Feb 042024
 
 February 4, 2024  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  36 Responses »


Jules Bastien-LePage The annunciation to the shepherds 1875

 

RFK Jr Slams American Attacks On Syria and Iraq (RT)
Israel vs. Hezbollah: A New War Will Consume The Entire Middle East (Sadygzade)
Biden’s Justification For Hitting Iran Puts NATO Troops in Danger (Sp.)
US House To Vote On Israel-only Aid Bill – Speaker (RT)
Staffers Speaking Out Shows How ‘Morally Bankrupt’ Biden Admin Has Grown (Sp.)
The Silence of the Damned (Chris Hedges)
Tucker Carlson Spotted In Moscow (RT)
Good Money After Bad: Where Will EU Funds for Ukraine Come From? (Sp.)
Ukraine Coerces Mass-Conscripts Unfit for Military Service – PoW (Sp.)
Is Zaluzhny Getting Ready to Take Down Zelensky? (Scott Ritter)
Taiwan Helping To Arm Moscow – WaPo (RT)
Florida Sends Troops To Stop Migrant ‘Invasion’ (RT)
Germany’s Economy Is Dying. Here’s Why And What Happens Next (RM)
F-35 Jet Fails to Meet Basic Operating Standards in 65 Areas (Sp.)
India Vows To Tackle Population Growth Challenges (RT)
It’s Not ‘Inflation’ – We’re Just Getting Ripped Off. Here’s Proof. (OW)
Imran Khan Sentenced To Third Prison Term In A Week (RT)

 

 


Paris, February 3 2024

 

 

Macron/Farmers

 

 

 

 

Putin

 

 

Elon Musk: Biden’s strategy is very simple: 1. Get as many illegals in the country as possible. 2. Legalize them to create a permanent majority – a one-party state. That is why they are encouraging so much illegal immigration. Simple, yet effective.

Most people in America don’t know that the census is based on a simple headcount of people (including illegals) *not* just citizens. This shifts political power and money to states and Congressional districts with the highest number of illegals.

 

 

JK Rowling

 

 

 

 

“If we ‘do not seek conflict,’ then let’s get the troops out of there..” [..] “They are not welcome. They are not needed..”

RFK Jr Slams American Attacks On Syria and Iraq (RT)

The US should withdraw its ground troops from Middle Eastern countries that do not welcome them, independent candidate for US president Robert F. Kennedy Jr has said.He said the escalation could have been avoided, reacting in an X (formerly Twitter) post to Washington’s attack on more than 80 targets allegedly linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) in Iraq and Syria in a wide-ranging air assault. US Central Command says it hit 85 Iranian-linked targets in Syria and Iraq in retaliation against the recent “Iran-affiliated” fighters’ attack that killed three US servicemen in Jordan. President Joe Biden’s X post read that the US does not “seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But to all those who seek to do us harm: We will respond,” despite Iran denying involvement in the incident.

“If we ‘do not seek conflict,’ then let’s get the troops out of there,” Kennedy said, apparently reacting to Biden’s statement. “They are not welcome. They are not needed,” he added. Kennedy claimed that the current escalation would not have been necessary if Washington hadn’t put its military “in the crosshairs” of Shiite militias. He described the existence of these groups “as a legacy of our illegal war in Iraq.” He recalled that both Iraq and Syria had asked the US troops to leave their territory while Iran would not tolerate America’s military presence on its borders.

Besides pulling US troops “out of the Mideast,” Kennedy urged Washington to forge ties with regional powers instead. The presidential candidate also described the troop presence in the area as “indefensible targets for anyone in the region who wants to provoke a conflict.”Iraq has rebuked the US over the airstrikes, saying they constitute “a violation of Iraqi sovereignty” and “pose a threat that could lead Iraq and the region into dire consequences. The Syrian military, as quoted by SANA news agency, denounced the raid as “the aggression of the American occupation forces.”

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“If a temporary reduction in the intensity of the fighting in Gaza is achieved, the controversy within Israel surrounding the current Netanyahu government will escalate. Obviously, the end of the conflict would also lead to the end of the prime minister’s political career and those of other prominent figures.”

Israel vs. Hezbollah: A New War Will Consume The Entire Middle East (Sadygzade)

Since the first days of the current escalation, Israeli tensions with Hezbollah have increased. And thoughts of launching military action to the north were in the minds of the Jewish state’s political and military establishment as early as late October. For example, The Wall Street Journal, citing sources, reported that on October 11 US President Joe Biden persuaded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to launch a preemptive strike against Hezbollah because of the risk of a major war in the region. On that day, Israeli intelligence received information about Hezbollah’s intention to invade Israel from several directions, and Israeli fighter jets were already in the air, waiting for orders to attack the group’s facilities in Lebanon. It took about six hours of negotiations and meetings for Israeli officials to back down, WSJ sources said. The situation on the border between Israel and Hezbollah remains tense, and the possibility of a full-scale conflict is real.

This was confirmed by Israeli media, citing remarks by National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi at a closed session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on January 17. Hanegbi also provided interesting details regarding Hamas. According to the official, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, has taken a harder line during negotiations for the exchange of hostages, which will likely draw out the process of returning the 117 people still held captive since the October attacks on Israel. In his remarks, Hanegbi emphasized that the physical elimination of Sinwar is still a pressing goal for Israeli security forces. However, neither Hanegbi nor other Israeli figures have offered concrete solutions for a long-term arrangement in Gaza. This is worrisome, as the WSJ notes, citing its White House sources. The newspaper claims that efforts to convince Netanyahu to agree to an end-of-conflict option that includes handing over control of Gaza to the Palestinian National Authority have failed.

Instead, Israel intends to carry out a prolonged operation against Hamas. However, recently negotiators from Israel, the US, Egypt and Qatar met in Paris and agreed on the basics of a new deal aimed at releasing the hostages. This was reported by NBC News on January 29. The plan envisions the gradual release of captives, starting with women and children. For its part, Israel will offer limited pauses in hostilities and the admission of humanitarian aid, as well as the release of Palestinian prisoners. The plan has been sent to representatives of Hamas. If a temporary reduction in the intensity of the fighting in Gaza is achieved, the controversy within Israel surrounding the current Netanyahu government will escalate. Obviously, the end of the conflict would also lead to the end of the prime minister’s political career and those of other prominent figures.

Even Washington, Israel’s most important ally, has delivered repeated messaging that Netanyahu must go. No one wants a major war in the region. Hezbollah, which is closely allied with Iran, also does not want tensions to escalate into open warfare. This is demonstrated by its restraint, both in statements by top officials and in attacks on Israeli forces. But if Netanyahu does decide to launch an operation in southern Lebanon, the war will be long and bloody. Representatives of the “Axis of Resistance” led by Iran will lend support with even greater effort. Then the specter of war will become a reality and the Middle East will burst into flames, the consequences of which no one can assess or foresee.

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“..there’s no leadership [the US] left it up to Netanyahu. He’s the tail wagging the dog..”

Biden’s Justification For Hitting Iran Puts NATO Troops in Danger (Sp.)

On Friday, US President Joe Biden fulfilled his promise to strike Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq, further escalating the region even as the White House insists that it does not seek war with Iran. Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst for the Office of the Secretary of Defense with nearly 30 years of experience, told Sputnik’s Fault Lines that the justification used by the White House could easily be applied by Russia to NATO countries supporting Ukraine. “You’re hearing from congressmen and senators saying ‘but we need to hit Iran for supplying the Houthis and Hamas and Hezbollah,” Maloof explained. “Well, does Russia then have a right to hit US and NATO allies, as a result of supplying weapons to Ukraine to battle Russians?” The United States has placed the blame on Iran for the Sunday drone attack that killed three US service members and injured dozens more on the border of Syria and Jordan.

While the US admits that it has no evidence Iran helped plan the attack, the Biden administration has been clear it blames Iran because the country allegedly funds those groups and other militants. “This afternoon, at my direction, U.S. military forces struck targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack U.S. forces,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement released Friday by the White House. “I think that if Biden were to follow through, then that raises a whole new specter of opening up NATO countries to potential attack,” he continued, adding that the US is simply hoping Russian President Vladimir Putin “doesn’t follow through” with that justification. Maloof argued that the US should reevaluate the situation in the Middle East but it’s difficult because the US looks “at the Middle East through the prism of Israel all the time.”

“We’ve got to somehow figure a way out of it. Instead, we’re digging that hole deeper and even though there might be some attempts to try and persuade [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to calm down and have a ceasefire and try to resolve things, it’s doing just the opposite. “The problem is that Biden has left the conduct of the war up to Netanyahu, and Netanyahu knows this and he’s basically dragging us along – we’re captives of Netanyahu,” Maloof explained. “You don’t have any, there’s no leadership [the US] left it up to Netanyahu. He’s the tail wagging the dog,” he added later. Maloof further argued that Israel has been getting the United States to do its dirty work for decades.

“We always hear Netanyahu wanting the United States involved, or us to bomb the sites… This is the way we’ve been conducting ourselves since… 2003 when we invaded Iraq.” Asked by Co-host Melik Abdul how the US should have responded to the attack, Maloof argued that the US should leave the region. “I think we shouldn’t even be in those locations. And I think we should have gotten out some time ago.”

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Biden will veto it. They want Ukraine on that bill.

US House To Vote On Israel-only Aid Bill – Speaker (RT)

The speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, announced on Saturday that he would hold a vote on a “clean, standalone” aid package for Israel that will not entail any spending cuts. The newly proposed legislation is set to include $17.6 billion in additional military funding as well as “important funding for US forces in the region.” The initial $14.3 billion package, rejected by the Senate last year, included an equal amount in spending cuts to the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and was therefore branded by Democrats as a “poison pill.” “Next week, we will take up and pass a clean, standalone Israel supplemental package,” he wrote in a letter to colleagues sent on Saturday afternoon. “The Senate will no longer have excuses, however misguided, against swift passage of this critical support for our ally.”

The announcement comes as the Senate prepares to vote on a long-anticipated national security supplemental requested by US President Joe Biden, which will include tougher US border controls paired with nearly $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, as well as more assistance to Israel and Taiwan. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Friday that he was preparing to release the legislation text “no later than Sunday” with the first procedural vote coming by midweek. However, Johnson previously criticized the impending deal, calling it “dead on arrival” in the lower chamber if the provisions are what they are rumored to be. The Senate leadership “is aware that by failing to include the House in their negotiations, they have eliminated the ability for swift consideration of any legislation,” Johnson wrote.

The White House previously indicated that it would oppose a stand-alone Israel aid bill, with John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, saying President Biden would veto it. While Washington is struggling to secure additional military funding for Ukraine, Brussels approved a €50 billion ($54 billion) aid package on Thursday, having reportedly pressured Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban into lifting his veto. Orban, who previously called Ukraine “one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” accused the “imperialist EU” of “blackmailing” him into accepting the deal.

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“The fact that people within the administration who are risking their jobs often to take these actions are speaking out, I think, is important and just shows a real shift in this country..”

Staffers Speaking Out Shows How ‘Morally Bankrupt’ Biden Admin Has Grown (Sp.)

On Thursday, the head of the US Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, who is a world-renowned scholar on genocide, was confronted during a public event over her complicity in the Biden administration’s support of Israel and its actions in Gaza. “You wrote a book on genocide and you’re still working for the administration: You should resign and speak out,” Agnieszka Skyes told US media after recently leaving her job at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Dr. Margaret Flowers, the co-editor of Popular Resistance, told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour that the disconnect between the Biden administration and its employees shows how “morally bankrupt” the administration’s stance on Gaza has become.

“You have congressional staffers, hundreds of them, that called upon their bosses to support a ceasefire. You have White House staffers, executive office staffers protesting outside of the White House, calling on President [Joe] Biden to demand, you know, to push for a ceasefire,” Flowers summarized. “The fact that people within the administration who are risking their jobs often to take these actions are speaking out, I think, is important and just shows a real shift in this country and just how morally bankrupt this administration is for supporting genocide.” Co-host Garland Nixon noted that, particularly among the USAID employees, they have previously supported policies that “killed unmentionable thousands of people,” but this seems “too far” even for them.

“I think also [that] some of the people that go to work in these institutions don’t fully have a good political analysis of what it is that they’re actually working for,” Flowers responded. “We know that the the USAID, which has ‘AID’ in its name, is an institution that has really worked hand-in-hand with the CIA to undermine governments all around the world to, you know, put in place support for organizations, media, nonprofit groups within countries that are strictly there to destabilize the countries so that the United States can try to overthrow their governments.” “This is an overreach point. I think we’re seeing that in so many different areas, though, right now, the kind of overreach of the United States and its Western allies and the whole world is seeing it but it’s great that folks are seeing it here, too,” Flowers explained.

The shift, according to Flowers, comes because Israel’s actions in Gaza are on display for the entire world to see. “We know that … all of these main, mainstream corporate media outlets are really in place to defend the status quo, and they’ve been doing that. But at a certain point, when you have the rest of the media world publishing the truth about what’s happening and you have public opinion shifting, they can’t continue on that same line as strongly as they were, because they can’t save face by doing that when the rest of the world actually sees what’s going on,” Flowers argued. “This is a huge issue for people, whereas foreign policy has not typically been a strong factor that folks care about. Things have gone so far that people do now,” she added.

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“..Palestinians have been reduced to eating grass and drinking contaminated water…”

The Silence of the Damned (Chris Hedges)

There is no effective health care system left in Gaza. Infants are dying. Children are having their limbs amputated without anesthesia. Thousands of cancer patients and those in need of dialysis lack treatment. The last cancer hospital in Gaza has ceased functioning. An estimated 50,000 pregnant women have no safe place to give birth. They undergo cesarean sections without anesthesia. Miscarriage rates are up 300 percent since the Israeli assault began. The wounded bleed to death. There is no sanitation or clean water. Hospitals have been bombed and shelled. Nasser Hospital, one of the last functioning hospitals in Gaza, is “near collapse.” Clinics, along with ambulances – 79 in Gaza and over 212 in the West Bank – have been destroyed.

Some 400 doctors, nurses, medics and healthcare workers have been killed — more than the total of all healthcare workers killed in conflicts around the world combined since 2016. Over 100 more have been detained, interrogated, beaten and tortured, or disappeared by Israeli soldiers. Israeli soldiers routinely enter hospitals to carry out forced evacuations – on Wednesday troops entered al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis and demanded doctors and displaced Palestinians leave – as well as round up detainees, including the wounded, sick and medical staff. On Tuesday, disguised as hospital workers and civilians, Israeli soldiers entered Jenin’s Ibn Sina Hospital in the West Bank and assassinated three Palestinians as they slept.

The cuts to funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) — collective punishment for the alleged involvement in the Oct. 7 attack of 12 of its 13,000 UNRWA workers — will accelerate the horror, turning the attacks, starvation, lack of health care and spread of infectious diseases in Gaza into a tidal wave of death. The evidence-free charges, which include the accusation that 10 percent of all of UNRWA’s Gaza staff have ties to Islamist militant groups, appeared in the Wall Street Journal. The reporter, Carrie-Keller Lynn, served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Given the numerous lies Israel has employed to justify its genocide, including “beheaded babies” and “mass rape,” it is reasonable to assume this may be another fabrication. The allegations, of which details remain scant, are apparently based on confessions by Palestinian detainees — most certainly after being beaten or tortured. These allegations were enough to see 17 countries including the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Australia and Japan cut or delay funding to the vital U.N. agency.

UNRWA is all that stands between the Palestinians in Gaza and famine. A handful of countries, including Ireland, Norway and Turkey, maintain their funding. Eight of the UNRWA employees accused of participating in the Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel, where 1,139 people were killed and 240 abducted, were fired. Two have been suspended. UNRWA has promised an investigation. They account for 0.04 percent of UNRWA’s staff. Israel is seeking to destroy not only Gaza’s health care system and infrastructure, but UNRWA which provides food and aid to 2 million Palestinians. The object is to make Gaza uninhabitable and ethnically cleanse the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza. Hundreds of thousands are already starving. Over 70 percent of the housing has been destroyed. More than 26,700 people have been killed and over 65,600 have been injured. Thousands are missing. Some 90 percent of Gaza’s pre-war population has been displaced, with many living in the open. Palestinians have been reduced to eating grass and drinking contaminated water.

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If he can get Putin, that would be great.

“..the Russian leader would wait to sit down with any American journalist until the US population was no longer so “seriously stupefied by Russia-hating propaganda.”

Tucker Carlson Spotted In Moscow (RT)

American journalist Tucker Carlson has spent several days in Russia and even attended a ballet performance at the Bolshoi Theatre, Telegram channel Mash reported on Saturday, sharing several photos of the conservative commentator. Carlson allegedly touched down at Vnukovo airport on a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul on Thursday after several hours’ delay, according to the channel. He was later spotted taking in the ballet Spartacus at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The conservative commentator has yet to confirm the trip and it remains unclear what business he had in Russia. However, rumors of his intention to interview President Vladimir Putin have been circulating since last year.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not rule out the possibility of Carlson interviewing Putin when asked about it in September, though he explained that the Russian leader would wait to sit down with any American journalist until the US population was no longer so “seriously stupefied by Russia-hating propaganda.” Carlson himself told Swiss outlet Die Weltwoche that he had been prevented from setting up an interview with Putin by the White House. While he expressed dismay that he did not receive more support from his fellow journalists regarding his intention to sit down with the Russian president and questioned why Americans are “not allowed to hear” Putin’s voice, he declined to provide any further details regarding when the interview was supposed take place or how the presidential administration of Joe Biden intervened to stop it.

The former Fox News host claimed previous attempts to secure an interview with Putin had led to aggressive surveillance by the National Security Agency, alleging he was “unmasked” by the spooks and the contents of his emails were leaked to the media in 2021 in order to “paint [him] as a disloyal American” and force him off the cable news network. The NSA denied Carlson was an intelligence target and claimed it never sought to take him off the air.

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“..According to the European Council, the bloc has set up the so-called Ukraine Facility for the period 2024-2027 to “contribute to the recovery, reconstruction and modernization of the country..”

Good Money After Bad: Where Will EU Funds for Ukraine Come From? (Sp.)

European Union (EU) member states have agreed on a €50 billion ($54 billion) support package for Ukraine over four years, overcoming Hungary’s resistance. But where will the EU get that money? The EU could commandeer interest paid on frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine during its war with Moscow. Europe’s economy is facing stagnation, with zero economic growth for October-to-December period reported by EU statistics agency Eurostat. The Eurozone inflation rate has yet to fall below the target two percent threshold, with consumer prices still remaining high. Against that backdrop EU member states are cutting subsidies, reducing energy consumption and diminishing industrial production. Protests by farmers have rocked the continent since early January. Nonetheless, Brussels has found €50 billion ($54 billion) to support the embattled Kiev regime for four more years. But where will this money come from?

According to the European Council, the bloc has set up the so-called Ukraine Facility for the period 2024-2027 to “contribute to the recovery, reconstruction and modernization of the country, foster social cohesion and progressive integration into the Union, with a view to possible future Union membership.” To that end the EC has allocated €50 billion, of which: • €33 billion ($35.9 billion) comes “in the form of loans guaranteed by extending until 2027 the existing EU budget guarantee, over and above the ceilings, for financial assistance to Ukraine available until the end of 2027,” the document sets out. • €17 billion ($18.5 billion) comes “in the form of non-repayable support, under a new thematic instrument the Ukraine Reserve, set up over and above the ceilings of the MFF 2021-27.” The EC document specifies that revenues “could be generated under the relevant Union legal acts, concerning the use of extraordinary revenues held by private entities stemming directly from the immobilized Central Bank of Russia assets.”

On February 1, CNN claimed that the EU had taken a step towards seizing billions of dollars in interest payments generated by Russian assets frozen in European accounts. Media reported that roughly €200 billion ($218 billion) remain in the EU, mainly in Euroclear, a Belgium-based financial services company. The media outlet highlighted that the EU approved the €50 billion Ukraine package as it “came closer to finalizing a plan” of using the profits from the Russian Central Bank’s sequestred assets — indicating that it has yet to gain access to the funds. Euroclear revealed on Thursday that the frozen Russian assets had yielded €5.2 billion ($5.6 billion) in interest on income assets since 2022.

On Monday, EU member states “agreed in principle” that profits from the Russian assets will be set aside and not be paid out as dividends to shareholders until the bloc’s members decide to set up a “financial contribution to the [EU] budget that shall be raised on these net profits to support Ukraine”, according to a draft document quoted by Euroactive. The document claimed that the levy will be “consistent with applicable contractual obligations, and in accordance with [EU] and international law.” After that the EC would transfer the money to the EU’s accounts and then to Ukraine, the media noted, specifying that the proposal targets future profits and would not be applied retrospectively. It is believed that Russia’s frozen assets in the EU could generate an estimated €15-17 billion over four years, which would be transferred to Ukraine, according to the press.

Speaking to Sputnik last October, Jacques Sapir, director of studies at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris, argued that any attempt by the EU to grab Russia’s frozen assets or revenues from them could turn into a legal nightmare for the EU leadership and particular member states where the money is being stored. “As a matter of fact, if assets belong to the Russian state legally, you will have to prove that this state is a ‘failing state,’ something impossible,” Sapir told Sputnik on October 29, 2023. “If assets belong to private persons, you need a legal conviction against these persons. If you can’t do both and that you take away revenues to divert them to a third party (Ukraine) this is no less than a theft. Then you will be liable to legal action. But, what is even more important, you will probably discourage all foreign investors from investing in the EU.”

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“..I said that I have a metal plate in my arm – and now it is still there. They didn’t care..”

Ukraine Coerces Mass-Conscripts Unfit for Military Service – PoW (Sp.)

The Ukrainian Armed Forces are massively conscripting people who are unfit for military service for health and age reasons, prisoners of war told Sputnik. “Caught in such a time that they gave everyone a military ID. They gave everyone a military ID…. I passed the medical examination right away. I said that I have a metal plate in my arm – and now it is still there. They didn’t care,” one prisoner, Nazar Vashkevich, said. Another, Viktor Tkachenko, reported that he had received a draft notice for the fifth time, despite having several confirmed illnesses that preclude service in the army. “I was mobilized. I received a summons, the fifth, at work. It turned out that according to my state of health I was able to serve. Before that I was unsuitable. I had many medical reports: high blood pressure, hernia, pinched vertebrae,” he said.

According to the captives, the Ukrainian Army has begun to take people en masse who do not fit the draft. “Here, look: people over 50. They are already taking 50-year-olds. My grandfather was with me – he is 57 years old. He also has health problems… So where can he fight? How should he go on the assaults? How should he go to the trenches? Why? To get killed right away? And there’s a boy with me, even younger. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He’s 24. He was drafted. It turns out that he is a senior gunner by rank,” Vashkevich complained. Volodymyr Zelensky said in December 2023 that he had been approached by the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces with a request to recruit an additional 450,000-500,000 men for the army. The government submitted a draft law on mobilization to parliament. The minimum age for mobilization was lowered from 27 to 25 years. The bill caused outrage in the country and was sent back for revision.

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“..a political arena which, if he remains as a military commander, will be corrupted by his presence.”

Is Zaluzhny Getting Ready to Take Down Zelensky? (Scott Ritter)

President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly summoned the commander of the Ukrainian armed forces, General Valerie Zaluzhny, to a meeting on Monday, January 29, 2024, where he informed his military commander that he was being relived from his position. According to accounts that have appeared in western media, Zaluzhny refused to step down. As of Friday, February 2, 2024, the precise status of General Zaluzhny remains uncertain amid a swirl of rumors regarding his imminent dismissal. The rift between Zelensky and Zaluzhny represents a serious blow to one of the fundamental principles which underpins democratic society—a civil-military relationship predicated on the simple proposition that a democratically elected civilian leadership is the final authority on all matter, including military, and in the case of disputes between the civil and military leadership, civilian authority retains supreme authority.

If the reports of what is tantamount to a refusal to obey the lawful order of his civilian commander in chief are true, General Zaluzhny has opened a pandora’s box which, if left unresolved, could lead to the rapid unravelling of Ukraine’s civilian-controlled government and open the door for the emergence of a government that is either subordinated to the will of the Ukrainian military, or which has been replaced by a military junta. Neither bodes well either for the sustainment of the notion that Ukraine functions as a democracy along the lines of its European and American allies, or for the prospects of stable governance for Ukraine at a time when it faces unprecedented economic, military, and foreign policy challenges. History is replete with examples of civil-military disagreements during times of war.

American history is home for two premier examples—the split between George McClellan and Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, and the disagreements between Douglas MacArthur and Harry Truman during the Korean conflict. However, in both cases when the civilian authority demanded that the military authority resign, the military authority complied. Zaluzhny, it appears, refused to step aside, taking the issue of military defiance of civil authority into unchartered territory. Managing civil-military relations is a complex process that balances the advice the military provides to its civilian masters with the actual oversight provided by the civilian leadership over military affairs. Given the disparity that exists fact-based military reality and the simplified and often politicized fiction that civilian leadership embraces, rifts are not only to be expected, but are in fact a reality that must be anticipated, and mechanisms put in place to keep them from erupting into crises.

One of the biggest problems faced in the civil-military relationship is that of agenda control and information management. While disagreements can and will emerge between military leaders and their civilian masters over military issues, the military can never lose sight of the fact that if the civil-military relationship is to succeed, the military cannot possess an agenda that deviates from that of its civilian leadership. Nor should the military take advantage of the fact that it in large part dominates the flow of information to society about military matters to use the media as a tool to articulate its own agenda.

In the case of the Zelensky-Zaluzhny split, the record seems to reflect that Zaluzhny has, for some time now, been engaged in activities which point to his having an agenda that not only deviates from that of his commander in chief, but in many ways is designed to be in opposition to his commander in chief—an agenda which paints Zaluzhny as a political competitor to Zelensky. Again, the examples of George McClellan and Douglas MacArthur point to the fact that such actions are not unique in the history of civil-military relations in democracies. However, in both of those circumstances, the military commanders resigned their positions when ordered to do so, and continued their political opposition in the civil arena, without the active backing of a military which was obligated to remain loyal to its civilian leadership. Zaluzhny, however, has refused to step aside, taking his differences with Zelensky into a political arena which, if he remains as a military commander, will be corrupted by his presence.

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Huh, what? Our friends?

Taiwan Helping To Arm Moscow – WaPo (RT)

Companies based in Taiwan have sold Russia more than $20 million in advanced equipment that can be used for weapons production, Washington Post has claimed, noting that Moscow’s defense sector has ramped up purchases in recent months. Citing “trade records and Russian tax documents” obtained by the outlet, the Post pointed to entities in the Russian arms industry that have boosted transactions with Taiwan, with one firm, I Machine Technology, importing over $20 million in CNC machine tools produced on the island since January 2023. The machines were reportedly sent in 63 separate shipments. “The Taiwan-made machines accounted for virtually all of the Russian company’s imports in the first seven months of last year, according to the records, and the company’s sales during that period were overwhelmingly to the Russian defense industry,” the newspaper added, although it did not specify how the CNC machines were to be used.

Former US arms control official Kevin Wolf told the Post that such transfers likely violated sanctions imposed by both Washington and Taipei in response to the conflict in Ukraine. However, an executive from I Machine Technology, Aleksey Bredikhin, argued that this was not the case. Instead, Bredikhin said that any purchases after January were for spare parts only, and did not run afoul of Taiwan’s export controls, which were further tightened early this year. “I’m not buying anything from them except for parts,” he added. Nonetheless, the American official claimed that the CNC machines were “very important for making military items” and could be connected to “military-end uses,” including manufacturing drones. Another executive from one of the Taiwanese producers, Yu Ming Je, questioned the authenticity of the files obtained by the Post, and also insisted that the sales were in line with local laws.

Asked about ties to Russia’s arms industry, Yu said he was not aware of any such connections with his company, adding “Distributors basically have many users.” A close strategic ally of the US and a frequent buyer of American arms, Taiwan has largely fallen in line with the US sanctions policy toward Moscow, imposing several layers of penalties since Russia sent troops into Ukraine in early 2022. In announcing its latest round of sanctions, which mirrored those already imposed by the US and European Union, Taiwan’s economy ministry vowed to “in principle” block all export license applications to Russian firms going forward. The ministry declined to comment on whether such equipment sales violated export rules, but said the government planned to specifically bar sales to I Machine Technology in the future.

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It’ll be quite the day in Texas..

Florida Sends Troops To Stop Migrant ‘Invasion’ (RT)

Governor Ron DeSantis has announced that he will deploy members of the Florida National Guard to assist Texas in repelling an “invasion” of illegal immigrants. US President Joe Biden’s administration has fought to prevent Texas from sealing the border. Roughly 1,000 soldiers will be sent to Texas, DeSantis’ office said in a statement on Thursday. They will be joined by members of the Florida State Guard, and around 90 members of various Florida law enforcement agencies already at the border. “States have every right to defend their sovereignty and we are pleased to increase our support to Texas as the Lone Star State works to stop the invasion across the border,” DeSantis said. “Our reinforcements will help Texas to add additional barriers, including razor wire along the border. We don’t have a country if we don’t have a border.”

During his first week in office, Biden signed a flurry of executive orders repealing former President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions. Illegal crossings have surged as a result, with a record 302,000 people caught crossing the 2,000-mile border in December, and more than 10 million entering the US since 2021. Under Biden’s policy of ‘catch and release’, apprehended migrants are immediately released into the US, with orders to show up at immigration hearings years in the future. Texas – which shares more than 1,200 miles of border with Mexico – deployed national guardsmen to the border in 2021 and began constructing razor wire obstacles at popular crossing points. The Biden administration responded by suing the state, and the Supreme Court ruled last month that federal agents could access the border to remove the razor wire. Texas Governor Greg Abbott vowed to defy the ruling and install more wire, arguing that the Biden administration has neglected the constitutional obligation to enforce federal immigration law, and that his duty to protect his constituents supersedes any federal laws.

Although the Department of Homeland Security gave Abbott three days to begin removing the obstacles late last month, a US Customs and Border Patrol official told Fox News that the agency had “no plans” to move in and destroy the barriers after Abbott ignored the deadline. Some 25 Republican governors issued a joint statement of solidarity with Abbott last week, accusing Biden of “illegally allowing mass parole across America of migrants who entered our country illegally.” Florida has been sending law enforcement officers and soldiers to assist Texas since 2021. National Guard troops have built obstacles and observation posts, while Florida Highway Patrol officers have apprehended almost 150,000 illegal aliens and charged 2,102 people with smuggling or human trafficking charges, DeSantis’ office said.

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“..relocate not only low-skilled component production but also, to a lesser extent, high-skilled production processes..”

Germany’s Economy Is Dying. Here’s Why And What Happens Next (RM)

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, injecting some humor at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, stated that Germany is not the “sick man” of Europe but rather “a tired man,” following the recent years of crisis, in need of a “good cup of coffee.” However, the economic indicators point to something more than fatigue. Although Germany could be described as merely being in a mild recession – the GDP readings, after all, can hardly be called awful – in reality the economy finds itself in the uneasy place of having no clear prospects for an imminent recovery. Initial estimates suggest a 0.3% decline in GDP in 2023, positioning Germany as the only major industrialized nation in the red. Germany’s national debt saw an increase of about €48 billion, reaching almost €2.6 trillion. While this may appear alarming at first glance, it’s crucial to consider the broader economic context. Germany’s debt-to-GDP ratio, standing at approximately 65%, is relatively favorable compared to many Western countries.

Moreover, Germany has implemented strict limits on deficits, demonstrating a commitment to financial prudence. In light of these measures, there is a counterargument that Germany could potentially consider taking on more debt. Sentiment among businesses deteriorated further at the beginning of the year, as illustrated by the ifo Business Climate Index in January, which fell to 85.2 points. Both the current situation and expectations for the coming months were evaluated more pessimistically. The ifo Institute has reduced its growth forecast for 2024 to 0.7%, compared to the previously predicted 0.9%. This downgrade is partially attributable to additional cuts in the federal budget, which became necessary due to a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court that prohibited leftover Covid-stimulus funds from being repurposed.

The German economy is on the brink of a crisis as deindustrialization firmly takes root. Companies, driven by economic considerations, are increasingly relocating their production overseas, posing a significant threat to a nation heavily reliant on industrial output. This trend has immediate and profound consequences that extend beyond the evident impact on industrial sectors. The offshoring of production could entail a surge in layoffs, further aggravating the economic challenges faced by the workforce. In November 2023, according to preliminary data from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), German exports experienced a decline of 5.0% year-on-year, while imports recorded a notable decrease of 12.2%.

While the primary focus is on the industrial landscape, it is crucial to acknowledge the interconnectedness of these shifts. A case in point is the German chemical industry, which finds itself in a deep and prolonged downturn, having lost approximately 23% of its production capacity. Furthermore, leading managers have expressed considerable skepticism about a swift recovery. The challenges are exacerbated by Germany’s struggle with high energy costs, particularly affecting industries engaged in global competition. Despite government attempts to counteract these challenges, such as a billion-dollar electricity price package, success has been limited.

Meanwhile, according to a report by Deloitte, an alarming two out of three German companies have partially relocated their operations abroad due to the country’s ongoing energy crisis. This trend is particularly pronounced in critical sectors, such as mechanical engineering, industrial goods, and automotive industries, where 69% of companies have relocated their operations to a moderate or large extent. Key findings from the Deloitte report shed light on the reasons behind this significant shift. Most businesses attribute their decisions to move operations overseas to the combination of high energy prices and inflation. Notably, companies in these industries are planning to relocate not only low-skilled component production but also, to a lesser extent, high-skilled production processes.

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No, I’m not surprised.

F-35 Jet Fails to Meet Basic Operating Standards in 65 Areas (Sp.)

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter still suffers at least 65 basic deficiencies where it continues to fail to meet basic testing specifications, the Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) said in a report. The JPO [F-35 Joint Project Office] completed the readiness review for JSE [joint simulation environment] trials in September 2023, and certified it as ready for testing, despite 65 deficiencies against the baseline JSE requirements, the report said on Friday. The F-35 program development cycle continues to experience delays due to immature and deficient Block 4 mission systems software and avionics stability problems with the new Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3) hardware going into Lot 15 production aircraft, the report said.

“As a result, deliveries of production Lot 15 aircraft in the TR-3 configuration are on hold until more testing can be completed and the avionics issues resolved. …[T]hese delays prevented the F-35 JPO from adequately planning and programming for hardware modifications … of the upgraded hardware configuration,” the report said. Also, the necessary flight test instrumentation, including both aircraft and open-air battle shaping instrumentation, for both, the remaining TR-2 configuration and upgraded TR-3 aircraft, are not all on contract and will not be available in time, the report added.

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Just yesterday, we saw plummeting birth rates everywhere.

India Vows To Tackle Population Growth Challenges (RT)

The most populous country in the world will constitute a high-powered committee to consider the challenges arising from “fast population growth and demographic changes.” The move was announced as part of India’s interim budget, unveiled on Thursday, ahead of national elections later this year. India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, revealed that the proposed committee will address population-related challenges and form recommendations for the government. The initiative, she stressed, comes as part of the vision of Narendra Modi’s government, which hopes to transform the country into a developed nation by 2047. This development comes against the backdrop of a legislative move to adopt laws to control the population.

Members of Parliament belonging to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rajendra Agrawal and Rakesh Sinha, had earlier introduced separate bills to regulate the country’s population. However, neither of them have passed. Meanwhile, the country’s new census has been delayed for several years. The most recent demographic data available comes from the 2011 census. Although top Indian officials have expressed concern over the population boom, the fifth round of India’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) released in 2022 showed that female fertility levels have dipped below the replacement fertility level in all but five Indian states. Despite that, last year, India overtook China to become the most populous nation in the world, as per United Nations (UN) data.

India has the highest number of young people in the world; however, the UN, in a 2023 report, noted that by 2046, the number of older adults in the country will be greater than the number of children younger than 15 years old. In 2022, the median age in India was believed to be 28 years; this is in sharp contrast to other larger nations with significantly higher median ages. An aging population could mean severe economic trouble for India unless the country grows its national wealth rapidly in the coming decades, an analysis in The Hindu newspaper observed last year. In December, India’s Reserve Bank updated the GDP growth projection for the current financial year to 7% compared to the previously estimated 6.5%. Meanwhile, India remains among the top countries with high income and wealth inequality even as the share of the population living in multidimensional poverty fell from 25 to 15% between 2015-16 and 2019-21, the UNDP said in a report last year.

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“..CEOs crowing about keeping their prices high while their costs go down..”

It’s Not ‘Inflation’ – We’re Just Getting Ripped Off. Here’s Proof. (OW)

Many Americans are still experiencing the sticker shock they first faced two years ago when inflation hit its peak. But if inflation is down now, why are families still feeling the pinch? The answer lies in corporate profits — and we have the data to prove it. Our new report for the Groundwork Collaborative finds that corporate profits accounted for more than half — 53 percent — of inflation from April to September 2023. That’s an astronomical percentage. Corporate profits drove just 11 percent of price growth in the four decades prior to the pandemic. Businesses have been quick to blame rising costs on supply chain shocks from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. But two years later, our economy has mostly returned to normal. In some cases, companies’ costs to make things and stock shelves have actually decreased.

Let’s demonstrate with one glaring example: diapers. The hyper-consolidated diaper industry is dominated by just two companies, Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark, which own well-known diaper brands like Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs. The cost of wood pulp, a key ingredient for making diapers absorbent, did spike during the pandemic, increasing by more than 50 percent between 2020 and 2021. But last year it declined by 25 percent. Did that drop in costs lead Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark to lower their prices? Far from it. Diaper prices have increased to nearly $22 on average. These corporate giants have no plans to bring prices down anytime soon. In fact, their own executives are openly bragging about how they’re going to “expand margins” on earnings calls. Procter & Gamble predicted $800 million in windfall profits as input costs decline. Kimberly-Clark’s CEO said the company has “a lot of opportunity” to expand margins over time.

It’s not just diapers — while many corporations were quick to pass along rising costs, they’ve been in no hurry to pass along their savings. A recent survey from the Richmond Fed and Duke University revealed that 60 percent of companies plan to hike prices this year by more than they did before the pandemic, even though their costs have moderated. Corporations across industries, from housing to groceries and used cars, are juicing their profit margins even as the cost of doing business goes down. And they’re not hiding the ball. Since the summer of 2021, Groundwork began listening in on hundreds of corporate earnings calls where we heard CEO after CEO boasting about their ability to raise prices on consumers. Now we hear something slightly different: CEOs crowing about keeping their prices high while their costs go down.

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This is what the Dems have in mind for Trump.

Imran Khan Sentenced To Third Prison Term In A Week (RT)

Former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi have been sentenced to seven years in prison and fined after a court declared their marriage unlawful on Saturday. It was the third ruling against Khan this week. The civil court was set up in Rawalpindi prison, where the ex-PM has been held since August last year on more than 100 charges. The sentences came before a parliamentary election on February 8 that Khan, who remains popular among voters, is barred from contesting. On Wednesday, Khan along with his wife were sentenced to 14-year terms for illegally selling state gifts, and the day before Khan was given ten years in prison for leaking state secrets. He claimed the cable he released contained evidence of collusion between the Pakistani military and US officials to have him removed from power in April 2022.

Khan’s representatives say he will appeal all three cases. The sentences add up to 34 years and will be served concurrently. The marriage case was filed by Bushra Bibi’s former husband Khawar Maneka, who claimed that she did not observe “iddat” – a mandatory three-month waiting period that a woman must abide by under Islamic law after the death of her husband or a divorce, before marrying another man. The Khans have denied wrongdoing. Imran Khan, however, argued that the case was brought to “humiliate and disgrace” him and his wife. “This marks the first instance in history where a case related to iddat has been initiated,” he told reporters.

The court decision has been condemned by members of Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, a PTI official, called the marriage case “fake”, saying the judgements against Khan represent a “mockery of the law.” “The way these trials are being conducted leaves a huge question mark on the February 8 elections. This is a test case for Pakistan’s higher judiciary,” he told Al Jazeera. PTI President Gohar Ali Khan described the trial as “shameful” and vowed to appeal the verdict in a higher court.

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Bohemian grove

 

 

Giraffe lion

 

 

Branch
https://twitter.com/i/status/1753863250427715898

 

 

Freeman

 

 

Peggy Sue

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 302024
 
 January 30, 2024  Posted by at 9:20 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  42 Responses »


MC Escher Belvedere 1958

 

‘Army Of God’ Convoy Heads To US Border While EU Farmers Block Cities (ZH)
War On The Middle East – The Time Of Monsters (MoA)
The Tower-22 Strike In Jordan Triggers US, Israel Into All-Front War (Helmer)
Congressional Hawks Urge ‘Hit Iran Hard’ After 3 US Troops Killed (ZH)
Biden May Order Direct Strike on Iran Officials After Jordan Drone Attack (Sp.)
‘Swarming’ The US In West Asia, Until It Folds (Bhadrakumar)
The Tragic Self-Destruction of an Enraged Israel (Alastair Crooke)
Davos a Living Fossil of an Empire at War With Itself and the World (Dionísio)
Official Lies Aren’t What They Used to Be (Rall)
Hungary Responds To Reported EU Threat To Destroy Its Economy (RT)
‘Desperation’ of Ukrainian Leadership Hard To Ignore – WaPo (RT)
Zelensky Claims Huge Increase In Size Of Kiev’s Forces (RT)
Trump Lawyer Says ‘Experts Were Denied’ by New York Judge (ET)
GA Lieutenant Governor Announces New Committee Investigating Fani Willis (DC)
The Foundational Principle: Stop Pretending, Speak Truth (CTH)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fico

 

 

 

 

France

 

 

 

 

Vermin

 

 

 

 

If you wanted to starve and displace Palestinians you would go after the UNRWA.
Palestinian refugees registered with the UNRWA have a *right of return* to Gaza if they’re displaced.
Over 6 million Palestinians are registered with the UNRWA.
If this organisation collapses… NO Palestinian will have the right to return to their homeland.
Do you now understand why they are trying to destroy the UNRWA…?


The following countries have cut funding so far: Australia, Austria, Britain, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Romania, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United States.

 

 

 

 

Good to see Zerohedge connecting the two movements. Though very different, they are also the same: basic, based people sick of having political games played over their heads and their backs. Both events will reach their crescendo by the weekend.

‘Army Of God’ Convoy Heads To US Border While EU Farmers Block Cities (ZH)

In the US, a convoy of truckers, calling themselves “God’s Army,” is preparing to embark on a journey from several locations across the Lower 48 to the southern border as tensions soar between Texas and the Biden administration. Meanwhile across the Atlantic, farmers are bearing down on Europe’s capitals – from Bucharest to Warsaw to Brussels – venting frustrations about climate policies. These social instabilities are breaking out ahead of key European and US elections this year. The organizers of the “Take Our Border Back” convoy are “calling all active & retired law enforcement and military, Veterans, Mama Bears, elected officials, business owners, ranchers, truckers, bikers, media and LAW ABIDING, freedom-loving Americans” to “assemble in honor of our US Constitution and Bill of Rights” at the southern border, in protest against the federal government’s inability to secure the border, according to the convoy’s website.

“Fellow citizens and compatriots … I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character to come to our aid with all dispatch,” Pete Chambers, one of the coalition’s leaders, wrote. “If this call is neglected, we are determined to sustain ourselves as long as possible and act like soldiers who never forget what is due to our own honor and that of our country.” The convoy plans to “send a message” to government officials at all levels about the need to secure the board amid the multi-year invasion of millions of illegals. Chambers believes Americans are “besieged on all sides” by evil “dark forces.”

As we’ve noted, journalists have uncovered a “shadowy network” of what appears to be taxpayer-funded non-government agencies, facilitating the most massive border invasion this nation has ever seen. Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared the migrant crisis an “invasion” and invoked Texas’ constitutional authority to defend and protect itself. Abbott stated, “That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary. The Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other Texas personnel are acting on that authority, as well as state law, to secure the Texas border.”

[..] Across the Atlantic, farmers have been venting their anger in several of Europe’s capitals that will likely “slow the implementation of environmental reforms in the European Union and make it harder for Brussels to negotiate free trade agreements,” according to research firm Stratfor. “Farmers across Europe have taken to the streets in recent weeks to voice their discontent over their governments’ economic, environmental and trade policies,” Stratfor continued. And this is all happening ahead of June’s European elections. Uprisings in the West, among the working class, objecting to unpopular “globalist” policies are happening ahead of major elections.

Convoy up to 700,000 people

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“The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”
Antonio Gramsci

War On The Middle East – The Time Of Monsters (MoA)

Yesterday 3 U.S. troops were killed and 34 wounded due to an attack that allegedly hit on a place known as Tower 22. This is part of the Al Tanf area where U.S. troops illegally occupy parts of Syria to control the traffic on the main road between Iraq and Syria. The reporting so far does not answer many arising questions. Tower 22 is on the Jordanian side of the boarder but Jordan insists that no attack had happened on its grounds. Another anomaly are the high rate of wounded from the alleged drone strike. Drones are used in mass in the Ukraine war but the casualties they cause are usually less than a handful per drone. The highly automated short and medium range air-defenses (C-RAMs, the equivalent of naval Phalanx guns) at the base should be able to shoot down any drone. Why didn’t they work?

The U.S. has also used Al Tanf base and the Rukban camp to house and train ISIS splinter groups so they are able to attack perceived U.S. enemies. Were any of those folks around? The U.S. claims that an Iraqi resistance group, allegedly supported by Iran, is responsible for the strike. There are several such groups allied with Iran in Syria and Iraq. Which one of them did this? Does the U.S. know this at all? Iran denies any involvement in the attack. The attack is certainly an escalation over previous ones. President Biden has said that he will respond to it. The question in then to where to respond (Syria, Iraq, Iran) and to what grade. Most likely the U.S. will escalate from its previous bombing of this or that Iraq resistance group. Should the U.S. attack any state related institutions or position, the situation will escalate further.

The resistance camp would then try even harder to damage more U.S. assets. Since the U.S. assassination of General Quassam Suleimani its overall aim is to remove the U.S. from the Middle East. The U.S. immediate response to the hit was the activation of long range tanker planes: “At least 6 U.S. Air Force KC-135 Aerial-Refueling Tankers, most from March Air Reserve Base in Southern California, are heading Northeast across the United States and preparing to Transit the Atlantic towards the U.K. and Europe”. I wonder what kind of Aircraft they are Refueling? Aerial-refueling tankers are used to keep fighter jets in the air for several hours. The reasons to keep jets in the air may not necessarily be to attack someone, but to prevent them from being destroyed by an attack on ones own airports. The U.S. has plenty of bases in the Middle East which house a lot of expensive jets.

If the U.S. suspects that those bases will come under attack it will need lots of air-tanker capability to save the jets currently stationed on them. One could conclude from this that the U.S. will attack a target so important that it has to prepare for an all out response attack on its own Middle East bases. There are several other possibilities but this seems to be the most likely conclusion. Now let’s take a step back to take a look at the larger picture. The current escalation in the Middle East is happening because the Zionist attempt to ethnically cleanse Gaza, the West Bank and south Lebanon. The U.S active support for this aim has led to more U.S. wars in Yemen, Iraq and now in Syria. While the U.S. has claimed that it did not want an all out war in the Middle East it has done its best to further one.

The dystopian decision by the U.S. and its European vassals to deny all support for UNRWA as response for the International Court of Justice decision against Israel’s genocide of Palestinians was a further escalation. That a dozen or less of the 30,000 UNRWA worker were probably involved in the October 7 events was known for weeks. To roll this out just after the ICJ dictum happened is a clear act of revenge against the whole UN system. This is the rule based order, where the U.S. makes and discards all rules at will, fighting against long established international and humanitarian law.

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The two maps, in the article above and this one, leave doubt about where exactly Tower 22 is. It’s right on the border. Is it in Jordan? “..but Jordan insists that no attack had happened on its grounds..”

The Tower-22 Strike In Jordan Triggers US, Israel Into All-Front War (Helmer)

The drone attack on the US troop base known as Tower-22, in the northeastern corner of Jordan, caught the US forces, reportedly reservists, asleep. The base reportedly holds 350 Army and Air Force personnel. At least three have been confirmed killed; eight have been evacuated with life threatening injuries, according to US Central Command (CENTCOM); about three dozen have been counted as wounded. The operational success of the strike for the attackers is strategic. Tower-22 is a logistics, supply, and rear guard post for the Al-Tanf base which US troops are operating thirty kilometres north across the border in Syria. The attack demonstrates that both Tower-22 and Al-Tanf, Jordan and Syria, are newly vulnerable to weapons which the US forces have failed to detect and neutralize. Just as significantly, the massive US airbase called Muwaffaq Salti, 230 kilometres west across Jordan, is also vulnerable now.

For analysis of how these bases, and other anti-Palestinian targets in Jordan, are connected and targeted by the Axis of Resistance, read this from October. Biden’s statement said only “we are still gathering the facts of this attack”. Reporters of the New York Times were told by their official briefers that “the drone strike in Jordan on Sunday demonstrated that the Iran-backed militias — whether in Iran or Syria, or the Houthis in Yemen — remained capable of inflicting serious consequences on American troops despite the U.S. military’s efforts to weaken them and avoid tumbling into a wider conflict, possibly with Iran itself.” The newspaper added a warning against escalation from the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon: “ ‘We don’t want to go down a path of greater escalation that drives to a much broader conflict within the region,’ Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Sunday.

Asked in a pre-recorded session on ABC News’s This Week whether he thought Iran wanted war with the United States, General Brown, echoing assessments from the U.S. intelligence agencies, said, ‘No, I don’t think so.’ ” Brown is also believed to have been one of the prompters for public release of the Pentagon warnings against the Ukrainian “counteroffensive” in the so-called social media releases published by Jack Texeira in April of 2023. The official line in Washington on Sunday evening, according to its New York platform, is that “the Americans killed on Sunday were the first known fatalities from hostile fire in the region since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas…It was unclear on Sunday why air defences at the outpost failed to intercept the drone, which former military commanders said appeared to be the first known assault on the location since attacks on U.S. forces began soon after the Oct. 7 incursion.”

Well-informed military sources are emphatic that the Tower-22 operation has strategic significance in quite another way. They believe Pentagon officials have already told the White House. “This is a significant accomplishment,” one of the sources said. “Was the bypassing of the US air defence system at Tower-22 pulled off with Russian assistance? US bases generally rely on the C-RAM [Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar] system. It was sent to Ukraine last year where the Russians have been learning to defeat it. What now of American EW [electronic warfare]? They’ve been doing a fair job of knocking drones down up to now. It seems a ‘coincidence’ that, not a week after the meetings in Moscow with Arabs and Iranians, we see this success. It’s a success the circumstances of which, we can be sure, Biden and Austin are not keen to advertise.”

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Iran has denied any involvement.

Congressional Hawks Urge ‘Hit Iran Hard’ After 3 US Troops Killed (ZH)

It took a mere minutes after the headlines spread across the globe for the hawks and neocons to call on the White House to “hit them hard”—in reference to Iran and Iranian-linked groups believed responsible for the attack on a US outpost along the Jordanian border which killed three American troops and injured 25 more. The government of Jordan has since said that none among their own troops were injured, which suggests all of the injured were Americans too. Below is a partial survey of the Congressional hawks who are now essentially calling for full-blown war against Iran and its proxies … “The only answer to these attacks must be a devastating military retaliation against Iran’s terrorist forces, both in Iran and across the Middle East. Anything less will confirm Joe Biden as a coward unworthy of being commander-in-chief.'” —Republican Senator, Tom Cotton of Arkansas

“The Biden Administration can take out all the Iranian proxies they like, but it will not deter Iranian aggression. I am calling on the Biden Administration to strike targets of significance inside Iran, not only as reprisal for the killing of our forces, but as deterrence against future aggression… Hit Iran hard, hit them now.” —South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. “Target Tehran” —Republican Senator from Texas John Cornyn. And as also fully expected, the think tank “armchair warrior” crowd is all in favor of sending more young Americans to fight and to die in the Middle East, based purely on another ‘war of choice’ with unclear end goals…

Of course, the neocons have had their sites set on Tehran and hoped-for regime change there going all the way back to the 1990’s, as is evident from the writings of PNAC crowd (Project for the New American Century, which went on to largely staff GW Bush’s cabinet). Thankfully, Trump’s initial statement did not echo the hawkish neocon line of some among the more outspoken GOP Congressmen…

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What are the odds that Iran will retaliate by striking US officials in return?

Biden May Order Direct Strike on Iran Officials After Jordan Drone Attack (Sp.)

A deadly drone strike on a US base near the Jordanian-Syrian border could lead to a stronger response from Washington than it has so far since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, Bloomberg quoted unnamed sources as saying. There could be two options, the sources said: a possible covert US strike on Iran, or a situation in which the Biden administration would directly target Iranian officials, such as then-US President Donald Trump’s order to kill top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad in 2020. “Regardless of the outcome, the [potential] attack presents [President Joe] Biden with a decision that will be one of the most consequential of his presidency”, something that “could put the US into direct confrontation with the leadership in Tehran,” Bloomberg reported. This comes after Biden pledged that “we [the US] shall respond” to Monday’s drone attack on Tower 22, an American military outpost in northeastern Jordan, which killed three US soldiers and wounded 30 others.

“Have no doubt — we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing,” the US president added as Iranian militia group known as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack.
However, Tehran officially stated that it had “no connection and nothing to do” with the attack, according to Iranian media quoting Tehran’s representative to the UN. Jordanian government officials have since denied that the dead and injured US troops were stationed in their country, insisting that the drone strike occurred on Syrian territory at the Al-Tanf base. The attack comes amid rising tensions in the Middle East, as Tel Aviv continues its war on the Gaza Strip in response to the Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas in southern Israel that killed at least 1,139 people, according to Israeli officials.

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“The US is so deeply mired in an unwinnable battle from the Levant to the Persian Gulf that only its adversaries in China, Russia, and Iran can bail it out.”

‘Swarming’ The US In West Asia, Until It Folds (Bhadrakumar)

Deterrence in defense is a military strategy where one power uses the threat of reprisal to preclude attack from an adversary, while maintaining at the same time the freedom of action and flexibility to respond to the full spectrum of challenges. In this realm, the Lebanese resistance, Hezbollah, is an outstanding example. Hezbollah’s clarity of purpose in establishing and strictly maintaining ground rules that deter Israeli military aggression has set a high regional bar. Today, its West Asian allies have adopted similar strategies, which have multiplied in the context of the war in Gaza. While the Yemeni resistance movement Ansarallah is comparable to Hezbollah in certain respects, it is the audacious brand of defensive deterrence practiced by the Islamic Resistance of Iraq that is going to be highly consequential in the near term.

Last week, citing sources in the State Department and Pentagon, Foreign Policy magazine wrote that the White House is no longer interested in continuing the US military mission in Syria. The White House later denied this information, but the report is gaining ground. The Turkish daily Hurriyet wrote on Friday that while Ankara is taking a cautious approach to media reports, it does see “a general striving” by Washington to exit not only Syria but the entire region of West Asia, as it senses that it has been dragged into a quagmire by Israel and Iran from the Red Sea to Pakistan. Russia’s special presidential representative for the Syrian settlement, Alexander Lavrentiev, also told Tass on Friday that much depends on any “threat of physical impact” on American forces present in Syria. The swift US military exit from Afghanistan took place with virtually no advance notice, in coordination with the Taliban.

“In all likelihood, the same may happen in Iraq and Syria,” Lavrentiev said. Indeed, the Islamic Resistance of Iraq has stepped up its attacks on US military bases and targets. In a ballistic missile attack on Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq a week ago, an unknown number of American troops sustained injuries, and the White House announced its first troop deaths on Sunday when three US servicemen were killed on the Syrian-Jordanian border in strikes earlier that day. This situation is untenable for President Joe Biden politically — in his re-election bid next November — which explains the urgency of the National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday and Saturday in Thailand to discuss the Ansarallah attacks in the Red Sea.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby explained Washington’s rush for Chinese mediation thus: “China has influence over Tehran; they have influence in Iran. And they have the ability to have conversations with Iranian leaders that — that we can’t. What we’ve said repeatedly is: We would welcome a constructive role by China, using the influence and the access that we know they have…” This is a dramatic turn of events. While the US has long been concerned about China’s growing sway in West Asia, it also needs that influence now as Washington’s efforts to reduce violence are getting nowhere. The US narrative on this will be that the “strategic, thoughtful conversation” between Sullivan and Wang will not only be “an important way to manage competition and tensions [between the US and China] responsibly” but also “set the direction of the relationship” on the whole.

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“Not only is Gaza NOT giving Israelis a sense of victory; on the contrary, it is widely proliferating a violent anger at a surprise, ‘shameful’ defeat..”

“The Zionist solution is not a solution. We are arriving at a situation in which the Jewish people who live in Zion live in a condition of total insecurity..”

The Tragic Self-Destruction of an Enraged Israel (Alastair Crooke)

Israel is boxed-in, as is becoming very evident to many Israelis. One Israeli correspondent (formerly a Cabinet Secretary) illustrates its nature: “The meaning of the 7th October default is not only the loss of lives … but mainly the potential transformation of how Israel is perceived … as no longer to be feared by Middle Eastern actors”. “The Israeli leadership must internalize that we can no longer be content with a ‘sense of victory’ among the Israeli public … It is doubtful whether victory in Gaza is enough to restore the fear of Israel to the levels we had vis-a-vis our enemies. A victory that boils down to just the release of the captives and confidence-building measures to establish a Palestinian state would not be enough in shoring up Israel’s image in that regard”.

“If the quagmire of Gaza … brings the [Israeli] leadership to the realization that there is no ability to present a clear victory on this front, one that will lead to a strategic change in the region, they must consider switching fronts and reasserting Israeli deterrence through the removal of the strategic threat in Lebanon … victory against one of the richest and most powerful terrorist organizations in the world – Hezbollah – can restore deterrence in the region in general … Israel must remove the threat from the north and dismantle the power structure Hezbollah has built in Lebanon, regardless of the situation in the south”. “But without victory in the south, a significant achievement in the north becomes that much more important”.


Gaza death tolls

The above quotation goes directly to the heart of the issue. That is: ‘How can Zionism be saved?’. All the rest of the ‘blah-blah’ coming from world leaders is largely bluff. Not only is Gaza NOT giving Israelis a sense of victory; on the contrary, it is widely proliferating a violent anger at a surprise, ‘shameful’ defeat. Some in the war cabinet (i.e., Eisenkot) suggest that Israel look truth in the eye: It should capitulate to Hamas; give a ceasefire a chance; release incarcerated Palestinians, and save the hostages held in Gaza: “I think it is necessary to say boldly that it is impossible to bring the hostages back alive in the near future without a [ceasefire] deal, and anyone who is feeding lies to the public is feeding lies”.

But this is not the predominant sentiment amongst Israelis: The latest Peace Index survey reflects the pervasive gloom: 94% percent of Jews think Israel has used the right amount of firepower in Gaza (or “not enough” (43%)). Three-quarters of all Israelis think the number of Palestinians harmed since October is justified to achieve its aims; a full two-thirds of Jewish respondents say numbers of casualties are definitely justified (only 21% say “somewhat” justified). The true price Israel will be paying, however, is not merely the release of Palestinian prisoners (though that, in itself, would create a popular uproar); but rather, it is fear that acquiescence to Hamas demands would spell the end to the Israel-security paradigm: This paradigm consists of a quasi-religious ‘contract’ that Jews shall enjoy security every, and anywhere, in the land of Israel – brought about by the elaborate matrix of radical insecurity of space and rights imposed on non-Jews (i.e. Palestinians), versus the full force of protection and sovereignty for Jews. This forms the universal paradigm underwriting Jewish security.

Until 7 October, that is. The events of that day demonstrated that Jewish Israelis are no longer secure inside Israel – and that the Zionist framework, in respect to security, must be re-thought – or perforce abandoned. This realisation has given rise to a psychological mass formation of insecurity. As Emeritus Professor of History at the Hebrew University, Moshe Zimmermann, notes: “The Zionist solution is not a solution. We are arriving at a situation in which the Jewish people who live in Zion live in a condition of total insecurity … we need to take into account that Israel is causing a reduction in the security of Diaspora Jewry, instead of the opposite. So this Zionist solution is very deficient, and we need to examine what caused this deficiency.”

CNN

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“Talking about “security”, “cooperation”, “energy”, “nature” and “climate” without involving Russia can only be a bad joke.”

Davos a Living Fossil of an Empire at War With Itself and the World (Dionísio)

The World Economic Forum gives us the exceptional privilege of a study that only living fossils can give. Representative of an era that we can assume is in the process of being overcome, if not materially, at least in terms of the trend observed, in Davos we find everything that is paramount of neoliberal and Western supremacist ideology, its potential, its limitations and the very causes of its destruction. Like a living fossil, in every word, every expression, theme or conclusion, we find the fundamental reasons why the species did not and could not win. Davos tells us, above all, about a problem of adapting to the real world. At every moment, the World Economic Forum revealed the full extent of resentment, bitterness and disillusionment towards a world that has revealed, and insists on revealing, ever more stubbornly, that it does not accept the premises that would make neoliberalism a lasting and universal hegemonic system.

In this sense, the Davos Forum is a moral lesson. A moral lesson from the West to the global majority, in a kind of recriminatory cry, for the latter in not accepting the solutions that it had so “wisely and rationally” to convey; but also, a moral lesson from the global majority to the West, which took advantage of every opportunity, in every scarce moment of attention given, to convey the reasons why the proposed contract would never be acceptable. The themes chosen reveal, above all, the great concerns and disappointments of the West, as well as what it considers to be the building blocks of an attempt to return to a lost paradigm. A paradigm that, today, the West feels is slipping through its fingers. The first theme is emblematic and says a lot about the level of disillusionment: “Achieving Security and Cooperation in a Fractured World”. If, on the one hand, it reveals that the West feels insecure, by choosing “security” as one of the starting points of its analysis, on the other hand, it also reveals the difficulties the West is facing in imposing its model of “cooperation”, which is increasingly reluctantly accepted by the countries of the global majority.

The result and the cause were well reflected in the topic itself, when he classified the current geopolitical state as a “fragmented world”. In this “fragmented world” we find the alpha and omega of the hegemonic discourse. The increasingly explicit refusal of the global majority to accept the dictates of the “indispensable nation”, “the leading nation”, results, in their eyes, in fragmentation, a power vacuum. The sign is clear: the U.S. is still struggling to find its place in the world, and this difficulty constitutes an immense danger. A nervous U.S., with an identity crisis and in a state of denial, is a danger to itself, but it is also a danger to others, especially considering all the destructive potential at its disposal. By choosing “security”, we can almost say that, deep down, and without ever admitting it, the U.S. knows where the problem really comes from.

The conditions of “security” defined by the U.S. are also omnipresent at Davos, as an “absent spectator”. A safe world is a world without Russia, the country removed, authoritatively and discretionarily, from the event. It says a lot about a so-called “world” event that removes the largest nuclear power and one of the two largest military powers on the planet. It’s also the largest country in the world in terms of territory, with the greatest diversity/number of natural resources, a strategic partner for important countries that represent more than half of the world’s population, such as China, India and Iran; a technological leader in the space, aerospace, nuclear, naval and military fields; and one of the largest producers of food and cereals in the world. Talking about “security”, “cooperation”, “energy”, “nature” and “climate” without involving Russia can only be a bad joke.

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“For Democrats, protecting their party’s corporatist status quo matters more than Trump’s purported threat to democracy..”

Official Lies Aren’t What They Used to Be (Rall)

The government’s services keep getting worse. Even their lies. The Bushies told us we had to invade Afghanistan to catch Osama bin Laden and then to go into Iraq because Saddam had WMDs. As the Pentagon knew, bin Laden was already in Pakistan; as Hans Blix and Scott Ritter told us, there was no evidence Saddam had proscribed weapons. Sure, they were lies. But they were plausible lies. Theoretically, UBL might have snuck into Afghanistan. Saddam might have acquired WMDs. Those things could have been true. Now they’re giving us implausible lies. Not only are their lies, well, lies—they say things that are untrue and can’t possibly be true and that no one, no matter how stupid or uninformed, could believe. Democrats go on and on about how nothing is more important than defeating Trump. Democracy itself hangs in the balance! After Trump redux, the re-deluge.

But they don’t really believe that. If liberals really actually thought that Trump was going to suspend the constitution and send his enemies—them—to camps, their sense of survival would have prompted them to select the most charismatic, brilliant, popular, vigorous, 2024 Democratic presidential nominee possible. Instead, they gave us Biden. You can’t think Trump is dangerous and go with Biden-Harris. For Democrats, protecting their party’s corporatist status quo matters more than Trump’s purported threat to democracy. That’s the truth. We all know. Republicans won’t shut up about out-of-control deficit spending and the $34 trillion national debt which, according to them, will tank the economy because, like a family that has to live within its means except for credit cards and student loans and car loans and home mortgages, the government can’t keep spending cash it doesn’t have even though it owns the U.S. Mint and has gotten away with it for, like, a century.

We know that the fake deficit hawks don’t actually believe what they are saying in real time, as they’re saying it, because while they’re threatening to shut down the government every few months, they keep throwing even more billions of dollars at the Defense Department than the DOD even asks for, so much that the military sucks up more than everything else the government does combined, and that’s not including the wars they put “off the books” and the proxy wars and the wars they charge to the State Department, not to mention debt service on old wars. Everywhere we look, politicians are deploying lies whose obviousness is evident out of the gate. Elites will never be believed, they know it, and they don’t care.

Israel’s war cabinet tells its traumatized citizens that October 7th came as a surprise at the same time countless specific warnings and the IDF’s eight-hour response time (!) prove that cannot possibly have been the case. As people shout “bring them home,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he’s trying to do just that. But that’s a lie and it has to be a lie because you don’t bomb a place where hostages you care about are being held lest you kill them and anger their captors. Families of the doomed hostages cannot believe him and do not believe him yet they do not demand that the bombs stop falling or that those who drop them be removed from power.

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I think it was 2% of Hungary GDP that depends on the EU (or was it 7%?). Either way, Hungary comes prepared.

Hungary Responds To Reported EU Threat To Destroy Its Economy (RT)

Hungary’s minister for European affairs, Janos Boka, has said that Budapest will not give in to “blackmail” by Brussels, following a report that claimed the EU would seek to sabotage the country’s economy if it does not unblock an aid package for Ukraine. Ahead of a summit of EU leaders on Thursday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban pledged to oppose the use of the bloc’s collective budget to funnel €50 billion ($54 billion) in aid to Ukraine. Should Orban not lift the veto, Brussels could seek to sabotage Hungary’s economy by pulling funding to the EU member state, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing confidential plans drawn up by European leaders seen by the newspaper. The strategy, the FT noted, could impact Hungary’s currency and incite a downturn in investment, which would affect “jobs and growth.”

Boka has insisted however that Hungary will not be dictated to by European bureaucrats. “Hungary does not allow blackmail,” he wrote on social media late on Sunday. “The agreement confirms what the Hungarian government has been saying for a long time: Brussels is using access to EU resources as a means of political pressure.” He added: “Hungary makes no link between supporting Ukraine and access to EU resources and refuses to let others do so. Hungary so far will continue to participate constructively in the negotiations, but it does not allow blackmail.” The document, which the FT said was produced by an official in the Council of the EU, highlights what it says are Hungary’s economic vulnerabilities. These include “very high public deficit,” “very high inflation,” a weak currency, and problems with debt repayment.

It added that Hungarian economic growth heavily depends on overseas investment, which, in turn, is driven by “high levels of EU funding.” A spokesperson for the Council of the EU told the FT that it has a policy of not commenting on leaks. Orban insisted last month that the EU must meet certain conditions before Budapest would lift its veto, including making the package modest in size and scheduling it over one year rather than the proposed four. Hungary must also be exempted from any new joint EU borrowing over the matter, the PM added. Another tactic reportedly being considered within the EU bloc is to invoke Article 7 of the Treaty of the European Union, which would allow Brussels to strip Budapest of its voting rights. However, this would require unanimity among the other 26 member states – a step many European countries appear unwilling to take.

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Awaiting confirmation: “Zelenskyy has removed Zaluzhny and installed Budanov. Ukrainian Warfare shifts from battlefield offensives to terrorist attacks. The CIA plan for Budanov: Attack the most profitable industries in Russia. Oil and Gas production, pipelines, refineries, etc. + false flags.”

‘Desperation’ of Ukrainian Leadership Hard To Ignore – WaPo (RT)

The leadership in Ukraine is losing hope of success in the conflict with Russia amid waning Western support and a lack of battlefield achievements, the Washington Post has said. Kiev continues to demand more weapons and aid from the US and its allies, although officials in Washington “anticipate a lean year ahead, where Ukraine’s increasingly exhausted forces focus more on consolidating their defense than chipping away at Russia’s land-grabs,” the newspaper reported on Monday. “It’s hard to ignore the sense of desperation in Ukraine’s corridors of power” after almost two years of military conflict with Moscow, foreign affairs columnist Ishaan Tharoor stressed. Ukraine’s attempted counteroffensive last year “failed to make strategic headway against Russia’s deep defensive lines,” Tharoor acknowledged. Fresh reports from the front line have warned that stocks of ammunition and artillery shells are running low for Kiev’s troops, he added.

At the same time, Moscow “stood its ground, withstood international sanctions and is preparing for fresh offensives,” while also regularly carrying out large-scale missile barrages against Ukrainian targets, he added. According to the article, the tour of Washington and other Western capitals by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in late 2023 was an attempt to counter “international fatigue with the conflict and paralysis in US Congress over new supplemental funding for Kiev.” The administration of US President Joe Biden is still unable to find common ground with Republican lawmakers, who are demanding tougher measures on the border with Mexico in exchange for agreeing another $60 billion in assistance for Kiev. As a result, Pentagon officials arrived “empty-handed” at the NATO-Ukraine Council meeting in Brussels last week, Tharoor said.

“The West may have already squandered its best chance to enable Ukraine to fully liberate its territory,” he added. The fate of the conflict between Russia in Ukraine could soon be sealed by “the shortfalls on Ukraine’s front lines and divisions in Washington,” the article claimed. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week that Zelensky is “desperately” seeking to return to a situation when Kiev enjoyed “unlimited” funding and weapons supplies from the West. However, this will “never happen again” because the US and its allies are running out of arms and ammunition to send, he stressed. Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated that “the goals of [Moscow’s] military operation [in the Ukraine conflict] are going to be achieved consistently and persistently.”

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“..proposals to amend the country’s mobilization laws to lower the draft age, to recruit more women and to penalize draft-dodgers by cutting off their bank accounts.”

Zelensky Claims Huge Increase In Size Of Kiev’s Forces (RT)

There are currently 880,000 people serving in Ukraine’s armed forces, according to President Vladimir Zelensky, who insisted that Kiev wants to mobilize even more troops, primarily males who left the country after the start of the conflict with Russia. Just last month, Zelensky claimed that Kiev’s ground forces numbered over 600,000 service personnel, while in February 2022, when Russia launched its offensive, the Ukrainian army officially had only about 260,000 servicemen. In an interview with the German news channel ARD news broadcast on Monday, the Ukrainian leader stated that Kiev now has “a million-strong army,” adding that there are also over 30 million people who are working in the country right now, one million of whom are employed in the defense and security sectors. At the same time, Zelensky noted that between 6.5 million and 7.5 million people had left Ukraine since the start of the conflict and stated that Kiev would like to repatriate citizens who are eligible for military service.

His comments come as Kiev continues to experience dire personnel shortages on the battlefield, as has been reported by a number of top Ukrainian military officers and commanders, including the head of the country’s armed forces, General Valery Zaluzhny. While Kiev doesn’t publish its casualty figures, Russia’s Defense Ministry has estimated that Ukraine’s forces have lost as many as 160,000 service personnel since the launch of their failed summer counteroffensive, and that, over the course of the conflict, nearly 400,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed or wounded. Meanwhile, multiple media reports have also suggested that the quality of Kiev’s soldiers has also diminished. Earlier this month, the commander of Kiev’s 5th Assault Brigade, Aleksey Tarasenko, told Espresso TV that the average age of soldiers in the Ukrainian army is now over 40 years and that “young men” were desperately needed.

The US outlet Daily Beast also reported last week, citing interviews with Ukrainian men who have been avoiding mobilization, that Kiev was now sending untrained conscripts to the frontline shortly after drafting them from the streets, with many of them failing to last even a few days on the battlefield. In light of these personnel shortages, late last year Kiev intensified its mobilization efforts, with Zelensky stating at the time that the military was looking to call up an additional 500,000 new recruits. One Ukrainian official even proposed mobilizing the country’s entire population. Ukrainian lawmakers, in turn, have been debating proposals to amend the country’s mobilization laws to lower the draft age, to recruit more women and to penalize draft-dodgers by cutting off their bank accounts.

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“Before the case was heard by a jury, Judge Kaplan had already ruled that he believed President Trump defamed Ms. Carroll..”

Trump Lawyer Says ‘Experts Were Denied’ by New York Judge (ET)

An attorney for Donald Trump has claimed that her experts were denied the chance to testify before a New York jury that ultimately ruled in favor of a writer who accused the former president of defamation. Attorney Alina Habba told reporters on Jan. 26 that presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan allegedly made sure that “every single defense that President Trump had” was not raised in the case. She said her team’s “experts were denied” and couldn’t take the stand. Her comments came just hours after a jury ruled that President Trump should pay $83.8 million to writer E. Jean Carroll, finding that he defamed her in 2019 when he denied accusations that he assaulted her decades earlier. It was the second time Ms. Carroll was awarded damages from the former president after making those accusations, which he denies to this day. Ms. Habba accused Ms. Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, of bringing in a witness who was “paid for by” her firm.

“That is a violation of everything I stand for, and that is why I stand with Trump, and that is why so many Americans are so proud that he is running again and so excited to run to the ballot box but don’t get it twisted, we are seeing a violation of our justice system,” she said. During the trial, the judge threatened to jail Ms. Habba and kick President Trump out of the courtroom for what he described as “disruptive behavior.” The former president has asserted that Judge Kaplan, a Clinton appointee, is a partisan actor and biased against him. Before the case was heard by a jury, Judge Kaplan had already ruled that he believed President Trump defamed Ms. Carroll. The jury was considering the damages that should be paid. After the jury rendered the decision, Ms. Habba said she was “so proud to stand with President Trump.” “But I am not proud to stand with what I saw in that courtroom,” she told reporters.

“I have sat on trial after trial for months in this state, the state of New York, Attorney General Letitia James and now this. Weeks, weeks. Why? Because President Trump is leading in the polls, and now we see what you get in New York.” The jury of seven men and two women, whose members were kept anonymous, awarded Ms. Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages, including $11 million for harm to her reputation. She also was awarded $65 million in punitive damages, which she said was needed to stop President Trump from continuing to defame her. But President Trump has long said that he had never heard of Ms. Carroll and that she made up her story to boost sales of her memoir. His lawyers argued in the trial that she was hungry for fame and enjoyed the attention of supporters for speaking out against her nemesis, which she has denied. Ms. Carroll’s lawyer said during her closing argument that President Trump acted toward her client as though he were not bound by the law and that he should pay “dearly.”

On Jan. 25, the former president testified but spent only four minutes on the witness stand because the judge forbade him from revisiting issues that the first trial had settled. He stood behind his October 2022 deposition testimony, which jurors had seen, in which he called Ms. Carroll’s claims a “hoax” and said she was “mentally sick.” Ms. Habba predicted that the Trump appeal would succeed. “President Trump is leading in the polls, and now we see what you get in New York,” she told reporters. “It will not deter us; we will keep fighting, and I assure you we didn’t win today, but we will win.” On social media, the former president said that he “will be appealing this whole Biden-directed witch hunt focused on me and the Republican Party,” referring to the Jan. 26 decision. “Our legal system is out of control and being used as a political weapon,” he said. The New York Times reported that the former president does not have to pay Ms. Carroll the $83 million penalty until he is finished with all of his appeal options available. It also noted that he could attempt to obtain a bond, which would save him from having to pay the full amount to the writer.

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“The Georgia Senate has the right and responsibility to investigate misuse of taxpayer resources by public officials..”

GA Lieutenant Governor Announces New Committee Investigating Fani Willis (DC)

Republican Georgia Lt. Governor Burt Jones will announce members of a new investigatory committee Monday that will have subpoena power and are looking into Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the Daily Caller has first learned. The committee will be bipartisan, with six Republicans and three Democrats, and will look into Willis’ relationship with her alleged lover Nathan Wade, and the alleged misuse of taxpayer funds. Willis has faced continued scrutiny over whether her indictment against Trump was politically motivated. [..] “The Georgia Senate has the right and responsibility to investigate misuse of taxpayer resources by public officials. I have full faith in the members of this investigative committee, chosen this morning by the Committee on Assignments, and their efforts to pursue the truth wherever it may lead,” Jones told the Caller before announcing the committee.

“With this announcement, we are one step closer to uncovering the truth behind Fani Willis, her relationship with Mr. Wade, and the misuse of taxpayer funds,” Jones added. Jones announced the following state Senators will be serving on the new investigatory committee: Senator Bill Cowsert (District 46), who will serve as chair; Senator Greg Dolezal (District 28), who will serve as vice chair; Senator Jason Esteves (District 6); Senator John Kennedy (District 18); Senator Blake Tillery (District 19); Senator Harold Jones (District 22); Senator Bo Hatchett (District 50); Senator Steve Gooch (District 51); and Senator Gloria Butler (District 55).

“I am honored to be chosen to chair this important committee investigating potential misuse of taxpayer dollars for personal gain and unethical behavior by public officials and paid prosecutors. There has been a dramatic decrease in public confidence in the fairness and the impartiality of our criminal justice system. If true, recent allegations related to Fani Willis and Mr. Wade are deeply disturbing,” Cowsert who is the chairman of the committee, told the Caller. “We will independently investigate those claims in a bi-partisan fashion and in pursuit of the truth. Our charge is not to interfere with ongoing criminal proceeding, to prosecute misconduct or to disqualify any individual prosecutor. Rather, we seek to restore public confidence in our criminal justice system,” he added.

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Carlson and Peterson.

The Foundational Principle: Stop Pretending, Speak Truth (CTH)

They don’t say it the same way as me, because they are far more articulate and eloquent, but boy howdy have Carlson and Peterson come to the same conclusion. Four years ago, you heard me say it loud, “Stop Pretending and Live Your Best Life.” The first time I realized this was the best and truest hope for our restoration was after holding years of empirical, undeniable research in my hands and finding nothing but willfully blind, isolated and siloed deaf ears in DC. What Tucker Carlson describes below is the disconnect between the people and those who hold power. In this joint discussion about the future and possibility within this year 2024, both Jordan Peterson and Tucker Carlson take the first part of that framework, “stop pretending”, and turn the phrase into “speak truth.” Yes, yes, yes, THIS. When I have been asked for the past several years about what needs to be done, what can we do, my answer to every voice, influential and comfortably invisible alike, has been ‘STOP PRETENDING’ – just stop pretending. WATCH:

Stop pretending the gaslighting narrative is real. Just stop pretending. Stop ignoring the lies, and start confronting the liars directly. Look at the other voice, regardless of who they are, stare boldly directly into their eyes and speak the truth of the thing. Just stop pretending. If we all stop pretending, the narrative engineers will find no one to purchase their bulls**t anymore. At the same time, speak the truest thing as loudly as you can to confront those who use pretense as a shield to retain comfort and influence. EXAMPLE: Mary McCord sits at the epicenter of every single Lawfare machination deployed against President Trump. This is a demonstrably true and factual reality. Yet, how many allied voices do we see publicly making her known and as a consequence uncomfortable? No one. Why? Why isn’t every person of influence talking about the true thing? Why hide behind “they” and “them” or some bland, undefined, esoteric blame-casting toward an irrelevant institution. We may not know the name of every person, but we know the name of the one single thread that unites all of the effort, Mary McCord. Why is it so hard for allies to factually identify her and the corrupt behavior she is engaged in?

I no longer stare at the absence with a side eye of suspicion, I now glare knowingly and angrily at the face behind the willful omission. “You know, and I know you know,” is what that stare represents. None of those popular and influential allies on our side can ever answer the question about their silence. None of them can. Why? The second aspect, “living your best life”, is a natural outcome of living the truth of the thing without apology. Fearless adherence to the undeniable truth, and a ferocious rejection of the demanded obtuse labeling like, “disinformation, misinformation or malinformation.” Horsepucky on that nonsense, there’s true and not true; that’s it. Full effen’ stop. Living your best life is living in the truest place physically, emotionally and spiritually. A faithful adherence to the purest truth, the gospel of faith. Fellowship strengthens this critical bonding and reminds us we are not alone.

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David Martin

 

 

Whale

 

 

Koala
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751994861853835644

 

 

Unit

 

 

Cat

 

 

 

 

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