Jan 292024
 


MC Escher Relativity 1953

 

Specter of Civil War: Biden’s Border Policy Could Lead to ‘Huge Explosion’ (Sp.)
Biden Has No Intention to Close Border, And Even If He Did, It’s Too Late (Sp.)
Speaker Debunks ‘Need’ To Pass Ukraine-Israel Funds Before Securing Border (ZH)
Speaker Johnson is Right: Stop the Fake Border Bill (Newt Gingrich)
Articles Of Impeachment Against Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas (JTN)
George Soros Pours Millions Into Texas In Hopes Of Shifting Power To Dems (Fox)
Will a South African Victory Stop the Gaza Genocide? (Pepe Escobar)
The ICJ Ruling On Genocide Is A Crushing Defeat For Israel (Amar)
Has International Law Survived, or Has the West Killed It? (Craig Murray)
Mediators Propose Hostage Deal to Establish 4-Month Ceasefire in Gaza (Sp.)
Cost of Biden’s Attacks on Houthis May Exceed Red Sea Trade Disruption (Sp.)
Israel Fails To Destroy Hamas Tunnels (Cradle)
NATO Won’t Defend US – Trump (RT)
22 Articles Of Impeachment Filed Against Fani Willis (ZH)
US Navy Says High School Diploma No Longer Needed For New Recruits (Sp.)

 

 

High class trolling.

 

 

Gutfeld

 

 

 

 

Biden
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751333938411241802

 

 

Hillary

 

 

 

 

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Near East employs some 30,000 people, 13,000 of them in Gaza. 12 of them are accused of working with Hamas. Much of the West has now withdrawn their funding. But Gaza needs UNRWA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..And I’m afraid that if… The way things are going right now, if Biden wins reelection, there could be a huge explosion in this country.”

Specter of Civil War: Biden’s Border Policy Could Lead to ‘Huge Explosion’ (Sp.)

The migrant crisis has been increasingly haunting the US since President Joe Biden assumed office and revoked border restrictions implemented by his predecessor, Donald Trump. However, some red states rebelled against Biden’s open border agenda, with Texas kicking off Operation Lone Star in March 2021, bringing together the Texas Department of Public Safety and the National Guard. Recently, the Texas National Guard “seized” a section of the US-Mexico border, blocking federal border patrol agents from accessing it and raising legal disputes. The US Supreme Court ruled that federal agents may cut the wire barriers placed by the Lone Star authorities to deter illegal migrants from entering the state. Nonetheless, 25 Republican governors signed a letter supporting Texas in the border control fight with the federal government over the “invasion” of migrants.

“This whole immigration issue has become one total mess,” Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst at the Office of the US Secretary of Defense, told Sputnik. “We’re going to see where it goes. But it appears that [Texas] Governor [Greg] Abbott and the governors of 25 other states are very firmly opposed to what the Biden administration is doing. And I would add that it’s also suggesting a line in the sand. If you look at the states that are involved, they’re mostly right in the middle and approaching toward the east. And it’s really a clear division of blue states versus red states in this country today, which is where the political lines have been drawn. And this is all happening leading up to the 2024 elections. And I’m afraid that if… The way things are going right now, if Biden wins reelection, there could be a huge explosion in this country.” Per Maloof, the situation is now boiling down to a potential confrontation between the state of Texas and 25 Republican states on the one side and the federal government on the other.

Meanwhile, Democrats appear to be unwilling to back down: they are calling on Biden to “federalize” the Texas National Guard thus upending the state’s Operation Lone Star. “You would have a confrontation,” the former Pentagon analyst warned. “There would be no question about a confrontation. That are some other states that are bringing their National Guards, their state national Guards to Texas, Montana has done it, Arizona has done it. The federal government would have to federalize all of them. Is there money for it? You’d have to pay those reservists because it’s a recall to active duty to the federal government. Right now it’s not in the budget.” One also has to bear in mind that Texas has forces to protect itself even without federal government assistance, according to Sputnik’s interlocutor.

“Texas’ governor also has the Texas police and there are also other types of local police forces scattered around the country that are not subject to federal recall, that can be utilized from these other 25 states. So, and it hasn’t been mentioned yet, but, a number of these states have, militias – people who are quiet organizations that conceivably could offer their services to the state of Texas and be deputized by the state of Texas. They would not be subject to any recall by the federal government. But the question will be the issue of training, discipline. So that would be an additional factor which probably could be dealt with, if this came down to a very serious confrontation.” Maloof drew attention to the fact that despite the US Supreme Court’s recent ruling concerning the wire barriers at the border, the Border Patrol – which is a federal agency – has not moved to demolish the barriers so far. The crux of the matter is that the Border Patrol “does not want to have a confrontation with state officials, many of whom probably live next door to each other half the time and they work closely together any other time,” the expert explained.

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“..Between the Senate and the [Biden] administration there are no believable individuals. The House is the only hope to kill this travesty..”

Biden Has No Intention to Close Border, And Even If He Did, It’s Too Late (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden has pledged to close the border if it “becomes overwhelmed” should Congress pass a bipartisan immigration bill. In a recent statement, he said the bill, if enacted, would be “the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had.” “It would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed. And if given that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill into law,” Biden added. This document “is solely designed to persuade gullible Republicans to support sending more money to Ukraine in return for non–existent ‘reforms’ at the border,” Michael Shannon, a political commentator and Newsmax columnist, told Sputnik. “Existing US law provides all the enforcement authority necessary for closing the border. Leftists just refuse to use that authority,” Shannon pointed out. On POTUS’ promise of the “toughest” border security reforms, Shannon insisted that the pledge shows that “Joe Biden remains an unrepentant liar.”

Biden “has no intention of closing the border and even if they did, it’s too late. What is required is closing the border and relentless, mass deportations of illegals regardless of how long they’ve been inside the border breaking the law,” according to the analyst. He also recalled a series of immigration deals that “disingenuous Republicans” have cut with Democrats in the past. Those GOP members, he continued, were “always betrayed when it came time to implement the deal.”“The foolish Republicans think that finally this time the leftists will adhere to their end of the deal. The disingenuous Republicans hope the bill will do enough to fool their conservative voting base into thinking they are doing something about the illegals’ invasion without upsetting the open borders, cheap labor donors who keep them in office. Between the Senate and the [Biden] administration there are no believable individuals. The House is the only hope to kill this travesty,” Shannon argued.

Referring to Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott’s ongoing border standoff with the federal government, the analyst said the furor has “greatly complicated the response of the Biden administration and pushed the legislation, at least temporarily, into the background.” “If Biden attempts to force Texas to stand down and allow federal employees to essentially re–open the border, then how can Biden claim to be strong on enforcement? If Biden does nothing, he looks weak and angers the anti–America, open borders crowd that makes up much of his base. This confrontation — and the overwhelming support Texas has received from other state governors — is overshadowing the coverage of the ‘reform’ bill and will have to be resolved first,” Shannon concluded.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1751346454680207360

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Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act:

“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

Speaker Debunks ‘Need’ To Pass Ukraine-Israel Funds Before Securing Border (ZH)

House Speaker Mike Johnson has dispelled President Joe Biden’s absolute lie that Congress needs to act to pass a $110 billion aid package which would include money for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan – a bill, mind you, that would still allow as many as 150,000 illegal crossings per month, or 1.8 million per year, before any of the proposed border shutdown authorities would be triggered. “President Biden falsely claimed yesterday he needs Congress to pass a new law to allow him to close the southern border, but he knows that is untrue,” said Johnson. “As I explained to him in a letter late last year, and have specifically reiterated to him on multiple occasions since, he can and must take executive action immediately to reverse the catastrophe he has created.” Recall that Biden signed three executive orders on day one of his presidency which reversed significant border protections put into place by former President Trump, and made it clear to migrants worldwide that the door was now open.

President Trump, meanwhile, is circling on this like a shark – telling a crowd on Saturday in Las Vegas “When I’m President, instead of trying to send Texas a restraining order, I will send them REINFORCEMENTS!” David Sacks breaks things down perfectly (via X): “WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON”. Neocons had a problem. The big Spring-Summer Counteroffensive, which was supposed to kick the Russians out of Ukraine, was a miserable failure. Even TIME Magazine was reporting that Zelensky is delusional, the Ukrainians are running out of soldiers, and Ukrainian officials are stealing like there’s no tomorrow. House Republicans, fearing their base, began to have cold feet about throwing more money down this bottomless pit. So Biden and the Neocons came up with a plan: package Ukraine aid with border security. Each side would get want it wants.

But Senate RINOs couldn’t help themselves — they turned the border security provisions into an amnesty bill. Meanwhile Biden picked a fight with Texas over what little remains of our border security, reminding Republicans that he can’t be trusted to faithfully execute the law. So now the deal has fallen apart. So what is the Administration to do? There’s only ever one answer for that: blame Trump. Supposedly he is responsible for Ukraine losing the war AND the southern border being overrun. In reality, Biden and his handlers have nobody to blame but themselves for both policies. Shakespeare put it best: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.”

Lankford

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“..77 percent of Americans reject non-citizens voting. In fact, 60 percent strongly oppose non-citizens voting. The voting issue is a real election game changer..”

Speaker Johnson is Right: Stop the Fake Border Bill (Newt Gingrich)

Speaker Mike Johnson just sent out an email which captures exactly what is going on in the U.S. Senate today. He wrote: “They want you to believe that the deal they’re offering to the American people is a ‘compromise.’ “[Sen. Chuck] Schumer wants you to sign off on: “150,000 illegal immigrants entering the country uninhibited per month. (That’s nearly the population of my hometown in Louisiana) “Work permits for EVERY illegal alien who’s been released into the country. And they want YOU to pay for their legal fees. “My answer is NO. Absolutely not.” As I mentioned on my podcast this week, I am proud of Speaker Johnson’s firm position, but he is going to need a lot of grassroots support to convince Senate Republicans not to go along with this border sell out. Americans want a clean, simple bill that controls the border and stops illegal immigrants from entering the United States.

Americans strongly favor legal immigration, but they are worried about the enormous flood of illegal immigrants from more than 160 countries – including people on the terrorist watch list and criminals from dangerous cartels. Closing Brooklyn’s James Madison High School so American students had to learn from home while illegal immigrants stayed in the school became a symbol of misplaced values and destructive Biden administration policies. In fact, the American people strongly support another bill, the Secure the Border Act of 2023 – which House Republicans passed last year. At America’s New Majority Project, we found enormous support for key provisions in that bill which address the amnesty and parole systems that are currently being abused. The American people are increasingly concerned about Joe Biden’s illegal immigration crisis. The issue was the No. 1 concern for Republican caucus goers in Iowa – surpassing even the economy.

Further, in a brand-new poll by America’s New Majority Project, we found 77 percent of Americans reject non-citizens voting. In fact, 60 percent strongly oppose non-citizens voting. The voting issue is a real election game changer. A Republican who is against non-citizens voting defeats a Democrat who favors non-citizens voting 56 percent to 29 percent (15 percent were undecided). Finally, Americans do not want to open up the welfare system to illegal immigrants. In yet another America’s New Majority Project poll, we found only 29 percent support letting illegal immigrants receive “Medicaid, food stamps, and other help meant for people with low incomes.” Sixty-four percent oppose this (and 47 percent oppose it strongly). These most recent findings by America’s New Majority Project reaffirm the results of other polls on immigration and border security.

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Mayorkas has been laying the foundations for the border crisis ever since Biden was installed.

Articles Of Impeachment Against Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas (JTN)

House Republicans on Sunday released their articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The first article alleges Mayorkas participated in a “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law,” while the second article says he breached the public’s trust for his handling of the southern border amid record illegal immigration numbers. The articles state that Mayorkas has “willfully and systemically refused to comply with Federal immigration laws” and “repeatedly violated laws enacted by Congress regarding immigration and border security.” A markup of the articles is scheduled for Tuesday after a multi-phase, year-long investigation into Mayorkas.

“Congress has a duty to see that the executive branch implements and enforces the laws we have passed,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., said, according to The Washington Post. “Yet Secretary Mayorkas has repeatedly refused to do so.” After the House Homeland Security Committee’s markup of the articles, they are expected to be sent to the full House for a vote. If the House votes to impeach Mayorkas, he could then go on trial in the Senate to potentially be removed. However, this is unlikely considering the body is controlled by Democrats.

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It doesn’t smell democratic.

George Soros Pours Millions Into Texas In Hopes Of Shifting Power To Dems (Fox)

Liberal billionaire George Soros is pouring extensive amounts of cash into Texas in an attempt to flip the state to Democrats, state campaign finance records reviewed by Fox News Digital show. Soros has contributed over $3 million to at least five left-wing groups in the Lone Star State over the last year to beef up infrastructure and help Democrats make gains in the overwhelmingly Republican stronghold. The financier is single-handedly propelling one of the progressive groups working to accomplish those goals. Fox News Digital reported in August that Texas Majority PAC, a mysterious under-the-radar group positioning itself to turn the state blue, had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Soros’ Democracy PAC II. Texas Majority PAC had not been publicly launched, nor were there any news reports about it at the time. However, it has since come out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

A recent report by The Texas Tribune said former staffers from Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s failed gubernatorial campaign operate the group, and it raised nearly $2.25 million last year. “We need millions of more dollars and hundreds of more full-time staff to do this,” the group’s executive director, Katherine Fischer, told The Texas Tribune last week regarding its fundraising. “Texas Majority PAC works with partners across the state to create the conditions that will make flipping the state possible.” Recently released Texas campaign finance records reviewed by Fox News Digital show Soros has provided all its donations to date. His Democracy PAC II has given the group $850,000 in contributions, while he has personally provided $1.4 million. They account for the PAC’s entire $2.25 million in donations.

Mayra Flores, a former Republican congresswoman and the first Mexican-born woman to serve in the House of Representatives, believes Soros is pouring money into the Texas Majority PAC to boost Democrat turnout in 2024 because he doesn’t want Republican Hispanic leaders like her to win over other Hispanics who have traditionally voted blue. “They’re seeing that Hispanics are shifting towards the Republican Party because they’re realizing that we are the party of prosperity, that we want to build a strong economy, that we want to secure the border, that we want to prioritize the people of this country and not prioritize people from outside this country. And I believe that it’s our policies that are winning people over, and the struggle is real,” Flores recently said.

“George Soros and the Democratic Party are seeing people like myself that resonate with the Hispanic community,” she added. “They resonate with me. I resonate with them. We have similar stories. I’m bilingual. I speak Spanish and English. We have similar stories, and we share that bond.” The bulk of Soros’ Texas cash has gone to the Texas Majority PAC, but he has also given hundreds of thousands of dollars to other groups working to elect Democrats statewide. Campaign finance records show Soros has donated at least $300,000 in the second half of 2023 to CTX Votes, which doesn’t appear to have an online footprint. In December, he gave $250,000 to the Texas Organizing Project, which caught flak last month for previously bailing out an individual charged with killing several people in Texas, including his parents. Additionally, he gave $200,000 to the Dallas County Democratic PAC and $100,000 to a group called First Tuesday, which also does not appear to have an online presence, in the second part of 2023.

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“..The overwhelming majority of the Global South instead interprets it as a peacekeeping force upholding the Genocide Convention – the Houthis – attacked by the rogue purveyors of the “rules-based international order..”

Will a South African Victory Stop the Gaza Genocide? (Pepe Escobar)

Let’s cut to the chase: By 15-2, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has just ruled in favor of BRICS member South Africa, and ordered Israel to take all necessary measures to prevent a genocide in Gaza. When it comes to the most scrutinized genocide ever, followed 24/7 by every smartphone on the planet, it’s fair to argue that South Africa has just scored an astonishing win against Zionism. And yet, as a Global Cynic Armada argues, in practical terms there has been no call for a ceasefire in Gaza.Of course it may also be argued that calling for a ceasefire only applies to a war – as in the case of the proxy war in Ukraine. Gaza is a case of genocide of an indigenous population perpetrated by an occupying power. That calls for an immediate halt to all genocidal acts. Essentially this is what the ICJ has ordered. The South African Foreign Ministry has noted that “if one reads the sentence, it’s implicit” that a ceasefire must be imposed.

The inestimable former British ambassador Craig Murray has noted that “after an extremely damning exposition of the facts by South Africa”, powerfully “and meticulously well stated”, conclusions were inevitable. These are the highlights:“The military operation conducted by Israel in Gaza has resulted in untold death and injuries, destroyed substantial infrastructure and housing units, caused mass malnutrition, collapsed the healthcare system, and displaced the majority of its inhabitants. This war has affected the entire population of Gaza and will have far lasting consequences. The court has taken note of the language of dehumanization by senior Israeli government officials.” Hence the ICJ “accepts the South African demand for urgent provisional measures to be taken for the protection of Palestinians in Gaza against Israel and recommends” (italics mine) the following:

By 15-2: “The state of Israel shall take all measures to prevent the commission of genocide to Gaza.” By 15-2: “The state of Israel shall ensure that the military not commit any acts of genocide.”By 16-1: “Israel shall take all measures to punish all public solicitations to genocide.” By 16-1: “Israel shall take immediate and effective measures to address adverse conditions to life in the Gaza Strip”. By 15-2: “Israel shall take effective measures to preserve evidence of actions impacting the Genocide Convention.” By 15-2: “Israel shall submit to the court a report of all measures taken to follow the orders of this court within one month.” The ICJ decision is binding. Yet even as the ICJ decided that Israel must “take all measures to prevent death and injury”, and provide for all Palestinian humanitarian needs (including access to food, medicine, infrastructure), what happens if Tel Aviv simply ignores the decision?

Even considering that Israel must file a report on the remedial actions within one month of the ruling, all bets are off on whether biblical psychopathy practitioners will comply. The answer came fast. Israel’s National Security Minister Ben Gvir, a cartoonish candidate for the role of out of control psycho in a cheap horror flick, stated that “the decision of the antisemitic court in The Hague proves what was already known: This court does not seek justice, but rather the persecution of Jewish people. They were silent during the Holocaust and today they continue the hypocrisy and take it another step further.”Psychos don’t do history. The ICJ in its current iteration was founded in 1945.What the ICJ ruling certainly did was de facto legitimize the moral strength of the Houthis supporting “our people” in Gaza.

And this while the US and the UK are spinning across the Global South that they must strike against the Houthis, whose policy of defending Palestine translates as upholding the Genocide Convention. The US and the UK cynically evoke the necessity to “protect international law.” The overwhelming majority of the Global South instead interprets it as a peacekeeping force upholding the Genocide Convention – the Houthis – attacked by the rogue purveyors of the “rules-based international order”. In parallel, a crucial point has been underlined by crack international lawyer Juan Branco. France currently presides the UN Security Council. According to Article 94.2 of the UN Charter: by South Africa’s request, the UN must force Israel to apply the ICJ ruling. No one should count on trashy Macronist France to do the right thing.

Pelosi

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“..One side effect of this rampant abuse of the accusation of antisemitism is, of course, that soon it won’t be taken seriously anymore, even when it should. And we will have Israel to thank for that..”

The ICJ Ruling On Genocide Is A Crushing Defeat For Israel (Amar)

The United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled on the case that South Africa had brought against Israel. Those who mistake realism for simplistic materialism – the ‘it’s only there if I can touch it’ variety – may underestimate the significance of that ruling. In reality, it is historic. Here’s why. First, and most importantly, the court has ruled against Israel. South Africa’s well-prepared brief was over 80 pages long, closely argued, and very detailed. But its gist was simple: It had applied to the ICJ – which only handles cases between countries, not individuals – to find that Israel is committing genocide in its attack on Gaza, thereby infringing on fundamental Palestinian rights as brutally as possible. Such a finding always takes years. For now, at this preliminary stage, South Africa’s immediate request was for the judges to decide that there is, in essence, a high enough probability of this genocide taking place to do two things:

First, continue the case (instead of dismissing it) and, secondly, issue an injunction (in this context called “preliminary measures”) ordering Israel to abstain from its genocidal actions so that the rights of its Palestinian victims receive due protection. The court has done both, with a majority of 15 to 2. One of the two judges dissenting is from Israel. Those voting, in effect, against Tel Aviv included even the president of the court, from the US, and the judge from Germany, a country that has taken a self-damagingly pro-Israel line. As to the Israeli pseudo-argument claiming ‘self-defense,’ the court rightly ignored it. (Occupying powers simply do not have that right regarding occupied entities under international law. Period.) This is a clear victory for South Africa – and for Palestine and Palestinians – and a crushing defeat for Israel, as even Kenneth Roth, head of thoroughly pro-Western Human Rights Watch recognizes with commendable clarity.

It is true that the ICJ has no power to enforce its rulings. That would have to come through the UN Security Council, where the US is protecting Israel, whatever it does, including genocide. Yet there are good reasons why representatives of Israel have reacted with statements so arrogant and aggressive that they only further damage Tel Aviv’s badly damaged international standing: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for instance, has displayed his legal nihilism by dismissing as “outrageous” the closely reasoned finding of the court, at which Israel had every opportunity to argue its case. Israel’s far-right Minister of National Security, convicted racist and terrorist supporter Itamar Ben-Gvir, has derided the ruling with an X post simply saying: “Hague schmague.”

And, of course, as always, everyone not toeing Israel’s line is smeared as an “antisemite”: The ICJ is now joining the UN, the World Health Organization and, by now, almost everyone and everything outside the ideological bubble of Zionism on the list of those slandered in this manner. (One side effect of this rampant abuse of the accusation of antisemitism is, of course, that soon it won’t be taken seriously anymore, even when it should. And we will have Israel to thank for that.)

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65-year old Craig Murray slept on a mat in the cold outside the door of the ICJ in The Hague 3-4 nights, to get one of 15 seats for the public. He was the only journalist present.

Has International Law Survived, or Has the West Killed It? (Craig Murray)

In finding there is a plausible case against Israel, the International Court of Justice treated with contempt the argument from Israel that the case should be dismissed as it is exercising its right of self-defence. This argument took up over half of Israel’s pleadings. Not only did the court find there is a plausible case of genocide, the court only mentioned self-defence once in its interim ruling – and that was merely to note that Israel had claimed it. That the ICJ has not affirmed Israel’s right to self-defence is perhaps the most important point in this interim order. It is the dog that did not bark. The argument which every western leader has been using is spurned by the ICJ. Now the ICJ did not repeat that an occupying power has no right of self-defence. It did not need to. It simply ignored Israel’s specious assertion. It could do that because what it went on to iterate went way beyond any plausible assertion of self-defence. What struck me most about the ICJ ruling was that the Order went into far more detail about the evidence of genocide than it needed to. Its description was stark.

The reason this is so crucial, is that the Court is not saying that South Africa asserts this. The Court is saying these are the facts. It is a finding of fact by the Court. I cannot emphasise too strongly the importance of that description by the court of the state of affairs in Gaza. The Court then goes on to detail accounts by the United Nations of the factual situation, quoting three different senior officials at length, including Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner General of UNRWA:

This of course explains why the immediate response to the ICJ ruling was a coordinated attack by Israel and the combined imperialist powers on UNRWA, designed to accelerate the genocide by stopping aid, to provide a propaganda counter-narrative to the ICJ judgment, and to reduce the credibility of UNRWA’s evidence before the court. The Court works very closely with the UN and is very much an entrenched part of the UN system. It has a particularly close relationship with the UN General Assembly – many of the Court’s cases are based on request from the UN General Assembly. In a fortnight’s time the Court will be starting its substantive hearings on the legal position in the Occupied Territories of Palestine, at the request of the UNGA. There are five specific references to the UNGA in the Order. The Court spent a great deal of time outlining the facts of the unfolding genocide in the Gaza Strip. It did not have to do so in nearly so much detail, and far too little attention has been paid to this. I was equally surprised by how much detail the court gave on the evidence of genocidal intent by Israel.

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“..The sources added that Israel and Hamas had not yet officially responded to the proposal, and that the deal may not go through at all..”

Mediators Propose Hostage Deal to Establish 4-Month Ceasefire in Gaza (Sp.)

Arab mediators are working on an agreement between Israel and Hamas to release all remaining hostages in the Gaza Strip in exchange for a roughly four-month ceasefire, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing Egyptian officials familiar with the plan. The proposal provides for an initial six-week pause in the fighting to allow the release of children, women and elderly people in need of medical care from Hamas captivity, according to the report. In exchange, Israel will release a significant number of Palestinian prisoners and increase the flow of aid into the Gaza Strip. The Egyptian officials added that under the plan, in subsequent stages, Hamas would release female soldiers, then male soldiers, and also hand over the remains of the dead to Israel.

At the same time, Hamas will receive international guarantees, including from the United States, that during this ceasefire, a comprehensive agreement that will lead to an end to the war in Gaza will be reached. The sources added that Israel and Hamas had not yet officially responded to the proposal, and that the deal may not go through at all. The parties now mainly agree on the framework of a future deal, which includes several stages and a potential long-term ceasefire, the sources said. On October 7, the Gaza Strip-controlling Hamas movement launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel and breached the border. As a result, over 1,200 people in Israel were killed and some 240 others abducted. Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and started a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages. About 26,000 people have been killed so far in the Gaza Strip, local authorities said.

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“..an average Houthi radar destroyed by the Pentagon may cost no more than $2,000, whereas a US missile used to knock it out costs at least a million dollars..”

We see that all the time. You’d almost think something went wrong in planning…

Cost of Biden’s Attacks on Houthis May Exceed Red Sea Trade Disruption (Sp.)

President Joe Biden’s claim that the US strikes against Yemen’s Houthi militants is necessary to protect the continued flow of global trade doesn’t hold water, as per the Quincy Institute of Responsible Statecraft and Cato scholars. The US has so far conducted 10 rounds of airstrikes against Houthis in response to the Yemeni militant group’s attacks on Israel, US, or UK-linked vessels in the Red Sea over Tel Aviv’s brutal war in Gaza. Joe Biden’s Department of Defense justifies the strikes by the threat allegedly posed by the Yemenis to global trade. Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder insisted on January 22 that the Houthis’ attacks in the Red Sea, including “the unprecedented use of anti-ship ballistic missiles,” have “significantly disrupted the free flow of commerce” in “one of the globe’s most critical waterways.” According to some estimates cited by the Quincy Institute of Responsible Statecraft (QI), the Red Sea crisis led to a 1.3% drop in global trade in December 2023.

In the course of the crisis, the Houthis have hijacked one ship and launched at least 34 attacks in the region – making a whopping 90% of container ships divert from the Suez Canal to go around Africa. Nonetheless, the QI doubts the Biden administration’s assumption that bombing of Houthis (which is fraught with a risk of a wider regional conflict, given the Shiite Yemeni group’s longstanding ties with Iran) is an adequate response to the Red Sea crisis. The think tank’s skepticism is shared by Eugene Gholz, a political science professor at Notre Dame University. In particular, Gholz wrote in his January 12 op-ed for the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, that “the cost of diverting shipping away from the Red Sea is not very significant in the grand scheme of the global economy.” “You would need very fine-grained data to try to find any effect,” Gholz told the QI. “You see articles that say consumer prices have gone up in the last couple months. The Red Sea issue has been happening, but that’s hardly the only thing that’s been happening in the global economy, right?”

Commenting on the claim of “huge” increases in fuel and personnel costs caused by the necessity to send ships around Africa, Gholz explained that those costs are “actually quite small compared to the cost of the cargo on an average cargo ship.” Even if the ship needs another two million dollars’ worth of fuel to travel around Africa, this sum should be “amortized across a billion dollars of value of cargo.” Eventually, “it’s a very marginal change in the cost to consumers of getting their product delivered,” per the political scientist. In contrast, the cost of Biden’s military operation in the Red Sea is much greater than the cost of shippers’ adaptation to the Houthis’ disruption, according to Gholz. Referring to the Pentagon’s claim that it had so far spent around $1.6 billion on the Red Sea mission, the scholar argues that the real price tag is bigger, given that the cost of weapons fired at Houthis weren’t included in this sum.

In December, the QI estimated that each US munition used to intercept Houthi rockets and drones costs between $1 million and $4.3 million. Per the think tank, US missiles reportedly used to shoot down Houthi projectiles and UAVs include the SM-2 ($2.1 million), SM-6 ($4.3 million), ESSM Sea Sparrows ($1.7 million), and Rolling Airframe missile ($905,000). For their part, the Yemeni Houthis are firing relatively cheap projectiles, drones and missiles at vessels in the Red Sea. Most Houthi installations in Yemen, targeted by the US military, also use relatively inexpensive military equipment. Once destroyed, some of this equipment could be then quickly and easily replaced, per Gholz. To illustrate his point Gholz noted that an average Houthi radar destroyed by the Pentagon may cost no more than $2,000, whereas a US missile used to knock it out costs at least a million dollars. “This is a bad cost trade-off,” the professor said.

But that is not all: “There’s also risk,” Gholz warned. “If this gets some Americans killed, if the Houthis got a lucky shot and they actually hurt someone, that’s a huge cost. If the United States gets drawn further into the maelstrom of Yemeni politics, or if the American hawks satisfy their wildest dream and leverage this into getting the United States to attack Iran, that’s an incredibly costly thing.”

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“..Israel has implanted GPS chips under the skin of its soldiers to facilitate locating them in case of abduction..”

Israel Fails To Destroy Hamas Tunnels (Cradle)

Israel has destroyed only 20 percent of Hamas tunnels in Gaza since the beginning of the war with Hamas and the Palestinian resistance that began almost four months ago, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on 28 January. According to US and Israeli officials, “80% of Hamas’s vast warren of tunnels under Gaza remains intact after weeks of Israeli efforts to destroy them … hampering Israel’s central war aims.” The roughly 500 km of tunnels under Gaza give Hamas places to securely store weapons and ammunition, hide and transport its fighters, hold Israeli captives, and operate command-and-control centers for its leadership. Israel has tried to destroy the tunnels in several ways, including hitting them with airstrikes and liquid explosives, searching them with dogs and robots, destroying their entrances, and raiding them with elite soldiers.

Israel has used the tunnels as a pretext to destroy civilian infrastructure in Gaza, including entire residential areas, using 2,000 lb bunker-buster bombs supplied by the US. The WSJ added, “And Israel has said it has conducted strikes on hospitals and other key infrastructure in its pursuit of the tunnels.” Israel also installed a series of pumps to flood the tunnels with water from the Mediterranean Sea and Israel. But efforts to destroy the tunnels have nevertheless been ineffective, US officials told the WSJ. Israeli officials moved ahead with plans to flood the tunnels in December despite fears this would kill some of the captives taken by fighters from Hamas’ armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, on 7 October during Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.

In a meeting with Israel’s war cabinet, released captives and family members of captives angrily told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu they feared that flooding the tunnels, where many of the captives are presumably being held, would kill their loved ones. One released Israeli captive, whose husband remained in Gaza, told the prime minister: “The feeling we had there was that no one was doing anything for us. The fact is that I was in a hiding place that was shelled, and we had to be smuggled out and wounded. Not including the helicopter that shot at us on the way to Gaza. You claim that there is intelligence, But the fact is that we are being shelled. My husband was separated from us three days before we returned to Israel and taken to the tunnels. And you are talking about flooding the tunnels with seawater? You are shelling the route of tunnels in the exact area where they are.”

Others have accused the Israeli government of attempting to kill their captive family members deliberately. According to Maya Sherman, her son Ron was killed by the Israeli army, which flooded the tunnel he was being held captive in with poison gas, suffocating him to death. “Ron was indeed murdered. Not by Hamas. Think more in the direction of Auschwitz and the showers but without Nazis and without Hamas as the cause. No accidental shooting, no report, premeditated murder, bombings with poisonous gases,” she wrote on social media. Israel has adopted a controversial military policy, the Hannibal Directive, which states it is better to kill its own soldiers or civilians who have been taken captive by an enemy rather than have to negotiate and give concessions to win their release, such as releasing Palestinians held captive in Israeli prisons.

A report from Al-Estiklal Newspaper from October detailed how Israel has implanted GPS chips under the skin of its soldiers to facilitate locating them in case of abduction by Hamas or other Palestinian resistance groups. According to Ayman Rigib, a political science professor at the University of Jerusalem, Hamas discovered these chips under the skin of the soldiers it captured and took to Gaza on 7 October. The resistance removed these electronic chips, which were implanted under the skin of the Israeli soldiers’ hands, and placed all the chips in one location to set up an ambush for Israeli troops that may come to save their comrades. However, rather than send troops to rescue the captive soldiers, the Israeli army bombed the location as if intending to kill the soldiers.

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They can’t even defend themselves. The US likes things that way.

NATO Won’t Defend US – Trump (RT)

NATO will not come to the rescue if the US is attacked, former President Donald Trump warned on Saturday. Speaking to a crowd of supporters at a campaign event in Las Vegas, Nevada, Trump continued his criticizm of the Western military bloc. “We’re paying for NATO, and we don’t get so much out of it,” he claimed. “And you know – I hate to tell you this about NATO – if we ever needed their help, let’s say we were attacked, I don’t believe they’d be there,” the former president said. “I know the people,” he added. According to Article 5 of the NATO Charter, an armed attack against one member state must be considered an attack against all of them. The statement follows a long history of complaints leveled by Trump at the US-led bloc during and after his presidency. He famously ruffled many feathers in Brussels by claiming in 2017 that NATO was “obsolete.” He later repeatedly chastised Germany and other American allies for not spending enough on defense.

Similarly, Trump criticized President Joe Biden for providing military aid to Ukraine during its conflict with Russia. “We don’t have ammunition for ourselves, [yet] we’re giving away so much,” he said last year. Trump also promised to end the fighting between Moscow and Kiev within “24 hours” and restore peace in the region if re-elected. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, however, said that Trump’s claim was unrealistic. Asked by NBC News in November if he believed that Trump would continue supporting Ukraine, Zelensky replied: “Really, I don’t know.” Trump remains the frontrunner for the Republican Party’s nomination as their candidate against Biden. This month, he comfortably came first in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, prompting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to drop out. Former US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, is now Trump’s sole Republican rival.

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“..The resolution calls Ms. Willis’ indictment “the severest case of gross abuse of discretion” while alleging that the Fulton County DA “grossly violated” her oath of office..”

22 Articles Of Impeachment Filed Against Fani Willis (ZH)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis may find herself out of a job, after a Georgia lawmaker filed a resolution Friday to impeach her for various acts of “malfeasance, tyrannical partiality, and oppression,” after allegations emerged that the Special Prosecutor she hired to go after Donald Trump turned out to be her lover, who she paid almost $700,000 – before he dropped thousands of dollars to take her on lavish vacations. “Fani Willis has a laundry list of potential conflicts that make her unworthy and unfit to be the District Attorney in Fulton Count,” said state Rep. Charlice Byrd (R) in a Jan. 26 statement accompanying the introduction of H.R. 872, a resolution to vote on impeachment charges against Willis. Willis brought a 2020 election interference case against former President Trump and over a dozen co-defendants under Georgia laws intended to fight organized crime.

In particular, Trump asked Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ‘find’ votes for him. The context, however, was that Trump was commenting on all the votes ‘found’ for Biden in the middle of the night, so ‘find’ Trump votes in the same vein. Byrd’s 10-page resolution lays out the case against Willis, accusing her of violating her oath of office which states that “Any public officer who willfully and intentionally violates the terms of his oath as prescribed by law shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.” “The impeachment resolution comes on the same day that the Georgia State Senate voted to establish a committee that will investigate various allegations of misconduct against Ms. Willis, ranging from accusations of prosecutorial misconduct to questions about the use of public funds and allegations of an unprofessional relationship with the lead prosecutor in the case”. -Epoch Times

“The impeachment resolution accuses Ms. Willis of having committed “acts of malfeasance, tyrannical partiality, and oppression” in the “wrongful” indictment of President Trump and his 18 co-defendants (now down to 14 since four have pleaded guilty). The resolution calls Ms. Willis’ indictment “the severest case of gross abuse of discretion” while alleging that the Fulton County DA “grossly violated” her oath of office, in which she swore to be impartial. Ms. Byrd’s impeachment resolution also accuses Ms. Willis of engaging in an “inappropriate” and “unethical” relationship with lead prosecutor Nathan Wade while alleging that she profited from the relationship. There are a total of 22 articles of impeachment in the resolution, each an alleged violation of Georgia Code 16-10-1. Nineteen of the impeachment charges are allegations that Ms. Willis’ prosecution of President Trump and the 18 other co-defendants under Georgia’s organized crime laws was done for the purpose of advancing her political career and so “grossly violates” her oath of office.

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Why spend all that time and money teaching your cannon fodder to read and write?

US Navy Says High School Diploma No Longer Needed For New Recruits (Sp.)

The Navy is the latest branch of the United States’ armed forces to lower its recruitment standards after struggling to meet its yearly goals. “We get thousands of people into our recruiting stations every year that want to join the Navy but do not have an education credential,” said the branch’s chief of personnel Vice Admiral Rick Cheeseman. “And we just turn them away.” Now the Navy will accept some of those potential recruits lacking a high school diploma or GED, assuming they’re able to score 50 or above on a qualification test. The move comes after the service previously lowered their qualification requirements in 2022, again amidst recruitment challenges. The Navy is the only branch of the US armed forces that admits applicants who score below 30 out of 100 on the qualification test. Officials say some positions, such as in maintenance or food preparation, don’t require a conventional education.

The change in policy likely won’t be enough to fully meet the Navy’s recruiting shortfall. The branch fell 5,866 recruits short of its goal last year, while Cheeseman estimates perhaps 500 of the applicants it turned away would immediately be able to score high enough on the exam. Still, the Navy hopes the revised policy will encourage more people to enlist, and that low-scoring applicants can eventually make the grade with proper training. The US Air Force also reported failing to meet their recruiting goals last year, while the Army said they fell 15,000 short of their target. Only the Marine Corps and the fledgling Space Force hit their goals. The recruitment problems come as the Biden administration recently announced talks to end the country’s 20-year military presence in Iraq. Biden presided over a chaotic pullout from Afghanistan in 2021. Polling shows Americans’ confidence in the country’s armed forces has reached a two decade low.

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Unboxed process

 

 

 

 

New language

 

 

The duck

 

 

Camels

 

 

Pink flamingos
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751603783912800538

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 162023
 
 December 16, 2023  Posted by at 10:12 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  52 Responses »


Edward Hopper Hotel lobby 1943

 

Hersh: Hamas Troops Surrendering in Gaza, West Bank is Next Tinderbox (Sp.)
Pumping Seawater Into Hamas Tunnels Proves ‘Successful’ (Cradle)
IDF Reveals Forces ‘Mistakenly’ Killed Three Israeli Hostages in Gaza (Sp.)
Maersk Diverts All Vessels From Red Sea (ZH)
West Secretly Urging Russia-Ukraine Talks – Lavrov (RT)
Scott Ritter: Ukrainian Military to Crumble by Mid-2024 (Sp.)
Scholz Pulled Ruse On Orban To Start Ukraine Accession Talks – Politico (RT)
Hungary May Impose Veto On Ukraine’s EU Accession Talks – FM (TASS)
Austrian Leader Skipped Russian Sanctions Vote – Politico (RT)
Biden Lacks ‘End Game’ in ‘Doomed’ Ukraine Project – Analyst (Sp.)
Zelensky’s Global Begging Tour Is an Obscene Fiasco (SCF)
Cranking Up the Ukraine Phoney History Mill (Karganovic)
The Mystery of the Missing Binder (CNN)

 

 

 

 

Watters Hunter Watch this!

 

 

Pretty good

 

 

Turn off the internet Miles Taylor is a “national security official” in the same sense that your Starbucks barista is a national security official.

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Dore

 

 

Tucker Assange

 

 

 

 

“..the disparity in Israeli and Palestinian civilian deaths “is something that Israelis will have to think about.” The officer supports the war “but the balance is not right.”

Hersh: Hamas Troops Surrendering in Gaza, West Bank is Next Tinderbox (Sp.)

The growing crisis in the West Bank is fraught with the risk of sparking a regional war in the Middle East, as Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in his recent blog post. While the Joe Biden administration appears to have turned a blind eye to mounting civilian casualties in Gaza, the US president is concerned about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attacks on the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, according to Hersh. “Steadily increasing violence committed there against the Palestinian population by Israeli settlers, who are openly supported by the IDF and the extremists that now dominate Israeli politics, has triggered alarms in Washington,” the investigative journalist wrote, quoting a US official with access to sensitive information.

“The official told me that ‘Bibi’s continuing campaign’ in the West Bank ‘is complicating Israel’s efforts to create favorable arrangements in Gaza after the war ends,’ and the violence has become a ‘huge obstacle’ for the Biden administration.” According to Hersh, Netanyahu and Israeli hardliners want carte blanche from the Biden White House for their actions in the West Bank. He quoted his source as saying that Netanyahu cabinet officials “are pissed at Biden and think he should have said that we’re with you all the way: ‘You got to do [in the West Bank] what you got to do’.” The most ardent supporter of tougher measures against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank is National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, a lawyer and right-wing politician. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist noted that Biden was “uncharacteristically caustic about Gvir”, suggesting that the minister and his allies are against the two-state solution.

According to Hersh’s source, the crucial question faced by US intelligence analysts “is whether there is going to be a regional war” in the Middle East if Tel Aviv continues to ignore the growing crisis in the West Bank. That question is “up in the air” given Netanyahu’s ongoing legal predicament and the backing he needs from Ben Gvir and his supporters. Commenting on the prospects of the two-state solution in the Middle East, the intelligence official noted that “there is a lot of behind-the-scenes back-and-forth.” Meanwhile, the “astonishing number” of civilians dying in Gaza has “left a stain” on Israel’s international reputation — worrying even some former Israeli military officers, Hersh said. One told the investigative journalist that the disparity in Israeli and Palestinian civilian deaths “is something that Israelis will have to think about.” The officer supports the war “but the balance is not right.”

Hersh said he had learnt that as many as 700 Hamas soldiers had opted to surrender to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). A senior aide to Yahya Sinjar, the purported masterminds behind Hamas’s October 7 cross-border raid, is also said to have surrendered. “Israel expected Hamas to fight to the end, just as America thought the Japanese would do in World War II,” the US source told Hersh. The journalist noted that Sinjar is believed to be hiding somewhere in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The journalist also discovered that Israel and Hamas leadership in exile have renewed contacts with regard to a possible exchange of Israeli hostages for imprisoned Palestinians. “At this point, I was told, there are 137 Israelis in Hamas custody and still thought to be alive,” Hersh wrote.

“All were taken hostage on October 7, and as many as thirty-six of them are believed to be active IDF members, men and women between the ages of eighteen to thirty-one. Eight civilian women and two children are still believed to be in custody.” Reportedly, Hamas wants to exchange 10 hostages for 40 prisoners in Israeli jails and a 48-hour ceasefire. The US official told Hersh that some elderly hostages in Hamas’ custody had died due to lack of medical treatment. After all hostages are freed “the entire [Hamas] leadership—political, religious, and military—will be killed in the countries where they live,” Hersh’s contact said, adding that Mossad — the Israeli intelligence service — “is already tracking them, but killing them before the hostages are out is risky.”

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“The tunnels were built by well-trained and educated engineers who considered all possible attacks from the occupation, including pumping water..”

Pumping Seawater Into Hamas Tunnels Proves ‘Successful’ (Cradle)

The Israeli daily The Times of Israel reported on 14 December that the attempt to pump seawater into the vast network of tunnels built by Hamas in Gaza was proving to be a “success.” “The tunnel flooding had indeed begun, albeit in a limited trial capacity …,” and that “it was understood to have been a success,” the newspaper said on Thursday. Three days ago, Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that the Israeli military had already begun pumping seawater into tunnels used by Hamas. Citing US officials familiar with the Israeli military operation, the WSJ had reported that the move to flood the tunnels with water from the Mediterranean was in its early stages. A spokesperson for the Israeli defense minister had declined to comment, saying tunnel operations were classified.

When asked, however, if the tunnel flooding tactic might pose a threat to Israeli prisoners held in Gaza, Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a press conference on 14 December that the military operates on “intelligence” regarding where prisoners are being kept, adding that Israel “will not take steps that harm them.” In another press conference in Beirut on Thursday, senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said that the tunnels were built to withstand flooding, and that Israel’s plans have been taken into account. “The tunnels were built by well-trained and educated engineers who considered all possible attacks from the occupation, including pumping water,” Hamdan said, adding that the underground network is “an integral part of the resistance, and all consequences and expected attacks have been taken into account.”

At the start of the war in October, officials were quoted as saying that soldiers should “under no circumstances” attempt to enter the tunnels. The report by The Times of Israel comes as Israel is no closer to its goal of destroying Hamas. “Israel is still far from toppling Hamas. The majority of its fighters are still alive; it still possesses rockets,” said Michael Millstein, a Palestinian studies expert, on 12 December. Clashes continue to rage between Israel and the Palestinian resistance in both north and south Gaza, with resistance fighters ambushing Israeli troops on a daily basis. At least 10 Israeli soldiers were killed in the Shujaiya neighborhood of north Gaza and elsewhere on 12 December in coordinated ambushes laid by Hamas and other groups. Israeli media referred to the ambush as “one of the deadliest” since the ground war was launched in late October.

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‘Mistakenly..’

IDF Reveals Forces ‘Mistakenly’ Killed Three Israeli Hostages in Gaza (Sp.)

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) admitted on Friday that the service had mistakenly identified three hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip as a threat and opened fire, killing all three. “During combat in Shejaiya, the IDF mistakenly identified three Israeli hostages as a threat. As a result, the troops fired toward them and they were killed,” the IDF wrote on its Telegram channel. The bodies of the three individuals, two of who were identified by the IDF as Samer Talalka and Yotam Haim, have since been recovered by Israeli forces. The third individual was not publicly identified at the family’s request “Immediate lessons from the event have been learned, which have been passed on to all IDF troops in the field,” the IDF said in a statement.

“The IDF expresses deep remorse over the tragic incident and sends the families its heartfelt condolences. Our national mission is to locate the missing and return all the hostages home.” The trio were said to have been taken into custody by Hamas from Kibbutz Kfar Aza during the October 7 surprise attack. A “review” of the incident has been launched. Since early October, Israel has detailed that upwards of 1,000 Israelis have been killed in hostilities, with nearly 250 civilians and soldiers having been taken hostage by Hamas. To date, more than 18,000 Palestinians have been killed amid ongoing bombing campaigns on Gaza, including nearly 8,000 children.

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A powerful punch.

Maersk Diverts All Vessels From Red Sea (ZH)

There’s been yet another Houthi attack on commercial shipping in the Red Sea, in at least the third serious incident this week, prompting container shipping giant Maersk to order any of its vessels near the southern entrance of the Red Sea to immediately halt their voyages. “Following the near-miss incident involving Maersk Gibraltar yesterday and yet another attack on a container vessel today, we have instructed all Maersk vessels in the area bound to pass through the Bab al-Mandab Strait to pause their journey until further notice,” the Danish international liner confirmed Friday, per Bloomberg. “In this latest incident, ballistic missiles and a drone were fired from Houthi held territory in Yemen and struck a Liberian-flagged cargo ship near the Bab El-Mandeb Strait, according to a Pentagon official. A second vessel in the same area also came under attack close in time to the first.”

According to breaking details relayed in Reuters: Attacks from Houthi-controlled Yemen struck two Liberian-flagged ships in the Bab al-Mandab Strait on Friday, a U.S. defense official said, underlining the threat to vessels in shipping lanes being targeted by the Iran-aligned group. A projectile, believed to be a drone, struck one of the vessels, the German-owned Al Jasrah, causing a fire but no injuries, the official said. Two ballistic missiles were fired in the second attack, one of which struck a vessel, causing a fire which the crew was working to extinguish, the official said.” A Houthi statement subsequently identified that the MSC Alanya and MSC Palatium III were the targeted vessels in the attack. It’s unclear whether they are Israeli-linked, however it is clear that the vessels were sailing the direction of Israeli ports when they were struck. US Navy and other coalition warships are reportedly en route to assist the damaged ships – with potential casualties unknown at this point.

The impact of this fresh pair of attacks has been felt immediately by markets (note: rerouting of traditional routes means chaos as buyers need to scramble to ensure they have priority to new routes, and this in turn leads to surge in charter rates and boost to shipper revenues), per Bloomberg: “Shipping stocks extend their surge as Maersk tells its vessels in the Red Sea area to pause their journeys, following recent militant attacks on merchant ships. The attacks have raised fears of disruptions to container shipping.” Crucially, Maersk has now confirmed that its tankers will avoid the Red Sea altogether. This directive has reportedly already been sent out. As of late last month, the Maersk exodus had already begun: “Ships with links to Israel are diverting in greater numbers from the Red and Arabian Seas following a series of attacks over the past 11 days by Houthis, Iranians and Somalis. Danish liner giant Maersk became the latest big name to announce that a pair of its ships on charter – Lisa and Maersk Pagani – will be diverted with cargoes discharged in the United Arab Emirates resulting in delays of more than a week. “This decision has been made with careful consideration of various factors, prioritizing the safety of crew, the vessel, and your cargo,” Maersk stated in an advisory to clients.

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“… at least via three different channels of communication, sent signals as to why don’t we meet and talk about what to do with Ukraine and with European security..”

West Secretly Urging Russia-Ukraine Talks – Lavrov (RT)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that multiple Western leaders had approached him about potential negotiations to end the conflict in Ukraine, saying the Kremlin is ready for dialogue so long as it respects Moscow’s core interests. Speaking alongside his Belarusian counterpart Sergey Aleinik on Friday, Lavrov told reporters that some Western powers were increasingly interested in a negotiated settlement, though declined to single out any country by name. “I do not want to and I have no right to name names, but a number of high-level, well-known leaders of Western countries, including one specific Western leader, a very well-known one, several times, … at least via three different channels of communication, sent signals as to why don’t we meet and talk about what to do with Ukraine and with European security,” he said.

Lavrov added that Russia is “always ready to discuss these issues seriously,” but suggested Kiev had been the unwilling party, saying “We have never rejected the negotiations and this question should not be addressed to us.” However, the FM stressed that any talks would have to account for “Russia’s legitimate interests” and must mean “putting an end to attempts to build [one’s] own security at the expense of others,” referring to Ukraine’s efforts to join the NATO bloc. Though Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met for multiple rounds of talks in the weeks after Moscow launched its military operation, the discussions soon collapsed. Kiev has shown little interest in further dialogue in the months since, with President Vladimir Zelensky even signing a decree barring any talks with the current Kremlin leadership.

During a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) earlier this month, Lavrov recalled that the two sides had essentially reached a peace agreement following talks in Istanbul in March 2022, noting that senior Ukrainian MP David Arakhamia, who led his country’s delegation, had recently confirmed this. A key political ally of Zelensky, Arakhamia said that Russia’s primary goal had been to pressure Ukraine to accept neutrality and abandon plans to join NATO. Kiev did not trust Moscow to keep its word and wanted “security guarantees” from third parties, Arakhamia said, also pointing out then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s role in discouraging the talks.

Western leaders have so far said little about new peace talks in their public comments, though recent media reports have indicated that US and European officials have quietly broached the issue behind the scenes. According to US officials cited by NBC, Washington is now “worried that Ukraine is running out of forces” and cannot succeed on the battlefield, reportedly prompting new interest in negotiations.

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“He’s going to want a lot of money to continue, to not only sustain the funding of the Ukrainian state, but also to sustain the greasing of Ukrainian corruption, because that’s the only thing that keeps Zelensky in power.”

Scott Ritter: Ukrainian Military to Crumble by Mid-2024 (Sp.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s charm offensive has failed, as US members of Congress are fixing to leave for winter break without passing Biden’s $61 billion package for Kiev. Even though the Democratic-controlled Senate has delayed holiday recess to unlock the aid, the House shows no sign of returning to pass it through the full Congress. “The day of the West turning over hundreds of tanks, hundreds of armored fighting vehicles, hundreds of artillery pieces is over,” Scott Ritter, a military analyst and former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, told Sputnik. “We just don’t have any left to give. So the best Zelensky can hope for is your penny packets of armor, penny packets of infantry fighting vehicles, some ammunition, and maybe an F-16 or two. He’s going to want a lot of money to continue, to not only sustain the funding of the Ukrainian state, but also to sustain the greasing of Ukrainian corruption, because that’s the only thing that keeps Zelensky in power.”

The US House of Representatives voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on December 14. The bill extended the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative through the end of 2026, authorizing $300 million for Kiev in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2024, as well as the next one. Still, the US media admits that it’s just a drop in the bucket when compared to the $61 billion requested by Biden. Both American voters and members of Congress have grown skeptical about funneling more money into Ukraine. Almost 50 percent of US voters believe Washington is spending “too much” in military and financial aid for Ukraine, as per the latest FT-Michigan Ross monthly survey. The sentiment is largely explained by Kiev’s crushing defeat during the summer counteroffensive.

Meanwhile, Kiev officials behave as if they are absolutely unaware of the troublesome trend. Earlier this month, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense handed over a “list of armaments to meet the needs of Ukraine’s defense forces” to their American counterparts. In addition to artillery shells, F-16 fighters, drones, and missiles the list also included F-18 Hornet fighter jets, Boeing Apache attack helicopters, Lockheed Martin Black Hawk choppers, and even the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) air defense system, among other top-notch weapons. Per Ritter, there’s zero chance whatsoever that Ukraine will ever see anything on that wish list, with the exception of perhaps a handful of old F-16 fighters and a fraction of the artillery ammunition that they’ve requested.

“This is a sign of absolute panic on the part of Ukraine,” Ritter believes. “Zelensky is approaching a delusional state where he appears to be of a mindset similar to that which Adolf Hitler possessed in the final days in the Berlin bunker as the Red Army closed in, where he fantasized armies, he was moving nonexistent troops and aircraft on a map with his hands.” The former Marine intelligence officer explained that providing sophisticated weaponry to Kiev is throwing away money and throwing away capability in the eyes of Washington. Furthermore, Russia knocking out F-18 fighter jets or THAADs would create a bad precedent, let alone the security challenge of US technologies falling into the hands of the Russian military, according to Ritter.

“Ukraine does not factor into the legitimate national security interests of the United States,” the military expert highlighted. “We are not going to sacrifice ourselves on the altar of Ukrainian nationalism. We’ve given them some support, but that support was merely sufficient to create the perception of Ukrainian strength. But we were never going to give the Ukrainians the ability to win this war, because they were never going to have the ability to win this war. Ukraine cannot defeat Russia. They’re not physically capable of defeating Russia, regardless of the equipment that the West gives them. So why would we sacrifice the best equipment we have on this altar?”

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No ruse. Orban knew what was happening.

Scholz Pulled Ruse On Orban To Start Ukraine Accession Talks – Politico (RT)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz managed to get Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban out of the room at a key EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday so that he would not veto a motion to begin formal accession talks with Ukraine, Politico reported on Friday. The ruse reportedly allowed the EU to move forward with the process. While the EU Council recommended opening membership talks with Kiev in November, Orban has repeatedly criticized the initiative, branding Ukraine “one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” and claiming that it had failed to meet the necessary conditions for such a decision. EU leaders attempted to persuade Orban to change his stance during marathon negotiations in Brussels on Thursday.

Finally, about three hours into the talks, Scholz told Orban that “he should consider leaving the room briefly,” and, perhaps go “grab a coffee outside,” Politico reported, adding that the idea behind the suggestion was that EU leaders would be able to unanimously approve the move while Orban would be able to say that he had not voted in favor. According to Politico’s sources, while Scholz’s down-to-earth strategy raised some eyebrows both in the EU and beyond, it had been “pre-agreed” and carried out in a “constructive manner.” One official told the magazine that the German chancellor resorted to “an old trick from his time with the Young Socialists,” the youth wing of his Social Democratic Party. The ground for the ploy, according to the magazine, was set in the previous hours of the summit that saw many EU leaders piling strong pressure on Orban, attempting to debunk his arguments that Ukraine was not worthy of being given a path to joining the bloc.

Finally, while Orban did not veto the accession talks with Ukraine, he called the decision “completely senseless, irrational, and incorrect.” Nevertheless, he still blocked the EU’s four-year plan to allocate €50 billion ($54 billion) for Ukraine. Orban’s chief political adviser previously insisted that Budapest could sign on for the move if the EU unfreezes all of the €30 billion earmarked for Hungary that was blocked over corruption and rule-of-law concerns. Brussels previously unlocked €10 billion, citing Budapest’s progress on judicial reforms to make the country’s courts more independent.

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“We were not involved in this decision, we were not responsible for it and we were exempt from its consequences..”

Hungary May Impose Veto On Ukraine’s EU Accession Talks – FM (TASS)

Hungary will veto the European Union’s talks on the accession of Ukraine if they are found to be detrimental to Hungarian interests, Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in an interview with Mandiner magazine. “The European Union has decided to start accession talks with Ukraine,” Hungary’s top diplomat said. “This is a principled decision, which has no practical significance whatsoever.” “In case Brussels, tries to squeeze in during the preparations for the real talks on the [Ukrainian] accession something that would harm us, we will be forced to resort to the tool of tough veto,” Szijjarto stressed.

Having called as “completely irrational” a decision to launch talks on Ukraine’s EU accession, the Hungarian foreign minister recalled that his country’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban did not participate in negotiations on this issue at the most recent EU summit in Brussels. According to Szijjarto, it was the best PM Orban could do in that situation, as the leaders of the other 26 EU countries insisted on providing the green light to Ukraine’s accession process. “We were not involved in this decision, we were not responsible for it and we were exempt from its consequences,” the Hungarian foreign minister added. Speaking to journalists last Friday ahead of the European Union’s Summit in Brussels on December 14-15 Orban said: “No sense of launching talks today with Ukraine [on EU’s admission].”

Hungary’s Premier Orban stated previously in the month that he objected to including the issue of Ukraine’s EU membership on the agenda of the organization’s meeting in Brussels on December 14-15. Hungary has repeatedly stated its intention to keep channels of communication with Russia open in order to continue looking for ways to resolve the Ukraine crisis, among other things. Putin and Orban focused on this issue at their meeting in Beijing on the sidelines of the Belt and Road international forum on October 17.

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It’s a popular move…

Austrian Leader Skipped Russian Sanctions Vote – Politico (RT)

European Union member states have agreed to a 12th package of sanctions against Russia; however, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who had been holding up a decision on the latest set of punitive measures targeting Moscow, was reportedly not in the room, Politico reported. While the text of the package had been agreed upon by all countries earlier this week, Austria reportedly wasn’t able to give its final approval until late Thursday, saying it needed time to examine the legal text. Reuters earlier wrote that sources familiar with the matter said the country had been trying to have Raiffeisen Bank International, the largest Western bank still operating in Russia, taken off a Ukrainian blacklist in return for Vienna’s willingness to sign off on new EU sanctions against Moscow.

European diplomats told Politico that Nehammer’s absence was just a coincidence, as he had left the room to speak with EC President Ursula von der Leyen about the EU accession of Romania and Bulgaria. However, ironically, earlier in the day, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán seemed to have resorted to the same maneuver. Orban left the leaders’ room when they decided to go ahead with accession talks for Ukraine, to allow for a unanimous decision in what the media wrote was “the coffee break that saved Ukraine’s membership talks.” According to Reuters, despite Austria’s reported efforts to take it off Ukraine’s blacklist, Raiffeisen is still there. The new penalties include a direct ban on imports of non-industrial Russian diamonds starting from January 1 and a phased ban on diamond imports from third countries starting from March, in alignment with the G7 countries. Other sanctions include toughening the proof required of companies which claim they adhere to the G7 Russian oil price cap.

The package also added measures to prevent Russia from getting dual-use goods by obliging EU companies’ counterparties to sign contracts when buying certain products which prohibit their re-sale to Russia. A notification procedure for Russian citizens or entities in Russia wishing to transfer more than 100,000 euros (over $109,000) out of the EU was also incorporated into the sanctions package. The EU has already imposed 11 rounds of sanctions on Russia since the beginning of its conflict with Ukraine in early 2022, aiming to weaken the country’s economy by depriving it of access to critical technology and markets, and by curtailing its income from the export of raw materials. In response, Russia has redirected much of its trade to Asia, primarily India and China. Speaking during a marathon Q&A session on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US and its allies are largely “shooting themselves in the foot” by slapping Russia with new sanctions, which he said ended up hurting them more than they did Moscow.

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“Neither the United States nor the Europeans even have the stockpiles to undertake a war… We are so depleted right now, we wouldn’t even be able to fight a one-front war..”

Biden Lacks ‘End Game’ in ‘Doomed’ Ukraine Project – Analyst (Sp.)

The ‘Ukraine’ project “is doomed,” and the regime in Kiev “has already lost,” Michael Maloof, former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, told Sputnik. “The Biden administration, and I think even some European countries now are seeing the inevitability of that,” he added. With the much-heralded Ukraine counteroffensive turning out to be a total flop, despite the enormous military assistance that the US and its NATO allies have doled out, the mainstream media has now stopped talking about any so-called ‘successes’ by the Zelensky regime and has gone practically silent. So currently, given the open admissions that Kiev’s counteroffensive was a disaster, ‘Ukraine fatigue’ is now gaining ground both in the US and Europe. Meanwhile, the Russian Armed Forces have transitioned to an offensive stance in the special military operation zone and are advancing along the entire contact line, as emphasized by President Vladimir Putin during his annual press conference on December 14.

Ukraine’s military, according to Maloof, had seriously lacked one particular element from the start – air power. “They didn’t have the air power to deal with tank traps, mines that the Russians built up over time. And it devolved into trench warfare,” he said. As for Western countries, in their frenzy to fuel NATO’s proxy conflict against Russia in Ukraine, they ended up facing depleted weapons and munitions stocks. “Neither the United States nor the Europeans even have the stockpiles to undertake a war… We are so depleted right now, we wouldn’t even be able to fight a one-front war,” said Maloof. Weighing in on talk by the West to “help the Ukrainians to build up their own indigenous military production capabilities,” the retired senior security policy analyst dismissed it as “silly.” He recalled that Russia recently warned that if Ukraine were to start manufacturing these weapons on its soil, such facilities would be deemed a legitimate target.

“Well, that also applies to the F-16s that they [Kiev regime] hope and pray to get,” stressed Maloof, and continued: “But first, pilots have to be trained in English to understand the instructions, and that could take years. So in addition to the training, so even if they were based in Ukraine, they’re going to be taken out. Could the Ukrainians launch these F-16s from a NATO country? If they did that, it immediately involves a NATO country… And Russia would have a right to respond.” Of course, Ukraine’s President Volodymy Zelensky had been offered a chance at a negotiated settlement, but he was pressured by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, other Western leaders, to reject Russia’s generous terms with the promise of more arms. Well, now “that’s faltering,” the former US Defense Department staff member succinctly pointed out. Ukrainian President Zelensky failed miserably in his last ditch effort to win a funding package worth over $60 billion from American lawmakers.

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“The EU membership talks were granted no doubt as a way to distract from the fact that the EU funds were not forthcoming and especially following the miserable response from U.S. lawmakers..”

Zelensky’s Global Begging Tour Is an Obscene Fiasco (SCF)

The United States’ proxy war in Ukraine against Russia has cost the lives of up to 400,000 Ukrainian soldiers. In the last six months alone, it is estimated that over 120,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed in a failed counteroffensive. Even Western media are coyly admitting the grim reality of failure after much-vaunted predictions last year of imminent victory against Russia. Yet nearly two years after the conflict erupted, the leader of the puppet regime in Kiev persists in begging for billions more in funds from his Western sponsors to continue the bloodbath – the biggest armed confrontation in Europe since the Second World War. The hostilities can be traced back to the 2014 coup in Kiev orchestrated by the CIA and precipitated by the European Union and Washington trying to cleave traditional Ukrainian relations with Russia.

Those hostilities culminated in February 2022 in what can be seen as a U.S.-led proxy war against Russia. A war that has failed for the Western powers and needs to be peacefully negotiated to spare further death and destruction. This week, however, saw Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky going to Washington “cap in hand” to plead for $60 billion in additional funds. His begging mission failed. The U.S. Congress refused to pass the supplemental bill requested on his behalf by President Joe Biden for Ukraine. After that humiliation, Zelensky then turned his solicitation to the European Union. The EU, by turn, failed to agree on a requested fund for $54 billion for Ukraine. As a sort of consolation prize, the EU leaders at their two-day summit in Brussels declared that Ukraine could start negotiations for eventually gaining access to the 27-member bloc.

That decision was bombastically hailed as “historic” but it seemed more theatre than substance given that the negotiations will take several years to conduct and there is no guarantee at the end of the tedious process that Ukraine will actually gain EU membership. Will Ukraine even exist as a state in a few years, as our columnist Stephen Karganovic ponders in an article this week? The EU membership talks were granted no doubt as a way to distract from the fact that the EU funds were not forthcoming and especially following the miserable response from U.S. lawmakers. The whole sorry saga indicates that the U.S.-led proxy war in Ukraine has become a deplorable black hole for Western public money. Given the military debacle and the futile bloodshed, it is becoming politically untenable for Washington and Brussels to keep shovelling billions of taxpayer money into this abyss.

Up for the asking this week was a total of nearly $100 billion between the U.S. and Europe for Ukraine. How many badly needed public services in Western states could do with – and are denied – that kind of financial sustenance? The spectacle of Zelensky touring the world scrounging for more money is as shameful as it is sordid. Official figures show that the Western governments have already donated a combined total of $200 billion to Ukraine since the conflict escalated in February 2022. To put that largesse into perspective, it is estimated that the U.S. Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of the whole of Europe following World War Two was equivalent to $173 billion in today’s money. Think about that. The Western funding to Ukraine already exceeds this historic salvage package by some $30 billion. And yet Western governments are trying to muster another $100 billion on top of that.

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“..a long-overdue project to fabricate a history for Ukraine..”

Cranking Up the Ukraine Phoney History Mill (Karganovic)

What took the British so long? We learned from the Guardian recently that British “partners” have embarked on a long-overdue project to fabricate a history for Ukraine, “to wrest Ukraine’s past from the shadow of Russian and Soviet narratives.” Projection is evident right from the start. A narrative, the definition of which is a self-serving false account, is being concocted in London to counter not another equally false narrative but to undermine the historically attested perception shared by inhabitants of both contemporary Russia and Ukraine that they are, indeed, “one people.” That is exactly what was pointed out in you know who’s famous essay ”On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,“ published in the summer of 2021. Ever since, those essentially commonplace historical assertions, acknowledged for at least the last millennium as axiomatic by all the locals from Kiev to Moscow, have disconcerted quite a few nation-builders in the collective West.

And that precisely is the reason for the Ukraine history project which lately has obsessed British minds. The construction of a viable anti-Russia is glaringly incomplete unless endowed with a suitable “history” written to reflect not just Ukraine’s supposed distinctness but more importantly its antithetical nature in relation to Russia. The task of the London-based Ukrainian History Global Initiative is to fill the embarrassing gap in the scholarship by hiring a bevy of what in the narcissistic West passes for reputable academics for the job. The undertaking has been conceived by serious hybrid warfare operatives to supersede the inadequate and primitive rants of native propaganda assets with a glossy, sophisticated version of exactly the same rants, but skilfully packaged as respectable scholarship in order to impress the simpleminded.

The Ukrainian History Initiative is expected to complete its work in three years and has been entrusted to ninety largely non-Ukrainian, Western academics. It is chaired by Swedish politician Karl Bildt (whose credentials as a historian are not clear) and includes such luminaries as the stridently anti-Russian Yale historian Timothy Snyder, intelligence asset Anne Applebaum (who just happened to fall in love and marry Russian fifth-columnist Ilya Ponomarev), British lawyer and KC Philippe Sands, and Klaus Schwab associate Yuval Harari, among others.

It may seem odd that the fabrication of Ukrainian history is being managed from London, not having been entrusted to the intellectual brain-power of the Kiev regime, the party which presumably should be interested the most in the success of this academic travesty. Western curators, however, prefer to keep such undertakings under tight control and to delegate execution to reliable staff. The identical approach – seemingly just as odd, but not really – was employed several years ago for the fabrication of the “Montenegrin language”. The new language was created by a committee composed entirely of foreigners, without a single Montenegrin. Just as NATO satrapy Ukraine would be incomplete without a history, for roughly similar reasons the new NATO satellite Montenegro would appear inauthentic without a separate language.

The front man for the Ukraine history operation is an individual by the name of Viktor Pinchuk, self-identified on the internet page of the Fund bearing his name as “a Ukrainian businessman and philanthropist.” Specific information about Pinchuk’s “philanthropic” activities, beyond the tritely stated goal of “empowering future generations to become the change makers of tomorrow,” is scarce. The fact, however, that Pinchuk’s business accomplishments date back to the early 1990s, an era not particularly remembered for its philanthropic spirit, suggests the origin and manner of acquisition of his considerable wealth. And to boot, Pinchuk is the son-in-law of Ukraine’s second President, the notoriously corrupt Leonid Kuchma, whose pointedly entitled book, “Ukraine is not Russia,” should probably prove enormously helpful to the scholars being assembled in Britain to give an academic articulation to precisely such an idea. A chip off the old block indeed.

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CNN wants you to think “Putin sought to help Trump win the 2016 election..”

The Mystery of the Missing Binder (CNN)

A binder containing highly classified information related to Russian election interference went missing at the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, raising alarms among intelligence officials that some of the most closely guarded national security secrets from the US and its allies could be exposed, sources familiar with the matter told CNN. Its disappearance, which has not been previously reported, was so concerning that intelligence officials briefed Senate Intelligence Committee leaders last year about the missing materials and the government’s efforts to retrieve them, the sources said. In the two-plus years since Trump left office, the missing intelligence does not appear to have been found. The binder contained raw intelligence the US and its NATO allies collected on Russians and Russian agents, including sources and methods that informed the US government’s assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to help Trump win the 2016 election, sources tell CNN.

The intelligence was so sensitive that lawmakers and congressional aides with top secret security clearances were able to review the material only at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where their work scrutinizing it was itself kept in a locked safe. The binder was last seen at the White House during Trump’s final days in office. The former president had ordered it brought there so he could declassify a host of documents related to the FBI’s Russia investigation. Under the care of then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, the binder was scoured by Republican aides working to redact the most sensitive information so it could be declassified and released publicly. The Russian intelligence was just a small part of the collection of documents in the binder, described as being 10 inches thick and containing reams of information about the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

But the raw intelligence on Russia was among its most sensitive classified materials, and top Trump administration officials repeatedly tried to block the former president from releasing the documents. The day before leaving office, Trump issued an order declassifying most of the binder’s contents, setting off a flurry of activity in the final 48 hours of his presidency. Multiple copies of the redacted binder were created inside the White House, with plans to distribute them across Washington to Republicans in Congress and right-wing journalists. Instead, copies initially sent out were frantically retrieved at the direction of White House lawyers demanding additional redactions. Just minutes before Joe Biden was inaugurated, Meadows rushed to the Justice Department to hand-deliver a redacted copy for a last review. Years later, the Justice Department has yet to release all of the documents, despite Trump’s declassification order. Additional copies with varying levels of redactions ended up at the National Archives.

But an unredacted version of the binder containing the classified raw intelligence went missing amid the chaotic final hours of the Trump White House. The circumstances surrounding its disappearance remain shrouded in mystery. US officials repeatedly declined to discuss any government efforts to locate the binder or confirm that any intelligence was missing. The binder was not among the classified items found in last year’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, according to a US official familiar with the matter, who said the FBI was not looking specifically for intelligence related to Russia when it obtained a search warrant for the former president’s residence last year. There’s also no reference to the binder or the missing Russian intelligence in the June indictment of Trump over the mishandling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

One theory has emerged about the binder’s whereabouts. Cassidy Hutchinson, one of Meadows’ top aides, testified to Congress and wrote in her memoir that she believes Meadows took home an unredacted version of the binder. She said it had been kept in Meadows’ safe and that she saw him leave with it from the White House. “I am almost positive it went home with Mr. Meadows,” Hutchinson told the January 6 committee in closed-door testimony, according to transcripts released last year. A lawyer for Meadows, however, strongly denies that Meadows mishandled any classified information at the White House, saying any suggestion Meadows was responsible for classified information going missing was “flat wrong.” “Mr. Meadows was keenly aware of and adhered to requirements for the proper handling of classified material, any such material that he handled or was in his possession has been treated accordingly and any suggestion that he is responsible for any missing binder or other classified information is flat wrong,” Meadows attorney George Terwilliger said in a statement to CNN. “Anyone and any entity suggesting that he is responsible for anything missing does not have facts and should exercise great care before making false allegations.”

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Linus

 

 


[Tardigrades are usually about 0.5 mm (0.020 in) ] Tardigrades can survive the most extreme conditions and the same is true for their eggs, which show a remarkable geometric beauty. Tardigrades have survived all five recognized mass extinctions due to their plethora of survival characteristics, including the ability to survive conditions that would be fatal to almost all other animals.

 

 


Arnold Newman Picasso 1962

 

 

Thank you

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 252023
 
 October 25, 2023  Posted by at 8:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  47 Responses »


Roy Lichtenstein Woman With Flowered Hat 1963

 

Israel Considers Flooding Hamas Tunnels Before Ground Operation – Hersh (Sp.)
US Opposes Chinese Peace Mission in the Middle East (Tweedie)
Israel Unhappy With Russian Stance On Gaza War (RT)
The Palestinian Tragedy: Cui Bono? (Pepe Escobar)
Israel Failing in Global PR Campaign to Demonize Hamas – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
The Shit Show That Is The Israeli Army (Narwani)
What Biden’s ‘New World Order’ Really Means (RT)
Entire Global Arms Production ‘Not Enough’ For Ukraine – Minister (RT)
Russia’s External Debt-to-GDP Ratio at a Historic Low (Sp.)
OPEC-Russia’s Share in Oil Supply to Exceed 50% by 2050 – IEA (Sp.)
Sidney Powell’s Plea Bargain Sets Up Trump for Conviction (PCR)
Jenna Ellis Admits to Criminal False Statements, Ominous for Trump (Turley)
US Went ‘Overboard’ In Weaponizing Dollar – Musk (RT)

 

 

South Africa’s vaccine purchase agreement with Pfizer.

 

 

Churchill

 

 

 

 

Biden Serbia

 

 

Mike Johnson is the next designee for Speaker of the House

 

 

 

 

The Head of the Snake: Democide – Top Swiss banker Pascal Najadi

 

 

COVID VACCINES DO NOT SAVE LIVES. THEY HAVE CAUSED 17 MILLION DEATHS

 

 

 

 

“..many of whom have had only a few weeks of training in the maneuvers and coordination required for the invasion..”

Israel Considers Flooding Hamas Tunnels Before Ground Operation – Hersh (Sp.)

Israel is looking into flooding Hamas’ tunnel system before starting its ground operation in the Gaza Strip, US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said, citing sources. “A well-informed American official told me that the Israeli leadership is known to be considering flooding Hamas’s vast tunnel system before sending in its troops, many of whom have had only a few weeks of training in the maneuvers and coordination required for the invasion,” Hersh said in his column published on Substack. Hersh said Israel is in the process of turning Gaza City into rubble, via constant bombing, and is also planning to begin the ground invasion soon. Flooding the tunnels could mean that Israel was ready to “write off the hostages still in jeopardy,” Hersh said.

“Where the estimated 200-plus hostages are is an open question. Israel is only talking about the end of the Hamas regime and Hamas has so far released four hostages,” Hersh said.”The American official told me that the Israel leadership expects more to come soon.” Earlier on Tuesday, Israel’s Deputy Director General for Public Diplomacy Emmanuel Nahshon said that Israel is delaying the start of the ground invasion in Gaza due to possible “deadly traps.” The Israeli military is taking its time as it needs to prepare its soldiers for this unique situation, Nahshon added. Hersh further indicated the al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade joined the Qassam brigades – the military wing of Hamas – in the attack on Israeli kibbutzim and villages on October 7.

On the day of the attack on Israel, the Qassam brigades were not alone and were actually joined by al-Aqsa Martyrs brigades, a coalition of Palestinian armed groups that has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel, the European Union and others, the article said on Tuesday, citing a US official. “We know,” Hersch cited the official as saying, “that the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade participated.” The participation of outside groups on Hamas’ side in the attack on Israel was likely one of the reasons why secret talks about a larger release of Israeli hostages were never successful, according to Hersh.

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“The notion that somehow peace is nefarious, that China is being unprincipled in that it’s trying to work for peace..”

US Opposes Chinese Peace Mission in the Middle East (Tweedie)

The US has unmasked its true nature by blocking efforts by China and other nations to bring peace to the Middle East, says a peace activist. Chinese special envoy to the Middle East Zhai Jun said on Monday he had already visited Qatar and Egypt and would now travel to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries in the region “to further strengthen coordination with relevant parties to promote ceasefire, end violence and mitigate the situation.” More than 5,700 civilians have been killed and some 18,000 injured in the besieged Gaza Strip by Israeli Defence Forces bombing since the armed wing of the Hamas movement launched a surprise attack into southern Israel on October 7. The victims include 2,360 children, almost 1,300 women and 300 elderly people.

Last week the US blocked UN Security Council motions moved by Russia and Brazil calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian territories and for civilians to be protected. Washington has also sent two US Navy aircraft carrier strike groups and a seaborne assault flotilla to the region to back up Israel. Peace campaigner KJ Noh told Sputnik that Washington was directly opposed to Beijing’s attempts to broker a peace deal between Israel, Hamas and other states and movements in the region. “China is using its good offices, scrambling to do shuttle diplomacy to try and de-escalate and find a peaceful resolution,” Noh said. “And the United States is saying: ‘Don’t even dare talk about de-escalation. Nobody mention a ceasefire’.”

“It only wants to make sure that whatever Israel does, it does it with a minimum of PR blowback,” he added. “And so it’s trying to mitigate the PR damage rather than prevent the horrific war crimes and atrocities that are sure to happen and that are already happening.” The writer said this was a “mask-off moment” when the West’s true nature was exposed to the nations of the global south. “The US could plausibly mystify many countries by pretending to be something that it was not,” Noh argued. “But when it came out all in favor of Israel’s violence and was ignoring the ground realities as well as international law, then at that point you can’t keep up the pretence any more.”

“Even the quisling leaders of US allies have had to make a conscientious statement because the outrage on the street, the outrage globally is so extraordinary that they cannot but speak up against what the US and Israel are doing,” he stressed. Western media has tried to dismiss China’s peace initiatives as an attempt to position itself as a geopolitical rival to the US — a narrative which Noh called “extraordinary”. “The notion that somehow peace is nefarious, that China is being unprincipled in that it’s trying to work for peace — China is on the side of peace. That much is clear because that it stands to gain from peace,” he said. “Everybody benefits from peace. It just is because China’s model is win-win cooperation,” Noh said. “On the other hand, the empire benefits from war. The US is built on more genocide, primitive accumulation and geopolitical oppression and bullying.”

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Peace is bad.

Israel Unhappy With Russian Stance On Gaza War (RT)

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has conveyed to Russian diplomats their “displeasure” with Moscow’s position on the conflict with Hamas in Gaza, the public broadcaster Kan reported on Tuesday citing anonymous sources. “Russia’s conduct and the remarks against Israel don’t correspond with the severity of the situation Israel is in, which is a state of war,” Israeli diplomats reportedly told their Russian counterparts. West Jerusalem also expressed “displeasure with the role Russia is playing” in the war against Hamas and hope that Moscow will take “more balanced” positions, another ministry official told the Times of Israel newspaper. Moscow’s proposed resolution in the UN Security Council did not include “an explicit condemnation” of Hamas, and did not match President Vladimir Putin’s endorsement of Israel’s right to self-defense, according to the ministry.

Israel was subjected “to an attack that was unprecedented in its brutality, and it certainly has the right for defense, to ensure its peaceful existence,” the Russian leader said on October 13, just days after the Hamas incursion that resulted in more than 1,300 Israeli deaths. However, on the same occasion Putin noted that true peace can only be achieved when the Palestinians have a state of their own. He advised Israel not to react with “brutality,” noting that Gaza was home to around two million civilians, not all of whom supported Hamas, and argued that the proposed “total blockade” of the territory would be just as unacceptable as the siege of his home city during World War II. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has advocated for the immediate stop to the conflict, urging all parties to “respect international humanitarian law, prevent any terrorist actions and indiscriminate use of force.” He also called for the implementation of the UN-endorsed two-state solution to the conflict.

On Tuesday, Israeli diplomats called for the resignation of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, after he told the Security Council that the Hamas attack “did not happen in a vacuum” and noted that the Palestinians had been “subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.” Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, accused Guterres of expressing “an understanding for terrorism and murder” and “compassion for the most terrible atrocities committed against the citizens of Israel and the Jewish people.” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced he would boycott meetings with Guterres again, adding that “after October 7th there is no room for a balanced approach. Hamas must be wiped out from the world!”

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“I cannot praise Xi Jinping because it would be as if I’m praising myself & that would be an embarrassing thing to do.”

The Palestinian Tragedy: Cui Bono? (Pepe Escobar)

By now it’s fully established who is profiting from the ghastly Palestine tragedy. As it stands we have 3 wins for the Hegemon and 1 win for its aircraft carrier nation in West Asia. First winner is the War Party Inc., a massive bilateral scam. The White House’s $106 billion supplemental request to Congress for “assistance” especially to Ukraine and Israel is manna from Heaven to the weaponizing tentacles of the MICIMATT (military-industrial-congressional-intelligence-media-academia-think tank complex, in the legendary definition by Ray McGovern). The laundromat will be on a roll, including $61.4 billion for Ukraine (more weapons and replenishing of U.S. stocks) and $14.3 for Israel (mostly air and missile defense “support”).

Second winner is The Democratic Party engineering the unavoidable change of narrative from the spectacularly failing Project Ukraine; yet that will only postpone the upcoming humiliation of NATO in 2024, which will reduce the Afghan humiliation to the status of sandbox child playing. Third winner is setting West Asia on fire: the Straussian neocon psycho “strategy” conceived as a response to the upcoming BRICS 11, and everything in terms of Eurasia integration that was advanced at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing last week (including nearly $100 billion in new infrastructure/development projects). Then there’s the vertiginous acceleration of the project sponsored by genocidal Zionist maniacs: a Final Solution to the Palestinian question, mixing razing Gaza to the ground; forcing an exodus to Egypt; the West Bank turned into a cage; and, at the most extreme, a “Judaification of Al-Aqsa” , complete with an eschatological destruction of the third holiest place in Islam, to be replaced by rebuilding the Third Jewish Temple.

Everything is of course interlinked. Vast swathes of the U.S. Deep State in tandem with the neocon-run “Biden” combo can ride the new bonanza side by side with the Israeli Deep State – their bubble protected by a massive propaganda barrage demonizing all forms of support for the Palestinian plight. Yet there’s a problem. This “alliance” has just lost – perhaps irretrievably – the overwhelming majority of the Global South/Global Majority, which is viscerally Palestinian. Very well-educated Palestinians living in Gaza and suffering throughout the Unspeakable, fiercely denounce the ambiguous roles of Egypt, Jordan and the UAE while praising Russia, Iran and among Arab nations, Qatar, Algeria and Yemen. All of the above spells out a stark continuity since the end of the USSR. Washington refused to dissolve NATO in 1990 to protect the immense profits of the weaponized tentacles of the MICIMATT.

The logical consequence has been the Hegemon and NATO as a Global Robocop, in tandem, killing at least 4.5 million people in West Asia while displacing over 40 million, then killing, by proxy, at least half a million in Ukraine and displacing over 10 million. And counting. In sharp contrast to the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder, the Global South/Global Majority see the emergence of what a sophisticated Chinese scholar delightfully described as an “aristocratic bromance” at the center of the “present nexus of Universal History”. Exhibit A is provided by Vladimir Putin commenting, “I cannot praise Xi Jinping because it would be as if I’m praising myself & that would be an embarrassing thing to do.”

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“..any judge who heard a corruption case against Ben Netanyahu, who allowed it to go forward would be subjected to impeachment, removal. It makes Benjamin Netanyahu literally above the law.”

Israel Failing in Global PR Campaign to Demonize Hamas – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

The latest claim to emerge about Hamas’ deadly border raid on October 7, which killed more than 1,300 Israeli civilians in several towns near the Gaza Strip, is that the Hamas militants were carrying plans for chemical weapons during the attack. In a broadcast on Sunday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog held up a document he claimed had been found in one of the settlements, across the front of which it says Al-Qaeda in bold white lettering. However, social media users quickly dissected Herzog’s claim, pointing out that the document he is holding is a biography of Ramzi Youssef, an Al-Qaeda member who carried out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six people, which was published by Al-Qaeda.

A former Al-Qaeda operative who turned coat and became a spy for MI6 told British media that one of the documents Herzog held up was a diagram of a simple bomb that was posted online by Al-Qaeda in 2009 and widely downloaded, but wasn’t instructions on how to make such a weapon. However, the Youssef biography doesn’t contain the image in question. Herzog’s claims follow rhetorical attempts by Israeli officials to link Hamas with terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda* and Daesh**, calling the October 7 attacks “Israel’s 9/11” and saying that if the US was justified in pursuing its War on Terror, then so is Israel justified in launching its all-out war on Gaza, which has killed more than 5,000 Palestinians as of Tuesday.

Former UN weapons inspector and weapons of mass destruction whistleblower Scott Ritter told Radio Sputnik’s The Backstory that in attempting to destroy Hamas, Israel has asked a question it is still unwilling to answer: “what is the ultimate cause of the violence on October 7?” Israel’s trying to undermine any claim to legitimacy that Hamas might have regarding why they carried out these attacks,’ Ritter said. “You know, Israel is not winning the PR campaign globally, primarily because of the heavy-handed manner in which they’ve responded to the attacks. And people, when they dig into the attacks, are trying to make the claim that you can’t cite self-defense when you’re the occupier. The occupier cannot ever claim a right of self-defense from the occupied. And there’s a larger debate going on right now about the history of Gaza, the history of the Israeli occupation, the history of abuse that’s transpired, etc.”

“So what they’re trying to do, the Israelis right now, is create a new aspect to this conversation, which is: Hamas is an extension of Al-Qaeda, because I believe the documents in question were Al-Qaeda documents, they weren’t original Hamas documents, but rather from an Al-Qaeda playbook. And so, again, as has happened before, they’re trying to make a nexus between – the United States did this – where we tried to link Al-Qaeda with [former Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein unsuccessfully because that was a lie. And now we have Israel tried to link Al-Qaeda and ISIS** with Hamas so that it will help, from their perspective, muddy the waters or anybody trying to say that Hamas had a legitimate right to attack Israel on October 7,” he explained. “Then, of course, the chemical weapons, let’s just be straight up on this here: anybody who knows anything about chemical weapons will tell you that somebody carrying a piece of paper from a handbook written by another agency in their pocket does not a chemical weapon make.”

“Remember, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, was teetering on the brink of political collapse prior to the Hamas action of October 7,” Ritter recalled. “He is a man who is under the shadow of some very serious corruption charges, charges which, again, you’re innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but if there was a court of law of relevant jurisdiction who heard the case, he probably be found guilty – and he knows it, which is why he is collaborating with his party in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, to change the Israeli Basic Law so that there is no longer a separate-but-equal branch of government called the judiciary, but rather a judiciary that is subordinated to the Israeli parliament. And the Israeli parliament can basically veto any judge that they disagree with. They can impeach at will. So any judge who heard a corruption case against Ben Netanyahu, who allowed it to go forward would be subjected to impeachment, removal. It makes Benjamin Netanyahu literally above the law.”

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X thread

The Shit Show That Is The Israeli Army (Narwani)

Meanwhile in Israel, they’re like headless chickens running around. Here is retired General Yitzhak Brick on the shit show that is the Israeli army: “The current situation of the land forces is tragic, they are not ready for war. Emergency supplies are not available, exercises have stopped and the battalions have not trained in years. There is also no weapons training and education, and the army is not capable of carrying out an attack.” “We have lost the ability to field an effective army and have become a one-dimensional aerial power that cannot win a war on its own.”

“I know the army on the ground better than anyone. I have seen soldiers who do not take care of their weapons before leaving the base. No army in the world behaves like this. The soldiers carry their smartphones with them everywhere. Commands are sent via WhatsApp groups. These phones are being tracked by the enemy.” “Our system has lost all control. Have we gone crazy? I cannot sleep at night. Our ground forces and armored corps are not ready for war.”

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Lukewarm air is what it means.

What Biden’s ‘New World Order’ Really Means (RT)

We all have that one friend who can’t stop arranging things – whether it’s matchmaking, dinner parties, or vacation itineraries programmed down to the minute. They just can’t kick back and take things in stride. The world has to revolve around them, on their time and terms. The US has been that guy for the world for the past several decades. Everyone’s tired of it. But now it has a new invitation – to a new world order. “I think we have an opportunity to do things, if we’re bold enough and have enough confidence in ourselves, to unite the world in ways that it never has been,” US President Joe Biden said at a fundraiser this month. Washington’s boldness and confidence has led to unilateral regime-change bombings, the arming of jihadist proxies in Afghanistan against the Soviets and in Syria against President Bashar Assad, and Azov neo-Nazis in Ukraine. None of that has made the world a better place – just more chaotic. It’s not like any of these places end up better off as a result.

“We were in a post-war period for 50 years where it worked out pretty damn well, but that sort of run out of steam. It needs a new world order in a sense,” Biden said. “Worked out pretty damn well” for whom? Surely not for Latin America, subjected to constant intervention by Washington in its own interests. Same with the Middle East for all those decades when it served primarily as America’s gas station. Or even for the European Union, much of which has gone from being a collection of independent-minded allies to mostly a monolithic vassal for US interests at the expense of its own. The same could even be said of my native Canada, whose economic interests were hindered by Biden himself when he unilaterally cancelled a critical $9 billion pipeline project (Keystone XL) upon election. That should have been the very last time that Canada banked its economic interests on American good faith. It won’t be, though.

The EU had its own critical pipeline of Russian gas (Nord Stream) blown up just a few months after Biden said, right in front of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, that he’d find a way to “end” it if the Ukraine conflict popped off. Then, after Biden’s promises to help his European partners wean themselves off Russian cooperation in exchange for backing Washington’s strategy in Ukraine, reality is setting in for EU leaders that their own blind trust is going to cost them. Not only do they now suffer from an overdependence on American fuel that’s helping to drive inflation, but they’re also stuck with Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act that even further disadvantages European industrial exports, already suffering from high energy costs, to the benefit of US manufacturers. And not even a pleading visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House and Congress has managed to move the dial.

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Then why continue to support them?

Entire Global Arms Production ‘Not Enough’ For Ukraine – Minister (RT)

Western nations must be prepared to support Kiev against Moscow “for decades” and should build up their arms production accordingly, a Ukrainian minister has said, claiming that worldwide industrial capacity at its current levels was not sufficient. “The free world should be producing enough to protect itself,” Strategic Industries Minister Aleksandr Kamyshin told Politico on Monday, ahead of a planned announcement this week of a German-Ukrainian joint arms production deal. “If you get together all the worldwide capacities for weapons production, for ammunition production, that will be not enough for this war,” he added. Kamyshin was appointed to his job in March, as Kiev sought to secure the continued supply of arms and munitions to sustain its war effort.

At the time it was gearing up for a summer counteroffensive, for which the US and its allies provided tanks, armored vehicles and other military hardware. The push against Russian defensive lines has failed to produce any significant territorial gains, an outcome that some media have warned could undermine Kiev’s chances of receiving future assistance. With Israel now embroiled in a war with the Palestinian militant movement Hamas, competition for the dwindling reserves of Western arms has intensified. According to German media, Berlin intends to prioritize supplies to Israel over those meant for Ukraine. “What happens in Israel now shows and proves that the defense industry globally is a destination for investments for decades,” the Ukrainian minister argued. Kiev wants Western defense firms to open production lines on Ukrainian soil to ensure Ukrainian “self-sufficiency,” and has secured pledges from Germany and the UK to do so.

Moscow has warned that foreign-funded weapons factories in Ukraine would be considered legitimate targets for Russian missile strikes. Speaking in an interview in July, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed that no amount of aid would be “enough” for his nation, “as long as the war continues.” Moscow has described the conflict as a US-led proxy war against Russia, in which Ukrainians are used as “cannon fodder”. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin estimated Ukrainian materiel losses since early June as standing at “hundreds of tanks”and “almost 1,500 armored vehicles”. While the US government has pledged to keep arming Kiev, there is growing resistance against the policy in the opposition Republican party. Skeptics have cited the cost of the aid, as well as the lack of proper oversight, despite endemic corruption in Ukraine.

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What a difference.

Russia’s External Debt-to-GDP Ratio at a Historic Low (Sp.)

Recent economic studies have revealed that Russia’s gross public debt to GDP ratio is currently at its lowest level in the nation’s history. According to Sputnik calculations, based on the figures provided by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia), the second quarter of 2023 saw Russia’s foreign debt-to-GDP dip below 15%. The indicator has been on a steady decline in recent years. It fell to 31% in 2020, 26.2% at the end of 2021, and just 16.6% last year. The first quarter of 2023 saw a modest decline to 15.45%. “In the second quarter of 2023, debt obligations continued to decline, reaching a total of 14.96%,” the calculations show. At the end of June 2023, gross external financial debt, both government and corporate, was estimated at $343.4 billion. Bank of Russia has also published data on external debt per capita in the second quarter of 2023. According to estimates, the figure decreased by 4% down to $2,300. This is the best indicator since 2006, when it was $2,200.

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Rose colored glasses?

OPEC-Russia’s Share in Oil Supply to Exceed 50% by 2050 – IEA (Sp.)

Russia and OPEC petroleum exporting countries will continue to account for up to 48% of global oil supply until 2030 and exceed 50% by 2050, when Saudi Arabia boosts production, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday. “OPEC and Russia’s combined share of global oil supply remains between 45–48% to 2030 but it rises above 50% by 2050 as Saudi Arabia increases production,” the IEA said in a fresh World Energy Outlook. Total oil production by OPEC members is set to increase by 1 million barrels per day by 2030, given a decrease of about 1.5 million barrels per day by OPEC producers in Africa.

Russia’s output is projected to drop by 3.5 million barrels per day between 2022 and 2050, according to the report. OPEC+, the global alliance of oil producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, has been aggressively cutting crude supplies on the global market in recent months, citing uncertainties about demand. The Saudis have pledged to cut 1 million barrels per day until the end of the year, while Russia has said it will reduce daily supply by 300,000 barrels.

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She did go pretty crazy, along with Lin Wood. But is Trump to blame for having bad legal advice?

Sidney Powell’s Plea Bargain Sets Up Trump for Conviction (PCR)

[..] one of President Trump’s attorneys, Sidney Powell, “pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts of conspiring to interfere with election duties and accepted a sentence of six years’ probation and a $6,000 fine. She must also write a letter of apology to the state and its residents and testify against her co-defendants, including her former client.” I will explain to you what this means. Sidney Powell found herself at risk at the hands of a black prosecutor and a black jury in Atlanta, Georgia in a jury trial. Powell already knew that the prosecutor was biased against her and reasoned the same from the black jury. Plea bargaining, which is what Sidney Powell has done, arose because prosecutors are more interested in their conviction rate than they are in innocence or guilt, and judges are more interested in clearing their dockets than in trials.

To aid their conviction rate, prosecutors have gained the power to withhold exculpatory evidence from the defendant and to bribe other defendants with reduced sentences or with money to testify falsely against the target defendant. This is what Sidney Powell has done. What this means for Trump is that one of his own attorneys has admitted guilt rather than to undergo the ordeal and risks of trial and has agreed in exchange to testify against Trump. So Trump’s own lawyer provides the black prosecutor and black jury (or white Democrat) with evidence to convict Trump. As I explained in my book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions in 2000, in a plea bargain a fictional crime is created and it serves as a substitute for the alleged crime. The fictional crime is a lessor one compared to the indictment crime.

The defense attorney tells the defendant to accept the plea deal he has negotiated and not risk a jury trial that will annoy both the prosecutor and judge, with a corresponding higher punishment if found guilty. Plea bargaining results in defendants admitting to what did not happen in order to avoid the more severe charges in the indictment, often orchestrated in order to coerce a plea. Cleary, plea bargaining permits prosecutors to build cases on speculation rather than on evidence. As I wrote in 2000: “It is only a short step from creating a fictional crime out of a real one to creating a fictional crime out of thin air. The step isn’t taken all at once. When he option of plea bargaining first surfaces, it is considered by everyone involved as a way of meting out punishment in a timely way. But with the passage of time, several things happen. ”

As Plea Bargaining takes over from jury trials, as it has, the investigative work that is the basis for the indictment is not tested by judge and jury. This permits prosecutors to bring charges for which they have little or no evidence. The public presumes that the prosecutor has a case, and the prosecutor uses the media to create a presumption of guilt. Newspaper and television reports from anonymous leaks from the prosecutor’s office, preceded by the phrase “according to sources familiar with the investigation,” create a presumption of guilt, reducing the defendant’s chance of an objective jury. It would be unusual for a jury to find innocent a person already convicted in the media.

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“It is not clear if she would tie Trump to a conspiracy or racketeering.”

Jenna Ellis Admits to Criminal False Statements, Ominous for Trump (Turley)

The image most of us had of former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis was a remarkably cheerful mugshot after her arrest in the RICO case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Ellis made a very different appearance today in state court as she pleaded guilty to intentionally interfering in the election process in the state of Georgia. While the impact of earlier pleas by figures like Sidney Powell is hard to judge at this stage, this plea has more ominous implications for the former president. Ellis offered a sobbing apology for her role in challenging the 2020 election and stated that

“as an attorney who is also a Christian, I take my responsibilities as a lawyer very seriously and I endeavor to be a person of sound moral and ethical character in all my dealings. … In the wake of the 2020 presidential election, I believed that challenging the results on behalf of President Trump should be pursued in a just and legal way. I endeavored to represent my client to the best of my ability…What I did not do, but I should, was make sure the facts that the other lawyers alleged to be true were in fact true. In the frenetic pace of attempting to raise challenges to the election in several states, including Georgia, I failed to do my due diligence.”

As with the other former Trump counsel, she will not face jail time and was charged with one charge of aiding and abetting false statements in writing. As part of the plea deal, Ellis will have to serve five years probation and pay $5,000 in restitution to the Georgia Secretary of State within 30 days. She will also have to complete 100 hours of community service, write an apology letter to voters in the state of Georgia and testify truthfully in future hearings regarding ongoing cases. Ellis is the type of plea that tends to concentrate the mind. Powell pleaded to relatively minor charges involving unauthorized access to voting machines and areas. Those charges tend to be easy to prove. It is not clear if she would tie Trump to a conspiracy or racketeering.

Ellis pleaded guilty to false statements that could conceivably implicate the President if she claims that he was aware of the falsity and facilitated the crime. Moreover, Ellis recently broke with Trump. She called him a “malignant narcissist” who cannot admit mistakes — and said that she would never vote for him again. The question is now whether Ellis will implicate Trump in this conspiracy. What is clear is that her plea will hold particular interest of Special Counsel Jack Smith in his parallel federal prosecution.

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“Countries like Brazil or India still want to transact with Russia. They can’t do it with dollars, so we’ve forced them to de-dollarize their transactions..”

US Went ‘Overboard’ In Weaponizing Dollar – Musk (RT)

The United States has “overplayed” its hand in “weaponizing” the dollar with sanctions, pushing more countries around the world to slash transactions using the currency, Elon Mask has warned. “You’re now seeing a lot of countries de-dollar their transactions because we’ve forced it. And this goes beyond even Russia, China, and Iran,” the owner of X (formerly Twitter) said during a Twitter Spaces session hosted by American entrepreneur David Sachs on Monday. Musk highlighted a shift to trade in national currencies, especially among the BRICS nations, adding that it was not a choice made by these countries, but rather a necessity forced upon them by Ukraine-related Western sanctions against Moscow.

“Countries like Brazil or India still want to transact with Russia. They can’t do it with dollars, so we’ve forced them to de-dollarize their transactions, thus weakening the strength of the dollar in the world,” he explained. The weaponization of the greenback has pushed many nations to look for alternatives, after sanctions effectively cut Russia off from the Western financial system. A large number of prominent economists have repeatedly warned that the dominance of dollar-based financial institutions and aggressive US economic policy would prompt more nations around the world to abandon dollar transactions and move to local currencies in trade.

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1986

 

 

Eyes of the tiger

 

 

Goat?
https://twitter.com/i/status/1717046487882887349

 

 

Squid

 

 

 

 

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