Nicolai Dubovskov Hushing (Calm Before the Storm) 1890
On Zaporizhia Nuclear Plant
Grossi: "In Zaporizhzhia, as you know we have a permanent presence. There is a permanent mission of the IAEA there. I have been in contact with them today, just a few hours ago… In our latest inspections we haven't seen any mining activity." pic.twitter.com/85dfYsQKNc
— the Lemniscat (@theLemniscat) July 5, 2023
“..NATO countries “will find in the days remaining before the summit the wording that will not disappoint Ukraine..”
A NATO contingent may be deployed to Ukraine after the alliance’s summit due to be held in Vilnius on July 11-12, Vladimir Rogov, leader of the We Are Together With Russia movement, told TASS on Thursday. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said earlier that Ukraine would not receive an invitation to join the alliance at the summit in Vilnius, but NATO countries “will find in the days remaining before the summit the wording that will not disappoint Ukraine” and it would not be a mere pledge to admit it to the bloc after the combat operations are over.
“Zelensky’s plans include a nuclear false flag attack to try to push through a NATO summit decision to deploy a limited contingent of occupational forces from Poland and the Baltic republics. It will be the legalization of the occupation in a format of ensuring nuclear security on the territory controlled by the Zelensky regime. Such a formula is being looked at the [Ukrainian] presidential office,” Rogov said. As for territories where such a contingent can be deployed to, Rogov noted that Poland is interested in Western Ukrainian regions. Ahead of the NATO summit, Kiev has intensified rhetoric about its striving to join NATO. However, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Ukraine cannot join the alliance as long as it is in a state of an armed conflict.
According to the NATO chief, the Vilnius summit will bring Ukraine closer to the alliance and it plans to set up a Ukraine-NATO Council during the summit. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said that the non-invitation to join NATO demotivates the Ukrainian army. His office warned that Zelensky would not go to the summit if the NATO leaders “don’t demonstrate courage” on the issue of Ukraine’s membership. Meanwhile, Russian presidential press secretary said earlier that Kiev’s striving for NATO membership demonstrate its unwillingness and inability to settle the conflict at the negotiating table. He stressed that Russia will continue efforts to ensure its security, which excludes NATO’s expansion by means of admitting Ukraine and thus approaching the Russian border.
“Ukraine’s greatest vulnerability is its people, or rather a lack of them. Its best fighters have long been dead.”
Ukraine’s counteroffensive is doomed to fail as the Russian military has the edge over its adversary in all respects, Jean-Bernard Pinatel, a retired French general and the owner of the company called LexisNexis Business Information Solutions, said in a video interview provided to TASS. “I absolutely do not believe in the success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. The Russians have a significant air superiority. But they also have an advantage on the ground. Even the Ukrainians themselves admit that they fire 4,000 shells a day, while Russia fires 20,000,” said Pinatel, who specializes in Russia and the Middle East. The general also said that the ratio of losses in equipment and personnel is 5 to 1 in favor of Russia. According to Pinatel, the Kiev regime is severely hampered by its lack of human resources.
“What we are witnessing today is a confrontation between a nuclear power and a country that, of course, is sponsored by the Anglo-Saxons, but which does not have significant technical and human potential,” he said. “And I don’t think that the biggest disadvantage Ukraine faces is so much the amount of military equipment, which, by the way, is not always of high quality, because the West supplies Kiev with outdated equipment. Ukraine’s greatest vulnerability is its people, or rather a lack of them. Its best fighters have long been dead.” The general said he believes that, provided NATO doesn’t directly step into the conflict, Kiev’s defeat is only a matter of time. The West’s policy of prolonging the Ukrainian conflict “is only leading to more casualties,” Pinatel said. “Conversations about helping Ukraine until it wins are completely stupid and nonsensical. It will achieve nothing and will only increase the number of deaths among young Ukrainians and Russians,” he said. However, the US and Europe do not care, the retired French general said, because their main goal is not the victory of Ukraine, but the weakening of Russia. Western sanctions, according to Pinatel, have done the most damage to Europe itself.
“Europe cannot do without Russian gas,” he pointed out. “The global gas market, the European market in particular, cannot do without Russian supplies. Before the crisis, Europe used to consume 200 billion cubic meters of Russian gas, while North America supplied only 2 billion. Who are you going to replace Russia with?” Europe is now facing an economic crisis, the general said. “By the winter of 2022, Germany had managed to fill its gas storage facilities, which lasted it through the cold season, but it will not be enough for the next year,” he said. “And many German companies have already closed their doors because of high gas prices. If Germany goes into recession, all of Europe, and France in particular, will be in trouble, because the Germans are our main economic partners.” Russia, on the contrary, is flourishing and developing economically, working hand in hand with Africa and Asia and developing partnerships, according to Pintel.
“This is because Russia is independent of the rest of the world in every way, be it raw materials, grain or energy, but the capitalist world cannot do without the resources supplied by Russia,” he explained. “This war has weakened Europe more than Russia.” European leaders, the retired general went on to say, expected “the whole world to impose sanctions against Russia, but in reality, only about thirty countries have done so, and all the rest are using this opportunity to strengthen the partnership with Moscow.” He said strife is rampant in the bloc of countries that have joined forces against Russia. “The Americans undoubtedly want to hobble economic cooperation between Europe and Russia, which would take away their domination on the international stage. The US strategy is to create a new Berlin Wall between Russia and Europe, but now that wall runs through Ukraine,” Pinatel said.
Ukraine must implement “reforms” before it can even consider joining the NATO bloc, the White House has said, suggesting that even when the conflict with Moscow is resolved, membership for Kiev could still be far off as it struggles to meet the organization’s standards. Asked whether Ukraine would be offered a “clear pathway to NATO membership” at an upcoming summit in Lithuania next week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Kiev still had many hurdles to clear before it could seriously think about becoming a member. “The president has said this over and over again: Ukraine would have to make reforms to meet the same standards as any NATO country before they join,” she said at a Wednesday briefing.
And while Washington remains committed to NATO’s open door policy, she noted that “any decision” on NATO expansion must be supported by all members of the bloc. While Jean-Pierre did not specify the reforms Kiev would need to make, Biden previously stated that the military bloc would not “create special conditions for Ukraine to join,” arguing it would be required to meet the same criteria as any other nation seeking membership. “I think they have done everything to demonstrate the ability [of] military coordination, but there is a whole question, is their system safe, and is it not corrupt?” the president said last month. He went on to ask whether it meets “all the standards that any other country in NATO meets?”
Despite those prior comments, during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last month, the two leaders reportedly discussed a scheme to simplify the accession process for Ukraine. Under Stoltenberg’s plan, the country would not be made to complete a “membership action plan” typically required of applicants. While other Eastern European states went through the procedure before being admitted, NATO’s most recent member, Finland, was spared the process after applying to join last year. Multiple US media reports have stated that Biden appeared “open” to the idea, though some outlets, like the New York Times, suggested Washington would seek an alternative to full NATO membership for Kiev, instead proposing an ‘Israel model’ based on the US relationship with the Jewish state.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has opposed any “substitute for NATO” and reportedly even told Western partners at some point that he would not attend the upcoming NATO summit unless the bloc offered “concrete” guarantees or a roadmap to full membership. NATO’s official position on Ukrainian membership remains unchanged since 2008, when it declared that Ukraine “will become a member” at an unspecified point in the future. While Kiev formally applied to join last September, little progress has been made since. Some US and allied officials have suggested the issue should be resolved only after the conflict with Russia is over, as Ukraine joining NATO would place the bloc at war with Russia. Moscow has repeatedly said that it views NATO’s expansions to the east as a threat to its security, and has listed Ukraine’s neutrality as one of the conditions for any lasting peace between the two countries.
“Is the CIA on the ground inside Ukraine?” he asks rhetorically. “Yes, but it’s also not nefarious.”
One of the biggest secrets of the Ukraine war is how much the CIA doesn’t know. The Agency is as uncertain about Volodymyr Zelensky’s thinking and intentions as it is about Vladimir Putin’s. And as the Russian leader faces his biggest challenge in the aftermath of a failed mutiny, the Agency is straining to understand what the two sides will do—because President Joe Biden has determined that the United States (and Kyiv) will not undertake any actions that might threaten Russia itself or the survival of the Russian state, lest Putin escalate the conflict and engulf all of Europe in a new World War. In exchange, it expects that the Kremlin won’t escalate the war beyond Ukraine or resort to the use of nuclear weapons. America’s stance is under threat because the near-mutiny by Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group, raises the question as to whether Moscow has run out of options.
“Putin’s back is really against the wall” a senior defense intelligence official tells Newsweek, warning that while the CIA fully grasps how much Russia is stuck in Ukraine, it is very much in the dark with regard to what Putin might do about it. With talk of Russian nuclear weapons possibly being deployed to Belarus, and in light of Prigozhin’s public exposure of the terrible costs of fighting, something that Moscow has suppressed, the official says that it is a particularly delicate moment. “What is happening off the battlefield is now most important,” says the official, who was granted anonymity in order to speak candidly. “Both sides pledge to limit their actions, but it falls to the United States to enforce those pledges. This all hinges on the quality of our intelligence.”
“There is a clandestine war, with clandestine rules, underlying all of what is going on in Ukraine,” says a Biden administration senior intelligence official who also spoke with Newsweek. The official, who is directly involved in Ukraine policy planning, requested anonymity to discuss highly classified matters. The official (and numerous other national security officials who spoke to Newsweek) say that Washington and Moscow have decades of experience crafting these clandestine rules, necessitating that the CIA play an outsize role: as primary spy, as negotiator, as supplier of intelligence, as logistician, as wrangler of a network of sensitive NATO relations and perhaps most important of all, as the agency trying to ensure the war does not further spin out of control.
“Don’t underestimate the Biden administration’s priority to keep Americans out of harm’s way and reassure Russia that it doesn’t need to escalate,” the senior intelligence officer says. “Is the CIA on the ground inside Ukraine?” he asks rhetorically. “Yes, but it’s also not nefarious.”
The threat is still alive.
A possible Ukrainian attempt to sabotage the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant in Russia’s Zaporozhye Region would lead to “catastrophic” results, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has claimed. The situation around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which has been under Russian control since March 2022, remains “tense,” Peskov told journalists on Wednesday. “Really, there’s a high threat of sabotage by the Kiev regime; sabotage that might lead to catastrophic results,” Peskov warned. According to the spokesman, an attack on the facility cannot be ruled out because the Ukrainian leadership “has many times shown its readiness to stop at nothing” to achieve its goals. Peskov said one example was the collapse of the Russian-controlled Kakhovka dam in early June, which Moscow has blamed on Kiev. The incident had “horrific consequences,” the Kremlin spokesman noted.
The destruction of the dam led to flooding on both banks of the Dnieper River and caused multiple deaths. Ukraine has claimed that the incident was caused by Russia. “All measures are being implemented to resist the threat [to the Zaporozhye nuclear plant],” Peskov added. Renat Karchaa, a senior official at Russian nuclear power plant operator Rosenergoatom, warned on Tuesday that Kiev was planning to strike the Zaporozhye facility with long-range high-precision munitions and kamikaze drones. Intelligence obtained by Rosenergoatom suggests that Kiev could also attempt to target the plant with a Soviet-made Tochka-U tactical ballistic missile loaded with radioactive waste, Karchaa claimed. Moscow and Kiev have repeatedly accused each other of shelling the Zaporozhye plant throughout their conflict.
The Russian Defense Ministry also claimed to have repelled several attempts to retake the station by Ukrainian assault units, which reportedly approached the facility on boats via the now-drained Kakhovka reservoir. The Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant has returned to the spotlight in recent weeks after senior officials in Kiev claimed that Russia was preparing a nuclear incident at the facility. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky alleged that Moscow wanted to cause a “radiation leak” at the plant, while presidential aide Mikhail Podoliak accused the Russian military of mining the plant’s cooling pond. Peskov previously rejected those claims as “yet another lie.” The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, recently visited the facility and said that “no mines were observed at the site” during his inspection.
“The goals are believed to be defeating Russia, wrecking its military potential, restructuring its statehood, reshaping its identity and possibly eliminating it as a state, in its current form..”
There is an increasingly widespread view in Russia that the goal of the US – and the “collective West” it leads – is to achieve a “final solution” to the “Russian question.” The goals are believed to be defeating Russia, wrecking its military potential, restructuring its statehood, reshaping its identity and possibly eliminating it as a state, in its current form. For a long time, this view remained on the periphery of foreign policy thinking. However, much has changed in the past year and a half. Today, this perception of the West’s goals has gone mainstream. Indeed, it seems quite rational, when placed into the proper context. Meanwhile, Russia itself is pursuing a similar sort of policy towards the Ukrainian state, the existence of which in its former form and borders is perceived in Moscow as a key security challenge.
The historical experience of the last century shows that inflicting total defeat on an enemy and then rebuilding its statehood is the rule rather than the exception in foreign policy practice. There is an important difference to the conflicts of the 18th and 19th centuries, when military defeat of the enemy was seen as a way of extracting concessions from it, but not of rebuilding its very foundations. The experiences of the 20th and 21st centuries are not always linear, but their repetition is obvious. Germany’s defeat in the First World War led to a palpable reshaping of its statehood, determined more by internal contradictions, which grew from the military loss. Germany’s surrender after the Second World War had far more radical consequences. The country was divided, stripped of its foreign policy autonomy and almost completely rebuilt.
Military defeat and subsequent occupation also led to the reformatting of the other large powers, Japan and Italy. The Soviet Union, as a victorious country, was a key player in resolving the “German question.” The USSR was also active in establishing socialist regimes in countries liberated from the Nazi occupation. The subsequent Cold War made this redrawing more difficult. Every attempt was met with resistance from the West. Sometimes the battle ended in a draw, as in Korea. Sometimes the Soviet Union got the upper hand – it helped to inflict a painful defeat on the US in Vietnam, for example. In other situations, the US was successful, for example in supporting anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan. The collapse of the Soviet Union gave Washington a free hand. Despite Moscow’s rhetoric that the Cold War had ended in victory for both sides, the reality was different.
Many of the former socialist countries were quickly integrated into Euro-Atlantic structures with the active help of new local elites and broad public support. Russia itself loudly proclaimed a desire to return to the ‘civilized world.’ The US-led collective West was given carte blanche to reshape a vast area, which they not unreasonably saw as a result of their bloodless victory over the Soviet Union.
“..if Washington and its allies stopped the deliveries..”
The ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev has been dragging on for so long because of continued Western arms shipments to Ukraine, Russian former president Dmitry Medvedev told TASS on Wednesday. “If NATO, primarily the US and its vassals, had stopped supplying weapons and munitions to Ukraine, the [Russian] special military operation would have ended in mere months,” Medvedev told the news agency. It can still end “in days,” however, if Washington and its allies stopped the deliveries, he added. Medvedev said that any war, regardless of its scale, could end “very quickly … if a peace treaty is signed or if one does what the Americans did in 1945, by using their nuclear weapons and bombing Japanese cities.” The US strikes did stop hostilities at the time, though he noted that “the price was 300,000 civilian lives.”
The US nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki claimed up to 80,000 lives each. The long-term consequences of the attacks, including radioactive contamination, might have brought the estimated number of victims up to 166,000 in Hiroshima and 140,000 in Nagasaki. Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy head of the Russian Security Council, warned that Russia would prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, even if it meant engaging in a “permanent” conflict. Moscow has demanded its security concerns be respected when it comes to NATO expansion, he said, adding that “Russia’s existence is at stake” and it would not hesitate to stop this threat “one way or another.” The former president also spoke against US nuclear weapons deployment to Poland, warning that it could trigger a nuclear conflict. Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on NATO to include Warsaw in the bloc’s Nuclear Sharing Program.
Not just China.
When Kiev announced shooting down a Russian hypersonic missile, people in Washington were exhilarated, but a visiting Chinese official didn’t believe the claim and left before he could be shown proof, according to Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov. The reactions were described by The Financial Times on Wednesday, based on the minister’s account. Reznikov’s department claimed it had intercepted a Russian Kinzhal missile for the first time in May, using a US-made Patriot anti-missile system. Kiev has since reported downing over a dozen such weapons, which Moscow mocked as not corresponding to reality. The Ukrainian official declared that his nation had proven that hypersonic weapons can be defended against, showcasing in the process the advanced capability of NATO systems.
He claimed that when he delivered the news of the first success to a US official, the response was: “Fantastic!” But Li Hui, China’s special representative for Eurasian affairs, who was visiting Kiev in mid-May, was skeptical about Kiev’s ability to down Kinzhals, Reznikov explained. “I proposed that if there are doubts, we are ready to provide proof,” Reznikov told the newspaper, adding that Li left the country without viewing the purported evidence. The Kinzhal is an air-launched hypersonic missile, which is believed to be derived from the quasi-ballistic ground-launched Iskander projectile. The Russian forces have used both types of weapons against military targets in Ukraine, though details about hypersonic strikes have been scarce.
In May, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said the number of Kinzhal missiles, which Kiev claimed to have intercepted, was larger than the number actually fired by the Russian side. Some military experts have suggested that Ukrainian officials were misrepresenting debris from Iskander missiles as coming from Kinzhals, when presenting them as evidence of successful intercepts. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has claimed that the Patriot system’s capability made it uniquely important for his country’s defense. He told The Wall Street Journal last month that Ukraine needed 50 batteries – which cost an estimated $1.1 billion apiece – for sufficient protection.
The FT publishes some weird pieces these days.
The Kremlin has dismissed “fictitious” claims in the Western press that Chinese President Xi Jinping warned his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, not to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. The claim was reported by The Financial Times, based on anonymous diplomatic sources. “I cannot confirm that,” Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Wednesday, when asked about the FT article. He suggested that official statements regarding Xi’s “important” visit to Moscow in March were “sufficient” to make conclusions about its nature. According to FT, Chinese officials have “privately taken credit for convincing the Russian president to back down from his veiled threats of using a nuclear weapon against Ukraine.”
The newspaper alleged that “deterring Putin” from an atomic strike was a key part in Beijing’s diplomatic strategy regarding Europe. The Chinese government has blamed Western policies, including the expansion of NATO in Europe, for the Ukraine conflict, rejecting the Western view that Russia’s military operation was “unprovoked”. It has also publicly urged Moscow not to use its nuclear capability. The purported warning from Xi to Putin gave supporters of Kiev confidence that “China is backing up its public rhetoric behind closed doors,” the FT article said. Moscow has called the Ukraine conflict part of a wider Western proxy war waged against Russia. Putin, as well as other senior Russian officials, have repeatedly cited the Russian nuclear doctrine, which allows the use of such weapons to prevent an existential threat to the Russian state.
Western officials and media outlets have framed those remarks as indicating a possible nuclear attack against Ukrainian forces. However, Putin has stressed that he is against the idea of a limited nuclear strike for any purpose other than saving the nation from destruction.“First of all, we have no need for that. Second, the very speculation about this is a factor that lowers the threshold for the use of the weapon,” he explained during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last month. The Russian leader added that his recent decision to station some Russian tactical weapons on the territory of ally Belarus was meant as deterrence against “those who think they can inflict a strategic defeat on us,” referring to the stated US goal in Ukraine.
“..we were once again in agreement that the Alliance must never become a party to a conflict..”
Top German officials have voiced anxiety regarding Western escalations in Ukraine, signaling that Berlin will push back against the most provocative proposals. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany was reluctant to send longer-range weapons to Ukraine over concerns the arms will be used to attack Russian territory. London has provided Kiev with Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles which have a range of more than 155 miles. According to recent reporting, the White House is also closing in on a decision to provide Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), munitions capable of striking targets roughly 200 miles away. Last month, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu warned the West that Ukraine using long-range weapons to attack the Crimean Peninsula could lead to a direct war between Moscow and NATO.
“The use of these missiles outside the zone of our special military operation would mean that the United States and Britain would be fully dragged into the conflict and would entail immediate strikes on decision-making centers in Ukraine,” he said. Berlin is now receiving requests from Kiev to provide Taurus KEPD 350 missiles, an air-launched missile with a range of over 300 miles. Scholz said Germany is considering the request. = Germany has faced intense pressure throughout the war due to Berlin’s occasional reluctance to provide Kiev with all requested aid. However, officials have repeatedly caved to Kiev’s demands. In one example, Germany resisted sending its Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, but quickly reversed course after Poland, the UK and the US pledged to send their own advanced tanks. Dozens of its Leopard 2s were ultimately provided.
Some of the German tanks have already been destroyed on the battlefield and Kiev is asking Berlin for replacements. Meanwhile, the American Abrams tanks have not yet arrived in the country due, in part, to a lengthy refurbishment process. Berlin has also pushed back on plans to give Ukraine an official timeline for NATO membership at an alliance summit in Vilnius next week. In an interview published in Rzeczpospolita on Monday, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said the military bloc could not resolve the issue until the conclusion of the war with Russia. “In my recent meetings with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, we were once again in agreement that the Alliance must never become a party to a conflict,” he said. “Therefore, we will not be able to answer the question of Ukraine’s accession to NATO as long as the war continues in Ukraine.” Pistorius went on to explain that Germany is committed to supporting Ukraine’s war effort for as long as the conflict continues, noting that Berlin would deliver dozens of older Leopard 1 tanks in the coming weeks.
“..the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’”
Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled that several federal agencies and officials from the Biden administration cannot collaborate with social media companies in restricting certain speech. Doughty wrote in his introduction to the ruling, “If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.” The ruling states officials and agencies from the Biden administration are restrained from communicating with social media firms “for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech posted on social-media platforms.”
The ruling does not restrict the government from speaking to companies regarding criminal activity, national security threats, voter suppression, foreign attempts to influence elections and other malicious activity. The lawsuit brings up issues such as COVID-19 health policies, the origins of the pandemic, election security, Hunter Biden’s laptop and others as those targeted for suppression. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey described the case as the “most important First Amendment lawsuit in a generation.” Doughty wrote in the ruling, “The Plaintiffs have presented substantial evidence in support of their claims that they were the victims of a far-reaching and widespread censorship campaign,” and, “This court finds that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their First Amendment free speech claim against the Defendants.”
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement, “The evidence in our case is shocking and offensive with senior federal officials deciding that they could dictate what Americans can and cannot say on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms about COVID-19, elections, criticism of the government, and more.” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Director of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and other State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials were named in the injunction. Doughty also likened the evidence to a dystopian scenario. Specifically, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’”
Biden Big Tech
JUST NOW: CNN fumes after federal judge rules the Biden administration can no longer collude with Big Tech to censor Americans.
“It’s a dramatic decision by this judge if you read through it… This is a conservative ideology that clearly comes through in this decision, it’s a… pic.twitter.com/Hs4RKIA51R
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) July 5, 2023
..gallium and germanium..
China’s export controls on key components for computer chip manufacturing are “just the beginning,” an influential trade policy adviser warned on Wednesday. Earlier this week China announced that starting next month, special licenses will be required to export gallium and germanium, two key metals used to make computer chips. Speaking to the China Daily newspaper, former Vice Commerce Minister Wei Jianguo said that should Washington place tougher technology restrictions on Beijing, the government will escalate the countermeasures. The decision to restrict the export of industrial products and materials containing gallium and germanium was made after thoughtful consideration, he added. The comments follow a report by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that the US plans to restrict China’s access to cloud computing to close a loophole that allows Chinese artificial intelligence firms to bypass the current chip export control rules.
Cloud services allow customers to gain powerful computing capabilities without buying advanced equipment, such as chips. Washington and Beijing have been involved in a dispute over semiconductors and other advanced technologies for several months. Reuters reported in May that US officials were considering tightening a rule designed to slow the flow of artificial intelligence chips to China by clamping down on the amount of computing power the chips can have. Last October, Washington introduced export control rules, effectively cutting China off from certain semiconductor chips made with US equipment. China retaliated in May, by banning memory chips manufactured by Micron, the biggest US producer. This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for “stable and smooth functioning of regional and industrial supply chains” ahead of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s visit to Beijing to discuss economic issues between the two nations.
Ha ha ha. We have no idea!
Maybe Hunter can invite Zelensky for a slumber party.
Sunday evening, a small baggie of white powder was found in the West Wing, prompting a brief shutdown of the White House campus. Preliminary tests determined the substance was cocaine, allowing the White House to be reopened and the bag shipped out for further analysis. As the US Secret Service undertakes its investigation into who brought a bag of cocaine to the White House, an unnamed law enforcement official has told US media the culprit may never be found. On Tuesday, lab results confirmed that the substance was cocaine. While the Secret Service and the White House have refused to say exactly where the baggie was found, both have said it was located at a heavily trafficked area. The Secret Service described it as a “work area of the West Wing” while White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said it was in an area frequented by guests and noted tours had taken place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“Where this was discovered is a heavily traveled area, where many […] West Wing visitors come through this particular area,” Jean-Pierre said during Wednesday’s White House briefing. “I just don’t have anything more to share, it is under investigation by the Secret Service, this is in their purview.” Jean-Pierre added the White House has “confidence the Secret Service will get to the bottom of this.” US media outlets have reported on an unnamed official familiar with the investigation who said it is possible the investigation may not discover who brought the illicit substance into the White House because of the area’s high traffic between government officials and tourists. “It’s gonna be very difficult for us to do that because of where it was,” the official reportedly said. The Secret Service said they are reviewing visitor logs and video cameras as part of the investigation. A reporter noted on Wednesday that the baggie remains at the lab for additional tests, including for fingerprints and DNA.
Jean-Pierre refused to answer a reporter’s question about whether US President Joe Biden wanted the culprit to be prosecuted if the investigation reveals the source of the cocaine. “I am just not going to get into hypotheticals from here, let’s let the Secret Service do their job, it’s under their purview,” she said. Biden and his family were not in the White House when the cocaine was discovered – that includes the president’s son Hunter Biden, who at the time was vacationing at Camp David with his father and first lady Jill Biden. However, Hunter Biden, who has a well-documented history of cocaine use, including multiple instances that were caught on video, was at the White House on Friday. At the Wednesday briefing, Jean-Pierre noted all visitors to the White House have to go through security checkpoints; however, she was not asked by reporters and did not clarify if that applies to members of the first family.
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