier. In December, Texas enacted a law allowing state law enforcement to arrest immigrants who’ve entered Texas without authorization. Biden’s Justice Department quickly sued, arguing that the Texas law encroaches on federal border-management authority. Gallup recently found that, among Americans who disapprove of President Biden’s job performance, immigration is their top reason for giving him a failing mark. In the January poll, only 41% approved of Biden — the worst-ever showing for an incumbent at that time in his term

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By Irfan Galaria.

American Doctor In Gaza: What I Saw Wasn’t War – It Was Annihilation (LAT)

In late January, I left my home in Virginia, where I work as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon and joined a group of physicians and nurses traveling to Egypt with the humanitarian aid group MedGlobal to volunteer in Gaza. I have worked in other war zones. But what I witnessed during the next 10 days in Gaza was not war — it was annihilation. At least 28,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. From Cairo, Egypt’s capital, we drove 12 hours east to the Rafah border. We passed miles of parked humanitarian aid trucks because they weren’t allowed into Gaza. Aside from my team and other envoy members from the United Nations and World Health Organization, there were very few others there. Entering southern Gaza on Jan. 29, where many have fled from the north, felt like the first pages of a dystopian novel.

Our ears were numb with the constant humming of what I was told were the surveillance drones that circled constantly. Our noses were consumed with the stench of 1 million displaced humans living in close proximity without adequate sanitation. Our eyes got lost in the sea of tents. We stayed at a guest house in Rafah. Our first night was cold, and many of us couldn’t sleep. We stood on the balcony listening to the bombs, and seeing the smoke rise from Khan Yunis. As we approached the European Gaza Hospital the next day, there were rows of tents that lined and blocked the streets. Many Palestinians gravitated toward this and other hospitals hoping it would represent a sanctuary from the violence — they were wrong. People also spilled into the hospital: living in hallways, stairwell corridors and even storage closets.

The once-wide walkways designed by the European Union to accommodate the busy traffic of medical staff, stretchers and equipment were now reduced to a single-file passageway. On either side, blankets hung from the ceiling to cordon off small areas for entire families, offering a sliver of privacy. A hospital designed to accommodate about 300 patients was now struggling to care for more than 1,000 patients and hundreds more seeking refuge. There were a limited number of local surgeons available. We were told that many had been killed or arrested, their whereabouts or even their existence unknown. Others were trapped in occupied areas in the north or nearby places where it was too risky to travel to the hospital. There was only one local plastic surgeon left and he covered the hospital 24/7. His home had been destroyed, so he lived in the hospital, and was able to stuff all of his personal possessions into two small hand bags.

This narrative became all too common among the remaining staff at the hospital. This surgeon was lucky, because his wife and daughter were still alive, although almost everyone else working in the hospital was mourning the loss of their loved ones. I began work immediately, performing 10 to 12 surgeries a day, working 14 to 16 hours at a time. The operating room would often shake from the incessant bombings, sometimes as frequent as every 30 seconds. We operated in unsterile settings that would’ve been unthinkable in the United States. We had limited access to critical medical equipment: We performed amputations of arms and legs daily, using a Gigli saw, a Civil War-era tool, essentially a segment of barbed wire. Many amputations could’ve been avoided if we’d had access to standard medical equipment. It was a struggle trying to care for all the injured within the constructs of a healthcare system that has utterly collapsed.

I listened to my patients as they whispered their stories to me, as I wheeled them into the operating room for surgery. The majority had been sleeping in their homes, when they were bombed. I couldn’t help thinking that the lucky ones died instantaneously, either by the force of the explosion or being buried in the rubble. The survivors faced hours of surgery and multiple trips to the operating room, all while mourning the loss of their children and spouses. Their bodies were filled with shrapnel that had to be surgically pulled out of their flesh, one piece at a time.

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“..The recycling process—from collection to sorting to processing to transport—requires more time, labor, and equipment to achieve a lower quality and less efficient output..”

Plastics Cannot Be Recycled and Producers Know This (Sp.)

The Center for Climate Integrity (CCI) released a report on Thursday which details how the plastics industry has evolved its marketing pitch in order to circumvent public backlash and potential regulation.= According to a report by the CCI, despite their knowledge that recycling plastics is not technically or economically practical, petrochemical companies have continued to push “fraudulent” marketing and public outreach campaigns to convince consumers otherwise. Doing so, the report says, has stalled legislative and regulatory action that could have addressed plastic waste and pollution long ago. “Fossil fuel and other petrochemical companies have used the false promise of plastic recycling to exponentially increase virgin plastic production over the last six decades, creating and perpetuating the global plastic waste crisis and imposing significant costs on communities that are left to pay for the consequences,” the CCI wrote.

More than 99% of plastics are produced from fossil fuels, the report continues. Though there are thousands of different types of plastic, the majority of these cannot be “recycled”. And despite efforts to convince consumers otherwise, the recycling rate in the US for plastics in 2021 was estimated to be only 5% to 6%. After a 10-year review on plastics, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that there are only two types of plastics that can be turned into high quality objects: PET and HDPE, which are both commonly used to make plastic containers and bottles. Meanwhile, any other form of plastic is incinerated or sent to landfills, because even though some plastics are recyclable in theory, they are not actually recycled in practice due to purity requirements that are not practical—for example, a green PET bottle cannot be recycled with a clear PET bottle. The quality of the plastic also degrades as it is recycled, which limits its use in its next life. And ultimately, recycled plastic materials will still end up in the landfill.

The toxicity of the plastics also creates issues during the recycling process. The chemical additives in plastics include stabilizers, plasticizers, coatings, catalysts, and flame retardants as well as possible contamination by whatever that plastic contained such as cleaning solvents or pesticides. This means a majority of plastics cannot be recycled into food-grade packaging, or other products that interact with food. The cost of recycling plastics is also much higher than what it costs to produce new plastic. “The recycling process—from collection to sorting to processing to transport—requires more time, labor, and equipment to achieve a lower quality and less efficient output than the process of making virgin resin from fossil fuels,” the report explains.

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Billiard

 

 

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Panama canal
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758845580640411653

 

 

 

 

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