Pablo Picasso Young girl throwing a rock 1931
“It’s basically the revenge of the United States” says wife of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
Stella Moris calls US espionage charges against him “political persecution” and says UK Home Secretary – who will decide on his extradition – has his “life in her hands” pic.twitter.com/dQccKBeiad
— BBC HARDtalk (@BBCHARDtalk) May 17, 2022
“Just days ago it was announced that Russia expects record grain production this year (130 million tonnes). Russia may yet demand payment in roubles for all this as well.”
• After the NATO War is Over (Batiushka)
Make no mistake about it: The tragic war that is currently taking place on Ukrainian battlefields is not between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine, but between the Russian Federation and the US-controlled NATO. The latter, also called ‘the collective West’, promotes an aggressive ideology of organised violence, a politically- economically- and militarily-enforced doctrine euphemistically known as ‘Globalism’. This means hegemony by the Western world, which arrogantly calls itself ‘the international community’, over the whole planet. NATO is losing that war, which uses NATO-trained Ukrainians as its proxy cannon fodder, in three spheres, political, economic and military.
Firstly, politically, the West has finally understood that it cannot execute regime change in Moscow. Its pipedream of replacing the highly popular President Putin with is CIA stooge Navalny is not going to happen. As for the West’s puppet-president in Kiev, he is only a creature of Washington and its oligarchs. A professional actor, he is unable to speak for himself, but is a spokesman for the NATO which he loves. Secondly, economically, the West faces serious resistance to the 6,000 sanctions it has imposed on Russia and Russians. Those sanctions have backfired. In the West, we can testify to this every time we buy fuel or food. The combination of high inflation (10% +) and even higher energy prices, caused almost solely by these illegal anti-Russian sanctions, are threatening the collapse of Western economies, much more than threatening Russia or China.
As a result of this reverse effect of sanctions against Russia, the rouble is at a three-year high, standing at about 64 to the US dollar and rising, though immediately after the sanctions it had briefly gone down to 150 to the dollar. After strenuously denying that they would do it, already most countries in Europe (at least 17 for now), including Germany and Italy, have agreed to open accounts with Gazprombank, as Russia advised them to do and to pay for oil and gas in roubles. And this number is growing by the week. The problems will be even greater with food shortages, as the world food chain is highly integrated and the agricultural production of Russia and the Ukraine (now controlled by Russia) is at least 40% of the world’s grain production. Just days ago it was announced that Russia expects record grain production this year (130 million tonnes). Russia may yet demand payment in roubles for all this as well.
I had not see this when I wrote my piece yesterday. A curious turn around.
• The War in Ukraine. Scott Ritter’s Switcheroo (Whitney)
On Sunday, the foreign policy blogs were abuzz with the news that Scott Ritter had done “an about-face in his assessment of the war”. It appears that the ex-Marine had examined recent developments in Ukraine and concluded that it’s going to be much harder for Russia to win than he had originally thought… Naturally, the news of Ritter’s reversal sent shockwaves across the internet, especially among the people who follow events in Ukraine closely and who greatly admire his even-handed analysis. Some of these people clearly felt betrayed by Ritter’s comments and blasted him as a “concern troll” which refers to a person who feigns sympathy while actually feeling the opposite. This is a terrible way to treat a guy who’s devoted so much of his time to informing people about an issue of which they might know very little without his research. Besides, Ritter is no hypocrite. Quite the contrary.
It’s fair to say, however, that Ritter has probably been the most outspoken proponent of the “Russia is winning” theory, a hypothesis that runs counter to everything we read in the legacy media or see on the cable news channels. Unfortunately, Ritter’s views on the matter have changed dramatically, and that’s due almost entirely to developments on the ground. As Ritter candidly admits, “The military aid the west is providing to Ukraine is changing the dynamic and if Russia doesn’t find a way to address this meaningfully… the conflict will never end.” That’s quite a turnaround from a statement he made just weeks earlier that, “Russia is winning the war, and winning it decisively.” So, what changed? What are the so-called developments that led to Ritter’s volte-face?
Here are a few excerpts from the interview that triggered the fracas. Ritter was joined by Ray McGovern and host Garland Nixon on Saturday Morning Live. (The quotes are copied from video. I accept blame for any mistakes.) Scott Ritter (start at 47:50 minute mark) — “The thing that frustrates me… is that, it was my assessment that it would be very hard for Ukraine to absorb this new equipment and material (Material– the additional lethal weapons that have recently been shipped to Ukraine) but the howitzers are already operating against Russia. (And) They are having an effect in the Kharkov region. Not all 90 of them, but they have several batteries in place that are being used. How did this happen?
And this is why I have radically changed my overall assessment, because I had been operating on the assumption that Russia would be able to interdict the vast majority of this equipment, but Russia has shown itself unable or unwilling to do this and– as a result– the Ukrainians are having meaningful impact on the battlefield. Not in the areas of main contention, like the Donbass, but on the periphery. This is why Russia has carried out tactical withdrawals north of Kharkov, because in order to match Ukraine’s best capabilities, Russia would have to divert resources from its main effort which Russia has decided not to do. So, they are re-configuring the battlefield. (trading land in different areas)…
The Guardian. Rewriting history. Update: “959 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered at Azovstal since Monday: Russian ministry”
• Fate Of Hundreds Of Ukrainian Soldiers Unclear As Azovstal Resistance Ends (G.)
The fate of hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers who have ended weeks of resistance at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol remains unclear, after the fighters surrendered and were transferred to Russian-controlled territory. Ukraine’s deputy defence minister said they would be swapped in a prisoner exchange, but some Russian officials said on Tuesday they could be tried and even executed. MPs in Russia’s State Duma said they would propose new laws that could derail prisoner exchanges of fighters who Moscow claims are “terrorists”. Russian investigators have said they plan to interrogate the soldiers and could charge them with “crimes committed by the Ukrainian regime against the civilian population in south-east Ukraine”.
On Tuesday evening, seven buses carrying Ukrainian soldiers left the Azovstal plant in the port city and arrived at a former prison colony in the Russian-controlled town of Olenivka in Donetsk, Reuters reported. Russia called the Azovstal operation a mass surrender, while the Ukrainian army said the soldiers defending the steel plant had “performed their combat task” and that the main goal was now to save their lives. For weeks, hundreds of troops have been holed up in a warren of tunnels and bunkers underneath the steelworks, as Russian forces took control of the rest of the city after turning much of it into an uninhabitable wasteland. Many of those stuck at Azovstal had serious injuries, with limited medical care and dwindling supplies.
In the last few weeks, civilians who had also taken cover in the plant were rescued after a deal was brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross to allow them to leave for Ukrainian-controlled territory. Ukraine had been pushing for a deal that would also allow the fighters to retreat to Ukrainian-controlled areas, or for their evacuation to a neutral country. However, with that not forthcoming, Ukrainian officials announced in the early hours of Tuesday that the defence of the plant was in effect over. Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, promised that the fighters who surrendered would be treated “in accordance with international standards”, but this was immediately undermined by statements from two other Russian officials.
Leonid Slutsky, a Russian MP who took part in negotiations with Ukraine earlier in the war, suggested Russia should lift its moratorium on the death penalty for fighters from the Azov regiment, one of the main forces defending the steelworks, calling them “animals in human form”. “Nazi criminals should not be exchanged,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, one of Russia’s most powerful officials and the chair of the State Duma, during a speech on Tuesday. “Our country treats those who surrendered or were captured humanely. But with regards to Nazis, our position should be unchanged: these are war criminals and we must do everything so that they stand trial.”
More Guardian. What is wrong with these people?
• ‘Defenders of Mariupol Are The Heroes Of Our Time’ (G.)
Cut off from the world and low on food and ammunition, many of the hundreds of defenders of the Azovstal steel plant in Mauripol were wounded, some missing limbs. Their capitulation had been inevitable for weeks. That moment came late on Monday as more than 260 – bearded, filthy, emaciated, and including 51 severely injured – laid down their arms and were evacuated amid a wider concession of defeat after 82 days of fighting in the besieged port city. “The ‘Mariupol’ garrison has fulfilled its combat mission,” the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said in a statement. “The supreme military command ordered the commanders of the units stationed at Azovstal to save the lives of the personnel … Defenders of Mariupol are the heroes of our time,” it added.
And while several hundred fighters remained inside the plant, their commanders admitted their mission had “concluded” while officials continued with negotiations to “evacuate them”. Late on Monday, five buses carrying troops from Azovstal were seen arriving in nearby Russian-controlled Novoazovsk. In one, marked with a Z like many Russian military vehicles in Ukraine, men were stacked on stretchers on three levels. In a long-denied victory for the Kremlin, a battle that has gripped the world’s attention appeared finally over, leaving a city in ruins and perhaps thousands of civilians dead. With its urban areas sprawling along the coastline of the Sea of Azov in the shape of a comma, the siege of Mariupol came to define one of the most brutal episodes in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
“Wouldn’t it be worthwhile for the department to set up another website devoted to allegations of war crimes committed under the Obama, Clinton, Bush, and Biden administrations in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and Syria?”
• ‘Conflict Observatory’ to Document Evidence of Russian War Crimes (Celente)
The U.S. State Department announced the launch of the “Conflict Observatory” program that will document evidence of war crimes committed by Russian troops during the Ukraine War to use in possible future prosecutions. The intention of the program is to “capture, analyze, and make widely available evidence of Russian-perpetrated war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine,” the statement read. The website will share this “documentation to help refute Russia’s disinformation efforts and shine a light on abuses.” “This new Conflict Observatory program is part of a range of U.S. government efforts at both national and international levels designed to ensure future accountability for Russia’s horrific actions,” a statement read. Wired reported that outside organizations, and international investigators would be able access the program’s database.
Ned Price the State Department spokesperson, told reporters on Tuesday that the program is important because “no country – no matter how large, how potentially powerful, what types of weapons they may have in their arsenal – can escape accountability for the types of atrocities that we have seen Russia’s forces perpetrate against the Ukrainian people.” Ukraine has accused Russian forces of atrocities and said it has identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes, Reuters reported. “However long it takes, those responsible for war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine will be brought to justice. A new, publicly available Conflict Observatory will collect open-source evidence for future prosecutions,” he tweeted later.
ConflictObservatory.org resembles a news site. One of the headlines read, “Evidence of Widespread and Systemic Bombardment of Ukrainian Healthcare Facilities.” The Yale Humanitarian Research Lab, which is part of the effort, along with Esri, Alcis, and Quiet Professionals LLC, reported that it identified 22 healthcare facilities in Ukraine “that sustained damage from apparent Russia-aligned bombardment between 24 February and 29 March 2022.” “The HRL verified damage through cross-corroboration of very high resolution satellite imagery and open source information. Based on a review of nearly 300 facilities across five cities and regions, the HRL has concluded that Russia-aligned forces have engaged in widespread and systematic bombardment of Ukrainian healthcare facilities.”
[..] NBC News published a report in April that challenged Washington’s claim that Russia was planning a chemical attack against Ukrainian forces, with one unnamed official going as far as to say that the claim was an effort by the U.S. to get into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s head. The report cited three U.S. officials who said there is no evidence that Russia is planning a chemical attack against Ukraine. While the mainstream media has generally ignored the latest D.C. lies, Antiwar.org was the first to point out the contradiction in the NBC News report that included a U.S. official who said the intelligence tied to chemical weapons was not “rock solid.” So the State Department wants to create a website built on evidence that is not rock solid? Wouldn’t it be worthwhile for the department to set up another website devoted to allegations of war crimes committed under the Obama, Clinton, Bush, and Biden administrations in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and Syria? Don’t hold your breath.
Who benefits? Not Finland and Sweden, they’re just painting targets on their own backs. Raytheon for the win.
• McConnell Says Congress Hopes to Approve Sweden’s NATO Bid by August (ET)
“We hope to approve it before August,” he said. “We are confident it will be approved.” McConnell also shared a statement on Monday following his visit to both Sweden and Finland where he reiterated his support for both nations joining NATO, stating that both would “bring tremendous value as new NATO members and would strengthen the alliance significantly.” “Sweden and Finland already have long track records as two of the United States and NATO’s most capable friends and partners, even from outside the alliance,” the Senate Republican leader said. “Both countries have massive geographic importance, professional and well-equipped armed forces, strong military industrial bases, and significant interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces. Both nations’ robust commitments to defense funding mean that their accession would directly address longstanding concerns about burden-sharing and the financial contributions of our allies,” McConnell said.
He added that he would do “everything in my power to ensure that our part of their accession process moves smoothly and expeditiously.” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told reporters in Stockholm on Monday that the decision to join NATO was driven in part by Finland’s recent move to join the alliance. Finnish leaders, with backing from lawmakers in the country, announced plans to officially seek NATO membership over the weekend. “Should Sweden be the only country in the Baltic Sea region that was not a member of NATO, we would be in a very vulnerable position. We can’t rule out that Russia would then increase pressure on Sweden,” Andersson said. The vote to approve new membership into NATO must be unanimous among all members.
However, Turkey has threatened to block the bid by Sweden and Finland, citing their alleged willingness to support terrorist organizations, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and followers of Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara accuses of being behind the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey. “Neither of these countries has a clear, open attitude toward terrorist organizations,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a joint news conference with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Monday. “How can we trust them?” Erdogan also described Sweden as an “incubation center for terrorist organizations,” and claimed that some members of Sweden’s Parliament supported the PKK. He also pointed to the fact that both Sweden and Finland imposed arms export embargoes on Turkey in 2019 after its incursion into Syria.
Oh, you’re well past your limits…
• EU Diplomat: ‘We Are Reaching Our Limits With Sanctions Against Russia’ (Euractiv)
“If there was such a mess with Russia’s oil, imagine what would happen with a proposal to ban gas”, an EU diplomat told EURACTIV after the end of the EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday. “The 7th package of sanctions against Moscow will be extremely difficult […] We are very close to reaching our limits. What will the 7th package include?” the diplomat wondered.The diplomat explained that at the foreign affairs meeting yesterday, although there is ongoing progress in talks with Hungary to lift its veto over Europe’s proposal for an embargo on Russian oil, the atmosphere indicated that “we even took a step back”. “Hungary is doing everything to get guarantees […] essentially to get the money from the Recovery Fund and even more than that”, the diplomat said.
According to the diplomat, a deal between the Commission and Budapest is highly likely after the executive presents on 18 May its REPowerEU plan to phase out Russian fossil fuels. “It’s in no one’s interest to take the issue to the EU summit level […] Viktor Orbán knows he will be under huge pressure there, so he also wants a solution before that”, the diplomat noted. The diplomat stressed that Orbán’s stance on the matter brings other governments in a difficult position back to their homes, considering that if Budapest gets what it wants, it would be hard for others, such as Bulgaria, to explain why they did not get similar concessions. “The same happened with Spain and Portugal when they got the gas price cap,” the diplomat concluded.
“They forget that man alone can never be free, only lonely..”
• Orbán Warns West is Subjecting Itself to “Suicide Waves” of Decline (SN)
In a speech to mark him taking the oath of office, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán warned that the west is subjecting itself to “suicide waves” of decline in the form of self-inflicted economic wounds, mass migration and an obsession with identity politics. Orbán’s conservative Fidesz party swept to victory in the election last month with another two-thirds majority, despite a massive effort by globalist interests to derail his candidacy. During a speech in parliament, Orbán cautioned that the continent faced perilous times ahead. “Everything that has happened since 2020 points in one direction: Europe and the Hungarian people in it have entered an age of danger,” said Orbán. “The decade began with the coronavirus epidemic and continued with the war. The sanctions from the war brought an economic downturn.”
“The war and sanctions policy caused an energy crisis, and U.S. interest rate hikes brought an age of inflation,” he added. The Hungarian leader went on to lament that Europe was entering an “age of economic downturn” and a worsening mass migration problem. Orbán said we are now witnessing the “suicide waves of the Western world” characterized by the replacement of Christianity with a vacuous cult of identity politics. “Such is the program of the great European population exchange, the essence of which is to replace the missing Christian children with migrants. Such an experiment is a program of gender madness and a liberal Europe that transcends nation-states and Christianity, and puts nothing in their place,” said Orbán.
“They forget that man alone can never be free, only lonely,” he added.
“Of course, such an economic suicide is a domestic affair of the European countries..”
• Putin: EU Oil Sanctions “Economic Suicide” Ordered By “American Overlords” (ZH)
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that EU countries are committing “economic suicide” by refusing Russian energy resources amid a push to impose an oil embargo, but which has been thus far blocked by Russian energy-dependent Hungary and a handful of others. As quoted in RIA Novosti, Putin described that the oil sector is busy undergoing a “tectonic shift” which will only be made worse by “ill-thought-out” sanctions by the West. The address was given virtually to an energy conference of the country’s industry heads. “Changes in the oil market are tectonic in nature and doing business as usual, according to the old model, seems unlikely,” he said. “In the new conditions, it is important not only to extract oil, but also to build the entire vertical chain leading to the final consumer.”
He called out the current EU-US trajectory of seeking to inflict maximum punishment on Moscow as a strategy ensuring higher energy prices and higher inflation. That’s when he observed: “Of course, such an economic suicide is a domestic affair of the European countries,” based on the AFP translation. At the same time, Putin additionally pointed out, Europe’s “chaotic actions” would eventually serve to boost oil and gas revenues for Moscow, also as Russia diverts energy supplies to “friendly” countries. He urged Russian industry authorities to be more proactive in leveraging the situation for the nation’s benefit. Putin described a scenario of Europe feeling the brunt of the crisis worst, according to state media:
“Rejection of Russian energy resources means that Europe will systemically become the region with the highest energy costs in the world. Yes, of course prices will rise and resources will go to this region, but it will not be possible to radically alter the situation. This will seriously – and according to some experts irrevocably – undermine the competitiveness of a significant part of European industry, which is already losing the competition to companies in other regions of the world,” Putin said, speaking at a meeting with officials devoted to energy issues on Tuesday. He added that Western officials and populations had long been overconcerned with “climate issues” – betting too big on the effectiveness of alternative energy, in a theme the Russian president has stressed for years.
But key ones are missing?
• Over 120,000 Hunter Biden Emails Uploaded To Searchable Database (ZH)
A former Trump White House staffer has uploaded more than 120,000 emails found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop to a searchable database this week, which can be found at the (slowly loading) website: BidenLaptopEmails.com. In addition to searching, visitors can download the emails as well. Set up by former Peter Navarro aide Garrett Ziegler, who worked in the Trump administration Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, the emails contain infamous hits such as the “10 for the big guy,” in which Hunter Biden’s business partner James Gillar suggested he should hold 10% of a multi-million-dollar deal with the Chinese. Ziegler posted the emails through his organization, Marco Polo.
“Another email in the database, previously published by DailyMail.com, shows Hunter describing an extraordinary apparent quid pro quo with a Mexican billionaire’s son, outlining how he got him into the White House and inauguration, and thanking him for visits to his villa. Some messages did not appear to be included in the database. One email published by DailyMail.com shows Hunter inviting his foreign business partners and associates to a 2015 dinner at Washington DC restaurant Café Milano. In the email he reveals that his father will secretly be joining – and says that the dinner is ‘ostensibly to discuss food security’. The White House at first denied the then-vice president was there, but eventually admitted it when photographs emerged from the event.”-Daily Mail
That said, the Daily Mail notes that the above email is not included in Ziegler’s database, which contains 14,603 fewer emails than a batch of 142,838 analyzed by cyber forensic firm Maryman & Associates last year for the Mail. “Here are the 128k emails from the Biden Laptop, which is a modern Rosetta Stone of white and blue collar crime under the patina of “the Delaware Way,”” reads the website, referring to a term frequently used by Joe Biden. “Prior to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, a number of ancient languages were mere gibberish and hash marks. Similarly, the emails on the Biden Laptop illuminated previously convoluted webs of the people you see leading the charge for global governance; truly, the emails can be considered a translation tool for Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) gathering.”
“The path to power is the path to the teleprompter.”
• ‘The Real President Is Whoever Controls The Teleprompter’ – Musk (Fox)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose purchase of Twitter remains ongoing, slammed President Biden in a podcast interview Monday and warned that if the government continues printing money, inflation will get worse and the U.S. might follow the path of Venezuela. Musk, who said he has voted “overwhelmingly for Democrats,” slammed the Democratic Party and Biden in particular. He suggested that Biden is something of an empty suit. “The real president is whoever controls the teleprompter,” the Tesla CEO said. “The path to power is the path to the teleprompter.” “I do feel like if somebody were to accidentally lean on the teleprompter, it’s going to be like Anchorman,” the CEO added, referencing the 2004 film in which Ron Burgundy reads whatever is written on the teleprompter, even if it would ruin his career.
“This administration doesn’t seem to get a lot done,” Musk said. “The Trump administration, leaving Trump aside, there were a lot of people in the administration who were effective at getting things done.” He also claimed that the Democratic Party is “overly controlled by the unions and by the trial lawyers, particularly the class action lawyers.” He argued that when Democrats go against “the interests of the people,” it tends to come from the unions and the trial lawyers, while when Republicans do that, “it’s because of corporate evil and religious zealotry.” “In the case of Biden, he is simply too much captured by the unions, which was not the case with Obama,” Musk said. The Tesla CEO defended Obama as “quite reasonable,” but insisted that Biden prioritizes the unions ahead of the public.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk goes after Biden:
“The real president is whoever controls the teleprompter … There were a lot of people in the [Trump] administration who were effective at getting things done. This administration seems just to not have like the drive to just get shit done.” pic.twitter.com/nc5qjQTaj1
— The Recount (@therecount) May 17, 2022
New: Julian Assange's wife on the CIA plan to murder the WikiLeaks publisher and the fight to free him #FreeAssangeNOW pic.twitter.com/8LTjMwQtfx
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 18, 2022
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