Mar 022024
 
 March 2, 2024  Posted by at 9:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »


Camille Corot Study for “The Destruction of Sodom” 1843

 

Germany Launches Investigation Into Leaked Crimean Bridge Attack Talk (RT)
France Considering Placing Special Forces In Ukraine – Le Monde (RT)
Macron’s Idea to Send NATO Troops to Ukraine ‘Made Him Look Very Foolish’ (Sp.)
NATO Troops Already Deployed to Ukraine, and Getting Killed (SCF)
Austin: If Ukraine Is Defeated, NATO Will Be At War With Russia (ZH)
Austin Talking About NATO-Russia War Means US Has A Plan For It – Lavrov (TASS)
Putin Learned From His Mistakes and Today Gives Us Precious Lessons (Vasco)
The Blob Quivers (Kunstler)
The West Is Willing To Destroy Its Financial System To Punish Russia (RT)
Biden Wants To Give Russian Central Bank Funds To Ukraine, France Resists (ZH)
The Global South Converges to Multipolar Moscow (Pepe Escobar)
Haley: Nominating Trump Means ‘Suicide for Our Country’ (RCP)
Musk Sues ChatGPT Maker Over AI Threat (RT)
The Truth is a Complete Defense (PO)

 

 

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This makes Germany a direct participant. We see both Germany and France getting more involved, and denying that at the same time.

The forces for forever war appear to be winning. But wait till their people understand this. They certainly don’t want it. Time for a major false flag?!

Germany Launches Investigation Into Leaked Crimean Bridge Attack Talk (RT)

Berlin’s first reaction to Friday’s revelations that several German generals discussed helping Ukraine attack Russia was to launch an investigation into how the recording got out. RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan first published a transcript of the conversation between senior Luftwaffe officers discussing the matter, followed by a 38-minute audio recording. “We are checking whether communications within the Air Force were intercepted,” a spokesperson for the German Ministry of Defense told the outlet Bild. “We cannot say anything about the content of the communications that were apparently intercepted.” The Federal Office for Military Counterintelligence (BAMAD) has “initiated all necessary measures,” the ministry said in response to an inquiry from the state news agency DPA.

Meanwhile, the Bundeswehr has also resorted to censorship. Multiple accounts on X (formerly Twitter) that distributed the recording were blocked in Germany as of Friday evening. Bild claimed that “it seems obvious” Russian spies “or one of their partners” were behind the recording. The 38-minute audio was dated February 19 and features four officers of the German air force (Luftwaffe), including its head General Ingo Gerhartz and deputy chief of staff for operations, Brigadier-General Frank Graefe. The officers assumed that Germany would send up to 50 Taurus long-range missiles to Ukraine and the ways in which the Luftwaffe could provide the Ukrainians with targeting information without appearing to be directly involved in the conflict with Russia.

They also noted the Ukrainians’ obsession with targeting the Kerch Strait bridge, noting its significance was primarily political rather than military. At one point, Gerhartz admitted that the missiles “won’t change the course of the war,” while another officer expressed doubt that even 20 Taurus hits could actually destroy the bridge. The Russian Foreign Ministry and parliament have both announced they would demand an explanation from Berlin. The government of Chancellor Olaf Sholz has not officially commented on the intercepted call.

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“They have, however, always “stopped at the Ukrainian border..”

France Considering Placing Special Forces In Ukraine – Le Monde (RT)

The French government is mulling sending a small military force directly into Ukraine to serve as instructors for Kiev’s Armed Forces and as a “deterrent” to Moscow, newspaper Le Monde reported on Friday, citing its sources. The paper did not disclose the number of French military ‘instructors’ that could potentially be authorized to cross into Ukrainian territory but reported that their ranks could include some “conventional units.” According to Le Monde, France’s Special Forces were also involved in training Ukrainian soldiers in neighboring Poland and in escorting the nation’s arms deliveries to Kiev. They have, however, always “stopped at the Ukrainian border,” the outlet added. The training France would like to provide to Ukrainians “on the ground” includes handling air defense systems, Friday’s report said.

Kiev’s surface-to-air weapons installations are frequently targeted by Russian forces, it explained, adding that the “presence of French soldiers or [those] of other nations would potentially protect certain areas of the Ukrainian territory.” The French government allegedly views such a troop deployment as a way of posing a “strategic dilemma” for Moscow, the paper said, adding that it could “constrain” Russia’s targeting and strike capabilities. In particular, it may prove to be “essential” ahead of the arrival of US-made F-16 fighter jets, scheduled to take place later this year, the French daily added. So far, France has denied that any of its troops have been present in Ukraine during the conflict, the media outlet said. French President Emmanuel Macron sparked controversy on Monday when he told journalists that a potential NATO troop deployment to Ukraine could not be ruled out in the future.

“There’s no consensus today to send, in an official manner, troops on the ground,” he said. “In terms of dynamics, we cannot exclude anything. We will do everything necessary to prevent Russia from winning this war.” Macron’s comments prompted other members of the US-led bloc, including the US, UK, Germany and Italy, to clarify that they had no such plans. The French president’s remarks were seemingly supported by two Baltic nations – Estonia and Lithuania – who also said that such a move could not be ruled out. Moscow warned in response that deploying NATO forces to Ukraine would make a direct conflict between Russia and the military bloc inevitable. On Friday, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne denied that Paris was planning to send any combat units to Ukraine, adding that it would do “everything” to avoid a war with Russia. The French president himself doubled down on his comments on Thursday by saying his words had been “thought through and measured.”

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“..the Germans were incensed at the cheekiness of Macron to publish a new initiative which can easily lead to [an] escalation of the war and to Germany being targeted by Russian missiles.”

Macron’s Idea to Send NATO Troops to Ukraine ‘Made Him Look Very Foolish’ (Sp.)

The past few days have seen Western media discuss “open display of discord” between French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. After Macron recently proclaimed that he refuses to rule out sending EU troops to Ukraine, Scholz rejected the idea by emphasizing that “there will be no soldiers on Ukrainian soil sent there” by European states or NATO members. “There has long been a certain antagonism” between Macron and Scholz, “and the issue of aid to Ukraine has only exacerbated the existing contradictions,” Dr. Gregor Spitzen, German political analyst and independent journalist, said in an interview with Sputnik “France’s ill-considered initiative to send NATO ground troops to Ukraine made Macron look very foolish. The initiative was not even supported by NATO’s main anti-Russian hawks – the UK and Poland. The idea was also viewed negatively in the US,” Spitzen clarified.

He also noted that while “passionate volunteers from the French Foreign Legion are already fighting and dying in Ukraine […], most soldiers in European armies are not eager to take part in modern warfare, where the risk of dying in a rocket attack without even seeing the enemy is high.” Dwelling on the repercussions from Macron’s remarks, Spitzen suggested that “We are likely to see European and American arms deliveries to Ukraine for some time to come.” At the end of the day, however, “the West, seeing that the war is lost, will increasingly tempt Ukraine to make a separate peace,” the analyst predicted. Spitzen was echoed by Gilbert Doctorow, an international relations and Russian affairs analyst, who said that he thinks “the Germans were incensed at the cheekiness of Macron to publish a new initiative which can easily lead to [an] escalation of the war and to Germany being targeted by Russian missiles.”

When asked whether European countries will avoid further confrontation with Russia after Macron’s statement, Doctorow argued they “will likely continue it but in less risky places”, and that if Donald Trump comes to power in the US, they “will have to come to terms with Moscow over a new security architecture for the Continent.” The comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned in his state of the nation address that NATO risks a nuclear conflict if it sends troops to support the Kiev regime. “There’s been talk of sending NATO military forces to Ukraine. We remember the fate of those who sent their contingents to our country before and this time the consequences for the potential interventionists will be far more tragic,” Putin said. He urged the US and Europe to acknowledge the fact that Russia possesses weapons capable of targeting their territories and that all this plainly poses the risk of a conflict involving nuclear weapons, and therefore “the destruction of civilization”.

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“..It is estimated that up to 20,000 foreign personnel have joined the so-called “international legionnaires” fighting on the side of the Kiev regime..”:

NATO Troops Already Deployed to Ukraine, and Getting Killed (SCF)

NATO has been vigorously arming and training the NeoNazi regime that was installed in Kiev since 2014. Even Jens Stoltenberg and other NATO officials have openly admitted that background involvement. In admitting the NATO presence in Ukraine over the past decade that also corroborates Russia’s reasoning of why it was compelled to launch its military intervention two years ago. Of course, the Western powers and their servile media never go as far as conceding that. They prefer to adopt a position of double-think and hypocrisy, claiming that Russia’s military action was “unprovoked aggression”. Macron may have been shot down for now and made to look like a dangling clown. But as so often in the past, controversial NATO ideas are put forward and seemingly rejected out of hand, only to be adopted later.

As Macron pointed out, Germany and other NATO nations were only two years ago reluctant to send military equipment beyond helmets and sleeping bags. Now these same entities have sent battlefield tanks and anti-aircraft missiles and are debating sending long-range weapons to strike deep into Russian territory. US President Joe Biden once remarked on the unfeasibility of supplying fighter jets to Ukraine “because that would mean starting World War Three”. Well, Biden has ended up consenting to the supply of F-16s and his NATO side-kick Stoltenberg asserts that these warplanes could be used to hit deep Russian targets. In other words, Macron’s notions about NATO ground troops going to Ukraine may be rebuffed for now in public. But the inexorable dynamic over the past decade indicates that the idea could well become a reality shortly.

NATO’s involvement in Ukraine is a strategic wedge to attack, weaken, and eventually vanquish Russia. What starts as a thin quantity inevitably grows into a bigger contingency. NATO military personnel are already in Ukraine and have been since at least 2014 when they started training the NeoNazi brigades to terrorize the ethnic Russian populations in Crimea, Donbass, and Novorossiya. Many of these soldiers are deployed unofficially as mercenaries or ostensibly as security details for NATO diplomats. Numerous reports have attested to the presence of NATO troops in Ukraine in one form or another. A Russian air strike near Kharkov in January killed at least 60 French military officers who were reportedly serving as private contractors. Other reports have cited as many as 50 American military killed in action serving in Ukraine.

It is estimated that up to 20,000 foreign personnel have joined the so-called “international legionnaires” fighting on the side of the Kiev regime against Russian forces. A fair assumption is that most of these soldiers of fortune are temporarily “decommissioned” NATO troops. Germany’s Scholz let the cat out of the bag this week when he said he was opposed to sending long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine because that would mean the deployment of German troops to assist with operating the weapons. Scholz misspoke by inadvertently disclosing that the British and French had already dispatched special forces to assist with their missile systems, the Storm Shadow and Scalp, respectively.

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“..the already slim chances of jump-starting serious peace negotiations to end the war are slipping away fast.”

Austin: If Ukraine Is Defeated, NATO Will Be At War With Russia (ZH)

This is the single most important, dangerous and highly revealing statement from a top defense official in the West in a long time… It also demonstrates the precarious urgency of the moment and the huge stakes going into the November US election. The world truly stands on the precipice of a nuclear nightmare with the following fresh assertion of Biden’s Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who said before Congress on Thursday: “If Ukraine falls, I really believe that NATO will be in a fight with Russia,” Austin stated. What’s more is that this came the very day that Russian President Vladimir Putin warned things could easily spiral toward nuclear war in the scenario that NATO sends troops to Ukraine. [..] According to the fuller context of the Pentagon chief’s statements, he emphasized that more Washington funding is crucial for Ukraine in order to prevent a situation where “one country can redraw its neighbors’ boundaries and illegitimately take over its sovereign territory.”

“We know that if Putin is successful here, he will not stop. He will continue to take more aggressive actions in the region. And other leaders around the world, other autocrats around the world will look at this and will be encouraged by the fact that this happened and we failed to support a democracy,” he added. “If you are a Baltic state, you are really worried about whether you are next. They know Putin. They know what he is capable of. And, frankly, if Ukraine falls, I really believe that NATO will be in a fight with Russia,” Austin said. What is even more alarming about this statement is that everyone now knows that Ukraine forces are in retreat at this very moment, especially after the Russian capture of the city of Avdiivka, and surrounding villages.

Bloomberg on Thursday issued a report predicting total collapse of the Ukrainian front lines by summer, as the headline suggests (Ukraine Sees Risk of Russia Breaking Through Defenses by Summer): “Ukrainian officials are concerned that Russian advances could gain significant momentum by the summer unless their allies can increase the supply of ammunition, according to a person familiar with their analysis,” the report says. According to more from Bloomberg: “Internal assessments of the situation on the battlefield from Kyiv are growing increasingly bleak as Ukrainian forces struggle to hold off Russian attacks while rationing the number of shells they can fire. Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said Thursday that mistakes by frontline commanders had compounded the problems facing Ukraine’s defenses around Avdiivka, which was captured by Russian forces this month. Syrskyi said he’d sent in more troops and ammunition to bolster Ukrainian positions.”

So the consensus narrative and belated mainstream media admission is that Ukraine’s military is a mere months away from clear defeat, and the top US defense chief just said NATO will go to war with Russia “if Ukraine falls”. The conflict has reached a dire and perilously unpredictable moment indeed, and clearly the already slim chances of jump-starting serious peace negotiations to end the war are slipping away fast.

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“..according to Mr. Austin’s open, unambiguous statement, it’s the other way round. We do not have such plans and cannot have them, but the Americans do..”

Austin Talking About NATO-Russia War Means US Has A Plan For It – Lavrov (TASS)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, by saying that NATO and Russia could end up fighting each other if Ukraine is defeated, proved that the US has a plan for it, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a diplomatic conference in Antalya. “The meaning of this statement is that if Ukraine loses, NATO will have to go against Russia. In a Freudian slip he blurted out what they had in mind. Before that, everyone was saying: We can’t let Ukraine lose, because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will not stop at this and will take over the Baltics, Poland, Finland. But it turns out, according to Mr. Austin’s open, unambiguous statement, it’s the other way round. We do not have such plans and cannot have them, but the Americans do,” the minister said. According to Lavrov, Europe is currently the main victim of the US policy of “dragging Ukraine into NATO.”

“All major expenses have been shifted to Europe. People are living increasingly worse, energy resouces have rocketed in price manyfold, compared with what it could have been if the Americans had not blown up the Nord Stream gas pipelines,” the minister said. He said the situation around Ukraine was devised by Washington to make sure that the European Union doesn’t become too strong of a rival to the US economy. “And this goal has been achieved. Europe is now no longer a competitor to the US at all. All the main businesses and manufacturing industry are moving to the US, where conditions are completely different and energy is much cheaper,” Lavrov said. Austin earlier said that he believed “NATO will be in a fight with Russia” if Ukraine was defeated. The US Defense Secretary made the statement at a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

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“..By 1998, eight out of ten farms had gone bankrupt and 70,000 state-owned factories had closed. In 1994, a third of Russians lived below the poverty line..”

Putin Learned From His Mistakes and Today Gives Us Precious Lessons (Vasco)

In his interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson, President Vladimir Putin mentioned a fact that, for those – like me – who didn’t follow international politics 20 years ago, seems surreal. The Russian leader referred to a meeting he had with then-American President Bill Clinton in the Moscow Kremlin. “I asked him, ‘Bill, if Russia raised the issue of NATO membership, do you think it would be possible?’” Putin told Carlson. “Clinton replied: ‘It would be interesting, I think so!’” he continued. On the evening of that same day, when the two met again for dinner, Clinton’s opinion had changed radically. “‘I talked to my team. It’s not possible now,’” Clinton told Putin, according to the latter. “If he had said ‘yes’, the process of getting closer would have started, and, in the end, this could have happened if we saw a sincere desire from the partners,” he explained to Carlson.

A few days after this famous interview that went around the world, the BBC aired an interview with a former head of NATO confirming Putin’s intentions to join the military alliance in the early 2000s. “We had a good relationship”, revealed George Robertson. The Putin he met “wanted to cooperate with NATO” and “was very, very different from this almost megalomaniac of today”, recalled the historic member of the British Labor Party, staunch defender of Scotland’s slavery under the English yoke – even though he is Scottish – and who doesn’t realize that he lacks absolute morality to criticize the Russian intervention in Ukraine. With all the arrogance of a British man who still thinks he owns the world, Robertson indicated that the imperialist powers that, under his mandate at the head of NATO, finished attacking Yugoslavia and began the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq did not want to deal with Russia as an equal, but rather as a vassal within the organization.

Putin may not have fully understood the message at the time. He did not yet realize NATO’s expansionist aspirations. He fought against Chechen Muslim separatists, who carried out terrorist attacks on Russian territory. Therefore, he felt the need to support George W. Bush’s infamous “war on terror”. In fact, until then relations between Russia and the West had been relatively good since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Yeltsin was a darling of the “international community”, as had Gorbachev. But the economic devastation caused by the neoliberal shock did not please an important part of the Russian elite, particularly the military. The political, economic and social crisis was not resolved. By 1998, eight out of ten farms had gone bankrupt and 70,000 state-owned factories had closed. In 1994, a third of Russians lived below the poverty line and, even ten years later, 20% were still in this situation. Russia had lost 10% of its population due to capitalist savagery.

The rates of suicide, murder, alcoholism, drug use, sexually transmitted diseases and prostitution had increased exponentially. Huge street demonstrations expressed the population’s discontent, which almost led to the communist party’s return to power. The country’s president was a drunkard and the Chechen War threatened to spread to other regions and balkanize Russia – the division of Yugoslavia occurred in parallel with the Russian crisis. Putin rose to power as a natural successor to Yeltsin. But the real conditions in Russia (internal and external) forced him to take an opposite path. Internal social pressures were added to the second-class treatment received from Western powers and NATO’s moves towards its border. He began by stabilizing the internal situation. He renationalized key companies in the gas, oil and aviation sectors, such as Rosneft, Yukos (merged into Rosneft), Gazprom and Aeroflot and created RZD to control the transport system.

It also benefited national capitalists (or “oligarchs”, according to the propaganda of international bankers) to the detriment of foreigners. At the same time, he fought the separatists with an iron fist, regained control of the Caucasus, pacified the region and fully unified the country. Despite officially supporting Putin’s war against the Chechens, the U.S. actually had a dual policy. At the same time, it was in the interest of the imperialist powers to divide Russia to weaken it even more than they did with the fall of the USSR. After all, even if the government of a given country is an ally, it is always preferable to imperialism to reduce its territory to facilitate its domination. While they did not accept Russia’s integration, the imperialist powers bought Moscow’s former allies and integrated them into NATO. In 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined the alliance. In 2004, it was the turn of Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania. In 2009, Albania and Croatia.

Macgregor

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“The majority of the voters don’t seem receptive to a replay of this scam but the US government is at war with those voters..”

The Blob Quivers (Kunstler)

Did the Blob get vaxxed and boosted? Does that explain the severe neurological damage it displays now as its hologram of lies about Ukraine and Russia Russia Russia flickers out in the blinding daylight of reality. First, there was the gigantic New York Times article published last Sunday blowing open the decade-long secret shadow war by the CIA in a sprawling network of underground bunkers on and around the Russian border. The story was a direct feed from Blob Central in Langley, VA, to Times errand boys Adam Entous and Michael Schwirtz, longtime RussiaGate hoaxers, and obviously intended to get ahead of the real news that the neo-con project to turn Ukraine into a NATO forward base against Russia has collapsed. Read closely, the Times story appears to be an effort by current CIA chief William Burns to hang-out-to-dry his predecessors John Brennan, Mike Pompeo, and Gina Haspel for the failed eight-year-long operation. Why? Because it looks like Russia is fixing to shut down the war ASAP, before its March 15 presidential election.

As it happened, Russian diplomats and Ukraine President Zelensky took turns visiting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in Saudi Arabia this week, sparking rumors that these were peace talks with MBS playing mediator. The situation is delicate for all concerned. Ukraine itself verges on collapse with its army decimated, its ammo used up, and its coffers empty, awaiting the $60-plus-billion aid package that is stalled in Congress, meaning no salaries for Ukraine govt employees and no pensions. It’s delicate for the US because “Joe Biden” has declared our country won’t negotiate over Ukraine, despite the fact that there is nothing else to do now, or the end of the war will be negotiated without us. And remember, not many days ago Mr. Putin told Tucker Carlson that he was ready to talk to anybody. What this will demonstrate is that America has neither the ability to continue its proxy war nor the will or sense to engage in peace talks — all due to “Joe Biden’s” abject intransigence, and not a good look for someone pretending to run for re-election.

It’s delicate for Russia because such a humiliating loss for America could provoke “JB” and his NATO allies to some reckless and foolish act, say, sending NATO members’ ground troops directly into battle or a missile strike on Russian territory, setting off nuclear war. At the very least, the situation has already prompted the US government propaganda machine to kick-start Russia Russia Russia 3.0, the threadbare narrative that has been the accelerant of Democratic Party hallucinations about Russia interfering in US elections since 2016 — when it has actually been US spooks collaborating with a motley assortment of Ukrainian stooges, plus Marc Elias’s lawfare corps, plus the Intel Blob coercing social media to work its will. The majority of the voters don’t seem receptive to a replay of this scam but the US government is at war with those voters, so anything goes in the struggle to retain power.

While we await news out of those peace talks, a political firestorm rages around illegal immigrants from all over the world swarming across the US border. Nothing about that seems even remotely comprehensible, let alone defensible, anymore, as women fall prey to rape and murder by mutts released on-purpose into the US population, and cities groan under the financial burden of housing and supporting them. And so, it looks like the person directly responsible, Alejandro Mayorkas, might be riding his House impeachment bill into a senate trial — another bad look for the Democratic Party (of Chaos) going into the heart of election season.

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“..a particular type of paradoxical impulse that arises during times of momentous change..”

The West Is Willing To Destroy Its Financial System To Punish Russia (RT)

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has become the latest to add her voice to the growing chorus of Western officials calling for the seizure of Russia’s $300 billion in frozen foreign-exchange reserves for the benefit of Ukraine. This comes after UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak penned an op-ed over the weekend in which he called for the West to be “bolder” in moving toward confiscating the assets. Notwithstanding the reticence being displayed in some quarters of Europe and various admonitions that such an action would be both blatantly illegal and also detrimental to the integrity of the financial system, the idea seems to be taking on a momentum of its own, particularly in Washington and London. What we are seeing is a vivid example of the type of thinking that places perceived short-term gains ahead of a commitment to preserve the integrity of an institution that derives its potency precisely from widespread confidence in that integrity.

It is also, as we will see, a manifestation of a particular type of paradoxical impulse that arises during times of momentous change. In this case, the institution in question is the Western-led global financial system, at the very heart of which is the US dollar. Outright confiscation of the Russian central bank reserves that have been immobilized since shortly after the Ukraine conflict began in February 2022 would deliver another jolting blow to the credibility of this system. Even as most of the assets are actually held in Europe, there would be no confusion about who was calling the shots and whose credibility is on the line. Of course, views differ about how much integrity the dollar-centric system ever had, and certainly the entire Bretton Woods framework established in the waning days of World War II very much served the interests of the victorious Americans.

But it cannot be disputed that for decades the dollar was widely viewed across the geopolitical spectrum as not just a market-determined reference point and currency for trade but as a safe store of value. As trade became increasingly liberalized, assumptions about a safe and dependable dollar system were built into all manner of economic and trade policies. Such assumptions became part of the very fabric of the global financial system. Where risks related to the dollar were understood to exist, they were largely seen as lying in the realm of interest-rate policy – in other words, these were market risks rather than risks inherent to the system itself. A series of emerging-market crises in the 1980s and ‘90s left many countries chastened about the perils of excessive dollar debt and the dangers that US interest-rate hikes can unleash.

But one of the conclusions that many countries drew from these episodes was the necessity of holding greater dollar reserves as a bulwark against shocks. Between 2000 and 2005, right on the heels of two decades of crises often triggered by rising dollar interest rates, emerging markets actually accumulated dollar reserves at a record pace of about $250 billion per annum, or 3.5% of GDP – a level five times higher than in the early 1990s. In other words, countries responded to shocks emanating from the dollar realm by increasing holdings of dollars. This only underscores the nature of how dollar-related risk was perceived at the time. It simply didn’t occur to anybody that greater exposure to the dollar was itself a risk. The idea that hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of reserves could simply be confiscated if a country found itself at odds with the overseers of the system didn’t factor into any of the equations.

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“This legal basis must be accepted not only by the European countries, not only by the G7 countries, but by all the member states of the world community..”

Biden Wants To Give Russian Central Bank Funds To Ukraine, France Resists (ZH)

President Biden wants the G7 countries to develop a plan to eventually have Russia’s frozen sovereign assets handed over Ukraine in order to support the war effort, Bloomberg has reported. Bloomberg’s source have also said the US president has privately warned allies that Ukraine’s collapse, and a Russian victory, would signify the international order is effectively destroyed for at least the next half-century. “G-7 officials have been discussing options to use the $280 billion of immobilized Russian Central Bank assets, including using the money as collateral to raise debt or issuing guarantees against the frozen funds, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity,” according to the report. Biden reportedly wants a firm plan proposed by the time of the Italy G7 summit in June. The US has been working behind the scenes to build consensus. The UK and Canada are reportedly on board, but not Germany and France.

Earlier this week France firmly voiced its rejection of seizing the frozen Russian bank funds. “We don’t think this legal basis is sufficient,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said after the G7 finance ministers meeting in Brazil on Wednesday. “This legal basis must be accepted not only by the European countries, not only by the G7 countries, but by all the member states of the world community, and I mean by all the member states of the G20. We should not add any kind of division among the G20 countries.” Opponents, including of course Russian officials themselves, have highlighted that such a act would be outright and brazen theft. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has warned in response, “We have ways to respond. We have also frozen sufficient volumes of financial assets and investments of foreign investors in our securities, all of which transfers we carry out for the owners of our securities.”

Europe has to agree to any US push to freeze banks funds, since the bulk of Russia’s money – about $200 billion – is being held by European banks. In such a scenario Moscow may consider the ‘theft’ to be tantamount to an act of war. Still, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was undeterred when she was in Brazil this week. “It is necessary and urgent for our coalition to find a way to unlock the value of these immobilized assets to support Ukraine’s continued resistance and long-term reconstruction,” she had said from Sao Paulo, speaking to 20 finance ministers and central bank governors. “I believe there is a strong international law, economic, and moral case for moving forward. This would be a decisive response to Russia’s unprecedented threat to global stability,” she added.

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“..the Collective West has been isolated by the Global Rest. “Global Rest”, incidentally, is a misnomer: Global Majority is the name of the game.”

The Global South Converges to Multipolar Moscow (Pepe Escobar)

These have been frantic multipolar days at the capital of the multipolar world. I had the honor to personally tell Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that virtually the whole Global South seemed to be represented in an auditorium of the Lomonosov innovation cluster on a Monday afternoon – a sort of informal UN and in several aspects way more effective when it comes to respecting the UN charter. His eyes gleamed. Lavrov, more than most, understands the true power of the Global Majority. Moscow hosted a back-to-back multipolar conference plus the second meeting of the International Russophiles Movement (MIR, in its French acronym, which means “world” in Russian). Taken together, the discussions and networking have offered auspicious hints on the building of a truly representative international order – away from the agenda-imposed doom and gloom of single unipolar culture and Forever Wars.

The opening plenary session in the first day fell under the star power of Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova – whose main message was crystal clear: “There can’t be freedom without free will”, which could easily become the new collective Global South motto. “Civilization-states” set the tone of the overall discussion – as they are meticulously designing the blueprints of economic, technological and cultural development in the post-Western hegemonic world. Professor of International Relations Zhang Weiwei at Fudan University’s China Institute in Shanghai summarized the four crucial points when it comes to Beijing propelling its role as a “new independent pole.” That reads like a concise marker of where we are now: 1/ Under the unipolar order, everything from dollars to computer chips can be weaponized. Wars and color revolutions are the norm. 2/ China has become the largest economy in the world by PPP; the largest trade and industrial economy; and it is currently at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 3/ China proposes a model of “Unite and Prosper” instead of a Western model of “Divide and Rule”. 4/ The West tried to isolate Russia, but the Global Majority sympathizes with Russia. Thus, the Collective West has been isolated by the Global Rest.

“Global Rest”, incidentally, is a misnomer: Global Majority is the name of the game. The same applies to “golden billion”; those that profit from the unipolar moment, mostly across the collective West and as comprador elites in the satraps, are at best 200 million or so. Monday afternoon in Moscow featured three parallel sessions: on China and the multipolar world, where the star was Professor Weiwei; on the post-hegemony West, under the title “Is it possible to save the European civilization?” – attended by several dissident Europeans, academics, think tankers, activists; and the main treat – featuring the frontline actors of multipolarity.I had the honor to moderate the awesome Global South session, which ran for over three hours – it could have been the whole day, actually – and featured several stunning presentations by a stellar cast of Africans, Latin Americans and Asians, from Palestine to Venezuela, including Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla. That was the multipolar Global South in full flight – as my imperative was to open the floor to as many people as possible. Were the organizers to release a Greatest Hits of the presentations, that could easily become a global hit.

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“She’s not building a big movement. What she’s doing is lying in wait and hoping for disaster.”

Haley: Nominating Trump Means ‘Suicide for Our Country’ (RCP)

As Nikki Haley stubbornly clings to life ahead of Super Tuesday, warning that nominating Donald Trump for president a third time would mean “suicide for our country,” some of her closest supporters take solace in the fact that the future is unknowable. Perhaps there is a “fatal landmine” that the former president “could step on at any minute” or a lurking controversy that could “land him deep in the bottom of a well,” speculated Michigan State Rep. Mark Tisdal, who served on Haley’s leadership team for that state. “She is an alternative,” added Utah state Sen. Todd Weiler, who campaigned with Haley earlier this week, “and nobody knows what the future holds with the lawsuits and the age of both of our leading candidates.” Such are the unrealized hopes of the anti-Trump coalition. He will turn 78 in June, just three years younger than President Biden. He faces 91 felony counts in total among his four criminal indictments.

He has swept the first six nominating contests regardless. And Trump has yet to trip into a proverbial well or stumble onto any of the aforementioned landmines. During the primary, that is. Haley has urged the GOP to look to November from the beginning, offering up a well-worn rebuttal to the chorus of party members calling on her to exit. Now she has some data to make that case: “He lost 40% of the primary vote in all of the early states.” An accountant before politics, Haley points to the percentages in her favor as evidence of Trump’s weakness. In Minnesota Monday, she told a crowd, “You can’t win the general election if you can’t win that 40%.” Of course, unless the arithmetic changes in a hurry, Haley can’t win a primary with those numbers, either. As one prominent GOP operative put it to RealClearPolitics, requesting anonymity to speak frankly, “She’s not building a big movement. What she’s doing is lying in wait and hoping for disaster.”

Her campaign rejects outright any suggestion that Haley is waiting for catastrophe, legal or otherwise, to fall on Trump. They point to her dogged cross-country schedule and her seven-figure national ad campaign as evidence she hasn’t adopted a rear-guard strategy. They say Haley plans to win. “There’s a lot at stake this election. Nikki is fighting for the future of the Republican Party and long-standing conservative principles like fiscal discipline and a strong national security,” said spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas. “If we don’t right the ship, Republicans are going to keep losing and that means Democrats and the far left will keep winning.” The substance of Haley’s fight has earned her comparisons to once-beloved Republican presidents. “She certainly represents the values and principal policy positions of a Reagan-Bush coalition,” said GOP strategist Whit Ayers.

But unless things change in a hurry, her campaign could be compared to also-rans such as Pat Buchanan in 1992 and Steve Forbes in 1996, said Ayers, who noted that “there are a lot of people who’ve run for reasons other than simply winning the nomination.” Writing in Politico, conservative columnist Henry Olsen speculated about one of those potential reasons to stay in the race. The more delegates Haley wins, the more influence she will have at the Republican National Convention “to get concessions from Trump on things she cares about, such as U.S. support for NATO.” Speculation is in season, and more than one pundit has already written the Haley obituary. For her part, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations sticks to her argument that if Republicans nominate her old boss, “we will lose. It is that simple.” She brought this message with her to Utah, where the Republican governor, Spencer Cox, argued that if his party nominates Haley, “or literally anyone else, we would win by 10 to 14 points.”

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“..the company ignored its own ban on the use of its technology for “military and warfare” purposes and partnered up with the Pentagon..”

Musk Sues ChatGPT Maker Over AI Threat (RT)

US billionaire Elon Musk has taken OpenAI, the artificial intelligence research company he once helped to found, to court over an alleged breach of its original mission to develop AI technology not for profit but for the benefit of humanity. OpenAI, founded in 2015 as a non-profit research lab to develop an open-source Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), has now become a “closed-source de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company in the world,” Musk’s legal team wrote in the suit filed on Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court. The lawsuit claimed that Musk “has long recognized that AGI poses a grave threat to humanity – perhaps the greatest existential threat we face today.” “But where some like Mr. Musk see an existential threat in AGI, others see AGI as a source of profit and power,” it added.

“Under its new board, it is not just developing but is actually refining an AGI to maximize profits for Microsoft, rather than for the benefit of humanity.” Musk left the OpenAI board of directors in 2018 and has since grown critical of the firm, especially after Microsoft invested at least $13 billion to obtain a 49% stake in a for-profit branch of OpenAI. “Contrary to the founding agreement, defendants have chosen to use GPT-4 not for the benefit of humanity, but as proprietary technology to maximize profits for literally the largest company in the world,” the suit read. The lawsuit listed OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman and president Gregory Brockman as co-defendants in the case, and called for an injunction to block Microsoft from commercializing the tech.

AI technology has improved at a rapid pace over the last two years, with OpenAI’s GPT language model going from powering a chatbot program in late 2022 to performing in the 90th percentile on SAT exams just four months later. More than 1,100 researchers, tech luminaries and futurists argued last year that the AI race poses “profound risks to society and humanity.” Even Altman himself has previously acknowledged that he is “a little bit scared” of the technology’s potential, and barred customers from using OpenAI to “develop or use weapons.” However, the company ignored its own ban on the use of its technology for “military and warfare” purposes and partnered up with the Pentagon, announcing in January that it was working on several artificial intelligence projects with the US military.

https://twitter.com/MarioNawfal/status/1763471083838033941

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Sounds interesting, but I don’t quite know what to make of it.

“MASSIVE WIN FOR TRUMP IN PA! Greg Stenstrom and Leah Hoopes won their legal case in Pennsylvania with co-Defendant @realDonaldTrump and can now say there WAS ELECTION FRAUD in 2020. This is big and may reverse not just #J6 and show the intelligence agencies at fault but actually also show Pfizer and all those who failed to sign oaths of office at fault for Pfizer damage and lack of clinical efficacy docuements. STAY TUNED. THINGS ARE DEVELOPING FAST”

The Truth is a Complete Defense (PO)

WE WON. “NO MAS!” The Truth is a Complete Defense. Our defamation suit in which we were codefendants with President Trump is over, with the exception of a motion for sanctions that we expect will still be heard tomorrow morning in Philadelphia. Plaintiff Savage and attorney J. Conor Corcoran have withdrawn their complaints less than 24 hours before they were scheduled to appear in Court with Leah Hoopes and myself to consider Motion for Summary Judgement in our Favor for our “truth is a complete defense” and our Motion for Sanctions against Savage and Corcoran. As those of you who have been following along know, we have submitted a large volume of filings with the Court in preparation for tomorrows hearing, and a discovery hearing that was scheduled for 25MAR2024, and were beating them to a pulp.

We have also filed similar Motions to Dismiss and for Sanctions against Delaware County and attorneys from Duane Morris LLP and are beating their brains in there too. Duane Morris officially withdrew as attorneys this week for Newsmax in other litigation that we called out in our motions as conflicts and criminal collusion. To our knowledge, this is the only case against President Trump and Rudy Giuliani in the country (in which we were codefendants with them) that they have won, and credit where credit is due, Leah and I did all the heavy lifting. Expect more “wins” in the near future in our march to show that the November 2020 election was stolen and to restore election integrity and transparency in PA. We’re going after Shapiro hard and not going to quit until they all say “No Mas.” Semper Fi.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Seal safe

 

 

Martis

 

 

Great white

 

 

Lions
https://twitter.com/i/status/1763621701726720013

 

 

 

 

Billy Crystal

 

 

Keef

 

 

 

 

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


Vincent van Gogh Red Vineyards at Arles 1888

 

 

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

 

 

Andrew Korybko:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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Feb 032024
 
 February 3, 2024  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  51 Responses »


Gustave Courbet The bathers 1853

 

The Three Strands to the ‘Swarming of Biden’ (Alastair Crooke)
EU Squanders Another €50 Billion on Kiev Regime… and Self-Destruction (SCF)
Von Der Leyen Celebrates A Great Day For Europe As Farmers Trash Brussels (RT)
Flailing Germany Is The Future Of Europe (Fazi)
Germany Destroying Its Car Industry – Putin (RT)
Israel Ignoring UN Court Order – South Africa (RT)
Ukraine Seeks $1 Trillion From Russia – Zelensky Aide (RT)
Russian Weapons Are Unrivaled – Putin (RT)
Ukrainian Military A Terrorist Organization – Putin (RT)
China Issues ‘War Sponsor’ List Demand To Ukraine (RT)
Polish Farmers: Full Blockade of Poland-Ukraine Border on February 9 (Sp.)
Orban Linked To Farmers’ Protests – FT (RT)
Hunter Biden Compares Himself to Dead Romanovs and Ancient Greek Heroes (Turley)
Justice Sotomayor Is the Left’s Latest Retirement-Target (Turley)
War Delirium (Jim Kunstler)
Joe Rogan Scores Massive New Podcast Contract (RT)

 

 


• South Korea has the world’s lowest birth rate and it has become a national emergency.
• China’s population drops for second year, with record low birth rate
• U.S. birth rate declined 30% in 15 years
• Canada’s fertility rate lowest on record
• France’s birth rates are the lowest since 1946
• Ukraine, Romania, Belarus and Moldova are among the top 10 countries in the world with the biggest population decline.
• Japan is also staring at a population crisis. Its birth rate declined for the seventh consecutive year.

 

 

Dr. Drew

 

 

Ron Paul

 

 

“MINUTE ORDER as to DONALD J. TRUMP:…the March 4, 2024 trial set by the court’s 39 Pretrial Order, as amended, is hereby VACATED. The court will set a new schedule if and when the mandate is returned. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 2/2/2024. (zjd) (Entered: 02/02/2024)”

 

 

SNL

 

 

 

 

NYFlorida

 

 

Sheriff

 

 

 

 

“..The U.S. seemingly aims to find a way to hurt Iranian and Resistance forces just enough to show that Biden is ‘very angry’..”

The Three Strands to the ‘Swarming of Biden’ (Alastair Crooke)

“The Iranians have a strategy, and we don’t”, a former senior U.S. Defence Department official told Al-Monitor: “We’re getting bogged down in tactical weeds – of whom to target and how – and nobody’s thinking strategically”. The former Indian diplomat MK Bhadrakumar has coined the term ‘swarming’ to describe this process of non-state actors miring the U.S. in the tactical attrition – from the Levant to the Persian Gulf. ‘Swarming’ has been associated more recently with a radical evolution in modern warfare (most evident in Ukraine), where the use of autonomous swarming drones, continuously communicating with each other via AI, select and direct the attack to targets identified by the swarm.In the Ukraine, Russia has pursued a patient, calibrated attrition to drive hard-Right ultranationalists from the field of battle (in central and eastern Ukraine), together with their western NATO facilitators.

NATO attempts at deterrence towards Russia (that recently have veered off into ‘terrorist’ attacks inside Russia – i.e. on Belgorod) notably have failed to produce results. Rather, Biden’s close embrace of Kiev has left him exposed politically, as U.S. and European zeal for the project implodes. The war has bogged down the U.S., without any electorally acceptable exit – and all can see it. Moscow drew-in Biden to an elaborate attritional web. He should ‘get out’ quick – but the 2024 campaign binds him.So, Iran has been setting a very similar strategy throughout the Gulf, maybe taking its cue from the Ukraine conflict.Less than a day after the attack on Tower 22, the military base ambiguously perched on the membrane between Jordan and the illegal U.S. al-Tanaf base in Syria, Biden promised that the U.S. would provide a quick and determined response to the attacks against it in Iraq and Syria (by what he calls ‘Iran-linked’ militia).

Simultaneously however, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby stated that the U.S. doesn’t want to expand military operations opposite Iran. Just as in Ukraine, where the White House has been loath to provoke Moscow into all-out war versus NATO, so too in the region, Biden is (rightly) wary of out-right war with Iran. Biden’s political considerations in this election-year will be uppermost. And that, at least partly, will depend on the fine calibration by the Pentagon of just how exposed to missile and drone attacks U.S. forces are in Iraq and Syria. The bases there are ‘sitting ducks’; a fact that would be an embarrassing admission. But a hurried evacuation (with overtones of the last flights from Kabul) would be worse; it could be electorally disastrous. The U.S. seemingly aims to find a way to hurt Iranian and Resistance forces just enough to show that Biden is ‘very angry’, yet without perhaps doing real damage – i.e. it is a form of ‘militarised psychotherapy’, rather than hard politics.

Risks remain: bomb too much, and the wider regional war will ignite to a new level. Bomb too little, and the swarm just rolls on, ‘swarming’ the U.S. on multiple fronts until it finally caves – and finally exits the Levant. Biden thus finds himself in an exhausting, ongoing secondary war with groups and militias rather than states (whom the Axis seeks to shield). In spite of its militia character, however the war has been causing major damage to the economies of states in the region. They have fathomed that American deterrence has not been showing results (i.e., with Ansarallah in the Red Sea). Some of those countries – including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – have initiated ‘private’ steps that were not coordinated with the U.S. They are not only speaking with these militia and movements, but also directly with Iran. The strategy to ‘swarm’ the U.S. on multiple fronts was plainly stated at the recent ‘Astana Format’ meeting between Russia, Iran, and Turkey on 24-25 January. The latter triumvirate are busy preparing the endgame in Syria (and ultimately, in the Region as a whole).

The joint statement after the Astana Format meeting in Kazakhstan, MK Bhadrakumar has noted: “is a remarkable document predicated almost entirely on an end to the U.S. occupation of Syria. It indirectly urges Washington to give up its support of terrorist groups and their affiliates “operating under different names in various parts of Syria” as part of attempts to create new realities on the ground, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives under the pretext of ‘combating terrorism.’ It demands an end to the U.S.’ illegal seizure and transfer of oil resources “that should belong to Syria””.

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“..polls indicate that the European public – like the American public – is opposed to their governments supporting Ukraine..”

EU Squanders Another €50 Billion on Kiev Regime… and Self-Destruction (SCF)

Finally, the European Union’s threats, blackmail, and arm-twisting have paid off to push through a giant €50 billion aid package to the hopelessly corrupt Kiev regime. This is while European farmers revolt against the EU leadership over higher energy costs and cheap imports from Ukraine that are putting them out of business and wiping out their livelihoods. The EU leaders are committing the entire bloc of 500 million people to political suicide. The reckless cavalier attitude is something to behold. Bring on the pitchforks, Merci! The 27 leaders of the European Union met in an emergency summit this week not to deal with the bloc’s mounting internal political, economic, and social problems but rather to lavish mountains of more aid on non-member Ukraine.

When the leaders held their last summit in December, it was a spectacle of back-biting and sordid wrangling. At that gathering, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban vetoed the allocation of more funds to the Ukrainian regime amid bitter recrimination and bickering. This time around, however, Hungary caved in to the intense pressure to agree on the package. Days before the summit in Brussels this week, it was reported by the Financial Times that the European Council had drawn up plans to sabotage the Hungarian economy if Budapest persisted in not signing up for the massive aid plan. That speaks volumes about the perverse mindset at the apex of the EU bureaucracy. It demonstrates the undemocratic character of the bloc despite pretentious claims to the contrary.

Brussels had already frozen up to €10 billion in central funding for Hungary and there were reported threats to remove Budapest’s voting rights in the bloc’s decision-making which would have been a blatant violation of the EU’s declared principle of unanimity. The allocation of €50 billion to a non-member state is astounding. Even more bewildering is that the latest largesse is only a fraction of the total aid that the EU leadership has pumped into Ukraine since the proxy war against Russia erupted in February 2022. Over the past two years, the European Union has given the Kiev regime an estimated €100 billion.The United States and other Western allies have also plied Ukraine with another €100 billion. About half of this goes on weapons, while the other half pays for state financing.

As we have noted here previously, the cumulative funding by the West to Ukraine has far exceeded the historic Marshall Fund that the U.S. allocated to all of Europe for reconstruction following World War Two (about €170 billion in today’s money).There is simply no precedent or justifiable rationale for this mobilization of financial support for Ukraine. This has all been done as a fait accompli by an elite class with no democratic mandate. No referenda have been conducted to consult the public about the inordinate expenditure. Indeed, polls indicate that the European public – like the American public – is opposed to their governments supporting Ukraine.

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“..EU farmers “high-fived” her by throwing eggs, lighting fires and dumping manure in Brussels..”

Von Der Leyen Celebrates A Great Day For Europe As Farmers Trash Brussels (RT)

“Agreement! The European Council delivered on our priorities. Supporting Ukraine…. A good day for Europe,” tweeted unelected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, as EU farmers “high-fived” her by throwing eggs, lighting fires and dumping manure in Brussels, where a reported 1,300 tractors gathered in protest. Surely it must have been in anticipation of this “great day for Europe” that Brussels rolled out the barbed wire to keep the bloc’s own struggling farmers at bay while its leaders cut yet another check for Ukraine — after threatening the one anticipated holdout with national economic “blackmail,” as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban qualified it. It’s hard to believe that this meeting actually took place in Brussels. These officials are so disconnected from reality that it may as well have been held on a whole other planet.

Unlike the Ukrainian products making their way onto Western European dinner plates to stick it to Russian President Vladimir Putin (because turtlenecks and short, cold showers apparently failed to do the job), this crisis is certifiably EU-made. No one knows this better than the farmers, who also realize that it makes more sense to blockade the streets of Brussels than the national highways of their home countries, which they’ve been doing with overwhelming public support – from nine out of every ten citizens in the case of France, according to a recent Odoxa poll. It was the EU with its climate change obsession that imposed a Common Agricultural Policy on farmers across the entire bloc, managed by bureaucrats divorced from the reality on the ground. Pencil pushers use EU Copernicus satellite images to spy and crack down on farmers whose paperwork doesn’t match – even if any discrepancies can be chalked up to uncontrollable but temporary conditions like the weather.

It was also the EU that piled on regulations under the pretext of ensuring the quality of farm products, while at the same time flooding the bloc with grain, poultry, and other imports from Ukraine. Does “Chernobyl chicken” mass-produced by workers who are paid a pittance represent a threat to the physical health of citizens and economic health of farmers? If not, then why can’t Brussels take its jackboot off the necks of its own farmers so they can compete on a level playing field? The EU has also suddenly decided to ease up on some pesticide bans, angering greens. Paris is promoting the idea that ideologically-driven bans need to end, which seems like a tacit admission of their uselessness. So what should we be more worried about now – ideologically-driven authoritarianism under the guise of health consciousness, or an actual health threat?

And what about that Ukrainian grain that EU officials demanded Russia unblock to feed the poor in developing countries? It turns out that Turkey and Russia were right when they raised the alarm about it just being dumped right next door in Europe, and it sounds like Russian President Vladimir Putin was effectively a bigger defender of EU farmers’ interests than Brussels was. But who’s even surprised anymore by Brussels’ misplaced priorities, given the image that has now emerged of another €50 billion ($54 billion) going out the door to Kiev, in support of a country that’s undercutting the EU’s own farmers without even being in the EU itself?

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“..over the past month the country has been beset by some of its largest strikes in decades: train drivers, local public transit workers, airport security personnel, doctors and retail workers, all demanding higher wages and better working conditions..”

Flailing Germany Is The Future Of Europe (Fazi)

For much of the Merkel era, Germany stood as an island of economic and political stability amid Europe’s perennially stormy waters. Those days, however, seem like a distant memory. Europe is still in crisis — but now Germany is the epicentre. It is, once again, the sick man of Europe. Anti-government demonstrations are rare in Germany. So when hundreds of angry farmers and their tractors descended on Berlin in mid-December, to protest a planned cut to diesel subsidies and tax breaks for agricultural vehicles as part of a new wave of austerity measures, it was clear that something was afoot. The government, evidently concerned, immediately backtracked, announcing that the discount would remain in place, and that the diesel subsidy would be phased out over several years instead of being abolished immediately. The farmers, however, said it wasn’t enough — and threatened to step up the protests unless the government completely reserved its plans.

They were true to their word: in the weeks that followed, thousands of farmers staged massive protests, not just in Berlin but in several cities, even blocking the arterial autobahns, and effectively bringing the country to a standstill. The government, in turn, resorted to one of the oldest and most effective tricks in the political playbook: claiming the far-Right were behind the protests in an attempt to delegitimise the farmers and scare people away. Except that, this time, it didn’t work. Not only did the protests continue, they grew, and even attracted workers from other industries — fishing, logistics, hospitality, road transport, supermarkets — as well as ordinary citizens. As a result, what started as a protest over diesel subsidies has evolved into a much wider revolt against the German government. One of the most common slogans at the demonstrations is: “The traffic light must go!”, a reference to the governing coalition of the Social Democrats, the Free Democrats and Greens. And, much like the Gilets Jaunes in 2018, whose own protests were triggered by fuel prices, the farmers have given voice to a much greater pool of political anger.

As one told the Washington Post: “Originally, we had hoped that the cuts to the agriculture subsidies would be overturned. But… I think it’s clear that this protest is about a lot more. Not only us farmers are unhappy, but other areas, too. Because what’s coming out of Berlin is damaging our county — especially the economy.” Even this approaches euphemism: soaring living costs, plummeting real wages, massive layoffs and a burgeoning housing crisis have sent approval ratings for Scholz’s government to record lows — and Germans are getting restless. Aside from the farmers’ protests, over the past month the country has been beset by some of its largest strikes in decades: train drivers, local public transit workers, airport security personnel, doctors and retail workers, all demanding higher wages and better working conditions. Further industrial action is expected in the coming weeks. This is particularly astonishing considering that Germany has long prided itself on its non-conflictual model of industrial relations, which has historically emphasised co-operation between trade unions and employers’ federations.

The problem is that Germany’s social peace was premised on an economic model — the once-hailed Modell Deutschland — that is all but bust. Its economic success in the 21st century was founded on two pillars: cheap imports of raw materials and energy (especially from Russia) and high demand in the rest of the world. Over the past few years, though, thanks to a global slowdown and the Ukraine war, both have been tumbled away. Germany was the worst-performing major economy in the world last year according to the IMF, and the country is now teetering on the brink of recession. Industrial production has fallen five months in a row: as Hans-Jürgen Völz (chief economist for the BVMV, which lobbies on behalf of small- and medium-sized businesses) said last July: “One sometimes hears about ‘creeping deindustrialisation’ — well, it’s not just creeping anymore.”

What’s striking is that the German leadership has largely brought this crisis on itself. First, it leapt on the anti-Russian bandwagon and decoupled from its main source of energy; and then it compounded the crisis via two of the German establishment’s favourite obsessions, green policies and austerity. The proposal to scrap fuel subsidies is a perfect case in point. It emerged from a court ruling that the government’s attempt to bypass its own fiscal rules by turning €60 billion originally earmarked for Covid aid towards measures aimed at combating climate change was unconstitutional. The decision to cut the subsidies was thus presented by the government as the only way to meet both its fiscal and climate targets. The message was one that we’ve become accustomed to: “es gibt keine Alternative [There is no alternative].” But of course, both of those targets are self-imposed. They are the result of political decisions, not laws of nature — something ordinary Germans are more than aware of.

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“..Germany’s automobile industry is in decline and the country needs assistance to salvage it..”

Germany Destroying Its Car Industry – Putin (RT)

Germany’s automobile industry is in decline and the country needs assistance to salvage it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a visit to the All-Russia Exhibition Center in Moscow on Thursday. “They are now destroying their auto industry. They need to be helped somehow,” Putin stated in response to reports about Russia’s contribution to the emergence of the automobile industry in Germany. When asked whether the current decline is related to Russian consumers increasingly opting for Chinese over German cars, Putin stated “not only that,” without elaborating further. German industry – and its automotive sector in particular – has been plagued by mounting problems over the past year and a half. The competitiveness of German manufacturers has been damaged by higher energy prices after the country lost cheap gas supplies from Russia.

Hildegard Muller, president of the German Automotive Industry Association (VDA), warned last year that soaring energy costs are contributing to a “dramatic loss in international competitiveness,” as many companies are considering relocating their businesses elsewhere. According to VDA data, while output from German automobile plants did manage to rise by 18% year-on-year to 4.1 million cars in 2023, this was still 12% below the pre-Covid year of 2019. Meanwhile, orders received by German manufacturers fell by 5%, with domestic orders plunging by 18%. In March 2022, amid Western sanctions on Moscow in light of the Ukraine conflict, many German car manufacturers, including Volkswagen and Daimler Truck, suspended trade with Russia and later exited the country, losing a lucrative market. The void left by German carmakers was quickly filled, however, by Chinese brands, which accounted for more than 90% of all Russian car imports in 2023.

In recent years, China has made a push to gain market share in the global automobile sector. It has now moved into second place behind Japan as the globe’s top car exporter and has been gradually either crowding out European carmakers or buying shares in their businesses. Geely, a major automotive brand based in China, acquired Swedish carmaker Volvo back in 2010, while in 2018 its founder, Li Shufu, became the largest shareholder of German automaker Daimler, the parent of Mercedes Benz. Maksim Oreshkin, Putin’s top economic adviser, earlier warned that “companies like Mercedes and BMW may fade into history in ten years” as they now have “neither the market nor the technological advantage that they had five to ten years ago.”

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“I asked him [ICC prosecutor] why he was able to issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Putin and is unable to do so for the prime minister of Israel. He did not answer that question..”

Israel Ignoring UN Court Order – South Africa (RT)

South Africa has accused Israel of disregarding a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering it to prevent civilian deaths in its war in Gaza against the Palestinian militant group Hamas. South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told reporters in Pretoria on Wednesday that the Israeli government has killed hundreds more people in Gaza, just days after the UN’s top court ruling last week. The ICJ ruled on January 26 that Israel must take all necessary precautions to prevent genocide and destruction in the Palestinian territories. While the court stopped short of demanding a ceasefire, it did order West Jerusalem to punish members of its military who commit genocide, as well as government officials who advocate for massacre. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the World Court’s decision as “outrageous” and declared that no Israeli soldiers would be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, Israeli forces continued to battle militants in the northern part of the enclave on Wednesday. The attacks killed over 150 people and injured 313 more. Nearly 27,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Gaza since the war began in October, Palestinian health officials have said.The conflict started when Hamas fighters launched attacks against Israeli villages, killing more than 1,100 people and taking hundreds of hostages. The UN says around 85% of Gaza residents have been displaced from their homes, and 570,000 people there are starving.“I can’t be dishonest. I believe the rulings of the court have been ignored. Hundreds of people have been killed in the last three or four days. And clearly, Israel believes it has license to do as it wishes,” South Africa’s Foreign Minister said.

Pandor warned of the dangers of the world doing nothing to stop the civilian casualties in Gaza. She said that similar inaction contributed to Rwanda’s horrific death toll in 1994 when more than 800,000 people were slaughtered in an ethnically motivated genocide. South Africa filed a separate case against Netanyahu at the ICC last November, accusing him of war crimes and demanding his arrest.On Wednesday, Pandor stated that she had met with the ICC prosecutor to discuss the case and that it appeared to be handled differently than the allegations against Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine crisis. Last year, The Hague court issued an arrest warrant for Putin for alleged war crimes, including the removal of children from Ukraine.

“I asked him [ICC prosecutor] why he was able to issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Putin and is unable to do so for the prime minister of Israel. He did not answer that question. But I read into some of what he said that the investigations are still underway,” the South African official said. She said Pretoria would “look at proposing other measures to the global community” to stop Israel from killing civilians amid its war in Gaza.

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Sure.

Ukraine Seeks $1 Trillion From Russia – Zelensky Aide (RT)

Russia’s assets frozen by the West won’t be enough to cover the damage Ukraine has sustained due to Russia’s military operation, the Ukrainian president’s top economic adviser, Oleg Ustenko, said on Friday during a national telethon, as cited by RBK news outlet. “We are not talking about the figure of $300–350 billion of their gold and foreign exchange reserves. According to estimates made in Kiev, we are talking about $750 billion in direct losses. If we add indirect losses, this could raise the figure to $1 trillion,” Ustenko was cited as saying. In mid-2022, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal already named the amount that would be required to restore Ukraine, estimating it at $750 billion and saying at the time that the key source for the funds should come from the “confiscated assets that belong to Russia and Russian oligarchs.”

President Vladimir Zelensky later noted that the necessary reparations were estimated at $600–$800 billion. In late 2023, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice ruled out the possibility of concluding a peace deal with Russia without receiving reparations for the damages sustained from the conflict. Kiev and its Western allies have long been mulling ways to use Russian assets blocked abroad to restore Ukraine. On January 30, EU member states reached an agreement allowing Brussels to transfer the income generated by Russia’s frozen central bank reserves to Kiev, but have so far stopped short of tapping the assets themselves. It’s estimated that Belgium’s Euroclear, the bloc’s central security depository, holds €196.6 billion (nearly $220 billion) worth of Russian assets, the vast majority of which belong to the country’s central bank.

In its financial results for 2023 published on Thursday, Euroclear revealed that it accrued almost $5 billion in profit from frozen Russian assets last year. It is assumed that Euroclear’s profits will not be paid to the owners of the assets but will later be transferred to a special EU fund to support Ukraine. In total, the EU has frozen €207 billion (just over $231 billion) of Russian assets and reserves since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict. Moscow has repeatedly warned that any actions related to its assets by the US and its allies would amount to “theft,” stressing that seizure of the funds or any similar move would violate international law and lead to a tit-for-tat response from Russia. Several Western officials, including European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, have also warned that tapping frozen Russian funds would undermine trust in Western currencies and the economic system.

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“..while some Russian military equipment designed and produced in the twilight of the Soviet era is often – but not always – inferior in some respects to NATO hardware, this is not true of modern Russian weaponry…”

Russian Weapons Are Unrivaled – Putin (RT)

Russia’s modern weapons are more effective than the arms used by NATO countries, which have provided extensive military assistance to Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has claimed. Speaking at the ‘Everything for Victory’ forum in the city of Tula not far from Moscow, Putin praised the country’s defense industry, saying it plays an important role in the conflict with Ukraine and in the country’s economy as it provides jobs for millions. The Russian leader acknowledged that while some Russian military equipment designed and produced in the twilight of the Soviet era is often – but not always – inferior in some respects to NATO hardware, this is not true of modern Russian weaponry.

It is clear that [these arms] are superior… I mean both missiles, armored vehicles, everything that is being used on the battlefield. He added that for the army to be successful, it should be able to swiftly react to the developments on the battlefield, suppressing the adversary’s artillery and reconnaissance assets. The military should also have its own such assets which should be more effective, Putin said. “Whoever does it faster will win,” he concluded. Last month, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that the country’s defense industry had significantly ramped up production of military hardware and materiel. This has also been true for the manufacturing of artillery shells which had been increased several times over, he said at the time.

Pilger Putin

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”What is called the Armed Forces of Ukraine has turned into a terrorist organization that attacks ambulances..”

Ukrainian Military A Terrorist Organization – Putin (RT)

The Armed Forces of Ukraine have turned into a terrorist organization that intentionally attacks ambulances, Russian President Vladimir Putin said while speaking at the ‘Everything for Victory’ forum in Tula on Friday. He was commenting on attacks carried out by the Ukrainian military on residential areas of Russian cities in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), which have led to a number of civilian casualties. In one such attack on January 20, a paramedic working in the city of Gorlovka was wounded while trying to provide assistance to victims following a previous round of shelling. On January 12, another paramedic was also killed during a Ukrainian attack on an ambulance brigade in the same city.

”What is called the Armed Forces of Ukraine has turned into a terrorist organization that attacks ambulances,” Putin said. The president recalled a story he heard last year about how Russian forces intercepted communications between two Ukrainian tank operators who were trying to enter Donetsk. One of the servicemen had just killed a man who had stepped out of his house, Putin said, when the other officer asked him “Why did you do that? He was just some guy wearing a tracksuit. He had a family, you can hear his children running around in the house.” The response, according to Putin, was “They’re all terrorists here.” “What is this if not neo-Nazism? That’s not to mention the rounds of applause for actual SS officers in the Canadian parliament and the blatant attacks on medical workers and ambulance vehicles,” added the president.

Russia knows of the tremendous strain put on medical personnel working in the territory of the DPR and other regions, he added, vowing to continue support for them. Work would be done to provide hazard pay to ambulance drivers, the president said. Earlier this week, Putin claimed there is a need to create a larger “demilitarized zone” in Ukraine that would ensure that peaceful Russian cities would no longer be targeted by Kiev’s foreign-made, long-range weapons.

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“..China’s support for Russia “on the Ukrainian issue” will continue “despite the fact that the US and the EU continue to put pressure on the Chinese side.”

China Issues ‘War Sponsor’ List Demand To Ukraine (RT)

Beijing has demanded that Ukraine immediately removes all 14 Chinese companies from a list of businesses that Kiev has branded “international sponsors of war,” Reuters has reported. The demand comes after Beijing’s ambassador to Kiev told senior Ukrainian government officials last month that the presence of Chinese firms on the list could hurt bilateral ties, according to the news agency. “China firmly opposes the inclusion of Chinese enterprises [on the list]… and demands that Ukraine immediately correct its mistakes and eliminate negative impacts,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday.Of the 48 international companies on the Ukrainian blacklist, 14 are from China, the most of any other country.

“The ambassador said that [the blacklist] could have a negative impact on our relations,” a senior Ukrainian source told the news agency, adding that Beijing has not yet outlined any specific consequences.Kiev’s ‘International Sponsors of War’ project lists companies that still do business with Russia. While the list does not have legal implications, it aims to damage the reputation of businesses and push them into cutting ties with Russia, thus reducing Moscow’s “financial and technological ability.” In November, Kiev added Swiss food giant Nestle and German building materials giant Knauf to the blacklist for continuing to operate in Russia and pay taxes into the federal budget.

Last month, Lithuanian seafood company Viciunai Group was also included on the list. Alibaba and Chinese energy giants China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group), and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) are some of the largest companies listed.China has not condemned Russia’s military operation against Ukraine, nor has it joined sanctions against Moscow. Beijing’s defense minister, Dong Jun, stated on Thursday that China’s support for Russia “on the Ukrainian issue” will continue “despite the fact that the US and the EU continue to put pressure on the Chinese side.” Russia and China consider themselves strategic partners, and two-way trade hit a record $240 billion in 2023 as economic ties continue to grow.

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“..they fight for their “common good” to forestall the impoverishment of Polish families..”

Polish Farmers: Full Blockade of Poland-Ukraine Border on February 9 (Sp.)

Polish farmers plan a complete blockade of the Poland-Ukraine border crossing, including highways, during an industrial action on February 9 to lambast the EU’s agricultural policy, according to the Solidarity trade union. “The position of Brussels from January 2024 cannot be accepted by our farming community. Moreover, the inaction of the Polish authorities and plans to cooperate with the European Commission and respect all its decisions regarding the import of agricultural products and food from Ukraine leave us no choice but to announce a general strike,” the protesters said in a statement.

The trade union has appealed to their fellow citizens to cooperate and show understanding regarding the ensuing situation as they fight for their “common good” to forestall the impoverishment of Polish families. The planned protests by farmers in Poland come on the heels of the escalating farmer protests in several European Union member countries. The agitating farmers list reasons like EU markets being flooded with cheap and tax-free agricultural products from Ukraine, agricultural subsidy cutbacks, etc. The EU’s deal with Kiev to extend the facilitated trade regime has triggered farmer fury within the bloc, especially in Brussels.

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“FT has claimed that the farmers’ protests have been organized by a think tank chaired by a close aide of the prime minister..”

Orban Linked To Farmers’ Protests – FT (RT)

Close associates of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban are reportedly responsible for organizing the farmers’ protests in Brussels over the past week, the Financial Times reported on Friday. The Hungarian leader personally met with protesters in the Belgian capital on Wednesday ahead of an EU summit on Ukraine aid, expressing support for what he described as “the voice of the people.” The farmers, thousands of whom have descended on Brussels, have been picketing the EU Parliament building, where they have burned pallets and piles of manure, and hurled eggs, stones and fireworks. They have also blockaded the Belgian capital using around 1,300 tractors. Similar demonstrations have also been seen in other EU states including France, Germany, Italy and Poland.

The farmers have been protesting against the EU’s agriculture policies, environmental standards, and rising fuel prices, and have highlighted the threat to their livelihoods posed by cheap Ukrainian imports. The Financial Times claims that Orban has been linked to a number of nationalist movements across the EU, as well as the recent farmers’ protests. The outlet claims that France’s National Rally party previously received a loan from a Hungarian bank run by Orban associates. Budapest also allegedly funded anti-immigration adverts on YouTube in Poland ahead of last year’s parliamentary elections in the country. FT has claimed that the farmers’ protests have been organized by a think tank chaired by a close aide of the prime minister, apparently referring to the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) – a Budapest-based college whose chairman is Balazs Orban (no relation) who has served as political director to the Hungarian prime minister.

The MCC has a Belgian-based offshoot, MCC Brussels, whose director Frank Furedi had previously claimed in an op-ed for Politico in 2022 that the purpose of the think tank was to “provide an alternative” for Europe’s “polarized cultural landscape.” Orban, who has repeatedly found himself at odds with other EU leaders, also stated in December that he did not wish for Hungary to leave the EU behind, but instead intends to “take Brussels” when Budapest assumes the rotating presidency of the EU Council from Belgium later this year. During the presidency, Orban said he hopes to convince as many member states as possible that Hungary’s insistence on standing by its ideals and values is the “right” way to do things. Nevertheless, on Thursday, the Hungarian leader lifted his veto on the EU’s €50 billion ($54 billion) package of economic aid to Ukraine, claiming that he had been “blackmailed” by Brussels into accepting the deal after months of resistance. Orban has described Ukraine as “one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” and opposed giving it any money out of the EU budget without oversight. Brussels, however, threatened to launch a financial blockade against Hungary if it did not back the deal, Orban explained.

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“..Hunter’s other towering burden: being the son of one of the most powerful people on Earth..”

Hunter Biden Compares Himself to Dead Romanovs and Ancient Greek Heroes (Turley)

Hunter Biden is comparable to children in Japanese internment camps, to undocumented immigrants, to the murdered descendants of the Tsar. At least that’s what he argues in a new court filing in his federal gun case, which presents Hunter as one of the most tragic figures since the fall of Troy. Literally. The brief starts by asking the court to ignore Hunter’s own admissions as to his use of drugs during the period of his gun ownership. As discussed in earlier columns, Hunter faces a serious problem in proving a prior defense by his counsel Abbe Lowell. Last October, Lowell argued that Hunter had not lied on ATF Form 4473 when he indicated he was not an unlawful user of, or addicted to, narcotics: “At the time that he purchased this gun, I don’t think there’s evidence that that’s when he was suffering.” The problem is that Hunter discussed his roaring addiction in his book, Beautiful Things: A Memoir, which he has used to excuse years of alleged influence peddling and an array of possible crimes from drug use to sex trafficking to tax offenses.

The narrative was pushed by his counsel and picked up by the media which showered him with praise for his courage. Now, however, counsel wants the Court to forget the admissions such as Hunter admitted that he was “drinking a quart of vodka a day by yourself in a room is absolutely, completely debilitating” as was “smoking crack around the clock.” He describes his addiction as running up to the announcement of his father for presidential election. The book is not his only problem. Recently, the government has revealed that, when it recovered the gun after its was discarded near a school, the gun pouch was coated in cocaine. Lowell expressed outrage that the government would cite his client’s own words or cite the fact that his gun pouch looked like it came from the desk of Tony Montana. Calling the use of his client’s words “despicable,” Lowell suggests that the prosecutors “should visit an Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meeting.”

If that was not bizarre enough, he then describes Hunter’s other towering burden: being the son of one of the most powerful people on Earth. While Hunter repeatedly used that connection for appointments and influence peddling, it is also apparently his curse. Indeed, he suggests that it is a protected “immutable characteristic,” a term used often in cases protecting minorities from racial discrimination. Somehow his prosecution for a gun violation would raise constitutional concerns since “the First Amendment … protects the freedom of association among family members—particularly as the parent-child relationship is an immutable characteristic.” He shares how he carries the same burden as other accursed children. In a brief that borders on delusional, Biden’s lawyers say the son of the president who burned through millions from influence peddling is comparable to all those unfortunate and destitute souls.

While the media has endlessly covered how Donald Trump’s arguments are over-the-top in issues such as immunity, there appears to be comparably little interest in the president’s son’s self-aggrandizing demand for dismissal of his criminal charges. One of the filing’s main arguments is that Hunter Biden is being selectively prosecuted because of his father. Hunter profited massively from the Biden name, but now, his lawyer Abbe Lowell argues, he’s suffering from the “burden” of parentage.To back up this argument, Lowell cites Plyler v. Doe, a case involving the providing of free education to the children of illegal immigrants, to say that the Constitution, “prevents the government from inflicting harm on children for the conduct of their parents.” That’s right, Joe Biden is like an undocumented migrant father who carried his kid over the border for a better life. One can only imagine the press response to any comparison of the Trump children to migrant children.

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“There is no concern for deterioration or death on the bench in Sotomayor’s case. It is simply a matter of swapping out justices like light bulbs before they burn out.”

Justice Sotomayor Is the Left’s Latest Retirement-Target (Turley)

“I live in frustration … To be almost 70 years old, this isn’t what I expected.” Those words from Justice Sonia Sotomayor appear to resonate with some liberals, but not in the way intended by the jurist. Some activists and journalists are beginning to nudge Sotomayor to leave the Court in order to be replaced by a younger jurist, much as was done to Justice Stephen Breyer in 2021 and 2022. On CNN, journalist Josh Barro bluntly wondered why Sotomayor remains on the bench when younger jurists could be brought on to guarantee a liberal vote for years to come. He indicated that many liberals are frustrated with her for not stepping down: “I find it a little bit surprising, given what Justice Sotomayor describes there about the stakes of what is happening before the Supreme Court, that she’s not retired. She’s 69 years old, she’s been on the court for 15 years.”

Sotomayor gave her frank assessment of being “tired” and “frustrated” during an appearance at University of California’s, Berkeley. She suggested that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority contributes to her daily burden. It was a notable interview not only for its content but for its moderator, UC Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky. Chemerinsky previously shocked many in the legal community by denouncing Sotomayor’s six conservative colleagues as “partisan hacks.” In response to Chemerinsky’s probing, Sotomayor took an implied swipe at her colleagues and declared: “I live in frustration. Every loss truly traumatizes me in my stomach and in my heart. But I have to get up the next morning and keep on fighting.”She added that the workload is overwhelming: “There used to be a time when we had a good chunk of the summer break. Not anymore. The emergency calendar is busy almost on a weekly basis.”

Many clearly would like to see her lessen that load by following the pattern of former liberal colleague, Justice Breyer, who retired in 2022. Demand Justice, a liberal group that has pushed court–packing as a solution to the Court’s conservative majority, drove a billboard truck through the streets of Washington with slogans like “Breyer, retire. Don’t risk your legacy.” At 69, Sotomayor shows no signs of mental decline. She has been a highly effective justice, stepping into the vacuum created by the death in 2020 of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Of course, few ever questioned the “Notorious RBG” in her decision to stay on the Court, despite her much older age and longer tenure. While some of us noted that Ginsburg was taking a huge risk in not allowing then-President Barack Obama to pick a successor, she remained on the Court in spite of medical problems and ultimately was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Ginsburg, however, was almost 20 years older than Sotomayor. There is no concern for deterioration or death on the bench in Sotomayor’s case. It is simply a matter of swapping out justices like light bulbs before they burn out.

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“This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.” — Jeffrey (“the Dude”) Lebowski.

War Delirium (Jim Kunstler)

The world may be a disaster these days, but the White House is a bigger disaster. Can you name the White House chief of staff? Betcha can’t. Know why? He never, ever comes out and speaks to that mob in the press room. He might have to answer some difficult questions, such as: if the president’s brain is switched off more than half the time, who decides what to do with that ‘nuclear football’ they carry around with him. Is it. . . you? By the way, the chief of staff’s name is Jeff Zients. Ever heard of him? Of course not. [..] The question then: should “Joe Biden” just go ahead and nuke Texas? “JB” is thinking: What good is the place with that Putin wannabe running it? Buncha cattle and those ridiculous hats! The official head-gear of white supremacy! Probably millions of them down there, clutching their beloved guns! I’ve got news for you. Wanna play hardball? We’ve got F-16s.

Try shooting one of those Vipers down with your 30-ought-6 when it’s coming in low over Plano on after-burners at eleven hundred miles an hour, bristling with Sidewinder missiles. Anyway, for a nice strip steak, go to Kansas City. Fuggedabowt Texas. Kaboom! Not a joke! As for Iran. . . another $6-billion could keep them quiet for a while. Turns out that mullahs really like money. Do you know how many virgins you can buy for $6-billion here on Planet Earth? Why blow yourself up for them? Especially since you don’t know for a hundred percent sure that there is a place called heaven, or that it’s mainly a seraglio? By the way, why does our country (that’d be the USA) have all these little military outposts scattered around the desert wastelands of Jordan, Syria, and other lands of the Middle East? Did the one called Tower Two that got blown up a few days ago have a target painted on it?

Might as well have. You think the “other side” doesn’t have satellite imagery of the terrain? Kind of looks like we’re asking for trouble. And, also by the way, how come two of the three US soldiers killed there were girls? Is that how we do war these days? With a girlie army? Who actually thinks that’s going to work? Apparently, “Joe Biden.” Be advised: there is chatter coming out of this mysterious White House about bringing back the military draft. Remember what that is, Boomers? Remember Country Joe and the Fish singing: “Be the first one on your block to have your boy come home in a box.” That was back in the Vietnam days. Fifty-thousand-plus KIA. Only now we’ll be drafting girls (and probably some boys who want to be girls). I guess we’ll figure out now how gung-ho Gen Z really is.

You didn’t ask, but things are not going so well in our remote-control war in Ukraine against Russia (Putinland). Our Zelensky team (we own it) got completely rope-a-doped, punched itself out, its knees are buckling. Victoria Nuland, the renowned State Department girlie war-hawk, says she’s confident that Congress will pass the new $61 billion aid package for the Z-team, according to Radio Free Europe, the blob’s official propaganda outlet. The blob wants you to think that Putin wants to turn all of Europe into Putinland. I’m sure. Tori Nuland probably thinks we can save Ukraine with the fabulous girlie army and some snazzy new drones from McDonnell Douglas. Hey, it’s war, war, war. Bomb them all — Iran, Russia, Texas — and let God sort them out.

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“Rather than counting on an exclusivity arrangement with Rogan’s podcast to help attract more subscribers, Spotify is betting on ad sales to generate more revenue..”

Joe Rogan Scores Massive New Podcast Contract (RT)

US podcast king Joe Rogan has signed a contract renewal with Spotify that essentially allows him to have his cake and eat it, too – reportedly earning as much as $250 million from the streaming service and gaining the freedom to distribute his show on other platforms. Spotify confirmed the new multiyear agreement on Friday, saying it will continue to stream ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ and will allow it to be carried by rival distributors. That means a show already rated as the most-watched podcast in the world while being streamed exclusively on Spotify will soon be opened up to listeners of such services as Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and YouTube.

Rogan’s controversial show has ruffled feathers at Spotify since he joined the platform in 2020 in a deal valued at around $200 million. Elderly rock musician Neil Young removed his songs from the streaming service in 2022 and urged Spotify employees to quit after CEO Daniel Ek refused to cancel Rogan’s show for spreading “deadly misinformation” on Covid-19 vaccines. Angry Spotify staffers also accused Rogan of being “transphobic,” but his show was reportedly making the platform too much money to be torpedoed. The podcast boasts an audience estimated at about 11 million people per episode, and Rogan has credited media pearl-clutching over his controversial content for attracting about 2 million of his subscribers.

Rather than counting on an exclusivity arrangement with Rogan’s podcast to help attract more subscribers, Spotify is betting on ad sales to generate more revenue. Rogan’s compensation will include a base fee and a share of advertising revenue. Spotify said it will work with Rogan to “continue to maximize the audience of the show across platforms.” There was media speculation that Rogan would move to another platform when his Spotify contract expired. He turned down a $100 million, censorship-free offer to join Rumble in early 2022.

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https://twitter.com/i/status/1753342498054058143

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 182024
 


Jean-Léon Gérôme Slave market 1866

 

World Wants More US Intervention – Blinken (RT)
World on ‘Escalation Spiral’ Towards War (Sp.)
BRICS and Global South Challenge ‘Globalist Elites’ With Multipolar World (Sp.)
Reviving ISIS: A US weapon Against The Resistance Axis (Cradle)
UK Working To Prevent Peace – Zakharova (RT)
Britons Mock Warmongering Lecture by UK Defense Secretary (Sp.)
West Cannot Let Russia Win – Macron (RT)
Germany To Double Defense Aid For Ukraine This Year (RT)
How US Coerces France & Germany to Fund Zelensky’s Failing Conflict (Sp.)
Poland’s Decision To Host German Troops Will Not Go Unanswered – Moscow (RT)
Brussels Starts ‘Screening’ Ukrainian Laws (RT)
Judges Smack Down Jack Smith for Violating Trump’s Executive Privilege (PB)
A Gun Pouch Covered In Cocaine Shows Hunter’s Defense Is Ridiculous (Turley)
Supreme Court to Hear Potentially Historic Chevron Case (Turley)
Trump Vows To “Never Allow” A Central Bank Digital Currency (ZH)

 

 

 

 

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Meister
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747336776614564316

 

 

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How crazy is that? “I’m hearing from virtually every country: They want the United States..”

World Wants More US Intervention – Blinken (RT)

Geopolitical turmoil and conflict around the globe have made the world’s nations hungrier than ever for diplomatic intervention from Washington to help deal with their crises, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has claimed. “There’s a greater premium than there’s ever been on our engagement, on our leadership, in partnership with others,” Blinken told an audience on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He added that Washington needs to “reimagine” its geopolitical partnerships to resolve global challenges, such as the Israel-Hamas war. The top US diplomat made his comments as Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip triggers escalating tensions in the Middle East and the Russia-Ukraine conflict nears its 24th month. He claimed that many governments see Washington as key to finding solutions.

“I’m hearing from virtually every country: They want the United States,” Blinken said. “They want us present, they want us at the table, they want us leading.” When Washington fails to tackle a major issue, he added, it is either handled by another nation – probably to the detriment of US interests – or no one else takes the lead. When other nations see the domestic investments that US President Joe Biden is making, such as funding of major infrastructure projects and “climate technology,” they realize that “we’re actually serious about ourselves, despite some of the dysfunction that may be seen on the front pages,” Blinken said. Biden also has pressed for re-engagement with US allies and the building of new coalitions to address specific challenges, he added.

“On some of the really big issues of the day – whether it’s how to deal with China, how to deal with Russia – we have more convergence than we’ve had at any time in recent memory between us, key partners throughout Europe, throughout Asia, and even in other parts of the world, about how to manage these problems,” the secretary said. The Israel-Hamas war has reportedly left more than 24,000 people dead in the Palestinian enclave. The conflict began on October 7, when Hamas militants killed more than 1,100 people – mostly civilians – in southern Israeli villages and took hundreds of hostages back to Gaza. Asked about the disparity in casualties, Blinken denied that the US places a higher value on Jewish lives than Palestinian lives. “What we’re seeing every single day in Gaza is gut-wrenching,” the diplomat said. “And the suffering we’re seeing among innocent men, women and children breaks my heart.”

He claimed that US engagement in the crisis had helped to minimize civilian casualties and get more humanitarian aid into the enclave. Blinken said he sees no near-term prospects for a negotiated settlement to end the bloodshed in Ukraine. He argued that peace talks can only go forward when Russian leaders are willing to negotiate “in good faith,” respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Russian officials have accused Western leaders of derailing a potential peace deal in April 2022 and prolonging the conflict by providing massive military aid to Kiev. Moscow also has claimed that US insistence on a negotiated settlement being based on Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s demands, which it calls detached from reality, leaves no chance for a ceasefire in 2024.

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747606360458412185

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“Foreign policy in the Middle East will become hostage to American domestic politics, which is very dangerous..”

World on ‘Escalation Spiral’ Towards War (Sp.)

The likelihood of global military confrontation is increasing according to analyst Yezid Sayigh, a senior fellow at the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center. Sayigh made the assessment during an interview with Chinese media that touched on Israel, the crisis in the Red Sea, and the United States’ so-called “pivot to Asia” policy. Commenting on tensions between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East, Sayigh offered sobering insight on the potential for events to escalate beyond world leaders’ control. “I think the risk of a wider war is obviously increasing,” said Sayigh. “However, at the same time, I think that the key parties will not go beyond a certain point into direct confrontation. At the same time, they have already started what we call an escalation spiral.”

“The US is in a very risky situation, and it increasingly looks as though it is entering the war on the side of Israel as well,” the analyst noted. “[Biden] has already, in a way, signaled military deterrence that encouraged Iran to use military deterrence. Biden, in a way, started this escalation spiral from the beginning with his immediate deployment of military assets to the Mediterranean.” Sayigh employed the metaphor of World War I to explain how events could lead towards war even without world leaders consciously seeking to initiate conflict. World War I was famously set into motion by the murder of Austro-Hungarian heir apparent Archduke Franz Ferdinand. But Sayigh argued the key factor in the war’s outbreak was not the killing itself, but rather the greater zeitgeist of global tension created by previous events.

“By 1914, the world was ready for war,” said the historian. “Global tensions had reached a point where it was the assassination that was the trigger, but it might have been something else. It could have been sinking a boat at sea. It could have been anything.” Part of what makes the current moment so perilous are the set of incentives created by domestic politics, Sayigh argued. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces corruption charges, as well as an Israeli public likely to hold the longtime leader accountable for Hamas’ October 7 attack. Netanyahu has an interest in the continuation of military conflict to prevent either of those things threatening his political career. But domestic politics also alters the calculations of US President Joe Biden, the analyst argued. Previously Biden showed signs of returning to former President Barack Obama’s policy of detente with Iran, resisting many neoconservatives’ call for war on the Middle Eastern country. Now, domestic support for Israel makes it harder for Biden to pursue reconciliation with the country’s fierce enemy.

“It [the Biden administration] no longer calculates foreign policy purely on the basis of strategic and global stability, as it was previously doing by improving relations with Iran or at least defusing tensions with Iran,” Sayigh explained. “That was when it was thinking globally. However, now the administration has to consider domestic politics, and the calculation there is different.” “Foreign policy in the Middle East will become hostage to American domestic politics, which is very dangerous,” he warned.

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“..it is a process made of deconstruction and chaos, of divide and control, an illusion of democracy so they can ultimately control absolutely everything..”

BRICS and Global South Challenge ‘Globalist Elites’ With Multipolar World (Sp.)

BRICS and the Global South are offering “a new world order” to the “Western-centric”, Angelo Giuliano, a Hong Kong-based political and financial analyst, told Sputnik. The vision is “strong opposition” to that of the Western-dominated World Economic Forum, suggested the analyst.”The rest of the world, BRICS and the Global South… is opposing the values of a Western-centric world controlled by the very few, the old powerful families and the likes of Blackjacks and other banksters,” Giuliano noted. “What the rest of the world is offering is an option of a multipolar world where differences of cultures and values are respected, an idea of coexistence, of live and let live, respect of sovereignty. Seeking mutual prosperity, mutual respect and maybe also putting the human being at the center of the preoccupation. A world of purpose as opposed to a world of profit,” he stated.

The West, however, takes its directions from multinational corporations, underscored the pundit. “Globalist elites are the real ones in charge in the West. The same globalist elites select Western leaders and give the directions that they want the world to take, it is a process made of deconstruction and chaos, of divide and control, an illusion of democracy so they can ultimately control absolutely everything, for a central digital currency, to ownership, privacy and ultimately to people’s minds,” said the Hong Kong-based political analyst. Earlier, speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan offered up the Biden administration’s vision for the era ahead.

“Major powers are vastly more interdependent than at any time during the Cold War. But we’re also in stiff competition about the type of world we want to build,” Sullivan said in his remarks. “We are moving into a new era, the post-Cold War era has come to a close. We are at the start of something new, we have the capacity to shape what that looks like, and at the heart of it will be many of the core principles, core institutions of the existing order, adapted for the challenges we face today,” he added later, talking with Børge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum and former minister of foreign affairs of Norway.

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“.. fresh blood, money, and weapons are being pumped into the ISIS organization’s arteries again..”

Reviving ISIS: A US weapon Against The Resistance Axis (Cradle)

According to intelligence reports reviewed by The Cradle, at its height, ISIS consisted of more than 35,000 fighters in Iraq – 25,000 of these were killed, while more than 10,000 simply “disappeared.” As an officer of one Iraqi intelligence agency recounts to The Cradle: “Hundreds of ISIS fighters fled to Turkey and Syria at the end of 2017. After the appointment of Abdullah Qardash as the leader of ISIS in 2019, following the death of Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the new Caliph began to restructure the organization, and ordered his followers to return to Iraq. The organization exploited the long border with Syria, the security disturbances, and the diversity of forces on both sides of the border to infiltrate the Iraqi territory again.” Imprisoned ISIS officials admit that infiltrating that border is not an easy task, because of the strict control imposed by the Iraqi Border Guards and the use of modern technologies, such as thermal cameras.

It therefore became necessary for the terror group to identify intermediaries capable of breaking through or bypassing these fortifications to transport its fighters across borders. An Iraqi security source, insisting on anonymity, tells The Cradle that the US plays a vital role in enabling these border violations: “[There are] several incidents that confirm the American assistance in securing the crossing route for ISIS members – mainly, by shelling Iraqi units on the border, especially the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), to create gaps that allow ISIS fighters to cross the border.”

[..] In a speech on 5 January, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah warned that the US was supporting an ISIS revival in the region. The Cradle obtained security information monitoring the new activity of extremists in Lebanon, communications between these elements and their counterparts in Iraq and Syria, and suspicious money transfer activities among them. Lebanese Army Intelligence also recently arrested a group of Lebanese and Syrians who were preparing to carry out security operations. Importantly, this surge in terror activities comes at a time when the Lebanese resistance is engaged in a security and military battle with Israel, which may expand at any moment into open war. It is also notable that renewed ISIS activity is concentrated in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran; that is, in the countries that support the Palestinian resistance politically, militarily, and logistically.

On 4 January, ISIS officially claimed responsibility for two bombings in the Iranian city of Kerman that targeted memorial processions on the anniversary of the assassination of Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani by US forces. The dual explosions killed around 90 people and injured dozens, in an unprecedented attack targeting the biggest US-Israeli adversary in West Asia – just one day after Tel Aviv killed top Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut. Before that, on 5 October 2023, ISIS drone-attacked an officers graduation ceremony at the Military College in the Syrian city of Homs, killing about 100 people. These attacks, and others in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Africa, indicate that fresh blood, money, and weapons are being pumped into the ISIS organization’s arteries again.

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“Ukraine is literally being stripped of any chance to get out of the conflict through negotiations.”

Sunak gives Zelensky a few billion, on the condition that he’ll never talk peace. US and UK want the war to continue. Germany and France follow their lead.

These are also the countries, not coincidentally, that will not criticize Israel.

In the UK, Germany and France, also not coincidentally, governments are about to be voted out. (US?!)

UK Working To Prevent Peace – Zakharova (RT)

A security agreement signed last week is further proof that London is maintaining a firm grip on the Kiev government and is working to prevent any prospect of peace, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.On Friday, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) military assistance package for Ukraine – Britain’s largest to date. The two sides also signed a ten-year security guarantee, with the UK pledging “swift and sustained” aid for Ukraine in the event of a Russian attack in future. Kiev also promised to come to Britain’s defense in the event of Russian “aggression” against the country. Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, Zakharova suggested that the deal was an indication that “Ukraine is literally being stripped of any chance to get out of the conflict through negotiations.”

As a result, Kiev is being turned into “a bargaining chip in the reckless ventures of the Anglo-Saxons,” she added, claiming that the UK wants to keep the country in conflict with Russia. She also ridiculed Ukraine’s commitment to defend the UK. “No sane person would believe that. The regime of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky is crying in every corner that, if not one more dollar … is transferred to it, Ukraine will cease to exist. And under these conditions, Ukraine undertakes to help Britain in the event of a military threat to the kingdom.” Russia has never closed the door on peace negotiations with Kiev despite Zelensky barring talks with the current leadership in Moscow in the autumn of 2022. This was made law after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to become part of Russia.

Meanwhile, both Russian and Ukrainian officials have confirmed that Moscow and Kiev were close to settling the conflict in the spring of 2022, but the process was derailed by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who convinced Ukraine to keep fighting. One of Russia’s key demands was that Ukraine stay neutral and refrain from joining military alliances. Last week – months after the first reports of his role in the talks emerged – Johnson dismissed the allegations that he had sabotaged a peace deal as “total nonsense and Russian propaganda.” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Kiev could have ended the conflict if it had ignored Johnson. Now, “Ukrainian statehood could be dealt an irreparable and very serious blow… if things carry on this way,” he warned, noting that Russian troops had regained the initiative on the battlefield after Kiev’s failed counteroffensive.

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“Wars happen when the government tells you who your enemy is. Revolution happens when you work it out for yourself.”

Britons Mock Warmongering Lecture by UK Defense Secretary (Sp.)

The United Kingdom’s Defense Secretary Grant Shapps warned of potential war with Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea within the next five years in a widely mocked speech in London this week. Shapps delivered the address to promote greater investment in military spending in the UK and its European allies. “The era of the peace dividend is over,” said Shapps in remarks he also shared on his profile on the X social media platform. The so-called “peace dividend” was a proposed reinvestment of government finances toward domestic concerns after the end of the Cold War. The comment may leave many Britons wondering when exactly they enjoyed a peace dividend, as the British government has imposed a policy of economic austerity for a number of years.

The UK was also perhaps the US’ strongest ally in the so-called “War on Terror,” which led to the deaths of more than 4.5 million people across the Middle East according to some estimates. The comments come as European media is reporting on supposed “leaked documents” that allege Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to launch an attack on Germany and other NATO members in the near future. The claims were dismissed as “fake news” by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Britons greeted Shapps’ remarks with ridicule, with multiple posts by the defense minister being “ratioed” on the X platform, meaning they received more comments than likes as users piled on to jeer the jingoistic speech.

“Obviously, the best way to deter enemies and lead allies is by pouring billions of pounds into the military industrial complex,” responded one user sarcastically. “You do know we were involved in bloody and unsuccessful wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?” added another. “Can you explain how British soldiers killed in Helmand or in Basra were at all beneficiaries of this so-called era of the peace dividend?” “The people need to prepare for a new era of conflict with you bastards,” wrote user John Wight, expressing widespread antipathy towards governing elites in the West. “Wars happen when the government tells you who your enemy is. Revolution happens when you work it out for yourself.”

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“According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, France has provided Kiev with €500 million ($540 million) in military aid – less than Slovakia has..”

West Cannot Let Russia Win – Macron (RT)

French president Emmanuel Macron has announced new deliveries of long-range missiles and bombs to Kiev, while insisting the West “cannot let Russia win” the conflict with Ukraine. He added that he will visit the country next month. Speaking at a press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday, the French leader reiterated that his country will continue to assist Ukraine. Amid criticism that France has not been doing enough to help Kiev, Macron said Paris would send 40 SCALP air-launched cruise missiles, which have a range of more than 250km, as well as “hundreds of bombs.” Local media, citing French officials, reported that the president was referring to munitions equipped with the AASM, or HAMMER module, which transforms ordinary bombs into precision-guided weapons with a range of up to 70km. Russia has repeatedly accused Kiev of using Western-supplied long-range weapons to target civilian infrastructure.

Macron added that he would visit Ukraine in February to finalize a bilateral security agreement with Kiev, similar to the one the country recently signed with the UK. The ten-year deal between the two, which was announced last week, guarantees Britain’s “swift and sustained security assistance” to Ukraine in the event of a future Russian attack, while outlining numerous other support measures. Some of France’s NATO allies, notably Poland, have criticized it for not pulling its weight in assisting Ukraine despite being one of Europe’s most powerful economies. According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, France has provided Kiev with €500 million ($540 million) in military aid – less than Slovakia has. However, lawmakers in Paris have insisted that the true scale of the assistance was actually larger, blaming flawed methodology.

Ukraine has been asking for more Western aid since the start of the conflict in February 2022, recently expressing concerns about gridlock in the US Congress over approval for additional funding. On Monday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba called on the West to do more in this regard, vowing that Ukrainians “would fight with shovels” once they run out of weapons. France first provided Ukraine with 50 SCALP missiles last year, following the lead of the UK, which sent similar weapons – Storm Shadows. Russia has since accused Kiev of using Western-supplied long-range missiles to target residential areas, causing numerous civilian casualties.

Zel

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Well, we’ve seen the farmers protest exactly this.

Germany To Double Defense Aid For Ukraine This Year (RT)

Germany will shell out more than €7 billion ($7.6 billion) on military aid for Ukraine this year, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said. Late last year, Bild reported that Berlin was going to double its initial figure of €4 billion, with Defense Minister Boris Pistorius understood to have demanded a bigger contribution. Speaking at a joint press conference with Luxembourg Prime Minister Luc Frieden in Berlin last Monday, the German chancellor mentioned the €7 billion contribution for Kiev in 2024. He also called on the country’s “allies in the European Union to strengthen their efforts,” lamenting that some member states had been tight-fisted in their backing of Ukraine. In a phone call with US President Joe Biden on Tuesday, Scholz said “Germany will support Ukraine with more than €7 billion worth of military goods in 2024,” as quoted by the chancellery.

Back in November, Bild, citing unnamed sources in the defense ministry, claimed that Germany’s original budget for 2024 had provided €4 billion in defense aid for Ukraine. According to the article, most of that sum covered projects that had already been agreed, with little resources left for any further commitments. Pistorius took issue with this, and insisted that the figure be doubled to €8 billion, the media outlet reported at the time. Berlin provided Kiev with nearly $23 billion in aid between February 2022 and November 2023, according to the Kiel Institute for World Economy (IfW), making Germany the second-largest contributor after the US. Washington confirmed last week that its assistance had “ground to a halt” due to weeks of political bickering between Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Late last year, the Biden administration asked representatives to give the green light to more than $60 billion worth of weapons and military equipment for Kiev. However, the GOP has been blocking the package, demanding that President Biden and the Democrats first agree to their plan to tighten security at the border with Mexico. Since Kiev’s summer counteroffensive fizzled out with no major gains and heavy losses, top Ukrainian officials have increasingly been pressuring their Western backers for yet more weaponry. Russia has consistently criticized Western arms shipments to Ukraine, arguing that these prolong the bloodshed unnecessarily without changing the outcome of the conflict.

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“We will put you in this situation that you will not be able to easily get out of the conflict because we have another fish to fry on the horizon..”

How US Coerces France & Germany to Fund Zelensky’s Failing Conflict (Sp.)

France and Germany announced recently they’d commit to continued support for Ukraine in 2024. As US aid has ground to a halt amidst political infighting, Washington has increasingly leaned on European powers to help make up the difference. But after the failure of Kiev’s 2023 counteroffensive, the writing is on the wall regarding the country’s slim chance of success in European capitals as well, with some savvy leaders riding to power on promises to end weapons shipments. How then is the United States managing to keep some of Western Europe’s largest economies on board for the effort? Sputnik spoke with two international affairs experts for insight. “Germany is a very interesting country,” said London-based analyst Adriel Kasonta. “Americans have a huge influence in Germany after the Second World War. And when the Americans set up their bases in Germany and decided to somehow, in one way or another, occupy Germany to stay there in order to make sure that Germany will not emerge as a superpower on the continent, they exercised a very huge influence over this country.”

“In order to meet their commitments towards the western hegemon, the United States, Germany [has] to do or show an extra effort in whatever European countries are doing,” explained the former chairman of the International Affairs Committee at the Bow Group think tank. “So if, for instance, the United States is objecting [to] the charges against Israel brought by South Africa, Germany has to be the first country to object after the United States.”“If the United States is saying that Russia is an enemy, then Germany has to be the first country in Europe to beat the same drum and beat the drum of war and to sustain the supply,” he said. Kasonta also claimed Germany benefits from the influx of Ukrainian migrants caused by the conflict, calling the country “the migrant economy.” Cheap labor from throughout the continent is crucial to Germany’s economic strength, especially as Western sanctions on Russia backfire by driving up energy costs. However, the policy does not come without consequences in the form of rising domestic opposition from the German public.

Russian affairs analyst Gilbert Doctorow also points out that the loss of Russian gas has had a “very damaging impact on the [competitiveness] of German industry and on investment in new production.”The international relations expert noted that France has a different relationship with the United States than Germany but nevertheless has its own reasons for continued support for Ukraine’s military effort.“Both are heavily invested in the Ukraine cause and in ensuring there is no Russian victory, which would be a major disaster for NATO and for the entire existing concept of European security that these countries share,” he explained. “Their control of their own domestic politics will be greatly compromised if they turn their back on the Ukraine propaganda narrative they have been promoting for the past two years,” Doctorow added. “With Europe wide parliamentary elections coming in June, they could be heavily punished at the ballot box.”

Along with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron has so thoroughly committed himself to the narrative of the conflict in the Donbass as an existential battle for Europe that he would have difficulty in suddenly backing away from his country’s support. Kasonta claimed that the emergence of hostilities with Ukraine has been bad for the continent as a whole because it prevents Russia from uniting with the rest of the continent and forming a truly counter-hegemonic force.“We will use you by putting you in trouble with your closest neighbor, which is Russia,” he said, summarizing the thinking of US policymakers. “We will put you in this situation that you will not be able to easily get out of the conflict because we have another fish to fry on the horizon. And this fish to fry on the horizon is the conflict with China.”

[..] “The international community and especially people in Western Europe formed their own opinion about what is happening,” he added. “They formed the opinion about their own governments. They felt betrayed by their governments for a long time before the conflict in Ukraine started. But I think that the conflict in Ukraine is the final nail in the coffin of the current neoliberal establishment in the West.” “As I’ve said, either way, the governments in the West have failed.”

Putin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747423612309553489

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How much longer does Duda have?

Poland’s Decision To Host German Troops Will Not Go Unanswered – Moscow (RT)

Warsaw’s announcement that it is prepared to invite German military units, in addition to already existing NATO forces in the country, demonstrates the West’s anti-russian agenda and desire to increase tensions in Europe and will not go unanswered, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. Her comments come after Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Szejn stated on Monday that Warsaw was willing to host German troops on its territory for the first time since World War II in order to further strengthen NATO’s eastern flank. It’s unclear if Germany has any actual plans for such deployments. During a press briefing on Wednesday, Zakharova recalled that there are currently about 10,000 US troops already stationed in Poland, as well as a multinational NATO combat tactical group which includes military personnel from the US, the UK, Romania and Croatia.

The spokeswoman pointed out that calls to deploy even more foreign forces to Poland were “not necessary if these countries are peace-oriented,” and can only be interpreted as a desire to further escalate tensions in Europe and prolong the collapse of pan-European security, which she said has been completely undermined by NATO. Zakharova also recalled that late last year, Germany had signed an agreement with Lithuania to increase the size of the Bundeswehr contingent in the Baltic republic to a brigade, and suggested that Polish leaders were trying not to “lag behind their neighbors in demonstrating loyalty to their older brothers from Berlin and Washington.”

“The increased activity and the strengthening of NATO’s military capabilities near the borders of Russia and the Union State of Russia and Belarus is provocative and is leading to the complete degradation of the European security architecture,” Zakharova said, stressing that “such steps will, of course, not be left without an appropriate response from the Russian side.” The spokeswoman also pondered how Poland intended to finance the potential deployment of German troops on its territory and whether it would seek compensation from Berlin, given the fact that Warsaw is already demanding $1.3 trillion in WW2 reparations from Germany. The reparations demands were put forward under the former PiS government which was ousted from power last month. Poland’s new government, led by former European Council President Donald Tusk, has stated that it will continue to seek these compensations from Berlin, but would work with Germany to find “a favorable and fair solution.”

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US coerces EU towards provoking Russia.

Brussels Starts ‘Screening’ Ukrainian Laws (RT)

Brussels has announced launching a “screening process and putting together the negotiating framework” as part of negotiations with Ukraine on its ambition to join the EU. Some member states previously said Kiev was years away from achieving its goal. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned the new phase during a Wednesday speech before the European Parliament. Von der Leyen mentioned the new phase during a speech before MEPs. She mused that when the formal accession process was launched last year, “hearts of millions of Ukrainians were filled with hope and joy” and claimed that Ukrainian lawmakers had made strides in adopting required reforms.

Earlier this week, von der Leyen met Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. His office said the screening of national legislation was discussed there and will move Ukraine towards full membership. The EU leadership resorted to unusual political maneuvering when it pushed the start of accession talks through the Council of Europe in December. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a vocal critic of Brussels’ approach to Kiev, left the meeting when the vote was cast. This allowed the EU requirement for unanimous approval to be technically met without him explicitly supporting the decision. Both Kiev and von der Leyen urged member states to ensure continued funding of the Ukrainian government with European taxpayers’ money. During the same session of the Council, Orban vetoed a Commission proposal to allocate €50 billion ($54 billion) over four years to support Kiev. Budapest wants any funding to be done on an annual basis pending review and be done outside of the joint EU budget.

EU leaders will discuss both issues during an extraordinary summit on February 1. Longterm “stable and substantial financing to Ukraine” is needed to “support the daily functioning of the state, to stabilize the economy, and to bring it closer to our Union,” the Commission head said in her address. Hungary is not alone in its skepticism about Ukraine’s candidacy. French President Emmanuel Macron, for instance, told domestic media that the EU was “very far” from accepting it as a new member, commenting on the outcome of the December summit. Meanwhile, the new government in Slovakia has sided with Hungary in its attitude towards Ukraine. Prime Minister Robert Fico called Budapest’s conditions for funding Kiev “rational and sensible” during a visit to Hungary on Tuesday.

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There seems to be a rat in here somewhere.

Judges Smack Down Jack Smith for Violating Trump’s Executive Privilege (PB)

Special Counsel Jack Smith has been excoriated by a panel of four appellate court judges for his unprecedented search of a former president’s private communications. The judges condemned Smith’s violation of executive privilege by searching former President Donald Trump’s Twitter files. “Holy sh*t: 4 judges on DC appellate court just delivered a scorching smack down of Special Counsel Jack Smith, Judge Beryl Howell, and Judge Florence Pan for search of Trump’s Twitter file,” reported Julie Kelly. “The Special Counsel’s approach obscured and bypassed any assertion of executive privilege and dodged the careful balance Congress struck in the Presidential Records Act,” she added while citing a user named @FamilyManAndrew.

The court document states: “This case turned on the First Amendment rights of a social media company, but looming in the background are consequential and novel questions about executive privilege and the balance of power between the President, Congress, and the courts.” “Seeking access to former President Donald Trump’s Twitter/X account, Special Counsel Jack Smith directed a search warrant at Twitter and obtained a nondisclosure order that prevented Twitter from informing President Trump about the search,” the judges added. “The Special Counsel’s approach obscured and dodged the careful balance Congress struck in the Presidential Records Act. The district court and this court permitted the arrangement without any consideration of the consequential executive privilege issues raised by this unprecedented search.”

“We should not have endorsed this gambit,” the judges added. “‘Any court completely in the dark as to what Presidential files contain is duty bound to respect the singularly unique role under Art. II of a President’s communications and activities’ by affording such communications a presumptive privilege,” the judges added, citing the legal precedent in United States v. Haldeman. Julie Kelly provided additional commentary on the case. “This by Judge Naomi Rao is a withering condemnation of Judge Howell (district court) and Judge Pan (*this court*) about their decisions to brazenly circumvent normal exec privilege litigation process to give Jack Smith what he demanded,” Kelly reported. “Rao continues her thrashing of former chief judge Howell—even noting Howell’s snarky comment to Twitter’s lawyer during sealed hearing as to why Twitter fought nondisclosure order,” she added. “Keep in mind, Howell and Smith also suggested Trump was a “flight risk” as reason to keep search warrant concealed from Trump.”

“And Florence Pan, who upheld Howell’s order, is the idiot who brought up ‘Seal Team Six’ hypothetical last week in appellate hearing on presidential immunity,” Kelly remarked. The Daily Mail, however, reported that the court nonetheless rejected Twitter’s appeal to have the case reheard, but the case is now free to move to the Supreme Court. “A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Special Counsel Jack Smith can have access to former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, as he investigates the former president for 2020 election interference,” the report noted. “The full U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., rejected a petition from Twitter to rehear the case after a three-judge panel ruled against the social media company in July,” it continued. The Daily Mail noted more gripes from the appellate court.

“Without a presumption for executive privilege, new questions will invariably arise, particularly because nothing in the panel’s opinion is limited to a former President,” the judges said. “What if, in the course of a criminal investigation, a special counsel sought a warrant for the incumbent President’s communications from a private email or phone provider? Under this court’s decision, executive privilege isn’t even on the table, so long as the special counsel makes a showing that a warrant and nondisclosure order are necessary to the prosecution,” they continued. “And following the Special Counsel’s roadmap, what would prevent a state prosecutor from using a search warrant and nondisclosure order to obtain presidential communications from a third-party messaging application?” the judges went on. “And how might Congress benefit from this precedent when it seeks to subpoena presidential materials from third parties in an investigation or impeachment inquiry?” Rao and the other judges asked.

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“..It’s not the government portraying Hunter as Tony Montana from “Scarface,” it’s Hunter himself. He’ll have a tough time changing that story now..”

A Gun Pouch Covered In Cocaine Shows Hunter’s Defense Is Ridiculous (Turley)

Hunter Biden’s counsel Abbe Lowell has faced a series of legal blows in his defense of Hunter Biden, but not quite as literal or lethal as what came this week in his client’s gun prosecution. After Lowell sought to dismiss the federal indictment as a trumped-up political prosecution, the Justice Department lowered the boom and revealed that Hunter’s gun was found in a pouch covered in cocaine. The disclosure is devastating for a defense that Lowell just rolled out late last year. In October, Lowell argued that Hunter had not lied on ATF Form 4473 that he was not an unlawful user of, or addicted to, narcotics. “At the time that he purchased this gun, I don’t think there’s evidence that that’s when he was suffering,” he said. It was a curious shift, since Hunter, the President, and the media have repeatedly used his addiction to forgive everything from corruption to influence peddling.

Hunter released a book that had laid the foundation of that defense and “Beautiful Things” was heralded by many in the press. Reviews gushed about “an astonishingly candid and brave book about loss, human frailty, wayward souls, and hard-fought redemption.” The image of a clear, redemptive soul is strikingly out of sync with a gun pouch that the officers who found it said was covered in coke. In the Special Counsel’s filing, the court was informed that “an FBI chemist subsequently analyzed the residue and determined that it was cocaine. To be clear, “investigators literally found drugs on the pouch where the defendant had kept his gun.” Hunter bought and possessed the Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver for 11 days between Oct. 12 and Oct. 23, 2018. That possession ended when his sister-in-law Hallie Biden was tossed into a dumpster in Wilmington, Delaware.

Hallie, the widow of Hunter’s deceased brother, had begun a sexual relationship with him and she apparently became concerned about what he might do with the gun. According to Hunter’s own memoir, that would make the window of sobriety a mere blink in time for a defense. The defense will likely challenge the admissibility of police testing due to the gun being tossed into the dumpster. Of course, Lowell can now argue that Wilmington dumpsters are so saturated with cocaine that any item would come out covered in coke. It is more likely that they will cite the break in the chain of custody as making the test unreliable and prejudicial.

What is clear is that the sobriety defense seems not so much risky as implausible. The government could argue that it should be able to use the testing as circumstantial evidence to rebut the claim or even impeach Hunter if he takes the stand (which seems unlikely). Hunter wrote about being a crack addict and alcoholic throughout this period, writing in his book that at some points he was “drinking a quart of vodka a day by yourself in a room is absolutely, completely debilitating” as was “smoking crack around the clock.” It’s not the government portraying Hunter as Tony Montana from “Scarface,” it’s Hunter himself. He’ll have a tough time changing that story now.

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Chevron Case: The 1984 Supreme Court ruled “that judges should defer to the reasonable interpretation of agencies in administering ambiguous federal laws.”

Dereliction of duty by 1984 SCOTUS. The results were easy to see comimg.

Supreme Court to Hear Potentially Historic Chevron Case (Turley)

Today, the Supreme Court will hear two of the most important cases of the term. At issue is the continued meaning (or even viability) of the Chevron doctrine, the 40-year-old doctrine granting deference to federal agencies in regulations carrying out federal laws. This massive doctrine, blamed for the dominance of the administrative state, could be brought down by the diminutive herring. The cases are Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce. In 1984, the Supreme Court ruled in Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council that judges should defer to the reasonable interpretation of agencies in administering ambiguous federal laws. That deference continued to grow in later years to the point that some of us have warned of the emergence of a type of fourth branch of government.

The court went even further in Arlington v. FCC in giving deference to agencies even in defining their own jurisdiction. In dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts warned: “It would be a bit much to describe the result as ‘the very definition of tyranny,’ but the danger posed by the growing power of the administrative state cannot be dismissed.” When I testified at the confirmation hearing of Neil Gorsuch, I noted that Chervon would likely be part of his legacy given his opposition to its use. Justice Gorsuch wrote in a 2022 dissent from denial of certiorari in Buffington v. McDonough that what he called “the aggressive reading of Chevron has more or less fallen into desuetude.” He added:

“At this late hour, the whole project deserves a tombstone no one can miss. We should acknowledge forthrightly that Chevron did not undo, and could not have undone, the judicial duty to provide an independent judgment of the law’s meaning in the cases that come before the Nation’s courts.” The cases today concern federal requirements that commercial fishermen pay for at-sea monitors. Herring fishermen in New Jersey and Rhode Island are challenging the law in a case with a long list of amicus filings on both sides from groups, politicians, and businesses. The fishermen say that the monitors could put them out of business, costing up to 20 percent of their annual revenues in a business that is already marginal for profits. They argue that the government wants monitors (which they do not necessarily oppose) but lacked the funds.

The decision was made to shift the costs to the fishermen and then citing Chevron to curtail judicial review. One of the lead counsel is my friend and former colleague Columbia professor Philip Hamburger, a brilliant academic who believes that the doctrine has fundamentally distorted our tripartite constitutional system. In both lower court cases, Chevron carried the day for the agency. In addition to the New Jersey case, the court added the second, nearly identical one from Rhode Island to its calendar — presumably because Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was recused in the New Jersey matter after serving on the appeals court panel that initially reviewed it before her elevation to the Supreme Court.

Chevron
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747645275605172307

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A big task: “130 countries – representing over 98% of global gross domestic product – are exploring or developing CBDCs..”

Trump Vows To “Never Allow” A Central Bank Digital Currency (ZH)

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday vowed to never allow the use of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), as it would “give the government absolute control over your money.” “This would be a dangerous threat to freedom – and I will stop it from coming to America. We are also going to put in place strong protections to stop banks and regulators from trying to de-bank you for your political beliefs. That will never happen while I am your president,” Trump told a crowd in Portsmouth, New Hampshire – as first reported by The National Pulse. Trump’s comments come hours after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) revealed that federal agencies have been flagging financial transactions using politically sensitive words such as “MAGA” and “Trump” in yet another egregious example of the establishment targeting political rivals.

As we’ve reported for years, CBDCs – touted by globalists such as French Central Bank deputy governor Denis Beau as “the catalyst for improving cross-border payments by enabling the build-up of a new international monetary system” – are in fact the ultimate tools of oppression. Even Fed Governors know ‘this way lies danger’: “In thinking about the implications of CBDC and privacy, we must also consider the central role that money plays in our daily lives, and the risk that a CBDC would provide not only a window into, but potentially an impediment to, the freedom Americans enjoy in choosing how money and resources are used and invested,” Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman told a Harvard Law School Program on International Financial Systems last year.

Central bank digital currencies are part of a broader “war on cash.” A cashless society is sold on the promise of providing a safe, convenient, and more secure alternative to physical cash. We’re also told it will help stop dangerous criminals who like the intractability of cash. But there is a darker side – the promise of control.The elimination of cash creates the potential for the government to track and control consumer spending. Digital economies would also make it even easier for central banks to engage in manipulative monetary policies such as negative interest rates. But they seem to be an inevitability, as according to data from the Atlantic Council CBDC Tracker, 130 countries – representing over 98% of global gross domestic product – are exploring or developing CBDCs, marking an outsized increase from just a few years ago.

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GVB Vaccines will be banned from medicine
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747421038860808465

 

 

Milei
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747635083521998960

 

 

Balloon

 

 

 

 

Best friends

 

 

Bald eagle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747562077831512236

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 132023
 
 December 13, 2023  Posted by at 9:47 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  50 Responses »


Edward Hopper Chop Suey 1929

 

Netanyahu: Israel Received Full US Support for Gaza Ground Operation (Sp.)
Israel Losing Support Over ‘Indiscriminate Bombing’ – Biden (RT)
BRICS and the Resistance Axis (Pepe Escobar)
Germany’s Blind Support For Israel In Gaza (Cradle)
US Rapidly Coming To End Of Its Ability To Help Ukraine – Biden (TASS)
Ukraine, US ‘Digging’ for New Strategy as Time and Money Run Out (Sp.)
Ukraine on Brink of Coup as Zelensky Begs US for More Money (Sp.)
Biden Pledges $200 Million For Ukraine After Zelensky Meeting (RT)
Zelensky’s Visit ‘Disgraceful’ – Senator JD Vance (RT)
Ukrainian General Reveals Discord Among Frontline Troops (RT)
The Pentagon Is A Multitrillion-Dollar Fraud (Scott Ritter)
BRICS Candidate Ethiopia Likely To Default – Reuters (RT)
Tucker Carlson: 2024 Presidential Election Is Being Rigged (Kanekoa)
Tucker Carlson Says Does Not Think He Would Be Good Pick for Trump’s VP (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Optimus

 

 

 

 

80 years ago was WW2

80 years before that was the Civil War

80 years before that was the Revolution.

 

 

 

 

“..and containment of international pressure aimed at ending the war..”

Netanyahu: Israel Received Full US Support for Gaza Ground Operation (Sp.)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the country received full US support for a ground operation in the Gaza Strip. “I really appreciate the US support for the destruction of Hamas and the return of our hostages. After intensive discussions with President [of the United States Joe] Biden and his people, we received full support for a ground entry [into the Gaza Strip] and containment of international pressure aimed at ending the war. Yes, there are disputes about the ‘day after Hamas,’ and I hope that we will come to an agreement here,” Netanyahu said in a video address posted on X (formerly known as Twitter). “I want to make my position clear — I will not allow Israel to repeat the mistake of Oslo. I will not allow that, after the enormous sacrifices among our citizens and soldiers, we allow those in the Gaza Strip who support terrorism, finance terrorism. Gaza will be neither Hamastan nor Fatahastan,” the PM added.

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Hmmm. Where do they get the bombs?

Israel Losing Support Over ‘Indiscriminate Bombing’ – Biden (RT)

US President Joe Biden warned that Israel risks losing international support if it continues its “indiscriminate” bombing campaign in Gaza at a campaign fundraiser in Washington, DC on Tuesday, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “change his government.” Biden offered some of his harshest criticisms of Israel to date, suggesting that its war against Hamas risked a loss of support among Washington’s allies. All of the other UN Security Council members except the UK (which abstained) had attempted to issue a resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza last week, which was vetoed by Washington. “Israel’s security can rest on the United States, but right now it has more than the United States. It has the European Union, it has Europe, it has most of the world… But they’re starting to lose that support by indiscriminate bombing that takes place,” Biden said.

He went on to cite a private discussion with Netanyahu in which Israel’s prime minister likened the Gaza conflict to the Second World War and observed that “a lot of civilians died” in Allied bombing raids. However, Biden said he rejected that comparison and told Netanyahu that “all these institutions were set up after World War II to see to it that it didn’t happen again.” Calling Netanyahu’s administration “the most conservative government in Israel’s history,” Biden said the prime minister must “change his government,” without elaborating, only adding that it had made long-term solutions “very difficult.” “We have an opportunity to begin to unite the region… and they still want to do it. But we have to make sure that [Netanyahu] understands that he’s got to make some moves… You cannot say no Palestinian state,” the president continued.

Although Israel has accepted the creation of a Palestinian state in principle in past negotiations, Netanyahu has long opposed the move. In a statement earlier on Tuesday, he insisted that he would never “repeat the mistake of Oslo,” referring to a 1993 peace deal which created a roadmap for a Palestinian state. Despite Biden’s more critical comments to donors, elsewhere he has continued to voice staunch support for Israel’s military operation. During a White House event to mark the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah on Monday, he told attendees “I am a Zionist” while reiterating Washington’s “unshakable” commitment to Israel’s security.

The president continues to urge lawmakers to approve a spending package which includes $14.3 billion in military aid for Israel, and recently bypassed a congressional review to fast-track the sale of $106.5 million in tank shells to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Israel began its assault on Gaza following a surprise attack by Hamas on October 7, which claimed the lives of some 1,200 Israelis and saw more than 240 people taken hostage. In retaliation, the IDF has pounded the Palestinian enclave with heavy airstrikes and launched a major ground invasion, killing more than 18,400 people so far, according to local officials.

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“..rumors that it needs Israel to finish Plan Gaza between Christmas and the start of January..”

BRICS and the Resistance Axis (Pepe Escobar)

At first, there were reasons to suspect that the bland condemnation of the genocide in Gaza by the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was a sign of cowardice. Yet a renewed appraisal may reveal everything is evolving organically when it comes to the intersection of the Big Picture designed by the late Iranian Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani with the meticulous micro-planning by Gaza’s Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who knows the Israeli mentality inside out and considered in detail its devastating military response. Arguably, the most incandescent focus of detailed discussions in Moscow these past few days is that we may be approaching the point where “a signal” will unleash a concerted Axis of Resistance response.

For the moment, what we have are sporadic attacks: Hezbollah destroying Israel’s communication towers facing the southern Lebanon border, Iraq’s resistance forces attacking US bases in Iraq and Syria, and Yemen’s Ansarallah concretely blocking the Red Sea for Israeli ships. All that does not form a concerted, coordinated offensive – yet. And that would explain the desperation within the Biden administration in Washington, complete with rumors that it needs Israel to finish Plan Gaza between Christmas and the start of January. Not only have the global optics of the Gaza assault become horrifyingly unsustainable, but most of all, a lengthier military campaign dramatically raises the likelihood of a “signal” to the Axis of Resistance.

And that will result in the end of all the Hegemon’s elaborate plans for West Asia. The geopolitical goals of Zionism are quite clear: re-establish its self-constructed aura of dominance in West Asia and maintain steady control over US foreign policy and the military alliance. Depravity is a key component for accomplishing these goals. It’s so easy to bomb, shell, and burn ultra-soft civilian targets, including thousands of women and children, turning Gaza into a vast cemetery, while the White Man’s Burden Club urges Israeli occupation forces to kill them, of course, but more silently.

Cue to toxic Atlanticist and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen offering bribes, in person, to Egypt’s and Jordan’s leaders – $10 billion to Cairo and $5 billion to Amman – as confirmed with Brussels diplomats. That’s the mind-numbing EU solution to stopping the Gaza genocide. All Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah bin al-Hussein would need to do is to “facilitate” the forced exodus and Final Ethnic Cleansing of Gaza to their respective territories. Because the eschatological goal of Zionism remains an undiluted Final Solution, whatever happens in the battleground. And, of course, as the 7 October Hamas-led Al-Aqsa Flood operation suggests, to destroy Jerusalem’s Islamic Al-Aqsa Mosque and build a Jewish Third Temple on top of its ashes.

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“Nazi Germany [..] is documented to have killed 10,547,000 ethnic Slavics compared to 5,291,000 Jews..”

Germany’s Blind Support For Israel In Gaza (Cradle)

Since the 7 October Al-Aqsa Flood operation tore to shreds Israel’s security delusion, the west has rallied staunchly behind Tel Aviv, offering unwavering support across political, military, media, intelligence, and other domains. Amid this display of western unity, Germany has distinguished itself, standing prominently at the forefront of the EU as a fervent advocate for Israel and a solid opponent of any form of assistance to Palestinians, even the children among them. This, despite that the Israeli army has killed over 10,000 infants and children in Gaza since the start of its air and ground assault two months ago. Less than a week after Al-Aqsa Flood, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz offered up military aid toward Israel’s Gaza campaign, saying: “At this moment, there is only one place for Germany — the place at Israel’s side … Our own history, our responsibility arising from the Holocaust, makes it a perpetual task for us to stand up for the security of the State of Israel.”

According to Scholz and his ilk, Germany must constantly redeem itself by shielding the Jewish generations that followed World War II. But then why does Berlin not feel a similar obligation to protect the non-Jewish Slavic civilians, whose numbers killed by Nazi Germany equal those of the Jewish victims? The German “guilt complex” has manifested itself through annual payments exceeding $1 billion since the end of WWII in 1945. These reparations, totaling approximately $86.8 billion to Israel between 1945 and 2018, were recently extended until 2027. While these funds are ostensibly meant to compensate Jews for the horrors inflicted by Nazi Germany, a closer examination of the historical figures raises doubts about the coherence of the German narrative.

The enormous death toll of 17 million people at the hands of Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945 includes 6 million Jews and 5.7 million Soviet civilians. Yet other sources claim that the number of ethnic Slavic deaths far surpasses that of Jews. Shockingly, Nazi Germany, driven by radical ideological policies, is documented to have killed 10,547,000 ethnic Slavics compared to 5,291,000 Jews. If we look closer, we find that the majority of the Slav civilians killed were from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, predominantly from Orthodox Christian backgrounds. Why, then, are they not receiving reparation payments out of a similar sense of German guilt, which weighs on the conscience of Germany’s leaders? This, in turn, raises questions about the true motivations behind supporting and financially aiding Israel – whether it is a principled stance as Berlin outwardly promotes, or merely a political maneuver.

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“Putin is banking on the United States failing to deliver for Ukraine,” he said. “We must prove him wrong.”

US Rapidly Coming To End Of Its Ability To Help Ukraine – Biden (TASS)

The US administration is about to exhaust its ability to help Ukraine unless the US Congress approves additional funding, US President Joe Biden said.”But without supplemental funding we are rapidly coming to an end of our ability to help Ukraine respond urgent operational demands that it has,” he said at a joint news conference after talks with his visiting Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky. The United States “will continue to supply Ukraine with critical weapons and equipment as long as we can,” he pledged, adding that earlier on Tuesday he approved $200 million-worth military assistance to Kiev, which included “critically needed equipment” such as air defense interceptors, artillery, and ammunition.

“Putin is banking on the United States failing to deliver for Ukraine,” he said. “We must prove him wrong.” The White House submitted to Congress in October a supplemental finding request for the 2024 fiscal year, which began in the US on October 1, primarily to help Israel and Ukraine, but also to contain China and Russia in the Asia Pacific regiion. In total, the executive branch, led by Democrat Biden, would like to have about $106 billion for these purposes.

The future of the request and alternative bills remains unclear. Several Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate have recently spoken out against continued financial aid to Kiev. House Speaker Mike Johnson repeatedly said that he intends to condition the provision of further aid to Ukraine to the tightening of the control over the US’ southern border. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell spoke in a similar way. On December 6, the bill on another large batch of aid to Ukraine and Israel, as well as on countering Russia and China in the Asia Pacific, failed a procedural vote in the Senate, despite Biden’s special address to the Congress, in which he called on the lawmakers to approve the spending before they break for the holiday recess.

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“..military officials are devising a new strategy to “create enough of a credible threat” forcing Moscow into “meaningful negotiations” at the end of 2024 or in 2025..”

Ukraine, US ‘Digging’ for New Strategy as Time and Money Run Out (Sp.)

With Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s arrival in Washington to plead for more aid, the US media is seemingly trying to assure their readers that not all is lost for the Kiev regime on the battlefield. The New York Times has hinted that American and Ukrainian military officials are devising a new strategy to “create enough of a credible threat” forcing Moscow into “meaningful negotiations” at the end of 2024 or in 2025. However, the two parties have yet to agree on the specific details that this strategy would entail. When evaluating the outcome of the failed Ukrainian counteroffensive, the newspaper pinned the blame on Kiev. It pointed out that the Ukrainians had divided up their forces between the eastern and southern fronts, rather than concentrating on retaking the southeastern coastline.

However, the media stated that the failure cannot solely be attributed to Ukraine not adhering to NATO’s strategic plan. The newspaper also recognized that American and Ukrainian strategists “did not initially realize” to what extent the Russians were strengthening their defenses. “Ukrainian troops training in Germany practiced breaking through defenses far less strong than what they would eventually face,” the report noted. Furthermore, Russia has demonstrated its expertise in employing diverse drone technologies and has effectively monitored the contact line, preventing Ukrainian forces from breaching its defenses. By the conclusion of 2023, Russia has bolstered its military presence, beefed up its arsenal, and obtained a significant advantage in terms of firepower, according to the report.

The only silver lining, in the eyes of the West, were Kiev’s missile attacks on Crimean infrastructure. However, even these actions failed to alter the overall power dynamics on the battlefield. Currently, the US military is urging their Ukrainian counterparts to embrace a strategy known as “hold and build.” This tactic entails reinforcing Ukraine’s military industrial capacity by digging in and making substantial improvements throughout 2024. Washington believes that this would “improve Ukraine self-sufficiency” and help it “repel any new drive” from Russia. The goal described by the media appears to be far more modest than what was declared by the West and Kiev before the Ukrainian counteroffensive disaster. Likewise, Washington’s funding for the effort would be more modest, too, the newspaper noted. Having forked out over $111 billion to Ukraine over the 21 months of the conflict, US lawmakers want to see “a new strategy” before they vote for any additional funds.

Furthermore, Ukrainian generals and senior civilian officials have “unrealistic expectations” about Washington’s capabilities, since the US simply does not have that amount of weapons that Kiev wants to be supplied with, according to the media. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has decided to dispatch Lt. Gen. Antonio A. Aguto Jr. on the ground “to work more directly” with the Ukrainian military leadership and bolster coordination with Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, the top American commander in Europe. International observers are taking the rhetoric coming from Ukrainian and American officials about a new “long-term” strategy of digging in or boosting Ukraine’s industrial capacity, with a grain of salt. Speaking to Sputnik on December 1, Russian military expert Ivan Konovalov wondered as to who would pay for Kiev’s plan to build new defenses along the contact line.

According to some estimates, Ukraine would have to strengthen at least 2,800 km (1,700 miles) to create a defense line. It would take at least eight to nine months to accomplish this feat, while its cost would be around $10 billion, per Russian military observers’ estimates. Given that Kiev is almost out of money and Republican lawmakers are hesitant to greenlight a new multi-billion package for Ukraine, the situation is hanging in the balance.

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“Ukraine (like the West, having broken all agreements with Russia) has nothing with which to negotiate.”

Ukraine on Brink of Coup as Zelensky Begs US for More Money (Sp.)

Nearly two years since the escalation of the Ukrainian conflict in February 2022, the regime in Kiev finds itself dependent on financial and military assistance from its Western sponsors. With Ukraine’s economy in tatters, the country’s leadership now struggles to find the money it desperately needs amid the ongoing conflict with Russia, as political powers in the United States and the EU become increasingly reluctant to waste their money on Kiev’s military escapades. Earlier, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Washington DC to plead before the US Congress for more military and financial help, essentially trying to convince the US legislators that spending another few tens of billions of dollars on satisfying Kiev’s war effort is a good idea.

While the fate of the next US package to Ukraine currently hangs in the balance amid the congressional debates between Democrats and Republicans, renowned political commentator and binary economist Prof. Rodney Shakespeare has suggested that “elements in the USA’s political structure” apparently hope to convince Ukraine to sue for peace by delaying this funding. Shakespeare, however, did not seem to think highly of this tactic, arguing that “Ukraine (like the West, having broken all agreements with Russia) has nothing with which to negotiate.” “Ukraine does not understand this and neither does the West. At present, both Ukraine and the West think that there is some sort of military stalemate. But there is NO stalemate – only the continuing and disastrous loss of Ukraine’s manhood (and now, apparently, even its pregnant womanhood),” he said, apparently referring to Kiev’s recent efforts to press-gang women into military service.

As the reality of the “disastrous situation” Ukraine currently finds itself in becomes apparent, “a coup in Kiev is becoming likely,” Shakespeare remarked. He added that the recent death of a top Ukrainian military officer who was killed by a grenade explosion while celebrating his birthday, as well as the poisoning of Ukraine’s spy chief’s wife, “all point in the same direction.” “Ukraine will stagger on for a little while but a coup and recognition of the disastrous military situation are likely to make irrelevant the terms for allocating (or not) new funds and make much more relevant the overall outcome of the war,” he said. Shakespeare also pointed out that in its current state, Ukraine “will soon collapse” if the flow of money from Kiev’s foreign sponsors were to cease.

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$200 million instead of $60 billion. “The latest $200 million in aid announced by Biden will come from the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA)..”

Biden Pledges $200 Million For Ukraine After Zelensky Meeting (RT)

US President Joe Biden has promised another $200 million in emergency military aid for Ukraine. He made the pledge during an Oval Office meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on Tuesday. The meeting comes after a bill intended to provide $60 billion in aid for Kiev was blocked in the US Senate last week, as Republicans demanded tougher immigration control on the southern US border in exchange for approving Ukraine assistance. Speaking to reporters after the Tuesday meeting, Biden insisted that Congress “pass the supplemental funding for Ukraine” before breaking for recess, adding that failure to do so would be “the greatest Christmas gift” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The decisions we make now are going to determine the future for decades to come, particularly in Europe,” Biden said. The latest $200 million in aid announced by Biden will come from the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which allows the Biden administration to transfer weapons from US stocks without congressional approval in the event of an emergency. The package will include ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), high-speed anti-radiation missiles, anti-armor systems, artillery rounds, missiles, demolition munitions, 4 million rounds of small arms ammunition, generators and other equipment and spare parts, the Associated Press reported, citing US officials.

Earlier in the day, Zelensky met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to plead for more aid amid Kiev’s ongoing conflict with Russia. The Ukrainian leader met with House Speaker Mike Johnson, as well as a number of other senators. Posting on X (formerly Twitter), Zelensky said he’d had a “friendly and candid conversation” with senate leaders. Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday, however, that it would be “practically impossible” for Congress to pass the supplemental funding package, which includes the stalled $60 billion for Kiev, before Christmas, saying it needed to be done as part of a broader package that includes changes to border security policy.

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“..if you want to secure your border first, you are actually a Putin puppet: He said this publicly today..”

Zelensky’s Visit ‘Disgraceful’ – Senator JD Vance (RT)

The visit by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to the US is an attempt to pressure Americans to give up their fight for border security and allow more funding for Kiev instead, Republican Senator James David Vance said on Tuesday. On Monday, Zelensky arrived in Washington, where he was scheduled to meet with US President Joe Biden, who is struggling to secure congressional approval for the new multibillion-dollar aid pledged to Kiev. Speaking to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, the Ohio senator called Zelensky’s move to seek more funding “utterly disgraceful.” Vance added that the Ukrainian president is coming to the US “lecturing” Americans and “demanding” more of their taxpayer dollars.

He said Zelensky’s visit will end with an “undignified process” in which the Ukrainian leader will demand that US lawmakers sign off on further funding or be labeled “puppets” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. After arriving in Washington, the Ukrainian leader gave an address at the National Defense University of the US, claiming that the delays and scandals related to “unresolved issues on Capitol Hill” are inspiring the Kremlin. Commenting on this, Vance said that “if you want to secure your border first, you are actually a Putin puppet: He said this publicly today,” and added that he found it “disgraceful” and “grotesque.” Last week, a bill that was supposed to provide more than $110 billion for overseas security, including more than $60 billion for Kiev, was blocked in the Senate.

It came as Republicans demanded tougher immigration controls on the southern US border. On Tuesday, Zelensky was scheduled to meet with US President Joe Biden to discuss “the continuation of defense cooperation” between the states and their coordination of efforts in the coming year, according to his office. This all comes amid Ukraine’s six-month counteroffensive against Russia, which has failed to yield any significant results. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, since the beginning of June, Kiev’s troops have lost more than 125,000 military personnel and 6,000 pieces of heavy equipment.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that as Ukrainian leaders plead for more military aid from Western allies, draft-eligible men are trying to flee the country at a time when they are needed “more than bullets.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday reiterated that Moscow would prefer to achieve its goals in the Ukrainian conflict politically and diplomatically, noting that Russia is “still ready for negotiations.” He added that the possibility of reaching agreements has been disrupted by Kiev. Last October, Zelensky signed an official decree banning any negotiations with Russia under President Vladimir Putin.

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“There are not cemeteries, but entire burial fields. People on the frontline take such things to heart and they do not accept shades of gray..”

Ukrainian General Reveals Discord Among Frontline Troops (RT)

Ukrainian frontline troops are disgruntled with the way Kiev is handling the ongoing conflict with Russia, including the gaslighting it engages in via the national media, retired Gen. Sergey Krivonos warned on Monday. Soldiers wonder why they must shed blood on behalf of an uncaring government, he claimed. Krivonos is a critic of President Vladimir Zelensky, who sacked him from the National Security and Defense Council in late 2020 for allegedly not being a team player. The commander, who has since left the military, allegedly under pressure, blasted what he perceives to be a disconnect between the government and the military. He was interviewed by Priamyi, a TV channel that currently broadcasts only online that is historically associated with the country’s former president Pyotr Poroshenko.

The general said Kiev was “teasing the tiger” with its treatment of troops, who, he warned “may act quite harshly” in response. “There are not cemeteries, but entire burial fields. People on the frontline take such things to heart and they do not accept shades of gray. For them, there is either black or white,” he said. The Russian Defense Ministry has estimated Ukrainian losses between June and November at over 125,000 troops. Kiev does not report its casualties, but Western media say that they must be steep, judging by the rapidly expanding graveyards and other circumstantial evidence. Kiev is running out of career military and is struggling to conscript soldiers, since civilians “are less than eager to fight for a military and national government that is viewed as rife with corruption and incompetence,” the Washington Post reported last week.

Krivonos cited a recent announcement by the Ukrainian state-owned railway operator that seasonal trains would be on offer for people visiting ski resorts as an example of what irritates troops. He believes the country needs to go into total war mode and accused Zelensky of failing to do so due for fear of losing popularity. The Zelensky government has contributed to the problem by using the state-controlled “television marathon” – the only programming on the air – to gaslight the public, the general said. He called the content “one of the worst manipulations” of the Ukrainian people. Another problem is tolerance of graft, he alleged. People who empty their pockets buying overpriced eggs should not get farewell applause from MPs and disappear into the night, he said in a clear nod to Aleksey Reznikov. The former defense minister was sacked in September, months after a scandal erupted over the procurement of overpriced food for troops by his department. ‘Reznikov’s eggs’ reports became the subject of gallows humor in Ukrainian trenches.

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“..the US defense establishment increasingly physically resembles the numbers on the ledgers the accountants have been trying to balance – it just doesn’t add up.”

The Pentagon Is A Multitrillion-Dollar Fraud (Scott Ritter)

Recently, the Pentagon admitted it couldn’t account for trillions of dollars of US taxpayer money, having failed a massive yearly audit for the sixth year running. The process consisted of the 29 sub-audits of the DoD’s various services, and only seven passed this year – no improvement over the last. These audits only began taking place in 2017, meaning that the Pentagon has never successfully passed one. This year’s failure made some headlines, was commented upon briefly by the mainstream media, and then just as quickly forgotten by an American society accustomed to pouring money down the black hole of defense spending. The defense budget of the United States is grotesquely large, its $877 billion dwarfing the $849 billion spent by the next ten nations with the largest defense expenditures.

And yet, the Pentagon cannot fully account for the $3.8 trillion in assets and $4 trillion in liabilities it has accrued at US taxpayer expense, ostensibly in defense of the United States and its allies. As the Biden administration seeks $886 billion for next year’s defense budget (and Congress seems prepared to add an additional $80 billion to that amount), the apparent indifference of the American collective – government, media, and public – to how nearly $1 trillion in taxpayer dollars will be spent speaks volumes about the overall bankrupt nature of the American establishment. Audits, however, are an accountant’s trick, a series of numbers on a ledger which, for the average person, do not equate to reality. Americans have grown accustomed to seeing big numbers when it comes to defense spending, and as a result, we likewise expect big things from our military.

But the fact is, the US defense establishment increasingly physically resembles the numbers on the ledgers the accountants have been trying to balance – it just doesn’t add up. Despite spending some $2.3 trillion on a two-decade military misadventure in Afghanistan, the American people witnessed the ignominious retreat from that nation live on TV in August 2021. Likewise, a $758 billion investment in the 2003 invasion and subsequent decade-long occupation of Iraq went south when the US was compelled to withdraw in 2011– only to return in 2014 for another decade of chasing down ISIS, itself a manifestation of the failures of the original Iraqi venture. Overall, the US has spent more than $1.8 trillion on its 20-year nightmare in Iraq and Syria. These numbers are mind-numbingly large – so large that they become meaningless to the average person. The US defense enterprise is so massive that it is literally a mission impossible to speak of balancing the books.

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“Ethiopia will become a member of BRICS on Jan 1..”

BRICS Candidate Ethiopia Likely To Default – Reuters (RT)

Ethiopia will hold a call with its international bondholders later this week after the African nation failed to pay a $33 million bond coupon that was due on Monday, according to a senior finance ministry official, as quoted by Reuters. Last week, the finance ministry said the country’s efforts to renegotiate the bond terms before the deadline for the coupon payment had fallen through. The sides had reportedly disagreed over how long to extend the maturity and spread out repayments of its single $1 billion international bond maturing in December 2024 . After the grace period of 14 days expires, the East African nation is expected to become the latest emerging-market sovereign to default on its debt, unless Addis Ababa successfully restructures it in time.

Zambia, Ghana and Sri Lanka have defaulted on Eurobonds in recent years. Tunisia, Pakistan and Bolivia are also currently at risk, Bloomberg reported, citing bond market pricing. Ethiopia, which requested a debt overhaul under the G20 Common Framework in early 2021, had managed to service interest payments on its international bond until now. According to the statement issued by the Ethiopian finance ministry, the nation will seek a “broadly similar treatment” from bondholders. “It would be important to treat all our creditors equitably,” the ministry said. Meanwhile, State Minister of Fiscal Policy and Public Finance Eyob Tekalign Tolina told Reuters that the “authorities’ intention is to remain current on our obligations.”

According to Tolina, there will be a call with investors holding the international bond on Thursday. Ethiopia, which was severely hit by the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and a military conflict in its northern Tigray region, is currently struggling to pay its debts. The nation is also seeking a four-year loan from the International Monetary Fund. Ethiopia will become a member of BRICS on Jan 1. The invitation to join was approved in August and extended to Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The group currently consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

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X thread.

“..I’ve got a bunch of kids, and they have to live here…” “And I want them to live in a country with a functioning justice system and elections that are semi-real.”

Tucker Carlson: 2024 Presidential Election Is Being Rigged (Kanekoa)

.@TuckerCarlson talks about how the 2024 presidential election is being rigged by Biden’s bogus prosecution of Trump. “You are trying to take the front runner out of the race on bogus legal charges.” “You’re violating the rule of law. You’re mocking our sacred norms, and you’re doing it with the presidency at stake.” “To indict him on that at the same time that the sitting President did the same thing. And you’re expecting me to go along with it?” “The idea that you’re prosecuting a man with a felony charge for bringing home documents and not returning them to the national f**kin archives.”

“Are you serious? Is there a single high-level bureaucrat in Washington who doesn’t do that every single day?” “The second they indicted him on ridiculous charges and raided Mar-a-Lago and went through his wife’s underwear drawer and all of that s**t…” “That can’t stand because I have to live here and I’ve got a bunch of kids, and they have to live here…” “And I want them to live in a country with a functioning justice system and elections that are semi-real.” “And if we allow this to happen, none of that will come to pass.”

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“I know I can give good speeches. But there is much more to that. Would I be good at that? Probably not..”

Tucker Carlson Says Does Not Think He Would Be Good Pick for Trump’s VP (Sp.)

US media personality Tucker Carlson said Tuesday that he does not think he would be a good pick as the next US vice president if former US President Donald Trump wins the 2024 election. “I know I can give good speeches. But there is much more to that. Would I be good at that? Probably not,” Carlson said in a live broadcast on X Spaces, adding that he has never “done anything like that before.” As a main guest of the X Spaces conversation, Carlson also said he was concerned about the US judicial system, as it is trying to convict Trump to get rid of him from the presidential race. In mid-November, Trump said in an interview that he would consider picking Carlson as his running mate in the 2024 US presidential election because “he’s got great common sense.”

The US presidential election is scheduled for November 5, 2024. In a number of polls, Trump, who dominates the Republican primary race, maintains a narrow lead over incumbent US President Joe Biden. Trump was indicted by a grand jury in August on four charges connected to the January riot at the US Capitol. The former US president has pleaded not guilty. Trump’s trial is set to begin on March 4, 2024.

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First steps
https://twitter.com/i/status/1734644284526121079

 

 

Sand Tiger Shark
https://twitter.com/i/status/1734487380298715579

 

 

Gaboon Viper
https://twitter.com/i/status/1734502324536590734

 

 

Dogs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1734674483632542081

 

 

Xmas lights

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 272023
 
 November 27, 2023  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  42 Responses »


René Magritte Promenades d’Euclid 1955

 

Israeli-Palestinian Swap Success and the Road Ahead (Sahiounie)
Unintended Consequences of Israel’s Assault on Palestine (Paul Craig Roberts)
What Are the Saudis Really Preparing for? (Luongo)
Hamas Attack Originally Planned For April (RT)
Russians Released By Hamas Outside Prisoner Swap Deal – Zakharova (TASS)
The United Eunuchs of Europe (Ruggeri)
Zelensky & West Equally Responsible for Killing Peace Deal (Sp.)
Ukraine Needs Three Victories – Zelensky (RT)
‘Russia Will Not Lose’ – Orban (RT)
Ukrainian Military Leadership Has No Plan For 2024 – Senior MP (RT)
Germany In ‘Serious Crisis’ – Bavarian Leader (RT)
German Troops Would ‘Only Last Two Days in Battle’ Due to Ukraine Supplies (Sp.)
World Facing ‘Debt Tsunami’ – Bloomberg (RT)
UK’s Rwanda Deportation Ruling Offers Assange Hope (Craig Murray)

 

 

 

 

Very strong
https://twitter.com/i/status/1728809581906661881

 

 

 

 

Both Tapper and Blitzer (not reindeer) have changed their tone a lot.

 

 

 

 

Torah

 

 

 

 

Putin WWII

 

 

 

 

“The main alleged crime for these detentions is stone-throwing, which can carry a 20-year sentence in prison for Palestinian children..”

Israeli-Palestinian Swap Success and the Road Ahead (Sahiounie)

The first swap of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners has been completed yesterday. The day prior to the swap was the American Holiday Thanksgiving. There are certainly Israeli and Palestinian families who are giving thanks to God for their loved ones’ freedom. The western media focused on the older Israeli women and small children being released. According to Israeli doctors, they were in acceptable condition after their ordeal in captivity. However, there was almost no western coverage of the Palestinian women and children released from an Israeli prison. Western audiences would have to first understand that Israel arrests young children for throwing a rock at an Israeli soldier. This information might make a western viewer appalled and disgusted with Israel.

Since the western media wants to portray the Israelis as a democracy, with shared values with the West, brutal undemocratic Israeli policies are just glossed-over. “The main alleged crime for these detentions is stone-throwing, which can carry a 20-year sentence in prison for Palestinian children,” said a report published in July by children’s rights organization, Save the Children. U.S. President Joe Biden made a short statement at the time of the release, in which he said it was his unproven theory that Hamas timed their attack on Israel because they wanted to stop the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which Biden had been pushing for. Biden was putting Saudi Arabia in a very dangerous position, as perhaps being the cause of the October 7 attack, and ensuing bloodshed and destruction.

President Donald Trump had begun the Abraham Accords process which saw UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan sign a normalization agreement with Israel. Saudi Arabia was the prize that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was chasing, but the current war has put that on hold. These Arab countries have not suddenly found a friend in Israel, but they can benefit from a relationship with Israel, which has nothing to do with technology, trade or tourism. By being in an improved relationship with Israel, the Arab countries would have access to improved relations with the U.S. Congress, through AIPAC. The American-Israeli lobby group AIPAC is the reason Arab leaders would be willing to ignore Palestinian human rights.

Hamas caught the attention of the world on October 7 with a shocking attack on Israeli civilians and soldiers which killed 1,400 and about 240 were taken hostage into Gaza. The Israeli media painted the Hamas attack as an attempt to exterminate the Jewish people. While Hamas does not recognize the right for Israel to exist, the group issued a statement early on explaining they were not seeking to annihilate Israel, but fighting a war of resistance against Israeli occupation. The Geneva Convention guarantees the right for armed struggle against occupation, but prohibits targeting civilians.

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“Genocide is not something that can be reconciled with the teachings of Jesus. The evangelicals will have to decide between worshipping Israel and worshipping Jesus.”

Unintended Consequences of Israel’s Assault on Palestine (Paul Craig Roberts)

According to the Zionist propaganda Hamas is a collection of evil beasts. How do we reconcile this propaganda with the excellent condition of the Israeli women and children hostages released by Hamas? Despite the Israeli devastation of Gaza and murder of Palestinian women and children, Hamas has obtained a victory of sorts. Netanyahu’s vicious attack on civilians has exposed the underbelly of the Apartheid Zionist State. It is no longer possible for Israel’s apologists to maintain that “Israel can do no wrong.” For decades Israel has been slowly but surely squeezing Palestinians out of Palestine. The world has tolerated it, in part because the Zionist violence was limited in time and extent and the impossible situation papered over with talk about the “two-state solution.”

But this time, the violence is unlimited and has the declared aim of emptying Palestine of Palestinians with Gazans driven into tent cities in Eqypt’s Sinai Desert. It is not another case of emptying one specific village in the West Bank or a limited incursion into Gaza. This time the world is faced with a declared Zionist agenda of genocide. This makes a problem for the Western governments that pretend to support human rights and to deplore war crimes. It also makes a problem for American evangelicals known as “Christian Zionists.” Genocide is not something that can be reconciled with the teachings of Jesus. The evangelicals will have to decide between worshipping Israel and worshipping Jesus.

A consequence of Washington’s wars for Israel in the Middle East is that Western countries are now the homes of millions of Muslim refugees who take umbrage to the West’s support of Palestinian genocide. This introduces into the Western countries countervailing power at the street level to the Zionist lobby that focuses on controlling the governments. Western governments now have a new element of instability to manage, and the consequence could be a less one-sided stance toward Zionist Israel. Not all of Israel is Zionist. Netanyahu has minority support. The outcome could be different for Israel than Netanyahu and his US neoconservative allies intended.

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“Saudi Arabia and China are opening a $7 billion local currency swap line.”

“China is using their US Treasuries and US dollar surpluses to loan them to Emerging Market trade partners of significance to CHINA!”

What Are the Saudis Really Preparing for? (Luongo)

It was announced the other day that Saudi Arabia and China are opening a $7 billion local currency swap line. [..] They [the Neocons] most certainly are flying by the seat of their pants, Mark [his conclusion]. What is happening now is pure desperation as they try to figure out how to extend and pretend this war through the election cycle to maintain the possibility of the ages-old enmity versus Russia. But the KSA flip is real. Swap lines are a precursor to intervention. My tweet was high concept but it goes like this: 1) Announce swap lines 2) Start taking real amounts of yuan for oil 3) This breaks the peg of the Riyal to the USD when oil is relatively strong, not in crisis mode 4) The substitution of the CNY for the USD is existential for the US who then attacks the KSA exchange rate, pulling money out of the country… 5) SANCTIONS ON KSA. 6) Expanded swaps to convert USD encumbered assets with Riyal assets, once USD are verboten in KSA. 7) China provides them, with loans repayable in CNY.

[..] The announcement of the swap lines is likely a pre-announcement of an Economic Hitman-style attack on Saudi Arabia by the US. It’s not really that difficult to foresee. For historical context, Russia was hit hard in 2014/15 by the collapse in oil prices. In retaliation for “stealing Crimea” an attack on oil prices was organized by President Obama and the gaggle of usual suspects to trash the oil price. In June of 2014 oil closed at $112.36. And the price began dropping the first trading day of July 2014 and didn’t stop until the end of 2015. Saudi Arabia helped that process by expanding production, thinking they would take Russia’s market share as the Russian ruble collapsed and Russia’s foreign exchange reserves were drained. The key to the anticipated win was that Russian companies, mostly the big State Owned Enterprises like Gazprom and Rosneft, had a lot of dollar-denominated debt which was about to mature and needed rolling over.

So, the US sanctioned Russia such that companies like Gazprom couldn’t roll the debt over, because they couldn’t sell the bonds to US or European investors anymore. The current bondholders had to be paid off… to the tune of north of $50 billion in Q4 of 2014, and another $50 billions in Q1 2015. This “rollover risk” would plague the Russian government’s finances for the next 18 months as the price of oil dropped relentlessly. The Russian ruble dropped from the high 20’s/low 30’s versus the dollar rose to a high above 80 in late November, but it only happened after Putin personally ordered Bank of Russia President Elvira Nabiullina to let the ruble float. Before that there had been a soft peg to the US dollar in place, which was easy to maintain while oil was trading above $100 per barrel.

China stepped in at the height of the ruble’s collapse to give Russia a swap line between yuan and rubles. China paid off Gazprom’s debt. Russia paid them back in yuan, which they were going to get freely because of these swap lines then and Power of Siberia in the future. The US didn’t dare sanction China for this because of both the blowback onto our economy and would have been tantamount to declaring war. It’s also why China didn’t get even threatened with sanctions after Russia “invaded” Ukraine last year. That sweetheart deal for the gas now flowing to them through the Power of Siberia pipeline now makes a lot more sense. Personally I had misremembered it being signed in 2015, as a response to the crisis, but it was before the crisis even broke out.

That implies a few things: 1) the combination of events of early 2014 prompted the formulation of a coordinated attack on oil prices aimed at Russia for later that year and 2) that Putin anticipated it and opened up negotiations with Xi Jinping to get Power of Siberia built quickly. Nearly everything that’s happened since then is downstream of the events tracing back to early 2014 Russia survived that period of ‘rollover risk’ and in doing so created the blueprint for other countries to do the same. [..] Eric Yeung: China is using their US Treasuries and US dollar surpluses to loan them to Emerging Market trade partners of significance to CHINA! They are asking for yuan in repayment.

This stabilizes the yuan/usd exchange rates while China can and is rapidly expanding the money supply to deal with their sagging property markets as a result of the Fed’s aggressively tight monetary policy. In order for China to expand the yuan into the new dollar vacuum without also losing their gold (Luke Gromen’s point during the conversation), they have to create a demand cycle for their debt, keeping borrowing costs low. Since they have cross-currency swap lines with their SE Asian partners and offshore yuan settlement around the region, i.e. in places like Singapore, this is how they manage the expansion without creating a runaway inflation problem. Yuan replace dollars without a massive shift in exchange rates and/or bond yields.

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“The data reportedly prompted the IDF to increase its alert level, which led to the Palestinian group abandoning the initial plan. The IDF eventually considered the intelligence warnings to have been a false alarm..”

Hamas Attack Originally Planned For April (RT)

The Gaza-based Palestinian militant group Hamas originally sought to carry out its October 7 attack during the Jewish holiday of Passover, which fell on April 5 this year, Israel’s Channel 12 TV reported on Saturday, citing sources in the country’s military intelligence. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had caught wind of the planned assault, detecting the early signs of Hamas preparations, soldiers with the 8200 signal intelligence unit told the broadcaster. The data reportedly prompted the IDF to increase its alert level, which led to the Palestinian group abandoning the initial plan. The IDF eventually considered the intelligence warnings to have been a false alarm, the report added.

Hamas, the sources claim, focused on internal security and kept most of its members in the dark about subsequent plans, including the rescheduled incursion, which took place on October 7. According to Israeli media reports, surveillance units on the border with Gaza alerted the IDF to “unusual” Hamas training exercises some three months before the October attack, but their concerns were reportedly dismissed as “fantasies.” On Friday the Financial Times also reported, citing sources, that Israeli border sentries had compiled a detailed file on the then-looming Hamas attack and presented it to the highest-ranking intelligence officer in the southern command, weeks before it took place.

The document reportedly contained “specific warnings,” namely plans to breach the border at multiple points and seize local settlements, according to the outlet. The IDF neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the ignored intelligence, when approached by the Financial Times. Earlier, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz had cited an unnamed female soldier who blamed institutional sexism in the ranks for the lack of attention to reports from its border sentries. The October 7 Hamas attack claimed the lives of about 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians. West Jerusalem responded with heavy bombardments of Gaza, followed by a ground operation. The death toll on the Palestinian side has since surpassed 14,800, according to officials in the enclave.

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“..the release has become possible thanks to “direct agreements between Russian representatives and Hamas.”

Russians Released By Hamas Outside Prisoner Swap Deal – Zakharova (TASS)

A hostage with the Russian passport has been released as a result of direct agreements with Hamas, not under the prisoner swap deal, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. “The efforts Russian diplomats are making in contacts with Hamas concerning the release of hostages are yielding results. Today, a holder of the Russian passport was released and handed over to the Red Cross. Russian diplomats will visit him as soon as it is possible,” she wrote on her Telegram channel. According to the spokeswoman, the release has become possible thanks to “direct agreements between Russian representatives and Hamas.” “These efforts will continue,” she added.

Taher al-Nunu, a spokesman for senior Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh, told TASS earlier in the day that Hamas had released a Russian national and transferred him to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Russian presidential envoy for the Middle East and African countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told TASS in late October that Hamas had promised to answer Russia’s request to release eight Russian nationals who were held hostage. Hamas announced on November 22 that an agreement on a four-day humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip had been reached through the mediation of Qatar and Egypt. The agreement stipulates the release of 50 women and children under the age of 19 who are held in Gaza in exchange for the release of 150 women and children under the age of 19 from Israeli prisons.

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“Gone is all pretence that the EU and NATO pursue different strategies.”

“If painting Russia as a threat has long been used by the U.S. to keep NATO alive, in more recent years it has been exploited to unify the foreign and defense policy of EU member states..”

The United Eunuchs of Europe (Ruggeri)

Whether further expansion is good or bad for the EU has become the modern equivalent of the old Byzantine discussion over the sex of angels, and while no agreement can be reached, the process has largely stalled after the biggest wave of new members joined in 2004 and Croatia in 2013. So why has it topped the agenda of so many Eurocrats in the last two years? Mainly because supporters of expansion hoped that they could leverage on the unity that the EU mustered vis-à-vis the conflict in Ukraine to push through a a proxy imperialist project fuelled by Washington’s magical thinking. The cornerstone of this project was the full capture of Ukraine whose NATO-trained army should have dealt a decisive blow to Russia. As we know, things aren’t exactly going to plan and that unity of purpose now seems as precarious as Ukraine’s future.

Ukraine had been promised EU candidate status for years and finally received it in return for a blood sacrifice. Obviously, it doesn’t qualify for membership, and the prospect of sitting in a crowded waiting room with other candidates for the foreseeable future isn’t exactly worth dying for. Brussels has to first find and then dangle a more appealing carrot at a time when opinion polls show that support for Ukraine is waning. After coming to the defence of the U.S. ‘rules-based-order’ the EU has a bag full of IOUs, a weakened economy, and Borrell’s garden of earthly delights increasingly resembles the dark panel of Hieronymus Bosch’s famous triptych. One may think that discussing EU enlargement while the bloc faces major crises that are stress-testing it to break-point is the epitome of insanity.

Actually, some commentators have already drawn parallels between the EU’s leadership and Nero fiddling as Rome burned. But allegedly Nero did something else besides fiddling, he blamed Christians for the fire. Offering an enemy within or an enemy without, is a tried and tested tactic to crush dissent and consolidate power. And that is exactly what Germany’s foreign minister Annalena Baerbock tried at a recent conference in Berlin dedicated to EU enlargement. She told 17 foreign ministers from EU and candidate countries, including Ukraine’s Dmytro Kuleba, that the EU must expand to avoid making everyone vulnerable. “Putin’s Moscow will continue to try to divide not only Ukraine from us, but also Moldova, Georgia and the Western Balkans. If these countries can be permanently destabilised by Russia, then that also makes us vulnerable. We can no longer afford grey areas in Europe”. Whatever happened to promises of economic growth, investments and access to a wealthy market? As they all sound pretty hollow in 2023, Baerbock invokes the bogeyman. Gone is all pretence that the EU and NATO pursue different strategies.

With the door to NATO closed to Ukraine and Washington shifting its focus to the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific, the burden of supporting Ukraine “to defend Europe” has been dumped on the EU. If painting Russia as a threat has long been used by the U.S. to keep NATO alive, in more recent years it has been exploited to unify the foreign and defense policy of EU member states. Washington promoted and facilitated a vertical consolidation of power in the EU in order to outsource to Brussels some of the policing and punitive functions that enable its global capital accumulation and underpin its hegemony. According to its calculus, dealing with one collective vassal, the EU, would be easier than managing several squabbling and competing European vassals. This strategy reflects Washington’s poor grasp of Europe’s history and complexity and that’s why it is unlikely to produce the desired results, especially since European interests were sacrificed at the altar of American ones.

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“The people in power in Ukraine got there accidentally – they are shallow, insufficiently experienced, perceiving some momentary tactical successes as successes of a strategic nature..”

“Zelensky is now being abandoned by his staff, his generals, the Ukrainian people, and the international community as a puppet that has lost all use. If questioned, Boris Johnson will most likely pretend to not even remember Zelensky’s name.”

Zelensky & West Equally Responsible for Killing Peace Deal (Sp.)

“Russia‘s original terms were very fair: number one— no NATO weapons would be located in Ukraine, which would put Russians in danger; and, second, no Nazi genocidal maniacs would be in political positions to continue slaughtering innocent Russians, or outlawing the Russian language and culture in Ukraine. Any reasonable person and nation would’ve accepted these terms,” argued Bennett. Meanwhile, some Russian observers are wondering what BoJo promised the Kiev regime to cause them to rush to nix the deal and throw all their resources into the conflict. Apparently, the British prime minister vowed all-out military support and money from the West. Meanwhile, judging from other Western leaders’ rhetoric, Johnson was not alone in derailing the deal. “This war will be won on the battlefield,” European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell tweeted in April 2022, pledging hundreds of millions of euros for Kiev.

The same month, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin claimed that Washington wanted to see “Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done” in launching the special military operation. He argued that Russia should “not have the capability to very quickly reproduce” manpower and equipment. The US has disbursed over $100 billion in support for Ukraine’s military effort since then. However, a chorus of Western military experts warned Washington from the very beginning that Russia has considerably more resources in every respect, making it virtually impossible for Ukraine to win. Ukrainian officials could have been aware of this balance of forces since the inception of the conflict, yet still they bought into the Western plot.

Sergey Tsekov, a member of the Russian Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, believes that Kiev decided to reject peace with Moscow in 2022 due to a lack of experience. “The people in power in Ukraine got there accidentally – they are shallow, insufficiently experienced, perceiving some momentary tactical successes as successes of a strategic nature,” Tsekov told the Russian press. Per him, many in Ukraine now regret that they failed to resolve the conflict diplomatically at the very beginning. [..] in 2002, then-Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma announced the nation’s goal of “eventual NATO membership” which was reflected in the June 19, 2003, version of law on the foundations of Ukraine’s national policy. In 2010, the government of President Viktor Yanukovich scrapped the plan, embracing the idea of military neutrality.

Following the Western-backed 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev, the nation’s Verkhovna Rada, controlled by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists, passed a law reinstating membership in NATO as Ukraine’s strategic objective. In 2019, a corresponding amendment to Ukraine’s Constitution entered into force. Arakhamia failed to explain to the Ukrainian press why the Ukrainian delegation – despite all the obstacles – signed preliminary peace agreements with Russia in Istanbul last year. In June 2023, Vladimir Putin showed the draft of the Istanbul agreement on the Ukraine settlement to an African delegation. “Here it is! It exists!” Putin said, showing the document signed by Ukraine. “And it is called accordingly – the treaty on permanent neutrality and security guarantees for Ukraine. Exactly about guarantees. Eighteen articles,” the Russian president underscored.

No matter how much the West is guilty for derailing the Russo-Ukrainian peace deal, the Zelensky regime is no less responsible for opening the door to bloodshed in Ukraine, per Bennett. “Ukraine is destroyed,” the expert said. “Its military is completely dissolved, and every Ukrainian citizen is going to turn against the Ukrainian political leadership for this unnecessary and destructive war, which should never have happened. Zelensky may very well be assassinated or overthrown by a coup within his own country and prosecuted, and executed as an international war criminal.” “Zelensky is now being abandoned by his staff, his generals, the Ukrainian people, and the international community as a puppet that has lost all use. If questioned, Boris Johnson will most likely pretend to not even remember Zelensky’s name.

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“Zelensky accused Russia of “exploiting various challenges in the world” to “divert attention from any assistance” to his country, adding that “responsible states” are doing everything they can to return that focus.”

Ukraine Needs Three Victories – Zelensky (RT)

Ukraine needs to achieve three key breakthroughs in negotiations with Western allies to maintain crucial support, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky admitted during a press conference on Friday. Among the challenges he listed were the approval of large aid packages from the US and the EU. Zelensky accused Russia of “exploiting various challenges in the world” to “divert attention from any assistance” to his country, adding that “responsible states” are doing everything they can to return that focus. “We need three victories. The first is with Congress. It’s a challenge. It’s not easy,” Zelensky said. The second ‘victory’ to be achieved is to secure €50 billion ($55 billion) in aid from the EU, which has not yet been approved.

“Not everyone in the EU is ready to support this package today. Our task is to make sure everyone supports this package,” the president stated. The third success Ukraine seeks is a decision by Brussels to start negotiations on Ukraine’s EU membership, Zelensky said, calling it “a significant motivational step.” Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden’s administration failed to push a $105 billion spending package through Congress, with much of that money intended for Kiev. Instead, the president had to sign a stopgap funding plan excluding Ukraine assistance to avert a government shutdown. At about the same time, the EU’s €50 billion package of loans and grants was blocked, due to objections from member states including Hungary.

As for negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU, according to Reuters, Brussels could postpone formal membership talks, which were scheduled for December, until March 2024, as some leaders have proposed returning to the issue only after the European Commission has had a chance to assess whether Kiev has met all the conditions. Kiev’s troops continue to suffer significant losses on the front line. According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, the Ukrainian army has lost more than 13,700 soldiers and 1,800 tanks and other heavy weaponry since the beginning of November. As of late October, Moscow estimated that Kiev had suffered over 90,000 casualties since the beginning of the June counteroffensive.

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“Therefore, we must face reality. We must switch to Plan B,” Orban reiterated, adding that the European Union currently has no such plan..”

‘Russia Will Not Lose’ – Orban (RT)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that the US and EU strategy of funding Ukraine’s battle with Russia, in the hope that an unlikely battlefield loss will bring about a regime change in Moscow, is futile. Instead of trying to localize the conflict, the West decided to escalate, making it global, Orban said last week at an event celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Swiss conservative weekly Weltwoche in Zurich. “What was the strategy of the West in that war? I’m simplifying it a little bit, but this is the fact. Our strategy was that the Ukrainians will fight and will win on the front line. The Russians will lose… and that loss will create a change in Moscow,” he explained, according to a video of the speech published by Zoltan Kovacs, a spokesman for the Hungarian government on Sunday.

“That was the strategy: We finance, the Ukrainians fight and die,” he added. However, he said, “where we are now, it is obvious that the Ukrainians will not win on the front line.” “There is no solution on the battleground. The Russians will not lose. There will be no political change in Moscow. This is the reality,” the Hungarian leader stated. “Russia will not lose, and nothing will change in its policy. Therefore, we must face reality. We must switch to Plan B,” Orban reiterated, adding that the European Union currently has no such plan. Last week, Orban reportedly demanded that the EU re-examine its strategy, warning he would oppose any further aid unless the bloc’s leaders make sure their objectives are “realistically attainable” without continued US support. “The European Council must have a frank and open discussion on the feasibility of the EU’s strategic objectives in Ukraine,” Orban wrote in a letter to European Council President Charles Michel, according to Politico.

From the very onset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Hungarian PM has been calling for a negotiated solution, rather than prolonging the crisis and risking further escalation. While he condemned Moscow’s actions, he still repeatedly clashed with Brussels, saying that sanctions against Russia are destroying European economies. Kiev has suffered “colossal” casualties at the front, with at least 13,700 troops and approximately 1,800 tanks and other heavy weaponry lost this month alone, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. In total, according to Russian estimates, Kiev has lost more than 100,000 troops since its failed counteroffensive began in early June. Even Ukraine’s top general, Valery Zaluzhny, previously admitted that the conflict with Russia had reached a “stalemate” and that his armed forces would likely not achieve a breakthrough in the confrontation anytime soon.

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““If the military leadership cannot provide any plan for 2024 and all their proposals for mobilization boil down to the fact that more people are needed without any … changes to the Armed Forces system, then this [military] leadership has to go..”

Ukrainian Military Leadership Has No Plan For 2024 – Senior MP (RT)

The Ukrainian military leadership has absolutely no strategic plan for the ongoing conflict with Russia in 2024, Mariana Bezuglaya, the deputy head of the Ukrainian parliament’s security, defense and intelligence committee, said on Sunday. The top brass only want to mobilize tens of thousands of people every month without a clear understanding of what should be done in Kiev’s ongoing conflict with Moscow, she added. “The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has been unable to provide a [strategic] plan for 2024,” Bezuglaya wrote in a post on her Facebook page, referring to Ukraine’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny. The general has absolutely no concept of further conflict, she claimed, adding that he has no plan for any type of warfare, “either large or small… asymmetrical or symmetrical.”

Such a stance by the military leadership has been a major setback for the lawmakers planning the nation’s budget for the next year, the senior MP said. The problems had been growing both in parliament and at the military leadership’s HQ, at least since the summer, Bezuglaya revealed. At that time, the Ukrainian military was in the midst of its much-touted large-scale military offensive launched in early June. The operation was largely unsuccessful as it did not allow Kiev’s troops to gain any major territories but led to heavy losses on the Ukrainian side in both personnel and equipment, including dozens of Western-supplied hardware like tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. According to Bezuglaya, Zaluzhny and other top commanders have so far failed to present any detailed plans for future training, troop rotation, or for the funding needed for some new brigades they supposedly planned to form.

Instead, the Ukrainian military “simply said they would need to draft no less than 20,000 citizens every month,” the senior MP added. “If the military leadership cannot provide any plan for 2024 and all their proposals for mobilization boil down to the fact that more people are needed without any … changes to the Armed Forces system, then this [military] leadership has to go,” Bezuglaya, who is a member of President Vladimir Zelensky’s ‘Servant of the People’ party, said. The presidential party’s faction in parliament refused to provide any comments on Bezuglaya’s words when approached by the Ukrainian ‘Pravda’ newspaper. In early November, Zaluzhny admitted in an interview with The Economist that the situation on the frontlines was essentially a World War I-style stalemate.

He also said that Russia had an upper hand in that sort of warfare due to its superior personnel reserves and vast material resources. This assessment was later rejected by Zelensky. The president also warned the nation’s military leadership to stay out of politics or risk harming “the unity of the nation.” Earlier this week, Russia’s foreign intelligence service (SVR) reported that Ukraine’s Western backers have encouraged Kiev to expand draft efforts and enlist the elderly, teenagers, and women into the army. The new draft is supposedly needed to replace the heavy losses Kiev’s troops suffered in the largely unsuccessful summer counteroffensive.

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“Scholz and his cabinet have absolutely no policy plan and are “completely… mindless..”

Germany In ‘Serious Crisis’ – Bavarian Leader (RT)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his cabinet have led Germany into a “serious national crisis,” Markus Soeder, the prime minister of the nation’s most populous state, Bavaria, told journalists on Saturday. Berlin can now hardly find a way out of this predicament, the politician warned, adding that the government’s “budget emergency” would likely turn into another burden for ordinary Germans. His words came as the federal government announced the lifting of energy-price controls by the end of the year. Limits on electricity and gas prices were introduced in 2022 to protect households and businesses from soaring prices of gas and electricity as Germany was actively slashing energy imports from Russia, along with many other EU nations. The measure was introduced in response to the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine.

The brakes were to remain in place until at least March 2024, but Berlin had to change its plans after the German Constitutional Court blocked its attempt to transfer €60 billion ($66 billion) from the Covid-19 pandemic fund to other projects. According to Soeder, the lack of funding and the corresponding budget crisis are “nothing but this government’s emergency.” Scholz and his cabinet have absolutely no policy plan and are “completely… mindless,” said the politician, who also leads Bavaria’s biggest party – the Christian Social Union (CSU). “This government has gone bankrupt,” he added. “Basically, we have a government that is just reeling,” he told journalists on the sidelines of his party’s meeting in Nuremberg ahead of the EU parliament elections.

Soeder also branded the declaration of the “budget emergency” by Berlin as a sign of the “complete helplessness” of the government coalition. The head of Bavaria in particular criticized the federal government’s strategy of combating energy price hikes resulting from forgoing Russian energy supplies with mere subsidies. “The idea of just subsidizing electricity prices doesn’t work. A different energy policy is needed. That is the core of the problem,” he said, demanding that Berlin reverse its nuclear power plants’ phaseout in particular. Now, removing the energy price brakes would lead to a high level of uncertainty for the economy and send electricity prices for both citizens and companies up, he warned.

Last year, Germany and the broader EU faced an energy crisis, largely caused by the loss of Russian gas imports due to Ukraine-related sanctions against Moscow. Berlin managed to substitute some of the gas it had previously bought from Russia, but high energy costs still weakened Germany’s economy and pushed up inflation. Germany fell into a technical recession in the first quarter of 2023 and demonstrated little recovery in the following two quarters.

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“He also insisted that introducing compulsory military service in Germany is necessary..”

German Troops Would ‘Only Last Two Days in Battle’ Due to Ukraine Supplies (Sp.)

Berlin has provided Ukraine with large amounts of munitions and military hardware, including main battle tanks and air defense systems, following the escalation of the Ukrainian conflict in February 2022. The battle readiness of the German Armed Forces has been severely weakened by shortages caused by continued supplies of hardware and ammo to Kiev, German MP from the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Johann Wadephul has told DPA. “Crucial [German] troop units can only last a maximum of two days in a battle [due to these shortages]. And that is a catastrophic finding overall,” Wadephul said. “Anyone who even talks about being ready for war, but expects the Bundeswehr to be at least ready to defend itself, should have ensured that such a bad situation does not occur. Unfortunately, the opposite is the case.”

The politician argued that the process of improving the Bundeswehr’s combat capability is slow and blamed the country’s Defense Minister Boris Pistorius for this state of affairs. “Even when it comes to replacement procurement, the Bundeswehr is actually making a loss. As correct as the donations to Ukraine are in terms of material and ammunition, in the current security situation, it is unacceptable that there is no compensation,” Wadephul said. He also insisted that introducing compulsory military service in Germany is necessary, saying: “We will not be able to ensure effective national defense without the necessary personnel.” Ukraine received large quantities of weapons and munitions from Germany and other NATO states since the escalation of the Ukrainian conflict last year.

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“..the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England should curb their enthusiasm for shrinking their balance sheets..”

World Facing ‘Debt Tsunami’ – Bloomberg (RT)

Sovereign bond sales could increase further next year as budget deficits balloon across the developed world, Bloomberg reported this week. According to the outlet’s analysis, this comes at a bad time as central banks have accelerated the reduction of huge bond holdings amassed through quantitative easing. “This double whammy means bond yields, particularly at the longer end of the curve, are set for a difficult 2024,” Bloomberg wrote, suggesting the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England should curb their enthusiasm for shrinking their balance sheets. According to the Bank of America, cited in the report, Treasury bond issuance is expected to reach a record $1.34 trillion next year. Meanwhile, the US deficit in 2026 is projected to climb towards $2 trillion.

The report indicated that multiple factors affect bond values, but “the one constant in an ever-changing world is rising debt issuance.” The US Fed has reportedly been trimming its balance sheet by $95 billion a month since June 2022, reducing it so far to $7.8 trillion, nearly double the pre-pandemic $4 trillion mark. The risk remains that the combination of monetary tightening by the Fed with expanding US Treasury supply will prove “deadly,” Bloomberg wrote. The same could be observed in the EU where Germany, France, Italy and Spain are expected to increase bond sales to more than €1.1 trillion ($1.2 trillion) next year. The European Commission is also expected to issue €150 billion of bonds.

Even a small reduction of QE reinvestment looks ill-advised, according to the report, while it’s “the first line of defense” for the euro area that allows maturing German debt to be recycled into buying Italian bonds. Meanwhile, UK government bond supply is expected to be around £260 billion next year, a jump of 20% from this year. The Bank of England has been reducing at double the pace of the Fed and ECB. “There’s a growing perception that central banks are at the zenith of the interest-rate hiking cycle, but reducing QE bond portfolios would continue to tighten monetary conditions,” Bloomberg wrote, noting that the potential global growth slump next year may come shortly before rate cuts or a pause in balance sheet reduction, or probably both.

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The UK Supreme Court in the Rwanda case has stated that it’s the court, not the government, that decides if a deportation is lawful. It must apply that to the Assange case if and when that comes before the court.

UK’s Rwanda Deportation Ruling Offers Assange Hope (Craig Murray)

The judgment of the Supreme Court on the illegality of deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda was given massive publicity in connection with the sacking of Home Secretary Suella Braverman, but in fact it is a decision of much wider significance. It also has great relevance to the coming High Court hearing on Julian Assange, both in terms of the arguments, some of which are common to both cases, and the stance of the judges, some of whom are also common to both cases.

[..] The Home Secretary’s appeal against the Appeal Court judgment explicitly argued that the court should defer to the executive’s judgment of the value of these assurances, which the Supreme Court summarises as the Home Secretary criticising the Appeal Court for: giving insufficient weight to H.M. Government’s assessment of the likelihood of the government of Rwanda abiding by its assurances The Supreme Court rejects the notion that diplomatic assurances provided to the executive outweigh an assessment by the court itself of the true situation. The Supreme Court states: The government’s assessment of whether there is such a risk is an important element of that evidence, but the court is bound to consider the question in the light of the evidence as a whole and to reach its own conclusion. This is a definitive position, and a very strong one, in the debate about the role of diplomatic assurances in deportation proceedings.

The reason this is so vital to the Assange case, is that the court of first instance decided against Assange’s extradition, due to the combination of his health and the appalling maximum security conditions to which he would be subjected in the United States. On Appeal by the government of the U.S., Lord Chief Justice Burnett rejected this argument, primarily on the basis of diplomatic assurances as to Assange’s treatment, received in diplomatic notes submitted at the appeal stage. Because they were not submitted to the original hearing but only at Appeal, Assange’s team had no opportunity to question these diplomatic assurances or cross-examine on their value. Lord Chief Justice Burnett rejected this as having any weight, on the grounds that it was for the executive to decide the value of diplomatic assurances.

Note that Lord Chief Justice Burnett was also the dissenting judge who found for the government at appeal in the Rwanda case, where again he argued that the diplomatic assurances from the Rwanda government should simply be accepted on the executive’s evaluation. That is the classic executive position in the whole diplomatic assurances debate – and the Supreme Court has just unanimously and fizzingly rejected Burnett’s argument. If it is for the court and not the executive to investigate and determine the value of diplomatic assurances in the Rwanda case, then it must also be for the court to examine and determine the value of diplomatic assurances in the Assange case. At no point in the Assange process has any court undertaken this duty, or the defence been offered any opportunity to challenge the veracity of the diplomatic assurances.

That must now play a crucial role in consideration of the Assange case going forward. It is Burnett who granted the US appeal against the refusal to extradite Assange. Burnett is the best friend and former college flat mate of Tory Minister Alan Duncan, who called Julian “a worm” in parliament and who was in direct charge of the operation to remove Julian from the Ecuadorean Embassy. The other judge whose arguments were resoundingly rejected by the Supreme Court is Jonathan Swift, who found for the Home Secretary at first instance in the Rwanda case. Swift is also the judge who dismissed Assange’s 150-page appeal in three double-spaced pages and attempted to limit any future hearing to half an hour. Again as previously explained here, Swift is a former barrister for the security services, which he said were his favourite clients.

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Jan 6

 

 

 

 

Dowd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funghi

 

 


Monastiraki and the Acropolis

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 032023
 
 September 3, 2023  Posted by at 9:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  34 Responses »


Claude Monet Bain à la Grenouillère 1869

 

Biden’s Use Of Fake Names In Email Could Cost Him (Turley)
Zelensky Sponsor Kolomoysky Charged With Money Laundering (RT)
Russia Is ‘Absolutely Invincible’ – Putin (RT)
US Laying Groundwork for Defeats in 2 Wars of Choice, vs Russia & China (Sp.)
Moscow Warns Of Direct Clash With NATO (RT)
Ukraine’s Western Backers Are ‘Pro-Nazi Coalition’ – Medvedev (RT)
Is Ukraine Losing Because Foreign Fighters Are Walking Away? (ZH)
Funny Old Man Borrell Typifies The Arrogant Mediocrities Running The EU (Bordachev)
German Chancellor Says Nuclear Power ‘Dead Horse’ Despite Energy Crunch (Sp.)
Sanctions Against Russia Turning Germany Into ‘Kamikaze’ – MP (RT)
EU Migration System ‘Has Been Broken For Years’ – Austria (RT)
Alexander Dugin: Global Liberalism in Crisis (Sp.)
7 Civilisations -1 Against 6 (Alexander Dugin)
Why They Hate Imran Khan? A Short Note. (Haider Mehdi)

 

 

 

 

Imagine Putin doing this. Or Trump. What excuses this behavior?

https://twitter.com/i/status/1697988586425954547

 

 

 

 

RFK Pfizer trial
https://twitter.com/i/status/1698081641296437328

 

 

 

 

Maui

 

 

 

 

“People under 50 kilograms banned from the streets in China due to Typhoon Saola”

 

 

 

 

Look who’s back…

”..Obama has 30 days to bar the release of the emails and to help shield his former vice president in a growing corruption scandal ..”

Biden’s Use Of Fake Names In Email Could Cost Him (Turley)

Last year, at an event at the White House, former president Barack Obama jokingly referred to the current president as “Vice President Biden.” At the time, it was described as the more popular politician “reminding Biden who’s boss.” Yet, this needling carried an added bite, given reports of Obama’s private doubts about Biden’s judgment. In 2020, Obama had famously warned fellow Democrats, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f— things up.” Obama is now being asked to bail Biden out from another debacle of his own making, going back to his time in Obama’s administration. Various committees and private groups are seeking more than 5,000 emails from Biden in which he used an array of aliases during the Obama administration.

Under the Presidential Records Act, Obama has 30 days to bar the release of the emails and to help shield his former vice president in a growing corruption scandal over the influence-peddling operation run by Biden’s son, Hunter. Recently, it was learned that Joe Biden went by a variety of code names and false names, including Robin Ware. Robert L. Peters, JRB Ware, Celtic and “The Big Guy.” House investigators believe that may only be a partial list. For many Americans, it is understandably unnerving to learn that their president has more aliases than Anthony Weiner. However, while the number seems unusual, the practice is not unprecedented. Top officials have used such aliases in the past for emails, including former Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.

During the Obama administration, the practice was defended by then-White House press secretary Jay Carney, who assured the public that any such emails would still be subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and congressional inquiries. He added, “We do not use and should not use private email accounts for work.” The problem is that there was “work” being discussed on some of these emails, including official foreign travel plans and the hiring of associates of Hunter for high-level positions. More importantly, some emails are relevant to the clients of Biden’s son. Biden has previously lied that he knew nothing of these dealings, but these emails could reveal even more about his knowledge and involvement.

Congress is investigating more than $20 million that was transferred to members of the Biden family from foreign sources through a labyrinth of shell companies and accounts. Even the Washington Post has been forced to admit that the president has lied in the past about aspects of Hunter’s dealings. Devon Archer recently confirmed that Joe Biden’s long-standing denial of any knowledge of their business dealings is “categorically false.” Most reporters now admit that Hunter was clearly engaging in influence-peddling, Washington’s favorite form of corruption. Yet in the face of this growing evidence, Democrats insist that Hunter and his associates were merely selling “the illusion of influence,” not actual access or influence over Joe Biden. Obviously, these foreign clients believed that they were buying more than an illusion for the millions they spent. One corrupt Ukrainian figure said that Hunter Biden was dumber than his dog, but that he paid him anyway for access to his father.

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Is Kolomoysky the target, or Zelensky?

Zelensky Sponsor Kolomoysky Charged With Money Laundering (RT)

Ukrainian authorities have informed oligarch Igor Kolomoysky, whose support helped Vladimir Zelensky secure the presidency, that he is suspected of fraud and real estate laundering amid Kiev’s ongoing crusade against rampant corruption. In a statement on Saturday, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said that the billionaire – whom it described as the “de facto owner of a large financial and industrial group” – had legalized more than 500 million Ukrainian hryvnia ($13.5 million) by “transferring it abroad, while using the infrastructure of banking institutions controlled by him.” Ukrainian officials stated that Kolomoysky, who has Cypriot and Israeli citizenship, was informed that he is suspected on two counts – fraud, and legalization of property obtained by criminal means.

The development was also confirmed by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, which said that Kolomoysky was “served with a motion to choose pre-trial restrictive measures,” adding that the agency is continuing its investigation into the matter in coordination with the SBU and Economic Security Bureau. This comes after Kolomoysky’s home was searched by SBU operatives in early February, according to local media reports. At the time, the raid reportedly focused on Kolomoysky’s potential involvement in the alleged embezzlement of 40 billion hryvnia ($1.1 billion) and evading customs duties at the oil companies Ukrtatnafta and Ukrnafta. Kolomoysky burst on to the political scene in 2014, when he was appointed governor of the southeastern Dnepropetrovsk Region following a Western-backed coup in Kiev.

A year later, however, he was dismissed from his post over a conflict with then-Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko amid a struggle for control of Ukrnafta and state-owned oil pipeline operator Ukrtransnafta. In 2016, Ukrainian authorities also nationalized Kolomoysky’s PrivatBank after declaring it a major threat to the country’s financial system following allegations of large-scale fraud. Kolomoysky is also widely considered to have played a major role in the rise to power of incumbent President Vladimir Zelensky. Before launching his political campaign in 2019, Zelensky was a comedian, whose show was hosted by a Kolomoysky-controlled media holding. The magnate himself said he “wanted” Zelensky to become president, but denied close contacts with him.

In 2021, the US State Department sanctioned both Kolomoysky and his family members, citing his involvement “in corrupt acts that undermined rule of law and the Ukrainian public’s faith in their government’s democratic institutions.” In July 2022, media in Ukraine reported that he was stripped of his Ukrainian passport. However, while the news was confirmed by several officials in Kiev, the relevant presidential decree is classified while the oligarch himself dismissed the reports as “nonsense.”

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Talking about the spirit of the Russian people. Ergo, WWII.

Russia Is ‘Absolutely Invincible’ – Putin (RT)

Russia has always been and remains “absolutely invincible,”President Vladimir Putin told a group of students at an open lesson marking the start of the academic year on Friday. The mentality of the Russian people makes it impossible for the country to be defeated by anyone, he added. The president recalled the history of his own family, telling students about his ancestors who lived through World War II. According to Putin, his grandmother was fatally shot by a Nazi soldier but, even as she was dying, she was still thinking about her husband and told Putin’s grandfather “not to cry” in order not to upset her in her final moments. “Do you understand the depth of these relationships between the ordinary people, this love?” the president said, adding that, even in the face of death, his grandmother was caring for her loved one.

“How can we not take that for a model?” he added. Putin also said that all members of his family felt deep respect for each other and had a “strong inner culture.” Putin also said he believes most families in Russia are like this. “And here I understood why we won the Great Patriotic War,” the president said, referring to the Soviet struggle against Nazi Germany in World War II. “One cannot defeat a people with such a mentality,” he said, adding that “we have been absolutely invincible. And we remain as such now.” His words came as Russia has been locked in a conflict with neighboring Ukraine for more than a year and a half. The latest developments have seen Kiev’s forces unable to breach Russian defenses in nearly three months since the start of the much-hyped Ukrainian counteroffensive.

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“..US establishment politicians maintain that “if the US does not defend Ukraine, China will invade Taiwan”, a theory the report says is flawed.”

US Laying Groundwork for Defeats in 2 Wars of Choice, vs Russia & China (Sp.)

In an effort to live up to its promise to “fight Russia to the last Ukrainian,” the Biden administration is “laying the groundwork for defeats in two more wars of choice, against Russia and China,” a US report has asserted. The Democrat POTUS has been burning through cash (although national debt stands at $33 trillion), and munitions stockpiles in an effort to prop up the Kiev regime. The US announced a new package of military assistance for Ukraine on 29 August, worth $250 million, that includes AIM-9M missiles for air defense, munitions for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 155mm and 105mm artillery ammunition, mine-clearing equipment, Javelin and other anti-armor systems and rockets, three million rounds of small arms ammunition, as well as other items.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on 29 August that the US and its allies “will stand united with Ukraine, for as long as it takes”. Some of the contenders for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination fully support this stance – former governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley recently stated: “A win for Russia is a win for China. We have to know that. Ukraine is the first line of defense for us.” According to the report, US establishment politicians maintain that “if the US does not defend Ukraine, China will invade Taiwan”, a theory the report says is flawed. “If China does make a move on Taiwan in the next few years, stockpiles already reduced by Ukrainian aid will make aiding Taiwan more difficult and expensive if policy makers decide to do so. The foreign policy establishment that lost in Iraq and Afghanistan is laying the groundwork for defeats in two more wars of choice, against Russia and China—both nuclear powers, putting human civilization on the line,” the American media outlet highlighted.

The US military aid donated to Ukraine thus far amounts to more than $41 billion, with a further $100 billion appropriated for supporting Kiev, the report’s author emphasized. But by continuing to pile military aid worth billions upon Kiev the US is purportedly fast-depleting its own military stockpiles of various weapons. Accordingly, America’s own manufacturers are left “struggling” to replace the hollowed-out weapons caches. Amid its botched counteroffensive, launched on 4 June, Ukraine has been rapidly chewing through all the weapons funneled from the West. However, Kiev still has no territorial gains to show for it, with its military sustaining tremendous losses. As of 30 August 2023, Ukraine has reportedly lost 466 airplanes, 247 helicopters, 6,234 unmanned aerial vehicles, 433 air defense missile systems, 11,570 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, as well as 12,528 special military motor vehicles since the beginning of the special military operation.

Macgregor

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“Anything could happen. Nothing is ruled out amid such an intense proxy-standoff between NATO and Russia..”

Moscow Warns Of Direct Clash With NATO (RT)

The military confrontation in Ukraine has reached a point where it could easily spiral into a full-blown conflict between Russia and NATO, Moscow’s deputy envoy to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, said on Friday. The diplomat blamed the US-led military bloc’s ever deeper involvement in the fighting between Moscow and Kiev. “We have repeatedly warned that the situation is quite dangerous and there is a big risk of a direct clash between Russia and NATO,” Polyansky said while answering questions on X (formerly Twitter). The US-led alliance is already supporting Ukrainian forces by every means possible, except for direct troop deployment, he said.

Moscow sees “many indications that there are some instructors, mercenaries” in Ukraine, the deputy envoy stated. He also pointed to some “strange messages” about the deaths of NATO officers and generals. “That does raise major suspicions,” he said, adding that “we cannot rule out that they [NATO specialists] are participating in certain actions in Ukraine,” Polyansky added, without naming any specific examples. Polyansky also claimed that the current situation is “very bad” for the Ukrainian military and that “Western aid is their only salvation.” Many people in the US and elsewhere “are starting to understand that the Kiev regime is losing,” he added.

“Anything could happen. Nothing is ruled out amid such an intense proxy-standoff between NATO and Russia,” the diplomat warned. Ukraine’s Western backers maintain that they are not directly participating in the conflict despite having sent more than $100 billion in arms to Kiev. Moscow has repeatedly said that continued weapons supplies only prolong the conflict and extend human suffering as well as increase the risks of a direct confrontation between Russia and the US-led military bloc. It has also blasted the US and its allies, accusing them of enabling Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian civilians, and labeling them as “sponsors of terrorism.”

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“..Russia should not “lapse into sweet daydreaming” about achieving reconciliation with the West and joining what he called a “big polyamory family of non-binary genders.”

Ukraine’s Western Backers Are ‘Pro-Nazi Coalition’ – Medvedev (RT)

Washington and its allies in Europe and elsewhere continue to support Kiev despite it acting increasingly like the Nazis during World War II, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a Telegram post on Saturday. Moscow should abandon hope of reconciling with the West and see it for what it is, he believes. The leaders of Ukraine are “increasingly talking about ‘holding all Russians accountable’,” Medvedev said, adding that Kiev sees all Russian citizens as ‘Russians’ regardless of their ethnic background. In a thinly veiled reference to the Nazis’ plans for the Soviet Union, the former president said that the world had already seen similar aspirations. Medvedev noted that Ukraine is still being supported by almost every single Western leader, as well as by the heads of Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

All of them “are direct and obvious Nazi accomplices,” he stated, adding that “they should be treated as the leaders of a pro-Nazi coalition.” The former president, who now serves as the deputy head of Russia’s National Security Council and the Military Industrial Committee, then insisted that Russia should not “lapse into sweet daydreaming” about achieving reconciliation with the West and joining what he called a “big polyamory family of non-binary genders.” Medvedev had earlier condemned what he called open glorification of Nazism in Ukraine, pointing to an initiative calling for the establishment of the Stepan Bandera Order that would supposedly be awarded to Ukrainian servicemen.

Bandera was a notorious Ukrainian nationalist leader during World War II whose organization was responsible for mass killings of Jews and Poles in Ukraine. The petition requesting the creation of such an order in Ukraine appeared on the official website of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in May. It has since received nearly 2,300 signatures of the required 25,000. Medvedev blasted the initiative by comparing it to Germany establishing an order of Adolf Hitler or Italy introducing an order of Bennito Mussolini. “What is there to be ashamed of?” Medvedev mockingly wrote on Telegram at the time. “Let’s just glorify all European Nazis at once. This appears to be the new European ideology,” he added.

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“..One potential explanation is the sheer number of foreign fighters joining with Ukraine last year that are now gone..”

Is Ukraine Losing Because Foreign Fighters Are Walking Away? (ZH)

It has been almost 3 months since the launch of Ukraine’s long anticipated counter-offensive which many “experts” claimed would be the fatal blow that would remove Russian forces from the country altogether. The initial action gained little; around 90 square miles of territory in June and a handful of villages, and at great cost. There are no accurate casualty reports for Ukraine, which is by design, but estimates suggest that the nation’s military has doubled its number of dead since the counter offensive began. Official numbers from the DoD claim that Ukraine has lost over 100,000 troops since the beginning of the conflict (almost double the amount of US dead during the entirety of the Vietnam War). Other estimates are far higher.

Foreign fighters back from the front lines report a mismanaged and chaotic Ukrainian military using ill conceived tactics. Some say that the units they were assigned to have lost 80% or more of their men in recent months. Ukraine military leadership has also been misusing their fleet of tanks and armored vehicles from NATO, sending them ‘straight into mine fields’ in some cases. As volunteers note, the Ukrainians were given training on how to operate the vehicles, but no training on how to use them effectively in a fight. There is also a flurry of reports suggesting that friendly fire has been doing significant damage, so much so that “mercenaries” have taken to covering themselves in reflective blue or yellow tape so that they aren’t mistaken for Russian troops.

This disorganization seems to be far removed from the precision shown by Ukraine in their 2022 offensive, which forced Russia to reposition a large number of forces and give up over 3000 square miles of territory. Numerous successful strikes on Russian armored columns were widely publicized, all with a suspicious level of expertise employed by Ukraine. Yet, by 2023 their momentum was stopped cold. They were tied up in Bakhmut where they lost thousands of soldiers. And now, Ukraine’s hyped up counter action has been effectively dragged down to a crawl. You wouldn’t know it by reading sensationalized western media reports and propaganda, but Ukraine is losing, badly. So what happened? What changed since the end of 2022?

One potential explanation is the sheer number of foreign fighters joining with Ukraine last year that are now gone. While the data on volunteers is limited, multiple sources claim at least 20,000 mercenaries (many with prior combat experience) joined with Ukraine in 2022. Then, there are the covert operatives – At least one General out of the UK let slip that Royal Marine units were in fact deployed on high risk operations in Ukraine. Sources also indicate that US special operations teams have been stationed out of the US embassy in Kyiv since the beginning of the war. Though officials claim that the soldiers do not go to the front lines and stay near the embassy (which begs the question – what’s the point of having them there?). The presence of highly trained western covert ops troops in Ukraine would help explain the far more effective offensive in 2022.

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“..You are already in paradise, fellow Western Europeans, what more do you need?..”

Funny Old Man Borrell Typifies The Arrogant Mediocrities Running The EU (Bordachev)

Josep Borrell, the head of the European Union’s diplomacy, known and loved by us, in Moscow, for his paradoxical statements, has reported on the effectiveness of his bloc’s economic war against Russia. In the first lines of his message, he claims that “sanctions are working” and that those who claim otherwise are simply telling untruths. But the main indicator of the effectiveness of sanctions for Borrell is not even the dynamics of the Russian economy. The emphasis in the report is on the reduction of Russia’s bilateral trade with EU countries: This is what particularly pleases their chief diplomat. However, for him, it doesn’t matter that Russia’s trade with the rest of the world, with the exception of the US, has grown at the same time (even Japan and South Korea do not show a significant decline in trade turnover).

The EU’s chief diplomat is known to live in his own ‘Garden of Eden’, and everything outside this hallowed ground has no meaning for him. One could simply mock the degradation of the Western European perception of the surrounding reality embodied in Borrell’s remarks. But this approach is not an aberration; it reflects the whole philosophy of the EU’s relations with the rest of the world. It is only now that we have seen the inadequacy of such a strategy in a reality which there will never again be a center and a vast periphery to serve its interests. We are now really opening our eyes to the – to put it politely – uniqueness of our partners in Western Europe. What the Russian foreign policy culture, in a delicate manner, has tried not to talk about for the past 30 years is becoming public knowledge.

The question is what lessons can be learned for the future when the active military phase of relations with the West subsides somewhat? This will happen sooner or later, unless the world really splits into opposing closed camps. And then it will be extremely dangerous for us to harbor illusions about the fundamental intentions of our Western neighbors towards the rest of humanity. Josep Borrell is a somewhat caricatured but still credible embodiment of the nature of EU foreign policy. This funny old man is certainly a product of his time – the ‘beautiful 80s and 90s’ in Spanish and European history. In those days, either the most backward or the least ambitious, went into politics. And they are a product of a Western European order which educates its elite in a spirit of exclusivity and contempt for others.

From the point of view of mass psychology, exceptionalism is a very good means of control. Those who consider themselves special, the best and unparalleled in their superiority, never compare their own position with others. This means that they are ready to accept not only aggression against “outsiders,” but also the restriction of their rights: they are still the best in the world. You are already in paradise, fellow Western Europeans, what more do you need?

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It will get dark in Germany. Too late to prevent it now.

“..Anyone who wanted to build new nuclear power plants would need 15 years and would have to spend €15-20 billion ($16.2-21.6 billion) each..”

German Chancellor Says Nuclear Power ‘Dead Horse’ Despite Energy Crunch (Sp.)

Berlin’s move to join the West’s energy sanctions against Russia and ditch Moscow’s reliable and abundant energy supplies, along with the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage and the “green agenda” aimed at replacing fossil fuels and phasing out nuclear energy, have all contributed to Germany’s dismal economic data and looming deindustrialization. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has insisted that nuclear energy “is over” in Germany, and firmly dismissed calls from Free Democrats (FDP) lawmakers in his coalition government to re-embrace the technology in light of the ongoing energy crunch. “The issue of nuclear energy in Germany is a dead horse. Anyone who wanted to build new nuclear power plants would need 15 years and would have to spend €15-20 billion ($16.2-21.6 billion) each,” the chancellor said in an interview for German radio.

He added that the phase-out “has been done by law… I don’t need to put my foot down at all.” The issue of nuclear energy has fired off a fierce debate among Germany’s coalition partners in the government: Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the Free Democrats, and the Greens. The energy crisis and soaring electricity costs have prompted the FDP to argue the need for halting the dismantling of Germany’s nuclear power plants. The door for resorting to nuclear power ought to be left open, the FDP – a proponent of the technology – has argued. The FDP’s parliamentary group approved a policy statement earlier in the week that called on Germany “to stop the dismantling of the nuclear power plants that are still fit to use,” adding: “That is the only way we will remain capable of acting in every situation.”

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“..Germany should “react accordingly to the new multipolarity.” “Germany and Europe need a sovereign foreign policy that is no longer subordinate to the US and NATO..”

Sanctions Against Russia Turning Germany Into ‘Kamikaze’ – MP (RT)

Western sanctions have failed to destabilize Russia and are now backfiring on the countries that imposed them, including Germany, Sevim Dagdelen, a German MP from the Left Party (Die Linke) wrote in an op-ed for the Berliner Zeitung published on Friday. According to the lawmaker, Russia’s economy has successfully weathered the restrictions and is steadily adjusting to the new economic realities. “In order to ruin Russia, it was hoped that the punitive measures that violate international law will have a long-lasting effect. But the reality is different. Even the Russian auto industry is recovering. Chinese companies are stepping in for the German manufacturers who leave Russia,” Dagdelen wrote. “Contrary to what was hoped, Russia has not been ruined. The consequences of the sanctions are evident, but on our side.

“While Germany’s economy collapsed by 0.3% in the last quarter and stagnation is also threatening the Eurozone, Russia is now forecast to grow by 2.5% this year. As is often the case, a merciless idealism characteristic of the German ruling party obscures the view of reality.” According to the lawmaker, the sanctions are strengthening Russia while the German government “is ruining domestic economy with open eyes.” “The federal government acts here like a kamikaze pilot, replacing politics with dubious morality and is happy about a friendly nod from Washington,” she stated, noting that double-digit inflation in Germany is the product of sanctions, as well as the “ever increasing military support for Ukraine.” Dagdelen also noted that the sanctions war has prompted the largest redistribution of capital in the country, with large corporations boosting profits while ordinary German consumers suffer from a drop in real wages and a cost-of-living crisis.

The lawmaker criticized the government that “wants nothing to do with diplomacy” and urged Berlin to distance itself from Washington and NATO. She suggested closer ties with BRICS, a G7 rival economic bloc of countries that includes Russia and that will represent nearly 40% of global GDP after it officially admits new members at the beginning of next year. According to Dagdelen, Germany should “react accordingly to the new multipolarity.” “Germany and Europe need a sovereign foreign policy that is no longer subordinate to the US and NATO. Supporting the BRICS peace initiative would be a first step towards freeing ourselves from the socially and politically fatal paternalism of the US. It would represent a step towards democratic sovereignty. No war is our war, not even this one.”

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No solutions here.

EU Migration System ‘Has Been Broken For Years’ – Austria (RT)

The EU must urgently fix its dysfunctional asylum system to prevent another iteration of the 2015 migration crisis that could potentially lead to the collapse of the entire bloc, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said in an interview published on Saturday. Speaking to Welt am Sonntag, Nehammer railed against the current EU regulations, claiming that the bloc’s “asylum system has been broken for years” and calling for immediate action. He admitted that while European policymakers have finally got “more sense of reality” and had started discussing migration, “the road is far from over.” According to the chancellor, migration is among the serious issues that need to be addressed at the European level, “as irregular migration can be an issue that can divide and possibly even destroy the European Union.”

To solve the problem, Nehammer proposed a list of changes, including the creation of effective border protection, rapid asylum procedures both at the EU’s external borders and in third countries, and concluding agreements with other nations allowing for the rapid deportation of migrants. He also strongly opposed an initiative supported by Germany and the EU Parliament that would exempt women with children from these suggested practices, branding it “impractical and ultimately counterproductive.” According to Nehammer, such an exemption would result in women and children being sent off by their relatives “on the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean and helplessly handed over to unscrupulous traffickers.”

“Such a derogation would be practically an invitation for women with children to risk illegal migration to Europe – and, if protection is granted, to bring the entire family to join them,” Nehammer told the German newspaper. The bloc saw a sharp increase in asylum applications between June 2022 and May 2023, according to EU data. The number is approaching the record levels of the 2015 crisis, when some 1.3 million migrants sought refuge in the EU. In 2022 alone, the number of asylum applications in the bloc hit almost one million, with the most people coming from Syria, Afghanistan, and Türkiye. Furthermore, the bloc’s social welfare system remains under severe pressure from refugees who fled to the EU from Ukraine.

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“.. there is no other possible vision of the future in the modern Western liberal civilization outside of global decay..”

Alexander Dugin: Global Liberalism in Crisis (Sp.)

Liberalism is headed for “catastrophe” following decades of global ideological hegemony, political philosopher Alexander Dugin told Sputnik’s New Rules podcast. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 allowed liberalism to emerge as the undisputed, dominant global ideology. Over the past several years, however, the ideology’s future has come increasingly under question. Populist upheavals in the United States and Europe exposed growing discontent with the inability of liberal institutions to cope with foreign policy and economic failures. At the same time, new emerging powers such as Russia, China, and India among others have begun to put forth their own ideological alternatives. Dugin said that liberalism had no solutions for the problems it helped create – a fact that is implicitly admitted by the ideology’s own supporters.

Liberalism’s only path forward, he warned, was to double down on its mistakes. “If we consider the futuristic vision in the cinema and the art made by the Liberal West, we don’t see a single positive scenario. Everything is a ‘Mad Max’, everything is Armageddon – atomic catastrophe, atmospheric catastrophe, or ecological catastrophe,” he said. “So, there is no other possible vision of the future in the modern Western liberal civilization outside of global decay. That offers a revelation of liberalism’s inner void because liberalism started as an individualistic version of humanism, but now it is approaching anti-human, transhuman individualism.” “That is precisely the political agenda of [Joe] Biden, of Kamala Harris, of modern day progressives in the United States that are openly post-human,” he added.

“They are trying to destroy history, the family, the sexes, and all kinds of traditional institutions. It is just a kind of imperative, political imperative of destruction of humanity. So, that is the catastrophe [of liberalism].” Dugin argued that liberalism was a “disguised path to the abyss” from the very beginning due to its intrinsic desire to tear down all forms of collective identity, such as religion, family, and nationality, in the name of individualism. The Russian philosopher insisted that it was only a matter of time before the ideology began trying to deconstruct the very concept of humanity. “The last thing [liberals] needed to accomplish on their way is to liberate individuals from their human identity – precisely because it is the last form of collective identity,” he said. As evidence of liberals’ increasingly “anti-human” worldview, Dugin pointed to the growing popularity of transhumanism, a movement that advocates for the use of emerging technologies to remake human beings, and radical environmentalism among Western elites.

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“..Fukuyama is left only doomed to lecture the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, the last hope of globalists to stop the onset of multipolarity..”

7 Civilisations -1 Against 6 (Alexander Dugin)

But at the XV summit, held from 22 to 24 August 2023 in Johannesburg, the final formation of the multipolar club took place. The entry of three Islamic powers – Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia and the UAE – was fundamental. Thus, the direct participation in the multipolar world of the entire Islamic civilisation, represented by both branches – Sunnism and Shiism – was assured. In addition, along with Portuguese-speaking Brazil, Spanish-speaking Argentina, another strong and independent power, joined the BRICS. Even in the mid-twentieth century, theorists of South American unification into a consolidated “Greater Space” – primarily Argentine general Juan Perón and Brazilian president Getúlio Vargas – considered a decisive rapprochement between Brazil and Argentina to be the first principle of this process. If this is achieved, the process of integration of the Latin American ecumene (term of A.Buela) will be irreversible. And that is exactly what is happening now in the context of the accession of the two major powers of South America, Brazil and Argentina, to the multipolar club.

The admission of Ethiopia is also highly symbolic. It is the only African country that remained independent throughout the colonial era, preserving its sovereignty, its independence and its unique culture (Ethiopians are the oldest Christian people). Combined with South Africa, Ethiopia strengthens by its presence in the multipolar club the African continent as a whole. In fact, the new composition of the BRICS gives us a complete model of uniting all poles – civilisations, “Greater Spaces”, with the exception of the West, which desperately seeks to preserve its hegemony and unipolar structure. But now it faces not disparate and fragmented countries, full of internal and external contradictions, but a united force of the majority of humanity, determined to build a multipolar world. This multipolar world consists of the following civilisations:

— The West (the USA+EU and their vassals, which includes, alas, the once proud and sovereign Japan now degraded to passive puppet of the Western conquerors);
— China (+Taiwan) with its satellites;
— Russia (as an integrator of the entire Eurasian space);
— India and its zone of influence;
— Latin America (with the core of Brazil+Argentina);
— Africa (South Africa+Ethiopia, with Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, etc., liberated from French colonial influence).
— Islamic world (in both versions – Shiite Iran, Sunni Saudi Arabia and UAE).

At the same time, one civilisation – the Western one – claims hegemony, while the other six deny it, accepting only a multipolar system and recognising the West as only one of the civilisations, along with others. May be still strongest (relatively and not for too long) but not unique. So the rightness of Samuel Huntington, who saw the future in the return of civilisations, has been confirmed in practice, while the fallacy of Fukuyama’s thesis, who believed that the global hegemony of the liberal West (the end of history) has already been achieved, has become obvious. Therefore, Fukuyama is left only doomed to lecture the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, the last hope of globalists to stop the onset of multipolarity, for which Russia in Ukraine is fighting today.

August 2023 can be considered the birthday of the multipolar world. Multipolarity is established and somehow institutionalized. It is time to take a closer look at how the civilisational poles themselves interpret the situation in which they find themselves. And here we should take into account that virtually every sovereign civilisation has its own idea of the structure of history, the nature of historical time, its direction, the goal and the end. Contrary to Fukuyama, who ambitiously proclaimed a single end of history (in his liberal version), each sovereign civilisation operates with its own understanding, interpretation and description of the end of history.

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X thread.

Why They Hate Imran Khan? A Short Note. (Haider Mehdi)

*Why they hate Imran Khan? A Short Note. Haider Mehdi. 1 Sep 2023*

He took away religion from the Molvis. Took away Spirituality from the Sufis. Took away intellectualism from the intellectuals. Took away social welfare from the socialists/ leftists / communists. Took away patriotism from the Military. Took away machismo from the so called hulks. Took away fame from the rich and famous.

Every man, father, husband, brother hates him because their wives, sisters and daughters fell madly in love with him! He left everybody without their pretentious personas. Naked! Except the poor. To whom he gives dignity and compassion and well being. And the Youth to whom he gives hope and pride. And the Nation to whom he gives self respect and honour! He’s a rare one. Value him. Save him. Fight for him. Sacrifice for him.

Salaams and Prayers
Haider Mehdi

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Windows
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697966780788924516

 

 

Future or climate killer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 052023
 


Rufino Tamayo Perro aullando (Howling Dog) 1960

 

Ukrainian Army’s Offensive Attempt Failed – Russian Defense Ministry (TASS)
Ukraine Lacks Weapons To Launch Counteroffensive – Zelensky Aide (RT)
Is the United States Losing Its Control of Ukraine? (Snider)
Belgium Questions Kiev About Attack Inside Russia (RT)
Biden’s Health Is A National Security Issue – Ex-White House Doctor (RT)
EU Desperate To Clamp Down On Musk’s Free Speech As ‘Disinformation’ (Marsden)
Elon Musk Uses Team DeSantis Twitter Community Notes to Undermine Trump (CTH)
American Airlines Struggles With Pilot Deficit, Grounds 150 Aircraft (ET)
What Are German Fighter Pilots Doing in China? (Spiegel)
Germany To Deploy Warships To Indo-Pacific (RT)
Lawmaker Probing J6: ‘People Of Interest’ May Have Withheld Critical Intel (JTN)
OPEC+ Countries To Perform Voluntary Production Cuts — Novak (TASS)
Wave Of Defaults Looming – Deutsche Bank (RT)
Police Omitted Folder Called ‘CIA’ From Laptop Of Assange Spy (El Pais)

 

 

Same person? Are we sure?

 

 

 

Woke Soros

 

 

 

 

Chemo

 

 

 

 

RFK Ukraine

 

 

 

 

Wokes

 

 

Website hosting Hunter Biden photo archive shut down for distributing child porn.

 

 

 

 

The start of the counteroffensive? The presence of Gerasimov in the frontline indicates Russia was not surprised.

Ukrainian Army’s Offensive Attempt Failed – Russian Defense Ministry (TASS)

The Ukrainian armed forces failed to achieve success in a large-scale offensive on five front sectors in the south Donetsk area, official spokesman of the Russian Defense Ministry Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov said. “The adversary launched a large-scale offensive from the morning of June 4 on five sectors of the front in the south Donetsk area by bringing into action 23rd and 31st mechanized brigades from strategic reserves of the Ukrainian armed forces with support from other military units and teams,” the spokesman said. “The adversary’s objective was to break through our defense on the most vulnerable front sector, in its opinion. The enemy failed to perform its tasks and had no success,” Konashenkov noted.


The adversary used six mechanized battalions and two tank battalions, the defense ministry’s spokesman informed. “As a result of skilled and sophisticated action of the Battlegroup East, the Ukrainian armed forces lost more than 250 persons, sixteen tanks, three mechanized infantry combat vehicles and 21 combat armored vehicles,” Konashenkov stressed. He particularly noted that Chief of General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov was at one of frontline command posts in this area.

Counter

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They will never be ready.

Ukraine Lacks Weapons To Launch Counteroffensive – Zelensky Aide (RT)

Ukraine needs more weapons and ammunition to be able to carry out a successful counteroffensive against the Russian forces, the deputy head of President Vladimir Zelensky’s office has said. In an interview with British newspaper The Times on Saturday, Igor Zhovkva was asked why the much-anticipated operation by Ukraine, aimed at retaking land lost to Russia, still hasn’t been launched. “If you want to start a successful counteroffensive you need everything at your disposal, including artillery, armored vehicles and tanks, so probably we don’t have enough,” he replied. “More weapons is the No 1 topic in each and every conversation” that Zelensky had during his numerous foreign trips over the past month, Zhovkva, who is also the Ukrainian president’s top foreign affairs adviser, stressed. “Every country knows what kind of weapons we need from them, to protect our territory, stop the rockets,” the official added.

He also suggested that Russia has intensified its missile and drone campaign across Ukraine in recent months in a bid to deter the offensive by Kiev’s troops, which was expected to begin in spring. The UK “now is one of the leading countries in showing real incentive and courage in how to really bring victory to my country,” he stated, adding that other nations need to do more to assist Kiev. “Sorry, but the European countries are still too slow and not doing enough with sanctions” against Russia, Zhovkva insisted. Zelensky told the Wall Street Journal on Saturday that the Ukrainian military was “ready” for the counteroffensive, but did not say when exactly it will start. He also pointed out that Kiev would have wanted to see more weapons provided by the West, but that “we can’t wait for months” to launch the assault. Among other things, Ukraine needs 50 US-made Patriot air defense batteries to sufficiently protect its cities and troops on the battlefield ahead of the counteroffensive, Zelensky said.

With the price of a single Patriot battery estimated at $1.1 billion, the overall cost of the demand would be around $55 billion, which is more than the total amount of American military aid allocated to Kiev since the start of the conflict. The Ukrainian leader acknowledged that Russia’s air superiority would leave Kiev’s troops exposed and “a large number of soldiers will die” during the counteroffensive. Moscow has repeatedly warned that deliveries of weapons, including sophisticated ones, to Ukraine by the US and its allies could cross “red lines,” leading to a major escalation in the hostilities. Russia argues that the provision of arms, intelligence sharing, and training to Kiev’s troops already means that Western nations are de facto parties to the conflict.

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That’s what the US would like everyone to think: We had no idea!

Is the United States Losing Its Control of Ukraine? (Snider)

In the very early days of the war in Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was open to negotiating a peace. A proposed peace could have ended the war before tens of thousands of Ukrainians died and Ukraine’s infrastructure was devastated, on terms that satisfied Kiev’s goals. But the United States pressured Ukraine to go on fighting in pursuit, not of Ukraine’s goals, but of larger American ones. Putting an end to Ukraine’s negotiations with Russia, State Department spokesperson Ned Price remarkably said, “This is a war that is in many ways bigger than Russia, it’s bigger than Ukraine,” and insisted that Ukrainians go on fighting and dying for “core principles.” The United States got its way. Now a year later, with the war not going well for Ukraine and the country getting more and more desperate, Ukraine is forced to retreat to pursuing its own goals.

Ironically, that is increasingly taking the form of escalating the war in a way that now endangers American goals. Ukraine is now pursing its own security interests in a way that is extraordinarily dangerous to U.S. security interests. And they seem to be disregarding U.S. restrictions in pursuing them. Months of American permissiveness and failure to say no to Ukraine at each crossing of a red line has seemingly emboldened Ukraine to ignore U.S. limits and conditions on the use of American-supplied weapons. One of the key goals of the Biden administration is to stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes to defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity. That is Joe Biden’s promise to Ukraine. But a second key goal is to avoid being drawn into a direct war between NATO and Russia.

That is Joe Biden’s promise to Americans. A recent wave of Ukrainian attacks on the territory of Russia—not Donbas or Crimea, but the internationally recognized territory of Russia—threatens that promise and threatens the security of Americans. Ukraine has long promised “not to target Russian territory with weapons provided by the West.” They recently reiterated that promise, saying British supplied long range Storm Shadow cruise missiles “will be used only within Ukrainian sovereign territory and not inside Russia,” and when they provided the United States “flat assurances” that F-16 fighter-bombers won’t be used inside Russian territory.

But Ukraine did not keep those promises. In pursuit of their goals—understandably, since the U.S. insisted they postpone those goals and go on fighting the Russian military in pursuit of American goals—they have crossed the red line of U.S. limits and conditions on the use of American-supplied weapons and struck inside Russian territory. This defiantly independent military strategy is increasing the danger that the United States and NATO could get drawn into a war with Russia.

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There are videos that show ‘Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK)’ members speaking Polish.

Belgium Questions Kiev About Attack Inside Russia (RT)

Brussels is concerned over media reports claiming that weapons it sent to Kiev were used by militants to launch incursions into Russia, several Belgian media outlets reported on Sunday, adding that the government will demand an official explanation from Ukraine on the issue. Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder and Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib will “contact the Ukrainian authorities and ask for clarifications,” the defense minister’s office confirmed to Belgium’s RTBF broadcaster. The documents accompanying each weapons delivery from Belgium “explicitly state” that the military equipment can only be distributed to the regular armed forces and used only to “defend” Ukrainian territory, the media added. “These weapons are therefore not authorized for isolated groups that have an internal Russian agenda,” a Belgian official told another local media outlet, Le Soir.

The Belgian media also described the ‘Freedom of Russia Legion’ and the ‘Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK)’ – two Kiev-backed militant groups that are said to be in possession of Western arms – as groups that have “neo-Nazi” members within their ranks. The RDK and the ‘Freedom of Russia Legion’ were responsible for several incursions into Russian territory in March and May 2023. Photos and videos published by the militants from their raid last month, as well as images released by the Russian Defense Ministry in the wake of the clashes with the militants, suggested that their sabotage groups made use of US and Polish armored vehicles, as well as Belgian and Czech assault rifles. The Pentagon and the US State Department expressed doubts regarding the authenticity of the images.

On Saturday, the Washington Post reported, citing sources linked to US intelligence, that the militants did use weapons and heavy equipment supplied to Kiev by their Western backers. The May raid ended up with the Russian forces killing “over 70 Ukrainian terrorists” and destroying “four armored combat vehicles, and five pickup trucks,” the Russian Defense Ministry said at that time. The incursion resulted in one civilian death and 12 injuries, according to Russian authorities. On Sunday, the two militant groups sought to launch another cross-border raid into Russia’s Belgorod Region, its governor said. The militants were “dispersed” and pushed back into Ukrainian territory, the defense ministry said later the same day.

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He was Obama’s physician too. Bet he was listened to back then.

Biden’s Health Is A National Security Issue – Ex-White House Doctor (RT)

The White House is guilty of “malpractice” for allowing President Joe Biden to seek re-election while in such a state of physical and mental decline, former White House physician and Republican Congressman Ronny Jackson has told Fox News. Biden tripped and fell while leaving the stage after a commencement ceremony at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado on Thursday. Although the White House said Biden was “fine,” and had been surprised by a sandbag on stage, video footage showed the president apparently needing directions to find his way to the podium in the first place. “I don’t wanna sound like a broken record, but I’m just going to say it again: This man’s not fit mentally or physically to be our president, and it’s a bad situation for us,” Jackson told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Friday.

“I think his lack of physical ability and his physical decline is now starting to highlight the cognitive decline that we’ve been watching for so long now,” Jackson continued. “It’s a package that just doesn’t sell around the world, and it’s becoming a national security issue for us.”Jackson, who served as White House physician to Donald Trump and Barack Obama, has repeatedly warned about Biden’s mental health, declaring earlier this year that the 80-year-old president “doesn’t know where he’s at half the time and every day he brings us closer to an all-out war with Russia and China.” According to a recent NPR poll, 62% of Americans believe that Biden’s mental fitness is “a real concern about his ability to be president,” with 36% of Democrats and 69% of independents agreeing with this statement.

A Washington Post poll taken at the beginning of May also found that 62% of voters believe Biden to be in too poor a physical condition to serve effectively. Biden is already the oldest commander-in-chief ever to lead the US, and if elected in 2024 will be 86 years old leaving office. It “is just malpractice on part of the White House in the West Wing to allow this to be happening, for him to even be talking about running for another term,” Jackson told Hannity. “Somebody needs to be held accountable. People like Jill Biden and people that surround him and are supposed to love him and care about him, they should be doing something about this, and they should be stopping this because it’s a shame.”

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Breton: “I am the enforcer. I represent the law, which is the will of the state and the people..”

Idiot.

EU Desperate To Clamp Down On Musk’s Free Speech As ‘Disinformation’ (Marsden)

European Union officials are having a meltdown, all because Twitter CEO Elon Musk has withdrawn the platform from a “voluntary” EU code of conduct for tech firms to combat so-called “disinformation.” And they have yet to cite a single actual example of it. EU Internal Markets Commissioner Thierry Breton tweeted, “You can run, but you can’t hide,” citing a legal obligation to prevent disinformation from August. He’s basically treating Musk, a guy who builds rockets and cars in America, like an unruly schoolchild, with Brussels in the role of the principal. French Digital Minister Jean-Noel Barrot even threatened to ban Twitter from the EU in a recent interview, citing the “grave” threat of disinformation. They’re basically accusing Musk of pre-crime, like in the movie ‘Minority Report’ where Tom Cruise’s character is chased down by the state before having committed an offense.

The EU is seeking to bring the very long arm of its authoritarianism down on Musk and other private tech players – however far outside the EU they might actually be – who refuse to abide by Brussels’ “Code of Practice on Disinformation,” concocted in 2018 and revised last year. Breton is even heading to Silicon Valley to check in on them. “I am the enforcer. I represent the law, which is the will of the state and the people,” he said about his trip. Sounds like Mr. Enforcer could use a good humbling from the people he purports to represent, and what better way for it to be delivered than through Musk, who envisions Twitter as the voice of the people and a platform for truly free expression. By withdrawing from the code, Musk is just the latest example of what seems to be a trend.

Facebook’s parent company Meta has already laid off moderators. Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet, and others have also cut into their watchdog departments, citing cost-cutting measures. Perhaps policing narratives is bad for business. You have to wonder, though – if joining this EU pact is optional, then what exactly is the big deal? It’s not like there’s any guarantee that any of the signatories are actually reducing what the EU considers as disinformation. In fact, the whole concept of top-down policing of information flow raises suspicion about the potential marginalization of views and debates that oppose the establishment narrative. According to this EU code, tech platforms like Twitter are connected with “fact-checkers, civil society, and third-party organizations with specific expertise on disinformation.” The policy document adds that platforms also must report to an EU “Code Taskforce,” monitoring their efforts. Given that any such actors would implicitly have the EU’s stamp of approval, it’s not a stretch to imagine that they could effectively end up acting as enforcers or gatekeepers of the establishment narrative.

Musk himself is no stranger to this kind of systemic collusion between state actors and platforms to the detriment of contradictory debate and free information flow. It was his own release of the Twitter Files in the wake of his acquisition of the platform that brought to light the collusion between Twitter and Western government authorities to manipulate and censor public debate over Covid-19, for example, or to coordinate on certain narratives about geopolitical competitors (like Russia) – all under the guise of fighting “disinformation.” Speaking of which, it didn’t take long after Musk’s withdrawal from the disinfo code for the EU’s vice president for values and transparency – an Orwellian title, if there ever was one – to suggest that the ultimate beneficiary of Musk’s actions in withdrawing from the code wasn’t free speech and debate, but rather Russia.

“Bye, bye birdie,” Vera Jourova said. “Twitter has chosen a hard way to comply with our digital laws. Russia’s disinformation is dangerous and it is irresponsible to leave EU’s anti-disinformation code.” Right, because all facts and analysis that don’t align with the Western agenda has to be Russian, as these folks see it. The reasoning is just a step away from proclaiming Musk to be some kind of useful idiot for Russia, despite him also being a major Pentagon contractor.

Elon BBee
https://twitter.com/i/status/1665510653384163329
https://twitter.com/i/status/1665522404766957568

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Lawyer “sundance” has a elaborate theory. Can’t say I’m overly covinced.

Elon Musk Uses Team DeSantis Twitter Community Notes to Undermine Trump (CTH)

The issue of Twitter’s financial status speaks to the motives of Musk that later surface – like his relationship with Fox News billionaire Rupert Murdoch. Once you see the connections, suddenly everything makes sense. Musk and Murdoch have intersecting interests. Elon Musk is in desperate need of revenue for his social media platform Twitter. By his own admissions, Twitter is currently in the red on an annual basis between $1.5 to $4.0 billion; that may go as high as $5 billion, depending on what happens over the next six months. Currently losing $100 million/mo, Musk is limited on how much he can pull from his other companies to support Twitter, and with $1.5 billion in debt service alone on the $12.5 billion borrowed for the Twitter purchase, Musk needs an income stream quickly.

Advertising revenue has dropped 50%. This is the motive for Musk to hire Linda Jaccarino, the former head of NBC Universal advertising, to bring urgently needed revenue to a platform currently considered too extreme for the DEI-minded corporate advertising executives. Musk is also captive to contracts with Bezos’ Amazon (AWS) and Google cloud services for platform data processing support. Those very expensive contracts – $1 billion and $2 billion respectively – do not expire until 2025. In short, Musk needs revenue. For Twitter, this reality drives his decision-making. Enter, Rupert Murdoch. Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and Harper Collins book publishing. Murdoch wants to control the outcome of the 2024 election and strongly supports Ron DeSantis on behalf of his Wall Street allies.

Murdoch financed DeSantis through the Harper Collins book deal, and Murdoch has turned his media outlets into advanced PR for the DeSantis campaign. The Murdoch media approach includes lengthy and friendly broadcast Fox News appearances, interviews and pundit advocacy, while the print side spins favorable stories. The Wall Street Journal and New York Post are doing the same. It is a full-court press to support DeSantis on behalf of the interests of Murdoch et al. Keep in mind, the RNC has given Fox News control over the kickoff GOP debate. Elon Musk needs money; this is not in question. Rupert Murdoch, supporting Ron DeSantis, wants control of the 2024 election outcome; also, this is not in question. These two facets form the baseline of a common interest.

Elon Musk launches the DeSantis campaign via Twitter Spaces – not accidental. Musk then uses his platform control mechanisms to amplify DeSantis and counteract the strong and visible platform support for Donald Trump. What outlet pushes the narrative that flows from the operation? Rupert Murdoch. NEW YORK POST – “Donald Trump’s 2024 election campaign’s claims are already being hit with Twitter’s new “community notes,” which fact-check or offer context to dubious posts. In May alone, Team Trump and their surrogates were slapped with community notes on at least seven occasions — and were often cited for posting flat-out lies.” Christina Pushaw is a registered foreign agent working for the DeSantis campaign. Ms. Pushaw went from working in Ukraine, for Volodymyr Zelenskyy, directly to working in Florida as Ron DeSantis’ press secretary.

Pushaw was the person who gathered the “influence operation” over the past two years on behalf of the DeSantis 2024 operation. That operation was visible in 2022, denied in 2022, then finally admitted two weeks ago. Now working for the DeSantis campaign, Christina Pushaw – a fellow traveler from the George Soros network and schooling – has organized the same type of influence campaign used in Ukraine to support Zelenskyy, only this time she is exploiting social media and specifically Twitter. This is why she spent so much time recruiting ‘influencers’ in 2021 and 2022, and even tried to deny she was doing it.

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Cause: vaxx mandates and vaxx injuries.

American Airlines Struggles With Pilot Deficit, Grounds 150 Aircraft (ET)

American Airlines, a leading carrier based in Fort Worth, is currently grappling with a significant challenge. The airline is unable to operate approximately 150 of its regional aircraft due to a persistent shortage of pilots, as revealed by CEO Robert Isom. Speaking at the Bernstein 39th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference, Isom stated, “We would deploy properly to markets that aren’t being served. We would do that today. It’s just we don’t have the pilots.” This issue arises at a time when the airline industry is witnessing a record demand for travel, particularly during the summer season. However, the capacity to meet this demand is constrained by the lack of pilots, leading to grounded planes and missed opportunities to capitalize on high ticket prices. Isom noted that the situation is more severe than the previous year when the pilot shortage began to significantly affect regional airlines as demand rebounded following the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking ahead, Isom shared that American Airlines expects to acquire more pilots for its regional network over the next 18 to 24 months. Once these pilots are onboard, the grounded aircraft will be reintroduced into service in a manner that is expected to generate favorable unit revenues. He stated, “American anticipates getting more pilots over the next 18 to 24 months for the regional network, and those aircraft would be put back into service in a fashion that is going to produce unit revenues that are very favorable.” However, the challenge of pilot shortage is not unique to American Airlines. The airline industry as a whole is projected to face a deficit of nearly 80,000 pilots by 2032, as per a report by Oliver Wyman.

[..] The Biden administration put pressure on airlines to require vaccines as part of a broader strategy to boost inoculation rates in the country in October 2021. “While we are still working through the details of the federal requirements, it is clear that team members who choose to remain unvaccinated will not be able to work at American Airlines,” Doug Parker, American Airlines chief executive, told employees in an Oct. 1, 2021 memo. According to a group of attorneys, doctors, and other experts—and a pilot who says his career ended due to adverse reactions from a vaccine—the Federal Aviation Administration has been breaking its own rule that states pilots should not fly after having taken medications that have been approved for less than a year, The Epoch Times reported in December 2021.

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Almost funny.

What Are German Fighter Pilots Doing in China? (Spiegel)

Bundeswehr fighter pilots usually enter retirement at 41, an age at which reflexes tend to grow duller and vision worse. Those who begin flying for the German Air Force at the age of 20 receive half of their final monthly salary as a pension once they reach 41. Most former pilots find it insufficient and look for secondary employment. The training of pilots in China began just over 10 years ago, with a former Bundeswehr pilot declaring a position at the Test Flying Academy of South Africa, which trains Chinese pilots. Sources in Berlin say the pilot did not transgress any formal restrictions with the move and point out that China at the time was not seen as an authoritarian rival. Germany was also providing official training to Chinese officers at the time. The naivete of this approach became clearer than ever last fall, when Australia arrested the American pilot Daniel Duggan.

He stands accused of having trained Chinese pilots, just like his German counterparts – allegations which Duggan denies. He is currently behind bars and may be extradited to the United States. British agencies also sounded the alarm last fall. According to a British Defense Ministry announcement, up to 30 former Royal Air Force officers are thought to have provided training to Chinese fighter pilots in the last several years. They received the princely salary of 280,000 euros each for their services. Because the pilots violated no applicable laws, London announced it would be introducing a legal reform. American investigators believe that the imprisoned pilot Duggan was recruited by the Chinese company Lode Tech, which was founded by businessman Su Bin, the son of an officer in the People’s Liberation Army. Su lived for many years in Canada, where he operated an aviation company with 80 employees.

As later became clear, he also spied on behalf of the Chinese state. Su developed a particularly keen interest in the construction blueprints for the C-17, a transport plane developed by Boeing for the U.S. military. In the summer of 2014, Su was arrested, subsequently confessing that he had spent six years secretly collecting information for China. He had been able to rely on an extensive network of contacts in the aviation industry, making it possible for him to identify particularly interesting engineers and other professionals for his handlers back in China. With the help of phishing emails, hackers employed by the state were then able to find their way into company computer networks. In total, they were able to steal 630,000 pieces of data related to the C-17.

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How did Germany become so belligerent?

Germany To Deploy Warships To Indo-Pacific (RT)

Germany will deploy two warships to the Indo-Pacific next year, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said at an international summit on Sunday, amid ongoing regional tensions involving China and Taiwan, as well as the disputed South China Sea. In an address at the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore on Sunday, Pistorius declared that the maritime passage, through which around 40% of Europe’s foreign trade travels, must be respected. “To this end, the German federal government sent a frigate to the Indo-Pacific in 2021, and will again, in 2024, deploy maritime assets,” Pistorius said at the conference, which was attended by many of the world’s most influential defense officials.

These assets, Pistorius said, would comprise a frigate and a supply ship – but he stressed that the maritime deployment is not being undertaken to counter actions of any specific actor in the region. “To the contrary,” he continued, “they are dedicated to the protection of the rules-based international order that we all signed up to and which we all should benefit from.” Berlin and Beijing maintain key trade links, but the deployment of the warships to the South China Sea in 2024 could potentially lead to headaches as Germany seeks to juggle its security and economic interests.

In 2021, a German warship was deployed to the region for the first time in almost two decades. Other Western countries have also increased their military presence in the area amid concerns about Beijing’s territorial objectives, particularly in relation to Taiwan. Beijing has asserted that the South China Sea is its exclusive maritime zone. However, about seven years ago, a tribunal under the terms of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea firmly rejected Beijing’s territorial claim to the waters. Despite this, China has installed military outposts on at least three islands in the sea.

Last month, Beijing expressed its “significant displeasure” at a visit by German government minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger to Taiwan – which Beijing views as a breakaway province. China has frequently rebuked Western nations for engaging in diplomacy with leaders in Taipei, which it views as a part of its sovereign territory under the ‘One-China’ principle. On Saturday at the same conference in Singapore, Pistorius said he had “made it clear” to Beijing that he expected China to end its practice of enlisting former German military pilots to help train its own forces. This followed a report by German news magazine Spiegel on Friday, which said China had been receiving such training for years, and that security officials in Berlin were concerned that the military knowledge of German and NATO forces were being discussed.

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The only newsworthy part of the long article is at the bottom: it was all scripted.

Lawmaker Probing J6: ‘People Of Interest’ May Have Withheld Critical Intel (JTN)

Loudermilk also revealed that he is reviewing the work of the Democrat-led House Jan. 6 investigative committee that wrapped up its work last year, and has found some shocking evidence that much of its public hearings were stage managed. “We found out in the in the documents that I acquired from the Jan. 6 committee is the written script of every member of the committee. Just like you would have on a teleprompter or if you memorize a script for a movie,” he said. “And so every single aspect of their hearings was scripted for a Hollywood type of emotional appeal to the American people.”


He said Republicans now running the House administration committee are taking a different approach to elicit facts, no emotion. “We just recently had a hearing with the chief of the Capitol Police. There was nothing scripted about it,” he said. “We did have certain questions that we wanted to ask, but each member had their questions. The chief wasn’t given a script in advance. … These hearings from the January 6 Select Committee were Hollywood productions.”

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Voluntary? There’s some pressure being applied.

OPEC+ Countries To Perform Voluntary Production Cuts — Novak (TASS)

Commitments on voluntary reduction of oil production assumed by certain OPEC+ countries will be honored, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on the air with the Rossiya-24 TV channel. “The agreement has performance above the target lately because there is a range of counties not taking up their quotas. As regards the decisions made on voluntary reduction since May, third party source data will be available in mid-June but we see from discussions, from the exchange of opinions between heads of delegations, that these agreements are performed, including Russia performing in full scope. That is why I am confident that the reduction announced additionally since May 1 will be implemented,” Novak said. Russia will extend its voluntary oil production cut by 500,000 barrels daily until the end of December 2024, the deputy prime minister said earlier.

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The tightest Fed and ECB policy in 15 years is colliding with high leverage built upon stretched margins..”

Wave Of Defaults Looming – Deutsche Bank (RT)

A cycle of boom and bust will return this year and a wave of corporate debt defaults is imminent, particularly in the US and Europe, Deutsche Bank has warned. According to the bank’s annual study released on Wednesday, defaults by companies will become more commonplace compared with the last 20 years. Deutsche expects default rates to peak in the fourth quarter of 2024. The bank projected peak default rates to reach 9% for US high-yield debt, 11.3% for US loans, 4.4% for European high-yield bonds, and 7.3% for European loans. The estimated US loan peak default rate is a near all-time high, compared to a peak of 12% during the 2007-2008 global financial crisis and 7.7% during the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s, the study showed.

“Our cycle indicators signal a default wave is imminent,” Deutsche economists wrote. “The tightest Fed and ECB policy in 15 years is colliding with high leverage built upon stretched margins. And tactically, our US credit cycle gauge is producing its highest non-pandemic warning signal to investors, since before the GFC [Global Financial Crisis].” Strategists noted that the magnitude and length of the cycle could come as a surprise. “Although our forecasts just presume a return of the Boom Bust cycle, not a GFC-style shock,” they added.

Aggressive interest rate hikes by central banks, including the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank as they continue to fight runaway inflation, have raised global recession risks, Deutsche warned. The EU’s largest economy, Germany, has already entered recession. “We suspect the next recession will be the first since the US tech bubble to inflict more pain on credit markets than the real economy,” experts cautioned. “Corporate leverage is elevated. And global credit markets derive more of their revenue from manufacturing and the sale of physical goods than the real economy at large,” they concluded.

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Who cares what the judge orders?

Police Omitted Folder Called ‘CIA’ From Laptop Of Assange Spy (El Pais)

David Morales — the owner of the Spanish security company that spied on Julian Assange during his prolonged stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London — kept the work he did for the CIA on his laptop. It was all marked under the initials of the U.S. intelligence agency, according to a new examination of his MacBook, to which EL PAÍS has had access to. The word “CIA” appears several times on a Western Digital-branded external hard drive, on which Morales kept the projects and operations that his company — UC Global, S.L. — was contracted to deliver. Morales’ personal files, which were previously unknown to investigators, builds on the allegations and evidence that Morales — a former Spanish soldier — spied on the meetings that the WikiLeaks founder and his lawyers held at the Embassy of Ecuador to the United Kingdom, and sent that information to the U.S. intelligence agency.

These files were stored on a number of folders marked with the terms “CIA,” “Embassy” and “Videos,” along with other labels. The appearance of this new evidence has been a surprise in the case against Morales in Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional. None of these computer records previously appeared in the initial copy made by the police, when officers categorized the material seized from the security contractor when he was arrested in September 2019. All of this material was uploaded to a cloud storage system within the judicial systems, so that all parties involved in the case could review it. The arrest and indictment of Morales took place weeks after an investigation by EL PAÍS revealed the videos and audios that UC Global employees had recorded while the Australian was preparing his defense with his lawyers.

The discovery of these new clues about the CIA’s spying on the cyberactivist — who remains imprisoned in a London jail — is no accident. Assange’s lawyers found problems when downloading the records uploaded to the cloud. They managed to get Judge Santiago Pedraz — who is overseeing the case — to authorize a second copy of the material seized by the agents. A new digital document dump offered a clear picture that the police had not pieced together. Now, a report by the experts called by Assange’s lawyers credits the appearance of “a very relevant volume of material, which was not included in the original [police] copy.” Forensic analysis describes the copy of the hard drive as containing “multiple pieces of evidence.” In this second dump, the mentioned folders have appeared, including the one that UC Global labelled as “CIA.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Martin

 

 


We have been going through a Long Singularity for a century and a half. To put that in context, as species, we spent 19,960 centuries making better types of stone hand axes. It isn’t surprising that it feels hard to keep up. https://www.oneusefulthing.org/p/becoming-strange-in-the-long-singularity

 

 

Mickey
https://twitter.com/i/status/1665048200149979139

 

 

Kingfisher

 

 

Duck

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 262023
 


Mark Chagall Peace window, UN 1967

 
 
 

Andrew Korybko:

 

The US’ Weaponization Of Anti-Russian Fake News Against Germany

The Washington Post (WaPo) pushed several conspiracy theories in their recent piece alleging that “Kremlin tries to build antiwar coalition in Germany, documents show”. Citing what they claim to be “a trove of sensitive Russian documents largely dated from July to November that were obtained by a European intelligence service”, WaPo reported that elements within Germany’s left-aligned Die Linke and its right-leaning AfD are cooperating due to some shadowy Kremlin plot.

All three parties denied this accusation, which builds upon Reuters’ similarly conspiratorial report from early January alleging that “Pro-Putin operatives in Germany work to turn Berlin against Ukraine”. Taken together, these two articles can be interpreted as part of a wider information warfare offensive aimed at discrediting the natural trend of political forces pragmatically putting aside their differences on specific issues in order to cooperate on shared ones like ending NATO’s proxy war on Russia through Ukraine.

Three Interconnected Conspiracy Theories

This development was first observed over the last decade, during which time three interconnected conspiracy theories were invented by those gatekeepers with a self-interested stake in perpetuating traditional partisan divisions. They claimed that this is all due to the mischievous work of Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, who supposedly weaponized the so-called “horseshoe theory” in order to assemble what’s been smeared as the “red-brown alliance”.

The first-mentioned forms the basis of countless conspiracy theories due to the false claim that he’s “Putin’s brain”, which preconditioned targeted audiences to extend credence to the wildest claims about him and his work. The second concept, meanwhile, refers to the theory that the far left and far right are secretly aligned. As for the third, those previously mentioned gatekeepers throw this term around in order to discredit all instances of left-right cooperation as supposedly being due to Dugin’s meddling.

Unipolar Liberal-Globalism vs. Multipolar Conservative-Sovereigntism

In reality, the global systemic transition has shattered the previous polarization between the left and right by giving birth to two different diametrically opposed concepts: unipolar liberal-globalism (ULG) and multipolar conservative-sovereigntism (MCS). This analysis here explains the differences between them more at length, but the present piece will now summarize them for the reader’s convenience due to its relevance in debunking the conspiracy theories pushed by Reuters and WaPo.

ULG believe in the “hegemonic stability theory” (unipolarity), are against any restrictions on socio-cultural issues like the aggressive imposition of LGBT+ propaganda onto children (liberalism), and want to force everyone to follow their models (globalism). By contrast, MCS believe in decentralizing International Relations (multipolarity), restricting some socio-cultural issues like the aforesaid example (conservatism), and respect every society’s right to choose their own models (sovereigntism).

The Real Reason For Growing Left-Right Cooperation In Germany

The genuine left and right, and not those ULG gatekeepers who masquerade as either (but mostly as leftists), generally embrace MCS. Even if they differ on economic and socio-cultural issues, they’re united in opposing unipolarity and globalism since those two concepts represent an existential threat to their respective ideological interests. Accordingly, they’re increasingly cooperating on shared MCS interests such as bringing an end to NATO’s proxy war on Russia through Ukraine as soon as possible.

This explains the latest trend in Germany that Reuters and WaPo are trying to discredit through their tacit weaponization of those three earlier described interconnected conspiracy theories. Both US-led Western Mainstream Media (MSM) outlets are ULG to the core, which is why they’re waging their information warfare campaign against Germans’ embrace of MCS, especially since its emerging manifestation there could have far-reaching strategic consequences if it fully matures.

The electoral rise of any MCS movement in that country could lead to them recalibrating its foreign policy in a much more strategically autonomous direction exactly of the sort that French President Macron regularly suggests and most recently talked about after his latest trip to China. The consequence of the EU’s de facto leader doing such a thing is that American hegemony over Europe would be immensely weakened if Germany finally began putting its own interests and the continent’s over the US’.

The Patriotic Motivations Driving The Latest Trend

By failing to do so over the past year, Chancellor Scholz and Foreign Minister Baerbock – both of whom are diehard ULG – inflicted crippling damage to their country’s economic model that was responsible for its astronomical rise in the first place. Germany no longer receives affordable energy from Russia, which in turn raises the costs of doing business in all respects, thus eroding its global competitiveness. Die Linke and the AfD are patriotic parties that keenly understand this, unlike the ruling ULG in berlin.

Elements within them are increasingly cooperating precisely because ending NATO’s proxy war on Russia through Ukraine holds the chance of reviving Germany’s prior energy cooperation with Russia and thus restoring its global economic competitiveness. Viewed from this perspective, their motivations are therefore purely patriotic and not due to any shadowy Kremlin plot or so-called “Duginist meddling”. The only people who push those conspiracy theories are ULG gatekeepers in the media and among the left.

Exposing The “Compatible Left”

Regarding the latter, the reader should be informed of the CIA’s decades-long attempt to manufacture a so-called “compatible left”, which is envisaged as doing the US’ bidding in a “plausibly deniable” way by serving as a “controlled opposition”. This mission has made enormous progress over the years and especially since 2016 after Trump’s election. “Sleeper cells” within the left awoke at that time and began actively allying their movements with the US Democrats, who are the standard-bearers of ULG.

This explains why the three interconnected conspiracy theories regarding “horseshoes”, the “red-brown alliance”, and “Duginism” all emerged from superficially leftist figures who are really bonafide ULG in disguise. They receive media approval and sometimes even tangible privileges like academic tenures and book deals from their ideological overlords for pushing Russophobia while simultaneously securing their status as faux leftist gatekeepers by manipulating the dogma of their movements’ members.

Debunking The “Compatible Left’s” McCarthyist Witch Hunt Narratives

To that second-mentioned end, they regularly carry out McCarthyist witch hunts against those genuine leftists who express any foreign policy views similar to those shared by someone who influential figures in their movement earlier smeared as “fascist”. Those gatekeepers “justify” these never-ending purges, which have the effect of pressuring people into self-censoring their views out of fear that they’ll become the next target of their toxic ad hominem attacks, on the basis of ensuring “ideological integrity”.

According to them, “no true leftist would ever have any idea in common with anyone who isn’t an official member of a (ULG gatekeeper-approved) leftist movement”, thus making those who do supposedly “fake leftists” at best or (“Duginist”) “fascist infiltrators” at worst. In reality, most traditional leftist movements (especially in the West) were hijacked by ULG “sleeper cells” after Trump’s election and turned into “compatible leftist” ones, thus dealing unprecedented damage to the genuinely leftist cause.

Germany Might Be Pioneering The Next Pan-Continental Political Trend

Elements within Die Linke realized this and are therefore doing their utmost to liberate the German left from US-controlled ULG for patriotic reasons related to ultimately restoring their country’s strategic autonomy after its current rulers crippled it by capitulating to America’s demands over the past year. For that to happen, however, they must pragmatically cooperate with likeminded MCS elements from movements like the AfD in order to eventually have a chance of changing Germany’s relevant policies.

This isn’t due to the “horseshoe theory”, which is discredited upon reconceptualizing the New Cold War’s ideological dichotomy as being between ULG and MCS instead of left and right like during the Old Cold War, nor is it attributable to the “red-brown alliance” and “Duginist” conspiracy theories either. It’s simple patriotic pragmatism that’s driving those two’s increasing cooperation on issues of shared interests, which is setting a powerful example that might soon be emulated all throughout Europe.

 

 

 

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Feb 212023
 
 February 21, 2023  Posted by at 10:12 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


Pierre Dumonstier II The right hand of Artemisia Gentileschi holding a brush 1625

 

Recognizing The War Is Lost The ‘West’ Seeks An Exit (MoA)
Between That Rock and The Hard Place (Kunstler)
Trump Reveals How He Would End Ukraine Conflict (RT)
Biden’s Visit To Ukraine Aimed To Encourage Kiev To Start Offensive Soon (TASS)
Medvedev Says Biden Received Security Guarantees Before Going To Kiev (TASS)
Kiev Must Send People To Slaughter As Part Of Biden Election Campaign (TASS)
Joe Biden Is Making Europe Great Again – For The US (Marsden)
Merkel Confirms Minsk Agreements Were Meant To Give Ukraine ‘More Time’ (TASS)
American Projects Against Background Of Biden’s Kiev Visit – Zakharova (TASS)
Germany Comments On Fighter Jet Supplies For Ukraine (RT)
Kevin McCarthy Gives Tucker Carlson 41,000 Hours Of Jan. 6 Footage (ZH)
James O’Keefe Out At Project Veritas (ZH)
US Food Additives Banned In Europe (CBS)

 

 

 

 

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1627835225442226176

 

 

 

 

Hersh
https://twitter.com/i/status/1627630558334398464

 

 

 

 

Benny Johnson

 

 

Donbass
https://twitter.com/i/status/1627890489247539200

 

 

 

 

“.. the short period of U.S. global hegemony has ended. The time for multi-polarity has come..”

“..if Russia would seem to lose the war China would have to intervene. It would otherwise become the very next country that the U.S. would try to obliterate.”

Recognizing The War Is Lost The ‘West’ Seeks An Exit (MoA)

U.S. President Joe Biden is in Kiev today to rescue his lunatic project of destroying Russia by proxy war. But there is no good way to do that. A review of ‘western’ media shows that the inevitable outcome of the war is now recognized. The only still open alternatives are to risk a large nuclear war or to retreat from ‘western’ dreams of its permanent hegemony. Few ‘western’ officials will admit that the war is lost, that Russia has won in Ukraine. But it has. It had won the war when it successfully trapped the Ukrainian army into a war of attrition. As the Russian commentator Sacha Rogers writes (in Russian, machine translation):

“This war has already been won (moreover, what is most offensive for various “unrecognized geniuses”, without their participation and contrary to their foolish ideas of how it should be won). It was won at the moment when, instead of a highly maneuverable war, our General Staff imposed a positional “standing” with an attrition war on the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Strictly by the textbook: Attrition warfare is a military strategy consisting of belligerent attempts to win a war by wearing down the enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and material.” Ukraine has already lost two armies and it is begging for a third one. But the ‘West’ is unable to deliver it:

“Less than a quarter of the modern battle tanks the West has promised to Ukraine are likely to arrive in time to counter an anticipated Russian spring offensive. Kyiv is expecting its supporters to send up to 320 western tanks in total but estimates suggest barely 50 will reach the front lines by the start of April, prompting concerns they will not be enough to have a substantial impact on the fighting. The recognition that the Ukraine has lost the war is creating a panic in those quarters that are committed to ‘western’ uni-polarity.

[..] On the one side of the current discussion you have those, see above, who think of the outcome of the war in absolute terms. The U.S. must win in the proxy war it has caused, no matter what. But there are alternatives. They will require to acknowledge that the short period of U.S. global hegemony has ended. The time for multi-polarity has come. Count Secretary of State Anthony Blinken as one who is unwilling to admit that As soon as China ‘threatened’ to negotiate peace in Ukraine did he accuse it -without evidence- of aiding Russia in the war: “In his interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” which was taped on Saturday night for broadcast on Sunday, Mr. Blinken said the United States would soon be offering new information to demonstrate Beijing was “strongly considering providing lethal assistance to Russia.”

“Mr. Wang has been using the conference in Munich as a platform to tell European leaders and diplomats that China is ready to bolster ties with them and to try to play a role in ending the war in Ukraine. In his public remarks on Saturday, he said that China would soon offer a peace proposal to stop the fighting. But Mr. Blinken warned in a separate event against the allure of cease-fires that Russia might exploit to regroup for new offensives.” China has not yet supported Russia in the war. But if Russia would seem to lose the war China would have to intervene. It would otherwise become the very next country that the U.S. would try to obliterate.

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“..It leaves our country to stew in its own rancid economic and financial juices in abject isolation from, basically, the rest of the world..”

Between That Rock and The Hard Place (Kunstler)

One must conclude that NATO is looking for a way out of this. But there is no way out except to declare by word or deed, directly or otherwise, that NATO has outlived the reason for its existence. Any sane analysis by Europeans would arrive at the unnerving realization that the USA has become the enemy of NATO, not Russia. If all that is so, then a seismic shift is underway that will leave America hung out to dry on the Ukraine project. Germany will have to make a deal with Russia to rebuild the Nord Streams. What could the US do about that? Impose sanctions on Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the rest of the bunch? Where does that leave Western Civ?

I’ll tell you: it leaves Western Civ diminished. It leaves our country to stew in its own rancid economic and financial juices in abject isolation from, basically, the rest of the world. (Fare-the-well hegemonic dream; hello multi-polarity!) It leaves Ukraine neutralized and no longer a problem… It leaves Russia able to feel secure in its borders and free to get on with being a normal nation… and it leaves Europe the hope that it can resume modern life a while longer with the familiar comforts and conveniences. The end of the Ukraine conflict also exposes the rotten web of Globalist schemers who planted their operators in every niche of American life and all around Western Civ — George Soros’s empire of meddling NGOs, Bill Gates’s World Health Org puppet show, the ridiculous World Economic Forum’s network of stooges in high places from Justin Trudeau to BlackRock’s Larry Fink.

The end of the Ukraine conflict reveals the submission of the Democratic Party to nefarious interests intent on wrecking this country. Even the most benign end to the Ukraine conflict — such as, by default, Europe and Russia settling-up on their own to stop the fighting — will be another humiliation for “Joe Biden” and the crew behind him, as bad as the last days in Kabul. Their other crimes await full disclosure, everything from treasonous bribery to the fraud and genocide around Covid-19. There will have to be a severe political realignment in America. But before that can happen, expect many seasons of terrible disorder.

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“I’ll tell one guy this, and I’ll tell one guy that… We would have a deal made in 24 hours..”

Trump Reveals How He Would End Ukraine Conflict (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump claims he would end the Ukraine conflict within hours, if he wins the presidential election in 2024, by directly appealing to the presidents of Russia and Ukraine. Speaking at a rally in Florida on Monday, Trump was asked what he would do to put an end to the hostilities, and replied that he would spring into action even before being sworn into office. “I would literally start calling, not from the day I took over, but from the night I won. And I’ll call two people… [Russian President Vladimir] Putin… and [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky. And I’ll say we’re going to meet. I guarantee I could work that out.” “I’ll tell one guy this, and I’ll tell one guy that… We would have a deal made in 24 hours,” he said.


Trump went on to say that “continuing to pour money in” Ukraine is delaying a peaceful settlement and “getting a lot of people killed.” In recent months, Trump has repeatedly called for the US to lead the way in negotiating a peace settlement in Ukraine, while blasting the way President Joe Biden has handled the conflict. In late January, he claimed that his successor “has brought us to the brink of World War III” through “weakness and incompetence.” He also condemned the US’ decision to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, saying the move could bring about a nuclear war. Trump’s comments come as Biden made a surprise visit to Kiev on Monday to personally meet with Zelensky, while promising another $500 million in security assistance to Ukraine, including more artillery ammunition, rockets, and anti-armor systems.

Tucker Trump

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Politico: “CIA warned Zelensky that the West can cut military aid if there is no progress on the Ukrainian side”.

Biden’s Visit To Ukraine Aimed To Encourage Kiev To Start Offensive Soon (TASS)

Dmitry Suslov, a deputy director of the Comprehensive European and International Studies at the Higher School of Economics, on Monday said that US President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine was designed to encourage Kiev to start a counteroffensive as soon as possible. The analyst told TASS that Biden’s visit was meant to underscore the importance of the current moment and reaffirm Washington’s commitment to support Ukraine over a long term. “The United States has recently been constantly saying that the military conflict in Ukraine has reached a pivotal phase and a turning point. Therefore, the West transfers to Ukraine a much larger number of weapons at the moment than it did last year.

Quantitatively, the supply of weapons at the beginning of this year has increased significantly, and they have also increased qualitatively: tanks are now being transferred, and there’s talk of long-range missiles. The United States constantly says that right here and now, no later than the beginning of spring, no later than March, the Ukrainian armed forces should start a decisive counteroffensive,” he said. “I think Biden’s visit is designed to stimulate Kiev to go on the offensive earlier. Second, to signal the United States’ commitment to protecting and supporting Ukraine in the medium and long term,” Suslov added. The analyst said it’s possible that some “sensitive issues” were discussed during the visit, such as providing planes by third countries and donations of longer-range missiles. Suslov also said there’s a chance the sides discussed political and diplomatic settlement.

According to the analyst, supplies of long-range missiles are more important than supplies of aircraft. “With aircraft, it’s necessary to train pilots, and that’s a long process. Ukraine doesn’t have the appropriate infrastructure to accommodate and maintaining these aircraft. There’s a lot of technical issues. I think there may be an announcement of aircraft supplies, but after the end of the conflict. And as for long-range missiles, some decisions can be made. At least they tend to think in Kiev that the conditions for the decision about tanks and Washington’s agreement to provide Ukraine with tanks occurred during the visit of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to Washington, and that during Biden’s visit to Kiev now there’s also potential to make serious progress with respect to long-range missiles,” the analyst said.

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“to ensure deconfliction.”

Medvedev Says Biden Received Security Guarantees Before Going To Kiev (TASS)

US President Joe Biden has received security guarantees before his trip to Ukraine, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said, without specifying who gave the American leader these guarantees. “Biden, having previously received security guarantees, finally went to Kiev. He promised many weapons and swore allegiance to the neo-Nazi regime to the grave,” Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel on Monday, “And, of course, there were mutual incantations of victory, which will come with new weapons and courageous people.”


Medvedev noted that Western countries are “quite faithfully” supplying Kiev with arms and money. “In huge quantities, allowing the military-industrial complex of NATO countries to make money and steal weapons to sell to terrorists all over the world,” he specified. Biden visited Kiev on Monday, February 20, to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky and express support for Kiev. The Associated Press earlier reported, citing the White House, that Washington had been in contact with Moscow shortly before Biden’s visit to Ukraine “to ensure deconfliction.”

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“..the show “Biden in Kiev” ended without incidents and without surprises, “despite the decorative air alarm over the center of Kiev, designed to give the whole action a much-needed shade.”

Kiev Must Send People To Slaughter As Part Of Biden Election Campaign (TASS)

Federation Council Deputy Speaker Konstantin Kosachev on Monday said the outcome of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine showed Kiev officials had no choice but to send people to the “senseless slaughter” as part of the US president’s reelection campaign. “The bottom line of the visit: Kiev has been left with no choice but to try and rush people to the senseless slaughter as part of Biden’s election campaign; Europe is paralyzed and totally deprived of initiative; and Biden in the role of a hero is going to Poland to show where that center of the European Union is, which is more desired by Washington. Not much. If you don’t count Biden’s ‘the Ukrainians helped us to get the meaning of democracy,’” the lawmaker said on Telegram.

According to the Russian politician, the show “Biden in Kiev” ended without incidents and without surprises, “despite the decorative air alarm over the center of Kiev, designed to give the whole action a much-needed shade.” Kosachev noted that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky “rushed to convert the arrival of the main sponsor into another encouraging comments for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, promising Biden that the results of the negotiations would significantly affect the situation on the battlefield.” “And this means that he correctly caught the signal, with which the US president came to Kiev: Show some achievements, and quickly,” the lawmaker said.

He said that the demand for “Ukrainian combat success” coming from Washington occurs in the context of statistics that show that less than half of Americans (48%) approve the supplies of American weapons to Ukraine, 29% are against them, and 22% remain undecided. Kosachev said that “in America, foreign policy is traditionally subordinated to domestic policy,” and Biden in Kiev launched his election campaign “in the most heroic surroundings in order to prove to everyone that he can still ‘do it just like in the good old days’,” the lawmaker said. He added that if Ukraine still doesn’t support Biden’s campaign with triumphs on the battlefields, then the current US president “still has more options for further actions that can then be presented as wisdom and flexibility, compared to Brussels or Berlin, which were forced to burn all bridges to Russia.”

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Making Europe Great Again = MEGA.

Joe Biden Is Making Europe Great Again – For The US (Marsden)

When Russia finally drew the line and the conflict went red hot, Biden was quick to hightail it over to Brussels to take that dirty authoritarian Russian gas off Europe’s hands and replace it with molecules of freedom. Captain America was going to save the day, and European bureaucrats ignored the fact that US-branded freedom has a price tag. For starters, it has ended up costing Europe an amount several times the typical domestic market price paid for US liquified natural gas. American gas exports to Europe have spiked 148% year on year. Biden also pushed Europe to go green as yet another reason not to ever again turn back to Russian gas. “Today we’ve agreed on a joint game plan toward that goal while accelerating our progress toward a secure clean energy future. This initiative focuses on two core issues: One, helping Europe reduce its dependency on Russian gas as quickly as possible. And, secondly, reducing Europe’s demand for gas overall,” Biden said last March during his EU visit.

However, now the US President has changed his tune. “We’re still going to need oil and gas for a while,” Biden declared, going off script to say the quiet part aloud in his State of the Union address. “We’re going to need oil for another decade. And beyond that.” Oh wow, in that case, maybe Europe should be turning the Nord Stream pipeline of cheap Russian gas back on so that European governments can stop shoveling cash out the door in an attempt to keep their industry and economy – not to mention consumers – from being crushed by exorbitant energy costs. Whoops, the pipelines were mysteriously blown up. “If Russia invades – that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine – then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it,” Biden said last February.

A new report by Pulitzer and Polk Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh now attributes the terrorist act to a covert American operation in cooperation with Norway, whose sales of gas to Europe have risen from $27 billion in 2021 to $109 billion last year, with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accusing Oslo of war profiteering. Both countries have denied the accusations. But even without cheap gas, as Biden sees it, Europe has a bright future. “Time and again, Democrats and Republicans came together…to defend a stronger and safer Europe,” he said in his annual address. Maybe share that with French and German economic ministers who were just in Washington to tell big bipartisan Team America to lay off Europe and to stop shutting out European imports under the new Inflation Reduction Act favoring “made in America” products – particularly green ones. Screwing over the EU because, hey, “business is business” is one of the very rare concepts on which both Democrats and Republicans seem to agree.

Brussels could have at least stopped sanctioning its own natural resource supplies from Russia if it had realized, as Biden just admitted, that fossil fuels were here for the foreseeable future. But that would mean not being able to pretend to stick it to Russian President Vladimir Putin. If the EU’s commitment to its green energy fantasies to the detriment of its own economy has proven anything, it’s that blind ideology is the first and foremost criteria for decision making in the EU. So, the EU is staying the course while the US actively works to seduce its industry to relocate across the pond where energy is still plentiful because, unlike Europe, the US is not dumb enough to actually align reality with their lofty rhetoric if it’s going to be economically suicidal.

There’s no doubt that Europe is doing better than ever as far as US interests are concerned. Washington planted the idea of a divorce from Russia in Brussel’s ear, and then rushed in to take Moscow’s place before the ink was even dry. Europe is hardly more free than it was when it at least had the option to play the field between the two geopolitical spheres. Now it’s totally dependent on Washington with European citizens subsidizing American greatness and freedom at the expense of their own.

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Everyone talks to the pranksters…

Merkel Confirms Minsk Agreements Were Meant To Give Ukraine ‘More Time’ (TASS)

The signing of the Minsk agreements gave Ukraine time to develop between 2014 and 2021 and served to ensure that the West be able to furnish the necessary support to Kiev, Germany’s ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a conversation made public by Russian pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov (Vovan) and Alexei Stolyarov (Lexus) on Monday. The pranksters telephoned the ex-chancellor on behalf Ukraine’s former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko. Being certain that she was talking to a former Ukrainian leader, Merkel said that now there was no point in “digging into 2014.” “Then (in 2014 – TASS), in order to prevent even worse things, everyone signed this agreement. Was it possible to stop the war then?


This question is no longer relevant. I believe that the Minsk agreements gave Ukraine more time to develop between 2014 and 2021. Now Ukraine can both make a response and also to get the necessary support,” she said. In an interview with the German daily Die Zeit, published on December 7, 2022, Merkel stated that the 2014 Minsk agreements were an attempt to let Ukraine gain time. She said “it was clear to everyone” that the conflict had been frozen and the problem had not been resolved. Russian President Vladimir Putin later said that he found Merkel’s statement completely unexpected and disappointing.

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“The fate of Saakashvili, the fate of [Venezuelan oppositionist Juan] Guaido – this is what awaits all those who have sold their souls to the Americans..”

American Projects Against Background Of Biden’s Kiev Visit – Zakharova (TASS)

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called to mind “the fate of American projects” in comments on US President Joe Biden’s visit to Kiev and his meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. “Looking at today’s footage of Biden with his ward Zelensky from Kiev, do not forget the fate of all previous American projects,” the diplomat wrote on her Telegram channel on Monday. In this context, Zakharova mentioned former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, pointing out that the politician “is paying a steep price to be remembered in the West.” “The fate of Saakashvili, the fate of [Venezuelan oppositionist Juan] Guaido – this is what awaits all those who have sold their souls to the Americans: damned by their own people, needed by no one, forced to spend lavishly the money earned in America from betraying their countries on American lawyers,” she added.

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“..Earlier in February, Secretary of Defence Ben Wallace told Sky News that the UK would not send warplanes to Kiev anytime soon..”

Germany Comments On Fighter Jet Supplies For Ukraine (RT)

Germany can hardly meet Kiev’s requests for fighter jets since its Armed Forces do not possess the relevant aircraft types, its defense minister Boris Pistorius told journalists on Monday. When asked about potential aircraft deliveries to Ukraine, Pistorius said that, so far, the discussions about potential fighter jet deliveries have only covered the “fighter jet types that the Bundeswehr does not possess.” “That is a question for other nations rather than Germany,” the minister said. He did not rule out potential aircraft deliveries, though. “The military actions in Ukraine is something where one can never absolutely rule out anything,” he said, adding, though, that this idea hardly applies to German military aircraft right now. The German Armed Forces, the Bundeswehr, currently mostly relies on Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets.

Its Air Force, the Luftwaffe, has over 140 such aircraft, according to a 2021 report by Airbus. Produced since the early 1990s, these fourth-generation jet fighters are produced jointly by the UK’s BAE Systems, Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo. Apart from Typhoons, the German Air Force also has almost 90 older Panavia Tornado jets developed back in the 1970s. In January, Pistorius outright ruled out the idea of Germany sending fighter jets to Ukraine, saying it was “out of the question.” He also called such a move too risky, saying that it would “venture into dimensions that I would currently warn against.” Ukraine repeatedly called on its Western backers to supply it with heavier weapons like tanks and warplanes amid the ongoing military conflict with Russia. Kiev was mostly focused, however, on US-made F-16 jets.

Ukrainian officials recently expressed their optimism about overcoming Western reluctance to donate fighter jets. Last week, Financial Times reported that the US might still consider sending F-16 fighter jets to Kiev, or greenlighting their re-export from other nations that have them. On Monday, Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper also reported that Rome might consider sending five warplanes to Kiev. The deal could involve old AMX Ghibli fighter-bombers that the Italian Air Force plans to retire by the end of the year, the paper said, adding that Italy would only agree to send the jets to Ukraine if other nations provide it with Western-made military aircraft first. The UK, which otherwise spearheaded the Western-made tank delivery campaign for Ukraine, has so far ruled out sending jets to Kiev. Earlier in February, Secretary of Defence Ben Wallace told Sky News that the UK would not send warplanes to Kiev anytime soon.

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Now Tucker has to deliver.

Kevin McCarthy Gives Tucker Carlson 41,000 Hours Of Jan. 6 Footage (ZH)

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has given Fox News host Tucker Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from January 6th, 2021, according to Axios, which reports that excerpts will begin airing in the coming weeks. Last week, Carlson’s producers were on Capitol Hill to begin reviewing the trove – which includes various camera angles from around the Capitol complex. The archive was previously reported at ‘just’ 14,000 hours. “[T]here was never any legitimate reason for this footage to remain secret,” Carlson told Axios. “If there was ever a question that’s in the public’s interest to know, it’s what actually happened on January 6. By definition, this video will reveal it. It’s impossible for me to understand why any honest person would be bothered by that.”


According to the report, the process to give Carlson access began in early February, according to a communication between the show and a McCarthy aide shown to Axios. In January, McCarthy told reporters in Statuary Hall that he thinks “the American public should actually see all [that] happened instead of a report that’s written [on] a political basis.” Carlson, meanwhile, railed against Washington’s “regime of secrecy and deceit.” Will the new footage shed light on whoever unlocked the doors and encouraged protesters to come inside the Capitol? Or what Ray Epps was up to during the entire day? Only time will tell…

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Brought to you by Pfizer.

James O’Keefe Out At Project Veritas (ZH)

Project Veritas founder and CEO James O’Keefe is exiting the organization. O’Keefe announced to his staff Monday that he was leaving over a conflict in vision between himself and the board in an poignant 15-minute video. “Throughout my 13 years doing this my mission has evolved,” O’Keefe said in his announcement. “Over the last few weeks I have felt a lot of despair and seen a lot of evil and felt overcome with various emotions.” A clearly emotional O’Keefe expressed gratitude for his employees, but noted that: “The external threats and pressure inflicted upon myself has been unimaginable,” O’Keefe continued. Employees had been dissatisfied by O’Keefe’s management and alleged he wasted money and was “outright cruel” to his staff, according to the The Daily Beast.

O’Keefe

Speculation has been rampant about the timing of this debacle as O’Keefe points out: “A few days after the Pfizer story, I was informed by an officer of Project Veritas that he would resign unless I step down as CEO. We’ve been having a conflict of vision over fundraising, there were tactical disagreements about the boldness of approach soliciting donations.” As The Epoch Times’ Zachary Stieber reports, O’Keefe said he confronted one executive at a meeting on Feb. 2 and said that if the person would not follow his lead, he would have to exit the group. O’Keefe then fired the man. Later that same day, a different officer informed O’Keefe he was going to the Project Veritas board to restructure the company.


O’Keefe said he received an agenda for the board meeting as he was set to depart on a flight, and that the meeting was scheduled for the moment he was due to land. “It became clear to me in that moment [that] I would be removed from my position at Project Veritas,” O’Keefe said.

Bannon PV
https://twitter.com/i/status/1627797517617479680

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“Titanium dioxide (also known as E171); Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) (E443); Potassium bromate (E924); Azodicarbonamide (E927a) and Propylparaben (E217)”

US Food Additives Banned In Europe (CBS)

From baguettes to focaccia, Europe is famous for its bread. But there’s one ingredient conspicuously missing: Potassium bromate. It’s a suspected carcinogen that’s banned for human consumption in Europe, China and India, but not in the United States. In the U.S., the chemical compound is used by some food makers, usually in the form of fine crystals or powder, to strengthen dough. It is estimated to be present in more than 100 products. “There is evidence that it may be toxic to human consumers, that it may even either initiate or promote the development of tumors,” professor Erik Millstone, an expert on food additives at England’s University of Sussex, told CBS News. He said European regulators take a much more cautious approach to food safety than their U.S. counterparts.

Asked if it can be said with certainty that differences in regulations mean people in the U.S. have developed cancers that they would not have developed if they’d been eating exclusively in Europe, Millstone said that was “almost certainly the conclusion that we could reach.” It’s not just potassium bromate. A range of other chemicals and substances banned in Europe over health concerns are also permitted in the U.S., including Titanium dioxide (also known as E171); Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) (E443); Potassium bromate (E924); Azodicarbonamide (E927a) and Propylparaben (E217). Millstone, who’s spent almost half a century researching food and agriculture science, said most Americans were likely completely unaware that they were being exposed on a daily basis to substances in their food viewed as dangerous in Europe.

“They probably just think, ‘Well, if it’s available or it’s in the store, it’s probably fine,'” he said. In a statement to CBS News, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said all food additives require “pre-market evaluation” and “regulations require evidence that each substance is safe at its intended level of use before it may be added to foods.” “Post-approval, our scientists continue to review relevant new information to determine whether there are safety questions and whether the use of such substance is no longer safe,” the agency added. [..] In a statement to CBS News, the FDA said that when used properly, potassium bromate converts into a harmless substance during food production. The FDA acknowledged, however, that not all of the compound used in any given recipe may convert during the production process, but that control measures were utilized to minimize the amount in final products.

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Great white

 

 

Green Turtle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1627672910960766977

 

 

Brain wash

 

 

Humming

 

 

 

 

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