Nov 022023

JMW Turner Vignette Study of a Ship in a Storm c.1830


Deeper Into Depravity (Patrick Lawrence)
Israel in Search of Its Hiroshima (Juan Cole)
Civilian Casualties In Gaza Don’t Matter – Lindsey Graham (RT)
Sy Hersh: Israel Will Bomb Gaza Until It Destroys 65% of Hamas Tunnels (Sp.)
Biden Reportedly Doubts Netanyahu Will Last Long as Israeli PM (Sp.)
Who Are the Real Hostage-Takers: Hamas or Netanyahu? (Cunningham)
Egypt Refused To Accept Palestinian Refugees (RT)
US Rejection of ‘Civilized Realism’ Makes World Scarier Today (Sp.)
Iran Planned To Assassinate US Officials – FBI (RT)
Ukraine’s Top Security Official Targets Zelensky Critics (RT)
Ukraine Doubles Down On Efforts To Ensure Washington’s Support – Politico (RT)
US-Designed F-16s Will Survive Just A Few Weeks In Ukraine – Moscow (RT)
Día de los Muertos (Farah)
Judge Chutkan Blocks Trump From Seeing Prosecutor’s Evidence (NW)
Free Speech In the Happiest Place on Earth (Turley)













United Nations General Assembly: on September 22, 2023, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu showed a map of the so-called “new Middle East” without Palestine






Frank Church





“This is the voice of a nation that has demolished itself in its attempts to destroy others.”

Deeper Into Depravity (Patrick Lawrence)

By common agreement among many lawyers, scholars of international law, special rapporteurs, and the like—including Israelis in these fields—what we witness daily now is by all acceptable definitions a genocide. Whether or not Israel is committing war crimes by the hour is not even worth debating. But I am taken up now by the spectacle of human beings who have allowed themselves to be destroyed in the name of an ideology that proves every bit as racist as it was when, in 1975, the U.N. General Assembly declared Zionism to be so. Resolution 3379 was revoked in 1991; it should not have been. I am reminded of what I learned years ago when studying the Japanese Imperial Army’s conduct in China and Korea before and during World War II and the long record of the Kempeitai, commonly known as Imperial Japan’s Thought Police. Victimizers, I came to conclude with conviction, are victims, too.

This holds for the people in the videos I have recently viewed and for every Israeli wearing an IDF uniform. They have been stripped of all ordinary decency by the radical ideologues of “the Jewish state.” They can laugh or sneer or pull all the triggers they like: Their lives, too, have been destroyed. Look at the videos: The evidence of this is in every frame. “Nothing human disgusts me” is a line I remember well from The Night of the Iguana, the 1961 play by the superbly human Tennessee Williams. I hold to this thought (even while reading the foreign pages of The New York Times). What has happened to the people in the videos must disgust us. But what they suffer as victims could happen to all but the strongest among us. They are appalling specimens of humanity, but they are human. As we find our way to some morally, intellectually defensible high ground during the atrocities we witness daily, we need to bear this in mind.

And this, too: Those videos were not shot in isolation. They reflect a culture of racism, xenophobia, hatred, and—we see this now—sadism that has taken pride in itself for many years. These sentiments are instruments of the state, carefully cultivated. You may remember the videos shot at the time of the al–Aqsa crisis two years ago. Young Israelis in sparkling school uniforms or stylish clothes leapt up and down in a sort of frenzy in the streets of Jerusalem while shouting, “Death to all Arabs.” I read those images looking back and forward: They were the flowers of the Israeli state’s century of official indoctrination and a prelude to the videos coming out now. Arnold Toynbee, the great if no longer fashionable historian, argued in his 12–volume “A Study of History” that civilizations rise when creative elites respond to new circumstances with imagination and courage, while they decline, in turn, not in consequence of external factors but due to spiritual collapses within.

This is the Israel of Bibi Netanyahu, the Israel whose plan, we know by way of an official document leaked over the weekend, is to ethnic-cleanse Gaza and incorporate it into the Jewish state. Its leaders are brutes and—as the videos I reference show—they have destroyed Israel’s human spirit. I saw an interview Sunday with a Defense Department contractor who has visited Israel dozens of times over many years on DoD work. He recounted the steady decline in any belief in a peaceful settlement of the Israel–Palestine crisis that he has detected since 2007. For most Israelis, he observed, it is down to violence now. A headline in Monday’s editions of The Times, recording these changing desires and expectations: “I Don’t Have That Empathy. It’s Not Me Anymore.” This is the voice of a nation that has demolished itself in its attempts to destroy others.


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“..straightforwardly admitted that the Israelis knew that the strike would kill the refugees in the camp, but did it anyway.”

Israel in Search of Its Hiroshima (Juan Cole)

In one of the biggest massacres it has so far committed, the Israeli Air Force on Tuesday bombed the Jabaliyaa refugee camp in Gaza, killing or wounding at least 400 persons and destroying the Block Six residential complex, felling 20 buildings. More victims are believed to be under the rubble. An Israeli military spokesman said that the strike was directed at Hamas leader Ibrahim Biari, a mastermind of the October 7 attack on Israel. Although Israeli authorities proclaimed that they had succeeded in killing Biari, Hamas announced that he was still very much alive. Killing and wounding 400 noncombatants and destroying 20 residential buildings to get at one target, even if the target is a wanted terrorist, is strictly forbidden under the post-World War II laws of war and International Humanitarian law. These laws are codified in the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute that underpins the International Criminal Court.

For instance, Rome Statute: • Art. 8 (2) (b) (iv) Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated. (4th Geneva Convention Art. 85 (3) (b) of AP I.) • Art. 8 (2) (a) (iv) Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly (mirrored from Geneva Conventions Art. 50/51/147 of GC I, II and IV). • Art. 8 (2) (b) (i) Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities (4th Geneva Convention Art. 85 (3) (a), plus Art. 51(2) AP I). • Art. 8 (2) (b) (v) Attacking or bombarding, by whatever means, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives. (4th Geneva Convention, Art. 85 (3) (d) of AP I).

The presence of one senior Hamas commander, or even a platoon of them, among hundreds of noncombatants clearly would not justify recklessly endangering innocent civilians on the scale of Jabaliyaa. This is a war crime pure and simple. In a CNN interview by Wolf Blitzer of an Israeli military spokesman, Blitzer is clearly astonished that he straightforwardly admitted that the Israelis knew that the strike would kill the refugees in the camp, but did it anyway. The complete disregard of Israeli authorities for the laws of war and International Humanitarian Law enacted after World War II — intended to prevent atrocities of the sort committed during that war — was manifest in remarks to the New York Times, reported Monday: “It became evident to US officials that Israeli leaders believed mass civilian casualties were an acceptable price in the military campaign. In private conversations with American counterparts, Israeli officials referred to how the United States and other allied powers resorted to devastating bombings in Germany and Japan during World War II – including the dropping of the two atomic warheads in Hiroshima and Nagasaki – to try to defeat those countries.”


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He just always refuses to let anyone else sound crazier than him.

Civilian Casualties In Gaza Don’t Matter – Lindsey Graham (RT)

The US should stand by Israel in its campaign against Hamas no matter how heavy a toll it takes on the civilian population in Gaza, Senator Lindsey Graham has argued. He likened Israel’s military operation against the militants to the allies’ struggle against Nazi Germany and Japan during World War II. In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Graham was asked if there was a “threshold” for him, after which he would start questioning Israel’s tactics. The Republican replied in the negative, saying there is no limit as to “what Israel should do to the people who are trying to slaughter the Jews.” “This idea that Israel has to apologize for attacking Hamas, who’s embedded with their own population, needs to stop,” the senator insisted, adding that it is Hamas that is “creating these casualties – not Israel.”

Graham noted that Israel does need to “be smart” by trying to “limit civilian casualties.” The lawmaker also called for the delivery of humanitarian aid to “areas that protect the innocent.” During his visit to Israel last month, US President Joe Biden assured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “as long as the United States stands, and we will stand forever, we will not let you ever be alone.” Soon after Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel last month, Washington scrambled to provide its long-standing ally with additional defense aid worth billions of dollars. The US has also deployed two aircraft carrier groups and other naval assets, a squadron of F-16 fighter jets, air-defense systems, and 900 troops to the Middle East, saying this increased military presence should serve as a deterrent to other states tempted to join the conflict.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the director of the UN’s human rights office (OHCHR) in New York, Craig Mokhiber, described Israel’s actions in Gaza as a “text-book case of genocide” and the “wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist settler colonial ideology.” The official handed in his resignation, arguing that the UN had failed in its duty to prevent the killing of Palestinian civilians. He claimed that the international organization had “surrendered to the power of the US” and given in to the “Israeli lobby.” Mokhiber also accused European nations of being “complicit in the horrific assault” on Gaza and “giving political and diplomatic cover for Israel’s atrocities.”

Echoing Mokhiber’s assessment on Tuesday in Geneva, a spokesman for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), James Elder, claimed that “Gaza has become a graveyard for thousands of children,” and a “living hell for everyone else.” He called for a humanitarian ceasefire in the Palestinian enclave. The conflict has so far left more than 1,400 Israelis and over 8,000 Palestinians dead, with thousands more injured.

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“The insiders told him that up to 20,000 Hamas fighters “were living and training in the vast [underground] system, which included heat, light, ventilation, and even air-conditioning..”

“I also have been told that there is no power throughout the underground tunnel system and all the fighters and hostages are living in the dark, Hersh said.”

Sy Hersh: Israel Will Bomb Gaza Until It Destroys 65% of Hamas Tunnels (Sp.)

The Israel Defense Forces’s all-out war against the Palestinian militant group Hamas includes underground warfare that aims to destroy “a labyrinth of tunnels under Gaza,” US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in an article on Substack. He recalled that over the past few days, the IDF has escalated its ground operation against Hamas by sending tank columns “directly into Gaza and firing from a distance at targets in Gaza City.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist quoted an unnamed military source as saying that the goal was “to break Hamas’s defensive perimeter around its main bunkers and tunnels in the center of Gaza City. The source admitted that although such tactics minimize Israeli casualties and increase “enemy kills,” there are some problems. Primarily, the insider stressed, buildings and neighborhoods in Gaza are “flattened […] whether civilians are inside these buildings or not.”

Moreover, “The slow approach takes time. How much time does Israel have to pursue this war?” the source said, referencing growing worldwide protests against the IDF operation in Gaza. Hersh, for his part, pointed out that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) is doing its best to obliterate “the extensive Hamas tunnel system that includes exits and entrances underneath the thousands of residential and office buildings in Gaza City.” In this vein, the source told the journalist that almost 50 percent of the targeted buildings inside Gaza City have already been destroyed, and that “the bombing is scheduled to continue until the IAF reaches its goal of wiping out 65 percent of the possible citywide escape routes for the Hamas leadership and its fighters.” Hersh quoted another unnamed source as describing the Hamas tunnels as something that was “dazzling in its ingenuity.”

“There were administrative tunnels, command-and-control tunnels, and storage tunnels throughout Gaza City,” the source claimed, adding that it was decided after the October 7 Hamas attack that “all buildings with terminal exits and entry points had to be bombed.” Separate insiders told the journalist that “there is no sign that the Israeli leadership will stop the nearly round-the-clock bombing campaign until 65 percent of the targets for destruction have been hit.” Right now, Hersh added, Gaza City looks “a deadly wasteland” due to the bombings.

The insiders told him that up to 20,000 Hamas fighters “were living and training in the vast [underground] system, which included heat, light, ventilation, and even air-conditioning. The citywide access made it possible for many to come and go to their families in Gaza City.” The sources also said that many Hamas tunnels “are believed to have collapsed as a result of the heavy bombing, and it is not clear how long the militants can survive, despite the tunnels’ heavy stockpiling of food and water.” “I also have been told that there is no power throughout the underground tunnel system and all the fighters and hostages are living in the dark, Hersh said. In conclusion, he cited one of the sources saying that “from Israel’s perspective, it is now a no-holds-barred war.”

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White House starts distancing itself from Bibi. Too toxic.

Biden Reportedly Doubts Netanyahu Will Last Long as Israeli PM (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden doubts that Benjamin Netanyahu has a good chance of remaining the prime minister of Israel amid the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and believes that his days as a political figure are numbered, US media reported, citing senior administration officials. Biden discussed Netanyahu’s political survival with his aides in recent White House meetings, including following his trip to Israel where he had a chance to meet with the Israeli prime minister in person, media said Wednesday. Moreover, Biden reportedly even told Netanyahu to think about the lessons he had learned and how he could pass them on to his successor. Officials believe Netanyahu has several months left as the prime minister, or until the conclusion of the early phase of Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

One of the administration officials quoted indicated that discussions of the situation in the Middle East always take into account Netanyahu’s shaky power position in Israel, and the fact that he is also losing public support after the Hamas attack took Tel Aviv by surprise, as well as amid growing protest sentiments around the world against the brutality of the Israeli army towards Palestinian civilians. Netanyahu on Sunday posted a message on X, in which he blasted Israel’s defense and intelligence services, saying he was not warned about Hamas’ plans before the October 7 attack. Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said Netanyahu had “crossed a red line” by blaming the country’s army and security services for the failures that led to the deadly attack on Israel. Several hours later, the prime minister removed the post and apologized for it, as it caused a wave of harsh criticism from various sides.

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”..all citizens including Jews who are speaking out against war are liable to be charged as “terrorists”..

Who Are the Real Hostage-Takers: Hamas or Netanyahu? (Cunningham)

The plight of the hostages presents a dilemma for Netanyahu. He is trying to assure Israelis that the “second stage” of the “war on Hamas” – that is the ground invasion – will achieve both objectives of defeating Hamas and rescuing the hostages. However, the Israeli leader and his war Cabinet are cynically deceiving their people. If the IDF proceed further with its ground operation, the hostages will most likely die. Already Hamas spokesmen have claimed that 50 hostages have lost their lives during the relentless air strikes over the past three weeks. Hamas released four of the hostages on humanitarian considerations. The fierce gun battles that are anticipated amid the rubble of Gaza and throughout the maze of tunnels do not bode well for the safe return of the remaining captives. This is why families of the hostages and many supporters among the Israeli public are calling on Netanyahu to abandon the ground operation and to engage in negotiations for a prisoner exchange.

Hamas officials have offered the release of hostages in exchange for the freedom of all Palestinian political prisoners held by the Israelis. The Israelis detained an estimated 5,000 Palestinians before October 7. The number has increased dramatically over the past three weeks due to a repressive policy of reprisal by the Israeli state. Hundreds of Palestinians in the other enclave territory of the Occupied West Bank have been taken into custody under emergency powers. Israeli families are becoming increasingly angry at the way Netanyahu and his ministers are handling the crisis. Protests were held at the weekend outside the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv. One parent demanded: “We want all of them [the hostages] back with us today. We want you, the Cabinet, the government, to imagine that these are your children.”

Many Israelis have pointed out how Netanyahu’s sons, Yair and Avner, have inexplicably avoided military call-ups during the so-called state of war declared by the Cabinet. Netanyahu’s eldest son Yair (32) has been on an extended holiday in Miami since April this year. Others are indignant at the seemingly callous attitude towards the families. “They feel like they’re left behind and no one is really caring about them,” said Miki Haimovitz, a former lawmaker. “No one is explaining what’s going on,” he added, as quoted by Associated Press. Another lawmaker, Ofer Cassif, told the Strategic Culture Foundation that the Netanyahu government is ramping up repressive powers against any form of opposition to its military and security policies. Cassif says public meetings throughout Israel are being banned for any groups who are calling for an end to the violence and for negotiations to prevail. He says the persecution is particularly sharp against Palestinians living in Israeli territory. Still, all citizens including Jews who are speaking out against war are liable to be charged as “terrorists”.

In a statement, Cassif, a Member of Parliament (Knesset) for the Hadash party said: “Netanyahu and his thugs use the smokescreen of the war to impose a martial law on Israeli citizens, predominantly Palestinian ones: protests are prohibited and can now be answered with live ammunition, workers and students are suspended and dissidents are persecuted for posts on the social network. I plead to the world – supporting the Israeli government is not supporting Israeli people – it is supporting fascism, death and dictatorship. If you wish to help Israeli people in this dire time – support the peace movement, not the warmongers who waged a war against their own people.” Despite the repression, a groundswell of public opposition is building against Netanyahu and his coalition administration, which comprises extreme Zionists like Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Interior Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.


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They let in a few hundred foreigners and wounded yesterday.

Egypt Refused To Accept Palestinian Refugees (RT)

In light of issues in Egypt over whether Palestinian refugees should be accepted, the country’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly visited northern Sinai on Tuesday and vowed that his country is determined to safeguard its territory and maintain its sovereignty over it. Addressing members of parliament, tribal and military leaders as well as public figures assembled at al-Arish near Egypt’s borders with Gaza and Israel, Madbouly said: “We are prepared to sacrifice millions of lives to ensure that no one encroaches upon our territory.” According to the prime minister, Cairo intends to expand its plans to develop and reconstruct the Sinai Peninsula in the near future, demonstrating that “Egypt remains committed to the region.” The UN Secretary General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that the involuntary relocation of Palestinians is unacceptable.

“We stand clearly against the forced mass displacement of people, full stop. And we’ve seen in other places around the world and we’ve been consistent in that,” he claimed on Tuesday. President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said on October 21 that Cairo rejected “any attempt to liquidate the Palestinian issue by military means or through the forced displacement of Palestinians from their land.” Egyptians see as a matter of concern that the 2.3 million people currently living in Gaza could end up in Sinai. As the Financial Times reported, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, aimed to persuade European leaders to put pressure on Cairo to accept Gazans last week. According to the source, France and Germany refused the request to persuade Egypt to accept the agreement. Jordan also refused to accept refugees from Gaza.

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“ was clear that something was within the Soviet sphere of influence, and something within the American sphere of influence, and the parties respected these borders..”

US Rejection of ‘Civilized Realism’ Makes World Scarier Today (Sp.)

Sixty-one years ago this month, between mid-late October of 1962, the world bated its breath as the nuclear superpowers approached the precipice of a third and likely final world war in humanity’s history. Concerned by the deployment of US nuclear missiles in Turkiye and the global strategic imbalance caused by the USSR’s lack of long-range missiles capable of reaching US soil, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev made the audacious and highly risky decision to try to secretly deploy more than 160 nuclear weapons in Cuba – then a newfound Soviet ally. US intelligence found out about the attempted deployment, triggering the two-week standoff.

War was averted thanks to a masterclass of personalized back-and-forth diplomacy between Khrushchev and US President John F. Kennedy, with the leaders sending each other a series of letters, and ultimately finding mutual readiness to compromise. In exchange for an ironclad commitment by the US not to invade Cuba, and to quietly remove its Jupiter missiles from Turkiye, the USSR agreed to withdraw and never again station nuclear weapons on the Caribbean Island. Sixty years later, the roles reversed, with NATO expanding up to Russia’s borders, and the US building nuclear-capable anti-missile launch sites in Eastern Europe. Amid intelligence reports of Ukrainian plans to attack the Donbass, and NATO statements that it would not entertain Russian concerns about Ukrainian membership in the Western alliance, Moscow made a final diplomatic overture to prevent escalation – sending a pair of comprehensive draft treaty proposals to Washington and Brussels in December 2021 designed to ease tensions.

NATO and the US rejected the draft treaties, ultimately sparking a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, and slowly escalating tensions by delivering evermore advanced weapons to the country, including long-range artillery, depleted uranium tank shells, cluster bombs and cruise missiles which can hit targets deep inside the Russian hinterland. The Ukrainian crisis has served to dramatically escalate strategic tensions between the nuclear superpowers, with the US conducting a large scale explosion at a nuclear testing ground in Nevada as Russia moved to pull out of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty last week. The perilous state of relations between Moscow and Washington today is even more dangerous than it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis, says Moscow State University professor, author and veteran Russian US politics expert Boris Mezhuev – in part because Washington refuses to recognize Russia’s basic rights as a great power, and in part due to the fundamentalist ideology of the current crop of American elites.

In 1962, Mezhuev told Sputnik, there was a “clear ideological positioning of the two sides,” with each “proceeding from the fact that the other had a certain right to an ideological position.” “The second factor, which flows from the first, is that there was tacit recognition of the idea of spheres of influence. That is, it was clear that something was within the Soviet sphere of influence, and something within the American sphere of influence, and the parties respected these borders,” the observer said. In that sense, the USSR’s deployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba was rightfully perceived by the US as a violation of this tacit agreement – just as the US deployment of nukes in Turkiye was seen as a threat to Moscow.

“From Yalta in 1945 onward, in general, the two sides recognized one another’s spheres of influence, a fact which was later condemned by the so-called democratic fundamentalists as a severe deviation from the ideals of democracy. The idea of limited sovereignty existed. And despite its absolutely anti-democratic nature, which of course was clearly obvious, it nevertheless allowed the sides to generally understand what could and couldn’t be done. In this sense, Khrushchev’s actions were perceived by the Soviet elite as too voluntaristic and risky, which in fact ultimately culminated in his ouster,” Mezhuev explained.

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1/ I don’t believe this for a second.
2/ When Trump ordered Soleimani killed in 2020, they may have wanted to retaliate. But how many US officials did Iran kill?
3/ This is simply a sign the US are cranking up tensions with Iran.

Iran Planned To Assassinate US Officials – FBI (RT)

Iran plotted to assassinate current and former US officials, FBI Director Christopher Wray claimed on Tuesday as he warned of an increased terrorism threat during a Senate hearing. In his opening statement to the Committee on Homeland Security, Wray said the terrorism threat in the US had been elevated throughout 2023, but had risen “to a whole other level” due to the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas. He added that the FBI believes the surprise assault by Hamas on Israel on October 7, in which as many as 1,400 Israelis were killed, could inspire other “violent extremists” to carry out attacks against Americans “going about their daily lives.”

Wray further claimed that Iran, which he described as “the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism,” had previously directly or indirectly “mounted assassination attempts against dissidents and high-ranking current and former US government officials, including right here on American soil.” The FBI chief also said Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which he described as “Iran’s primary strategic partner,” had a history of operating on US soil “going back years,” including by “obtaining money and weapons, and spying.”

Wray stated that the FBI is actively monitoring these groups and their intentions in the US, while warning that American interests and critical infrastructure are already being targeted by cyberattacks from Iran as well as non-state actors. This could eventually escalate to “kinetic attacks” if the Middle East conflict expands, the FBI chief claimed. At the same time, Wray noted that the FBI currently has no indications that Hamas has the intention or capability to carry out operations inside the US. Nevertheless, the agency has not ruled out the possibility that Hamas or “another foreign terrorist organization” could attempt an attack on American soil.

Wray’s comments came as Israeli forces escalated their incursion into Gaza in response to the October 7 attacks. Health authorities in the enclave have reported that over 8,500 Palestinians have so far been killed amid the Israeli retaliation. Tehran, meanwhile, has repeatedly accused the US of fueling tensions in the Middle East. Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian called on Washington to end its support for Israel in the conflict with Hamas. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has accused Washington of “directing” Israel’s strikes on Gaza, labeling America “a definite accomplice of criminals.”

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“If you … do not believe that our country can achieve victory, you have no right to be near our president..”

Ukraine’s Top Security Official Targets Zelensky Critics (RT)

Anonymous senior Ukrainian officials who told Time magazine they do not share President Vladimir Zelensky’s vision of a military victory over Russia must be identified and ousted, the secretary of the national security council, Aleksey Danilov, told local media on Tuesday. Danilov expressed outrage with the Time article, which was published on Monday, stating that it was playing into Russia’s hands. The fact that the outlet granted anonymity to some of its sources – a normal practice that allows officials to discuss problems candidly, “raises many questions,”according to him. “If you … do not believe that our country can achieve victory, you have no right to be near our president,” Danilov declared.

He suggested that the anonymous sources inflicted harm on Ukraine before stating: “I believe our security agencies should give an answer to the question who those anonymous people are.” Ukrainian people questioning Kiev’s official line have been previously labeled “pro-Russian”and punished in various ways, including through criminal prosecution. The Time article described Zelensky’s belief in a battlefield victory over Russia as “immovable, verging on the messianic.” “He deludes himself,” one of his closest aides was quoted as saying. “We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that.” The president’s “stubbornness”has prevented Kiev from even considering a diplomatic resolution of the crisis, the outlet said. The failure of Western donors to provide even more weapons to Ukraine than they did makes Zelensky feel “betrayed” by them, another insider revealed.

Danilov questioned the credentials of the quoted individuals, stating that Zelensky has no formal aides and only has a single female personal assistant. He urged Time’s author, Simon Shuster, to “stop using anonymous speech, because it’s a very, very sensitive issue for our nation.” “The Russian Federation has the only way to defeat us, that is internal destabilization,” he added. Moscow has called the Ukraine conflict an element of the US proxy war against Russia, in which the neighboring country is used as a “battering ram.” Washington allegedly derailed a negotiated truce in the early weeks of the hostilities, which would have made Ukraine a neutral nation not allowed to host any foreign military infrastructure or join military blocs in exchange for international security guarantees.

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The lobby war.

Ukraine Doubles Down On Efforts To Ensure Washington’s Support – Politico (RT)

Ukraine has intensified its lobbying campaign in the US, anxious to keep military aid flowing amid changing realities both stateside and globally, Politico has claimed. Kiev’s wish list reportedly includes air-to-air missiles, the long-range, single-warhead version of the ATACMS missile, as well as training conducting ship-to-shore operations. In its article on Tuesday, the media outlet reported that a delegation of Ukrainian officials and troops had arrived in Washington, DC last week, requesting new types of weapons and assistance. Politico, citing the Ukrainian representatives, said Kiev needs aircraft-borne rockets to shoot down Russian bombers, which have increasingly been using GPS-guided glide bombs. As for the Army Tactical Missile System, the US secretly donated a small number of medium-range rockets tipped with cluster munition warheads, as reported by multiple media outlets last month.

However, those rockets are not effective against better-protected targets than their solid warhead cousin, a member of the Ukrainian delegation told Politico. On top of that, Ukraine allegedly asked its US backers to accelerate the F-16 training program for Ukrainian pilots as well as join the UK’s Royal Marines in preparing Ukrainian forces for amphibious operations, with a view to crossing the Dnepr River. Ukrainian troops have for months been trying to establish a foothold on the left bank in Russia’s Kherson Region in an apparent attempt to draw some of Moscow’s forces away from the front line in Donbass and Zaporozhye Region. The report alleged that President Vladimir Zelensky’s meeting with US lawmakers in Kiev on Monday was also part of this effort to ensure American support, which has apparently begun to look less certain.

Politico cited the recent election of Mike Johnson as speaker of the United States House of Representatives, who is opposed to issuing blank checks to Ukraine. Another factor mentioned in the article is the latest escalation between Israel and Hamas, which risks diverting international attention from Kiev’s struggle. Speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that Russia would prevail in its conflict with Ukraine, should Washington withdraw its support for Kiev. Austin, along with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, were making the case for the provision of $44 billion more in defense and other aid to the Eastern European nation, which had been tied to funding for Israel and Taiwan in President Biden’s request. In its report on Monday, Time magazine, citing President Zelensky’s aides, who were speaking on condition of anonymity, reported that the Ukrainian head of state increasingly feels “betrayed by his Western allies” for their apparent failure to provide his country with the “means to win the war.”

According to the Pentagon’s own estimates, the US has already expended $43.9 billion on “security assistance” to Kiev since February 2022. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive has fallen short of high expectations, with the Ukrainian leadership acknowledging that its military has failed to make much progress. In its article, Time assessed that the push has caused Kiev “enormous losses.” According to the most recent Russian figures, the Ukrainian military lost more than 90,000 men between early June and early October. Russia has repeatedly warned Western nations that the shipment of heavy weapons and other military aid to Ukraine makes them de facto parties to the conflict. Moscow has also stressed that no amount of foreign aid will change the course of the struggle, and that the Russian Army will employ effective countermeasures against any weapons system.

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It’s simply about money.

US-Designed F-16s Will Survive Just A Few Weeks In Ukraine – Moscow (RT)

Russian air defenses showed a high rate of success in shooting down Ukrainian military aircraft last month, the Russian defense minister said on Wednesday. Sergey Shoigu claimed that if maintained, it would allow the entire fleet of F-16s, pledged to Kiev by Western donors, to be destroyed in less than three weeks. Speaking at a ministerial meeting, the minister praised Russian forces for conducting over 1,400 successful intercepts in October. He said the figure included 37 Ukrainian planes, almost twice the number of F-16s that foreign nations intended to give to Kiev. “If our air defense forces work this way, [the F16 fleet] amounts to roughly 20 days of work,” he predicted. The aircraft that Russian forces took down last month were predominantly Soviet-designed MiG-29s and Su-25s, according to the Defense Ministry.

Shoigu previously claimed that Russian troops had been using “new complexes” to improve interceptions. A source cited by TASS has claimed that Russia has been using A-50 airborne radar planes to detect Ukrainian targets earlier and at lower altitudes. The hits were reportedly achieved by long-range anti-aircraft missiles fired from S-400 launchers, armed with new warheads and guided using data from airborne radars. Ever since the start of the conflict with Moscow, Kiev has been pushing its allies to supply increasingly advanced weapons. Ukrainian pilots are currently being trained to fly F-16s. The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Belgium have pledged to provide the fighter jets over the next few years, as part of their programs to transition to more modern military planes.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Monday that the first F-16s allocated by his government would arrive at a military base in Romania, where the training of Ukrainians is conducted, within two weeks. Reports on the number of F-16 that Ukraine could get have been inconsistent. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed in August that he was promised 42 jets by The Netherlands and Belgium, but a joint statement by the donors did not mention any specific number. Rutte said at the time that his nation’s entire F-16 fleet had 42 planes and that it would need to retain some for training purposes. Kiev’s supporters previously suggested that Western-designed weapons would become a gamechanger in the conflict, with their hopes pinned at various points on HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems, Storm Shadow cruise missiles, Leopard main battle tanks, and ATACMS tactical ballistic missiles. Zelensky praised the August F-16 pledge announcement as “historic, powerful, motivational.” The Kremlin has dismissed the notion, saying that the newly-supplied Western weapons “will burn like the rest of them”.

Read more …

Under the Volcano.

Día de los Muertos (Farah)

According to colonial period records, the Aztec empire was formed in A.D. 1427, only about a century before the arrival of Spanish . But the celebration that Mexicans now call Día de los Muertos almost certainly existed many centuries earlier, perhaps originating with the Toltec people of central Mexico. In any case, by the time the Spanish conquistadors invaded in 1519, the Aztecs recognized a wide pantheon of gods, which included a goddess of death and the underworld named Mictecacihuatl.

She was celebrated throughout the entire ninth month of the Aztec calendar, a 20-day month that corresponded roughly to late July and early August. Aztec mythology tells that Mictecacihuatl was sacrificed as a baby and magically grew to adulthood in the underworld, where she married. With her husband, she presided over the underworld. Mictecacihuatl – who is often depicted with flayed skin and a gaping, skeletal jaw – was linked to both death and resurrection. According to one myth, Mictecacihuatl and her husband collected bones so that they might be returned to the land of the living and restored by the gods. The Aztecs appeased these fearsome underworld gods by burying their dead with food and precious objects.

Archaeologists and historians know relatively little about the details of the month-long celebration of Mictecacihuatl, but say it likely involved burning incense, song and dance, and blood sacrifice – customary practices in many Aztec rituals. The Spanish invaders of Mexico were Catholic, and they worked hard to evangelize native peoples. To stamp out lingering indigenous beliefs, they demolished religious temples, burned indigenous idols and destroyed Aztec books. But indigenous people in Mexico, as across the Americas, resisted Spanish efforts to eradicate their culture. Instead, they often blended their own religious and cultural practices with those imposed on them by the Spanish. Perhaps the best-known symbol of the ethnic and cultural mixing that defines modern Mexico is La Virgen de Guadalupe, a uniquely Mexican Virgin Mary.

Many Mexican Catholics believe that in 1531 the Virgin appeared to Juan Diego, an indigenous Mexican farmer, and in his native language of Nahuatl told him to build a shrine to her. Today the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is among the world’s most visited holy sites. Day of the Dead is almost certainly a similar case of blended cultures. Spanish conquerors faced difficulty in convincing native peoples to give up their rituals honoring death goddess Mictecihuatl. The compromise was to move these indigenous festivities from late July to early November to correspond with Allhallowtide – the three-day Christian observance of All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. With this move, the holiday was nominally connected to Catholicism. But many practices and beliefs associated with the worship of the dead remained deeply indigenous.

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“..the defense identifies no case in which any court has ordered the relief they seek here, and this court is aware of none. There is good reason for that lack of precedent..”

Judge Chutkan Blocks Trump From Seeing Prosecutor’s Evidence (NW)

Judge Tanya Chutkan blocked former President Donald Trump from seeing federal prosecutors’ evidence ahead of his federal election interference trial. A federal grand jury in August indicted Trump on four counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States. Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith has investigated Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the election results, including attempts to submit false slates of pro-Trump electors from swing states he lost to the Electoral College. Trump maintains his innocence, accusing prosecutors of targeting him for political purposes. He pleaded not guilty in this case, as he did in his three other criminal cases. Chutkan, who is overseeing the trial, issued an order on Wednesday blocking Trump’s legal team from seeing some of the government’s evidence against him that has been deemed classified.

Chutkan granted the government’s motion to allow prosecutors to withhold “certain classified information” from the former president, instead allowing them to provide an “unclassified summary substitution for certain classified information.” The government cited the Classified Information Procedures Act and Rule (CIPA) in their motion requesting to withhold the information. As the information is classified, the nature of the evidence being held from Trump’s legal team remains unknown. Judge Chutkan determined the summary posed by the government “adequately describes any content of the withheld materials that could be considered relevant and helpful to the defense,” siding with Smith. Trump’s legal team earlier in October introduced their own motion requesting “attorneys’-eyes-only” access to the CIPA documents.

“At the outset, it bears emphasis that the defense identifies no case in which any court has ordered the relief they seek here, and this court is aware of none. There is good reason for that lack of precedent: “As [CIPA’s] House Report explains, ‘since the government is seeking to withhold classified information from the defendant, an adversary hearing with defense knowledge would defeat the very purpose of the discovery rules,'” She continued, “It is not possible to isolate the unclassified portions of the CIPA § 4 Motion in such a way that its arguments could be meaningfully litigated.”

Just minutes earlier, Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing the federal trial into the classified documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, issued a separate order surrounding a CIPA order filed by the government. In that order, the government requested to use a separate CIPA rule to more broadly limit Trump’s legal team’s access to classified documents. Cannon, however, dismissed their case as lacking “merit.” Cannon ruled federal prosecutors must go through the “proper mechanism” to do so, even if the special counsel “meets its burden to restrict from Defendants whatever quantity of classified information it seeks to restrict.


Read more …

“Soon after his objections, Disney posted a new vision of the dwarves as a happy band of male and female, racially diverse group of non-dwarves (except for one actor).”

Free Speech In the Happiest Place on Earth (Turley)

Walt Disney once remarked, “You reach a point where you don’t work for money.” For shareholders of Disney, the most common complaint in recent years is that the entire corporation appears to have reached that point in pushing woke movies that have bombed with consumers and a political fight with Florida that has already cost the corporation dearly. At the heart of two recent controversies are free speech disputes. The company’s new Snow White, actress Rachel Zegler, is publicly defending her right to trash the franchise’s original storyline and characters. In the meantime, the company is objecting that it is being punished for its own free speech in opposing Florida’s popular parental rights law. Recently, Disney dropped all of its federal claims against the state of Florida over the company’s public opposition to the Parental Rights in Education Act.

The only exception is its free speech claim that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has retaliated against the House of Mouse for speaking as a company against the law. (It has state litigation that is continuing on other claims.) At the same time, Disney is facing another free speech controversy after Zegler used her casting as the new Snow White to denounce the entire premise and appeal of the original 1937 movie, calling Prince Charming a presumptive “stalker” and promising to ditch the whole love interest. She told an interviewer that Snow White is “not going to be saved by the prince and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love.” What followed was a familiar groan to another Disney woke remake that seems to delight only Disney actors and diversity officers.

The problems with the film were magnified when even the dwarves seemed to get the axe after “Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage expressed his disapproval for the film and objected to the very notion of any of the seven traditional figures making a reappearance: “You’re still making that f—ing backwards story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together, what the f— are you doing, man? Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soap box? I guess I’m not loud enough.” He was indeed loud enough (which is surprising since his movie, “Cyrano,” bombed at the box office and took in just $6.4 million for a $30 million production). Soon after his objections, Disney posted a new vision of the dwarves as a happy band of male and female, racially diverse group of non-dwarves (except for one actor).

The backlash (and the actors’ strike) has now resulted in a delay of the release of the remake for another year and the sudden re-appearance of the original dwarves. (Disney insists that the earlier actors were just “stand ins” for the dwarves, which is a bit odd since the dwarves are digitally produced.) Yet, right on cue, Zegler was back in the news with the release of the new images and date by reaffirming her earlier comments. Zegler encourages other actors to follow her lead in speaking out on such subjects. Echoing Dinklage, Zegler declared that “we have to be fearless and loud in order to be heard, and to prepare for the backlash that occasionally comes with that outspokenness.” Her rep quickly ran forward to say, “Snow White was not mentioned in her quotes.” The concern was obvious with an actress stirring the same pot that has caused the movie to tank in promotions. For the rep, there is also the concern that talent are subject to contracts with reservation clauses on disparaging or damaging public comments or conduct.

Read more …







 the years 1950-1951, the A. C. Gilbert Company distributed the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, a toy kit allowing kids to make nuclear reactions at home using actual radioactive material. It was taken off the shelves in 1951.






Dog bus





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Aug 092019

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001


The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unsealed a batch of documents in the Jeffrey Epstein case today, as announced recently. Actually, it’s a case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s madam and main procurer of little girls. Giuffre bought the case after Maxwell accused her of lying about the whole thing.

There’s still much more of this to come, and given the VIP status of many people mentioned in the case, and the documents, there’s no saying what exactly will be revealed.

But I thought I’d pick out a few bits, if only to show you to what extent your opinion on cases like this is being manufactured for you, without you realizing it of course. And if you think you DO realize it, chances are you are the sucker at the poker table.

First, the Guardian’s take:

Jeffrey Epstein: Large Tranche Of Files Released In Ghislaine Maxwell Lawsuit

A large tranche out of 2,000 pages of potentially explosive documents in a lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell – the British socialite and daughter of former media tycoon Robert Maxwell accused of acting as a recruiter of girls and women for disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein – have been made public. Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s many accusers, filed a Manhattan federal court lawsuit against Maxwell in 2015, alleging defamation.

Giuffre, née Roberts, claimed Maxwell defamed her by calling her a liar over her allegations against Maxwell and Epstein. Giuffre has alleged that Maxwell recruited her to work as a masseuse for Epstein when she was 15 and had been working as a locker-room attendant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Giuffre had previously alleged that Epstein, who had political connections, forced her into sexual encounters with Prince Andrew.

That’s an introduction in case you still needed it. And the best the paper can do after that is regurgitate a bunch of Trump quotes, along with a two decades old photo of Trump and Epstein:

Epstein, a financier whose net worth is now thought to be some $560m, also associated with Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. Trump, who was pictured partying with Epstein and women in the 1990s, has recently attempted to distance himself from the financier. In the wake of Epstein’s arrest last month, Trump told reporters he “knew [Epstein], like everybody in Palm Beach knew him”, but added: “I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.”

However, in a 2002 profile of Epstein from New York magazine, Trump was quoted as saying: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” Clinton also distanced himself from Epstein in a statement issued by his press secretary, saying he had “not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade” and “knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he had been recently charged in New York”.

Now, if you turn these two quotes around, and you start with the 2002 one and follow it with the morse recent quote, what you end up with is Trump at first being unaware of who Epstein is and upon finding out, distancing himself from the man. There’s also the alleged fact that Trump threw Epstein out of Mar-a-Lago some 15 years ago for forcing himself upon an underage girl.

I’m not trying to exonerate Trump, and may he burn in the same hell Epstein is going to if he’s guilty of the same depraved behavior, it’s just that I haven’t seen any proof, merely another endless tempest of innuendo, such as we’ve seen about Trump for 3 solid years now. Anybody remember Russiagate?

And you know, this is from the Guardian, whose simplistic worldview is everything Trump=BAD and everything Putin=BAD. But it’s still a bit puzzling. If they assigned a reporter, or more, to the story, how is it possible that the reporter(s) didn’t pick up on the one thing that is actually newsworthy about it? I think I know how that is possible: Trump=BAD.

I hadn’t seen any reports of Trump being on an Epstein plane to date, but CNBC’s coverage of the unsealed documents lifts a little piece of the veil. He WAS on an Epstein plane, albeit over 22 years ago, but it wasn’t the Lolita Express that flew underage girls and VIPs from various US locations to Epstein’s private Caribbean island. It was just Palm Beach to Newark.

That is something I’ve been wondering about for a while: We know that Bill Clinton was on that Lolita Express at least 26 times, yet there are no reports of Donald Trump having been on it even once. But just about any article that deals with Epstein has a 20-year-old photo of him with Trump.

Giuffre names names, 5 in particular, as CNBC found out from the docs. Wait, but the Guardian did not find these names?! What was the Guardian looking for then?

Court Documents About Jeffrey Epstein, Accused In Sex Traffic Case, And His Alleged Procurer Ghislaine Maxwell

The documents include one containing flights records showing that President Donald Trump flew on Epstein’s private plane in January 1997, from a Palm Beach, Florida, airport to Newark, New Jersey. In another document, one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, says Maxwell directed her to have sex with a former governor and other prominent people.

The files released Friday are part of a defamation lawsuit that Giuffre filed against Maxwell several years ago. The suit accused Maxwell of calling Giuffre, a liar for claiming that Maxwell and Epstein sexually abused her when she was underage. Giuffre had also alleged that she was sexually abused while in Epstein’s circle by “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executive, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister and other world leaders,” as well as noted lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor.

[..] On Friday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Maxwell’s request to have the full circuit review an earlier decision by a three-judge appeals panel that had denied Maxwell’s effort to keep the entire case sealed. The circuit court sent the case back to the district court, where a judge will decide how much of the remaining documents will be unsealed. It also unsealed documents that included pleadings in the defamation case, depositions, and other material.

Among the documents unsealed is deposition of Giuffre, in which she says that Maxwell directed her to have sex with Prince Andrew of Britain, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, hedge funder Glenn Dubin, late MIT scientist Marvin Minsky, modeling company founder Jean Luc-Brunel, the owner of large hotel chain, and another prince. In that deposition, when asked if she was angry at Epstein, Giuffre answered, “Furious.” Asked if she was angry at [Alan] Dershowitz, Giuffre said, “Absolutely.”

But all the above, the Guardian and CNBC, is only an lead-in to what made me take this up. The first I read about the unsealing was from Adam Klasfeld at CourtHouseNews via Zero Hedge. And there is not one iota of doubt about what is the main take-away from the first batch of unsealed docs. None. How did the Guardian miss this then, and CNBC? Is it incompetence? You be the judge.

Epstein Documents Hit; Accuser Says Trump ‘Didn’t Partake In Any Sex With Any Of Us’

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ordered the partial release of what is expected to be approximately 2,000 pages of documents related to convicted pedophile sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The document release stems from a 2015 defamation lawsuit in New York brought by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Epstein’s ‘Madam’ – Ghislaine Maxwell.

Giuffre says Maxwell helped Epstein traffic herself and other underage girls to sex parties at the billionaire pedophile’s many residences. The case was settled in 2017 and the records were sealed – leading to an appeal by filmmaker and author Mike Cernovich, who was later joined by the Miami Herald and several other parties including lawyer Alan Dershowitz – who has sought to clear his name in connection with Epstein’s activities.

[..] While Epstein’s ties to former President Bill Clinton and other famous figures are well known – all of whom have tried to distance themelves in recent weeks, much has been made about the relationship between President Trump and the pedophile financier.

Following a 2011 article by journalist Sharon Churcher claiming that Donald Trump was a “good friend of Jeffrey’s,” Giuffre was asked to clarify Churcher’s possible misquote that “Donald Trump was also a good friend of Jeffrey’s,” and that Trump “Didn’t partake in any” of — “any sex with any of us but he flirted with me.” “It’s true that he didn’t partake in any sex with us, and but it’s not true that he flirted with me. Donald Trump never flirted with me,” said Giuffre.

That main take-away, the Big Kahuna, which concerns the President of the United States, is that Giuffre fully exonerates Trump. At least for what she has witnessed of Epstein’s behavior. And Giuffre, if you follow the story, was a pretty central figure in the Epstein/Maxwell depravity. And she was that for many years. So you would think that must be the Guardian’s big fat headline tomorrow morning. Yeah, good luck.

The Guardian wrote the story for you long ago -and you don’t get a say-: Trump=BAD and Putin=BAD and Julian Assange=BAD and Jeremy Corbyn=an antisemite, so also BAD.

Here are the docs:




And I keep on asking myself: how is it possible that Ghislaine Maxwell is still walking around free? Does she have something on every single DA in the US?

Also, the news out of those unsealed docs is that the President of the United States is exonerated by perhaps the no. 1 victim in Jeffrey Epstein’s cabal, and the media just “forget” to report on that?