Dec 222022
 
 December 22, 2022  Posted by at 9:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  51 Responses »


VIncent van Gogh Weeping woman seated on a basket 1883

 

NATO Could Take Out Russia in 3 Days: Congressman (NW)
Biden Explains Why Zelensky Can’t Get Everything He Wants (RT)
Putin Explains What Russia Faces In Ukraine (RT)
Russia Begins Deployment Of New State-of-Art Sarmat ICBM (RT)
Kremlin Reacts To Patriot Missiles For Ukraine (ZH)
Moscow Comments On NATO Presence In Ukraine (RT)
No Evidence Kremlin Is Behind Nord Stream Blasts – WaPo (RT)
The Harder They Come … (Jotwani)
1st Year Of New German Government: ‘Double-Whammy’ Of Double Standards (Az.)
How Musk Averted A $3 Billion Twitter Crash (ZH)
FBI Accuses ‘Conspiracy Theorists’ Of Weaponizing Twitter Files (RT)
Corruption Scandal Hurts EU ‘Credibility’ – European Council President (RT)
Kari Lake Election Challenge Trial Reveals Major Confession (WJ)
Caroline Ellison Throws SBF Under The Bus (ZH)
Ghost Town: ‘The Song Margaret Thatcher Wishes Was Never Released’ (BBC)

 

 

 

 

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With Zelenskyin DC, Putin in Belarus and Medvedev delivering Putin’s message to Xi in Beijing, it’s not hard to see why some people think we’re preparing for something big.

If Kinzinger actually believes what he says, he’s dangerously misguided. If he doesn’t but says it anyway, he dangerously misguides many Americans.

If NATO attacks Russia, its capitals would be destroyed. And it wouldn’t take 3 days.

NATO Could Take Out Russia in 3 Days: Kinzinger (NW)

Representative Adam Kinzinger said on Monday that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) could take out Russia in only three days. Russian President Vladimir Putin has long taken issue with NATO—a coalition of Western governments including much of Europe and the United States—raising concerns about the West’s expanding sphere of influence in the months leading up to the Ukraine war. Specifically, the Russian leader opposed the possibility of Ukraine joining the organization. Experts have raised concern the Russia-Ukraine war could escalate into a larger conflict with NATO in the nearly 10 months since Putin launched his “special military operation” on the Eastern European country. Should Putin attack a NATO member state, that country can invoke Article 5 of the NATO charter, which states that “an attack against one ally is considered an attack against all allies,” essentially meaning a military response from all members could be initiated.

Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, weighed in on what he believes a NATO-Russia conflict would be like, responding to a tweet questioning why NATO hasn’t defeated Russia yet. “I’m hoping this is a joke. NATO vs Russia would be like a real three day operation,” the GOP lawmaker wrote. Kinzinger has been vocal supporter of Ukraine throughout the conflict. In April, he called out members of his own party for focusing on attacking Disney despite the “genocide going on in Ukraine.””There is a genocide going on in Ukraine and the outrage is over what’s happening at Walt Disney,” Kinzinger said at the time, referring to the battle between Disney and Florida Republicans over the state’s anti-LGBTQ law. “You guys deserve way better.”

While many NATO member states have provided Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid throughout the conflict, they have not become directly involved. The international community largely believes sending their troops into Ukraine would likely lead to an escalation of the war. However, since Ukraine is not a NATO member, Russia’s invasion would not draw a NATO military response.In November, concerns about NATO’s involvement grew after a missile struck a village in Poland—which is part of the coalition—killing two individuals. Reports at first emerged that the missile was produced by Russia, but authorities ultimately ruled that it was accidentally fired by Ukraine in an effort to knock out Russian missile strikes on civilian infrastructure.

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NATO is running out of weapons, as Russia is adding them.

“Doing more would have “the prospect of breaking up NATO, breaking up Europe, and the rest of the world..”

Biden Explains Why Zelensky Can’t Get Everything He Wants (RT)

Giving Kiev all the weapons it wants might break NATO, US President Joe Biden said in a joint appearance with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky in Washington on Wednesday. Biden added he was not worried the delivery of Patriot missiles to Ukraine might escalate tensions with Russia – as Moscow has warned – because they’re “defensive” weapons. Biden and Zelensky answered the questions of four hand-picked reporters after their meeting at the White House. The last one came from a Ukrainian journalist who asked why the West simply doesn’t give Ukraine “all capabilities it needs to liberate all territories.” “His answer is yes,” the US president deadpanned, pointing to Zelensky, who replied “I agree,” to laughter from the gathered press.


Biden then pointed out that the US “dedicated an enormous amount of security assistance to Ukraine” even before hostilities escalated in February – though in his prepared remarks he called the Russian military operation “unprovoked and unjustified.” “We’ve given Ukraine what they needed when they needed to defend themselves,” the US leader insisted, listing hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, and ammunition that Washington and NATO have handed over to Kiev. Doing more would have “the prospect of breaking up NATO, breaking up Europe, and the rest of the world,” Biden said, noting that he’s spent “hundreds” of hours persuading US partners around the globe to help Ukraine, but “they are not looking for a Third World War” by fighting Russia directly. “But I’ve said too much.”

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“Moscow is well aware of the role that NATO is playing in the Ukraine conflict..”

“Russia is facing the “military potential and capabilities of almost all major NATO countries” in Ukraine..”

Putin Explains What Russia Faces In Ukraine (RT)

Moscow is confronted by the military capabilities of “almost all major NATO countries,” the Russian president has said Moscow is well aware of the role that NATO is playing in the Ukraine conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday. He urged senior defense officials to carefully analyze the capabilities provided to Kiev by the US-led military bloc. Speaking at an extended meeting of the Board of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Putin said that Russia is facing the “military potential and capabilities of almost all major NATO countries” in Ukraine, adding that this will not stop Moscow from achieving its objectives. He went on to say that “all information about NATO forces [and] the means which are actively being used against us during the special military operation, are well known,” and that all of this should be “carefully analyzed and used” in order to increase the combat capabilities of Russia’s armed forces and security agencies.


He also said that the Russian forces have acquired a great deal of combat experience during the conflict. He called on senior defense officials to “analyze and systemize it in a timely manner” in order to share what has been learned with military personnel. Earlier this month, Putin blasted the West’s policies of shipping weapons to Ukraine and accused the West of fueling “genocide and terror in the Donbass,” saying it is turning Ukraine into “a colony” and “is cynically using the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder, a battering ram against Russia.” NATO has claimed that while it supports Ukraine militarily, it is not a party to the conflict. In early December, however, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Washington and NATO of direct involvement in the conflict.

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“..assure guaranteed penetration of any anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system, both now and in the future..”

Russia Begins Deployment Of New State-of-Art Sarmat ICBM (RT)

Russia’s first new silo-based Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) will be deployed into service next year, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at a meeting of Russia’s senior defense officials with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. “Successful launches of the new heavy Sarmat missile system during state-run tests made it possible to begin work on its deployment,” Shoigu said. In total, some 22 new strategic nuclear missile launchers, including the silo-based Sarmat, as well as the Avangard and Yars systems, are set to be deployed to the country’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) next year, the minister revealed. Putin said that efforts would continue to improve the country’s SMF, adding that “the share of modern types of weapons in [Russia’s] strategic nuclear forces has exceeded 91% this year.”


“We will continue to maintain and improve the combat-readiness of our nuclear triad. This is the main guarantee for preserving our sovereignty and territorial integrity, strategic parity, and the general balance of power in the world,” he stated. The liquid-fueled heavy ICBM was first successfully test-launched back in April. The new system is ultimately set to replace the aging silo-based R-36M2 Voevoda missiles, the backbone of Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrence. Speaking with Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), the official newspaper of the Russian military, the head of Russia’s SMF, General Sergey Karakaev, said the new missile boasts vastly larger capabilities than its predecessor.“The missile system Sarmat has a wide range of capabilities for deploying various types of combat payloads and is based on principles that assure guaranteed penetration of any anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system, both now and in the future,” Karakaev told the newspaper last week.

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“Weapon supplies (by the U.S.) continue, the assortment of supplied weapons is expanding. All this, of course, leads to an aggravation of the conflict and, in fact, does not bode well for Ukraine..”

Kremlin Reacts To Patriot Missiles For Ukraine (ZH)

In its first reaction to widespread reports that the White House is moving forward with plans to send Patriot anti-air missile defense systems to Ukraine, the Kremlin said the move will only serve to aggravate the conflict and warned against it, while Putin in new remarks teased more advanced Russian weapons to be deployed, including hypersonic missiles. “Weapon supplies (by the U.S.) continue, the assortment of supplied weapons is expanding. All this, of course, leads to an aggravation of the conflict and, in fact, does not bode well for Ukraine,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. A formal White House announcement confirming that Ukraine will get Patriots is expected Wednesday while Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is meeting with President Biden to discuss the war, and ahead of Zelensky’s expected 7:30pm EST address to Congress.

Ukraine sees the more advanced anti-air defenses as vital if it hopes to survive the now constant barrage of strikes targeting its national energy infrastructure, which has left millions without power amid freezing temperatures. At one point early this week, some 80% of the Kyiv region was without power, as rolling emergency blackouts continue nation-wide. The Patriot missiles could be a game-changer given they have a maximum range of some 100 miles and are capable of downing ballistic missiles. Zelensky has long demanded that the US and NATO help “close the skies” over Ukraine. Putin for his part in Wednesday statements vowed to see the military operation through until all goals are achieved in Ukraine, also pledging to continue giving the military anything it needs.

Just as headlines of the White House approving Patriots for Ukraine spread internationally, he indicated readiness to deploy the hypersonic Sarmat missile to Ukraine: “He also said Russia needed to take special note of the importance of drones in the 10-month conflict and said Russia’s hypersonic Sarmat missile – dubbed “Satan II” would be ready for deployment in the near future.” For Kiev, Putin’s new threats will only underscore the need to keep the anti-air defenses and longer range missiles flowing from the West. As a Wednesday Reuters headlines reads, Mr. Zelensky is coming to Washington seeking “weapons, weapons, and more weapons.” Meanwhile, given Zelensky’s dramatic D.C. visit is happening during the holidays, mainstream journalists and pundits are unironically encouraging more “Christmas presents” for the Ukrainians…

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Escalate.

Moscow Comments On NATO Presence In Ukraine (RT)

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu pointed to the presence of NATO staff officers and other specialists on the front lines in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, on top of almost $100 billion worth of pledged weapons and supplies from the military bloc countries.“Russia’s armed forces are presently facing allied forces of the West,” Shoigu said on Wednesday at a meeting of the top military commanders in Moscow. “The US and its allies supply the Kiev regime with weapons, train its soldiers, provide intelligence, dispatch advisers and mercenaries, and wage an information and sanctions war against us.” Shoigu said NATO countries have so far expended more than $97 billion on weapons deliveries, in order to make up for what he described as “considerable losses” inflicted on the Ukrainian military by Russian forces.

NATO “staff officers, artillery personnel and other specialists are present in the zone of combat operations,” the defense minister added. More than 500 satellites are working to provide intelligence to the Ukrainian military, of which only 70 are purely military and the rest are dual-purpose, according to Shoigu. Multiple Western officials, from US President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on down, have said that they are backing Ukraine in order to weaken Russia and that Moscow must not be allowed to win – while insisting they are not a party to the conflict. The US military alone has committed $20 billion in “security assistance” to Kiev since February.

While the initial weapons shipments included small arms and portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, NATO countries have since sent Ukraine tanks, fighter jets, drones, rocket and tube artillery, as well as more complex air defenses. Russia has repeatedly warned the US and its allies that such shipments could lead to a direct confrontation between Moscow and NATO, and accused the West of prolonging the conflict and causing needless deaths in Ukraine.

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Regurgitating old folk tales.

No Evidence Kremlin Is Behind Nord Stream Blasts – WaPo (RT)

Several unnamed European officials have privately acknowledged doubts over whether Russia is to blame for the destruction of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, according to the Washington Post. The two gas conduits crossing the Baltic Sea were ruptured by several powerful explosions in late September. In a piece published Wednesday, the paper quoted an anonymous European official as saying, “there is no evidence at this point that Russia was behind the sabotage.” The article said that assessment was shared by 23 diplomatic and intelligence personnel from nine European nations, whom the Post interviewed in recent weeks. Several of the sources expressed the view that Russia was unlikely to be behind the explosions.

Others, however, merely argued that it would likely be impossible to assign responsibility to any one country beyond a reasonable doubt, the paper reported. Some officials cited in the article referred to alleged interceptions of communications between Russian officials and military forces, obtained by US intelligence. According to them, Washington has so far not seen anything indicating Russia’s involvement. Following the attacks on the two pipelines, only one of which was operational, Western governments were quick to point the finger at Moscow. Just four days after the incident, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told the BBC that it “seem[ed]” Russia was to blame.German Economy Minister Robert Habeck, in turn, said in early October that “Russia saying ‘It wasn’t us’ is like saying ‘I’m not the thief.’”

The Ukrainian government described the explosions as a “terrorist attack planned by Russia.” On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov opined that “no one in the European Union is apparently going to objectively investigate” the blasts.In mid-October, the ministry released a statement saying that German, Swedish and Danish authorities had refused to let Moscow participate in their probes despite the latter’s requests. The statement said the Kremlin would view the refusals as proof that the countries “have something to hide or [that] they are covering up the perpetrators of these terrorist attacks.” It also warned that Moscow would “of course, not recognize any ‘pseudo-results’ of such an investigation, unless Russian experts take part in it.”

At the time of the incident, neither Nord Stream 1, nor Nord Stream 2 were pumping Russian gas to Europe. Exports via the older conduit had been halted by Moscow in early September, citing Western sanctions as the reason. Nord Stream 2, though technically ready, had failed to receive permission from German authorities and had never been in operation. While gas supplies from Russia to Europe have dwindled significantly since February 24, several pipelines crossing Belarus, Ukraine and the Black Sea remain in operation.

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Semantics?

The Harder They Come … (Jotwani)

Alastair Crooke is a sage whose thoughtful writings pack vast breadth and depth of understanding of history and geopolitics. His analysis is free of the slightest hint of bias or narrow partisanship – a fact which seems almost incredible given that he worked for the UK Government for a couple of decades. In fact, the sage and his writings testify to a constant and priceless element of western tradition – namely, independent thought. It was therefore as a surprising and rare slip of the pen, that one read the following paragraph in an article written very recently by him: “But … can the West, which has been so deep in denial about both the incredible economic and military transformation that has occurred in Russia since 1998, and in such vehement denial too, of the capacities of the Russian military, simply slide effortlessly into another narrative? Yes, easily. The neocons never look back; they never apologise. They move to the next project …”

Reference in the first sentence is made to “the West”. One has to assume that the reference is to the ruling dispensation – or shall we say regime? – in certain countries, because clearly not every human being in these countries has been in denial about events in Russia since 1998. Later in the paragraph, however, the phrase used in place of “the West” – rather unconsciously, one must assume – is “the neocons”. Is that substitution not hugely surprising? The two phrases do not – cannot! – represent the same slice of human life! Equation of the two was surely unintentional. William Shakespeare, James Clerk Maxwell, Mark Twain, William James – these are just a few illustrious references from the English speaking regions of “the West”. These and many others – including of course Alastair Crooke himself – have not the remotest connection to “the neocons” view of life.

Possibly, “the neocons” are the newest version of the crazies who have always attempted to lord it over “the West” – as indeed over much of the world. Such people are always at the game of deceptively and cruelly acquiring raw power; but surely such wannabe power grabbers do not equate to “the West”. Indeed, that the two were thus equated – even if unintentionally – also proves that “the West” is no longer a meaningful phrase, if indeed it ever was. Of course “the East” and “the South” have already figured that out – as we sense clearly in the winds of change blowing through global political alignments.

Crooke also writes that the neocons do not look back or apologize. No power hungry crazies ever do that. Never. It is as if they drive a vehicle with faulty brakes, no reverse gear and a cracked and dirty windshield. Their judgement clouded by limitless greed for power, they lack understanding of the progress which in fact happens not only in Russia, but all over the world. Their every “next project” is therefore doomed to end worse than the one before. A crash is therefore inevitable, even though it will be denied by ideologues during – and even after – it occurs. What the rest of mankind see clearly as a crash will be written up as a victory, or a major engineered paradigm shift, or some such nonsense.

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“..Berlin handed its energy companies €15 billion to go on a gas shopping spree – resulting in an unprecedented spike in gas prices..”

1st Year Of New German Government: ‘Double-Whammy’ Of Double Standards (Az.)

Few large countries laud their commitment to liberal values like democracy, human rights and the rule of law as much as the world’s fourth-largest economy does, but the first year of the new German government has been a “double-whammy” of double standards, Report informs via Euractiv. “We want to increase the strategic sovereignty of the European Union by making our foreign, security, development and trade policies value-based and based on common European interests,” reads the founding treaty of the incoming government from November 2021. Ukraine quickly felt what the new value-based German government policy amounted to. As more than 100,000 Russian soldiers amassed at their borders and an invasion was imminent, Berlin saw it fit to equip Ukraine with 5,000 helmets while blocking the Baltic states from sending Soviet-era artillery.


Lest we forget, as Russian soldiers were camped out miles from the border, leading German politicians continued to fiercely defend Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia throughout January 2022 – a pipeline designed to bypass Ukraine, deprive the country of gas transit income and further increase Germany’s dependence on the Kremlin. One “should not drag Nord Stream 2 into this conflict”, explained Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht at the time. Aside from Ukraine, when Russia began turning off the gas tap, Berlin handed its energy companies €15 billion to go on a gas shopping spree – resulting in an unprecedented spike in gas prices. In August, Germany’s panicked buying to fill its gas stores sent the price to a level twenty times higher than in January 2021.

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Which part of that would “the agencies” have furnished?

How Musk Averted A $3 Billion Twitter Crash (ZH)

Elon Musk on Tuesday night said that Twitter was on course for $3 billion of negative cashflow before he stepped in and nuked more than half the company. Twitter itself, meanwhile, is operating better than ever – with a significant reduction in bots, and increases in speed. “That is why I spent the last five weeks cutting costs like crazy,” Musk said during a Twitter Spaces event. “This company is like, basically, you are in a plane that is headed toward the ground at high speed with the engines on fire and the controls don’t work.” Since Musk acquired Twitter in October for $44 billion – financing the deal in part with nearly $13 billion of debt and interest payments of $1.5 billion per year, he has set out on a mission to cut costs and revamp the social media giant, which he said was losing $4 million per day as of early November, and was at risk of going bankrupt.

Roughly 5,000 of the company’s 7,500 employees have been fired, with the remaining workers agreeing to a “hardcore” work ethic, Bloomberg reports. Over the weekend Musk conducted a straw poll on Twitter asking people if they wanted him to resign as the company’s top executive. About 58% of respondents said yes and Musk has since confirmed he’d step down once an appropriate replacement was found, for a job he’s said anyone would be “foolish” to take. “In the Twitter Spaces event, Musk painted a dire picture of the company’s finances but suggested that he has managed to avert a total meltdown. -Bloomberg”.

In 2021, Twitter’s costs totaled nearly $5.6 billion, while Musk said the company was on track to spend around $5 billion next year. When combined with the acquisition-tied debt repayments, Twitter would be looking at around $6.5 billion in 2023 expenses had costs not been slashed so drastically. According to Musk, Twitter is now on track to bring in around $3 billion in revenue in 2023 – roughly $2 billion less than the $5.1 billion reported at the end of 2021, while the company has $1 billion in cash on its balance sheet. “I now think that Twitter will, in fact, be okay next year,” Musk continued during the Spaces event, adding that he thinks the company will “roughly” break-even, but that “this will be difficult.”

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“..officials from no fewer than 12 government agencies met with representatives of Twitter, Facebook, and other Big Tech firms weekly..”

FBI Accuses ‘Conspiracy Theorists’ Of Weaponizing Twitter Files (RT)

Correspondence between the FBI and Twitter staff revealing how the agency pressured the platform to suppress certain narratives is not evidence of wrongdoing, the Bureau said in a statement on Wednesday, blaming “conspiracy theorists” for presenting their activities in a nefarious light. The messages turned over to journalists by Twitter CEO Elon Musk over the last two weeks “show nothing more than examples of our tradition, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements,” the FBI statement claims. “It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency,” the statement concludes, reminding its critics that “the men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public.”

Messages appearing to show FBI agents pressuring Twitter staff to censor legitimate stories like the Hunter Biden ‘laptop from hell’ as foreign influence operations were merely innocuous examples of the FBI “provid[ing] critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers,” the Bureau argued. Internal communications among platform employees suggest otherwise.In messages published as part of the Twitter Files, staff repeatedly point out there is “no evidence” to substantiate FBI claims of foreign disinformation and express discomfort with the bureau’s meddling. Twitter’s former policy director observed a “sustained (if uncoordinated) effort by the IC [intelligence community]” to push Twitter to share more information against its own policies, while the FBI ultimately paid Twitter more than $3.5 million in taxpayer dollars to prioritize its censorship requests.

The White House has thus far refused to comment on the Twitter Files, referring reporters to the FBI, and the media establishment have largely ignored them. However, former Republican congressman Ron Paul argued they are proof the FBI colluded with Twitter to deprive Americans of their constitutional right to free speech. A lawsuit filed earlier this year by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana alleges that the FBI was not alone, and that officials from no fewer than 12 government agencies met with representatives of Twitter, Facebook, and other Big Tech firms weekly to decide which narratives and users to censor, with topics ranging from alleged election interference to Covid-19.

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“As many as 60 current and former MEPs may have been involved in the scheme..”

Corruption Scandal Hurts EU ‘Credibility’ – European Council President (RT)

A corruption scandal that led to the arrest of former European Parliament VP Eva Kaili for allegedly taking bribes from Qatar is wrecking the bloc’s credibility at a time when it is already vulnerable, European Council President Charles Michel told Politico on Wednesday.The revelation that MEPs reportedly engaged in illicit lobbying on behalf of the Qatari government in exchange for millions of euros in cash and gifts is “dramatic and damaging for the credibility of the European Union,” Michel said, lamenting that the scandal was “making it even more difficult for us to focus on the economic and energy crises that impact the lives of European citizens right now.”

Michel suggested the bloc must act in order to prevent a repeat performance. “We first need to learn lessons from this and come up with a package of measures to avoid such things – to prevent corruption in the future,” he told Politico, complaining that the aura of impropriety would make his job more difficult.Kaili and her husband Francesco Giorgi were arrested earlier this month by Belgian law enforcement, along with former Italian MEP Antonio Panzeri, whom Giorgi identified as the leader of the bribery ring, and a fourth individual. All have been charged with “participation in a criminal organization, money laundering, and corruption.”

Belgian authorities seized more than €1.5 million in assets from properties linked to the four suspects. As many as 60 current and former MEPs may have been involved in the scheme, according to Italian media reports, with most hailing from the Socialists & Reformers parliamentary group.The European Parliament has temporarily halted all lobbying work related to Qatar, and recently voted to deny representatives from the Gulf state access to its premises while condemning the alleged “foreign interference” in its business. Doha has denied any wrongdoing and warned that the parliament’s “discriminatory” decision could disrupt the supply of energy to the continent, which has recently ramped up its consumption of Qatari natural gas to replace embargoed supply from Russia.

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“Maricopa County admits they do NOT count ballots at vote centers (which is required by State Law).”

Kari Lake Election Challenge Trial Reveals Major Confession (WJ)

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer testified Wednesday during GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s election challenge trial that the individual polling locations did not tally the total number of votes cast in the midterm elections, a seeming violation of state law. Lake attorney Bryan Blehm asked Richer whether the county knew on Election Day the total number of ballots submitted by voters. One of the allegations in Lake’s lawsuit is that the total number of ballots the county reported in the election increased by nearly 25,000 from Nov. 9, the day after the contest, to Nov. 11. That number is significant because it exceeds Katie Hobbs’ approximately 17,000-vote margin of victory over Lake. “On Election Day it would’ve been easy for you to figure out how many ballots you received,” Blehm said to Richer.

He responded, “Well, we had to get them all in and it was quite a process throughout the night.” Blehm interjected, “You can look at the forms and add the numbers. Correct?” “They’re not counted at the individual loading locations,” Richer said. “They are counted when they get back to MCTEC and then they are recounted at Runbeck.” MCTEC is the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in downtown Phoenix and Runbeck is the company the county uses to process and scan ballots. “Does anybody know when those ballots leave the voting centers how many are in the bins?” Blehm asked. “When the early ballots leave the voting centers, no, they are not counted at the voting centers,” Richer answered.

Blehm followed up, “Nobody knows how many [ballots] are in the bins when they arrive at MCTEC. Correct?” “Correct,” Richer said. The Arizona Republican Party tweeted in response, “Maricopa County admits they do NOT count ballots at vote centers (which is required by State Law).” The 2019 Arizona elections procedures manual, which cites state law, requires an audit at each voting location of the total number of ballots cast. The results must be recorded in an official ballot report.The audit even requires accounting for the total amount of ballot stock paper on-site. The ballots cast must then be placed in sealed boxes.

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Next up: the parents.

Caroline Ellison Throws SBF Under The Bus (ZH)

Two weeks ago, when amid reports that the former CEO of Alameda Capital (which as a reminder was ground zero of the FTX implosion after it blew up $8 billion in FTX client funds on trades gone horribly wrong), Caroline Ellison, was spotted in New York just after retaining Clinton superlawyer, Jamie Gorelick of Wilmer Hale, which as readers may recall was the former No. 2 ranking member in the Clinton Justice Department, and in a recent interview, she referred to current AG Merrick Garland as her “wingman”, we asked if Caroline had rolled on Sam Bankman-Fried, who was also her former lover. Fast forward to today when we just got confirmation that Caroline Ellison has fucked Bankman-Fried one final time by indeed rolling on him, and “turning states” in the criminal prosecution of the corpulent “Hairy Plotter”, who commingled and stole the client money in his FTX exchange to fund a series of terrible crypto bets at his personal hedge fund Alameda, fund tens of millions in donations to democrats and buy up prestigious real estate for himself and his “altruistic” progressive lawyer parents.

According to a Manhattan Federal prosecutor, two of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s closest associates have pleaded guilty to fraud and agreed to co-operate with US authorities investigating the collapse of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange. In other words, they took a plea deal to avoid even more prison time in exchange for serving SBF on a silver platter to the Feds. Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the guilty pleas and criminal charges against Caroline Ellison and Zixiao “Gary” Wang, the low profile co-founder of FTX, in a short video statement. His office had brought eight charges against Bankman-Fried last week.

Ellison pleaded guilty to seven counts, including wire and securities fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carry a maximum sentence of 110 years in prison, while Wang pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud, with a maximum 50-year sentence. The documents said prosecutors would not oppose bail requests from both defendants under certain conditions, including posting a bond and handing in their travel documents, as they awaited formal sentencing. Concurrently, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission also filed civil lawsuits against the 28-year-old Ellison and 29-year-old Wang, accusing them of fraud.

“As part of their deception, we allege that Caroline Ellison and Sam Bankman-Fried schemed to manipulate the price of FTT, an exchange crypto security token that was integral to FTX, to prop up the value of their house of cards,” said SEC chair Gary Gensler. Furthermore, as CEO of the FTX trading affiliate, Ellison “used FTX’s customer assets to pay Alameda’s debts” and diverted billions of dollars of depositors’ money to the company to fill a hole caused by a crypto market crash in May, the SEC’s complaint alleges.

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”By the end of the week more than 20 towns and cities including London, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Leeds and Luton had riots of their own. The Specials were providing the soundtrack.”

Ghost Town: ‘The Song Margaret Thatcher Wishes Was Never Released’ (BBC)

July 1981. Riots have broken out around Britain. Charles and Diana are about to marry. And backstage at Top of The Pops, The Specials are falling apart. In a few minutes they will perform their latest hit Ghost Town, which over the years, would come to be regarded as one of the greatest British singles of all time. It was a track which bottled the discord, racial tensions and societal breakdown happening in the UK that summer. There had already been riots in Brixton that April, over the increased use of a new stop-and-search policy, the so-called sus law, which was named Operation Swamp. Police were said to have mounted a campaign of harassment against the black community in south London.

Terry Hall is telling the band that he too has had enough. Worn down by touring, band infighting and struggling to deal with success, he wants out. It is too difficult to be singing about disharmony, while surrounded by it, both inside and outside The Specials. “We knew it was going to end as we were recording it (Ghost Town),” Terry Hall told Front Row in 2019. “It was bizarre. It took about eight months to record. I don’t think there were more than two of us in the studio at any point. Those weren’t good signs really. It finished up with me in a living room in Tottenham singing Ghost Town. It was all over the place. But it was a great way to bow out.” He was 22.

“Talk about zeitgeist. That one song suddenly captured so much,” remembered Specials fan and Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chada in the 2021 BBC Documentary 2 Tone: The Sound of Coventry. “If there is one song Margaret Thatcher wishes never got released, it’s probably Ghost Town,” she added.On 7 July 1981, Radio One announced that Ghost Town had replaced Michael Jackson’s One Day In Your Life at the top of the charts. That same day, newspaper front pages were full of reports about the first ever use of CS gas grenades by the police on mainland Britain, as they struggled to contain the Toxteth Riots. These were sparked by tensions between police and the local community in Liverpool. By the end of the week more than 20 towns and cities including London, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Leeds and Luton had riots of their own. The Specials were providing the soundtrack.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Xfiles 2016

 

 

 

 

Zel TV

 

 

Ants and cities

 

 

Eel catfish

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 172022
 


Saul Leiter Phone call c1957

 

Moscow Reveals Capabilities Of Forthcoming ICBM Mobile Launcher (RT)
US Considers Providing Ukraine With More Weapons – Politico (RT)
Kissinger Outlines Ukraine Peace Proposal (RT)
Time For Ukraine Talks ‘Not Right Now’ – White House (RT)
Carthage Must Be Destroyed! (David Sant)
Approval of EU Support For Ukraine Lags Among Greeks (K.)
THE TWITTER FILES: Twitter… The FBI Subsidiary (ZH)
Twitter Docs Reveal FBI Pressure To Control Speech (RT)
EU Threatens Elon Musk With Sanctions (RT)
AOC Accuses Musk Of ‘Proto-fascism’ (RT)
What I Discovered At Twitter HQ (Jay Bhattacharya)
Truth And Consequences (Jim Kunstler)
Has ‘The End Of History’ Arrived In The Balkans? (Lukyanov)
Is Europe’s Energy Crisis Actually A Boon? (OP)
German MP Blasts ‘Absurd’ Price Cap On Russian Oil (RT)
The Petrodollar’s Long Goodbye (Prashad)

 

 

 

 

FTX O’Leary This is good.

 

 


Germany died suddenly

 

 

Dutch farmers nitrogen

 

 

Trump

 

 

 

 

Tucker vaccine risks

 

 

 

 

“..capable of evading any anti-ballistic missile system that could be fielded in the foreseeable future..”

Moscow Reveals Capabilities Of Forthcoming ICBM Mobile Launcher (RT)

Russia will commence the development of a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system next year, which will be a significant upgrade on the existing Yars system, Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) Commander Sergey Karakaev has said. The new platform will have increased mobility to facilitate “swift redeployment and launch from any region anywhere in the Russian Federation,” he told Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), the official newspaper of the country’s military. Karakaev offered no further details about the new project. The interview was published on Friday, ahead of SMF Day, which will be celebrated on Saturday. The SMF is the arm of the Russian military responsible for the country’s ground-based nuclear deterrence. It is currently “on the lookout for new technologies… which could be used to improve strategic weapon systems or create new ones,” Karakaev stated.


The silo-based Sarmat ICBM, as well as the Avangard and Yars systems, are examples of what is possible through such research, he added. The general praised the Sarmat missile in particular, which he said was capable of evading any anti-ballistic missile system that could be fielded in the foreseeable future. Russia approved production of the rocket following a successful test launch in April. Earlier this week, the Defense Ministry showcased the rearmament of an SMF site in central Russia by releasing footage, which showed two Yars missiles being loaded into silos. The ICBM has silo-launched and road-mobile variants.

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“..an additional 300 tanks, up to 700 infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 Howitzers would be needed to repel the Russian forces..”

US Considers Providing Ukraine With More Weapons – Politico (RT)

The US is planning to provide Ukraine with more weapons in the near future, extending the strike range of its military, Politico has reported. The media outlet, citing “six people with knowledge of the discussions,” claimed the move to provide additional supplies was prompted by concerns among top Ukrainian officials that Russia is amassing forces ahead of a major winter offensive. In its report on Thursday, Politico alleged that the Biden administration is currently entertaining the possibility of providing Kiev with, among other things, ground-launched small diameter bombs – high-precision munitions with a range of 150km (94 miles). Also under consideration, according to the article, is the delivery of joint direct attack munition kits, which are used to convert unguided aerial munitions into smart bombs.

These deliveries would be in addition to existing plans for the shipment of Patriot air-defense systems, Politico reported. Several US media outlets have indicated that those plans are in the final stages. Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Russia would certainly target these missile systems in Ukraine, should they be deployed there. On Thursday, Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder announced the expansion of a training program for Ukrainian military personnel at a US base on German soil. The number of troops attending there each month is reportedly expected to rise to around 500. In recent days, top Ukrainian officials – including the country’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, and Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba – have expressed concerns that Russia could launch a massive offensive as early as next month.

Zaluzhny did not rule out a new attempt by Moscow’s forces to take the Ukrainian capital Kiev. He also called on the West to provide Ukraine with more weaponry, saying that an additional 300 tanks, up to 700 infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 Howitzers would be needed to repel the Russian forces. While the US has already supplied Ukraine with short-range NASAMS air-defense systems, Kiev has been specifically requesting Patriot batteries since October, when Russia began massive missile and drone strikes on the country’s critical infrastructure. Moscow said the new strategy came in response to Ukraine’s attacks on Russian infrastructure, including the Crimean Bridge. Back in September, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned Washington that “it would cross the red line and become an actual party to the conflict,” should it provide Ukraine with longer-range missiles.

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“..the other territories Ukraine claims – Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea – “could be the subject of a negotiation after a ceasefire.”

Kissinger Outlines Ukraine Peace Proposal (RT)

Urgently negotiating an end to hostilities in Ukraine would prevent another world war, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger argued in an essay published on Friday. The 99-year-old statesman noted that, in 1916, the US government had the chance to end the First World War through diplomacy, but missed it for reasons of domestic politics. Kissinger laid out his reasoning in the December 17 issue of The Spectator, describing the current conflict as a “war in which two nuclear powers contest a conventionally armed country,” a clear reference to Ukraine being a proxy war between the US and Russia. The “peace process” Kissinger proposes would “link Ukraine to NATO, however expressed,” as he believes neutrality for Kiev is no longer an option.

He also wants Russia to withdraw to the lines before February 24, while the other territories Ukraine claims – Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea – “could be the subject of a negotiation after a ceasefire.” In addition to “confirming the freedom of Ukraine,” the arrangement would strive to “define a new international structure, especially for Central and Eastern Europe,” in which Russia should “eventually” find a place, he explained. While some would prefer “a Russia rendered impotent by the war,” Kissinger disagrees, arguing that Moscow’s “historical role should not be degraded.” Dismantling Russia could turn its vast territory into a “contested vacuum,” where “competing societies might decide to settle their disputes by violence” and neighbors could seek to claim territory by force, all in the presence of “thousands of nuclear weapons.”

In substance, this is the same proposal Kissinger had first floated in May, for which he was labeled an enemy of Ukraine and added to the notorious ‘Peacemaker’ kill list. In an interview earlier this month, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky categorically rejected any sort of ceasefire that did not take Kiev’s claimed 1991 borders as the starting point. It was also unclear whether Moscow would accept any Western-mediated ceasefire at all, after former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s admission that the 2014 Minsk armistice was intended to “give Ukraine time” to prepare for war. What’s fresh in Kissinger’s Spectator essay is his reasoning. He points to August 1916, at the height of the First World War, when the warring powers sought US mediation to end the unprecedented bloodshed.

Though “a peace based on the modified status quo ante was within reach,” President Woodrow Wilson delayed the talks until after he could get re-elected in November. By then it was too late, and the war would go on for two more years, “irretrievably damaging Europe’s established equilibrium.” Asked about Kissinger’s proposal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “eager to give the article a thorough reading,” but “hasn’t had a chance to do so yet, unfortunately.” Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The Kremlin demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that would never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

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“..if and when the diplomacy is ripe, they will be in the best possible position at the negotiating table.”

Time For Ukraine Talks ‘Not Right Now’ – White House (RT)

It is not yet time for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan argued in an interview on Friday. Meanwhile, Henry Kissinger – who held the same post in the early 1970s – has said talks should happen sooner rather than later. “We don’t know where this is going to end up,” Sullivan said of the conflict, speaking at the Carnegie Endowment think tank in Washington. “What we do know is that it’s our job to continue to sustain our military support to Ukraine, so they are in the best possible position on the battlefield, so that if and when the diplomacy is ripe, they will be in the best possible position at the negotiating table.” “That moment is not right now,” he added. According to Sullivan, Ukraine has won a series of battles, “repelled the Russian invaders from most of the country,” and is now “fighting to reclaim the remaining land.”

He called it “a remarkable thing” and said the Biden administration is asking Congress for “a substantial amount of further resources” to ensure “Ukraine has the means to fight this war.” Meanwhile, Americans training Ukrainian troops on the ground have spoken of mounting casualties and Ukraine’s chief of general staff, Valery Zaluzhny, is asking for more tanks, armored vehicles and artillery than most NATO members have in their arsenal, much less to spare. The US and its allies have supplied Ukraine with tube and rocket artillery, air defense systems, small arms, vehicles and ammunition, allowing Kiev to fight long after its domestic capabilities had been degraded. Russia has condemned the shipments as needlessly prolonging the conflict and increasing casualties, repeatedly warning the West that it risks becoming an open party to the conflict.

Earlier in the day, Sullivan applauded Japan’s new national security strategy, which will see Tokyo embark on massive military expansion citing the “strategic challenge posed by China.” The Japanese constitution – drafted mainly by the US occupation authorities after the Second World War – had renounced war and limited the country to a “self-defense” force. There was no indication that 46-year-old Sullivan was aware of his predecessor’s essay in The Spectator, in which the 99-year-old Kissinger called for an armistice in Ukraine before the conflict spins out of control. He pointed to the missed US opportunity to negotiate an end to the First World War in 1916, which led to millions more deaths and a far less stable post-war world that eventually collapsed into another global conflict.

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“One might say that the West forgot the art of diplomacy..”

Carthage Must Be Destroyed! (David Sant)

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 was not the result of losing a war. It was caused by the failed policies of a centralized economy, exacerbated by American manipulation of the oil markets, and a costly American-backed guerilla war in Afghanistan. The United States moved in with “shock therapy” economic advisors and took the opportunity to restructure a confused and gullible Russia, including writing a new constitution. For Russia the collapse of the Soviet Union had many similarities to the loss of Carthage in the Second Punic War. Despite making peace with their former adversary, and honoring their treaties, Russia found that she could never be accepted as a friend on equal terms by the Western world order. And this was for the very same reason that Carthage could never be tolerated by Rome.

Russia was and is in every way an equal to the Anglo-American Empire. Ever since Vladimir Putin became President of Russia, the chorus of the West has become louder and louder that Putin must go. While they cannot say it aloud yet, what they really mean is “Russia must be destroyed!” If Russia had continued the policy of submission to Western control that was begun by Boris Yeltsin, we can be assured that Moscow would have eventually met the same fate as Carthage from the Anglo-American Empire. However, the appointment of Vladimir Putin as President of Russia derailed their plans. Under his rule Russia has steadily reasserted her former leadership and strength against the machinations of the Anglo-American Empire.

While at first Mr. Putin made a genuine effort to be a “partner” with the West, by the year 2011 it was clear that the West would never accept Russia as a friend or an equal. The West had enjoyed two decades of bossing everyone else around and had learned to enjoy giving orders rather than negotiating. One might say that the West forgot the art of diplomacy. After watching in horror the NATO-led destructions of Serbia, Libya, and Syria, the Kremlin began asserting itself with foreign policy problems that directly affected Russian security interests starting in 2013.

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Harder to brainwash.

Approval of EU Support For Ukraine Lags Among Greeks (K.)

Deviating from the general mood in Europe, a large number of Greeks hesitate to declare their approval of the European Union’s backing for Ukraine following the Russian invasion. In the relevant question of the Parliament’s Eurobarometer for autumn 2022, a majority of citizens in the 24 member-states approve of the position taken by the EU, with the exception of Slovakia, Bulgaria and Greece, which have the lowest percentages (49%, 48% and 48% respectively). The highest levels are recorded in Sweden (97%), Finland (95%), the Netherlands (93%), Portugal (92%) and Denmark (92%). The same survey showed that three quarters of European citizens (73%) agree with the specific measures taken by the EU, namely sanctions against the Russian government, as well as economic, military and humanitarian support to Ukraine. Again, Greece is at the bottom of the ranking, with only 46%.

Loffredo

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And the FBI works for the DNC, Pfizer and Raytheon..

THE TWITTER FILES: Twitter… The FBI Subsidiary (ZH)

Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive, as if it were a subsidiary. Between January 2020 and November 2022, there were over 150 emails between the FBI and former Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth. Some are mundane, like San Francisco agent Elvis Chan wishing Roth a Happy New Year along with a reminder to attend “our quarterly call next week.” Others are requests for information into Twitter users related to active investigations. But a surprisingly high number are requests by the FBI for Twitter to take action on election misinformation, even involving joke tweets from low-follower accounts.


The FBI’s social media-focused task force, known as FTIF, created in the wake of the 2016 election, swelled to 80 agents and corresponded with Twitter to identify alleged foreign influence and election tampering of all kinds. Federal intelligence and law enforcement reach into Twitter included the Department of Homeland Security, which partnered with security contractors and think tanks to pressure Twitter to moderate content. It’s no secret the government analyzes bulk data for all sorts of purposes, everything from tracking terror suspects to making economic forecasts. The #TwitterFiles show something new: agencies like the FBI and DHS regularly sending social media content to Twitter through multiple entry points, pre-flagged for moderation.

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“..she asked whether there would be “impediments” to passing along classified information to industry partners. In response, the FBI was “adamant” that there were “no impediments to sharing.”

Twitter Docs Reveal FBI Pressure To Control Speech (RT)

Twitter has maintained “constant and pervasive” contacts with the FBI and other US intelligence agencies for several years, according to internal company documents leaked to reporters. The files appear to show a concerted government campaign to blacklist content labeled as “misinformation.” Published by journalist Matt Taibbi on Friday, the sixth installment of the ‘Twitter Files’ revealed additional pressure placed on the website by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) between January 2020 and as recently as last month, largely focused on moderating particular posts and accounts discussing American elections. While earlier documents indicated high-level coordination between intelligence agencies and Twitter, the latest files suggest such collusion took place on a larger scale than was previously known.

In a period of less than three years, the site’s former Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth alone exchanged more than 150 emails with the FBI. Prior to Friday, Roth was the only executive said to have had regular, direct contacts with the bureau, however the new files show that legal exec Stacia Cardille also held weekly meetings with not only the FBI, but the DHS, Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) beginning in September. In a letter addressed to Twitter’s former Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker – himself an ex-lawyer for the FBI – Cardille noted that she asked whether there would be “impediments” to passing along classified information to industry partners. In response, the FBI was “adamant” that there were “no impediments to sharing.”

“This passage underscores the unique one-big-happy-family vibe between Twitter and the FBI. With what other firm would the FBI blithely agree to ‘no impediments’ to classified information?” Taibbi asked. A number of messages sent to Twitter by the FBI contain explicit requests to take down certain posts, or even ban accounts altogether. In one case, the agency flagged so much “possible violative content” that Twitter staffers were later seen congratulating each other in an internal company chat for the “monumental undertaking” of reviewing it. Another missive sent on November 5, 2022 from the FBI’s ‘National Election Command Post’ provided a list of 25 accounts that “may warrant additional action.” Twitter was quick to permanently ban seven of those handles, while it temporarily suspended another and deleted eight tweets for alleged “civil misinformation policy violations.”

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EU=hot air.

EU Threatens Elon Musk With Sanctions (RT)

The EU has warned Elon Musk that Twitter could be targeted by sanctions after the platform owned by the entrepreneur suspended several journalists for allegedly sharing real-time location data about the billionaire and his family. “News about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying,” wrote EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova in a tweet on Friday. “EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights,” she said, adding that these rights are reinforced under the recently adopted European Media Freedom Act.= “[Elon Musk] should be aware of that. There are red lines.

And sanctions, soon,” Jourova warned, as the Digital Services Act is set to start coming into force next summer and will be fully implemented by 2024. Her threats come after Twitter suspended around half-a-dozen journalists on Thursday who reported and shared links to ElonJet, which provides real-time tracking of Musk’s personal flights. Musk has explained the decision by stating that the information being shared was “basically assassination coordinates” and pointed to Twitter’s terms of service, which prohibit doxxing – the illegal publishing of personal information – of anyone by anyone. “Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” the billionaire wrote on Thursday.

Twitter has previously suspended the original @elonjet account, as well as other similar flight-tracking channels owned by Florida student Jack Sweeney, who had been posting real-time data on private flights of the world’s wealthiest men, including Musk, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Musk – a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” – purchased Twitter for $44 billion in late October. Back then he initially promised not to suspend any accounts that were exercising free speech, noting that that extended “even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk.”

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“Take a beat and lay off the proto-fascism. Maybe try putting down your phone,” the New York congresswoman suggested. Musk brushed off AOC’s criticism by simply replying: “You first.”

AOC Accuses Musk Of ‘Proto-fascism’ (RT)

Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, commonly referred to as AOC, has joined the backlash against Elon Musk after Twitter suspended several journalists for allegedly violating the platform’s anti-doxxing policies while reporting on the ElonJet flight tracker. AOC accused Musk of abusing his power as the new owner of Twitter and told him to “lay off the proto-fascism.” That was after he temporarily suspended half-a-dozen journalists from CNN, the New York Times, and The Washington Post, among others, for reporting on and providing the links to ElonJet – a flight tracker that posted real-time flight data about Musk’s private jet.

Musk had accused the journalists of sharing information that was “basically assassination coordinates” and cited Twitter’s terms of service, which prohibit doxxing – publishing the personal information and real-time coordinates of other people. In a series of Twitter posts on Friday, Cortez insisted that Musk should not have suspended the reporters because he was “a public figure,” suggesting that being the victim of such location information-sharing comes with the territory. “You’re a public figure. An extremely controversial and powerful one,” AOC wrote. “I get feeling unsafe, but descending into abuse of power + erratically banning journalists only increases the intensity around you.”

“Take a beat and lay off the proto-fascism. Maybe try putting down your phone,” the New York congresswoman suggested. Musk brushed off AOC’s criticism by simply replying: “You first.” The billionaire had previously stated that he was fine with any criticism coming his way over his handling of Twitter, which he purchased in late October for $44 billion, but insisted that threatening the safety of his family was over the line. “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not,” he wrote.

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“I could have bought an island with the $44 billion, but this was a much better use of the money.”

What I Discovered At Twitter HQ (Jay Bhattacharya)

You spoke with Elon for almost an hour. How was your conversation? The topic, of course, was censorship. My sense is that he bought Twitter in part because he is deeply offended by the idea that something like Twitter, which is so important for public communication… had put their thumb on the scale. It wasn’t specifically about Covid. Generally, his sense was that one side of the conversation wasn’t being heard on many, many issues… I think he views this as: he’s in a very privileged position that allows him to restore free speech, allow for free discussion of ideas. And he wants to use what gifts he’s had for that purpose. He even made a joke: I could have bought an island with the $44 billion, but this was a much better use of the money.

Was he a lockdown sceptic during the pandemic? I think he generally was a lockdown sceptic… He famously, early in the pandemic, protested against being locked down when the shutdown orders came, and then moved Tesla’s headquarters to Texas… He was very clear that he was aware of the harms of lockdowns. He mentioned the early days of the pandemic — that he had a number of plants in China, with tens of thousands of employees. He said: “Look, if somebody dies in amongst my employees, I find out immediately, because we stop paying them.” But he noticed that there were very, very few deaths on that metric early on. So his view was that it wasn’t clear that the case fatality rate numbers that were coming out matched reality in China itself, even from the earliest days of the pandemic… Certainly at this point, he was very sympathetic to my message about the harms to the poor of the world threatened by the economic dislocation caused by lockdowns, the closing of schools — all of that I think he opposed.

So then an engineer shows you your files. What did you find out? An engineer comes to me, we talk in this little cubicle. And so it turns out that there are two major sources of information for the journalists that are looking at this. First, there’s this tool, which Bari Weiss made famous: for each person, they’ll have the status of the person and history of the status of that person… That includes some personal identifying information, which is why you’re not seeing a dump of those files for everybody, because they’re not supposed to share that… I had got permission to look at myself of course. And I asked for permission to look at Martin Kulldorff.

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“The Big News Media may not be able to avoid reporting on it, especially with Twitter loosened up, and their lying attempts to spin events is going to look pathetic..”

Truth And Consequences (Jim Kunstler)

Even if NBC, CBS, CNN, The New York Times, The WashPo, and the rest of the Big News Media mafia ignore the Twitter Files story, the revolution at Twitter is going to shake their windows and rattle their walls. There will be free debate in 2023 on this social media platform. News and ideas will be set loose across the landscape, and, for the first time in years, reality will have a chance to compete with the bad faith narratives of a regime at war against its own people. We’ll have to see how long this lasts before the Intel Community tries to shut Twitter down, ramp up a campaign to defame it, or blow it up as a viable business. Or make a move to, shall we say, neutralize the person behind the revolution there.

The more that free speech is actually permitted on Twitter, the more every other platform will look like a lame organ of propaganda, especially when it comes to issues that really matter such as the deadly consequences of the mRNA “vaccines,” the shady doings around recent US elections, the actual condition of the US economy, the perilous folly of “Joe Biden’s” war in Ukraine (and the family grifting operation that prompted it), and the evil machinations of the Intel Community itself. In about three weeks, the Party of Chaos will be swept out of power in the US House of Representatives. Their opponents will take control of all the House committee chairs, with subpoena power to compel the testimony of public figures who have managed to avoid answering questions for years. The Big News Media may not be able to avoid reporting on it, especially with Twitter loosened up, and their lying attempts to spin events is going to look pathetic when it is instantly contrasted with free analysis and informed debate in the public arena.

You can’t overstate what an advantage the insidious takeover of social media gave to forces seeking to wreck the country, though the effects have not been adequately explored yet. The people remain bamboozled over the Covid-19 operation especially. It certainly wasn’t some random act by Mother Nature, not with US public health agencies supporting gain-of-function research on coronaviruses from Ukraine to North Carolina to Wuhan, China. And the subsequent damage caused by the government’s response to the outbreak was either an epic fiasco of inept officialdom, or something that smells like mass murder. Dr. Anthony Fauci’s little trick to so far avoid answering questions about these matters was simply to not use the term “gain-of-function” in his correspondence arranging grants for it — especially after President Barack Obama banned that type of research by its name in 2014. So when asked about gain-of-function, he could just lie with abandon. After that simple ruse is exposed, the patent and royalty benefits enjoyed by Dr. Fauci — who doubled his net worth after 2019 — will be dragged into the light of day.

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“Current events in northern Kosovo resemble an attempt to bring about the “end of history” in the Balkan context..”

Has ‘The End Of History’ Arrived In The Balkans? (Lukyanov)

Current events in northern Kosovo resemble an attempt to bring about the “end of history” in the Balkan context. Of course, the same one that was promised 30-odd years ago, on a global scale, hasn’t happened, but the idea behind it has remained in people’s minds. Francis Fukuyama, the author of the concept, later admitted that he had been hasty and had failed to take into account important circumstances in the development of societies. However, he hasn’tabandoned it, and continues to believe that the predicted triumph of Western liberal ideology, and the corresponding way of life, will still take place, just later than expected. What has Kosovo got to do with this? The disintegration of Yugoslavia has taken as long as the concept of “the end of history” has existed.

And it has been, perhaps, the clearest example of what it meant in practice. The nature of that state – a socialist federal republic – was diametrically opposed to what was thought to be right after the Cold War. Firstly, socialism as a socio-political construct was simply written off as having failed. Secondly, it was a complex federation dominated by the largest ethnic group. This, to be fair,could be described as being in the spirit of multiculturalism, which has become popular in developed countries over the past couple of decades. But no, because multicultural communities have only been welcomed if they were part of a process that develops from homogeneous to heterogeneous through immigration and the influx of new citizens of different origins.

Thus, multinational states like Yugoslavia or the USSR (or even Czechoslovakia) have instead been perceived through the prism of self-determination. In other words, national aspirations were worthy of support but the desire to maintain (con)federative unions was equated with imperial ambitions.

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“..now that winter proper has begun and the cold is settling in, consumption will increase, whatever the price of gas.”

Is Europe’s Energy Crisis Actually A Boon? (OP)

The energy crisis that began last year in Europe and dramatically escalated following the EU response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has seen many in government worry about the survival of the continent during the winter. Yet not all see such a bleak picture. In fact, some believe that not only is the worst over for Europe but that the crisis actually did the EU a favor. That favor took the form of accelerating the buildout in renewables and the restart of hydrocarbon-fueled power plants. This take, which is certainly not very common right now, came from one investment manager, Per Lekander, who is managing partner at a firm called Clean Energy Transition LLP. Speaking to CNBC this week, Lekander said that Russia had, in fact, very little to do with Europe’s crisis, and it could even be said Vladimir Putin did Europe a favor.

“This [the crisis] is the consequence of long term under-investments in conventional, long term red tape in renewables and then these political closures of nuclear, coal, lignite, etcetera,” Lekander told CNBC. He then went on to add that the measures that European countries took after Russia began responding to EU sanctions by reducing gas flows went a long way toward ensuring that the continent would survive this winter. Energy demand reduction was one of these measures, according to the financier, and returning to hydrocarbons for power generation was another. A third one was the planned reduction in red tape in wind and solar power system construction—obstacles that these two industries have been complaining about for years.

It could be argued that this energy demand reduction that has allowed Europe to save on gas was a result of exorbitant prices rather than any voluntary change in energy consumption behavior patterns. Indeed, millions of people across the continent are being hit with electricity bills that are substantially higher than last year’s bills because of the international gas price inflation caused by the tightening of supply following the EU sanctions on Russia and Russia’s easy to predict response. The sabotage of Nord Stream added to this tightening and pushed prices higher. Another reason for the lower demand was the warm European autumn, as many noted at the time. As the weather was warmer than usual, people’s heating needs were lower. Yet now that winter proper has begun and the cold is settling in, consumption will increase, whatever the price of gas.

Indeed, the worst might not be over. The Guardian reported this week that Germany was at risk of gas shortages because it had failed to hit its consumption reduction target. The reason it had missed it—the target is 20 percent of consumption—was the colder weather last week, the head of the country’s energy regulator said. The European Union last month approved a gas consumption reduction target of 15 percent, but Germany was more ambitious because of its high reliance on the commodity. Whether the rest of Europe would be able to hit the 15-percent target is yet to be seen because, as Klaus Mueller said, “With temperatures of -10C [14F], gas consumption shoots up dramatically.”

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“..such policies are “leveled against” ordinary consumers across the bloc.”

German MP Blasts ‘Absurd’ Price Cap On Russian Oil (RT)

Imposing an artificial ceiling on the price paid for Russian oil will provoke an increase in prices for the commodity, the chairman of the Bundestag committee on energy, Klaus Ernst, said in an interview with TASS, calling the measure “absurd.” Berlin is planning to entirely abandon energy imports from Russia, according to Ernst, who stressed that the operations at an oil refinery in the German city of Schwedt are critically dependent on Russian supplies. “It is absolutely clear that when a ceiling is introduced on energy prices, the object targeted by the measure will inevitably reduce the supply. It is clear that this will be counterproductive, because the price will rise,” Ernst argued. “In this regard, I think that such a restriction is absurd.”


The price limit on Russian seaborne oil, set at $60 per barrel, was introduced earlier this month by the EU, the G7 countries, Australia and Norway. The measure bans Western companies from providing insurance and other services to vessels loaded with Russian oil, unless the cargo is bought at or below the price indicated. The EU is currently debating a similar step targeting Russian gas supplies. According to Ernst, the policies pursued by Brussels are “self-destructive.” “The EU deliberately excluded pipeline oil supplies from sanctions. The government rejects them, although there is no need for this,” he said, adding that such policies are “leveled against” ordinary consumers across the bloc.

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“..they will do so slowly, as they both remain exposed to the U.S. economy..”

The Petrodollar’s Long Goodbye (Prashad)

At this first China-GCC summit, Xi urged the Gulf monarchs to “make full use of the Shanghai Petrol and Gas Exchange as a platform to conduct oil and gas sales using Chinese currency.” Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia suggested that it might accept Chinese yuan rather than U.S. dollars for the oil it sells to China. While no formal announcement was made at the GCC summit nor in the joint statement issued by China and Saudi Arabia, indications abound that these two countries will move closer toward using the Chinese yuan to denominate their trade. However, they will do so slowly, as they both remain exposed to the U.S. economy. (China holds just under $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds).

Talk of conducting China-Saudi trade in yuan has raised eyebrows in the United States, which for 50 years has relied on the Saudis to stabilise the dollar. In 1971, the U.S. government withdrew the dollar from the gold standard and began to rely on central banks around the world to hold monetary reserves in U.S. Treasury securities and other U.S. financial assets. When oil prices skyrocketed in 1973, the U.S. government decided to create a system of dollar seigniorage through Saudi oil profits. In 1974, U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon — fresh off the trading desk at the investment bank Salomon Brothers — arrived in Riyadh with instructions from U.S. President Richard Nixon to have a serious conversation with the Saudi oil minister, Ahmed Zaki Yamani.

Simon proposed that the U.S. purchase large amounts of Saudi oil in dollars and that the Saudis use these dollars to buy U.S. Treasury bonds and weaponry and invest in U.S. banks as a way to recycle vast Saudi oil profits. And so, the petrodollar was born, which anchored the new dollar-denominated world trade and investment system. If the Saudis even hinted towards withdrawing this arrangement, which would take at least a decade to implement, it would seriously challenge the monetary privilege afforded to the U.S. As Gal Luft, co-director of the Institute for Analysis of Global Security, told The Wall Street Journal, “The oil market, and by extension the entire global commodities market, is the insurance policy of the status of the dollar as reserve currency. If that block is taken out of the wall, the wall will begin to collapse.”

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Play

 

 

 

 

Wood art

 

 


Wat Samphran is a Buddhist temple in Amphoe Sam Phran, Nakhon Pathom province, around 40 km west of Bangkok. The temple is notable for its 17-story tall pink cylindrical building with a gigantic dragon sculpture curling around the entire height

 

 

Goose

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 212022
 


Juan Gris Portrait of Pablo Picasso 1912

 

Russia Test Fires ‘Satan 2’ Missile Amid Ukraine War (Celente)
Zelensky: If Ukraine Had Access To More Weapons, War Would Already Be Won (NYP)
NATO Is Invalid And The Nations In It Deserve What They Get (Denninger)
Jeremy Corbyn Calls For End To NATO To Bring World Peace (GBNews)
Red Cross Denies Kyiv’s Accusation Of Working ‘In Concert’ With Moscow (Y!)
Chinese Defense Minister Warns Pentagon Chief In 1st Call (ZH)
Former Intel Officials Want Efforts to Break Up Big Tech Stopped (CTH)
Democrats Sicced The CIA On Their Domestic Enemy, The President (Fed.)
Sussmann Doesn’t Want Clinton Tweet Admitted in Durham Case (ET)
‘Horrifying Amount Of Information’ Recovered From Biden Laptop (OAN)
Inside The New Right (Vanity Fair)
Le Pen, Macron In Bitter Clash Ahead Of Tight French Election (Y!)
US Mortgage Interest Rates Reach a 12 Year High (R.)
Assange Extradition Order Sent to Priti Patel (Lauria)
Dark Day For Press Freedom As UK Court Orders Assange Extradition (Gosztola)

 

 

Russia appears to have “liberated” Mariupol, but not -yet- the Azovstal complex.

 

 

 

 

Matt Walsh: pre-mummification

 

 

Imran Khan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1516556681316024320

 

 

“Sarmat could carry a payload capable of wiping out a landmass “the size of Texas or France..”

Russia Test Fires ‘Satan 2’ Missile Amid Ukraine War (Celente)

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday the successful test launch of its new Sarmat superheavy Intercontinental Ballistic Missile that can reportedly deploy 10 or more nuclear warheads on each missile. Putin used the launch as a warning for “external threats and provide food for thought for those who, in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country,” Reuters reported. Western analysts have called the missile “Satan 2.” The design is intended to evade anti-missile systems and can reportedly hit any target on earth. The missile was called the world’s most powerful and with the longest range. The missile was launched from Plesetsk cosmodrome, in Russia’s northwest, and traveled about 3,2000 miles to the Kamchatka peninsula.

In 2018, Putin said the Sarmat would render even to most advanced missile systems useless. “No kind of, not even future missile defense systems will offer any trouble to the Russian rocket complex, Sarmat.” The Heritage Foundation’s 2021 Index of U.S. Military Strength said “Russia remains the primary threat to American interests in Europe and is the most pressing threat to the United States,” describing Russia as “aggressive in its behavior and formidable in its growing capabilities.” Congressional Research Service wrote on 21 March 2022: “Relations between the United States and Russia have shifted over time—sometimes reassuring and sometimes concerning—yet most experts agree that Russia is the only nation that poses, through its arsenal of nuclear weapons, an existential threat to the United States.”


“Reports indicate that the next-generation Sarmat can carry up to 15 warheads, along with penetration aids, and potentially several Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles. Russia began testing the Sarmat missile in 2016. Putin noted that Sarmat could attack targets by flying over both the North and South Poles, evading detection by radars seeking missiles flying in an expected trajectory over the North Pole. Sarmat could carry a payload capable of wiping out a landmass “the size of Texas or France,” according to a report by the Kremlin-aligned Sputnik news agency.” -CNBC

ICBM

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Peacemaker.

Zelensky: If Ukraine Had Access To More Weapons, War Would Already Be Won (NYP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he believes the war against Russia would have already been won if Western allies including the US and NATO had sent more weapons to arm Ukraine. “If we had access to all the weapons we need, which our partners have and which are comparable to the weapons used by the Russian Federation, we would have already ended this war,” Zelensky said in a video address Tuesday evening, the Times of London reported. “We would have already restored peace and liberated our territory from the occupiers, because the superiority of the Ukrainian military in tactics and wisdom is quite obvious.”

Since the invasion began on Feb. 24, Zelensky has repeatedly asked the US and NATO for increased military aid and action, such as imposing a no-fly-zone over Ukraine — a move Western nations have avoided taking. Instead, the US in particular has repeatedly imposed sanctions against varying Russian oligarchs, businesses, banks, as well as President Vladimir Putin and members of his family. President Biden has also offered up packages of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, most recently approving an $800 million package last week — which includes helicopters, artillery and ammunition.

Still, Zelensky is looking for the West to do more. “It is unfair that Ukraine is still forced to ask for what its partners have been storing somewhere for years. If they have the weapons that Ukraine needs here, need more, if they have the ammunition that we need here and now, it is their moral duty first of all, to help protect freedom,” he said. “Help save the lives of thousands of Ukrainians.” Zelensky went on to claim that any delay in additional aid “gives the occupiers an opportunity to kill more Ukrainians.” Leading up to the invasion and since it began, the Biden administration has been slammed by Republicans and Democrats alike for not supplying Ukraine with more military aid, such as MiG-29 jet fighters.

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“..each and every nation at this time that has in any way violated the above provisions, which includes the United States, is not entitled under its provisions to anything..”

NATO Is Invalid And The Nations In It Deserve What They Get (Denninger)

Everyone wishes to argue “Article 5” of the NATO treaty, which is the mutual-defense pact. You get attacked and we all get attacked. Ok. What does Article I say? “The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.” Shipping arms into an area where armed conflict is either occurring or threatening to occur, where the destination is NOT a NATO member and thus is NOT subject to NATO’s mutual defense obligations is a clear violation of Article I. It is escalatory, it is a threat to use force or enables the actual use of force, and thus is a clear violation of Article I.

How about Article 8? “Each Party declares that none of the international engagements now in force between it and any other of the Parties or any third State is in conflict with the provisions of this Treaty, and undertakes not to enter into any international engagement in conflict with this Treaty.” Providing arms to a belligerent not a member of NATO violates this provision in that it can cause a mutual defense obligation to arise that would otherwise not. Therefore NATO members are obligated to stay out of non-member conflicts except with the unanimous consent of all members. Intervening in a non-member’s conflict, in short, by other than unanimous consent is a violation of the treaty.

How about Article 11? “This Treaty shall be ratified and its provisions carried out by the Parties in accordance with their respective constitutional processes. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited as soon as possible with the Government of the United States of America, which will notify all the other signatories of each deposit. The Treaty shall enter into force between the States which have ratified it as soon as the ratifications of the majority of the signatories, including the ratifications of Belgium, Canada, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, have been deposited and shall come into effect with respect to other States on the date of the deposit of their ratifications. (3)”

For the United States to engage in the elements of a proxy war, which it did at Maidan and now through the provision of arms without a declaration of said war by Congress is a direct violation of the US Constitution and thus a violation of the treaty. Fraud vitiates all agreements. Therefore no nation is obligated under any other provision of the NATO Treaty and each and every nation at this time that has in any way violated the above provisions, which includes the United States, is not entitled under its provisions to anything, including mutual defense under Article 5.

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Stating the obvious, which is disappearing at the horizon.

Jeremy Corbyn Calls For End To NATO To Bring World Peace (GBNews)

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has suggested military alliances like Nato could build up “greater danger” in the world and should ultimately be disbanded. Mr Corbyn acknowledged the transatlantic alliance was not going to be scrapped immediately but added that people should “look at the process that could happen at the end of the Ukraine war”. He said he did not blame NATO for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine but questioned: “Do military alliances bring peace?” The Islington North MP said he wanted to see “some kind of much deeper security discussion, as indeed Nato was having a security discussion with Russia until last year”.


Mr Corbyn, a long-standing critic of NATO, told Times Radio: “I would want to see a world where we start to ultimately disband all military alliances. “The issue has to be what’s the best way of bringing about peace in the future? Is it by more alliances? Is it by more military build-up? “Or is it by stopping the war in Ukraine and the other wars… that are going on at the present time, which are also killing a very large number of people? “And ask yourself the question, do military alliances bring peace? Or do they actually encourage each other and build up to a greater danger? “I don’t blame NATO for the fact that Russia has invaded Ukraine, what I say is look at the thing historically, and look at the process that could happen at the end of the Ukraine war.”

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Yeah, why not blame them too?!

Red Cross Denies Kyiv’s Accusation Of Working ‘In Concert’ With Moscow (Y!)

A senior Kyiv official on Wednesday accused the International Committee of the Red Cross of working “in concert” with Russia in Ukraine, a charge the organisation denied. Ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova decried ICRC’s announcement last month that it was planning to open a branch in Russia’s southern Rostov region to help Ukrainian refugees, who, Kyiv says, have been forcibly deported to Russia. “The International Red Cross is not fulfilling its mandate, I am certain of that,” Denisova said on Ukrainian television Wednesday after meeting with the head of the ICRC’s Ukrainian branch. Citing data from the United Nations, Denisova said that some 550,000 Ukrainians, including 121,000 children, have been taken to Russia during the course of the war, but Kyiv has no information on who these people are and where they are being kept.


“Where are they? In filtration camps? In temporary facilities?” Denisova asked. The official said she had asked both her Russian counterpart Tatyana Moskalkova and the ICRC for help in getting information on these refugees so that Ukraine could facilitate their return home, but had received “zero answer from her or from the Red Cross”. Asked by the TV anchor whether Denisova suspected that the Red Cross was working “in concert” with Russia, Denisova replied: “Yes, I suspect they are.” The ICRC strongly rejected Kyiv’s accusations. “The ICRC does not ever help organize or carry out forced evacuations. We would not support any operation that would go against people’s will and international law,” the organisation said in a statement to AFP.

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The global balance is shifting.

Chinese Defense Minister Warns Pentagon Chief In 1st Call (ZH)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a call with his Chinese counterpart, Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, wherein Wei conveyed a warning that no one can change Taiwan’s status as part of China. The Wednesday phone call was the first that the two defense leaders have held. Wei informed Austin that “If the Taiwan issue were not handled properly, it would have a damaging impact on Sino-US relations,” according to Reuters. The call was intended as a follow-up between last month’s virtual meeting between presidents Biden and Xi, wherein Biden warned over China’s deepening cooperation with Russia it executes its war against Ukraine.

A Pentagon official later said the Austin emphasized that the US will continue to adhere to the ‘One China’ status quo policy, which is the typical response from Washington officials anytime Beijing warns over US officials stoking the pro-independence movement on the democratic-run island. Chinese state-run English language Global Times further described the importance of the call as one of Beijing conveying its unwavering resolve to Washington on the Taiwan issue. GT writes that Wei stressed “the importance of the Taiwan question, while demanding the US to stop its military provocations at sea, and not to throw mud or threaten China with the Ukraine issue.”

Further, “Wei stated a solemn position over the Taiwan question, as he stressed that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and this is a fact and a status quo no one can change.” Without doubt part of the “provocations” Beijing has in mind is that the US has been increasingly sending high-level officials to Taipei. In the latest example, just a week ago: “A delegation of United States lawmakers led by vocal China critics Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham arrived in Taiwan on Thursday for a two-day trip as Beijing threatened “strong measures” in response. The group of six US legislators is making the latest in a string of visits by foreign politicians to Taiwan in defiance of Beijing’s efforts to isolate the island nation.”

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“The scale of simultaneous user data-processing is not financially viable without the U.S government subsidizing it.”

Former Intel Officials Want Efforts to Break Up Big Tech Stopped (CTH)

Of course, the Fourth Branch of Government would want to get the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence involved. The SSCI created all of the mechanisms to facilitate the existence of the Fourth Branch of Government. However, I would take the issue deeper…. and ask readers to see what really worries the intelligence apparatus about the potential breakup of Big Tech. These are the intelligence people who constructed the model for Jack’s Magic Coffee Shop. This public-private partnership between the cyber division of the intelligence apparatus and Big Tech social media is where the free coffee comes from. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and even Google itself, are financially and operationally dependent on the scale of the data processing system that is run by the U.S. government.

The capacity of each of the big social media companies to exist, operate and be financially viable, is dependent on the backbone of interconnected data networking, and massive data processing. The scale of simultaneous user data-processing is not financially viable without the U.S government subsidizing it. That’s the free coffee that cannot be duplicated in the private sector by any competing social media company. That’s the cost and scale system behind the partnership that permits Big Tech to operate. Ultimately, this is what the intelligence apparatus needs to keep hidden from the American (and global) public. The biggest of the Big DATA processing is done through a public-private collaboration between Big Tech and Big Government/Intel.

Any private sector entity who attempts to create, or duplicate the scale of social media runs into this cost issue. It is just too expensive to operate a competing coffee shop without the free coffee. That’s why the coffee providers are lined up against Elon Musk’s attempt to buy Twitter. The ramifications of the public discovering Facebook and Twitter social media are only possible with subsidy from government tech architecture are massive. Essentially, the U.S. government is in control of our social media networking.

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Always found this a very weird story.

“This data, Sussmann claimed, “demonstrated that Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones in the vicinity of the White House and other locations.”

Democrats Sicced The CIA On Their Domestic Enemy, The President (Fed.)

Newly released CIA memoranda suggest the tech gurus behind the Alfa Bank hoax also tracked Donald Trump’s movements to devise another collusion conspiracy theory. While smaller in scale than other aspects of Spygate, the Yotaphone hoax represents an equally serious scandal because it involved both the mining of proprietary information and sensitive data from the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and the apparent surveillance of Trump’s physical movements. When Special Counsel John Durham charged former Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann in September 2021, the indictment focused on the Alfa Bank hoax that Sussmann, tech executive Rodney Joffe, and other cybersecurity experts had crafted. The indictment detailed how Joffe and other tech experts had allegedly mined data and developed “white papers” that deceptively created the impression that Trump had maintained a secret communication network with the Russia-based Alfa Bank.

Then, allegedly on behalf of the Clinton campaign and Joffe, Sussmann provided the Alfa Bank material to the media and to the FBI’s general counsel at the time, James Baker, with Sussmann falsely telling Baker he was sharing the “intel” on his own and not on behalf of any client. That alleged lie formed the basis for the one count, Section 1001 false statement charge against Sussmann. The 27-page indictment, however, also spoke of Sussmann sharing “updated allegations” on February 9, 2017, to another U.S. government agency, namely the CIA, while allegedly repeating the same false claim that he was not sharing the “intel” on behalf of any client. From the framing of the indictment, it appeared that what Sussmann had shared with the CIA concerned the same Alfa-Bank data provided to the FBI several months earlier, albeit updated.

But then two months ago, as part of the government’s “Motion to Inquire Into Potential Conflicts of Interest,” Durham’s team revealed for the first time that when Sussmann met with the CIA in early 2017, he provided agents with internet data beyond the Alfa Bank conspiracy theory. This data, Sussmann claimed, “demonstrated that Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones in the vicinity of the White House and other locations.” The “supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones” were “Yotaphones.” Following Durham’s filing of the conflicts of interest motion, it appeared Sussmann bore responsibility for peddling a second conspiracy theory to the CIA. But the details contained in the government’s motion proved insufficient to understand the Yotaphone angle to Spygate. That all changed on Friday, when the special counsel filed two CIA memoranda memorializing what Sussmann said about the Yotaphones and the data Joffe and his tech experts had compiled.

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“On Oct. 31, 2016, Clinton wrote on Twitter: “Donald Trump has a secret server … It was set up to communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank.”

Sussmann Doesn’t Want Clinton Tweet Admitted in Durham Case (ET)

The lawyer charged with hiding his work for the Clinton campaign from the FBI filed a motion requesting that special counsel John Durham not be able to use a Hillary Clinton Twitter post that made reference to alleged Trump–Russia collusion claims. Durham wrote last week that he wanted an October 2016 Twitter post from the Clinton campaign that promoted an allegation that there was a secret backchannel between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank. The campaign’s lawyer, Michael Sussmann, was charged last year with lying to the FBI by allegedly stating that he wasn’t working on behalf of any client when he pushed the Trump-Russian bank claim to then-FBI General Counsel James Baker.

On Oct. 31, 2016, Clinton wrote on Twitter: “Donald Trump has a secret server … It was set up to communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank.” She later wrote that “computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.” The claims about the alleged secret backchannel between the bank, reportedly identified as Alfa Bank, and former President Donald Trump’s business were ultimately refuted by the FBI. Durham also sought to preserve a Twitter post from Clinton’s campaign that included a lengthy statement from former adviser Jake Sullivan, who now works as President Joe Biden’s national security adviser. “This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” Sullivan claimed. “This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia.”

Last week, Durham argued that these Twitter posts are material because Sussmann “had communicated with the media and provided them with the Russian Bank-1 data and allegations” before articles on the claims were published. He also kept Clinton campaign staff “apprised of his efforts” while they “communicated with the Clinton Campaign’s leadership about potential media coverage of these issues.” But Sussmann’s lawyers over the past weekend, in court, wrote that the Clinton campaign’s Twitter posts about the matter, including the Sullivan one, should not be preserved for Sussmann’s trial. “The Tweet, which was posted on October 31, 2016, does not reveal anything about Mr. Sussmann’s state of mind over a month earlier, when he purportedly made the alleged false statement,” his attorneys wrote. “There is no evidence that Mr. Sussmann’s meeting with Mr. Baker had anything to do with the Clinton Campaign’s broader media strategy.”

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How nervous are they?

‘Horrifying Amount Of Information’ Recovered From Biden Laptop (OAN)

Journalist and whistleblower Jack Maxey says he may have recovered “a horrifying amount of information” previously thought to have been erased from Hunter Biden’s laptop. One America’s John Hines has more from Washington.

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Action, re-action.

Inside The New Right (Vanity Fair)

NatCon, as this conference is known, has grown into a big-tent gathering for a whole range of people who want to push the American right in a more economically populist, culturally conservative, assertively nationalist direction. It draws everyone from Israel hawks to fusty paleocon professors to mainstream figures like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. But most of the media attention that the conference attracts focuses on a cohort of rosy young blazer-wearing activists and writers—a crop of people representing the American right’s “radical young intellectuals,” as a headline in The New Republic would soon put it, or conservatism’s “terrifying future,” as David Brooks called them in The Atlantic.

But the people these pieces describe, who made up most of the partygoers around me, were only the most buttoned-up seam of a much larger and stranger political ferment, burbling up mainly within America’s young and well-educated elite, part of an intra-media class info-war. The podcasters, bro-ish anonymous Twitter posters, online philosophers, artists, and amorphous scenesters in this world are variously known as “dissidents,” “neo-reactionaries,” “post-leftists,” or the “heterodox” fringe—though they’re all often grouped for convenience under the heading of America’s New Right. They have a wildly diverse set of political backgrounds, with influences ranging from 17th-century Jacobite royalists to Marxist cultural critics to so-called reactionary feminists to the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, whom they sometimes refer to with semi-ironic affection as Uncle Ted.

Which is to say that this New Right is not a part of the conservative movement as most people in America would understand it. It’s better described as a tangled set of frameworks for critiquing the systems of power and propaganda that most people reading this probably think of as “the way the world is.” And one point shapes all of it: It is a project to overthrow the thrust of progress, at least such as liberals understand the word. This worldview, these worldviews, run counter to the American narrative of the last century—that economic growth and technological innovation are inevitably leading us toward a better future. It’s a position that has become quietly edgy and cool in new tech outposts like Miami and Austin, and in downtown Manhattan, where New Right–ish politics are in, and signifiers like a demure cross necklace have become markers of a transgressive chic. No one is leading this movement, but it does have key figures.

One is Peter Thiel, the billionaire who helped fund NatCon and who had just given the conference’s opening address. Thiel has also funded things like the edgelordy and post-left–inflected New People’s Cinema film festival, which ended its weeklong run of parties and screenings in Manhattan just a few days before NatCon began. He’s long been a big donor to Republican political candidates, but in recent years Thiel has grown increasingly involved in the politics of this younger and weirder world—becoming something like a nefarious godfather or a genial rich uncle, depending on your perspective. Podcasters and art-world figures now joke about their hope to get so-called Thielbucks. His most significant recent outlays have been to two young Senate candidates who are deeply enmeshed in this scene and influenced by its intellectual currents: Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance, running for the Republican nomination in Ohio, and Blake Masters in Arizona.

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Doesn’t feel bitter.

Le Pen, Macron In Bitter Clash Ahead Of Tight French Election (Y!)

French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right rival Marine Le Pen on Wednesday clashed bitterly over relations with Russia and the Islamic headscarf as they sought to sway undecided voters in an acrimonious debate four days ahead of presidential elections. France faces a stark choice in Sunday’s second-round run-off between the centrist Macron and the anti-immigration Le Pen, who will seek to become the country’s first far-right head of state in an outcome that would send shockwaves around Europe. There was little cordiality in the bruising three-hour live televised debate, with Macron repeatedly seeking to land punches on Le Pen over her record, while she sought to keep the focus on the government’s performance.

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine overshadowing the campaign, Macron angrily zeroed in on a loan Le Pen’s party had taken from a Czech-Russian bank ahead of her 2017 election campaign. “You are dependent on the Russian government and you are dependent on Mr (Russian President Vladimir) Putin,” Macron said. “When you speak to Russia you are speaking to your banker.” Macron also referred to Le Pen’s past recognition of Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. “Why did you do this?” he asked. Le Pen replied that she was “an absolutely and totally free woman”, arguing that her party had only taken that loan as it could not find financing in France where banks refused to lend to her.

Macron adopted a variety of poses to express scepticism at her arguments, raising his eyebrows, leaning his chin on his fists and lamenting in apparent bewilderment “Madame Le Pen… Madame Le Pen!” The most explosive clash came when Le Pen confirmed she was sticking to her controversial policy of banning the wearing of the Islamic headscarf by women in public, describing it as a “uniform imposed by Islamists”. Macron responded: “You are going to cause a civil war if you do that. I say this sincerely.”

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How long until the entire housing market goes poof?

US Mortgage Interest Rates Reach a 12 Year High (R.)

The average interest rate on the most popular U.S. home loan climbed to a 12 year high last week and fewer homebuyers sought properties in a sign that the Federal Reserve’s aim of cooling the housing market may be beginning to have an impact, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) showed on Wednesday. The average contract rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 5.20% in the week ended April 15 from 5.13% a week earlier, the MBA survey showed. It has risen 2 percentage points from one year ago.


The bulk of the run up, however, has occurred since the start of the year, causing the fastest climb in home-financing costs in decades as the Fed abandoned a cautious approach to raising its benchmark overnight lending rate in favor of swifter and more decisive action to bring down persistently high inflation. The central bank is also set to decide at its next meeting on May 3-4 to begin reducing its portfolio of $8.5 trillion of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, a stash of assets that had helped keep consumer borrowing costs – for mortgages in particular – low throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Those expectations for Fed tightening actions have led to a surge in Treasury yields as financial markets reacted. The yield on the 10-year note US10YT=RR, which acts as a benchmark for mortgage rates, is at its highest level since 2018.

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Who cares about the law when they are in power?

Assange Extradition Order Sent to Priti Patel (Lauria)

An order to extradite WikiLeaks‘ publisher Julian Assange was sent to British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Wednesday morning by Westminster Magistrate’s Court. The order came after the U.K. Supreme Court last month declined to hear Assange’s appeal of a High Court decision to allow the extradition to the United States to proceed. Patel now has four weeks to decide whether to send Assange to the U.S. to face espionage and computer intrusion charges for publishing prima facie evidence of U.S. war crimes that could land him behind bars for up to 175 years — an effective life sentence. Assange’s legal team can appeal to Patel during the next four weeks. After her decision is made Assange can then make a renewed appeal to the High Court if she opts to send him to the U.S.

Mark Summers QC, one of Assange’s lawyers, told Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, that while he was not permitted by rule to present “fresh evidence” at the present hearing, Assange’s legal team would make submissions to Patel on “fresh developments” in Assange’s case. Without elaborating, Summers said Patel would be sent “serious submissions on U.S. sentencing practices.” Among the new developments since the High Court hearing in October is a deterioration in Assange’s health after he suffered a mini stroke on the first day of that hearing. Assange initially won his extradition case in the magistrate’s court in January 2021 based on the high likelihood that his mental health would lead to his suicide in harsh prison conditions in the United States.

After the case was lost, the U.S. made diplomatic “assurances” to Britain that it would not put Assange in so-called Special Administrative Measures (SAMS), the most severe condition of isolation in the U.S. prison system. The U.S. also promised that Assange would be given adequate physical and mental health care. The U.S. then appealed. Based on those assurances alone, the High Court on Dec. 10, 2021 overturned the lower court’s decision to block extradition. But that decision was made after Assange had suffered a stroke during the first day of the two-day High Court hearing. The stroke was not made public until the day after the ruling.

That markedly changed the conditions upon which the decision was reached as one of the High Court judges made the distinction during the hearing that Assange was suffering only from a mental and not physical disability. The crucial question remains: when did the High Court learn about the stroke? If Patel decides to extradite and if Assange decides to appeal again to the High Court, his lawyers could also challenge parts of the lower court’s ruling on issues of press freedom and the political nature of the U.S. charges, which are not allowed in the U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty.

Not nearly enough people outside the court

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The threat appears much wider than just press freedom.

Dark Day For Press Freedom As UK Court Orders Assange Extradition (Gosztola)

While the defense for Assange objected to District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s ruling on January 4, 2021, particularly as it related to issues of press freedom, they never had an appropriate opportunity to raise their objections. She denied the extradition request after determining it would be “oppressive” for mental health reasons. His attorneys would likely challenge many of Baraitser’s conclusions about Assange if Patel allowed the request. (Note: Baraitser is no longer a district judge at the Westminster Magistrates Court.) Assange is detained at Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh. He faces 18 charges brought against him by the US Justice Department, 17 of which are under the Espionage Act. All the charges relate to documents WikiLeaks released in 2010 and 2011, which were provided by US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

The prosecution makes Assange the first publisher to be charged under the 1917 law, and globally the case has been condemned by virtually all reputable civil liberties, human rights, and press freedom organizations. Patel and the Home Office support an expansion of the Official Secrets Laws in the UK, which Elmaazi reported “would expand possible imprisonment for leakers, recipients of leaks and secondary publishers–including journalists–from the current maximum of two years to as high as 14 years in prison.” The Home Office contends there is no longer much of a difference between “espionage and the most serious unauthorized disclosures.” That includes what Patel would call “onward disclosure.” The department treats journalism as an act capable of “far more serious damage” than traditional espionage.

In the UK, the Office for Security and Counterterrorism is a part of the Home Office. The division is responsible for MI5 (Britain’s FBI) and anti-terrorism police operations. Operation Pelican, the name for the pressure campaign to force Assange out of the Ecuador embassy in London, was supported by the Home Office. But as Declassified UK chief investigator Matt Kennard noted, the Home Office claims it does not “hold” any records containing details related to the operation, even though eight officials from the department were involved. Kennard also reported that Patel was on the advisory council for a right-wing group linked to the CIA called the Henry Jackson Society, which has attacked Assange in the press for over a decade.

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