May 302024
 


Ivan Aivazovsky The Ninth Wave 1849

 

This Is Insanity: Trump Case Judge Issues Unbelievable Jury Instructions (ZH)
Trump Tells Donors He’d Bomb Moscow and Beijing – WaPo (RT)
Et tu, Trump (Paul Craig Roberts)
‘Lightweight’ Biden Officials Lack Gravitas to Negotiate with Russia (Sp.)
Ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister: Zelensky is Nothing But Impostor Since May 21 (Sp.)
Zelensky is ‘An Outlaw’ – Russian State Duma Chairman (RT)
Western Experts Realizing NATO Expansion Was A Mistake – Lavrov (RT)
Lavrov: NATO Plans to Supply F-16s to Ukraine a Signal in Nuclear Sphere (Sp.)
Robert De Niro Court Presser Turns into a Sad Spectacle (Turley)
“Democracy is on the Ballot” (Turley)
Evidence That President Raisi, FM Amir-abdollahian Were Murdered (Helmer)
No Zone is Safe (Manley)
My Name Is Khan. I’m From The ICC and You’re Under Arrest (Jay)
Netherlands’ Ex-Intelligence Chief To Be Next Prime Minister (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Kash Patel

 

 

Eric Trump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RFK
https://twitter.com/i/status/1796000745663156374

 

 

Larry Ellison

 

 

Trump& Musk

 

 

 

 

“..they could split 4-4-4 and he will still treat them as unanimous…”

This Is Insanity: Trump Case Judge Issues Unbelievable Jury Instructions (ZH)

Legal minds are beside themselves at how the judge in the Trump ‘hush money’ case has instructed jurors to rule – first in what constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley called “the coup de grace instruction,” Judge Juan Merchan said that there is no need to agree on what occurred – and can disagree on what the crime was among the charges. “Merchan just delivered the coup de grace instruction,” Turley wrote on X. “He said that there is no need to agree on what occurred. They can disagree on what the crime was among the three choices. Thus, this means that they could split 4-4-4 and he will still treat them as unanimous…” “This is absolute insanity,” posted Missouri Attorney General Andrew Baily, in response to another Turley observation – namely that the jury will not be given copies of their instructions, but can ask for them to be read again. What could be behind this activist judge?

* * *
With closing arguments in Donald Trump’s hush money trial having ended on Tuesday, jury deliberations have officially begun, putting the outcome of the case in the hands of a dozen New Yorkers. A jury of seven men and five women were instructed to begin deliberating just before 11:30 a.m., where they will weigh in on the first criminal trial of a former US president. While the jurors’ discussions will be in private, they can send Trump-hating Judge Juan Merchan notes asking to rehear testimony or review evidence. “It is not my responsibility to judge the evidence here. It is yours,” said Merchan. Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with an alleged scheme to shelve potentially embarrassing claims during the 2016 US election – similar to how the Clintons paid Paula Jones $850,000 to drop a sexual harassment lawsuit after more than four years of legal action. According to Merchan, “Your verdict on each count you consider, whether guilty or not, must be unanimous,” adding “That is, each and every juror must agree to it.”

That said, they do not need to be unanimous on what crime they think Trump is guilty of. “You should discuss the evidence and consult with each other, listen to each other, give each other’s views careful consideration. And when you deliberate, you should do so with a view to reaching agreement when that can be done without surrendering an individual juror,” Merchan continued. As the Epoch Times notes further, all the evidence from trial has been loaded onto a laptop, and Juror 4 and Juror 6 volunteered to operate it for the group. Merchan checked with defense attorney Todd Blanche about whether defense counsel explained to President Trump about evidence being on the laptop for jurors. Mr. Blanche affirmed that defense counsel reviewed the contents of the laptop and have no objections to this protocol. “I always watch the jurors. I watch to see who is paying attention and who is not,” said Merchan. “Justice Merchan said. “Each of you is very engaged in this case. But we’re not going to excuse [alternates].”

During closing arguments on Tuesday, Merchan criticized Blanche for telling the jury that the former president could go to prison if they convict – and reminded them that their decision would be based on the word of Michael Cohen, who Blanche described as a “liar” who “lied to” the jury. “You cannot send somebody to prison, you cannot convict somebody based upon the words of Michael Cohen,” said Blanche – to which prosecutors jumped in and objected. Merchan agreed, sustaining the objection. “That was outrageous, Mr. Blanche,” he said. “Someone who’s been a prosecutor as long as you have, someone who’s been an attorney as long as you have knows that it’s highly inappropriate.”

Vivek

https://twitter.com/i/status/1795844798043095515

https://twitter.com/i/status/1795968181057814904

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This “report” doesn’t smell quite right. Also:

“..The Trump campaign, however, has dismissed the WaPo report as “fake news.”

Trump Tells Donors He’d Bomb Moscow and Beijing – WaPo (RT)

Former US President and current Republican candidate Donald Trump has told campaign donors that he “would have bombed” Moscow and Beijing if they’d attacked Ukraine and Taiwan respectively on his watch, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing sources. According to numerous donors, advisers and other people close to him, the former president has ramped up his fundraising campaign rhetoric ahead of his likely rematch with incumbent Joe Biden in the upcoming November election. Trump, who regularly addresses foreign policy topics at such events, reportedly claimed that he would have bombed the Russian capital in response to its Ukraine campaign, and prescribed the same response to a hypothetical Chinese move to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan. These remarks “surprised” his donors, according to the Washington Post.

Former President Trump is also said to have made a “series of audacious requests” to solicit significant campaign contributions at funding events, as he has reportedly promised tax cuts, approvals for oil infrastructure projects, and other policies that his donors might appreciate. Some legal experts interviewed by the Washington Post noted that such promises and requests are “testing the boundaries of federal campaign finance laws.” Trump is no stranger to hardline rhetoric, famously threatening North Korea with “fire and fury” when tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs flared in 2017. On the Ukraine conflict, however, he had earlier promised to settle hostilities within just 24 hours if reelected by sitting down with both Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

An earlier Washington Post report suggested that Trump hoped to end the conflict by pressuring Ukraine to agree to recognize at least some of its territorial losses to Russia. In the fall of 2022, four former Ukrainian regions voted to join Russia, following in the footsteps of Crimea, which did so in 2014. The Trump campaign, however, has dismissed the WaPo report as “fake news.” In February, Bloomberg also reported, citing an adviser to the ex-president, that if Trump wins the election, he could pressure Ukraine to negotiate peace with Russia by threatening to cut massive US military assistance to the country. Russia maintains that it is open to talks over Ukraine; however, in the fall of 2022, Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree banning all negotiations with the current leadership in Moscow.

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“..Americans must stand up to the Democrats weaponization of law and show that such law is unacceptable by vindicating Trump in the November election..”

Et tu, Trump (Paul Craig Roberts)

No sooner do I finish an interview about the rapidity with which we are traveling the road to Armageddon than we pick up speed. Trump campaign donors report that Trump told them he would have bombed Moscow and Beijing if they’d attacked Ukraine and Taiwan on his watch. So the likely next US president tells the world that in the interest of Ukraine and Taiwan, two artificial states created by Washington, he is prepared to launch World War III. No more talk about normalizing relations with Russia. That talk brought him eight years of troubles and indictments. Trump now out-neocons the neocons. There is no doubt that Trump has been persecuted for eight years and faces a collection of civil and criminal indictments simply because he said he intended to normalize relations with Russia.

This was seen as an attack on the budget and power of the military/security complex. Trump was threatening their world by taking away their necessary enemy. The CIA director called Trump a traitor to America. My position has always been that Americans must stand up to the Democrats weaponization of law and show that such law is unacceptable by vindicating Trump in the November election. Otherwise, the result will be the institutionalization of weaponized law, which means tyranny. As important as law is as a shield of the people instead of a weapon in the hands of the state, it takes second place to avoiding nuclear Armageddon. I can no longer support Trump.

The situation could not be more dangerous. The entire leadership of the Western world is committed to war with Russia. European leaders are telling Europeans that Europe must be prepared for war with Russia. No one in Washington, and precious few among policy analysts, will admit to any US responsibility for the dangerous situation. The fact that Washington overthrew the government in Ukraine, installed a puppet, trained and equipped a large Ukrainian army to retake the independent Donbas republics, deceived Putin with the Minsk Agreement, mischaracterized Putin’s protection of Donbas as an invasion of Ukraine, and used every opportunity to widen the war is simply unspeakable in the Western world. Anyone who tells the truth is a Putin agent/dupe. The denial of the reality of the conflict is leading directly to a major war, perhaps humanity’s last war, and no Western leader is alarmed.

They are only alarmed that Washington is losing its proxy war. The determination is not to end the war but to expand it with long-range missiles and NATO troops to prevent Washington from losing the war. A few brave American students protest Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians, but no one protests the rapidity at which we are traveling the road to nuclear Armageddon. The American public is unaware of, or unconcerned with, the risk. Nowhere in any of the Western democracies do the people have a voice. The Western media is given over to war propaganda. Compared to the emphasis on reducing tensions that characterized the long Cold War, I can only conclude that the West has gone insane and is incapable of recognizing reality and behaving responsibly. Biden has refused the responsibility of his office to meet with Putin and resolve the dangerous situation. Instead, Biden insists on continuing an existential threat to Russia.

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“The West is playing poker and the Russians are not playing games..”

‘Lightweight’ Biden Officials Lack Gravitas to Negotiate with Russia (Sp.)

Which White House official has the clout to go toe to toe with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov? “That’s a trick question. Nobody.” So says Serbian-American journalist Nebojsa Malic, who joined Sputnik’s The Final Countdown program Tuesday to discuss how the Biden administration’s diplomatic deficit prevents Washington from dialing down tensions with one of the world’s foremost military powers. “The West is playing poker and the Russians are not playing games,” said the veteran columnist for AntiWar.com, who claimed the United States has consistently provoked Moscow. “The Ukrainians are losing badly on the operational and tactical level [and] the strategic level, arguably, as well,” he added, claiming that talk of Ukraine firing US weapons into Russia is intended “to present to their own population that they’re doing something.”

The issue has represented the latest controversy in the West’s ongoing proxy war against Moscow, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken publicly making the case to encourage Kiev to strike within Russian territory. “But you can say that that particular rubicon has been crossed months ago,” said Malic. “These long-range strikes – they’re hitting oil refiners, they’re hitting cities, they’re hitting civilians – they’re not striking military formations. Never did.” “This whole talk of, ‘oh, but we couldn’t disrupt the offensive because we weren’t allowed to strike Russian territory,’ is just an excuse from Zelensky and his command to justify their total and utter failure on the battlefield. And that’s why it’s arisen… ‘let’s do this because we’re going to blame the West for not letting us fight.’”

As Russia has consolidated their gains on the battlefield and pushed north towards Kharkov, Western media has begun to acknowledge the Kiev regime’s dire straits. With Ukrainian victory now more unlikely than ever, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated that he is open to negotiating peace. But Moscow prefers to negotiate with “the people who make the decisions,” noted Malic, who reside not in Kiev, but in Washington. “Do you see a scenario where Antony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov sit down and have tea together?” asked host Angie Wong. “No,” the analyst replied bluntly. “Simply put, no. I don’t think Lavrov wants to negotiate with somebody who’s such a lightweight,” he claimed, apparently unimpressed with Blinken’s guitar playing abilities.

“[William] Burns actually might be the person,” said Malic, referring to Biden’s CIA director who has helped facilitate negotiations with Israel. “He used to be an ambassador to Russia, if I remember, and he might have the adequate gravitas to negotiate. Although does he have the authority? I don’t know. But yeah, Burns might actually be someone that the Russians might be willing to discuss things with.” The writer ran through the list of other top officials in the Biden White House, attempting to conjure someone who approaches the stature of Russia’s longtime top diplomat. “Sullivan: no. Harris: no. Biden, himself: don’t make me laugh. Blinken: no. Austin: no, also he’s indisposed. Yeah, I think Burns might be the guy.”

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“..[Zelensky] is not a specialist, not a patriot of his country, he is just a random person in power, a puppet.”

Ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister: Zelensky is Nothing But Impostor Since May 21 (Sp.)

Zelensky’s presidential powers expired on the night of May 20-21 and cannot be extended per the Ukrainian Constitution which limits the presidential tenure to five years. Despite calls from the West to secure a second term via a general election in Ukraine, he refused to do so – using the pretext of martial law to continue. “It is absolutely obvious to anyone who is familiar with electoral law and the Constitution of Ukraine that Zelensky has become an impostor since May 21,” Nikolay Azarov, prime minister from 2010 to 2014 and a veteran politician with over 20 years of experience in Ukrainian politics, told Sputnik. Azarov went on to trash Zelensky’s martial law pretext to justify canceling elections: “Zelensky did not declare war [against Russia]. He also did not announce any military operation. He simply introduced martial law. Why did you introduce martial law if you are not declaring war?”

The former Ukrainian president’s unwillingness to hold elections stems from his legitimate fear that he would have lost miserably, according to the former prime minister. “If there were a chance [of winning], he would have held elections,” he said. “Nothing prevented him from holding elections, because the entire administration, all the security forces, all the penal structures, everything is in the hands of his administration.” Azarov suggested that Zelensky could have held elections in the territories controlled by Kiev – akin to what his predecessor Petro Poroshenko did during his presidential tenure. But even under these conditions, Zelensky understood that he could not win and could be easily beaten by any other contender, like General Valery Zaluzhny, the ex-prime minister presumed.

“It is absolutely clear to everyone, with the possible exception of an extremely narrow circle of people, that [Zelensky] is not a specialist, not a patriot of his country, he is just a random person in power, a puppet. And therefore he would hardly have won if any [presidential] candidates had emerged,” Azarov said. As Zelensky’s tenure expired on May 20, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) and its speaker are now the only legitimate powers in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters on May 28, adding that the Ukrainian Constitution provides for the extension of the powers of the parliament, but not the president, under martial law.

Responding to Putin’s remark, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk argued that the president of Ukraine exercises his powers until his successor assumes the post. However, the debate over Zelensky’s legitimacy is gaining pace regardless of Stefanchuk’s assertions. “The military conflict has been going on for three years now. It is still difficult to say how long it will last. Will [Zelensky] continue to usurp power all this time? This raises legitimate questions,” Azarov said.

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“..the Ukrainian constitution stipulates that presidential duties must be performed by the country’s speaker of parliament until an election is held..”

Zelensky is ‘An Outlaw’ – Russian State Duma Chairman (RT)

Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky has essentially committed a blatant power grab by deciding to keep his presidential post after his term officially expired, Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has said. Writing on Telegram on Wednesday, Volodin proclaimed Zelensky – whose presidential term officially ended on May 20, an “outlaw,” adding that Ukraine has plunged into a “crisis of power.” The lawmaker recalled that the Ukrainian constitution stipulates that presidential duties must be performed by the country’s speaker of parliament until an election is held and a new president sworn in. However, Ruslan Stefanchuk, the parliament’s speaker, said that Zelensky must remain as president and denounced as “an enemy of Ukraine” anyone who questions his legitimacy.

He also argued that the nation’s constitution says that the president must perform his duties until a new leader is sworn in. Volodin disagrees, however, pointing out that the extension of the president’s term can only be done on the basis of an election, which Zelensky refused to greenlight, citing martial law imposed after the start of the Ukraine conflict. “Anything else is a state crime. And this is what Zelensky has committed,” the MP said. He went on to remark that foreign leaders found themselves in “a difficult position,” explaining that while they have the right to meet with Zelensky, “international agreements and treaties with him will have no legal force, because he has lost his powers.”

“This carries risks of non-return of funds and many other problems in the future,” Volodin added. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the only legitimate authority in Ukraine is now the parliament, adding that “a deep legal analysis” of Zelensky’s current status should be carried out. The Russian president also suggested Zelensky is being kept in office by “overseas masters” so that he and his government would become scapegoats for all recent and future “unpopular decisions.” Meanwhile, Zelensky himself has claimed that he “is not really bothered” by talk of his perceived illegitimacy, adding that his fellow Ukrainians know the national law and can draw their own conclusions.

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“..‘don’t have a war over this. We don’t need NATO enlargement for US security. In fact it’s counter to US security’.”

Western Experts Realizing NATO Expansion Was A Mistake – Lavrov (RT)

Historians and political scientists in the West have finally grasped that NATO’s post-Cold War expansion led to conflict in Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said, adding that this expansion was driven by Washington’s “irresistible desire” to dominate the continent. “Today, many historians and political scientists in the West express the point of view that their colleagues have been declaring for many, many years, maybe even decades. This is the fact that when the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist, when the Soviet Union extended its hand for unification with Europe, the US and the West as a whole on the basis of equality, mutual benefits and respect, no one dissolved NATO. And actually no one planned to,” Lavrov told a meeting of ambassadors in Moscow on Wednesday. “Just yesterday, a famous US economist, political scientist Jeffrey Sachs, cited this mistake in an interview with [US journalist] Tucker Carlson,” Lavrov noted.

Sachs on Lavrov
https://twitter.com/i/status/1795903854908711016

“Now, we can confidently say that the irresistible desire of the US to retain control of Europe through NATO was the reason.” In a video interview with Carlson published on Tuesday, Sachs condemned successive US administrations for breaking Washington’s promise to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev by expanding NATO to swallow up former Soviet satellite states in eastern Europe. “They got this idea that ‘we’ll expand NATO so that every country in the Black Sea around Russia is a NATO country. We’ll get Romania and Bulgaria, we’ll get Ukraine and we’ll get Georgia’,” Sachs explained. “And the reason was very clear. This is our way to basically dominate Eurasia. We are the sole superpower. We are unchallenged.” Among those who pushed back against Washignton’s expansionism were political scientist John Mearsheimer, Cold War strategist George Kennan – who called it ‘the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era” – and William Burns, the current director of the CIA who in 2008 described NATO’s offer of eventual membership to Ukraine as “the brightest of all red lines” for Moscow.

Speaking to reporters after NATO offered future membership to Ukraine and Georgia in Bucharest in 2008, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Moscow views “the appearance of a powerful military bloc on our borders… as a direct threat to the security of our country.” When Putin sent US President Joe Biden a draft security agreement in late 2021, Sachs contacted National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and urged him to treat the document as a basis for negotiations, he told Carlson. “The core of it was ‘stop the NATO enlargement’,” Sachs explained. “I called the White House myself at that point and said ‘don’t have a war over this. We don’t need NATO enlargement for US security. In fact it’s counter to US security’.”

“We should have disbanded NATO,” he concluded. “It’s doing huge damage to Europe, it’s destroying Ukraine…and almost nobody stands up and talks about it.” An economist and political analyst by trade, Sachs worked as an adviser to three UN secretaries general, and to the governments of Russia, Ukraine, and other post-Soviet countries during the 1990s. Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, he has consistently called on the US to stop financing the Ukrainian military and push for a ceasefire between Kiev and Moscow.

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“Russia will consider the supply of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine a deliberate signal action by NATO in the nuclear sphere.”

The F-16 CAN carry nuclear loads, so Russia must presume that is what they do. Can’t afford to wait and see.

Lavrov: NATO Plans to Supply F-16s to Ukraine a Signal in Nuclear Sphere (Sp.)

Russia considers the idea of a hypothetical convening of a peaceful international conference on the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict with the participation of both Moscow and Kiev as a possible continuation of China’s efforts to create conditions for resolving this crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Sputnik. “As for the idea of convening an international peace conference in a timely manner, which would ensure the equal participation of Russia and Ukraine and the discussion of all available peace initiatives, we regard it as a continuation of Beijing’s efforts to create conditions for resolving the Ukrainian crisis. We share the position that, first of all, it is necessary to eliminate its root causes, ensure the legitimate interests of all parties,” Lavrov said. Future agreements on the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict must be based on the principle of equal and indivisible security, the minister added. Lavrov also noted that Russia believes the US has become an accomplice to Kiev’s crimes, when it comes to Ukraine’s missile strikes on Russian cities.

“In the US national security strategy, Russia is called an immediate threat. The US and NATO explicitly say that their goal is to inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ on our country. In this context, the fate of the civilian population of Russian cities is not of interest to the White House, which has become an accomplice to the crimes of the Kiev regime,” Lavrov said. The United States is actually exacerbating the conflict in the Middle East by publicly declaring its commitment to a just solution to the Palestinian problem, Russian Foreign Minister added. “The Americans continue to publicly speak about their commitment to a just solution to the Palestinian problem. At the same time, in practice, they plentifully add oil to the flame of the armed confrontation,” Lavrov stated. The Russian Foreign Minister further indicated that Russia will consider the supply of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine a deliberate signal action by NATO in the nuclear sphere.

“F-16 fighter jets have long been the main means of delivery in the framework of the so-called NATO joint nuclear missions. Therefore, we cannot but consider the supply of these systems to the Kiev regime as a deliberate signal action by NATO in the nuclear sphere. They are trying to make it clear to us that the US and NATO are ready for literally anything in Ukraine,” Lavrov said. At the same time, the supply of F-16 fighters would not change the situation on the line of contact in any way, the minister added. “These jets will be destroyed, as well as other types of weapons supplied by NATO countries to Ukraine,” Lavrov said. He also stated that the drills on the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons of Russian and Belarus should talk sense into western opponents about the consequences of escalation. “We hope that the Russian-Belarusian drills held these days to practice the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons will bring our opponents to reason, reminding them of the catastrophic consequences of further progress of nuclear escalation,” Lavrov said.

On Monday, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said that Belarusian and Russian air forces are conducting joint tactical flight drills on May 27-31. Russia and China agree on the importance of increasing defense cooperation, not only on a bilateral basis but also in multilateral formats, Sergey Lavrov said. “We share the opinion on the importance of increasing defense cooperation not only on a bilateral basis but also within the framework of multilateral formats. This understanding is set out in a joint statement signed following the visit of Russian President [Vladimir] Putin to China. Specifically, we are talking about expanding the scale of joint drills and combat training, conducting sea and air patrols, and developing the potential for joint response,” Lavrov said.

The cooperation between Beijing and Moscow is not aimed against any third country, the minister said. “Military cooperation with China is based on a high level of mutual trust. Russian-Chinese cooperation is aimed at strengthening international security and is carried out in accordance with the norms of international law. The combination of our efforts is not aimed against third countries. We and our Chinese friends are forced to take into account the negative military and political trends in the Asia-Pacific region and take measures to mitigate their consequences,” Lavrov said.

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“..reputations, you know, a lifetime to build, seconds to destroy.”

Robert De Niro Court Presser Turns into a Sad Spectacle (Turley)

In the movie A Bronx Tale, the character played by Robert De Niro tells his son that “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” Yesterday, the actor appears to have forgotten his own cinematic advice in a bizarre press conference organized by the Biden campaign in front of the Manhattan courthouse during the trial of former President Donald Trump. In a raving, disconnected press conference, De Niro predicted the end of democracy and then the world if Trump is not stopped in New York. De Niro offered a rambling monologue and exposed the danger of an actor speaking without a script:

“It’s a good time to reflect on how Americans fought and died so that we may enjoy the freedoms guaranteed to us by a democratic government, a government that as President Lincoln said of the people by the people for the people shall not perish from the earth. Under Trump this kind of government will perish from the earth. I don’t mean to scare you. No, no, wait, maybe I do mean to scare you. If Trump returns to the White House, you can kiss these freedoms goodbye that we all take for granted. And elections, forget about it. That’s over. That’s done if he gets in, I can tell you right now, he will never leave, he will never leave. You know that he will never leave.”

De Niro has gone full Travis Bickle. However, now 80, it came across as De Niro screaming at the courthouse for Trump to get off his lawn. The diatribe is consistent with the messaging of Democrats, including President Biden, that “democracy is on the ballot” and that this may be our last election. De Niro was not satisfied with that alarmist message and decided to take it to an apocalyptic level in predicting a global meltdown. As I have previously written, it is a narrative that ignores our history and our values. To suggest that this may be our last democratic election is to suggest that both branches (and the population at large) would stand idly by as a president assumed tyrannical powers. That did not occur, even when this country was united by wars and national emergencies. With the nation now divided right down the middle, it is even less likely.

That is why the “democracy is on the ballot” claims border on defamation against our Constitution. We have the most successful and stable democratic system in history. The success of that system is not measured by those who would riot or challenge our values. It is measured by how the system responds. Our system works because it was not only written for times of relative unity and calm, it also was written for times like these. What was particularly weird is that the Biden campaign succeeded in reinforcing the view of this case as lawfare, an effort to stop Trump at any cost.

That message was also reaffirmed by President Biden stating that he will hold a press conference on the verdict. After the third highest ranking official in the Biden Justice Department joined the prosecution to bring the case, the announcement only magnified the view of a case that is being used for political purposes. De Niro walked away pursued by hecklers and proceeded to exchange profanities. The question for the Biden campaign lingered as to what was achieved by the chaotic scene outside of the courthouse. I am a great fan of De Niro’s artistic work, a legacy of great movies that are now an indelible part of our culture. That is precisely why, as I watched from the Fox camera location near his presser, I was more sad than surprised by the spectacle. As another De Niro character said in the movie Stardust, “reputations, you know, a lifetime to build, seconds to destroy.”

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Popular slogan this year…

“Democracy is on the Ballot” (Turley)

“Democracy is on the ballot.” That mantra of President Joe Biden and other Democrats has suggested that “this may be our last election” if the Republicans win in 2024. A few of us have noted that the Democrats seem more keen on claiming the mantle of the defenders of democracy than actually practicing it. Democrats have sought to disqualify Donald Trump and dozens of Republicans from ballots; block third party candidates, censor and blacklist of those with opposing views; and weaponize the legal system against their opponents. Most recently, in California, democracy is truly on the ballot and the Democrats are on the wrong side.

California has always prided itself on the ability of citizens to vote on changes in the law directly through referenda and ballot measures. That is precisely what citizens are attempting to do with a measure that would require voter approval of any tax increase, including a two-thirds vote for some local taxes. It is called the Taxpayer Protection Act and it is a duly qualified statewide ballot measure slated for the November 2024 ballot. The state Democrats are apoplectic over the prospect of citizen control over revenue and taxes. What was a quaint element of democratic empowerment is now challenging a core vehicle of Democratic power. So Gov. Gavin Newsom and other Democratic leaders have taken the issue to the state Supreme Court to demand that citizens be denied the right to decide the issue. In oral arguments, the attorney supporting the challenge explained to the justices that citizens are simply not equipped to deal with the complexities of taxation and should not be allowed to render such a decision.

In a prior decision, Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar wrote that “Whether the context involves taxation or not, all of these cases underscore how courts preserve and liberally construe the public’s statewide and local initiative power. Indeed, we resolve doubts about the scope of the initiative power in its favor whenever possible and we narrowly construe provisions that would burden or limit the exercise of that power.” Half of the Court seemed to be inclined to deny the public the right to decide the question. The Court, however, may wait until after the election to render a decision on the limits of democracy in California.

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Not real evidence.

Evidence That President Raisi, FM Amir-abdollahian Were Murdered (Helmer)

The release of fresh details of the fatal helicopter flight on May 19 which killed Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is ruling out bad weather, machine failure, signals interference, on-board bomb or ground-fired missile as the cause of the crash. Iranian civilian, military and clerical officials are also excluding Israeli or US involvement. Instead, Raisi’s chief of staff, Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili, a civilian lawyer and Raisi loyalist for many years, has described a sequence of details, preceding and following the incident, which hint at suicide murder by one of the pilots of the presidential aircraft. Esmaeili made his remarks on Tehran television on the evening of May 21. He revealed that Raisi’s helicopter was flying second in a convoy of three aircraft, while Esmaeili was flying third, behind Raisi, when his helicopter “suddenly disappeared”. The pilot of the third helicopter then “decided to circle and return to search for the President’s helicopter”.

Esmaeili also said that attempted calls to Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian, and the pilot of their aircraft, Colonel Seyed Taher Mostafavi, all failed to produce a response. However, two calls were answered by Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Al-Hashem, the only passenger who appeared to survive the impact and fire of the crash, but died soon after. Al-Hashem represents the clerical power in East Azerbaijan province. According to Esmaeili, Al-Hashem said “our situation is not good, the copter has crashed into the valley”. Al-Hashem’s remark appears to rule out a missile strike or bomb explosion. Esmaeili’s statements rule out adverse weather conditions and the sight or sound of mid-air explosion. An Iranian Army General Staff statement, issued last Friday May 24, after investigation of radar, radio, other telecommunications, and the aircraft debris, has confirmed normal navigation and communications between the helicopter pilots and with ground controllers.

“Gunshot wounds or similar ones have not been seen in the remaining parts of the helicopter,” the report claims, “in the conversations of the control tower with the flight crew, no suspicious cases have been observed.” The implication is also that there were no sudden machine failures triggering loss of pilot control and indicated by either pilot or automatic instrument distress signals. Because the Raisi aircraft disappeared into clouds ahead of Esmaeili, and there was no heat burst from missile or bomb strike, satellite images by Russian, US, or Chinese satellites are unlikely to have recorded what happened. The signals intelligence collected by Russia and the US is also unlikely to have recorded more than Esmaeili has admitted.

That leaves the Russian hint published by Konstantin Malofeyev, owner and editor-in-chief of Tsargrad, citing a retired Russian Air Force general. According to Major General Vladimir Popov (retired), “the main threat to top officials during air travel comes from themselves”. The mainstream Russian press, the Moscow military bloggers, and RT, the state propaganda organ, have all avoided analysis of the incident forensics and speculation of motive; they have stuck to repeating official Iranian news releases. RT’s version of Esmaeili’s statements is significantly shorter and less comprehending than the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) report and the Times of India video. “Esmaeili’s statement points to Raisi’s pilot making the decision to crash,” comments a western military source. “Why order the other two aircraft to ascend and get above the clouds, and then not do so himself?”

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“..Israel had acted in defiance of the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), after the court ordered them to cease their military offensive in Rafah last week..”

No Zone is Safe (Manley)

The attack on what the IDF had designated as a “safe zone” came shortly after a barrage of Hamas rockets reached central Israel on Sunday; the group’s first long-range strikes in months. No deaths or injuries were reported following the strike. On Monday, an Israeli airstrike killed 45 people and as a result, has left the world shocked as more than half of those killed included women, children, and the elderly. Global condemnation followed the strike, with the most condemnatory of those coming from the Arab League nations and the Global South in general, Sputnik reported. Others stressed that Israel had acted in defiance of the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), after the court ordered them to cease their military offensive in Rafah last week. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Republic of Türkiye lambasted Tel-Aviv, saying: “We will do everything to hold these barbarians and murderers accountable.”

But while some Western countries spoke out against Israel’s atrocities, the US appeared to keep mum on their ally’s assault. “Israel has a right to go after Hamas, and we understand this strike killed two senior Hamas terrorists who are responsible for attacks against Israeli civilians,” a US National Security Council spokesperson said. “But as we’ve been clear, Israel must take every precaution possible to protect civilians.” According to witnesses, at least eight airstrikes struck the camp of displaced victims about 600 feet from a UN warehouse. A Palestinian Red Crescent spokesperson said the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had previously identified the camp as a “humanitarian area.” The IDF confirmed the strike as well, claiming that “significant Hamas terrorists were operating” there and said the strike’s “precise intelligence” had eliminated Hamas’ chief of staff for the West Bank.

Survivors said that the families were preparing to sleep when the strike hit the Tel Al-Sultan neighborhood, according to a Reuters report. A Palestinian mother described the strike as a “loud noise” followed by a fire that erupted around them. Palestinian authorities have reported that over 35,000 Palestinians have been killed since the conflict first broke out in October. A majority of those who have been killed are believed to be women and children. Cindy McCain, the head of the United Nations World Food Program has also warned that Gaza has now entered a “full-blown famine”. And yet, the Biden administration has said that they do not believe Israel is committing “genocide” in the Gaza Strip.

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“..We have to underline the equal worth of every child, every woman, every civilian in a world that is increasingly polarised and if we don’t do that, what’s the point of us?”

My Name Is Khan. I’m From The ICC and You’re Under Arrest (Jay)

There’s been nothing like it before. The arrest warrants for both Hamas leaders and Benjamin Netanyahu by the ICC create a new precedent for the so-called rules-based order of the West and its elites. With now countries like Norway, Ireland and Spain already declaring that Palestine could be recognised as a state, with at least 100 Global South countries ready to back such a bold move, the pressure on U.S. President Joe Biden is mounting, as he manages to back himself and his administration into a corner with America increasingly isolated now on the world stage. What happens when the Global South wakes up and realises that these international courts in the Hague are merely tools for any U.S. administration to arrest and detain any leaders around the world who they can’t assassinate or replace easily and that the ‘rules-based order’ is just an excuse for the U.S. and UK to break their own rules around the world when it suits them to support U.S. hegemony?

Karim Khan is the man who could shatter in one blow the credibility of these institutions and put America even farther behind in its declining power, struggling to adapt to the multipolar world. Khan is the chief ICC prosecutor who issues the warrants which are subject to approval by the ICC’s judges. If they are issued, they would immediately become a much more significant potential constraint on Israel’s leadership than a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a case brought by South Africa, which ordered Israel to suspend its military campaign in Rafah. If granted, it could be a game changer which could set the entire Gaza war and its endeavour to have its own state on a new path, crushing once and for all any hegemony the U.S. thinks it still wields in the Middle East.

Khan’s announcement accused Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and his defence minister Yoav Gallant, along with three Hamas leaders, of crimes against humanity. It was the first time that a sitting western-backed leader had been targeted by the court and it prompted international outrage. It’s important to note that the ICC is not a court linked to the UN but formed by a treaty signed in Rome in 2002 and was largely backed by poor countries whose regimes were afraid of being victims of coup d’états from neighbouring countries. Broadly speaking, the difference between the ICC and the ICJ is that the former issues arrest warrants for dictators with pressure on the member states themselves to enact them. Neither Israel nor the U.S. are members.

Khan recently gave an exclusive interview to the London Times where he revealed how much he is hated by western leaders, in particular from his own country, like Rishi Sunak, who called the decision “deeply unhelpful”, and President Biden, who called it “outrageous”. “Our job is not to make friends,” he says. “It’s to do our job whether we are applauded or condemned. We have to underline the equal worth of every child, every woman, every civilian in a world that is increasingly polarised and if we don’t do that, what’s the point of us?”

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Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) won bigly in the elections. But he’s considered unacceptable as prime minister. Bring on the deep state!

Netherlands’ Ex-Intelligence Chief To Be Next Prime Minister (Sp.)

Former Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service Director-General Dick Schoof has acknowledged that he had been asked to be the next prime minister of the Netherlands, The NL Times has reported. Dutch media reported on Tuesday that the new Dutch coalition government, which includes the Party for Freedom (PVV), the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the New Social Contract party (NSC) and the Farmer-Citizen Movement party (BBB), planned to nominate Schoof as the next Dutch prime minister. The report said on Tuesday that Schoof, 67, is likely to take office on June 26. The newspaper cited the ex-intelligence chief as saying that he plans to be a leader for the entire country and remain “partyless” while in office. The prime minister is traditionally chosen as a member of the largest party in a coalition, which is currently the PVV led by Geert Wilders, the newspaper reported, adding that Schoof said he will not be “dragged to an extremist stance.”

“For me, this is a very intense moment. I never would have expected to be asked; to stand here is an honor. It’s very special, and I’m well-aware that the prime minister of the Netherlands is an intense job,” the report quoted Schoof as telling a press briefing. Dutch broadcaster RTL Nieuws reported in mid-May, citing sources, that former Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk, who acted as a mediator at the beginning of negotiations on the current coalition, could be the most likely candidate for the post of prime minister. Plasterk was the minister of the interior and kingdom relations in the second cabinet of incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte from 2012 to 2017 and served as the minister of education, culture and science in the cabinet of then-Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende from 2007 to 2010. However, the official announced earlier in May that he was not ready to lead the new Dutch government.

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https://twitter.com/i/status/1795648721247666339

 

 

Bruce Lee

 

 

Fetch

 

 

Wolfdog

 

 

Affection
https://twitter.com/i/status/1795557086786367998

 

 

 

 

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May 292024
 


Henri Matisse The pink studio 1911

 

Biden Seeks War With Russia To Boost Approval Rating – Seymour Hersh (TASS)
NATO Training for Nuclear Strike on Russian Territory – Top Official (Sp.)
US Endgame in Ukraine — War Without End, Amen (Patrick Lawrence)
A Pervasive Fear Settled In: Dems Are Absolutely Freaking Out Over Biden (ZH)
Russia’s Unmatched EW Success Against Western Weapons in Ukraine (Sp.)
US Military Experts: NATO Can’t Take on Russia or Prevent Ukraine’s Defeat (Sp.)
Zelensky No Longer Legitimate Leader of Ukraine – Putin (RT)
Judge Aileen Cannon Denies Jack Smith’s Request for Gag Order vs Trump (ET)
Trump’s Final Argument Must Be Clarity to Chaos in Merchan’s Courtroom (Turley)
You Can’t Convict or Imprison Based on the Words of a Convicted Liar (Taft)
Trump, Biden Escalate Attacks on RFK Jr (ET)
Israeli Spy Chief ‘Threatened And Stalked’ ICC Prosecutor – Guardian (RT)
Germany Drops Controversial Military Draft Plans (RT)
Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World (Prashad)

 

 

There is an issue with -newly uploaded- images. They show on mobile but not on desktop/laptop. Videos may be the opposite.

 

 

Trump Assange

 

 

 

 

Aileen Cannon

 

 

Social contract

 

 

Prince
https://twitter.com/i/status/1794918879958909065

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..a president of war always gets better ratings than a president not at war..”

Biden Seeks War With Russia To Boost Approval Rating – Seymour Hersh (TASS)

US President Joe Biden may want to go to war with Russia to raise his approval rating ahead of the presidential election in the country, US Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh said in an interview with Davidekyo YouTube Channel. “I don’t know why. But one thing I can tell you about presidents – they (members of Joe Biden’s administration – TASS) have noted that the presidents like Lincoln and Roosevelt who win wars, become famous presidents, great presidents. So they always have that itch, and particularly a president of war always gets better ratings than a president not at war,” the journalist opined.

In late April, Joe Biden signed a bill passed by Congress to resume arms deliveries to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. The package was worth $95 billion. It includes $61 billion for Ukraine. The statement released by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it was the fifth security assistance package that Biden had authorized “since signing the national security supplemental.” According to Blinken, the weapons from previous packages have already been handed over to Kiev. Washington “will move this new assistance as quickly as possible,” the press release said. Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated that sending more weapons to Ukraine will not bring a change in the situation on the front, but will merely drag out the conflict.

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Go. Away. You are nuts.

NATO Training for Nuclear Strike on Russian Territory – Top Official (Sp.)

NATO is training to strike Russian territory with nuclear weapons near its borders, the head of the border service of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Vladimir Kulishov, told Sputnik. “Near the Russian border, NATO’s reconnaissance activities are increasing, the intensity of operational combat training of the alliance’s troops is growing, during which scenarios for conducting combat operations against the Russian Federation, including the launch of nuclear strikes on our territory, are being worked out,” he said. The top official added that the situation requires “taking appropriate steps to protect and secure our borders.” Russian border guards together with the Sever Battlegroup have thwarted 29 attempts of Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance groups to infiltrate Russian territory in the Bryansk, Kursk, and Belgorod Regions as well as the Crimean Republic since February 2022, Vladimir Kulishov told Sputnik.

Meanwhile, the number of missile and artillery strikes on Russian territory is increasing and drone attacks on Russia’s military, transport, energy and social infrastructure are becoming more intense, Kulishov said, adding that the victims of such terrorist attacks are mainly civilians, including the elderly and children. He also noted that in 2023, more than 5,500 attempts to enter Russia by individuals associated with international terrorist and extremist organizations, as well as special services and armed formations of Ukraine, were prevented. Russian border guards downed over 1,300 Ukrainian drones that violated the Russian border in 2023, striking more than half of them by means of electronic warfare, the head of the Border Service of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Vladimir Kulishov, told Sputnik.

“Means of combating unmanned aircraft systems have long been used by the border services … In 2023, border guards shot down over 1,300 drones that violated the state border from Ukrainian territory, with more than half by electronic warfare equipment,” Kulishov said. The development of unmanned aviation and marine systems and anti-drone technologies will remain promising areas of technical equipment for border authorities, he also said. Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has destroyed Ukraine’s 23,600 drones, 500 surface-to-air missile systems, 590 military aircraft, 270 helicopters, 15,890 tanks and other armored vehicles, 1,200 rocket launchers, 9,200 field artillery weapons and mortars, as well as 21,400 tactical vehicles, the Russian Defense Ministry said in early May.

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“What happens when a powerful nation cannot afford to lose a war it has already lost?”

US Endgame in Ukraine — War Without End, Amen (Patrick Lawrence)

[..] the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU)’s rapid retreat bears a strong whiff of final defeat wafting in from not so far off in the distance. “Several Ukrainian combat brigades have not defected, or considered doing so,” Seymour Hersh, quoting his customary “I have been told” sources, reported in his newsletter last week, “but have made it known to their superiors that they will no longer participate in what would be a suicidal offensive against a better trained and better equipped Russian force.” Brigades average 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers each and can run to 8,000 or even more. Hersh’s report suggests that a considerable number of Ukrainian troops, and maybe a very considerable number, are now effectively in mutiny against the AFU’s high command. In evident response to Russia’s swift new incursion and the direction of the war altogether, the well-coordinated if not very artful American propaganda machine has begun preparing the public for a wider war that is to extend, as a matter of policy and military strategy, into Russian territory. This effort began with a New York Times interview with Volodymyr Zelensky, which was videoed and published in last Wednesday’s editions.

This document is plainly intended to appeal to kale-consuming, Biden-supporting liberals who must be assured of the Ukrainian president’s just-like-us humanity and good judgment. He talked about his children and his dogs — there must be dogs in this sort of imagery — and how he reads fiction every night but is too tired to get very far. But the core point, beyond the window dressing, was to insist that it is time to begin bombing Russian territory and that the Biden regime must reverse its prohibition of such operations. A key passage: “So my question is, what’s the problem? Why can’t we shoot them down? Is it defense? Yes. Is it an attack on Russia? No. Are you shooting down Russian planes and killing Russian pilots? No. So what’s the issue with involving NATO countries in the war? There is no such issue. Shoot down what’s in the sky over Ukraine. And give us the weapons to use against Russian forces on the borders.”

Zelensky, a television actor we must not forget, has played this role on numerous occasions: Badger us for tanks, planes, long-range artillery, and missiles, the script written in Washington reads, and we will hesitate briefly before granting you your pressing needs as you defend democracy, the free world, and all those other “values” in the Cold War inventory. Two days later, two, the Times reported exclusively that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, returning from “a sobering visit to Kyiv,” has of a sudden decided it is indeed time to broaden the war in the direction of a direct confrontation with Russia. The byline on this piece is worth noting: It belongs to David Sanger, who typically writes this kind of deep-inside piece because he is by all appearances so unwholesomely deep inside. “There is now a vigorous debate inside the administration over relaxing the ban,” our David reports, “to allow the Ukrainians to hit missile and artillery launch sites just over the border in Russia—targets that Mr. Zelensky says have enabled Moscow’s recent territorial gains.”

See what I mean by artless? The one-two of this perception-management op has all the finesse of the old MAD magazine. I am beginning to take offense, honestly. If I am going to be subjected to incessant propaganda, I demand, I absolutely demand that it is sufficiently sophisticated to be at least entertaining. In between the Zelensky interview and the Sanger report, the Russophobes in Congress wasted no time tucking into this operation. Michael McCaul, the Texas Republican who ranks with Tom Cotton among the prominent dummköpfe populating Capitol Hill, pounced partisanly last Wednesday. McCaul, who chairs (I can hardly believe this) the House Foreign Affairs Committee, stood before a map that showed — my best count — 50 or so targets in Russian territory. And there he went for a twofer, arguing in favor of removing restrictions on the deployment of U.S. weapons while turning the question into a boringly pointless attack on the Biden regime. Have a listen:

“We have a really bad situation going on, as you know. This is a sanctuary zone they [Russians] have created…. However, your administration and Jake Sullivan [sic] have restricted the arms use so that Ukraine cannot defend itself and fire back at Russia. That’s why I mandated the attacks in the supplemental [the aid package Biden signed into law last month], the long-range, the short range, and the HIMARS that your administration is tying their hands arms behind their back.” Never mind the incoherence. A sanctuary? The Russians have created a sanctuary on their own soil? What kind of language is this? What is running through McCaul’s odd mind, the Cambodian border in the spring of 1969, Operation Menu? Let us all declare we feel unsafe as we realize what these people are talking about and what they are risking. Any allowance for expanded use of U.S.–made weapons against Russian targets, which will require American personnel on the ground in Ukraine, will unambiguously escalate the proxy war into a direct conflict between the U.S. and the Russian Federation. Quagmire, anyone?

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“..If the frame of this race is, ‘What was better, the 3.5 years under Biden or four years under Trump,’ we lose that every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”

A Pervasive Fear Settled In: Dems Are Absolutely Freaking Out Over Biden (ZH)

While keeping in mind the old adage “It’s not the votes that count, but who counts the votes,” Democrats are absolutely freaking out about what a dumpster fire Joe Biden is heading into the 2024 election. According to Politico, “A pervasive sense of fear has settled in at the highest levels of the Democratic Party over President Joe Biden’s reelection prospects, even among officeholders and strategists who had previously expressed confidence about the coming battle with Donald Trump.” And while Democrats have spent 2024 on a “joyless and exhausting grind,” now, nearly five months away from the election, “anxiety has morphed into palpable trepidation,” according to more than a dozen party leaders and operatives who spoke with the outlet. “You don’t want to be that guy who is on the record saying we’re doomed, or the campaign’s bad or Biden’s making mistakes. Nobody wants to be that guy,” said one Democratic operative close to the White House, adding that Biden’s terrible polling “are creating the freakout.”

“This isn’t, ‘Oh my God, Mitt Romney might become president.’ It’s ‘Oh my God, the democracy might end.’” the source added, dramatically. The freakout comes as Trump leads in 5 key states, while young and nonwhite voters are shifting allegiances. And while the White House isn’t yet facing reality, Democratic strategists are telling it like it is… But Democratic critics of the campaign’s approach — while agreeing that abortion should be a winning issue — said they’re challenged when pressed by friends to make the case for why Biden will win. “There’s still a path to win this, but they don’t look like a campaign that’s embarking on that path right now,” said Pete Giangreco, a longtime Democratic strategist who’s worked on multiple presidential campaigns. “If the frame of this race is, ‘What was better, the 3.5 years under Biden or four years under Trump,’ we lose that every day of the week and twice on Sunday.” -Politico. And then we have this suspected offworlder, former Clinton strategist James Carville, who says Democrat messaging is full of shit:

Politico then notes that Trump has been eating away at Biden’s lead in ‘safe’ blue states, conducting what they called “psychological warfare” in New York, California and New Jersey (dramatic!). Trump, meanwhile, has already started his incursion into safe blue states. His campaign’s psychological warfare in New York, California and New Jersey — where House districts will determine control of Congress’ lower chamber — is spiking Democrats’ already-elevated blood pressure. “New York Democrats need to wake up,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “The number of people in New York, including people of color that I come across who are saying positive things about Trump, is alarming.” Meanwhile, Trump is crushing Biden when it comes to fundraising – having raised $25 million last month, not including a record-setting $50.5 million haul from an event in Palm Beach, Florida.

“The list of why we ‘could’ win is so small I don’t even need to keep the list on my phone,” one Democratic adviser told the outlet. And of course, the Biden campaign is playing dumb (or they’re just dumb. We’ll go with that.): “Trump’s photo-ops and PR stunts may get under the skin of some very serious D.C. people as compelling campaigning, but they will do nothing to win over the voters that will decide this election,” said campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz. “The work we do every day on the ground and on the airwaves in our battleground states — to talk about how President Biden is fighting for the middle class against the corporate greed that’s keeping prices high, and highlight Donald Trump’s anti-American campaign for revenge and retribution and abortion bans — is the work that will again secure us the White House.” Keep telling yourself that, Kevin.

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Jamming works.

Russia’s Unmatched EW Success Against Western Weapons in Ukraine (Sp.)

“Russia has the most capable electronic warfare systems in the world with the longest range and most powerful GPS and radio frequency jammers of any nation,” David T. Pyne, an EMP task force scholar and former US Department of Defense officer, told Sputnik. Pyne said he had been impressed by “the speed at which Russian long-range jammers have been able to adapt to jamming new US and NATO weapon systems that have been introduced into the [Ukraine] conflict.” Russian EW systems “have proven effective at causing 90% of guided missile and drone systems supplied by the US to Ukraine to miss their target, most importantly HIMARS [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System],” according to the ex-Pentagon officer. He suggested that Russian GPS jammers “will likely prove increasingly effective against the recently supplied extended range US ATACMS [Army Tactical Missile System] missiles as well.”

Additionally, Russian jamming systems “are likely proving increasingly effective against US supplied Ukrainian air defense systems including Patriot and Hawk [interceptor] missiles enabling Russia to increase its air superiority over Ukraine,” – something that is contributing significantly to the ongoing offensive by Russian troops in several areas of the front line, Pyne stressed. Earlier this month, the Washington Post, citing Ukrainian commanders and a Ukrainian military research project, reported that the Russian army’s jamming systems had disrupted the accuracy of some of Ukraine’s US-supplied precision-guided weapons, prompting Ukrainian forces to stop using them on the battlefield.

The US and its NATO allies stepped up arms deliveries to the Kiev regime shortly after the Russian special military operation began. Moscow has repeatedly warned that such deliveries would only exacerbate the conflict in Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, for his part, said that any cargo containing weapons for Ukraine would become a legitimate target for Russian forces.

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“All the [NATO] countries would have to switch their economies over from a service economy to a full production wartime economy. And they’re not capable of it..”

US Military Experts: NATO Can’t Take on Russia or Prevent Ukraine’s Defeat (Sp.)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told The Economist on May 24 that Western countries should lift their respective bans on Ukraine using their weapons inside Russia. The newspaper alleged that Stoltenberg’s target was US President Joe Biden’s policy of limiting Ukraine’s use of ATACMS long-range missiles and other weapons inside Russia except for Crimea and the nation’s new territories admitted in September 2022. On May 27, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) – the consultative interparliamentary entity – passed Declaration 489 which urges the bloc’s members to “lift some restrictions” on the use of their weapons by the Kiev regime against Russia’s “legitimate targets.” NATO PA representatives from nine countries have reportedly not supported the initiative. Earlier, Italy and Germany spoke against the proposal that could lead to the outbreak of a major war between Russia and NATO.

The Biden administration has not granted Ukraine a free hand in using its arms against Russia, either. “The United States has made it clear that it too does not support the lifting of restrictions using American weapons,” Scott Ritter, a military analyst and former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, told Sputnik. “There is some debate, discussion and dialog inside the United States to reverse this policy. But, at the present moment, the United States continues to impose restrictions.” However, it’s up to NATO member states to decide whether to authorize the use of their weapons by Ukraine against Russia, despite Stoltenberg’s calls or NATO PA’s non-binding declarations.

Ritter pointed out that “NATO as an institution is not preparing for a larger war with Russia.” He referred to the fact that so far NATO has conducted a policy to avoid escalation of the Ukraine conflict and prevent a full-fledged confrontation with Russia. The crux of the matter is that NATO member states are unprepared for a war with Russia, according to Michael Maloof, former senior security policy analyst in the US Office of the Secretary of Defense. “All the [NATO] countries would have to switch their economies over from a service economy to a full production wartime economy. And they’re not capable of it. They can’t sustain it. It would take years for them to do that,” Maloof told Sputnik.

“I think you’re going to see European countries [leaders] like [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orban and others that are probably going to begin to chime in here to say, you know, we’ve had enough of this. I think Italy is already beginning to make noises in the same direction as well as Germany, in addition to Orban,” the former Pentagon analyst continued. The pundits believe that support for the use of NATO-grade weapons by Ukraine stems from the transatlantic alliance’s desperation over the Kiev regime’s continuous military failures. In early May, French President Emmanuel Macron told The Economist that Paris could put boots on the ground in Ukraine if frontlines are broken and Kiev officially requests such assistance. Almost at the same time, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron told Reuters that Britain had given the Kiev regime permission to strike targets on Russian territory with weapons it provided.

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“..the only legitimate authority in the country now belongs to the Verkhovna Rada, its legislature..”

Zelensky No Longer Legitimate Leader of Ukraine – Putin (RT)

The only legitimate authority in Ukraine is now the parliament, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday after Vladimir Zelensky’s official term as the country’s head of state expired last week. Speaking at a press conference following a two-day official visit to Uzbekistan, Putin stressed that there is no article in Ukraine’s constitution that says anything about extending the powers of the president, and suggested that a deep legal analysis of Zelensky’s status should be carried out. Zelensky has argued that his powers as Ukraine’s leader are extended due to the fact that the country is currently under martial law and that no presidential elections can be held during wartime.

However, Putin has noted that the Ukrainian constitution does not make any mention of presidential elections being suspended and only explicitly prohibits holding parliamentary elections, meaning that the term of the Ukrainian Rada can be extended in such circumstances. Putin admitted that Ukraine’s mobilization law does specifically state that no presidential elections may be held during wartime, but stressed that nothing is said in this law about extending the president’s term in office. Putin argued, citing Article 111 of the Ukrainian Constitution, that in light of this, the supreme presidential power should be transferred to the parliament’s speaker, and that the only legitimate authority in the country now belongs to the Verkhovna Rada, its legislature.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1795448063143677990

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All gag orders must be scrapped. The Supreme Court must ban them.

Judge Aileen Cannon Denies Jack Smith’s Request for Gag Order vs Trump (ET)

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon on Tuesday denied a gag order request submitted by special counsel Jack Smith in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case. Over the past weekend, Mr. Smith’s team asked Judge Cannon to impose a gag order after President Trump had claimed that recently released discovery documents showed that the FBI agents were armed and were prepared to shoot him during the August 2022 search of his Mar-a-Lago property. The FBI last week, however, disputed those claims and said the documents merely suggested the agents were following bureau rules around search warrants. In a paperless order, Judge Cannon denied Mr. Smith’s request without prejudice because, according to her, it is “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy.” She added that the special counsel’s motion also “did not adhere to … basic requirements” and that “any future, non-emergency motion brought in this case—whether on the topic of release conditions or anything else—shall not be filed absent meaningful, timely, and professional conferral.”

“Sufficient time needs to be afforded to permit reasonable evaluation of the requested relief by opposing counsel and to allow for adequate follow-up discussion as necessary about the specific factual and legal basis underlying the motion,” Judge Cannon added. Mr. Smith’s team argued that the judge should move to restrict President Trump’s speech after he made the aforementioned claims about the FBI search. “The Government moves to modify defendant Donald J. Trump’s conditions of release, to make clear that he may not make statements that pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution of this case,” the filing from Mr. Smith said. After Mr. Smith’s motion to place the order on President Trump, his attorneys responded by saying that the special counsel should be sanctioned because he allegedly violated a rule that says both parties must confer before such filings are made.

“For the reasons set forth below, in light of the Office’s blatant violation of Local Rule 88.9 and related warnings from the Court, the Court should strike the Motion, make civil contempt findings as to all government attorneys who participated in the decision to file the Motion without meaningful conferral, and impose sanctions after holding an evidentiary hearing regarding the purpose and intent behind the Office’s decision to willfully disregard required procedures,” President Trump’s lawyers wrote on Monday. Trump attorney Todd Blanche asked prosecutors in the case to wait until Monday to meet, which Mr. Smith declined because of President Trump’s public comments. “As we also tried to explain earlier, our judgment was that the situation your client has created necessitated a prompt request for relief that could not wait the weekend to file. We understand your position and represented to the court that you do not believe the government has engaged in adequate conferral here,” special counsel prosecutor David Harbach said in a letter to President Trump’s attorneys.

Mr. Smith’s team said that President Trump’s comments should be limited by the court due to an attack on an FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio, in August 2022. They claimed that the attack occurred after President Trump allegedly made inflammatory comments after the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search, which occurred that same month. Last year, President Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials after he left the White House in January 2021, as prosecutors have alleged that he also refused to turn them over to federal officials. They also argued that the documents contained classified information regarding nuclear secrets, defense capabilities, and other details. Earlier this month, Judge Cannon suspended the trial date indefinitely and noted that there are a number of outstanding issues that need to be resolved, including how to handle classified evidence under the Classified Information Procedures Act.

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Merchan is part of the prosecution..

Trump’s Final Argument Must Be Clarity to Chaos in Merchan’s Courtroom (Turley)

With the closing arguments set for Tuesday in the trial of former president Donald Trump, defense counsel are in a rather curious position. There is still debate among legal experts as to the specific crime that District Attorney Alvin Bragg is alleging. Trump’s lawyers are defending a former president who is charged under a state misdemeanor which died years ago under the statute of limitations. It was then zapped back into life in the form of roughly three dozen felonies by claiming that bookkeeping violations — allegedly hiding payments to Stormy Daniels to ensure her silence about a supposed affair with Trump — were committed to hide another crime. But what is that second crime? Even liberal legal analysts admitted that they could not figure out what was being alleged in Bragg’s indictment. Now, after weeks of trial, the situation has changed little.

Originally, Bragg referenced four possible crimes, though he is now claiming three: a tax violation or either a state or federal campaign financing violation. The last crime is particularly controversial because Bragg has no authority to enforce federal law and the Justice Department declined any criminal charge. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) did not even find grounds for a civil fine. Judge Merchan has ruled that the jury does not have to agree on what that crime is. The jury could split into three groups of four on which of the three crimes were being concealed and Merchan will still treat it as a unanimous verdict. The jury has been given little substantive information on these crimes, and Merchan has denied a legal expert who could have shown that there was no federal election violation. This case should have been dismissed for lack of evidence or a cognizable crime. The jury will be reminded that the burden is on the government, not the defense.

However, the presumption of innocence is often hard to discern in criminal cases. Most jurors believe that clients are sitting behind the defense table for a reason. That is why many prosecution offices have conviction rates in the 80%-90% range. That presumption is even more difficult to discern when the defendant is named Trump and the jury sits in Manhattan. Three-legged Stool A classic closing pitch by lawyers is to use a physical object like a three-legged stool. If any leg is missing, the stool collapses. In this case, the government needs to show that there was a falsification of business records, that the records were falsified to conceal another crime and that Donald Trump had the specific intent to use such “unlawful means” to influence the election. Even a cursory review of the evidence shows this case does not have a leg to stand on.

The First Leg: Falsification of Records The dead misdemeanor that is the foundation for this entire prosecution requires the falsification of business records. It is not clear that there was such falsification or that Trump has any knowledge or role in any falsification. Witnesses testified that Trump would sign checks prepared by others and that the specific checks in this case were signed while Trump was serving as president. Some of these checks, labeled “legal expenses,” were allegedly for attorney Michael Cohen to pay off Stormy Daniels. Most importantly, Jeffrey McConney, the Trump Organization’s retired controller and senior vice-president, testified that it was not Trump who designated these payments as “legal expenses.” Rather, the corporation used an “antiquated” drop-down menu where any payments to lawyers were designated “legal expenses.” There is a plausible reason why payments to an attorney were listed as legal expenses.

The government also cites the designation of payments to Cohen as part of his “retainer,” which included reimbursement for the payment of the Daniels non-disclosure agreement. However, that designation was the result of discussions between Cohen and former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who is sitting in a jail cell in New York City. The government could have called Weisselberg, but did not. The government has made a big deal over the fact that retainer agreements are supposed to have written contracts. However, that was the failure of Cohen, who was later disbarred as an attorney. For a businessman like Weisselberg, monthly payments to an attorney could have seemed perfectly logical. Once again, there was no evidence that Trump knew of how the payments were denoted.

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“..it was Blanche’s allusion to prison that got the defense attorney in trouble because jurors don’t sentence the guilty defendant..”

You Can’t Convict or Imprison Based on the Words of a Convicted Liar (Taft)

The Trump NYC bookkeeping trial is almost in the books. In closing arguments, which began on Tuesday morning, Trump attorney Todd Blanche stirred controversy when he told jurors that they couldn’t convict or imprison his client based on the testimony of the prosecutors’ star witness Michael Cohen because “He’s literally like an MVP of liars.” Blanche told jurors, “Then he came in here, he raised his right hand and he lied to each of you repeatedly. You cannot send someone to prison; you cannot convict somebody based upon the words of Michael Cohen.” It wasn’t the line about MVPs that convinced the malleable judge to do the prosecution’s bidding; it was Blanche’s allusion to prison that got the defense attorney in trouble because jurors don’t sentence the guilty defendant. The judge will gladly do that when Trump is convicted of this farce. “You know that making a comment like that is highly inappropriate,” scandalized Judge Juan Merchan tsk-tsked to Blanche.

“It is simply not allowed. Period. It’s hard for me to imagine that was accidental in any way,” he lectured. He admonished the jury to pretend they didn’t hear and will give jurors a special instruction to hate Trump even more when he gives jury instructions. I’m only half joking. Certainly, you’ll recall a similar outburst by the judge when prosecutors put on mattress actress Stormy Daniels to describe her alleged sexual tryst with Trump. Her detailed testimony was spun as one might imagine a porn movie scriptwriting session might go. There was no outburst by Merchan, of course, only a timid burp about how it might have been too much for the jurors to hear. More tellingly, Daniels had no juicy details to say when she was asked about how her nondisclosure payments were marked in the Trump Organization books, which are at the center of the case. She was there solely for scandalous color commentary to titillate the jury.

Indeed, when Blanche talked about Daniels in his closing, he told them she extorted Trump and then said, “At the end of the day, what really happened is that somebody offered more money to Ms. Daniels.” And then, “Somebody offered to pay her legal fees if she got out of the NDA she signed with Mr. Cohen,” he told jurors. Daniels reprised her alleged 2006 story before the 2016 election after the “Access Hollywood” recording by Billy Bush (yes, that Bush family). In 2018, Cohen offered to tear up his agreement with Daniels. As Tiffany, Eric, Don Jr., and Lara Trump looked on, Blanche told jurors that there were 10 specific areas where there was reasonable doubt to find his client not guilty. Number 10 was that Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, was “the human embodiment of reasonable doubt.”

• Michael Cohen created the invoices.
• There’s no evidence Trump knew the invoices were sent.
• There was “absolutely” no evidence of any intent to defraud.
• There was no attempt to commit or conceal another crime.
• There was “absolutely” no agreement to influence the 2016 election.
• AMI would have run the doorman’s story no matter what if it was true.
• Karen McDougal did not want her story published.
• Stormy Daniels’ story was already public in 2011.
• There was manipulation of evidence.
• Michael Cohen. “He’s the human embodiment of reasonable doubt.”

Plus, Blanche argued, Cohen repeatedly lied “under oath” to courts, his wife, and his banker. Prosecutor Josh Steinglass went into the evening with his closing argument going through the prosecutor’s entire case timeline to convince jurors that something is there to convict Trump on. At one point Steinglass pinpointed what he thought was a key moment in the trial when he claimed that David Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher and the trial’s first witness, conspired with Trump in a meeting to kill stories to help him. Catching and killing stories is not illegal, by the way, unless they can tie it to another felony, which they claim is breaking campaign law. Indeed, Steinglass insisted, that meeting “may have been the very reason why Trump won in 2016.”

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“I’m a threat to his presidency,” he said. “This is a three-man race, and I intend to win.”

Trump, Biden Escalate Attacks on RFK Jr (ET)

Conspiracy theorist. Anti-vaxxer. Dangerous. Spoiler. Since Robert F. Kennedy Jr. entered the 2024 presidential race in April 2023, critics have described him in many ways. In the early stages of Mr. Kennedy’s campaign, he was mostly ignored by President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee. Former President Donald Trump praised him and called him a “a very smart guy, and a good guy.” Rhetoric from Democrats and Republicans shifted when Mr. Kennedy opted to leave the Democratic primary last October and run as an independent candidate. Now, less than six months before Election Day, Mr. Kennedy’s campaign is gaining momentum and causing concern for the camps of both Presidents Biden and Trump. He is a distant third in national polls, but he is drawing support from conservatives, independents, moderate Democrats, and libertarians.

And with that, officials from the two major parties and the two opposing campaigns are escalating their attacks. In an early April video on Truth Social, President Trump called Mr. Kennedy “the most radical left candidate in the race” before adding, “he’s got some nice things about him, I happen to like him.” The former president remarked that Mr. Kennedy will take votes away from President Biden “because he’s much better than Biden.” “If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden, because he’s frankly more in line with Democrats,” President Trump said, adding that RFK’s candidacy is “great for MAGA” and “he’s a better man than Joe Biden.” Later the same month, President Trump posted another video on Truth Social delivering harsher remarks, calling Mr. Kennedy “a Democrat plant” and “a radical left liberal” who is in the race to help President Biden get re-elected.

“A Vote for Junior would essentially be a WASTED PROTEST VOTE, that could swing either way, but would only swing against the Democrats if Republicans knew the true story about him. Junior’ is totally Anti-Gun, an Extreme Environmentalist who makes the Green New Scammers look Conservative, a Big Time Taxer and Open Border Advocate, and Anti-Military/Vet,” President Trump wrote. The video aired a few days after a Quinnipiac University poll showed that 44 percent of Republican voters found Mr. Kennedy favorable compared to 11 percent of Democrats After a voter rally in New York last month, The Epoch Times asked Mr. Kennedy why he thought President Trump’s attacks had increased. “I’m a threat to his presidency,” he said. “This is a three-man race, and I intend to win.”

Democrats claim Mr. Kennedy is a “stalking horse” for President Trump and is financed by MAGA donors to prevent President Biden from winning a second term. Republicans paint him as a “radical, far-left liberal” who is only in the race to keep President Trump from returning to the White House.

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ICC is fair game now?

Israeli Spy Chief ‘Threatened And Stalked’ ICC Prosecutor – Guardian (RT)

The former chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, allegedly “threatened” the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to drop a war crimes probe launched in 2021, an investigation by The Guardian claimed on Tuesday. Sources told the outlet that, several years ago, then-Mossad director Cohen attempted to threaten the former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in a series of secret meetings. Cohen’s covert contact and pressuring of Bensouda took place in the years leading up to her decision to open a formal probe into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories, the report said, citing multiple anonymous sources. Mossad’s objective was to “compromise the prosecutor or enlist her as someone who would cooperate with Israel’s demands,” as well as pressuring Bensouda to abandon her investigation, the article stated.

Bensouda reportedly briefed a small group of senior ICC officials about Cohen’s attempts, expressing concern about his “persistent and threatening nature.” Sources familiar with Bensouda’s disclosures to the ICC confirmed that Cohen had threatened her multiple times, with one of the officials saying the Mossad chief had used “despicable tactics” against Bensouda as part of an ultimately unsuccessful effort to influence her. The behavior was likened to “stalking.” According to accounts shared with ICC officials, Cohen allegedly told the ICC prosecutor: “You should help us and let us take care of you. You don’t want to be getting into things that could compromise your security or that of your family.” aIsraeli intelligence agencies conducted a covert “war” against the ICC for nearly a decade, aiming to derail investigations into alleged Israeli war crimes, the outlet said.

The revelations come as Bensouda’s successor, Karim Khan, last week applied for an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant based on the probe launched in 2021. Khan said there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that top officials were guilty of “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in the Gaza conflict. Khan also said he was seeking warrants for three senior members of Hamas. Israel is not a member of the ICC and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the court. Both Israel and its main ally, the US, have condemned the ICC announcement, with some US lawmakers calling for sanctions on The Hague court. Earlier this year, Israel also faced accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest United Nations court.

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“..Germany should become “war-capable” and “get used to the thought” of a potential conflict in Western Europe..”

Germany Drops Controversial Military Draft Plans (RT)

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has dropped controversial plans to reintroduce conscription in the country and indicated a move towards a voluntary service scheme, Der Spiegel reported on Monday.The key points of the military service reform on Monday were outlined by Pistorius during a behind-closed-doors presentation to the leadership of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the weekly said, citing sources. The revised scheme does not mention the word “conscription,” and is focused on incentivizing young people to join the nation’s Armed Forces – the Bundeswehr, it added. Over the past month Pistorius has repeatedly stated that Germany should become “war-capable” and “get used to the thought” of a potential conflict in Western Europe, citing the threat supposedly posed by Russia, among others. In April, he announced that his ministry “considered that compulsory military service will be reintroduced” as part of an ambitious Armed Forces overhaul.

Under the plans presented by the minister on Monday, all 18-year-olds will be required to answer a questionnaire from the Defense Ministry about their physical condition. The military would then seek to entice those considered worthy to join the army through incentives that would potentially range from free driving licenses to student loan discounts. Military service itself would last 12 months, according to Der Spiegel. The scheme was backed by Pistorius’ SPD party, which had reportedly grown tired of the minister’s belligerent rhetoric. “We agree on the vast majority of points,” SPD General Secretary Kevin Kuhnert said after the Monday meeting. The plan essentially follows what was described by German media as the “most cautious” of the three options reportedly presented to Pistorius by his ministry last month. The other two involved some form of mandatory conscription, either for men or for everyone reaching the age of maturity, regardless of their sex.

The defense ministry had initially warned that the “most cautious” option could also be the least useful one for the military. Now, the variant is reportedly described as “the least promising in terms of meeting the needs” of the army in the ministry’s internal documents. The officials are worried that it would not attract “a sufficient number of applicants,” according to Der Spiegel. The German Armed Forces suffer constantly from a lack of personnel. In March, the parliamentary commissioner for the Bundeswehr, Eva Hoegl, said in her annual report that some 20,000 positions within the Armed Forces remain unfilled and numbers continue to fall due to a “very high” dropout rate. According to Der Spiegel, some 181,500 soldiers are currently in service. While the government’s plans envisage a rise to 203,000 by 2031, the weekly warned that the total may drop below 180,000.

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I had a brother at Khe Sanh
Fightin’ off them Viet Cong
They’re still there, he’s all gone

Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World (Prashad)

On the evening of 14 May, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken climbed onstage at Barman Dictat in Kyiv, Ukraine, to pick up an electric guitar and join the Ukrainian punk band 19.99. Ukrainians, he said, are ‘fighting not just for a free Ukraine, but for a free world’. Blinken and 19.99 then played the chorus of Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’, entirely ignoring the implications of its lyrics – much like Donald Trump, who, to Young’s irritation, used the chorus in his 2015–2016 presidential campaign. In February 1989, the day after Young received the news that his band’s tour in the USSR fell through, he penned the song’s lyrics, resting on his criticisms of the Reagan years and the first month of George H. W. Bush’s presidency. While it sounds patriotic on the surface, that song – like Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’ (1984) – is deeply critical of the hierarchies and humiliations of capitalist society.

The three verses of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ paint a picture of despair (‘people shufflin’ their feet/ people sleepin’ in their shoes’) defined by the drug epidemic plaguing the poor (a woman ‘puts the kid away/ and she’s gone to get a hit’), the collapse of educational opportunities (‘there’s one more kid/ that will never go to school’), and a growing population that lives on the street (‘we got a thousand points of light/ for the homeless man’). Springsteen’s song, written in the shadow of the US war on Vietnam (‘so they put a rifle in my hand/ sent me off to a foreign land/ to go and kill the yellow man’), also captured the strangulation of the working class in the US, many of whom were unable to get a job after returning from a war they did not want (‘down in the shadow of the penitentiary/ out by the gas fires of the refinery/ I’m ten years burning down the road/ nowhere to run ain’t got nowhere to go’).

These are songs of anguish, not anthems of war. To chant ‘born in the USA’ or ‘keep on rockin’ in the free world’ does not evoke a sense of pride in the Global North but a fierce criticism of its ruthless wars. ‘Keep on rockin’ in the free world’ is pickled in irony. Blinken did not get it, nor did Trump. They want the allure of rock and roll, but not the acidity of its lyrics. They do not understand that Neil Young’s 1989 song is the soundtrack of the resistance to the US wars that followed against Panama (1989–1999), Iraq (1990–1991), Yugoslavia (1999), Afghanistan (2001–2021), Iraq (2003–2011), and many more.

Blinken went to Kiev to celebrate the passing of three bills in the US House of Representatives that appropriate $95.3 billion for the militaries of Israel, Taiwan, Ukraine, and the United States. This is in addition to the more than $1.5 trillion that the US spends on its military every year. It is obscene that the US continues to supply Israel with deadly munitions for its genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, including the $26.4 billion it promised to Israel in the new bills while feigning concern for the starvation and slaughter of Palestinians. It is ghastly that the US continues to prevent peace talks between Ukraine and Russia while funding the former’s demoralised military (including $60.8 billion for weapons in the new bills alone) as the US seeks to use the conflict to ‘see Russia weakened’.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Turtle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1795207023195238784

 

 

Pelican
https://twitter.com/i/status/1795051838829371503

 

 

Smile

 

 

Brave cats

 

 

Smartest

 

 

Cindy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1795136683265917022

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 232024
 


Vincent van Gogh The sower 1888

 

Trump In The Bronx: Thousands Expected To Show Up For Massive Rally (ZH)
Trump Claims Biden Authorized FBI To Use Deadly Force In Mar-a-Lago (RT)
Election 2024: A Political Renaissance for America or the Path to Totalitarianism (AmG)
Judge Aileen Cannon to Hear Motions to Dismiss in Trump Documents Case (ET)
Alan Dershowitz Might Get Away With His Motto for Trump Case (Taft)
Raisi Led The Charge For Russia–Iran–China’s ‘New World Order’ (Pepe Escobar)
CIA Prevented Hunter’s Tax Sugar Daddy From Becoming Federal Witness (ZH)
Tucker Carlson Sets Record Straight on Claims of Hosting Russian TV Show (Sp.)
Germany Would ‘Abide’ By ICC Netanyahu Arrest Warrant (RT)
‘We’re Next!’ Lindsey Graham Warns About ICC (RT)
Ukraine Is Losing, Direct Intervention By The West Risks Nuclear Conflict (RT)
Musk Questions Ukrainian Democracy (RT)
Scientists Reveal Hidden Branch of the Nile, May Solve Pyramid Mystery (Sp.)
The Slow-Motion Execution of Julian Assange Continues (Chris Hedges)

 

 

 

 

Alina/Mechan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1793149492419588317

 

 

Tucker Prince
https://twitter.com/i/status/1793232602129727993

 

 

Not looking good, Bill..

 

 

“Biden presents as old and ancient. That [Trump] does not look old.”

 

 

Unified Reich

 

 

Volga

 

 

 

 

In Trump terms, “a crowd of up to 3,500 people” is not a massive rally. But it’s ‘lovely ironic’ that it is Alvin Bragg who brings Trump to Manhattan.

Trump In The Bronx: Thousands Expected To Show Up For Massive Rally (ZH)

With Donald Trump stuck in New York for his ‘hush money’ trial, which now rests in the hands of the jury (while having imploded in the court of public opinion), the former president is holding what’s expected to be a massive rally on Thursday in the Bronx amid huge gains in polling among black and latino voters. The Trump campaign expects a crowd of up to 3,500 people, according to the NY Post. It will mark the first time he’s campaigned in his home state since a 2016 event in Buffalo. Several polls suggest as many as 23% of black voters and 46% of latino voters could cast their ballot for Trump – a huge boost from the 6% of black and 28% of latino voters who supported him in 2016, which grew to 8% and 32% respectively in 2020. As the Epoch Times noted last month, support for the Democratic Party among black and Hispanic voters has been eroding for years.

The percentage of black voters who “lean Democrat” topped out at near 90 percent in 2008 but fell to 66 percent by 2023, the lowest level yet recorded according to data from Gallup’s annual polling on the subject. Meanwhile, the percentage of black voters who “lean Republican” rose from single digits to 19 percent over the same period. Of note, the Bronx hasn’t backed a Republican candidate for White House in 100 years when Calvin Coolidge won every single NY county in 1920 and 1924. Meanwhile, Trump’s Thursday rally comes weeks after a massive rally in the Jersey Shore town of Wildwood -drawing an estimated 100,000 supporters – and days after Trump supporters were seen marching in the South Bronx over the weekend. [..] Indeed, the Trump campaign has been making the best of the former president’s situation. “While he is in court, we are using New York City as a backdrop,” said Trump campaign spokesperson Danielle Alvarez in a statement to the Post. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” another source close to the campaign told the outlet.

“President Trump is taking advantage of being stuck in New York by holding a rally that will surely highlight how Joe Biden has failed Bronx residents with inflation and the open border. The nation’s biggest outlets are headquartered in NYC. [Manhattan DA Alvin] Bragg has inadvertently given Trump a massive stage.” Staten Island Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, the only Republican member of Congress representing a New York City district, told The Post she thinks Trump’s Bronx rally is “a great start.” “It’s exciting for New York City to have President Trump rallying, and it’s important for him to reach out to, particularly minority communities. I think New York is in play,” she said.

“New York is desperate for a balance, and they’ve shown that … We flipped that City Council seat in the Bronx, right in the heart of AOC’s district. In my congressional district, we were able to flip multiple [state] Assembly seats Republican. “My district would love for President Donald Trump to make a stop, particularly Staten Island,” added Malliotakis, shouting out the only borough to back Trump in both 2016 and 2020. In future, the lawmaker added, she would “love to see him do something at Yankee Stadium, or take over the beach on Staten Island like he did in Wildwood.” -NY Post. This is a complete optics nightmare for Democrats.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1793255284711788854

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Garland/DOJ were desperate to see what was in the folder they thought Trump held… they overruled FBI agents who resisted the plan…

“..the FBI said in a statement that its agents had followed “standard procedure” during the raid. “The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force..”

Look, there is no “standard procedure” for raiding a former President’s home. It never happened before.

Trump Claims Biden Authorized FBI To Use Deadly Force In Mar-a-Lago (RT)

Donald Trump has accused US President Joe Biden of authorizing the use of deadly force during the FBI’s raid on his estate in 2022, citing a law enforcement document released on Tuesday in the classified documents case against the former president. The document in question describes the FBI’s plans for a court-authorized search on August 8, 2022 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. “Wow! I just came out of the Biden Witch Hunt Trial in Manhattan, the ‘Icebox,’ and was shown Reports that Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ, in their Illegal and UnConstitutional Raid of Mar-a-Lago, authorized the FBI to use deadly (lethal) force,” Trump wrote in a post on his Truth Social account on Tuesday.

Garland
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792981056158634423

The FBI’s operations order was revealed as part of the investigation into Trump’s alleged falsification of business records. During the search of Trump’s residence in connection with this probe it was supposedly discovered that the ex-president had retained classified documents. According to a court filing, the order contained a policy statement regarding the use of deadly force, which stated, for example, that “Law Enforcement officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force when necessary,” Fox News reported on Tuesday, citing the document. The US Department of Justice and FBI agents “planned to bring ‘Standard Issue Weapons’, ‘Ammo’, ‘Handcuffs’, and ‘medium and large sized bolt cutters’, but they were instructed to wear ‘unmarked polo or collared shirts’ and to keep ‘law enforcement equipment concealed,” the filing revealed.

“Now we know, for sure, that Joe Biden is a serious threat to democracy. He is mentally unfit to hold office – 25th amendment,” said Trump, who is the current Republican frontrunner to challenge Biden in November’s presidential election. In a rare and apparently direct response to the former president’s post, the FBI said in a statement that its agents had followed “standard procedure” during the raid. “The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force,” the statement read. “No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter.” The FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago found that dozens of classified documents remained in the residence. Trump, however, has claimed that he was within his rights as a former president to possess the documents.

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“..Assuming the election’s fidelity—that this assumption must be made is an indication of how close the country is flirting with totalitarianism..”

Election 2024: A Political Renaissance for America or the Path to Totalitarianism (AmG)

It has been decades in the making, but the country is now on the precipice between its traditional ideology of political liberalism and a path that will lead, far sooner than Americans might think, to totalitarianism. The historical bulwarks of Americanism and the American political system—government of the people, freedom, and liberty—have been deliberately eroded. A citizenry steeped in republican virtue, cognizant of the political ideas and principles that made America a lasting and strong constitutional republic, and knowledgeable about the duties and obligations of American citizenship have been under daily assault for years from the foreign ideology of communism. That odious ideology has operated under synonyms such as “progressivism,” “multiculturalism,” or DEI to make its poison more palatable to American audiences.

The media—the so-called “Fourth Estate”—has been another layer of protection that has been peeled away. Today, they are activists advancing the left’s agenda in all but name. Great newspapers that were lively to read and informative are no longer. One reads them now the same way Soviet citizens used to read Pravda—only by knowing the lies that are printed and surmising what is left out of the story can one come close to knowing the truth. Compare the front page of the New York Times from fifty, forty, or thirty years ago to one today, and the change is telling and sad to see. Rather than a robust culture of free speech, censorship is pervasive by the legacy and social media, Big Tech, and by a ubiquitous and devilish culture of self-censorship.

American universities were once the envy of the world, as lively academies of intellectual debate and devoted to the pursuit of knowledge are now factories of indoctrination. Their law, medical, engineering, and business schools have also been transformed into political instruments that advance the “Party Line.” Unbelievably, thought control in K-12 is even worse. Popular culture fell a long time ago, and most of it is simply a contemporary version of Soviet entertainment where the heroic worker and peasant defeat the evil capitalist and priest. Worse still is the promotion of degeneracy and decadence with gender reassignment led by a teacher’s union that more resembles a Clockwork Orange ensemble than as the protectors of the most vulnerable in our society—our children.

As alarming as these developments are, what is worse is the permanent weaponization of government against political opponents. The raids, indictments, trials, and gag orders for a former president and leading 2024 candidate demonstrate that the Constitutional rights of the most prominent political figure in American politics in this century can have his rights violated, so too can all Americans. The lawfare employed against President Trump has been specifically designed by the left to consume his time and other resources away from his campaign for President in this critically important election year.

Of course, it is not only Trump. The imprisonment of former Trump official Peter Navarro and perhaps of Trump advisor Steve Bannon is an attempt to decapitate the Make America Great Again Movement through their imprisonment and to send a message to others about what will happen to anyone who opposes the state. The persecution of Trump’s legal advisor, John Eastman, is a similar tactic. The result is that law firms will be reluctant to accept the movement’s legal challenges. These actions are the first strike in the left’s campaign of “lawfare” to disarm Trump and to deter any Republican challenge to the parameters of the election and its aftermath. It is also political muscle flexing in an attempt to intimidate anyone who would assist Trump’s campaign and an effort to demoralize his base. After the British executed Admiral John Byng in 1757, Voltaire wrote it was “to encourage the others,” and so it is today.

The irony of the many steps taken by the left to advance a totalitarian agenda is that it is they who falsely proclaim that it is Trump and the MAGA movement that are the fascists. It is the left that is actually implementing such vile and anti-American practices against their political enemies and the American people. Recently, former 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was once again on the Sunday news shows talking about how Donald Trump would arrest his political enemies, while in reality it is only the Democratic Party and the Biden administration that have put Peter Navarro in prison, may imprison Bannon, and indicted the former President 92 times.

This cannot stand if America is to survive as a constitutional republic. If it does, then the country is on the path to totalitarianism. Totalitarianism does not just show up one day, springing forth fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. But it does come quickly, more so than most Americans realize, as the ideology, laws, norms, and culture are eroded by the new revolutionary regime. When they seized power in 1917, the Bolsheviks did not know how far they could push the Russian people, but that was not for lack of intent or for a lack trying. Their ambition was to remake everything—culture, politics, economics, the arts, science, diplomacy, education, values, and thought. Every year, they tightened their grip until they crushed the people in the horrors of Stalinism. It took only twenty years from the time the Bolsheviks came to power to the show trials of mature Stalinism.

Nothing is decided and there will be many ups and downs, twists and turns, and surprises between now and Election Day. The election of 2024 is critical and as important as any in its history. Assuming the election’s fidelity—that this assumption must be made is an indication of how close the country is flirting with totalitarianism—it will provide Americans with the clearest choice in our history since the Civil War. When that choice is understood to be one between the continuation of the American Republic or to enter the hell of totalitarianism, the election will spark a renaissance of America’s traditional political ideology, institutions, values and culture. This election provides the opportunity to drive a stake through the heart of totalitarianism “with an American face,” as Americans, having seen into the abyss, will reject the totalitarian path. A re-birth of the understanding of the value of American citizenship—that spirit of 1776—and of our inalienable and universal freedoms can come from the 2024 election.

To ensure that positive outcome will require not only support for President Trump but also extraordinary vigilance by the American people through the election and its aftermath.

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“Judge Cannon postponed the trial indefinitely to consider additional motions to dismiss, including “indictment based on unlawful appointment and funding of Special Counsel” on June 21..”

Judge Aileen Cannon to Hear Motions to Dismiss in Trump Documents Case (ET)

After the prosecution and defense rested their cases in former President Donald Trump’s trial in Manhattan, his attorneys and those of co-defendant Walt Nauta will appear in southeast Florida on May 22 to argue for the dismissal of his classified documents case. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will preside over back-to-back hearings that consider multiple motions to dismiss the case. Mr. Nauta’s attorneys will argue that the case should be dismissed based on selective and vindictive prosecution. Judge Cannon will then hear arguments from all defendants to dismiss the case on insufficient pleading. President Trump will be absent for both hearings in Fort Pierce, Florida, after Judge Cannon granted his “motion for leave to be excused” on May 14. The defendants have filed multiple motions to dismiss the case, including one citing the Presidential Records Act and another invoking “unconstitutional vagueness” that Judge Cannon heard during a March 14 hearing.

President Trump also filed a May 21 motion to dismiss, alleging prosecutorial misconduct when the FBI seized 15 boxes of documents during the Mar-a-Lago raid. Judge Cannon postponed the trial indefinitely to consider additional motions to dismiss, including “indictment based on unlawful appointment and funding of Special Counsel” on June 21. There are also partial evidentiary hearings scheduled for June 24–26 and a “defense reciprocal discovery” hearing on July 10. As a result of these pre-trial issues, Judge Cannon has indefinitely postponed the trial for this case, which experts say may not occur before the November election. The Justice Department charged Mr. Nauta with multiple counts, including: “participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice,” after President Trump tasked him with moving some of the boxes containing classified documents at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort and residence in Palm Beach, Florida.

Mr. Nauta’s attorney, Stanley Woodward, Jr., argues that the Justice Department’s Special Counsel’s Office decision to prosecute the valet was “both selective and vindictive.” Mr. Woodward wrote that the legal standard for “selective prosecution” is that a prosecution “has a discriminatory effect” and that it was motivated by a “discriminatory purpose.” He also describes vindictive prosecution as when a prosecutor’s charging decision was “motivated by a desire to punish [the defendant] for doing something that the law plainly allowed him to do” while treating the defendant with “genuine animus.” Since others at the resort had moved the boxes “in the same or similar time, manner, and place as Mr. Nauta,” it would be discriminatory to charge him and no one else with this crime, Mr. Woodward argued in the motion to dismiss.

The Special Counsel’s Office rejected this argument and said it rests Mr. Nauta’s comparison to two other employees of President Trump “but whose conduct was not remotely similar to his own.” Therefore, it fails to prove that Mr. Nauta was selected for prosecution over those individuals for “improper reasons,” prosecutors say. As for vindictive prosecution, Mr. Woodward argued that Mr. Nauta was only prosecuted after he declined the Special Counsel’s Office’s request that he give “full cooperation in the investigation.” Mr. Woodward believes the indictment was “vindictive” because it appears that prosecutors targeted Mr. Nauta after he chose to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and declined to testify in front of a grand jury. The Justice Department called this a “novel and unsupported claim” and wrote that if the court accepted it, that would imply that any defendant asked to provide “full cooperation” would be immune from charges by simply “declining the offer.”

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“..Alan Dershowitz Might Be the Only One..”

Alan Dershowitz Might Get Away With His Motto for Trump Case (Taft)

The Trump trial in New York has seen a meltdown by the judge, a “star” witness who predictably lied on the stand, a mattress actress who described in fanciful detail a likely apocryphal tryst with the TV star-turned-president, and now this goat rodeo has been branded. It’s not just any slogan, no sir. Legal scholar and Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz may be one of only four people in America with the standing to pull this motto out on national TV and not get laughed at. Dershowitz was in the Manhattan courtroom on Monday and was appalled at seeing in person the sloppy, one-sided, and outrageous conduct against former President Donald Trump. Furthermore, he wants the video of the trial, which he says the court has, to be preserved and seen “by every American… to see what this judge looked like when he shouted at [defense witness Bob] Costello… (see my story about this nearby) and strike this testimony… and not allow this defendant to put on a defense.”

Those are sharp words from Dershowitz who has been in some of America’s most august courtrooms, congressional halls, and venues and done some serious backroom brawling in defense of his clients. But this, he said, is “one of the most unfair trials I have ever seen in the 60 years of practicing, teaching, and writing about criminal law. It’s a scandal.” He told Sean Hannity of Fox News that in this trial Judge Juan Merchan expanded the use of irrelevant testimony by the prosecution and curtailed the use of exonerating evidence for Donald Trump. He claimed, as others do, that the judge has ignored Trump’s Sixth Amendment Rights. Dershowitz said that in the time he was in court on Monday, he personally witnessed multiple rulings and decisions by the judge that were reversible errors in Trump’s case. He was the only spectator allowed to remain in the courtroom when the judge cleared it when he yelled at Costello. Maybe Judge Merchan thought Dershowitz was on the case.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1793091599775445338

Back in the day, America got a look at another judge in a deadly serious case against a beloved and ubiquitous TV star and sports figure, OJ Simpson. Americans were riveted by the TV coverage of the double murder trial of the retired NFL great. Dershowitz was part of Simpson’s “dream team” of lawyers who won the sports star and actor an acquittal. He and Robert Shapiro and DNA specialists Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, who founded The Innocence Project, are the only members of the defense team still alive. Johnny Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, and the man who assembled them all, attorney Robert Kardashian have all died. But you know the motto that Cochran coined during the closing arguments of the trial. One of OJ’s bloody kid gloves was found at the scene of the murders. Police found the matching bloody glove behind OJ’s house. They were bagged by evidence teams and stayed locked up for months in a police evidence locker.

During the trial, a young prosecutor tried to pull off a dramatic courtroom moment when he asked OJ to put his gnarled and arthritic hands inside the dried-out leather gloves. Not surprisingly, they didn’t fit like a glove. Cochran seized on the moment and told the jury during closing arguments, “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” They did. Now one of the original dream team members has reworked the phrase to include his assessment of this Trump trial. Dershowitz told Hannity Tuesday night, “I have a motto for the defense: ‘If it’s not legit, you must acquit.’ And this is not a legitimate trial and there must be an acquittal… in the interest of all Americans.” Like the OJ case, DA Alvin Bragg may finally get down to the business of finding the real criminal in that Manhattan courtroom. All he’ll need to do is look in the mirror.

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“..none of the three Asian powers will allow the other partners to be destabilized by the usual suspects..”

Raisi Led The Charge For Russia–Iran–China’s ‘New World Order’ (Pepe Escobar)

Amidst all the sadness and grief over the loss of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, let’s take a moment to showcase the critical path he helped forge toward a new global order. In the nearly three years since Raisi ascended to the Iranian presidency, Eurasian integration and the drive toward multipolarity have become fundamentally conducted by three major actors: Russia, China, and Iran. Which, by no accident, are the three top “existential threats” to the hegemonic power. At 10 pm this past Sunday in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited Iran’s ambassador to Moscow, Kazem Jalali, to be at the table in an impromptu meeting with the cream of the crop of Russia’s Defense Team. That invitation reached far beyond the myopic media conjecture over whether the Iranian president’s untimely death was due to an “accidental crash” or an act of sabotage. It came from the fruits of Raisi’s tireless labor to position Iran as an east-facing nation, boldly forging strategic alliances with Asia’s major powers while sweetening Tehran’s relations with past regional foes.

Back to that Sunday night table in Moscow. Everyone was there – from Defense Minister Andrei Belousov and Secretary of the Security Council Sergei Shoigu to Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, Emergencies Minister Aleksandr Kurenkov and Special Assistant to the President, Igor Levitin. The key message portrayed was that Moscow has Tehran’s back. And Russia completely supports the stability and continuity of government in Iran, which is already fully guaranteed by Iran’s constitution and its detailed contingencies for a peaceful transition of power under even unusual circumstances. As we are now deep into total Hybrid War mode – bordering on Hot – across most of the planet, the three civilization states shaping a new system of international relations could not be more obvious. Russia–Iran–China (RIC) are already interlinked via bilateral, comprehensive strategic partnerships; they are members of both BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and their modus operandi was fully unveiled for the whole Global Majority to examine at Putin’s crucial summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last week.

In short, none of the three Asian powers will allow the other partners to be destabilized by the usual suspects. Late President Raisi and his top diplomat, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, leave a stellar legacy. Under their leadership, Iran became a member of BRICS, a full member of the SCO, and a major stakeholder in the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). These are the three key multilateral organizations shaping the road to multipolarity. Iran’s new diplomatic drive reached key Arab and African players, from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt to Libya, Sudan, and Djibouti. Tehran, for the first time, conducted a sophisticated, large-scale military operation against Israel, firing a barrage of drones and missiles from Iranian territory. Iran–Russia relations reached the next level in trade and military-political cooperation. Two years ago, Putin and Raisi agreed on a comprehensive bilateral treaty. The draft of the core document is now ready and will be signed by Iran’s next president, expanding the partnership even further.

As a member of an Iranian delegation told me last year in Moscow, when the Russians were asked what could be on the table, they replied, “You can ask us anything.” And vice versa. So all interlocked declinations of Raisi’s “Look East” strategic shift coupled with Russia’s earlier “pivot to Asia” are being addressed by Moscow and Tehran. The Council of Foreign Ministers of the SCO is meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday in Astana, preparing for the summit in July, when Belarus will become a full member. Crucially, Saudi Arabia’s cabinet has also approved the decision for Riyadh to join, possibly next year. Iran’s continuity of government will be fully represented in Astana via interim Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, who was Amir-Abdollahian’s number two. He’s bound to immediately enter the fray alongside Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to discuss the multi-layered multipolar path.

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Good question: “Why would the CIA protect Morris?”

CIA Prevented Hunter’s Tax Sugar Daddy From Becoming Federal Witness (ZH)

A trove of new whistleblower documents provided to House GOP investigators reveal, among other things, that the CIA prevented federal investigators from pursuing Hollywood lawyer Kevin Morris as a witness in their investigation of Hunter Biden. Morris, a Hollywood entertainment lawyer who has ‘long supported’ Hunter (and why?) has loaned the First Son more than $6.5 million, according to a January letter to the House oversight committee. We’ve known about the CIA connection since March, when the Chairmen of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, Jim Jordan (R-OH) and James Comer (R-KY) said that a whistleblower has brought them information that ‘seems to corroborate our concerns’ that the CIA directly interfered with DOJ and IRS investigations of Hunter Biden. According to a whistleblower, the CIA “intervened in the investigation of Hunter biden to prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) from interviewing a witness,” the letter, addressed to CIA Director William Burns, reads.

Specifically, the Committees were concerned at how “the DOJ deviated from its standard processes to afford preferential treatment to Hunter Biden,” which they learned “after two brave whistleblowers testified to Congress” that the Justice Department had done just that. “DOJ officials restricted what investigative steps the investigators could pursue, tipped off Hunter Biden’s attorneys about investigative steps, and even prevented investigators from conducting witness interviews. The whistleblowers’ testimony about the preferential treatment provided to Hunter Biden has been corroborated by testimony from other witnesses and documents the Committees have received.” And now we know who that witness is… “In a Wednesday statement, the House Ways and Means Committee wrote that whistleblower documents indicate “In 2021, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Leslie Wolf told investigators they could not pursue Hollywood lawyer Kevin Morris as a witness based on information she received from the CIA. Investigators were never provided the same information that AUSA Wolf received.”

“From whistleblower-provided evidence, we know Hunter Biden and his business associates made millions from selling access to Joe Biden and the quote ‘brand’ that is Joe Biden around the world. We know President Biden’s denials of any knowledge or involvement are not true,” reads the letter. “We know the Department of Justice tried to undermine, stonewall, and block the investigation into the Biden family, including President Biden.” The letter also details several lies Hunter told to Congress: “Hunter Biden’s deposition is key to understanding the attempts to conceal how the family made millions from selling access. Yet, new documents provided by the whistleblowers show that Hunter Biden repeatedly lied to Congress in his February deposition to distance his involvement in what should be considered a clear scheme to enrich the Biden family.”

First, Hunter Biden lied about the recipient of a WhatsApp message sent with the apparent intention to threaten a business associate and demand payment. Second, Hunter Biden lied when he claimed he was not the corporate secretary of Rosemont Seneca Bohai and that the shell company he established with Devon Archer and its associated bank accounts were not under his control nor affiliated with him. Third, Hunter Biden lied during his deposition when he said he never helped individuals obtain U.S. visas. Why would the CIA protect Morris?

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Newsweek knows the claim is nonsense, but the outlet works for Biden’s DOJ.

“By claiming I work for a foreign government, Newsweek is trying to justify a FISA warrant that would allow the Biden administration to continue to spy on me. It’s disgusting,”

Tucker Carlson Sets Record Straight on Claims of Hosting Russian TV Show (Sp.)

Previously, Newsweek and several other outlets reported that Tucker Carlson had launched his own show on Russian television. Tucker Carlson has refuted reports that he has become a host on Russian television. This claim was unequivocally false, the journalist told Sputnik. “By claiming I work for a foreign government, Newsweek is trying to justify a FISA warrant that would allow the Biden administration to continue to spy on me. It’s disgusting,” he said. Similarly, in a post on X, Neil Patel, the CEO of the Tucker Carlson Network, said the network “has not done any deals with state media in any country.” He added that “Whoever is currently pretending to be the old Newsweek brand would know that if they had checked with us before printing like news companies are supposed to do.” Tucker Carlson’s representative Arthur Schwartz also dismissed such reports as “pure nonsense” in an an email to Forbes.

Earlier, Newsweek reported that the US journalist – a former Fox News anchor – was launching his own show on Russian state TV. The unsubstantiated claim that was then widely picked up by users on social media. Carlson was fired by Fox News in April 2023 after the outspoken anchor spent over two years using his popular prime time “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show to pillory the Biden administration, the military-industrial complex, and US warmongering. He has since launched a new media company and interview show on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Earlier in the year, Carlson said that his lawyers warned him that the United States could arrest him on sanctions violations for conducting an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. However, the pundit said he was happy to face such a risk and rejected the premise of such charges.

On February 9, the American journalist released his interview with Putin, which garnered over 100 million views in 24 hours on X. The long-time TV news anchor said at the time that he organized the interview because he felt it was his journalistic duty to inform Americans about the realities of the conflict in Ukraine and its consequences. Needless to say, the hypocrisy of Western journalists and legacy media was laid bare in the attack they launched at Tucker Carlson, accusing him as a traitor after the sit-down with the Russian leader. Furthermore, in a series of clips posted to his internet channel about his experiences from his eight-day stay in Russia, Carlson attempted to debunk myths and stereotypes about Russia and life in the capital in the midst of the West’s sanctions ‘total war’.

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“..calling for “civilized nations” to boycott any arrest orders against its leaders..”

Germany Would ‘Abide’ By ICC Netanyahu Arrest Warrant (RT)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government has made clear that it would cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) if proposed arrest warrants are issued against Israeli leaders over alleged war crimes against the Palestinians. Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit was asked whether Berlin would execute an ICC arrest warrant against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Of course, yes, we abide by the law,” he responded, as cited by Die Welt. The statement came after Israel’s ambassador to Berlin, Ron Prosor, urged Scholz’s administration to defy the ICC. The court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, filed applications on Monday for arrest warrants against Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza conflict.

Israel’s government responded by branding the proposed warrants as anti-Semitic and calling for “civilized nations” to boycott any arrest orders against its leaders. Prosor appealed to the Berlin government directly on Tuesday, saying the German “Staatsrason” – its vow to ensure Israel’s security as part of its own national interest – was being put to the test. “The public statement that Israel has the right to self-defense loses credibility if our hands are tied as soon as we defend ourselves,” the envoy said. “The chief prosecutor equates a democratic government with Hamas, thereby demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and the Jewish people. He has completely lost his moral compass.” Prosor added that Germany has a responsibility to “readjust this compass.” He called the warrant applications a “disgraceful political campaign,” saying they could become a “nail in the coffin for the West” and its institutions.

Hebestreit declined to comment directly on the Israeli government’s demands. Germany is a signatory to the ICC and has staunchly supported such multilateral organizations. France, which is also among the 124 countries that recognize the ICC’s authority, is in the same boat. The French Foreign Ministry affirmed its support for the tribunal on Tuesday, saying it would be up to the court’s pre-trial chamber to decide whether to order the arrests of Israeli and Hamas leaders – based on evidence submitted by the prosecutor. Neither Israel nor the US is a party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC. US President Joe Biden denounced the proposed warrants as “outrageous,” and members of Congress have threatened to sanction the court.

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Would that be so crazy?

‘We’re Next!’ Lindsey Graham Warns About ICC (RT)

If the International Criminal Court is willing to go after the Israeli leadership, it won’t hesitate to go after US lawmakers, according to Senator Lindsey Graham. The South Carolina Republican has united with Democrats in calling for sanctions on the Hague court. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, arguing there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that they were guilty of “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in the Gaza conflict. Khan has also sought warrants for three senior members of Hamas. “We – hopefully, together – will find a way to register our displeasure with the ICC because if they’ll do this to Israel, we’re next,” Graham said on Tuesday, at a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing where US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was testifying.

“Yeah, you can clap all you want,” Graham replied, as a group of protesters in the chamber began to applaud at his “we’re next” comment. He argued that the US needs to impose sanctions against the ICC “to not only help our friends in Israel but protect ourselves over time,” noting that the court “tried to come after our soldiers in Afghanistan, but reason prevailed.” Washington had sanctioned the ICC prosecutor who tried to investigate allegations of atrocities and war crimes committed by the US and its allies in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, a dozen senators wrote to Khan to remind him that a US law allows “all means necessary and appropriate” to defend any Americans – or allies – sought by the court. The 2002 law was nicknamed the “Hague Invasion Act.”

Graham was not signatory to that letter. On Tuesday, however, he issued a joint statement with seven other senators – three Republicans and four Democrats – pledging to “work in a bipartisan manner to strenuously object to the ICC’s actions against our ally, Israel, and take appropriate steps to help Israel and protect American personnel from future ICC action.” Washington has insisted that the ICC lacks jurisdiction over West Jerusalem, since Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute which established the court. Last year, however, the US praised Khan for seeking to charge Russian President Vladimir Putin – even though Moscow is not a party to the Rome Statute, either.

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Sergei Poletaev.

Ukraine Is Losing, Direct Intervention By The West Risks Nuclear Conflict (RT)

Western officials have been talking about sending troops to Ukraine since the beginning of the year. French President Emmanuel Macron said that he is ready to consider “any scenario,” including a ground operation. Government officials in Estonia and Lithuania (including Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte) were quick to support him. And the Leader of the House Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries became the first US politician who didn’t exclude the possibility of sending troops. Formally, Ukraine hasn’t requested Western troops – Kiev has only demanded more weapons. But now, the New York Times reports that Kiev has officially asked the US and NATO to send military instructors to train 150,000 recruits on its territory, closer to the front line. Though the US has refused to comply with the request, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Charles Q. Brown Jr, has said that a NATO deployment of trainers appears inevitable, and that “we’ll get there eventually, over time.”

The subject of sending troops to Ukraine comes up quite often but, so far, Western countries have steered clear. Why? Is a full-fledged NATO intervention in Ukraine possible and what would happen if it took place? And how else might the West turn the course of the conflict in its favor? Western doctrine in regard to Russia was defined even before the start of the full-scale conflict: the idea was to fight Russia “with the hands of” Ukraine and on Ukrainian territory. The goal was to force Russia to play by Western rules (ideally, by defeating it on the battlefield) and reassert the US-led bloc’s shaky global hegemony. But, at the same time, officials wanted to minimize their own risks and avoid being drawn into a direct military confrontation that could result in a nuclear war. The second staple of this doctrine – a total trade war – has not yielded the desired results. In 2022, it became clear that the West overestimated the degree of its control not only over the international financial system, but even over its own financial flows.

Despite certain losses and additional costs, Russia has been able to replace old trade ties with new ones and to do so with a minimal loss of revenue. The severe sanctions imposed by the West on its own companies turned out to be quite useless, since for the most part Russia continues to receive the latest Western products and technologies. As for the idea of defeating Russia on the battlefield, the turning point occurred in the summer of 2023. After the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, it became clear that the AFU would not be able to impose peace on its own terms. The problem is that in the conflict with Russia, the West has gone ‘all in’ and any military outcome that could be regarded as beneficial for Moscow – even negotiations on an equal footing – would now be regarded as a defeat. The whole world would realize that they can stand up to the hegemon and not just avoid becoming an outcast, but even gain some benefits. The West cannot allow this, since it could cause a chain reaction on a global scale.

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“..the Ukrainian president’s status could call into question any future treaties he may sign with Russia..”

Musk Questions Ukrainian Democracy (RT)

Elon Musk has cast doubt on Western involvement in the Ukraine conflict being described as upholding democracy, if the country’s leader has a questionable legal claim to power. Tuesday marked the first day after the expiration of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s five-year presidential term. His government declined to hold a new election, citing martial law put in place due to hostilities with Russia. The American billionaire entrepreneur responded to an X (formerly Twitter) post highlighting the deadline published by conservative journalist Jack Posobiec. Musk said: “But I thought we were there to ‘uphold democracy’?” Zelensky’s democratic bona fides were called into question before the fighting with Russia started in February 2022. His government had cracked down on critical media and opposition politicians, claiming that it was fighting Russian influence and the power of oligarchs. His remaining in power is based on the absence of a duly elected successor, who Zelensky’s office has argued cannot be produced during war time.

Kiev cited a constitutional restriction on voting under martial law as the reason for not organizing a presidential vote. The Ukrainian Constitution does explicitly forbid parliamentary elections and some kinds of referendums during national emergencies, but says nothing about presidential elections. The Constitutional Court has not ruled on how the current impasse should be resolved. The US and its allies have portrayed the arming and training of Ukrainian troops to fight Russia as a contribution to a global fight of democracies against autocracies. Conversely, Moscow has argued that the conflict is a US-initiated proxy war on Russia, in which Ukrainian soldiers serve as cannon fodder. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that the issue of Zelensky’s legitimacy is something that the country itself has to sort out. However, the Ukrainian president’s status could call into question any future treaties he may sign with Russia, he added.

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“..was covered in sand when a major drought set in around 4,200 years ago..”

Scientists Reveal Hidden Branch of the Nile, May Solve Pyramid Mystery (Sp.)

Scientists have recently discovered a long-buried branch of the Nile river that once rushed with life alongside the country’s magnificent Giza pyramid complex. The river branch is about 40 miles long (64 km), but has been hiding under desert and farmland for millennia, according to a study that published the findings on Thursday in Communications Earth & Environment. Eman Ghoneim, a geomorphologist who was born and raised in Egypt, is a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She and her team analyzed batches of satellite images as well as sediment samples that were collected from beneath the desert’s surface. “We were looking at these meandering natural features closer to the [pyramid] field, like long depressions and troughs, now covered up entirely by farmlands and sand,” Ghoneim says. “It can be very hard to see if you don’t know what to look for.”

Radar gave the research team the “unique ability to penetrate the sand surface and produce images of hidden features including buried rivers and ancient structures,” said Ghoneim. And through this process, they found the long-lost ancient branch of the Nile that once ran through the foothills beside the Giza pyramid field – just a kilometer from the banks of the river. The team believes this hidden branch could be the answer to how builders transported heavy materials to the construction site of the now iconic pyramids – as heavy materials would have been easier to float down river than to carry across land. The ancient Egyptians built 31 pyramids along the now inhospitable desert strip between 4,700 and 3,700 years ago. Ghoneim adds that the branch could help researchers find potential sites of ancient human settlements that might be buried beneath the land’s surface.

While archaeologists have long suspected a waterway was responsible for helping to build the pyramids, Ghoneim says “nobody was certain of the location, the shape, the size or proximity of this mega waterway to the actual pyramids site.” The scientists believe the river, which they named Ahramat, was covered in sand when a major drought set in around 4,200 years ago. And the discovery of the river branch could also explain why the pyramids were built in different areas. Ghoneim explains that the water’s course and volume changed over time, so kings of later eras had to make different choices compared to those of earlier eras. She adds that she is hopeful of continuing to piece together a map of the Nile’s previous life.

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“The ruling by the High Court in London permitting Julian Assange to appeal his extradition order leaves him languishing in precarious health in a high-security prison. That is the point.”

The Slow-Motion Execution of Julian Assange Continues (Chris Hedges)

The extradition request is based on the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs — hundreds of thousands of classified documents, leaked to the site by Chelsea Manning, then an Army intelligence analyst, which exposed numerous U.S. war crimes including video images of the gunning down of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians in the Collateral Murder video, the routine torture of Iraqi prisoners, the covering up of thousands of civilian deaths and the killing of nearly 700 civilians that had approached too closely to U.S. checkpoints. In February, lawyers for Julian submitted nine separate grounds for a possible appeal. A two-day hearing in March, which I attended, was Julian’s last chance to request an appeal of the extradition decision made in 2022 by the then British home secretary, Priti Patel, and of many of the rulings of District Judge Baraitser in 2021.

The two High Court judges, Dame Victoria Sharp and Justice Jeremy Johnson, in March rejected most of Julian’s grounds of appeal. These included his lawyers’ contention that the UK-US extradition treaty bars extradition for political offenses; that the extradition request was made for the purpose of prosecuting him for his political opinions; that extradition would amount to retroactive application of the law — because it was not foreseeable that a century-old espionage law would be used against a foreign publisher; and that he would not receive a fair trial in the Eastern District of Virginia. The judges also refused to hear new evidence that the CIA plotted to kidnap and assassinate Julian, concluding — both perversely and incorrectly — that the CIA only considered these options because they believed Julian was planning to flee to Russia.

But the two judges determined Monday that it is “arguable” that a U.S. court might not grant Julian protection under the First Amendment, violating his rights to free speech as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. The judges in March asked the U.S. to provide written assurances that Julian would be protected under the First Amendment and that he would be exempt from a death penalty verdict. The U.S. assured the court that Julian would not be subjected to the death penalty, which Julian’s lawyers ultimately accepted. But the Department of Justice was unable to provide an assurance that Julian could mount a First Amendment defense in a U.S. court. Such a decision is made in a U.S. federal court, their lawyers explained.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg, who is prosecuting Julian, has argued that only U.S. citizens are guaranteed First Amendment rights in U.S. courts. Kromberg has stated that what Julian published was “not in the public interest” and that the U.S. was not seeking his extradition on political grounds. Free speech is a key issue. If Julian is granted First Amendment rights in a U.S. court it will be very difficult for the U.S. to build a criminal case against him, since other news organizations, including The New York Times and The Guardian, published the material he released.

The extradition request is based on the contention that Julian is not a journalist and not protected under the First Amendment. Julian’s attorneys and those representing the U.S. government have until May 24 to submit a draft order, which will determine when the appeal will be heard. Julian committed the empire’s greatest sin — he exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, routine violation of human rights, wanton killing of innocent civilians, rampant corruption and war crimes. Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Labour, Trump or Biden — it does not matter. Those who manage the empire use the same dirty playbook. The publication of classified documents is not a crime in the United States, but if Julian is extradited and convicted, it will become one.

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What do we think of Terrance Howard? Fine actor, sure, but…

https://twitter.com/i/status/1793018427453432189
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792991155434533029

 

 

Happer

 

 

3 vs 1
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792709386017841329

 

 

Tesla water

 

 

Humpback

 

 

Baby condor

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 212024
 


Roy Lichtenstein Crying girl 1963

 

Assange Secures Big Win In US Extradition Hearing: How It Happened (RT)
Vladimir Zelensky: No Mandate, No Election. So What Now? (Drize)
End of Zelensky’s Term To Have No Effect On Russia’s Operation – Kremlin (TASS)
Zelensky Emerges as ‘First Obstacle’ to Peaceful Resolution of Ukrainian Conflict (SP.)
Zelensky A ‘Legitimate Military Target’ – Medvedev (RT)
Ukraine has lost 90% Of Energy Capacity – Ex-Minister (RT)
ICC Chief Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrants For Netanyahu And Hamas Leaders (RT)
There Is No Genocide In Gaza – Biden (RT)
Why Are Israel And The West Unravelling In Tandem? (Alastair Crooke)
Judge in Trump Case Says She’s Concerned With Special Counsel Jack Smith (ET)
Michael Cohen Admits Stealing Tens of Thousands From Trump Organization (ET)
The President Whose Voice Must Not Be Heard (Turley)
China Offloads Record Amount Of Dollar Assets – Data (RT)
Fugazy Land (Jim Kunstler)

 

 

Tapper

 

 

Biden SCOTUS

 

 

Fani
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792738591161901068

 

 

Totalitarianism

 

 

 

 

“Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Sputnik that the decision of the UK’s High Court of Justice in London doesn’t appear to be in support of the Wikileaks founder. “It is difficult to call the ongoing execution a ‘decision in favor of Assange,'” Zakharova said.”

“The UK High Court ruled that Washington’s assurances of a fair trial for the WikiLeaks founder were insufficient, allowing a full appeal.”

My first reaction: Until now, the appeals were always limited to a few small points, excluding most others. This appears different. RT claims it is a full appeal. Which would involve 1000s upon 1000s of pages of documents that may have to be revisited. I don’t see a positive confirmation of this. We’ll have to see. Knock on wood.

Assange Secures Big Win In US Extradition Hearing: How It Happened (RT)

The High Court in London has ruled that WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has the right to appeal an extradition request by the US. Washington is seeking to put the Australian publisher on trial for espionage for disclosing alleged war crimes committed by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UK High Court considered Washington’s assurances that Assange would be given a fair trial if extradited to the US. The court had previously requested two sets of written guarantees from the US stating that the WikiLeaks founder would not be discriminated against due to his Australian citizenship, and would not be held in a maximum security prison or be given the death penalty. If the court had ruled that these guarantees were adequate, Assange would likely have been extradited to the US in a matter of days. While the US had provided the assurances, it did so with a number of conditions.

The American side promised not to immediately place Assange in a maximum security prison, but reserved the right to do so based on his conduct. US prosecutors also stated that the WikiLeaks founder would be able to rely on the First Amendment right to free speech during the trial, but noted that its applicability would be “exclusively within the purview of the US courts.” Assange’s supporters slammed Washington’s diplomatic assurances, with Amnesty International’s criminal justice expert Juli Hall calling them “inherently unreliable because the US government gives itself an out.” The publisher’s wife, Stella Assange, had also described the US guarantees as “blatant weasel words.” Ahead of Monday’s ruling, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the High Court in London calling for Assange’s immediate release.

During the hearing, Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told the judges that the assurances of a fair trial given by US prosecutors could not be relied upon as American courts would not be bound by them. “We say this is a blatantly inadequate assurance,” Fitzgerald told the court. In a short ruling, the two senior judges of London’s High Court stated that the assurances provided by the US were not sufficient, and gave Assange’s legal team the right to a full appeal hearing. While the legal battle continues, Assange himself will remain in London’s top-security Belmarsh Prison, where he has been held for the past five years since his arrest in 2019 when his asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London was revoked.

The legal victory was immediately celebrated by Assange’s supporters, with Amnesty International’s Simon Crowther calling it a “rare piece of positive news for Julian Assange and all defenders of press freedom.” Stella Assange applauded the court’s verdict, calling it the “right decision.” She criticized the US for the ongoing persecution of her husband, and demanded that Washington “read the situation” and drop the case against him. Former Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn also celebrated Monday’s verdict, but stressed that there was still a lot to be done to secure Assange’s freedom.

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“On May 20, Vladimir Zelensky’s presidential powers officially expired..”

Vladimir Zelensky: No Mandate, No Election. So What Now? (Drize)

On May 20, Vladimir Zelensky’s presidential powers officially expired. He retains power, however, because no elections can be held in Ukraine due to the current state of martial law. Responding to a question last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said peace agreements can only be signed with legitimate leaders. He added that the Ukrainian legal system should draw the necessary conclusions. Firstly, because there is the temptation, if not to cancel them altogether, then to postpone elections in Ukraine for as long as possible. Of course, even if peace is achieved, Ukraine’s infrastructure will have to be rebuilt in order to conduct a proper ballot. Political life also needs to be restarted. All this takes time. But the main point is that Zelensky may well lose the election. He no longer looks like a winner. Moreover, it’s relevant to ask if Ukraine will survive not just as a state but with some form of democracy. It is also unlikely to join NATO any time soon.

There is a growing sense that Zelensky’s backers are tiring of him. A true politician has to be able to run a long race, which is why US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has hinted at the desirability of holding elections. So what’s the bigger picture here? A high-level peace conference on Ukraine is scheduled for mid-June in Burgenstock, Switzerland. It’s highly likely that this will fall short of expectations, to put it mildly. If it takes place at all. At the very least, the participation of the Global South appears to be unlikely. And US President Joe Biden is apparently not coming either. What was the point of all this? Well, for Zelensky this is an important project – to get as many influential states on his side as possible. Instead, China is promoting its own peace plan, supported by Russia. And the West is subtly making it clear that, in theory, it would be open to discussions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent trip to Europe saw all this discussed. We also have to recognize that it’s very difficult for Zelensky to continue fighting without enough weapons and without clear guarantees that supplies won’t stop at some point. And with mobilization not going well, Russia advancing, and the West getting tired of him, if the conference in Switzerland also fails, it will be a big blow for the Ukrainian leader. On the other hand, a compromise might be even worse. This is where you need political experience – rather than making unreasonable demands or issuing statements about saving the West. But we aren’t going to give advice. It’s clear that there is no ideal way out for Moscow either, so everything is very complicated. The chances for peace are slim, but at least some do exist.

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“The powers of the current Ukrainian president under the current Constitution expire on May 21. There is no legitimate way of extending them..”

End of Zelensky’s Term To Have No Effect On Russia’s Operation – Kremlin (TASS)

The expiration of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s term of office does not affect the special military operation, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told reporters. “No, the special operation continues,” Peskov said when asked whether the expiration of Zelensky’s term of office might influence the special operation. The powers of the current Ukrainian president under the current Constitution expire on May 21. There is no legitimate way of extending them. Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that the issue of the Zelensky presidency’s legitimacy after May 20 should be resolved in Ukraine by its political and legal systems.

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“He is the first obstacle to any peace negotiation. If he comes to Switzerland, it would be for receiving the support of his Western supporters and to get more aid for the war. Not for peace..”

Zelensky Emerges as ‘First Obstacle’ to Peaceful Resolution of Ukrainian Conflict (Sp.)

Nextpmonth, Switzerland is expected to host a conference ostensibly meant to help achieve a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian conflict, even though Russia was not invited while BRICS members and Global South countries seem reluctant to attend the event. The upcoming conference at the Burgenstock resort in Switzerland, touted by its organizers as an event to further the peace process in Ukraine, will most definitely be anything but a peace summit, says Swiss MP and former executive director of the Geneva Press Club Guy Mettan. “The deliberate rejection of Russia is now jeopardizing the success of the meeting and returning against its organizers,” Mettan tells Sputnik, pointing out that Russia was not invited to participate in the conference. “Aware of this problem, the Swiss official narrative is now trying to put forward that Russia didn’t wish to participate and that its absence came from its own decision, which is false and will not mislead anybody outside the collective West.”

According to Mettan, the countries of the Global South may end up sending their representatives to this gathering, though they will likely dispatch “medium-level participants with no-decision power, in order to avoid being accused of being ‘against the peace’ or of ‘boycotting the West’.” “For the Global South, the present questions are: why should it participate in a summit which is no longer a summit, which is not focused on peace due to the non-invitation of Russia, and which will certainly be a failure?” he adds. Mettan also argues that Zelensky is in fact opposed to the “real negotiation process” as he signed a decree banning any peace talks with Russia and with his so-called peace formula essentially calling for Russia’s capitulation. “He is the first obstacle to any peace negotiation. If he comes to Switzerland, it would be for receiving the support of his Western supporters and to get more aid for the war. Not for peace,” Mettan remarks.

The lawmaker suggests that Western support for Zelensky’s regime, aimed at weakening Russia, may persist until the US presidential election in November, but afterwards, the strategy’s failures might become more apparent across the military, economic, financial, and political domains. Meanwhile, it appears that the summit in question has been snubbed by many of the prospective participants due to the “unrealistic approach” adopted by the event’s organizers, says Paolo Raffone, a strategic analyst and director of the CIPI Foundation in Brussels. During an interview with Sputnik, Raffone points out that not only Russia was not invited to the summit, but the conference itself is aimed at promoting the so-called Zelensky ‘peace formula,’ a scheme that includes the demand for Russia to cede a part of its territory to Ukraine as a precondition for ending the Ukrainian conflict. “Such an unrealistic approach is the reason for many invitees not attending. The countries that have chosen not to attend are aware that a dialogue in the absence of Russia does not represent ‘the legitimate interests of the parties’,” he explains. “Moreover, no peace talks are well funded if not based on reality. Any meaningful peace talks imply that the Ukrainian government must recognize the ‘new territorial realities’.”

“World leaders are aware that any resolution to the war in Ukraine can only find a settlement between the real world powers underpinning the events, notably Russia and US,” he adds. “While behind the scenes contacts and talks are continuing, the majority of world leaders believe that the time is not yet ripe for ‘peace talks’ and that in any case the starting point cannot be other than the document drafted and mostly agreed in Turkiye in March 2022.” The analyst also observed that the implementation of Zelensky’s plan would be impossible without the “direct military intervention of Western countries,” and that it has already become clear that “none of the Western countries will officially send troops to fight in Ukraine against Russia.”

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“He spat on the Constitution of his ‘country,’ ignored the Constitutional Court, and did not even extend, but usurped the supreme power..”

Zelensky A ‘Legitimate Military Target’ – Medvedev (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, as the leader of a “hostile political regime,” is a legitimate military target, Dmitry Medvedev, the head of Russia’s Security Council, has said. Speaking to TASS on Monday, Medvedev said that the question of Zelensky’s legitimacy as president is of no particular importance to Moscow. “For Russia, the final loss of legitimacy by the pseudo-president of the former Ukraine will not change anything,” the former Russian president said, noting that the leaders of countries waging war are “always considered” a legitimate military target. Medvedev called Zelensky a “war criminal,” who should be caught and brought to justice or “liquidated as a terrorist” for his crimes against Russians and Ukrainians.

Zelensky appeared on the Russian Interior Ministry’s wanted list earlier this month though no data has been released about criminal proceedings against him. The constitutional powers of the current Ukrainian president expired on May 20. A presidential election was originally scheduled for March, but was postponed under the pretext of martial law, which was imposed after the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022, and has repeatedly been extended by the nation’s legislature. Zelensky announced in December 2023 that no presidential or parliamentary elections would be held as long as martial law remains in force. In early May, lawmakers prolonged martial law by another three months. According to Medvedev, Zelensky “effectively seized power” in the country after elections were annulled.

“He spat on the constitution of his ‘country,’ ignored the Constitutional Court, and did not even extend, but usurped the supreme power,” Medvedev argued, adding that Zelensky “covered himself with an inarticulate declaration of the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian parliament) on the abolition of presidential elections in times of war.” In March, Ukrainskaya Pravda claimed, citing members of parliament, that Zelensky had virtually stripped the legislature of its powers and established de facto personal rule. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said recently that a “moment will come soon when many people, including those inside Ukraine, will question [President Zelensky’s] legitimacy.”

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“..Galushchenko urged Ukrainians to prepare for outages during spring and summer, and advised the population to stock up on electricity generators and power banks..”

Ukraine has lost 90% Of Energy Capacity – Ex-Minister (RT)

About 90% of Ukraine’s power generation capacity has been taken out by Russian missile attacks, according to former minister of infrastructure Aleksey Kucherenko. The situation is not expected to improve dramatically, as the damaged infrastructure cannot be restored quickly, the member of parliament warned during an interview with the YouTube channel Vishka. “We have lost around eight thousand megawatts of electricity, that’s a lot, out of eight thousand, 800 are currently working,” he said, citing power engineers, and warning of extensive power outages through the summer and winter. Moscow began targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure in the autumn of 2022, after Russia’s Crimean Bridge was bombed that October.

In recent months Russia has intensified its strikes on Ukrainian military and energy facilities. In April, the Russian Defense Ministry said the bombardment was in response to Kiev’s attempts to target Russian oil infrastructure. Since January, Ukraine has launched multiple long-range attacks on energy facilities deep inside Russia, including oil depots and refineries, using kamikaze drones. In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia’s strikes on energy facilities “directly affect the defense industry of Ukraine,” calling them part of “demilitarization” efforts. Moscow reiterated the attacks are only aimed at Ukrainian military targets and facilities that support their operations, and never at the civilian population.

To alleviate the pressure on the power grid, Ukraine has introduced temporary blackouts for industrial and household consumers in all regions. The nation has also ramped up imports of electricity from neighboring EU countries – Romania, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary – and also from Moldova. Earlier this month, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko claimed that the combined financial losses from Russian attacks amounted to more than $1 billion, and warned that the figure is likely to rise. He noted that the main damage was to thermal and hydro generation, as well as power transmission systems. In April, Galushchenko urged Ukrainians to prepare for outages during spring and summer, and advised the population to stock up on electricity generators and power banks.

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Not everyone will be pleased…

ICC Chief Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrants For Netanyahu And Hamas Leaders (RT)

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has said he’s seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There are “reasonable grounds to believe” that the wanted persons are responsible for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in Gaza and in Israel, Karim Khan outlined in a statement on Monday. Along with Netanyahu, the prosecutor is looking to arrest Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The wanted Hamas officials include the Palestinian armed group’s leader Yahya Sinwar, the commander of its military wing –al-Qassam Brigades – Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and the chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh, the prosecutor’s statement reads. According to Khan, Netanyahu and Gallant are suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza such as intentional attacks on a civilian population, willful killing and causing of suffering, using starvation as a method of warfare, “extermination and/or murder” as well as other “inhumane acts.”

The wanted Hamas leaders allegedly “bear criminal responsibility” for murder, rape and other acts of sexual violence, and for taking hostages, torture and other “inhumane acts,” the prosecutor said. On October 7, Hamas fighters carried out an incursion into Israel, which resulted in about 1,200 people being killed and 250 taken hostage. The Israeli government responded to the attack by launching a large-scale military operation in Gaza that is still ongoing. According to data from the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry, 35,456 have been killed and 79,476 others wounded as a result of Israel’s airstrikes and ground offensive. Israel is not a member of the ICC and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the UN court, but the State of Palestine joined the organization in 2015. Once warrants against Netanyahu and Hamas leaders are issued, any of the court’s 124 member-states will be obliged to arrest them if they set foot on their territory.

Benny Gantz, the centrist member of Israel’s three-person war cabinet, labeled the decision by Khan to seek arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant as “a crime of historic proportions.” Israel is waging “one of the just wars fought in modern history” and drawing parallels between its top officials and Hamas leaders is “a deep distortion of justice and blatant moral bankruptcy,” he claimed in a statement. The country’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich said that “we have not seen such a show of hypocrisy and hatred of Jews like that displayed by the court in the Hague since Nazi propaganda.” Another rightist cabinet member, national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, has urged the Israeli PM and defense minister to “ignore the anti-Semitic prosecutor and order a stepped-up assault against Hamas until they are completely destroyed.”

Back in April, when reports of a possible arrest warrant against Netanyahu emerged, the PM blamed the ICC for seeking to “paralyze Israel’s very ability to defend itself,” while fanning the “fires of anti-Semitism.” Axios reported earlier this month that a group of Republican lawmakers in the US House of Representatives had been devising sanctions against the ICC in a bid to deter it from prosecuting the Israeli leaders. The US, Israel’s major ally, is not a state party to the Rome Statute, which founded the ICC in 2002.

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We’re beyond semantics, Joe…

There Is No Genocide In Gaza – Biden (RT)

US President Joe Biden has dismissed arguments that Israel’s military operation in Gaza can be described as genocide, reiterating Washington’s support for West Jerusalem as he hosted an event for Jewish American Heritage month at the White House. On Monday, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, announced that he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and Ismail Haniyeh, accusing them of “war crimes and crimes against humanity.” Speaking at the White House later in the day, Biden condemned the ICC move as well as separate allegations by the UN’s International Court of Justice that Israel’s actions in Gaza could be genocidal.

“Let me be clear, contrary to allegations against Israel made by the International Court of Justice, what’s happening is not genocide. We reject that,” Biden said. Palestinian militant group Hamas carried out an incursion into Israel on October 7 which resulted in about 1,200 people being killed and 250 taken hostage. The Israeli government responded by launching a large-scale military operation in Gaza, which according to the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry has killed over 35,000 people and left almost 80,000 others wounded. Israel has vowed to continue the offensive until Hamas is completely eliminated. “We stand with Israel to take out Sinwar and the rest of the butchers of Hamas,” Biden said on Monday. “We want Hamas defeated. We’ve worked with Israel to make that happen.”

In January, an interim ruling by the ICJ, the UN’s top court in The Hague, ordered Israel to take steps to prevent genocide and improve humanitarian conditions for Gaza’s population. The lawsuit, filed by South Africa late last year, accuses West Jerusalem of committing systematic war crimes in the Palestinian region. Ireland announced in March that it would support Pretoria’s case, calling Israel’s actions in Gaza a “blatant violation of international humanitarian law on a mass scale.” Last week, Egypt also called on Israel to “comply with its obligations as the occupying power.”

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“..more and more Israelis on both sides of the divide see their country as essentially split into two distinct (non-reconcilable) entities”. Does this sound familiar, albeit in another context?..”

Why Are Israel And The West Unravelling In Tandem? (Alastair Crooke)

Alon Pinkas, a former senior Israeli diplomat (well plugged in at the White House), says aloud the ‘reality’ about Israel which he underlines cannot be hidden further: “[There are now] two [Jewish] states – with contrasting visions of what the nation should be. There is an elephant in the Israeli room – and ‘no’: it’s not occupation, though that is its main cause”. “The elephant in the room is Israel gradually but inexorably being divided [into a high-tech, secular, liberal state] … and a Jewish-supremacist, ultranationalist theocracy with messianic, antidemocratic tendencies that encourage isolation”. “Zionism … has morphed and mutated through the settler movement and extreme right-wing zealots into a Masada-like political culture, based on the concept of the redemption of the ancient kingdom in the ancestral land. (Masada was a Sicarii cult in CE 73)”. Pinkas continues:

“[I]n essence, there is a civil war raging in Israel. It has not reached Gettysburg levels, but the deep and wide schism is becoming glaringly evident. The two political value systems are just not reconcilable. “We are fighting the Arabs (or Iran) for our existence” remains the only common thread, but it is weakening. That is a negative definition of national identity: a common enemy and threat, but very little of what unites us in terms of the type of society and country we want to be”. “Even the most fundamental common narrative, the Declaration of Independence, is now being questioned with some of its basic tenets and guiding principles a source of political contention”. Of course, one can see from which side of the divide Pinkas views his world – yet “above and beyond pondering 7 October, there is a growing realization that ‘unity’, ‘one destiny’ and ‘we have no choice and no other country’ have become meaningless and hollow clichés. Instead, more and more Israelis on both sides of the divide see their country as essentially split into two distinct (non-reconcilable) entities”. Does this sound familiar, albeit in another context?

It should. For it is a metaphor for the inexorable divide in the West, too. The war in Gaza has precipitated and sharpened the latent schisms within in the West. It too can be hidden no longer. On the one hand, there is an (illiberal) social engineering project posing as liberalism. And on the other, a project to recover the ‘eternal’ values (however imperfect) that once lay behind European civilisation. The conflict in the Middle East has thrown the parallels between the two spheres in the West into clarity. Again, the parallels and similarities are discomforting: As Pinkas says: “the divide is real, widening and becoming unbridgeable. The political, cultural and economic gaps and rifts are growing, accompanied by toxic vitriol that masquerades as political discourse. Even the most fundamental common narrative, the Declaration of Independence, is now being questioned with some of its basic tenets and guiding principles a source of political contention”.

He is referring to Israel, but the same is true in the U.S., where the basic tenets and guiding principles of the Constitution (i.e. free speech) are a source of political contention. He talks also of the Right’s claim that Tel Aviv ‘is a bubble’, but adds: “As for the bubble claim, they’re right – but New York is a bubble, Paris and London are bubbles” – geographical, as well as ideological bubbles. Yet Pinkas does not ‘get’ the paradox he creates: Is not that the core of the problem? The ‘Techie-obsessed’ Metro-Élites of America versus the Rest (i.e. ‘flyover America’)? The bubbles are the problem, not something to be brushed aside. Today, tens of thousands of students in the West are protesting the on-going massacre of Palestinians, whilst the institutional place-holders fully support the annihilation of Hamas and any ‘complicit’ civilians (which is extended by some to include all who live in Gaza). The two worldviews share no common perception. They represent contrasting visions for the future – and of the essence of their nations. October 7 exploded the simulacra of the ‘status quo’ in Israel – and at the same time, unravelled the political order in the West – as in Israel.

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“The sealing and redaction rules should be applied consistently and fairly upon a sufficient factual and legal showing..”

Judge in Trump Case Says She’s Concerned With Special Counsel Jack Smith (ET)

The federal judge overseeing one of the criminal cases against former President Donald Trump on May 19 expressed concern and disappointment with special counsel Jack Smith. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, an appointee of President Trump, said that Mr. Smith and his team have taken inconsistent positions during the case as it pertains to keeping some information sealed, or hidden from the public. “In two separate filings related to sealing, the special counsel stated, without qualification, that he had no objection to full unsealing of previously sealed docket entries related to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. In light of that repeated representation, and in the absence of any defense objection, the court unsealed those materials consistent with the general presumption in favor of public access,” Judge Cannon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida wrote in an order.

The materials that were unsealed, though, contain information such as grand jury details that the special counsel has and continues to say, in all other filings, should be kept sealed. Judge Cannon asked for an explanation of the inconsistency. “In response to those inquiries, counsel explained that the special counsel took the position on unsealing in order to publicly and transparently refute defense allegations of prosecutorial misconduct raised in pretrial motions,” Judge Cannon wrote. “Fair enough. But nowhere in that explanation is there any basis to conclude that the special counsel could not have defended the integrity of his Office while simultaneously preserving the witness-safety and Rule 6(e) concerns he has repeatedly told the court, and maintains to this day, are of serious consequence, and which the court has endeavored with diligence to accommodate in its multiple orders on sealing/redaction.”

Judge Cannon described herself as being “disappointed in these developments.” “The sealing and redaction rules should be applied consistently and fairly upon a sufficient factual and legal showing. And parties should not make requests that undermine any prior representations or positions except upon full disclosure to the court and appropriate briefing,” she added.

The case was brought against President Trump over his alleged mishandling of sensitive documents. The order came after Mr. Smith and President Trump filed competing proposals for redactions, in response to a May 9 order from the judge that directed the parties to submit the proposals. The order concerns several motions filed by President Trump, including a motion to dismiss the case based on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, which have not yet been placed on the docket. The proposals for redactions are also not yet public. Both parties and the judge agree that the names of potential witnesses or information that would clearly identify them should be kept hidden, along with “ancillary names” and personal identifying information such as addresses. Redactions agreed upon by both parties were accepted by the judge in the new order, with a few exceptions. President Trump’s proposed redactions to some witness statements were rejected.

“No basis is provided for these redactions, and the court has previously denied requests to redact the substance of potential witness statements are relied upon in pre-trial motions,” Judge Cannon said. The judge also turned down a request by the special counsel to redact some of the same information. Judge Cannon said that for redactions where the parties disagree, she would “accept for now” President Trump’s characterization of portions of the material falling under privilege, pending her review of privilege arguments. She would also accept the special counsel’s position on Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, despite the concerns outlined in the order. The filings with the authorized redactions are now expected to be docketed in the coming days. Rule 6 states, in part, that a number of people, including government attorneys, must not disclose any matters occurring before a grand jury, with limited exceptions.

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“The former president has denied her claims, describing her and Mr. Cohen in April as “sleaze bags” who are making false statements against him.”

Michael Cohen Admits Stealing Tens of Thousands From Trump Organization (ET)

Former Trump associate and lawyer Michael Cohen on Monday admitted to stealing thousands of dollars from the Trump Organization as he testified during the former presidents’ trial in New York City. Mr. Cohen made the admission while facing cross-examination from defense attorney Todd Blanche. “You did steal from the Trump Organization based upon the expected reimbursement from Red Finch,” Mr. Blanche asked him, making reference to a repayment plan that was intended to pay adult film performer Stormy Daniels $130,000 and tech firm Red Finch $50,000. “Yes sir,” Mr. Cohen said in response. The former attorney then said he went to the bank and took out cash over several days, totaling about $20,000 before keeping it in a small brown paper bag. Then he gave it to the tech firm, he testified, adding he never gave the full $50,000 amount.

The Trump Organization ultimately repaid Mr. Cohen $50,000 and then doubled that payment in a practice known as “grossing up” to cover taxes he’d incur by declaring the money as income rather than a tax-free reimbursement. Mr. Blanche noted that despite Mr. Cohen’s guilty pleas in 2018 to federal charges including a campaign finance violation for the hush money payment and unrelated tax evasion and bank fraud crimes, he’d never been charged with stealing from President Trump’s company. “Have you paid back the Trump Organization the money you stole from them?” Mr. Blanche asked. “No, sir,” Mr. Cohen responded. President Trump was seen by courtroom reporters looking directly at the witness stand as Mr. Cohen made the admission about stealing. Eric Trump, Trump’s son, who is in the courtroom, posted on social media around the same time: “This just got interesting: Michael Cohen is now admitting to stealing money from our company.”

The 34 charges of falsifying business records stem from internal Trump Organization records where payments to Mr. Cohen were marked as legal expenses, when prosecutors say they were really reimbursements for Ms. Daniels’ payment. President has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers say there was nothing criminal about the Daniels deal or the way Mr. Cohen was paid. Last week, Mr. Cohen told jurors that President Trump was allegedly involved in the scheme to pay Ms. Daniels to prevent her from going public in 2016 about an alleged 2006 affair between her and President Trump. The former president has denied her claims, describing her and Mr. Cohen in April as “sleaze bags” who are making false statements against him.

The 34 charges of falsifying business records stem from internal Trump Organization records where payments to Mr. Cohen were marked as legal expenses, when prosecutors say they were really reimbursements for Ms. Daniels’ payment. President has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers say there was nothing criminal about the Daniels deal or the way Mr. Cohen was paid. Last week, Mr. Cohen told jurors that President Trump was allegedly involved in the scheme to pay Ms. Daniels to prevent her from going public in 2016 about an alleged 2006 affair between her and President Trump. The former president has denied her claims, describing her and Mr. Cohen in April as “sleaze bags” who are making false statements against him.

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Curious: President Joe Biden invoked executive privilege over the audiotape of his interrogation by Special Counsel Robert Hur. The transcripts of which were released long ago… So what’s on those tapes?

The President Whose Voice Must Not Be Heard (Turley)

Below is my column in The Hill on the curious claim of executive privilege over the audiotape from President Joe Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur. It is the first time that I know of where the content of a presidential conversation was treated as unprivileged but the audio of the conversation claimed as privileged. It is also an invocation on answering questions about alleged criminal acts committed while a private citizen. It is, in my view, entirely without merit but Attorney General Merrick Garland appears more interested in running out the clock than prevailing on the claim.

[..] While all eyes were focused on a Manhattan courthouse for Donald Trump’s trial, a curious thing happened in Washington. President Joe Biden invoked executive privilege in defiance of Congress. It is not the invocation that is particularly unusual. What is curious is that Biden is withholding the audiotape of his own interrogation by Special Counsel Robert Hur, even though the transcript has been released as unprivileged. It appears that Joe Biden is “he who must not be heard.” The invocation of privilege over the audiotape is so transparently political and cynical that it would make Richard Nixon blush. Multiple committees are investigating Biden for possible impeachment and conducting oversight on the handling of the investigation into his retention and mishandling of classified material over decades. Classified documents were found in various locations where Biden lived or worked, including his garage. The mishandling of classified material is uncontestable. Broken boxes, unprotected areas and lack of tracking are all obvious from the photos.

The comparison to the Trump case in Florida is both obvious and disturbing. Where Trump was charged with a litany of charges, including mishandling and retention of documents (in addition to obstruction), Hur decided not to charge Biden at all. His reason was outright alarming: The president is an elderly man with failing memory. Biden made the situation even worse with a disastrous press conference in which he attacked Hur and misrepresented his findings. Biden told the public that the special counsel did not find willful retention of material. This was untrue — Hur not only found that Biden had done this, but repeatedly detailed such violations in the report. Biden also claimed that he had not shown classified material to third parties, even though Hur specifically found that he had and established that there is a witness to that violation.

Biden also attacked Hur for bringing up the death of Beau, his son who passed away in 2018. In showing why Biden could use his diminished faculties as a defense, Hur had noted that Biden got the date wrong of his own son’s death. In the press conference, Biden angrily asked “How in the hell dare he raise that?” Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself it wasn’t any of their damn business.” It was later shown that it was not Hur but Biden himself who raised his son’s death, which he often does in speeches. Hur’s view that Biden’s diminished cognitive abilities would undermine any prosecution left many dumbfounded. After all, the man who is too feeble to prosecute is not only running a superpower with a massive nuclear arsenal but running for reelection to add four more years in office.

From impeachment to oversight to the 25th Amendment (allowing the removal of a president for incapacities), there are ample reasons for Congress to demand information and evidence from the government on these questions. Congress is also interested in looking at repeated omissions for “inaudible” statements. Under this sweeping theory that Biden can legitimately withhold these recordings under executive privilege, any president could withhold any evidence of incapacity or criminality. The House is poised to find Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt for refusing to release the audiotapes. It is a cynical calculation. Garland knows that his own department will never prosecute him for contempt of Congress.

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Worst: China stops buying US treasuries…

China Offloads Record Amount Of Dollar Assets – Data (RT)

China sold a record number of US bonds in the first quarter of this year, highlighting the country’s shift away from dollar assets, the latest data from the US Treasury Department reveals. Beijing has divested a total of $53.3 billion in Treasuries and agency bonds combined in the first three months of the year, while at the same time increasing its purchases of gold and other commodities, data showed. Some analysts have suggested that this reduction in foreign exchange reserves could be part of China’s broader strategy to diversify away from US dollar-denominated assets amid rising geopolitical tensions with the US. Some experts have pointed to the economic impact of Western sanctions on Russia following the Ukraine conflict, saying that China seeks to mitigate similar risks.

“The handling of Russian reserves by the US and other G7 countries, including threats of expropriations and sanctions, likely prompted China to reduce its exposure to US Treasury assets to avoid being similarly targeted,” Craig Shapiro, a macroeconomic adviser at LaDuc Trading, told Newsweek on Saturday, referring to the seizure of Russian assets. The West has frozen roughly $300 billion in Russian sovereign funds since the start of the Ukraine conflict. The Brussels-based clearinghouse Euroclear, often seen as a custodian of China’s holdings, disposed of $22 billion in US Treasuries during the reporting period, according to Bloomberg.

As the second largest foreign holder of US Treasury securities after Japan, China’s sell-off could potentially unsettle the Treasury market and raise US borrowing costs, some economists argued. “As China is selling both despite the fact that we are closer to a Fed rate-cut cycle, there should be a clear intention of diversifying away from US dollar holdings,” said Stephen Chiu, chief Asia foreign-exchange and rates strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence. “China’s selling of US securities could speed up as the US-China trade war resumes” especially if Trump returns as president, he said. While China is selling dollar assets, its holdings of gold have surged in the country’s official reserves. The share of the precious metal in reserves climbed to 4.9% in April, the highest since records began in 2015, according to the People’s Bank of China.

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“It was a rather poor frontier province of Russia, and for a while was badly mistreated by Stalin, but it was not a problem outside of Ukraine and, frankly, it was none of our business..”

Fugazy Land (Jim Kunstler)

Really, you must agree: just about anything can happen now, and probably will, and possibly all at the same time — war, sickness, a disordered economy, chaos in money and finance, savages pouring across the open borders, assassination, mayhem in the streets, systems failure, mental illness everywhere you look. You have a sinister, blob-infested government acting like a desperate, cornered animal, fronted by a venal phantasm trailing a personal history of crime. What could go wrong? All of it. The doings in Judge Merchan’s Manhattan present the rectified essence of America’s authority problem. You will stipulate that judges are authorities in a pretty pure sense of the word. Their role is to determine what is right and what is wrong, or, at least guide the proceedings that would result in such a fair determination.

And, of course, the officers of this court, the District Attorney and his prosecutors, are also entrusted with bringing comprehensible cases that follow the facts fairly, and the laws pertaining to those facts. This maliciously misguided prosecution has only accomplished one thing so far: to demonstrate to the American public that the authority of our law has been contorted to become a sick joke. That is a ruinous lesson for the country. The free-for-all of our national life has required reliable adjudication of all the quarrels and inequities that arose out of it. For a long time, the rule of law was America’s great draw. If that goes out the window, all you’re left with is the free-for-all which pretty soon devolves into Thomas Hobbes’s nightmare existence in the state of nature where life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

The current Trump trial in Manhattan will likely resolve this week, one way or another, though there is no way that the candidate will land in jail, even if he is convicted and sentenced to go there. That will only be another quandary for the foundering rule of law, and a dreadful challenge. Altogether this trial has alerted even the deranged news channels that the nation is still capable of feeling grossly insulted by its own rulers, and insults will be answered. Tribulation may be the only answer that will avail to correct America’s tragic capture by blobs foreign and domestic. And you must understand that our nation’s bad choices have brought these tribulations upon ourselves. Fugazy finance is finally hitting the wall it has been seeking. Wealth based on pretense eventually runs out of hallucinatory mojo. Zooming gold and silver prices signal that the US dollar is in distress. The eagle is flying upside down.

A system based on credit is one thing, when credit can plausibly be paid back. But that system is gone. Finally, you must learn what truth or consequences really means, and the truth is that our debts are unpayable and everybody knows it. The consequences await. Any way you slice that — bond market blow-up, raging inflation, bank failures, stocks cratering, a “great taking” of collateral (your property) — the effect is the same: a crashing standard of living. That will get everybody’s attention in a way that Pride Month marches won’t. If “Joe Biden” thinks he will put over a central bank digital currency to cover for all this failure, he and the blob he rode in on will be in for a rude surprise. Fugazy war isn’t working either. When did Ukraine become a problem for Western Civ? When Victoria Nuland & Company in the US State Department decided to make it a problem in 2014. Before that, going back into the mists of history, Ukraine was not a problem.

It was a rather poor frontier province of Russia, and for a while was badly mistreated by Stalin, but it was not a problem outside of Ukraine and, frankly, it was none of our business. And in a matter of months, as Russia rolls up on the Zelensky regime, it will cease to be a problem for anyone. The notion that the USA and NATO can reverse this now is insane. The nations of Western Civ won’t draft troops to battle on the ground there. There’s no will to fight in Ukraine among the young people of Europe and America. And we have no more guns or ammo to give. The war will end in humiliation for all concerned in the West, especially the “Joe Biden” regime, which has been recklessly flirting with nuclear aggression — as if this would accomplish anything but turning Western Civ into an ashtray.

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Elon water

 

 

Lioness
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792578570889445445

 

 

Lions

 

 

Merlin

 

 

Table

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 302024
 
 April 30, 2024  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  59 Responses »


Paul Gauguin Road in Tahiti 1891

 

Musk and Sacks Slam Washington’s ‘Forever War’ Ukraine Plan (RT)
Russia’s Mideast Clout ‘Very Strong,’ US Looks ‘Ridiculous’ – Macgregor (Sp.)
Biden Looks To Prevent Future President From Ending Ukraine War (ZH)
Alvin Bragg and The Art of Not Taking Law Too Seriously (Turley)
The Interlocking of Strategic Paradigms (Alastair Crooke)
Supreme Court Rejects Elon Musk’s “Free Speech” Appeal In SEC Case (ZH)
Hunter Biden’s Lawyers Threaten Fox News (RT)
Tucker Carlson Interviews Conservative Russian Philosopher Aleksandr Dugin (RT)
Pep Talk on a Dark Day (Kunstler)
US Working To Prevent ICC Arrest Warrant for Netanyahu (Antiwar)
The Travesties of the Trump Trials (Victor Davis Hanson)
The Shieldmaiden Takes the Field Against The Destroyers of the West (PCR)

 

 

Eva
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784988182351684056

 

 

BDay
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784805906586194412

 

 

jerry
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784720323864150058

 

 

The storm
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784969043864125524

 

 

Mike Davis
https://twitter.com/i/status/1785051038317175226

 

 

Passover

 

 

 

 

“..Sacks described Ukraine’s failed 2023 summer counteroffensive against Russia as “one of the biggest debacles in the history of modern warfare.”

Musk and Sacks Slam Washington’s ‘Forever War’ Ukraine Plan (RT)

Two of America’s most influential tech entrepreneurs, Elon Musk and David Sacks, have expressed concern over a security agreement currently in the works between the US and Ukraine. Former PayPal chief David Sacks took to X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday to warn that the controversial $61 billion in aid to Kiev approved by Washington earlier this month “was just the beginning.” He was commenting on a statement made by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who said that his team and the administration of US President Joe Biden were “working on fixing specific levels of support… for the next ten years, including armed support, financial, political, and joint arms production.” “The next two US presidents won’t be able to switch it off,” Sacks, who’s also the founder of the corporate social network Yammer, wrote on X. In separate posts the entrepreneur went on to mention recent reports that NATO allies were working to “Trump-proof” weapons for Ukraine and claimed that the goal of the current US administration was “to turn Ukraine into a Forever War.”

“This is insane. The forever war,” Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote in response to Sacks’ posts. The US will vote for a new president in November. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has spoken out against “handing out gifts of billions and billions of dollars” in aid to Kiev and said earlier this month that his team was considering “doing it in the form of a loan.” According to Politico, the US and other Western countries have been looking into a range of options that could help maintain the flow of arms to Kiev if Trump becomes president. Last month, Sacks described Ukraine’s failed 2023 summer counteroffensive against Russia as “one of the biggest debacles in the history of modern warfare.” In a post on X, the venture capitalist suggested that the Washington elite should be held accountable for talking up the ill-fated operation.

Musk has also long voiced criticism about Washington’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict. Last week, he challenged the Biden administration to define what a Ukrainian “victory” would look like after a senior US official claimed that with Washingon’s help Kiev can defeat Russia. US lawmakers approved $61 billion in additional aid for Ukraine earlier this month, after House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) overrode opposition in his own party to pass the bill with unanimous Democrat support. The Biden administration ran out of funding for Ukraine aid earlier this year after using up $113 billion in previously approved assistance packages. Republican lawmakers have argued that Biden is merely prolonging the bloodshed in Ukraine without offering a clear strategy for victory or a peace deal with Russia.

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“The Gaza crisis, pundits noted, threw into focus the erosion of Washington’s power in the region.”

Russia’s Mideast Clout ‘Very Strong,’ US Looks ‘Ridiculous’ – Macgregor (Sp.)

The US has been trying to maintain a facade of diplomacy amid the tectonic geopolitical shifts currently underway, while in fact blatantly continuing to push its own regional interests. This holds true for Washington’s stance with respect to the latest spiral of the Middle East crisis. Russia’s position in the Mideast is “strong,” while the Unites States looks “ridiculous,” is the frank assessment given by retired US Army Col. Douglas Macgregor in a new post on X. Casting a critical eye on the US strategy in the Middle East, the former Pentagon advisor wrote: “Strategically, Putin holds all the cards in the Middle East. He is widely respected in the region and has practiced restraint. If you look at this like a branding exercise, our branding is seriously damaged in the Middle East. We look ridiculous and Russia looks strong.”

The Middle East crisis continues to simmer, with Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip generating a massive humanitarian crisis and Palestinian civilian death toll. However, the Biden administration, which continues to provide Israel with security assistance, has been woefully inept in its crisis management efforts. Suffice it to recall how Joe Biden was snubbed by Middle East allies and the failed shuttle diplomacy of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Since then, Washington has refused to join calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, and directly fueled further violence in the Middle East by launching strikes against the Houthis in Yemen.

Numerous pundits have told Sputnik that there are obvious signs that the US can no longer dictate to Middle Eastern players what to do, and even Israel has been disinclined to follow Team Biden’s orders. Meanwhile, US-led efforts to isolate Russia with respect to the Middle East have failed spectacularly. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s highly successful Mideast tour in December 2023 to meet with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud sent a strong message to the world. The West’s botched bid to smear Russia was underscored by international observers, as they looked upon the pomp and ceremony with which the Russian leader was welcomed in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia – longstanding US allies. The Gaza crisis, pundits noted, threw into focus the erosion of Washington’s power in the region.

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Dangerous.

Biden Looks To Prevent Future President From Ending Ukraine War

Soon on the heels of President Biden last week signing into law a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine’s defense, President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday indicated that he’s working with Washington on a bilateral security agreement which would last ten years. “We are already working on a specific text,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address. “Our goal is to make this agreement the strongest of all.” “We are discussing the specific foundations of our security and cooperation. We are also working on fixing specific levels of support for this year and the next 10 years.” He indicated it will likely include agreements on long-term support centering on military hardware and joint arms production, as well as continuing reconstruction aid. “The agreement should be truly exemplary and reflect the strength of American leadership,” Zelensky added.

But ultimately a key purpose in locking such a long-term deal in would be to keep it immune from potential interference by a future Trump administration. Below is what The Wall Street Journal spelled out last year: “The goal is to make sure Ukraine will be strong enough in the future to deter Russia from attacking it again. More immediately, Ukraine’s Western allies hope to discourage the Kremlin from thinking it can wait out the Biden administration for a potentially more sympathetic successor in the White House. Western officials are looking for ways to lock in pledges of support and limit future governments’ abilities to backtrack, amid fears in European capitals that Donald Trump, if he recaptures the White House, would seek to scale back aid. Trump has a wide lead in early polling in the Republican presidential primary field, but soundly lost the 2020 election to President Biden and has been indicted in four criminal cases in state and federal courts.”

We and others have previously underscored that NATO and G7 countries are desperately trying to “Trump-proof” future aid to Ukraine and the effort to counter Russia. As for its first new weapons package in the wake of the $61 billion being authorized, the Biden administration has announced new arms packages totaling $7 billion. The US has vowed to rush the weapons to Kiev, given that by all indicators its forces are not doing well on the frontlines. “We are still waiting for the supplies promised to Ukraine – we expect exactly the volume and content of supplies that can change the situation on the battlefield in the interests of Ukraine,” Zelensky had said over the weekend. “And it is important that every agreement we have reached is implemented – everything that will yield practical results on the battlefield and boost the morale of everyone on the frontline. In a conversation with Mr. Jeffries, I emphasized the need for Patriot systems, they are needed as soon as possible.”

But all of this means the war will be prolonged, and this puts negotiations much further away on the horizon, despite what are now daily acknowledgements of Ukraine forces being beaten back. Currently the governments of Greece and Spain are being pressured by EU and NATO leadership to hand over what few Patriot systems they possess to Kiev. The rationale is that they don’t need them as urgently as Ukraine does.

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“..This circular reasoning is already incredibly creative, but the actual evidence used to propel this ball through the machine is even wackier..”:”

Alvin Bragg and The Art of Not Taking Law Too Seriously (Turley)

Rube Goldberg, the inventor of bizarre machines that performed simple tasks through dozens of mechanical steps, was once asked about the essence of creating such fantastic, illogical machines. He replied “An inventor is simply a fellow who doesn’t take his education too seriously.” After the first week of testimony, the trial of Donald Trump is increasingly looking like a mad prosecution machine by lawyers who don’t take law too seriously. I have long been a critic of the Bragg indictment as legally incomprehensible. However, I must confess that after a week of testimony, some of us have developed a weird fascination with the utter madness of the scene unfolding in Manhattan. It was not until the second week of proceedings that Bragg even revealed part of his theory of criminality. For months, even liberal legal analysts have expressed dismay that Bragg’s indictment had not clearly stated what specific crime that Trump sought to conceal by allegedly misrepresenting payments to former adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

The premise of the prosecution always had that Rube Goldberg feel. It was so implausible as to be impossible. After all, the base charge is a simple misdemeanor under a New York law against falsifying business records. Trump paid Cohen hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and costs, including $130,000 for a nondisclosure agreement with Daniels. Bragg is vague as to what should have been noted on the ledgers for the payments. It is not even clear if Trump knew of this expense’s designation as a legal cost. However, it really did not matter, because the misdemeanor has been as dead as Dillinger for years. The dead misdemeanor was shocked back into life by claiming that it was committed to conceal another crime. Under New York’s penal law, section 175.10, it can be a felony if the “intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.”

For months, Bragg has suggested that the “other crime” was the violation of federal election laws, suggesting that the payment was really a campaign contribution Trump made to himself that was not properly recorded. The problem is that the Justice Department investigated that crime already and decided that it was not a viable criminal claim. It did not even seek a civil fine. Bragg’s predecessor and Bragg himself rejected the theory behind this prosecution. But then a pressure campaign led Bragg to green-light a prosecution roughly eight years after the 2016 campaign. In the trial, Bragg added a type of frying pan flip to his Rube Goldberg contraption by arguing that Trump may have been trying to hide his violation of another dead misdemeanor under yet another New York election law prohibiting “conspir[ing] to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means.”

In other words, Trump was conspiring to try to win his own election. This even though the notations were made after he had won the election, and even though Trump was running for a federal, not a state office. So again, what is the unlawful means? The machine then flips you back to the beginning — seeking “to influence the election.” There are still the federal election violations, but that theory was rejected after an investigation. And if it were a real crime, it would be brought by federal, not state prosecutors. There are also the misdemeanor falsifications of business records under section 175.05. So Bragg would use one dead misdemeanor to trigger a second dead misdemeanor to create a felony on the simple notations used to describe payments for a completely legal nondisclosure agreement.

This circular reasoning is already incredibly creative, but the actual evidence used to propel this ball through the machine is even wackier. Bragg decided to start with a witness to discuss an affair that is not part of the indictment. David Pecker, former publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid, had supposedly been paid to kill a story of a Trump affair with a different woman, Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model. Pecker proceeded to make the prosecution case even more convoluted. On cross examination, Pecker admitted that Trump told him that he knew nothing about any reimbursement to Cohen for any hush money, that he had killed or raised such stories with Trump for decades before he ever announced for president and that he had also killed stories for other celebrities and politicians, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, Rahm Emanuel and Mark Wahlberg.

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“..the Middle East paradigm interlinks directly with the Ukraine paradigm..”

The Interlocking of Strategic Paradigms (Alastair Crooke)

Theodore Postol, Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at MIT, has provided a forensic analysis of the videos and evidence emerging from Iran’s 13th April swarm drone and missile ‘demonstation’ attack into Israel: A ‘message’, rather than an ‘assault’. The leading Israeli daily, Yediot Ahoronot, has estimated the cost of attempting to down this Iranian flotilla at between $2-3 billion dollars. The implications of this single number are substantial. Professor Postol writes: “This indicates that the cost of defending against waves of attacks of this type is very likely to be unsustainable against an adequately armed and determined adversary”. “The videos show an extremely important fact: All of the targets, whether drones or not, are shot down by air-to-air missiles”, [fired from mostly U.S. aircraft. Some 154 aircraft reportedly were aloft at the time] likely firing AIM-9x Sidewinder air to air missiles. The cost of a single Sidewinder air-to-air missile is about $500,000”.

Furthermore: “The fact that a very large number of unengaged ballistic missiles could be seen glowing as they reenter the atmosphere to lower altitudes [an indication of hyper-speed], indicates that whatever the effects of [Israel’s] David’s Sling and the Arrow missile defenses, they were not especially effective. Thus, the evidence at this point shows that essentially all or most of the arriving long-range ballistic missiles were not intercepted by any of the Israeli air and missile-defense systems”. Postel adds, “I have analyzed the situation, and have concluded that commercially available optical and computational technology is more than capable of being adapted to a cruise missile guidance system to give it very high precision homing capability … it is my conclusion that the Iranians have already developed precision guided cruise missiles and drones”.

“The implications of this are clear. The cost of shooting down cruise missiles and drones will be very high and might well be unsustainable unless extremely inexpensive and effective anti-air systems can be implemented. At this time, no one has demonstrated a cost-effective defense system that can intercept ballistic missiles with any reliability”. Just to be clear, Postol is saying that neither the U.S. nor Israel has more than a partial defence to a potential attack of this nature – especially as Iran has dispersed and buried its ballistic missile silos across the entire terrain of Iran under the control of autonomous units which are capable of continuing a war, even were central command and communications to be completely lost.

This amounts to paradigm change – clearly for Israel, for one. The huge physical expenditure on air defence ordinance – 2-3 billion dollars worth – will not be repeated willy-nilly by the U.S. Netanyahu will not easily persuade the U.S. to engage with Israel in any joint venture against Iran, given these unsustainable air-defence costs. But also, as a second important implication, these Air Defence assets are not just expensive in dollar terms, they simply are not there: i.e. the store cupboard is near empty! And the U.S. lacks the manufacturing capacity to replace these not particularly effective, high cost platforms speedily. ‘Yes, Ukraine’ … the Middle East paradigm interlinks directly with the Ukraine paradigm where Russia has succeeded in destroying so much of the western supplied, air-defence capabilities in Ukraine, giving Russia near complete air dominance over the skies.

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“..to have a company lawyer approve his social media posts..”

Supreme Court Rejects Elon Musk’s “Free Speech” Appeal In SEC Case (ZH)

Another day, another chapter in the Elon Musk vs. SEC saga. The US Supreme Court declined to hear Elon Musk’s appeal regarding his ongoing “Twitter sitter” case, Bloomberg reported on Monday, keeping Musk’s agreement with the SEC to have a company lawyer approve his social media posts in place. Musk, without success, had argued that the 2018 agreement infringed upon his constitutional right to free speech. The decision marks the latest development in Musk’s lengthy, ongoing dispute with the SEC, which started after he tweeted in August 2018 that he had “funding secured” for a potential $80 billion take-private deal for Tesla. As a result, Tesla stock rocketed higher the day of. Following Musk’s tweet, the SEC filed a lawsuit alleging shareholder deception and, shortly after, Musk settled with the SEC, agreeing to step down as Tesla chairman and pay a $20 million fine.

In 2021, Musk reopened the dispute by conducting a Twitter poll regarding selling 10% of his stock. This prompted the SEC to issue subpoenas to Musk and Tesla. Musk then sought to annul his pre-screening agreement, but his arguments were dismissed by a federal appeals court last year. Musk’s lawyers had argued to the Supreme Court that the agreement was a “quintessential prior restraint that the law forbids.” They said in their appeal: “The pre-approval provision at issue continues to cast an unconstitutional chill over Mr. Musk’s speech whenever he considers making public communications.” In its brief, the SEC responded: “This court has consistently held that, in resolving litigation, parties may choose to waive even fundamental constitutional rights.”

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Time warp: “..the story appeared to be “Russian disinformation.”

Hunter Biden’s Lawyers Threaten Fox News (RT)

Lawyers representing Hunter Biden have accused Fox News of a “conspiracy to defame” the US president’s son, demanding that the media outlet take down nude images of their client and retract reports suggesting that the Biden family engaged in an overseas bribery operation. Attorneys claimed that Fox had unlawfully published “hacked” photos of Biden and knowingly reported “debunked” bribery allegations. “Fox knows that these private and confidential images were hacked, stolen, and/or manipulated digital materials,” the lawyers said in a letter to the cable news network. CNN obtained a copy of the letter, which indicated that President Joe Biden’s son “anticipates” suing Fox. The lawyers insisted that Fox issue corrections and on-air retractions, including statements by its top hosts admitting that “they have been sharing a debunked allegation from a source who has been federally indicted.”

Media reports about the Biden family’s alleged influence-peddling scheme stemmed from files on a laptop computer that Hunter Biden left behind at a Delaware computer repair shop. He forfeited ownership of the computer and its contents when he failed to pay his bill and pick up his laptop. When the New York Post reported on the alleged Biden family scandal in October 2020, just weeks before the presidential election, former US intelligence officials falsely claimed that the story appeared to be “Russian disinformation.” Social media outlets censored the bombshell laptop report. Several of the same major media outlets that dismissed the story as disinformation later verified key documents on the laptop – long after Joe Biden had been elected. Fox aired a six-part mock trial of Hunter Biden on its Fox Nation streaming platform in October 2022. The report included the bribery allegations, as well as photos showing the president’s son in the nude or engaged in sexual acts.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers demanded that the mock trial be removed from all streaming services. They argued that Fox also published articles based on statements from FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, who was indicted earlier this year for allegedly making false claims that the owner of Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid bribes to the Bidens. “Then, in a brazen show of no remorse, rather than walk back the story and correct the record, Fox double-downed on the debunked bribery allegation and used Smirnov’s indictment to claim this is an intimidation tactic aimed at silencing whistleblowers, to blame the FBI for its credulity, and to suggest an even deeper conspiracy,” Hunter Biden’s lawyers said in the letter. However, US House lawmakers continue to investigate alleged Biden family corruption, citing bank records and other evidence.

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“..a writer who writes about big ideas,” claiming that his books have been “banned by the Biden administration” in the US. “You cannot buy them on Amazon..”

Tucker Carlson Interviews Conservative Russian Philosopher Aleksandr Dugin (RT)

American journalist Tucker Carlson has released a 20-minute interview with high-profile Russian philosopher and political commentator Aleksandr Dugin. The conversation was published on Carlson’s YouTube channel on Monday. Western media have described Dugin as “Putin’s brain” due to his supposed influence on President Vladimir Putin and the Russian elite. A fervent critic of the West and a foreign policy hawk, Dugin passionately supports Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and has stated that an independent Ukrainian state “should not exist.” In 2022, his daughter Darya was killed in a car bombing, which the Russian authorities said had been orchestrated by Ukrainian agents. Several US media outlets subsequently cited unnamed US intelligence officials as saying that Washington believes that the Ukrainian authorities were indeed involved in the assassination.

Carlson introduced Dugin as “a writer who writes about big ideas,” claiming that his books have been “banned by the Biden administration” in the US. “You cannot buy them on Amazon,” he said. During the conversation with Carlson, Dugin argued that liberal ideology, which became de facto uncontested in the West since the fall of the Soviet Union, is leading to the demise of the concept of families. “Family is [being] destroyed in favor of this individualism,” he said, adding that the natural progression of liberalism will lead to “abandoned human identity.” “Next phase: new liberalism. Now it is not about the rule of a majority, but it is about the rule of minorities. It is not about individual freedom, but it is about woke-ism,” Dugin said. “It is not democracy. It is totalitarianism.”

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“When Barack Obama warned America to not underestimate Joe Biden’s ability to fuck things up, was that some kind of joke?”

Pep Talk on a Dark Day (Kunstler)

You realize, don’t you, that what’s going on in our country is the collapse not just of an empire, or an economy, but a comprehensive paradigm of human progress. The hallmark of post-war life in Western Civ was supposed to be a return to sanity after the mid-twentieth century fugue of mass psychotic violence. The wish for just and rational order was not entirely pretense. But that was then. Now that we are going medieval on ourselves, the not-so-ironic result will be our literally going medieval, sinking back into a pre-modern existence of darkness, superstition, and penury, grubbing for a mere subsistence in the shadow of scuffling hobgoblins, our achievements lost and forgotten.

What’s most appalling is that our governing apparatus is visibly willing that to happen. When Barack Obama warned America to not underestimate Joe Biden’s ability to fuck things up, was that some kind of joke? After all, it was Mr. Obama and his fellow blobsters — the cabal of Intel spooks, covert Marxist bureaucrats, lawfare ninjas, globalist megalomaniacs, post-liberal think tankers, weapons grifters, degenerate billionaires, and assorted mentally-ill camp followers — who inflicted Joe Biden on the body politic. And then ran him on the country like some demon algorithm designed to wreck the USA as fast as possible.

The source of anguish in all that is the struggle to understand why they would want that to happen. What debauched sense of history would drive anyone to such lunatic desperation? It’s a cliché now to say that the Democratic Party has turned its traditional moral scaffold upside down and inside out. It acts against the kitchen table interests of the working and middle classes. It’s against civil liberties. It demands mental obedience to patently insane policy. It’s avid for war, no matter how cruelly pointless. It’s deliberately stirring up racial hatred. It despises personal privacy. It feeds a rogue bureaucracy that has become a veritable Moloch, an all-devouring malevolent deity. And now, rather suddenly, it aligns itself with a faction that seeks to exterminate the Jews.

And how did the opposition to that epic divergence into bad faith turn so flabby? How did the Republican Party roll over and wheeze so feebly while the FBI ran amok swatting grandmothers in dawn raids, and the US attorney general made justice a whore, and a Republican Congress allowed the Frankenstein agency of Homeland Security to flood the country with its enemies and give them gobs of operational cash? If Mr. Trump was unappetizing to them as a leader, why were they unable to produce an alternative figure of standing and stature at least equally resolute? They look like traitors and cowards.

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“..Any criminal investigation against Netanyahu also implicates President Biden..”

US Working To Prevent ICC Arrest Warrant for Netanyahu (Antiwar)

The US and Israel are working together to prevent the International Criminal Court from issuing an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other high-level Israeli officials, Israeli media has reported. Haaretz reported that the Israeli government is working under the assumption that arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and IDF Chief-of-Staff Herzi Halevi could be issued as soon as this week. The report said that the US is already engaged in an effort to block the warrants. Walla reported that Netanyahu is “under unusual stress” over the potential warrants and is leading a “nonstop push over the telephone” to prevent them with a focus on contact with the Biden administration.

In a statement on Friday, Netanyahu said an arrest warrant wouldn’t stop Israel’s mass slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. “Under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the International Criminal Court in the Hague to undermine its basic right to defend itself,” he said. “While decisions made by the court in the Hague will not affect Israel’s actions, they will set a dangerous precedent that threatens soldiers and public figures.” Neither the US nor Israel are parties to the ICC, and the US has a contentious history with the court. In 2002, then-President George W. Bush signed a bill into law that would authorize the use of force to free any US service members or government officials brought to the ICC, which is based in the Hauge.

The controversial law, known as the American Service-Members’ Protection Act, authorizes the US to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the” ICC, and is nicknamed the Hague Invasion Act. The Trump administration sanctioned ICC officials for their investigation into alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan. The Biden administration reversed the sanctions but continued to put pressure on the court, which worked since the ICC announced it would “deprioritize” its investigation of US forces in Afghanistan.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, the Biden administration changed its attitude toward the court and backed its arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, which was issued in 2023. But now that Israel is being targeted, the US will likely resort back to its pressure tactics. Any criminal investigation against Netanyahu also implicates President Biden since he has provided so much support for the Israeli campaign in Gaza. Israel is also facing pressure from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), another Hague-based court that rules it’s “plausible” Israel is carrying out genocide in Gaza, a ruling the US has rejected. The main difference between the two courts is that the ICC prosecutes individuals while the ICJ deals with disputes between countries.

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“..most of the indictments either had no prior precedent in criminal law or will likely never be used again, at least against anyone left-wing..”

The Travesties of the Trump Trials (Victor Davis Hanson)

Do not believe the White House/mainstream media-concocted narrative that the four criminal court cases—prosecuted by Alvin Bragg, Letitia James, Jack Smith, and Fani Willis—were not in part coordinated, synchronized, and timed to reach their courtroom psychodramatic finales right during the 2024 campaign season. These local, state, and federal Lilliputian agendas were designed to tie down, gag, confine, bankrupt, and destroy Trump psychologically and physically. They are the final lawfare denouement to years of extra-legal efforts to emasculate him. Indeed, the nation is by now worn out by these serial assaults on constitutional norms: the Hillary-funded Steele dossier subterfuge; the pre-election Russian laptop disinformation campaign; the two impeachments without special counsel reports; the impeachment Senate trial of a private citizen; the effort to remove Trump’s name from state ballots; the ongoing attempt to emasculate the Electoral College; or the radical opportune changes in state election laws to ensure massive mail-in balloting.

Recently, Andrew McCarthy has reviewed in depth this coordination between White House personnel and prosecutors, long known and long denied by the left. Biden, for example, had complained to aides about Attorney General Merrick Garland’s tardiness in getting special federal prosecutor Smith appointed—and thus apparently ensuring Trump was convicted before the election. Nathan Wade, Fani Willis’s now-fired paramour prosecutor, visited and consulted with the White House counsel’s office when he was acting supposedly as a purely local county prosecutor. The January 6th left-wing-dominated congressional committee consulted with the Biden administration in sending forth its criminal referrals about Trump’s purported role in the protests. And to handle his pseudo-indictment against Trump, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg hired Biden Justice Department official Vincent Colangeio.

Two, the prosecutors’ delayed criminal indictments and E. Jean Carroll’s civil suit were predicated only on Donald Trump running for reelection. After his 2020 defeat, the loss of the two Republican senate seats in Georgia, and the January 6 demonstrations/riot, Trump was written off by pundits as politically toxic. Then his historic comeback in the subsequent year terrified the left. The reboot prompted the subsequent indictments and suits years after the purported crimes. It was left unsaid that had Trump not been a conservative Republican and leading presidential candidate, he would have never been indicted. Three, most of the indictments either had no prior precedent in criminal law or will likely never be used again, at least against anyone left-wing. Moreover, many of the writs relied on manipulation of statutes of limitations.

Neither Bragg nor any other local prosecutor had previously transformed a supposedly local affidavit misdemeanor into a supposed federal campaign finance violation, a gambit so preposterous that it had been passed on by federal attorneys. Letitia James was the first New York Attorney General to indict a state resident for the supposed crime of overvaluing real estate to obtain a loan, which was paid back timely and in full, to the profit of lending institutions. No bank, after auditing Trump’s assets and viability to pay back loans, was unhappy to loan to him. But all were quite happy to profit from the hefty interest—and would likely be happy to loan to him again. James sought to make Trump a criminal without ever finding a crime, much less a victim. Nor, until the checkered and unethical career of Fani Willis, had any local prosecutor ever indicted an ex-president for a supposedly improper phone call questioning whether all the state’s votes had been fully counted.

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Paul Craig Roberts likes Eva’s long blond hair.

The Shieldmaiden Takes the Field Against The Destroyers of the West (PCR)

A young Dutch female lawyer has undertaken the task of encouraging white Europeans to take a stand against the replacement of countries consisting of ethnic nationalities, such as Germans, English, French, Italians, Dutch, Spanish, Hungarians, with towers of babel. In our world today, as in George Orwell’s novel 1984, words are turned upside down and have the opposite of their meaning. Diversity now means “sameness” with no country’s population corresponding to the ethnicity of its name. Destroying the diversity afforded by white ethnic nations is the goal of the EU tyrants and “President” Biden who recently stated, as Tucker Carlson reported, that getting rid of white America was a good thing.

The young woman taking on the Shieldmaiden’s role is Eva Vlaardingerbroek. She states the obvious fact that Europeans must take a stand against the huge demographic shift brought by mass migration orchestrated by their leaders or risk becoming a minority in their home countries. This is a fact, but the traitors orchestrating our erasure have made it racist to say so. The question before us is whether she will be prosecuted for a hate crime. Throughout the Western world it has become dicey for a white person to defend white people, white history, and white accomplishments. As law is already being used against people and organizations who are white, such as President Trump and VDare in New York and President Trump in Fulton County, Georgia, once whites are a minority, the hatred and demonization that has been created of whites will be used to obliterate them. In The Camp of the Saints the first law passed by the new regime prohibits marriage between white people. White skin is bred out of existence. Perhaps a few will be kept in cages in zoos as an example of white evil.

When asked by Remix News at CPAC Hungary 2024 how European ethnicities should deal with accusations of racism for resisting demographic replacement in their home countries, Eva Vlaardingerbroek answered that response is impossible because our enemies have defined defense of Western civilization as racism. “So you have to pick a side. Of course, you’re going to be attacked if you say, ‘Hey, this continent, Europe, has been predominantly White for the entirety of its history, and now suddenly within one generation, a few bureaucrats have decided against the will of the people that we should suddenly be a minority,’” she said. Actually, European whites are already a minority in their own countries–and not only in their main cities–because half of them are indoctrinated against themselves and are aligned with the immigrant-invaders against their own kind. This 12 minute speech by a clear-thinking young Dutch woman says it all:

The question before us is why did leaders of the Western nations decide to destroy ethnic diverse nationality in Europe and the West by turning all Western countries into towers of babel? This was the question raised by the last Briton, Enoch Powell, in 1968. In his speech he warned that the British nation was being replaced and said that the clash of hostile cultures within a country would result in rivers of blood. Of course, Powell had to be put down, and he was. But he has proven to be right. The rivers of blood are not the result of armed conflict between race-based armies. Rivers of blood are forming from small streams from the racial murder of white people, from gang rapes of white women, and the sharp rise in crime that is dissolving British society. The war against white people is being fought by legal means. The immigrant-invaders are obtaining legal power over the white ethnic citizens.

In California the Democrats are content with illegal immigrants being police officers. A bill has been introduced in Congress to fill our military ranks with them. Immigrant-invaders have many allies in the universities, school systems, lawyers, police, and legislators. Whites, not immigrant-invaders, have limits put on their speech and protest rights. Immigrant-invaders have achieved the protection that Jews have against “hate speech,” “hate thoughts,” “hate crimes.” But white gentiles have no such protections. Police everywhere delight in the expansion of their reach as it elevates their power. In the UK white police are quick to grab a fellow white and charge him with a “hate crime” against an immigrant-invader. In years past I reported from the Swedish media that Swedish women raped by immigrant-invaders fear to report the rape as they could be charged with racism. Swedish men fear to stop a rape as Swedish authorities might designate the rescue of the Swedish woman as a hate crime. These are worst than Powell’s rivers of blood, because the white population cannot fight back.

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Kookaburra

 

 

Impossible

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 222024
 
 January 22, 2024  Posted by at 9:34 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  31 Responses »


Leonardo da Vinci Salvator Mundi 1513

 

Supreme Court Action Alters Course of Jan. 6 Defendant Sentencings (ET)
Russia Must Give Up Its Nuclear Weapons – Ukrainian Officials (RT)
Frontline Situation ‘Dramatic’ For Ukraine – German Reporter (RT)
EU Mulls $21 Billion Military Aid to Ukraine Bypassing Hungary’s Veto (Sp.)
Scale of NATO Drills Marks Return to Cold War-Era Patterns (Sp.)
NATO Drills Raise Risks of Inadvertent Escalation – Moscow (Sp.)
US Preparing For ‘Sustained’ Yemen Bombing Campaign – WaPo (RT)
Mexico And Chile Call On ICC To Investigate Crimes In Gaza (Singh)
Iran and US Use Saudi Arabia to Swap Messages and Cool Gaza Tensions (MEE)
American Democracy ‘In Danger’ – Trump (RT)
RFK Seeks Path to Victory by Forcing House to Elect President (ET)
WSJ Editor-in-Chief Admits To Davos Elites ‘We No Longer Own The News’ (ZH)
John Kerry Wants To Remove 1.6 Trillion Tons Of CO2 From The Atmosphere (X)

 

 

 

 

Paxton

 

 

 

 

Arabella
https://twitter.com/i/status/1748916334178558434

 

 

Tucker Dore

 

 

But she’s white! Next thing you tell me she’s straight too!

 

 

Optics

 

 

 

 

SCOTUS is late.

Supreme Court Action Alters Course of Jan. 6 Defendant Sentencings (ET)

A recent Supreme Court decision to review a case called Fischer v. United States, which experts say could weaken prosecutors’ hand in hundreds of Jan. 6 cases, including former President Donald Trump’s, is already upending some defendant cases and sentencing proceedings. In December, the Supreme Court decided it would take up the appeal by Jan. 6 defendant Joseph W. Fisher of the Biden administration’s novel use of an Enron-era evidence-tampering law to prosecute hundreds of defendants for obstruction of Congress during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. The obstruction of Congress charge—which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison—is the most widely charged felony in Jan. 6 cases, including against President Trump.

Mr. Fischer was indicted for various alleged offenses for his role in the Jan. 6 incident, including obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder, violent entry, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds—and obstruction of Congress based on 18 U.S. Code Section 1512(c)(2), or “Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant.” That’s an evidence-tampering provision that’s part of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act, which experts say was conceived largely to curb wrongdoing on Wall Street—but is now used by the Justice Department (DOJ) to prosecute Jan. 6 cases. Mr. Fischer challenged the obstruction charge, claiming that 1512(c)(2) doesn’t prohibit his alleged conduct on Jan. 6. A district court agreed but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed that decision, siding with a broader reading of the provision, namely that it applies other forms of obstructive conduct, not just ones related to investigations and evidence.

While it’s unclear when the Supreme Court will hold the first hearings in Mr. Fischer’s appeal, several legal experts told The Epoch Times in earlier interviews that the high court is likely to find that 1512(c)(2) is being improperly used against Jan. 6 defendants. If the challenge proves successful, the Supreme Court’s decision could have far-reaching consequences, potentially erasing some charges against President Trump and overturning felony convictions for numerous Jan. 6 defendants. The implications extend beyond individual cases to the core strategy employed by the DOJ in securing convictions. Meanwhile, the fact that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Mr. Fischer’s challenge to the provision is already having an effect on some Jan. 6 cases.

Since the Supreme Court agreed in mid-December to take up the Fischer appeal, a number of Jan. 6 defendants have asked judges to pause their trials and sentencing proceedings pending the outcome of the case. One of these is John Strand, a former underwear model convicted of obstructing Congress on the basis of 1512(c)(2), who describes himself as a “political prisoner.” He was sentenced to 32 months in prison. On Jan. 19, Mr. Strand’s attorneys filed a motion for release pending the Fischer appeal and a motion for reduction of sentence based on the zero-point offender guideline, which gives defendants with no criminal history an extra two points off their sentencing calculations, court filings show. The DOJ has taken the position that Jan. 6 defendants are ineligible for sentence reduction on the basis of the zero-point offender guideline, which has some exceptions, including for violent crimes.

Noteworthy in Mr. Strand’s filing is the singling out of the obstruction charge, which in his case is the only felony he’s been found guilty of. “In particular, a substantial question exists as to whether the statute underlying Strand’s sole felony conviction, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), applies to his conduct on January 6, 2021, in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to grant certiorari in United States v. Fischer,” it reads. While it’s too early to know whether the judge in Mr. Strand’s case will side with his request to reduce his sentence, several other Jan. 6 defendants have won early release based on the Supreme Court’s decision to review the Fischer case.

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How Ukraine prolongs the war:
– Bombing civilians (Donetsk most recently)
– Grossly exaggerate number of Russian victims.
– Make preposterous demands (re: Zelensky “peace plan”, this zinger.)

Russia Must Give Up Its Nuclear Weapons – Ukrainian Officials (RT)

As President Vladimir Zelensky pushes forward with his so-called “peace formula,” which was already dismissed by the Kremlin as “absurd,” Ukrainian officials continue to come up with additional terms and conditions. The conflict in Ukraine can only end with a “complete liberation” and “restoration of its 1991 borders,” Kiev’s deputy defense minister Ivan Gavrilyuk told the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel last week. Only then Moscow and the pro-Kiev “coalition” will be able to sign a document to “create preventive mechanisms so that Russia will never think about another war against Ukraine or any country in the future.” “This document must include Russia’s renunciation of nuclear weapons, because it poses a threat to the world,” Gavrilyuk claimed. A senior adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Mikhail Podoliak, voiced a similar idea, claiming that the negotiation should take place only when Moscow “suffers a global defeat,” or at the very least a series of “tactical defeats,” and “internal riots” that would threaten political stability in Russia and force it to “voluntarily give up nuclear weapons.”

“What is a global defeat? The Russian Federation will no longer be able to dominate… will not be able to use its veto right in the UN Security Council,” Podoliak explained. “Then conditions are possible for nuclear weapons, and for the number of carriers of nuclear weapons, including missiles of a certain range, and for cross-border buffer zones, etc.” During the World Economic Forum in Davos, Zelensky once again attempted to promote his so-called ‘peace formula’, which among other things proposes that Russia pay reparations, surrender its officials to face war crimes tribunals, and restore Ukraine’s 1991 borders. It has previously been rejected by the Kremlin as “absurd,” with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov referring to it as a publicity stunt and “a figment of a sick imagination.”

Moscow insists it never closed the door to talks but Kiev itself did, and now bears full responsibility for the situation in which it finds itself, Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week. Putin noted that the head of Ukraine’s negotiation team had recently admitted that Kiev was at one point ready to reach an agreement with Moscow – before then-British prime minister Boris Johnson convinced them to continue fighting. “Are they not idiots?” Putin asked, adding that if Ukraine had simply ignored Johnson, then the violence could be long over by now. “This just proves yet again that they are not independent people.” Even Ukraine’s former top spin doctor, Aleksey Arestovich, recently admitted that Kiev’ had the chance to make peace at the 2022 Istanbul talks but “something” changed Zelensky’s mind, and Moscow is unlikely to offer Kiev such favorable conditions ever again.

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“..mobilization isn’t working.”

Frontline Situation ‘Dramatic’ For Ukraine – German Reporter (RT)

The situation on the front lines is becoming increasingly disadvantageous for Ukraine, a Kiev-based correspondent with German daily Die Welt reported this week. Ukrainian troops severely lack ammunition and personnel to fend off Russian attacks, according to Paul Ronzheimer, citing “generals and soldiers” whom he has “constantly been in contact with.” Kiev’s troops have largely gone on the defensive following the failure of their much-hyped summer counteroffensive. The operation, which began in early June 2023, failed to gain much ground or bring about significant changes to the front lines, despite heavy personnel and equipment losses. Russia’s Defense Ministry has previously estimated Ukraine’s losses during the failed counteroffensive at 160,000.

Moscow also described Kiev’s total losses throughout the conflict as catastrophic, estimating that nearly 400,000 soldiers have been killed or wounded since February 2022. Late last year, Kiev intensified its mobilization efforts in a bid to replenish the troop pool. President Vladimir Zelensky stated earlier that the military wanted up to 500,000 new recruits. According to Ronzheimer, “mobilization isn’t working.” Ukraine has also been flooded with reports about difficult situations at the front lines, the reporter said, without mentioning any particular news pieces. Kiev’s forces were also about to run out of ammunition for its Western-made air defense systems, such as America’s Patriot, he noted, characterizing the situation as a “major concern” for the local population.

Ukrainian “generals and …soldiers” also told the correspondent that the frontline situation “is extremely tense,” particularly near the Donbass city of Avdeevka, a strategic location north of Donetsk that’s seen heavy fighting over the past months. The Ukrainian generals want “more mobilization” efforts, Ronzheimer wrote, adding that they want to “send more soldiers” into the fray. In another report earlier this week, the correspondent noted that Ukrainian troops had taken to the defensive along the entire front line in the East and the South, and were still struggling to hold ground. Moscow’s troops launched “massive attacks” in 80 areas “along several hundred kilometers of the front,” he added.

“We keep hearing the messages from the soldiers, which become more dramatic,” Ronzheimer reported, adding that Kiev’s troops had warned they would hardly be able to defend their current positions with whatever they had in stock as of that moment. It will be “very difficult” for Ukrainian troops to hold Avdeevka in the long term, since Moscow’s forces were making steady progress in that area, Ronzheimer said. “The Russians are on the offensive there and are making progress meter by meter,” he added, while noting that such advances are still quite costly for Moscow.

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“..the assets of the extra-budgetary European Peace Facility ..”

EU Mulls $21 Billion Military Aid to Ukraine Bypassing Hungary’s Veto (Sp.)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced last month that Budapest had vetoed 50 billion euros in the EU macro-financial aid for Ukraine. The European External Action Service (EEAS) is developing a new plan to provide military assistance to Ukraine that will allow EU members to override Hungary’s veto of the bloc’s aid to Kiev, according to The Wall Street Journal. Under the plan, a draft of which was seen by the newspaper, EU members will provide Ukraine with more than 20 billion euros ($21.8 billion) in military aid over the next four years. The EEAS, for its part, is proposing the creation of a special military fund for Ukraine, which would include some 6.5 billion euros ($7 billion) from the assets of the extra-budgetary European Peace Facility (EPF) and provide up to 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) per year from 2024 to 2027.

The purpose of the project is to reimburse several member states for the joint purchase of military equipment, including ammunition and air defense missiles, to be transferred to Ukraine. The remaining funds will be used to cover the costs of the EU military training program for Ukrainian soldiers. In 2024, the project will offer EU countries around 7.5 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in compensation for military aid. The structure of the new fund will reportedly make it possible to avoid ditches, which are regularly blocked by Hungary or used by Budapest as “leverage” to demand something in return. The proposal will reportedly be discussed by EU leaders at their summit scheduled for February 1, with a final decision likely to take weeks. Brussels has not yet commented on the WSJ report.

In mid-December, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that his country had vetoed an expansion of the EU’s 2024-2027 budget to include 50 billion euros ($54.5 billion) in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine. “Summary of the nightshift: veto for the extra money to Ukraine, veto for the MFF [Multiannual Financial Framework] review. We will come back to the issue next year in the #EUCO [European Council] after proper preparation,” Orban wrote at the time on X, formerly known as Twitter. Last month, when asked whether Budapest would support a 50 billion euro financing plan for Kiev ahead of the forthcoming summit, Orban told reporters that Budapest supports the provision of more funds to Ukraine by the EU “outside” the bloc’s budget.

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“..90,000 servicepeople with the participation of 31 countries..”

Scale of NATO Drills Marks Return to Cold War-Era Patterns (Sp.)

The scale of NATO exercises Steadfast Defender-2024 marks the final and irrevocable return of the alliance to the Cold War schemes to oppose Russia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Sputnik. On Thursday, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Gen. Christopher Cavoli said that the alliance would begin Steadfast Defender-2024, “the largest NATO exercise in decades,” next week. About 90,000 servicepeople will be involved in the drills, he added. “These exercises are another element of the hybrid war unleashed by the West against Russia. The exercises of such scale – 90,000 servicepeople with the participation of 31 countries – mark the final and irrevocable return of NATO to the Cold War support schemes, when the military planning process, resources and infrastructure are being prepared for confrontation with Russia,” Grushko said.

He also noted that the preparation for the exercises “takes place in an artificially heated atmosphere of military psychosis.” “Irresponsible statements about a possible war with Russia, for which European citizens ‘should prepare,’ were made by the German defense minister, the Swedish commander-in-chief and the chairman of the NATO Military Committee. The goal is clear: by demonizing Russia, intimidating the average person, to justify the unbridled increase in military spending and the completely failed policy of supporting the Kiev regime with the aim of inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia. And at the same time, force the Europeans to join the arms race even more energetically, to the delight of the American military-industrial complex,” Grushko said.

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“..European security is of little concern to the top NATO command, which is too busy trying to keep this tool of US influence relevant in the already lost war for the West’s global dominance..”

NATO Drills Raise Risks of Inadvertent Escalation – Moscow (Sp.)

NATO’s upcoming military exercise, Steadfast Defender 2024, raises the risk of unintended military confrontation and undermines security in Europe, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Sputnik on Sunday. NATO announced Thursday that it would kick off exercise Steadfast Defender 2024 next week. The US-led alliance bills it as the largest NATO exercise in decades, with participation from some 90,000 troops from 31 allies and Sweden. “Any event of this scale significantly increases the risk of military incidents and further destabilizes security. But European security is of little concern to the top NATO command, which is too busy trying to keep this tool of US influence relevant in the already lost war for the West’s global dominance,” Grushko said.

The senior diplomat added that Russia would not be intimidated by what he described as a provocative show of force. He said his country had everything it needed to ensure its security and defense capabilities. The NATO exercise will run through May. NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, Gen. Christopher Cavoli, told reporters on Thursday that the allies planned to test out a conflict scenario against a “near-peer adversary.”

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“..Washington is “not trying to defeat the Houthis. There’s no appetite for invading Yemen..”

US Preparing For ‘Sustained’ Yemen Bombing Campaign – WaPo (RT)

The US is preparing for a “sustained” bombing campaign in Yemen after ten days of airstrikes failed to undermine the ability of Houthi fighters to target ships in the Red Sea, the Washington Post has reported, citing unnamed officials. The administration of President Joe Biden does not expect a protracted operation such as the US campaigns in Iraq or Afghanistan, but at the same time it cannot provide a timeframe for when Houthi military capabilities will be adequately diminished, the newspaper reported on Saturday. Washington’s strategy is to curb the ability of the Shiite militant group to target ships off the coast of Yemen, or at least create safe conditions for shipping companies to resume sending vessels through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, sources added.

The Houthis have launched dozens of drone and missile attacks on commercial ships in the area in recent months, declaring support for Gaza amid Israel’s military operation in the Palestinian enclave. The militants have also vowed revenge against the US and the UK, who have been carrying out strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen for more than a week. “We are clear-eyed about who the Houthis are, and their worldview. So we’re not sure that they’re going to stop immediately, but we are certainly trying to degrade and destroy their capabilities,” one US official told the Post. Washington is “not trying to defeat the Houthis. There’s no appetite for invading Yemen,” a diplomat familiar with the situation explained.

Instead, the US wants “to degrade their ability to launch these kind of attacks going forward, and that involves hitting the infrastructure that enables these kind of attacks, and targeting their higher-level capabilities,” he added. President Biden ordered the strikes on Yemen for ideological reasons, rather than economic, as the US seeks to maintain its status as the world’s “indispensable nation,” officials claimed. The Washington Post expressed concern that the bombing campaign against the Houthis would become a “setback” for Biden’s goal of preventing the spread of the Israel-Hamas conflict to other parts of the Middle East. It could also end up “undermining his attempt to refocus US foreign policy on Russia and China,” the newspaper argued.

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“..believed to be responsible for perpetrating, ordering, planning, and instigating international crimes, including genocide, committed over the past 100 days as well as since 13 June, 2014.”

Mexico And Chile Call On ICC To Investigate Crimes In Gaza (Singh)

Chile and Mexico have called upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the crimes being committed amid Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza. In the past 105 days, Israel has killed over 24,600 Palestinians in Gaza, with more than 7,000 people missing and presumed dead under the rubble. In a statement released on January 18, Mexico and Chile stated that their referral to the ICC was “due to growing concern about the latest escalation of violence, particularly against civilian targets, and the alleged continued commission of crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court, specifically since the attack on October 7, 2023, carried out by Hamas militants and the subsequent hostilities in Gaza.” The ICC is based at The Hague alongside the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is the chief judicial organ of the United Nations that adjudicates disputes between states.

Meanwhile, the ICC is a separate legal entity that has been established under the Rome Statute, and is authorized to prosecute individuals. It has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, and crimes of aggression. The referral filed on Thursday follows after Bolivia, South Africa, Djibouti, and the Comoros approached the court in November, calling on chief prosecutor Karim Khan to investigate the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Palestine. While Israel is not a State Party to the Rome Statute and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC, Palestine was accepted as a member state of the ICC in 2015. In February 2021, a pre-trial chamber of the court ruled that it had jurisdiction over the “territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem”.

The following month, the ICC, under former chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, opened an investigation into the “situation in Palestine” covering the period starting from June 13, 2014. This was after Bensouda concluded that there was a “reasonable basis to believe that war crimes “have been or are being committed” in the occupied Palestinian territories. In November, Bensouda’s successor, Karim Khan had stated that the investigation would cover “the escalation of hostilities and violence” since October 7. However, Palestinian human rights organizations and legal representatives of victims have denounced delays and double standards in the investigation under Khan. In early December, Khan visited Israel, however he did not go to the Gaza strip despite the fact that Israel had already killed over 15,000 people by that time. Even prior to the ongoing attacks on Gaza which began on October 7, Palestinian human rights organizations had repeatedly called on Khan to issue preventive statements “to deter the commission of more crimes” by the Occupation. These calls, along with calls to expedite the investigation, were ignored.

These organizations have since urged the Court to issue arrest warrants for Israeli political, security and military officials “believed to be responsible for perpetrating, ordering, planning, and instigating international crimes, including genocide, committed over the past 100 days as well as since 13 June, 2014.” In its statement on Thursday, the Mexican foreign ministry emphasized “the importance of guaranteeing the independence of the ICC prosecutor to investigate crimes committed in the context of the conflict in Gaza.” The submission to the ICC was welcomed by the Palestinian foreign ministry, stating that the move “confirmed the urgent need for the Court to fulfill its mandate, to deter, investigate, and prosecute the most serious crimes of concern for the international community.” “Israeli officials are not deterred as they continue their genocidal war.”

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Saudis sitting on the fence.

Iran and US Use Saudi Arabia to Swap Messages and Cool Gaza Tensions (MEE)

Nine months since Riyadh and Tehran restored ties after years of animosity, Saudi Arabia has assumed a new role as an intermediary between Iran and the United States, three sources in Iran told Middle East Eye. High-ranking officials in Riyadh have been instrumental in relaying messages between the countries and reducing tensions over Israel’s war on Gaza. The process began in November, when Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian attended an emergency summit in Riyadh on the Gaza war attended by leaders from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Arab League countries. An Iranian insider familiar with the matter told MEE that Amirabdollahian carried with him a message for the US to give to Saudi officials. It was a response to one recently received from Washington.

The Saudis then conveyed this message to senior officials in Washington, the source said. Another source in Iran’s foreign ministry told MEE that Saudi Arabia has been used as a conduit between the two sides alongside Oman, Qatar and Switzerland, which occasionally represents the US diplomatically in Tehran. The four countries have had to work as go-betweens repeatedly since the 7 October Hamas-led attack on Israel and the war on Gaza. Iran is the Palestinian group’s strongest backer, and other Iranian-associated groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi movement in Yemen have attacked Israel and Israeli- and US-linked targets as Israel’s assault on Gaza has escalated. According to the foreign ministry source, the communications passed between Iran and the US have primarily focused on curbing tensions and avoiding greater escalation in the region.

The source said Tehran had warned the US about the potential consequences if Israel’s war on Gaza, which has already killed 24,000 people, brings regional tensions to an uncontrollable level. These included Israel being defeated in a broader regional war and increased security pressure on the US military. The first source said Saudi Arabia has been used as a conduit when tensions have ramped up following Israel’s assassination of senior commanders from the “Axis of Resistance”, the Iran-backed group of countries and armed groups in the region. After Israel killed Razi Mousavi, a general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s elite Quds force, on 25 December, a Saudi delegation visited Tehran with a message from Washington that said the US wanted to contain the conflict in Gaza.

According to the first source, the US suggested potential concessions from Israel. One was that the US would not give backing or support to hard-right Israeli officials, which dominate Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. This, the source said, would be contingent on Iran not trying to derail efforts to establish full ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, a process that was interrupted by the outbreak of the Gaza war. On 8 January, Hossein Akbari, the Iranian ambassador to Syria, said that Iran had received a message from “one of the Persian Gulf countries”. According to Akbari, this country sent a delegation to Iran with a message from the Americans, offering a plan to resolve conflicts for the entire region, rather than solely addressing the Gaza war. MEE understands this Gulf country was Saudi Arabia.

Another Iranian insider told MEE that Washington used Saudi channels to inform Tehran that it was about to strike Yemen’s Houthis, who have been staging attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea to disrupt Israeli supplies and commerce. The message urged Iran to restrain its allied groups during the US strike. It also indicated that the strikes on the Houthis would not initially be too strong, but if Tehran reacted forcefully then a fierce US response would follow.

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“..a “deadly combination” of Biden’s “incompetence, radicalism, and weakness.”

American Democracy ‘In Danger’ – Trump (RT)

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has countered claims that his possible reelection to the White House poses an existential risk to the American way of life, telling supporters in the US state of New Hampshire on Saturday that it is Joe Biden’s ‘incompetence’ that represents the real threat to democracy. Trump was speaking in Manchester ahead of primary elections beginning on Tuesday that could further cement his status as the likely GOP candidate to challenge presumptive Democratic nominee Biden in November. But after being accused earlier this month by Biden of being “willing to sacrifice democracy,” the former US president turned the tables on his political rival, saying that Biden’s incapacity for the job is a clear and present danger to the United States. “He is a threat to democracy,” Trump said, his comments delivered under a giant sign reading: ‘Biden attacks democracy.’

He added: “We have to get him out. You know why he is a threat to democracy? A couple of reasons, but you know the first reason? He’s grossly incompetent.” It is an accusation that Trump has repeated on several occasions throughout his bid to return to the White House. In October, he blamed the Hamas attack on Israel on a “deadly combination” of Biden’s “incompetence, radicalism, and weakness.” Trump, who faces 91 charges in a range of criminal cases as he campaigns for the nation’s highest office, also accused Biden’s administration of “weaponizing” the justice system against him. He added that Biden’s efforts to do so are being enabled by his “protectors” in the “fake news” media. The comments appeared to be a reference to claims made by Biden in Pennsylvania earlier this month in which he said that Trump intends to uproot democracy to ensure he wins the election.

“Whether democracy is still America’s sacred cause is what the 2024 election is all about,” Biden said on January 5. “Donald Trump’s campaign is all about him, not America, not you. Donald Trump’s campaign is obsessed with the past, not the future. He’s willing to sacrifice our democracy to put himself in power.” Meanwhile, GOP-nomination candidate Nikki Haley, whom polling suggests trails Trump by around ten percentage points in New Hampshire, openly questioned her Republican opponent’s mental fitness, following comments in recent days in which Trump appeared to mistake her for former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “When you’re dealing with the pressures of a presidency, we can’t have someone else that we question whether they’re mentally fit to do it,” Haley said on Saturday.

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“..contingent election..” We touched on this before.

RFK Seeks Path to Victory by Forcing House to Elect President (ET)

To win the 2024 election as an independent, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is firstly hoping for an outright win, but the second path to victory is to make sure no other candidate wins 270 electoral votes. If no candidate reaches 270 electoral votes in a presidential election, the winner is decided in a contingent election by the House of Representatives, where each state votes as a bloc. The House has picked the president twice in American history. In 1800, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson were deadlocked after the electoral votes were counted. The House cast their ballots to elect President Jefferson, who received 61 percent of the popular vote. When none of the four presidential candidates received an electoral vote majority in 1824, the House elected John Quincy Adams on Feb. 9 the following year.

“People are starting to realize that Bobby can win, with where he is in the polls,” Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, the campaign manager of Mr. Kennedy, told The Epoch Times. “They are starting to see that, for the first time in their lifetime, the two-party system can be broken and they can vote for somebody who excites them rather than having to vote for the lesser of two evils,” she said. Ms. Kennedy is also the candidate’s daughter-in-law. Ms. Kennedy said Mr. Kennedy could be considered a preferred candidate over former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, the likely Republican and Democrat nominees.

The prospect of Mr. Kennedy winning as a compromise candidate is relatively slim because a contingent United States election is decided by state delegations. Republicans currently hold a four-vote delegation lead, according to a tally maintained by ProPublica. The next House of Representatives, composed of lawmakers elected in 2024, would vote in a contingent election. A consensus forecast by 270toWin based on an aggregate of forecasts by five major analytics firms sees Republicans keeping their delegation majority in the House in 2024.

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“..We were the gatekeepers, and we very much owned the facts as well.”

WSJ Editor-in-Chief Admits To Davos Elites ‘We No Longer Own The News’ (ZH)

Thanks to the internet and (shrinking) press freedoms, legacy media outlets no longer have a monopoly on information and narratives. Case in point, during a WEF discussion at Davos entitled “Defending Truth,” Wall St. Journal EIC Emma Tucker lamented this loss of control over ‘the facts,’ as Modernity.news reports. “I think there’s a very specific challenge for the legacy brands, like the New York Times and like the Wall Street Journal,” Tucker said, adding “If you go back really not that long ago, as I say, we owned the news. We were the gatekeepers, and we very much owned the facts as well.” “If it said it in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, then that was a fact,” she continued, adding “Nowadays, people can go to all sorts of different sources for the news and they’re much more questioning about what we’re saying. “Russia, Russia, Russia!

European Commission VP Vera Jourova also piped up during the same discussion, calling the rise of “disinformation” a “security threat,” and suggesting that “It was part of the Russian military doctrine that they will start information war, and we are in it now.” Like when the Hillary Clinton campaign used a former (?) British spook’s Russian source to fabricate a hoax against Donald Trump, which was peddled through the Wall Street Journal and every single other legacy media outlet? That kind of information war? Or when 51 former US intelligence officials used disinformation to influence the 2020 election, suggesting the NY Post’s Hunter Biden laptop bombshell was Russian meddling? “Disinformation is a very powerful tool,” Jourová continued, adding that “In the EU we are focusing on improving of the system where the people will get the facts right. We don’t speak about opinions. We are not correcting anyone’s opinions or language. This is about the facts.” Bitch please.

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X thread from Wall Street Apes.

“Estimated Cost For Tax Payers: $1.6 Quadrillion Dollars..”

John Kerry Wants To Remove 1.6 Trillion Tons Of CO2 From The Atmosphere (X)

John Kerry Told The Washington Post He Wants To Remove 1.6 Trillion Tons Of Carbon Dioxide From The Atmosphere Via Direct Air Capture. Estimated Cost For Tax Payers: $1.6 Quadrillion Dollars That’s $1,600,000,000,000,000 (This isn’t a joke, he’s serious). “The lowest periods of carbon in the atmosphere and not only recorded history, in the history of life existing on the planet. In December of 2022, you told the Washington Post we need to remove 1,600,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via direct air capture. The cost for that is about $1,000 per ton or 1.6 quadrillion dollars. Now I said you said you didn’t know, But since 2015, since the last El Nino, about 500,000,000,000 tons have been have been emitted into the atmosphere. During that same period of time, 2015, if you look at the temperature graph, this is from NOAA.

The temperature has gone down. Show the next slide. This is from NASA satellite data. Temperature has gone down. You wanna have the Have the American taxpayers, my constituents that are having a hard time afford their groceries, pay for a car, buy a new home, Spend 1.6 quadrillion dollars to fix a problem that, a, doesn’t exist. And as a matter of fact, You might be exacerbating because it’s unknown. It is unknown at this time the low level that of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that might actually destroy life, because plant life all depends. As you know, secretary, Plant life all depends on CO2. And when we kill it, then we’re done too. I yield the ballots.”

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Eagle

 

 

Python

 

 

Lions

 

 

 

 

Peacock
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749016505549758854

 

 

Murmuration
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749313443151376779

 

 

Bears

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 092023
 


Laura Knight The Green Sea, Lamorna 1918

 

Ukraine Has Taken ‘Significant’ Losses This Week – US (RT)
West Has Done Everything For Ukraine – Biden (RT)
Kiev Needs Deadlier Weapons – US Lawmakers (RT)
Ukraine Gave Up Peace Deal With Russia Under US Pressure — Patrushev (TASS)
Kakhovka Attack Lines Up With West’s Scorched Earth Scenario for Ukraine (Sp.)
FBI Document Alleges $5 Million Bribe Paid To Joe Biden By Burisma Exec (ZH)
McCarthy: Unconscionable for Biden to Indict Leading Opposing Candidate (Sp.)
Mar-a-Lago Indictment Designed to Make Trump Reelection ‘Impossible’ (Sp.)
I Didn’t Order Nord Stream Sabotage – Zelensky (RT)
Biden Admin Waging Class War Against Working Americans – Michael Hudson (Sp.)
Russia Being Robbed By The West – Kremlin (RT)
EU Demands Answers Over ‘Instagram Pedophile Network’ (RT)
South Africa Won’t Enforce ICC Putin Warrant – Minister (RT)
Assange Dangerously Close to Extradition After High Court Rejects Appeal (RSF)
Pentagon Struggling To Explain All 437 Earth Genders To Aliens (BBee)

 

 


This is a Royal Mail stamp from 1981 bearing a profile of the late Queen – same hammer symbols, same tyrant uniform. McCarthyite fanatics opposed to any criticism at all of the apartheid Israeli state are trying to cancel this anti-fascist protest from our culture. @rogerwaters

 

 

Stone Putin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1666675508388458500

 

 

 

 

Zel before

 

 

 

 

Sachs China
https://twitter.com/i/status/1666683473426534400

 

 

 

 

JFK Peace Speech

 

 

 

 

 

 

US media say the counteroffensive has started. Ukraine denies. Whatever it is, is a disaster.

Ukraine Has Taken ‘Significant’ Losses This Week – US (RT)

The Ukrainian military has suffered “significant” casualties in its faltering attempt to mount a counteroffensive against Russian forces, US officials told CNN on Thursday. While Kiev has kept quiet about its losses, Moscow estimates that the offensive has already cost Ukraine almost 5,000 lives. Ukrainian troops hoping to break through Russia’s defensive lines have met “greater than expected resistance from Russian forces,”the American network reported, citing anonymous “senior US officials.” CNN’s sources described how Russian forces used anti-tank missiles and mortars to put up “stiff resistance” and inflicted “significant” casualties, as the Ukrainians struggled to get their Western-provided vehicles through densely-laid minefields. After months of delays and mixed messages from Kiev, Ukraine’s counteroffensive began on Sunday with an attack by six mechanized and two tank battalions along five sections of the frontline near Donetsk, and in other regions to the north and south.

Further attacks followed, and although pro-Ukrainian sources described these thrusts as “probing” attacks, it was clear by the beginning of this week that the counteroffensive had begun in earnest. The fiercest fighting took place on Wednesday night along the frontline near Zaporozhye, where the Russian military has spent several months constructing multiple lines of minefields, trenches, gun emplacements, and anti-tank obstacles. The Ukrainian 47th mechanized brigade attacked with a total strength of up to 1,500 troops and 150 armored vehicles, but Russian troops – backed by artillery and air support – repelled the assault, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Thursday. Key to Russia’s defense has been its suppression of Ukraine’s air defense systems, allowing its fighter jets and attack helicopters to operate with impunity over the frontline.

The minister claimed that during a two-hour battle, the enemy lost 30 tanks, 11 armored personnel carriers and up to 350 troops. According to Shoigu’s daily updates, Ukraine has lost around 4,995 soldiers and almost 100 tanks since Sunday. Despite the apparently colossal losses, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN earlier this week that Washington believed “that the Ukrainians will meet with success in this counteroffensive.” However, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, urged caution, telling the network on Monday that it was “too early to tell what outcomes are going to happen.” “Everyone knows perfectly well that any counteroffensive in the world without control in the skies is very dangerous,” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said in a Wall Street Journal interview on Saturday, adding that “a large number of soldiers will die” during the operation.

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How to distance yourself from failure.

West Has Done Everything For Ukraine – Biden (RT)

Washington and its allies have exhausted their efforts to arm and prepare Ukraine for its counteroffensive against Russian forces, US President Joe Biden has claimed after meeting with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the White House. “We’ve done everything we could, collectively but individually in the United States, to make them ready, to support ..,” Biden told reporters on Thursday in a joint press briefing with Sunak in Washington. He called Kiev’s faltering attempts to mount an attack “an evolving situation where we’re very optimistic.” The US president made his comments amid reports that Ukrainian forces have suffered “significant” casualties as they battle to break through Russia’s defensive lines in the former Soviet republic. CNN admitted on Thursday that Ukraine’s troops were meeting “greater than expected resistance” and were struggling to get their Western-provided vehicles through minefields.

The long-discussed counteroffensive apparently began with a large-scale attack on Sunday, but met with withering firepower from Russian forces. Kiev admitted that its forces were “shifting to offensive actions” in some areas, but dismissed claims of its failures and losses as Russian propaganda. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukrainian forces lost more than 3,700 troops, 52 tanks and hundreds of armored vehicles during the first three days of their attacks. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday that only 71 Russian soldiers were killed over the same period. He added on Thursday that Ukraine’s 47th Mechanized Brigade retreated after losing 350 men and 30 tanks in the latest attack on the Zaporozhye front. Asked whether he expected to get new funding approvals from the Republican-controlled Congress to continue providing aid to Ukraine, Biden vowed “unwavering support” for Kiev. Lawmakers have approved $113 billion in Ukraine aid since February 2022. NATO members plan to discuss long-term security commitments for Kiev at a summit next month in Vilnius.

“Long-term security to deter future aggression after this war ends is the goal, and we’re advancing this goal by providing the support Ukraine needs now on the battlefield and helping them strengthen their military over the long term,” Biden said. “I believe we’ll have the funding necessary to support Ukraine as long as it takes.” Biden argued that while some lawmakers have begun to question whether the US should continue to provide aid to Ukraine, he sees broad agreement on the consequences of failing to do so. Sunak touted increases in UK defense spending, saying, “We’re lucky to have America’s investment in European security, but we need to share the burden alongside you.” He suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin was betting on NATO members to tire of supporting Kiev. “I think it sends a strong signal to him that there is no point in trying to wait us out. We’re not going anywhere. We will be here for as long as it takes.”

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They want US missiles to be fired at targets inside Russia.

Kiev Needs Deadlier Weapons – US Lawmakers (RT)

Members of Congress have urged US President Joe Biden to provide even more advanced weaponry to Ukraine, including longer-range missiles that the White House previously warned could trigger World War III. Kiev must be given Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) to strike distant targets in Russia’s supply lines, nine lawmakers said in a letter to Biden on Thursday. The bipartisan group, led by Colorado Democrat Jason Crow, dismissed concerns that such weapons could escalate the conflict or leave US missile supplies too depleted. “We also understand the administration’s stated desire to maintain US stockpiles for future fights, but Ukraine is currently on the front lines in a fight for freedom in a war with immediate and long-term US national security implications,” the lawmakers said.

“The fight for global peace and security is playing out in Ukraine, and we believe this merits a drawdown from our existing stocks of this important capability.” ATACMS missiles can strike targets as far as 300 kilometers (190 miles) away. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said last July that the Biden administration wouldn’t send such long-range missiles to Ukraine because such a precedent could provoke a wider conflict if used to attack targets in Russian territory. However, the UK has since supplied Kiev with an unspecified number of its own Storm Shadow long-range missiles, a decision that was apparently run by Washington first. While Britain has consistently pushed its allies to supply Kiev with heavier armaments, nothing happens without the US approval, NBC News reported last week.

Biden’s professed reluctance to take other potentially escalatory steps has crumbled as the conflict drags on. Last month, he agreed to allow US allies to provide F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, while in January he approved plans to send M1 Abrams tanks to Kiev. Those concessions weren’t enough for the representatives behind Thursday’s letter. In addition to pushing for ATACMS missiles, they called for Biden to give more tanks and fighter jets to Ukraine, as well as additional Patriot air-defense systems. “Helping Ukraine fight and win is a US national security imperative and signals to the world that thee US will stand by our fellow democracies,” the nine lawmakers said. They called on Biden to do everything in his power, including using his authority under the Defense Production Act to accelerate weapons output, to give Ukrainian troops everything they need to mount a counteroffensive.

Kiev’s long-heralded attack apparently began on Sunday, and Biden said on Thursday that the US and its Western allies had already done everything they could to support the operation. According to CNN, the Ukrainian military has met with “greater than expected resistance” from Russian forces. Ukraine has lost more than 4,000 troops and dozens of tanks and armored vehicles in its failed attacks this week, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

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“in the morning, they [members of the Ukrainian delegation] gave [the proposals] to us during the negotiations and in the evening they said: ‘No, we give them up.’”

Ukraine Gave Up Peace Deal With Russia Under US Pressure — Patrushev (TASS)

The Ukrainian leadership was ready to settle the conflict with Russia but gave up under the US pressure, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said on Thursday. “Had it not been for the US pressure on those whom they installed at the head of Ukraine, this situation would have not happened, Even the Ukrainian leaders themselves were ready for signing a peace treaty and gave Russia written proposals that we, in principle, approved,” Patrushev said, obviously referring to the negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Turkey in March last year. However, as Patrushev went on to say, “in the morning, they [members of the Ukrainian delegation] gave [the proposals] to us during the negotiations and in the evening they said: ‘No, we give them up.’”

“This happened only because the United States had put pressure on them and said that no negotiations must be held,” the secretary of Russia’s Security Council stressed. As Patrushev pointed out, “there are interested parties in this conflict,” first and foremost, the United States and Great Britain. The first Russian-Ukrainian negotiations after Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine took place in Belarus in early March 2022 but the talks yielded no tangible results.

A new round of negotiations took place in Istanbul on March 29, 2022, following which Russian Delegation Head, Presidential Aide Vladimir Medinsky announced that Moscow had for the first time received Kiev’s principles of a possible future agreement in witting, stipulating, in particular, Ukraine’s neutral, non-aligned status commitments and its refusal to deploy foreign troops and armaments, including nuclear weapons, on its soil. Russia pulled out its forces from the Kiev and Chernigov areas. However, the negotiations on the peaceful settlement were totally frozen after that and, as Russian President Vladimir Putin said, Kiev gave up the accords reached in Istanbul. In October last year, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky enacted a decision by the country’s National Security and Defense Council on banning any talks with Putin.

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“For Russia, these same territories are a kind of “shrine,” he said. “These lands were settled and developed by our ancestors. We fought for these lands in two world wars. We are not indifferent to these territories, or the people living there.”

Kakhovka Attack Lines Up With West’s Scorched Earth Scenario for Ukraine (Sp.)

The fallout from Tuesday’s attack on the Kakhovka dam continues to mount, with the Kremlin characterizing the incident as a “barbaric act” ordered “at the suggestion of [Kiev’s] Western curators,” and a calamity which has unleashed a “large-scale environmental and human disaster. A US-based private Earth imaging company released before and after satellite photos showing the consequences of the flooding, with much of the town of Novaya Kakhovka in Russia’s Kherson completely submerged in water, together with other settlements on both the Russian and Ukrainian-controlled sides of the river. A European Space Agency satellite tracking water levels June 5, 6, and 7 showed the extent of the rising water levels across the region over the three days.

Ukrainian and NATO officials quickly blamed Moscow for the disaster, calling it an “ecological catastrophe.” Russia, which has borne an equal share of the direct fallout of the flooding, plus the prospects of the loss of water in the North Crimean Canal and cooling water for the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, dismissed the claims, pointing out that Kiev had been attacking the Kakhovka hydroplant and its environs for well over a year before Tuesday morning’s fatal blow. The Kakhovka dam attack is another example of the Zelensky regime’s absolute disregard for casualties and destruction in the ongoing NATO-Russia proxy war in Ukraine, and another demonstration of the West’s cynical maxim of “fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian,” says prominent Russian military observer Alexey Leonkov.

“When there are no impressive battlefield victories, but one needs to raise the degree of the demonization of Russia, one can really go all out. The regime in Kiev and those who control it do not care whatsoever about what happens to Ukraine in the future, or speaking more precisely, its people. They want to leave for Russia a territory in accordance with scorched earth tactics – destruction, an embittered population, preferably with environmental pollution, radioactive residues or perhaps [the fallout from] biological weapons,” Leonkov, the editor of Arsenal Otechestva, a Russian military affairs magazine, told Sputnik. Leonkov is convinced that Ukraine’s military and government lack any real independence, and carry out the policy of Western powers paying the bills.

Kiev’s patrons are “absolutely uninterested in Ukraine’s lands or the people who live there…They do not care how many people will die, how many cities and villages are destroyed, how many environmental disasters and other calamities they face. They don’t give a damn about it,” the observer said. For Russia, these same territories are a kind of “shrine,” he said. “These lands were settled and developed by our ancestors. We fought for these lands in two world wars. We are not indifferent to these territories, or the people living there. That’s why we are trying to conduct a military operation, not an all-out war that destroys everything and everyone…Our enemy, and this is clear, consists of [30 countries], all of them members of the NATO bloc. This adversary…has already stated that they will [strive to] realize their goals ‘to the last Ukrainian.’

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The FBI has known for 3 years that Biden was paid for services to Burisma when as VP he was in charge of Ukraine for Obama. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired..”

FBI Document Alleges $5 Million Bribe Paid To Joe Biden By Burisma Exec (ZH)

Someone has leaked the contents of the stonewalled FBI document, form FD-1023, which alleges that President Joe Biden was paid $5 million by an executive of Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, where his son Hunter sat on the board. This, according to a confidential human source, who told this to the FBI during a June 2020 interview, according to Fox News. The form, dated June 30, 2020, is from a “highly credible” confidential human source who had detailed multiple meetings and conversations they had with a top Burisma executive over the course of several years, beginning in 2015. The CHS had been working with the FBI as a regular, reliable source of information since 2010, and has been paid approximately $200,000 by the bureau.

The Burisma executive sought the advice of the confidential source, a business professional, on gaining U.S. oil rights and getting involved with a U.S. oil company, the sources familiar with the documdnt said. The Burisma executive was speaking with the confidential source to “get advice on the best way to go forward” in 2015 and 2016 According to the FD-1023 form, the confidential human source said the Burisma executive discussed Hunter’s role on the board. The confidential human source questioned why the Burisma executive needed his or her advice in acquiring access to U.S. oil if he had Hunter Biden on the board. The Burisma executive answered by referring to Hunter Biden as “dumb.” -Fox News According to the Burisma executive, the company had to “pay the Bidens” because Ukraine’s lead prosecutor, Victor Shokin, was investigating Burisma.

According to the CHS, he suggested that the Burisma executive “pay the Bidens $50,000 each,” to which the Burisma executive replied “not $50,000,” it is “$5 million.” “$5 million for one Biden, $5 million for the other Biden,” the executive reportedly said. The $5 million payments appeared to reference some sort of “retainer” Burisma intended to pay the Bidens in order to ‘clean up’ several issues – including the investigation led by Shokin. Another source told Fox it was a “pay-to-play” scheme. The CHS believes that the $5 million payment to Joe Biden and $5 million to Hunter happened, as the Burisma executive said he “paid” the Bidens is a way “through so many different bank accounts” that investigators would not be able to “unravel this for at least 10 years.” The document also makes reference to ‘the Big Guy,’ thought (and as seen on Hunter’s laptop) to be a reference to Joe Biden.

According to the Burisma executive, they “didn’t pay the Big Guy directly.” Meanwhile, sources tell Fox that the Burisma executive appears to be at a “very, very high level” of the company, with one source suggesting it could be the president, Mykola Zlochevsky – though the executive’s name is redacted in the document. Biden notably bragged on camera about a quid-pro-quo arrangement to have Shokin fired. “I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in,’ I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden said in 2018 at a Council for Foreign Relations event, recalling a conversation with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired,” he continued. “And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

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“..Trump is facing seven counts that include willful retention of national defense information, corruptly concealing docs, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and false statements.”

McCarthy: Unconscionable for Biden to Indict Leading Opposing Candidate (Sp.)

US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Thursday it was “unconscionable” for US President Joe Biden to indict “the leading candidate opposing him” – ex-President Donald Trump. “Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America. It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him,” McCarthy said on Twitter. “Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades. I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.” McCarthy’s remarks reiterated similar sentiments aired by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who blasted the “weaponization of federal law enforcement agencies” as a “mortal threat to a free society.”

“We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation,” he continued, claiming that a DeSantis White House would “excise political bias and end weaponization once and for all.” Earlier Thursday, Trump revealed on Truth Social that “the corrupt Biden administration” had informed his lawyers that he had been indicted in a federal investigation over alleged mishandling of classified documents at his Florida residency, and was summoned to appear in court on Tuesday. The ex-president expressed despair over the indictment, pointing out that he is being prosecuted as polls show he is by far the leading candidate among both Republicans and Democrats.

US media reported on Thursday that Trump is facing seven counts that include willful retention of national defense information, corruptly concealing docs, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and false statements. Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the classified documents case and the other three criminal probes he is involved in, including charges of falsifying business records and the former president’s alleged involvement in the events on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021.

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“Joe Biden is a Democrat and therefore his classified documents are a mere oversight and not the foundation–shaking treachery Trump’s documents represent..”

Mar-a-Lago Indictment Designed to Make Trump Reelection ‘Impossible’ (Sp.)

Former US President Donald Trump earlier reported that his legal team had been informed that he was being indicted over his retainment of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence. The revelation came just after it was reported prosecutors had formally informed Trump’s lawyers that he was the subject of their Florida investigation. Michael Shannon, a political commentator and columnist for Newsmax, told Sputnik that he believes the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents and alleged obstruction of justice is part of a larger politically-motivated scheme designed to prevent the former president from running for his old seat in the 2024 election.
“This is all part of the process to indict Trump and make it difficult — if not impossible — for him to run for reelection,” Shannon asserted. “The entire investigation, raid on Mar–a–Lago and subsequent developments are entirely political and constitute a genuine attack on democracy.”


Shannon pointed to classified documents that were found at US President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and at the Biden Penn Center in Washington, DC, as evidence that the Mar-a-Lago investigation is politically driven. Earlier reports revealed that documents had been retrieved from the garage area of one of Biden’s homes, a development that later saw the president joke that they were secured along his beloved Corvette. “Joe Biden is a Democrat and therefore his classified documents are a mere oversight and not the foundation–shaking treachery Trump’s documents represent,” Shannon said. The commentator added that while classified documents were also found in the possession of former US Vice President Mike Pence, “the left doesn’t view him as a threat to Biden, the Pence documents are also no big deal.”

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We know.

I Didn’t Order Nord Stream Sabotage – Zelensky (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has claimed he had no knowledge of an alleged plot by his government to blow up the Nord Stream gas pipelines. The plan was reportedly uncovered by a European nation, which subsequently informed Washington. “I am president and I give orders accordingly,” Zelensky said, as cited by Politico on Thursday. “Nothing of the sort has been done by Ukraine. I would never act that way.” The alleged intelligence tip was reported by the Washington Post on Tuesday, based on leaked classified Pentagon materials. The pipelines, which were built to carry gas from Russia to Germany, were ruptured by powerful explosions last September, and the newspaper claimed that the US had learned of Ukrainian preparations for a sabotage operation three months prior from an unidentified ally.

The alleged mission was run by Valery Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, rather than rogue agents, the Post claimed. Zaluzhny was placed in charge so that Zelensky “wouldn’t know about the operation” and could maintain plausible deniability, it was reported. “I didn’t know anything, 100%,” the president said in the interview. “I said, ‘Show us proof. If our military is supposed to have done this, show us proof.’” According to the Post, Ukraine wanted to blow up the pipelines following NATO’s BALTOPS naval exercise in June 2022. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh previously claimed that the drills were used as cover to plant remotely triggered explosives, but stated that it was US and Norwegian divers who had done so, acting on orders from US President Joe Biden. Washington and Oslo have denied Hersh’s allegations.

Zelensky’s ability to control his own secret services was previously placed in question by other materials in the trove of leaked Pentagon documents, which were allegedly shared by US Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira. One of the documents stated that the US believed that the Ukrainian agents behind an attack in March on a Russian airborne radar stationed in Belarus had not informed the president about their plans.

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“..there is no way that the government was going to default on its Treasury debt because, after all, the Treasury debt is held by the wealthiest 10%..”

Biden Admin Waging Class War Against Working Americans – Michael Hudson (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden’s economic policies have further enriched financial elites at the expense of working class Americans, Prof. Michael Hudson, US economist and former Wall Street analyst, told Sputnik’s New Rules podcast. Biden struck a debt ceiling deal with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy with a great deal of fanfare late last month following Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s apocalyptic prognoses with regard to a US “imminent” default. According to Hudson, however, these dramatic warnings were meant to obfuscate the Biden administration’s real objectives “There was never any debt crisis at all,” Hudson told Sputnik. “The government could have simply continued to pay its bills for projects that Congress had already approved, there is no way that the government was going to default on its Treasury debt because, after all, the Treasury debt is held by the wealthiest 10% and the government is not going to do anything that hurts the 10% and benefits the 90%.”

What really happened, as per economist, was a bipartisan agreement on a further redistribution of wealth from the 90% to the 10%. However, the Democrats could not just go for it as they have always positioned themselves as a pro-labor and pro-economic justice party. Hence, there had been a month-long “good guy-vs-bad guy wrestling match” between the president and the GOP, according to Hudson. Eventually, Biden “reluctantly” agreed on cuts to social programs, cancellation of support to the poor. One should bear in mind that Joe Biden is from Delaware – a “state where most corporations in America have their head offices because the Delaware rules are so pro-corporate and anti-labor that corporations want to be there.” “It’s all just a made up,” Hudson continued. “When they talk about cutting back the government debt, what they mean is cutting back social services.

They would like to do what Biden and [Barack] Obama wanted to do after 2009. They want to cut back Social Security. They want to privatize it as if that will somehow solve the problem. They want to cut back medical care. They want to cut back most social programs, so that the money that the government does spend will be exclusively to support the financial sector, the military sector, the insurance sector, and the real estate sector.” To illustrate his point Hudson referred to the fact that just a day after the debt agreement was struck and social programs were cut, some GOP congressmen, namely Senator Susan Collins from Maine, called for greater military spending to help fund the US proxy war in Ukraine. These military budget increases would come at the expense of US social programs, the economist pointed out.

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“..as of mid-May, EU countries had frozen more than €200 billion ($215 billion) in assets belonging to the Bank of Russia, as well as over $25 billion in private funds..”

Russia Being Robbed By The West – Kremlin (RT)

The seizure of Russian state assets and reserves and those of its citizens, by Western countries, should be perceived as outright theft, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has insisted. He made the statement during a press briefing on Thursday, having been asked about Russian investors’ intentions to prepare a class action lawsuit to unlock the frozen assets. “In different ways, but the government and the entrepreneurs have been robbed by the West,” he stated. According to Peskov, the Russian government and the country’s businesses are looking for ways to protect their interests and return the seized assets, though that is likely to be a very long and difficult process. Peskov noted that Russian entrepreneurs are limited in their rights in EU courts, while the efforts to defend their rights are absolutely justified and should be continued.


Moscow has been hit by multiple waves of Western sanctions since the conflict with Ukraine broke out last February. European Commission spokesman, Christian Wiegand, said recently that as of mid-May, EU countries had frozen more than €200 billion ($215 billion) in assets belonging to the Bank of Russia, as well as over $25 billion in private funds. He argued that the European Union had a legal avenue allowing it to seize frozen Russian assets and use them for the subsequent reconstruction of Ukraine. Moscow has described Western attempts to transfer the seized assets to Ukraine as “barbarism,” and “theft” that violate international law. The Kremlin has also warned that Russia will respond in kind if necessary.

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Pizza.

EU Demands Answers Over ‘Instagram Pedophile Network’ (RT)

The European Union’s Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton has called on social media giant Meta to take “immediate action” against child pornography on its platforms, after the Wall Street Journal and Stanford University identified Instagram as a major hub for illicit material. Breton commented on the WSJ report in a tweet on Thursday, saying that Meta’s voluntary code on child protection “seems not to work” while vowing to personally question company CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the issue at an upcoming event.“Zuckerberg must now explain [and] take immediate action. I will discuss [this] with him at Meta’s HQ in Menlo Park on 23 June,” he said, adding that new regulations under the EU’s Digital Services Act will force tech firms to “demonstrate measures to us or face heavy sanctions” after they take effect on August 25.

Published Wednesday, the Journal report was a result of a joint investigation between the outlet and researchers at Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, finding that Meta’s Instagram “helps connect and promote a vast network of accounts openly devoted to the commission and purchase of underage-sex content.” Algorithms on the social media site actively promote such illegal material, the researchers claimed, even helping to guide users to those selling child pornography through Instagram’s “recommendation systems,” which were said to “excel at linking those who share niche interests.” While Meta acknowledged that it is not able to remove all underage sexual content on Instagram, the company told the Journal that it has created a special task force for that purpose, claiming it has taken down 27 different “pedophile networks” over the last two years.

It added that it had removed thousands of hashtags which sexualize children and altered the site’s recommendation scheme since speaking to the WSJ. Instagram is not the only large social media platform found to host child pornography, with billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk vowing make the issue “Priority #1” after purchasing Twitter last year. Another Meta-owned site, Facebook, has also struggled to get a handle on child exploitation content circulating online.Together with Instagram, the company flagged more than 20 million examples of such material in 2020, well outpacing Meta’s competitors, according to data gathered by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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“..if Putin were to be arrested by “say, Germany… all our missiles would fly to the Bundestag, to the Chancellor’s office.”

South Africa Won’t Enforce ICC Putin Warrant – Minister (RT)

South Africa will not enforce the International Criminal Court’s warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told reporters on Thursday. “The Deputy Chairperson of the Security Council of Russia has indicated that anyone who arrests President Putin will be tantamount to a declaration of war,” Ntshavheni said, referring to a statement by Dmitry Medvedev in March. At the time, Medvedev declared that if Putin were to be arrested by “say, Germany… all our missiles would fly to the Bundestag, to the Chancellor’s office.” “I don’t think this country wants us to declare war with Russia,” Ntshavheni added.

In mid-March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the presidential commissioner for children’s rights. The court accused them of the “forcible transfer of population,” referring to Moscow’s efforts to evacuate children from combat zones amid hostilities with Ukraine. As a signatory to the 2002 Rome Statute, South Africa is obliged to enforce the warrant. However, the country is also hosting this year’s BRICS summit in August, at which the leaders of the world’s largest emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are due to meet.

Despite media reports suggesting that South Africa had asked China to host the summit, Ntshavheni told reporters that “nothing has changed,” and that the meeting would still go ahead in Johannesburg as planned. Moscow dismissed those reports as a hoax last week. Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, Obed Bapela, a deputy minister in the South African presidency, said that the government was working on legislation that would make its national law outrank that of the ICC. If parliament passes the bill, Pretoria could then “give itself exemptions of who to arrest and who not to arrest,” Bapela explained.

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“It is absurd that a single judge can issue a three-page decision that could land Julian Assange in prison for the rest of his life,,“

Assange Dangerously Close to Extradition After High Court Rejects Appeal (RSF)

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is deeply concerned by the UK High Court’s decision rejecting WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange’s appeal against his extradition order, bringing him dangerously close to being extradited to the United States, where he could face the rest of his life in prison for publishing leaked classified documents in 2010. In a three-page written decision issued on 6 June, a single judge, Justice Swift, rejected all eight grounds of Assange’s appeal against the extradition order signed by then-UK Home Secretary Priti Patel in June 2022. This leaves only one final step in the UK courts, as the defence has five working days to submit an appeal of only 20 pages to a panel of two judges, who will convene a public hearing. Further appeals will not be possible at the domestic level, but Assange could bring a case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Rebecca Vincent, RSF’s Director of Campaigns: “It is absurd that a single judge can issue a three-page decision that could land Julian Assange in prison for the rest of his life and permanently impact the climate for journalism around the world. The historical weight of what happens next cannot be overstated; it is time to put a stop to this relentless targeting of Assange and act instead to protect journalism and press freedom. Our call on President Biden is now more urgent than ever: drop these charges, close the case against Assange, and allow for his release without further delay.

Stella Assange, Julian’s wife, made a statement on Twitter: “On Tuesday next week my husband Julian Assange will make a renewed application for appeal to the High Court. The matter will then proceed to a public hearing before two new judges at the High Court and we remain optimistic that we will prevail and that Julian will not be extradited to the United States where he faces charges that could result in him spending the rest of his life in a maximum security prison for publishing true information that revealed war crimes committed by the U.S. government.”

This is the latest stage in more than three years of legal proceedings in UK courts, as the US government has made its case to extradite Assange in order to try him on 18 counts in connection with WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked classified documents that informed public interest reporting around the world. Although the first instance court ruled against extradition on mental health grounds, the Court of Appeals overturned the decision in consideration of diplomatic assurances presented by the US government. Assange would be the first publisher prosecuted under the Espionage Act, which lacks a public interest defence. He faces a combined total sentence of a possible 175 years in prison.

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“Everything is gender,” SecDef Austin explained. “Even this table is gender.”

Pentagon Struggling To Explain All 437 Earth Genders To Aliens (BBee)

Interstellar peace talks broke down Wednesday after Pentagon officials were unable to adequately explain the intricacies of all 437 Earth genders to aliens from outer space. “Okay, for the last time,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during the third hour of talks with extraterrestrials. “Demigender are people who identify partially with one gender at the same time as another. This is totally different from Bigender, which is when a person identifies as two genders and can switch between them. Do you understand now?” “This isn’t at all confusing.”

The aliens spoke via telepathy, communicating easily without the hindrance of language barriers, yet were still unable to understand why their human counterparts kept derailing talks about joining an alliance of free planets to argue that sex and gender are two different things — or even that a developmental condition such as autism can be a gender. “Everything is gender,” SecDef Austin explained. “Even this table is gender.” President Biden was present at the meeting but was unable to communicate due to a failure by alien lifeforms to create a telepathic link to his brain. [Is this man even alive?] asked Xylor Sieth IV. [Is corpse a gender?]


“It can be,” SecDef Austin answered. “You’re catching on!” Pentagon spokesperson Jean Tangerine told reporters, “Honestly, this is a big part of why the government has kept alien life a secret for so long. They’re super bigoted and not ready for the public.” At publishing time, Xylor Sieth IV had asked to speak to Tucker Carlson instead.

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Goat
https://twitter.com/i/status/1666822364963942402

 

 

Gray whale

 

 


The first case of a crocodile who made herself pregnant has been identified in Costa Rica. She produced a foetus 99.9% genetically identical to herself. The phenomenon was observed in birds, fish, other reptiles, but never before in crocodiles

 

 

Baby thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 202023
 
 May 20, 2023  Posted by at 8:52 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  40 Responses »


Leonardo da Vinci Head of bear c.1480

 

Real Revelation of the Durham Report: Obama is the REAL ‘Big Guy’ (Root)
Barack Obama Among 500 Americans Banned From Russia (RT)
Dum-Da-Dum-Dum…Dah (Kunstler)
US National Security Experts: Give Peace in Ukraine a Chance (CD)
The Ukraine Refugee Question (Seymour Hersh)
Why Ukraine Must Lose to Save the World (Martin Armstrong)
US To Allow Allied Transfers Of F-16s To Ukraine (RT)
Medvedev Sees ‘No Need At All’ For Talks On Ukraine (TASS)
Russia Orders Arrest Of ICC Prosecutor (RT)
Russian Prosecutor General Designates Greenpeace As ‘Undesirable’ (TASS)
Is China The Only Issue Holding The US Together? (Fomenko)
End the FBI (McMaken)
Israel’s State-Building Project Is Unraveling – From Within (Cook)
Israel and the ‘New’ Middle East (Sheikh)
UK In ‘Geriatric Decline’ – Legendary Financier (RT)

 

 

 

 

Macgregor


https://twitter.com/i/status/1659594747466461184

 

 

Podolyak
https://twitter.com/i/status/1659602082679209995

 

 

RFK


https://twitter.com/i/status/1659720620978888705

 

 

 

 

“..a radical Marxist put in place by the Deep State and globalist billionaires to destroy America..”

Real Revelation of the Durham Report: Obama is the REAL ‘Big Guy’ (Root)

We are living in an age of mass deception, distraction and denial, of mass brainwashing. We might as well all be living in Jonestown, Guyana and following the orders of Jim Jones. That’s how bad it is. It’s all laid out right in front of us. But no one can see it. Or maybe no one wants to see it. The Durham Report is “the canary in the coal mine.” It’s all Obama. It’s always been Obama. Obama is the REAL “Big Guy.” Obama is the REAL criminal mastermind. Obama was the head of the snake. Obama was the John Gotti of the US government, overseeing a massive criminal conspiracy. Obama was the head of the “Obama Crime Family.” Obama committed TREASON. And the worst part of all: Obama’s still in charge. Obama is pulling all the strings. He’s the one calling the shots. He’s the ventriloquist, speaking for the wooden dummy puppet Joe Biden. Obama is the real President of the United States, back for his third term.

I warned and predicted from the first day Obama appeared on the scene that my old Columbia University classmate was a Manchurian candidate, a radical Marxist put in place by the Deep State and globalist billionaires to destroy America. In my #1 bestselling book back in 2013, “The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide” I reported Obama’s plan was to “boil the frog slowly.” To destroy America in small steps, to move so slowly that we wouldn’t notice we were being destroyed, until it was too late. Hillary Clinton was supposed to finish the job. Hillary’s election was supposed to be Obama’s third term. But Donald J. Trump came along and ruined the plan. Trump became the first politician in history to beat a rigged election. That’s why Hillary and Democrats were so shocked. Obama rigged it, so Hillary could not lose.

How did Obama do that? In addition to the usual Democrat tricks of stuffing the ballot box in Democrat run inner cities, with no Voter ID and no signature match, Obama spied on the Trump campaign. But Trump brought out more working and middle-class voters than any candidate in history. He beat the rig. He won even though Obama spied on him. Even though Obama knew everything Trump was doing and planning- and gave it all to Hillary. Enter Russia Collusion. See the Durham Report. We now know for a fact this was a fraud made up by Hillary. We also know that Hillary laid out this scam to Obama and Biden in the Oval Office. Obama gave his approval. Then Obama rigged the game even further- making sure his handpicked DOJ and FBI would never prosecute these high crimes.

Obama also made sure they’d continue spying on the now President Trump. And use the weaponized federal government filled with Obama hacks to target, frame, demonize and destroy Trump the president. But wait, there’s more. I may despise Obama, but I also respect him. Because he’s brilliant. He ran the country like John Gotti ran his crime family. Nothing happened under Obama without him knowing. So, when Durham reports Obama’s FBI was not allowed to prosecute Hillary for her Clinton Foundation crimes (extorting world leaders), obviously Obama gave that order too. Obama knew everything Hillary was doing- she was his Secretary of State. And you can bet Obama got a piece of her corrupt loot in return for allowing her to do it, and for killing any DOJ/FBI investigations.

And if Obama knew about Hillary’s crimes extorting world leaders, you can also bet he knew about the Joe Biden “Big Guy” scam. Joe was his Vice President. You think Joe and his slimy son Hunter ran around the world extorting money from world leaders and Obama didn’t know about it? You can bet Obama got a piece of Biden’s corruption too. Just like John Gotti. The mafia Don always gets a piece of every scam run by the capos under him. Or they get wacked. And where was all the corrupt loot run out of? The Clinton Foundation. That’s why it was based offshore- far away from prying eyes. As one more layer of protection, Obama ordered the DOJ and FBI to look the other way. This is all called TREASON.

Bill Barr

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If you’re not on the list you don’t count.

Barack Obama Among 500 Americans Banned From Russia (RT)

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday published a list of 500 US citizens – including former president Barack Obama – who are banned from entering the country with immediate effect. The move is a response to the ongoing American sanctions against Moscow. “It is high time for Washington to learn that not a single attack against Russia will go without a strong reaction,” the ministry said in a statement. “The principle of inevitable punishment will be consistently applied, whether we are talking about tougher sanctions or discriminatory steps to hinder the professional activities of our citizens.” In reprisal for the US embassy in Moscow witholding visas for Russian journalists – which prevented them from accompanying Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the UN Security Council last month – the Russian government has refused to grant the embassy’s request for a consular visit to Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal correspondent charged with espionage.

Besides Obama, the list Russian blacklist includes many members of Congress, governors and attorney-generals of several US states, former officials currently on boards of prominent think tanks, military contractors who supply weapons to Ukraine, and even the short lived “disinformation czar”Nina Jankowicz. Also on the list are “those in government and law enforcement agencies who are directly involved in the persecution of dissidents in the wake of the so-called Capitol insurrection,” the Russian Foreign Ministry noted. Notable names in that category include US Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves, his predecessor Michael Sherwin, DC Attorney General Karl Racine, and Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot unarmed protester Ashli Babbitt.

Among the prominent Biden administration officials who made the blacklist are Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt (formerly the US ambassador to Ukraine in 2014); James Rubin, former State Department spokesman and current head of the Global Engagement Center; State Department Counselor Derek Chollet; and President Joe Biden’s senior advisor, Anita Dunn. TV hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Rachel Maddow, and Joe Scarborough were also among the sanctioned, along with former NBC presenter Brian Williams. Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force, Christine Wormuth and Frank Kendall, made the list as well, along with USAF Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown Jr. Think tanks and the military-industrial complex made the bulk of the list, however. Former secretary of defense and Marine general James Mattis was sanctioned for being on the board of General Dynamics, and ex-CIA director George Tenet as board member of agency contractor In-Q-Tel.

Former US ambassador to Russia John Tefft was sanctioned as a senior fellow at RAND Corporation. Nelson Strobridge “Strobe” Talbot III – formerly of the State Department – and Norm Eisen were sanctioned for their involvement with the Brookings Institute. Senior Russia and Eurasia researcher Eric Ciaramella was among the many Carnegie Foundation employees on the sanctions list, which also contained many names from the Atlantic Council and the Center for Strategic and International Studies think-tanks. Other prominent names on the Russian blacklist were Ukraine’s former finance minister Natalie Jaresko and former Russia expert at the National Security Council Fiona Hill.

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“Can someone please ask Mr. Durham why he did not bring a charge of conspiracy to commit sedition under the RICO act against the whole gang of RussiaGate players..”

Dum-Da-Dum-Dum…Dah (Kunstler)

It is impossible for now to know the constraints placed on Mr. Durham by Attorney General Merrick Garland — though it appears that Mr. Garland is just the latest initiate into the years-long shuck-and-jive that amounts to a seditious conspiracy against the republic. That is, add Mr. Garland to the long list of officials who have a lot at risk and a lot to hide, so he’s used his vested powers to hamstring Mr. Durham. But the heart of the story is out, despite all that, and pretty baldly stated: Hillary Clinton started the whole RussiaGate gag to take the heat off her own turpitudes. The federal agency heads and their lieutenants avidly used Hillary’s concocted falsehoods to foment malicious prosecutions and drive the naively accommodating President Trump out of office, and stopped at nothing until they succeeded.

There it is. We will now have to muddle through and go forward, a savagely deformed polity. Still, it will be edifying to see Mr. Durham testify before The House Judiciary Committee next week, as Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has requested. Mr. Durham may even wish to use the opportunity to redeem his tarnished reputation. Some items for review: Why did Mr. Durham omit to investigate the deceitful Mueller team (especially its actual director, Andrew Weissmann), which was an obvious cover-up operation? Ditto: the role played by President Barack Obama in the scheme to interfere in the 2016 election? Ditto: the operation to hide and then discredit Hunter Biden’s crime-stuffed laptop during the 2020 presidential election? Ditto: what has been the CIA’s role in all of this? I believe Mr. Durham will provide many interesting answers to these queries. It may be the only forum that will ever avail him to speak honestly. Presumably the House Judiciary Committee members are lawyers, and have a host of aide lawyers to fall back on for legal advice. Can someone please ask Mr. Durham why he did not bring a charge of conspiracy to commit sedition under the RICO act against the whole gang of RussiaGate players based on the “enterprise rationale” that the evidence suggests they were all vested in an effort to defenestrate a sitting president?

We will go forward from this whether we like it or not, of course, because the arrow of time flies only in that direction. What is the best way out of this wilderness of dishonor and disgrace? Take a lesson from the campaign, so far, of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The way Mr. Kennedy has been straight-talking — around the coordinated slanders and scurrilities of an ignoble news media — he makes the current leadership of the Democratic Party look like the most pathetic claque of rascally whack-jobs ever assembled under a gonfalon. Keep your eye on RFK, Jr. He’s moving downfield, even without blocking. Side-note or post-script, for those interested in how the vaccination story is going: A close friend went into the CVS pharmacy looking for a “get well soon” card. There were none. A clerk on-hand right there in the aisle said, “we can’t keep them in stock.” No “sympathy” cards either. Draw your conclusions.

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“Yet that compromise was exactly what he talked Zelenskyy out of agreeing to in April 2022, when most of the war’s dead were still alive..”

US National Security Experts: Give Peace in Ukraine a Chance (CD)

On May 16, 2023, TheNew York Times published a full-page advertisement signed by 15 U.S. national security experts about the war in Ukraine. It was headed “The U.S. Should Be a Force for Peace in the World,” and was drafted by the Eisenhower Media Network. While condemning Russia’s invasion, the statement provides a more objective account of the crisis in Ukraine than the U.S. government or TheNew York Times has previously presented to the public, including the disastrous U.S. role in NATO expansion, the warnings ignored by successive U.S. administrations, and the escalating tensions that ultimately led to war. The statement calls the war an “unmitigated disaster,” and urges President Joe Biden and Congress “to end the war speedily through diplomacy, especially given the dangers of military escalation that could spiral out of control.”

If the U.S. persists in backing the plan for a Ukrainian offensive, instead of encouraging Zelenskyy to seize the moment for diplomacy, it will share considerable responsibility for the failure to seize the chance for peace, and for the appalling and ever-rising human costs of this war. This call for diplomacy by wise, experienced former insiders—U.S. diplomats, military officers, and civilian officials—would have been a welcome intervention on any one of the past 442 days of this war. Yet their appeal now comes at an especially critical moment in the war. On May 10, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that he is delaying Ukraine’s long-awaited “spring offensive” to avoid “unacceptable” losses to Ukrainian forces.

Western policy has repeatedly put Zelenskyy in near-impossible positions, caught between the need to show signs of progress on the battlefield to justify further Western support and arms deliveries and, on the other hand, the shocking human cost of continued war represented by the fresh graveyards where tens of thousands of Ukrainians now lie buried. It is not clear how a delay in the planned Ukrainian counter-attack would prevent it leading to unacceptable Ukrainian losses when it finally occurs, unless the delay in fact leads to scaling back and calling off many of the operations that have been planned. Zelenskyy appears to be reaching a limit in terms of how many more of his people he is willing to sacrifice to satisfy Western demands for signs of military progress to hold together the Western alliance and maintain the flow of weapons and money to Ukraine.

Zelenskyy’s predicament is certainly the fault of Russia’s invasion, but also of his April 2022 deal with the devil in the shape of then-U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Johnson promised Zelenskyy that the U.K. and the “collective West” were “in it for the long run” and would back him to recover all of Ukraine’s former territory, just as long as Ukraine stopped negotiating with Russia. Johnson was never in a position to fulfill that promise and, since he was forced to resign as prime minister, he has endorsed a Russian withdrawal only from the territory it invaded since February 2022, not a return to pre-2014 borders. Yet that compromise was exactly what he talked Zelenskyy out of agreeing to in April 2022, when most of the war’s dead were still alive and the framework of a peace agreement was on the table at diplomatic talks in Turkey.

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“Meanwhile, the slaughter in the city of Bakhmut continues. It is similar in idiocy, if not in numbers, to the slaughter in Verdun and the Somme during World War I.”

The Ukraine Refugee Question (Seymour Hersh)

Last Saturday the Washington Post published an exposé of classified American intelligence documents showing that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, working behind the back of the Biden White House, pushed hard earlier this year for an expanded series of missile attacks inside Russia. The documents were part of a large cache of classified materials posted online by an Air Force enlisted man now in custody. A senior official of the Biden administration, asked by the Post for comment on the newly revealed intelligence, said that Zelensky has never violated his pledge never to use American weapons to strike inside Russia. In the view of the White House, Zelensky can do no wrong.

Zelensky’s desire to take the war to Russia may not be clear to the president and senior foreign policy aides in the White House, but it is to those in the American intelligence community who have found it difficult to get their intelligence and their assessments a hearing in the Oval Office. Meanwhile, the slaughter in the city of Bakhmut continues. It is similar in idiocy, if not in numbers, to the slaughter in Verdun and the Somme during World War I. The men in charge of today’s war—in Moscow, Kiev, and Washington—have shown no interest even in temporary ceasefire talks that could serve as a prelude to something permanent. The talk now is only about the possibilities of a late spring or summer offensive by either party.

But something else is cooking, as some in the American intelligence community know and have reported in secret, at the instigation of government officials at various levels in Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia, Czechoslovakia, and Latvia. These countries are all allies of Ukraine and declared enemies of Vladimir Putin. This group is led by Poland, whose leadership no longer fears the Russian army because its performance in Ukraine has left the glow of its success at Stalingrad during the Second World War in tatters. It has been quietly urging Zelensky to find a way to end the war—even by resigning himself, if necessary—and to allow the process of rebuilding his nation to get under way.

Zelensky is not budging, according to intercepts and other data known inside the Central Intelligence Agency, but he is beginning to lose the private support of his neighbors. One of the driving forces for the quiet European talks with Zelensky has been the more than five million Ukrainians fleeing from the war who have crossed the country’s borders and have registered with its neighbors under an EU agreement for temporary protection that includes residency rights, access to the labor market, housing, social welfare assistance, and medical care. An assessment published by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reports that the estimate excludes roughly 3 million Ukrainian refugees who escaped from the war zone without a visa into any of the 27 European nations that have abolished border control between each other under the Schengen agreement.

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“I have even seen proposed maps carving up Russia after they destroy its government and subjugate its people, as they once planned to carve up China. It is sad to say, but unless Ukraine loses this war, we are in for a total worldwide war on an unprecedented scale post-2024.”

Why Ukraine Must Lose to Save the World (Martin Armstrong)

There is a major problem with Ukraine’s claims of shooting down a barrage of supersonic missiles. This cannot be confirmed independently and Ukraine is notoriously always putting out fake news typically to get more money. The incentive to create this type of fake news is that Western countries who have been supporting Ukraine are concerned that the military support for Kiev may soon peak as they run out of funds. There is concern that funds for Ukraine will be curtailed ahead of the 2024 presidential election in the United States, the Financial Times recently reported. The Neocons are desperately trying to create World War III before the 2024 election. They are fighting against any cutbacks for Ukraine. This has highlighted that European officials now are increasingly concerned about the flow of aid next year as the US enters a divisive presidential campaign.

According to the FT, Washington has been Kiev’s major source of military aid. US officials interviewed by the newspaper say the remaining funds preapproved by Congress could sustain Ukraine for about another five months. Western officials in regular contact with the US over Ukraine told the FT that Washington sees that period of time as the last real chance for Kiev to change the situation on the ground. There is a twist. That is the debt ceiling and funds would stop flowing after June 1st unless Biden yields on his insane agenda. European official told the FT newspaper “We can’t keep the same level of assistance forever.” Politico reported earlier that only $6 billion of the original $48 billion military aid package that the US had approved previously is all that is left. Without Congressional approval, US aid to Ukraine will be finished by mid-summer.

This claim of shooting down every supersonic missile just does not ring true and it would be typical of Ukraine to boast in order to keep the money flowing. Ukraine’s air defenses conveniently claim that they shot down “[a]ll 18 missiles were destroyed by the forces and means of air defense of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.” We must be cautious about claims during war for the first causality is ALWAYS the truth, especially when this claim comes at the precise moment when the funds may end in a few weeks. Meanwhile, Zelensky is the WAR CRIMINAL here as are our Western leaders. The real war criminals are the leaders who instigate war. You are correct about his meeting with the Pope was all for a theatrical display. Zelensky stated that he saw no sense in trying to involve Russia in a dialogue at this stage. He rejected the Pope’s offer to mediate He said: “One cannot make a mediation with Putin. He just knows how to kill. It is not a question of the Vatican, Latin America or China.”

Zelensky’s statement shows the hatred of the majority of Ukrainian people toward Russians. He cares nothing for all the Ukrainians who have fled to other countries. He cares nothing for all the Ukrainians dying. Alessandro Di Battista, an Italian journalist, and former lawmaker, reported on Zelensky’s European tour visiting several European countries showed that he was only interested in getting more weapons, not peace.= “Zelensky went on a tour to get ammunition. The only thing he’s after is weapons because he’s not interested in peace,” Di Battista was quoted as saying by the Adnkronos news agency. In addition, Zelensky’s wife, Yelena Zelenskaya, went to Seoul and asked South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to ship air defense systems to Ukraine and provide assistance with modern technology.

This illustrates that Ukraine will sacrifice its people rather than seek peace and simply honor the Minsk Agreement. This is what the American Neocons want – sacrifice every Ukrainian just to conquer Russia. The Neocons have ZERO respect for human life on either side. Indeed. Zelensky prays for the destruction of more Ukrainian property so he will get his cut from Blackrock for rebuilding Ukraine which our computer says WILL NOT HAPPEN! I stress once again – do NOT invest in this Blackrock venture which rubs its hands in blood and at least Pilot tried to wash his hands after sentencing Christ – not Blackrock or Zelensky. It will become a classic short. Sorry – I do not believe Aladdin has the database needed to make such a speculative investment.

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“..makes Western countries de facto direct parties in the conflict..”

US To Allow Allied Transfers Of F-16s To Ukraine (RT)

The US government will not block allied countries from sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine if they decide to do so, multiple news outlets reported on Friday, citing American officials. Sources cited by the Washington Post, CNN, NBC and other media said the White House is prepared to allow F-16 shipments after months of Ukrainian requests for the aircraft, which is being used by more than two dozen nations. A senior White House official told NBC that Washington had already informed its partners about the decision. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan on Saturday, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that “in the coming months, we will work with our allies to determine when the planes will be delivered, who will be delivering them, and how many.”


UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced earlier that London would back the creation of an “international coalition” to supply the F-16s and other aircraft to Kiev. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky met with the PM this week and lobbied for Western fighter jets, insisting they are needed for Kiev’s much-touted counteroffensive. The US military is currently training Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16s. However, Washington has so far declined to provide its own warplanes to Kiev. Moscow has warned against supplying Kiev with weapons, arguing that it will only prolong the fighting and do little to deter its military objectives. The Kremlin says that military support to Ukraine, which includes the training of troops and sharing of intelligence, makes Western countries de facto direct parties in the conflict.

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“How can you engage in equal talks with a half-decayed neo-Nazi country, which is under external governance? ”

Medvedev Sees ‘No Need At All’ For Talks On Ukraine (TASS)

Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev sees no point in conducting negotiations on the situation in Ukraine and around it at the moment, because talks should be conducted only with the Kiev government’s ‘masters’ in Washington and only about post-conflict world order. Commenting on European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s latest remarks against equal negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel on Friday that he would “find it difficult to disagree” with her in this regard. “This is certainly so. How can you engage in equal talks with a half-decayed neo-Nazi country, which is under external governance?


Talks are possible only with its masters, namely with Washington. There is no one else to talk to,” Medvedev wrote. In his opinion, negotiations are possible only on the subject of “post-conflict world order.” “However, it is too early to speak about it,” the Russian official added. “That is why there is no need at all for any negotiations.” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima on Friday that equal negotiations between Russia and Ukraine must be rejected. In her words, G7 member states must support Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s so-called peace plan.

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“.. Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute that created the court. Neither are the US, China, India and several dozen other countries.”

Russia Orders Arrest Of ICC Prosecutor (RT)

The Russian Interior Ministry on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, the British lawyer currently acting as chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. In March, Khan sought the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, children’s rights commissioner, for the alleged war crime of “unlawful deportation and transfer” of children from “occupied areas of Ukraine” to Russia. The ICC had acted on claims by the government in Kiev that Russia’s evacuation of children from civilian areas under fire by Ukrainian forces amounted to forcible transfer of population, which was defined as a crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention.


Three days after Khan’s announcement, on March 20, the Russian Investigative Committee launched a probe into the prosecutor, as well as three ICC judges who approved his warrant – Tomoko Akane, Rosario Salvatore Aitala and Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godinez. The investigation focused on articles 299 and 360 of the Russian criminal code, namely bringing criminal charges against persons known to be innocent, and preparations for an attack on a representative of a foreign state enjoying international protection in order to complicate international relations. Moscow has dismissed the ICC warrants against Putin and Lvova-Belova as null and void, as Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute that created the court. Neither are the US, China, India and several dozen other countries.

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“Greenpeace activists have engaged in spreading anti-Russian propaganda, and have called for the further economic isolation of our country and the toughening of sanctions.”

Russian Prosecutor General Designates Greenpeace As ‘Undesirable’ (TASS)

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has designated the activities of Greenpeace International within the country as undesirable, the law enforcement agency’s press service told reporters on Friday. “According to the findings of a study of the available materials, investigators have established that the activities of the international non-governmental, non-profit organization Greenpeace International (Stichting [a Dutch form of legal entity] Greenpeace Council, Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Foundation Council, Greenpeace, the Netherlands) represent a threat to the fundamental constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation,” the Prosecutor General’s Office said.

Investigators pointed out that, “when applied to the Russian Federation, the environmental activities of Greenpeace are in fact accompanied by the active promotion of a political agenda, [as well as] attempts to interfere in the domestic affairs of the country, and are aimed at undermining its economic foundations.” Since the start of Russia’s special military operation for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, “Greenpeace activists have engaged in spreading anti-Russian propaganda, and have called for the further economic isolation of our country and the toughening of sanctions.” As the Prosecutor General’s Office explained, Greenpeace’s work is often connected with efforts to obstruct the implementation of Russian government programs by means of organizing information campaigns and unauthorized mass public actions in order to engender negative public opinion and impede the implementation of infrastructure and energy projects that are beneficial to the country.

In addition, the foundation finances the activities of Russian organizations that have been designated as foreign agents and demands changes in Russian legislation to the detriment of our society and citizens. “The foundation’s efforts are aimed at destabilizing the social and political situation and attempting to effect regime change in the country in an unconstitutional manner,” investigators said, adding that information about Greenpeace’s activities being designated as undesirable in Russia was forwarded to the Russian Ministry of Justice for inclusion in the official list of foreign and international non-governmental organizations whose activities have been deemed undesirable in Russia. Greenpeace has been active in Russia for more than 30 years, since the late 1980s.

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“Every single foreign adversary the US has encountered has always been depicted as an “imminent threat” to American values in a way articulated to provoke fear amongst the population..”

Is China The Only Issue Holding The US Together? (Fomenko)

The US is a vast and diverse nation. It has a population of over 300 million people across a territorial expanse which is the third largest in the world by some definitions. Across its 50 states, a variety of different ethnic and social backgrounds can be found. Your Baptist pastor from Alabama has nothing in common with your ambitious young middle-class banker living in New York City, and even less with your struggling African-American family in the same city. In incorporating such diversity, the political system of the US is also by constitution decentralized, delegating power into multiple branches of government dispersed across federal, state and local levels. It is no surprise that this has produced a political system which is beset by often bitter division and intense ideological and value-based conflicts.

This has been enough, as history demonstrates, to plunge the country into a civil war. The development of mass media and social networks has only made it worse. Thus, starting in the 20th century, the American elite structure has sought to maintain control over its nation by vesting itself in the politics of fear mongering, which forces a continual emphasis on “American values,” namely democracy and liberty, in the bid to maintain a basic consensus for the justification of the state itself. Every single foreign adversary the US has encountered has always been depicted as an “imminent threat” to American values in a way articulated to provoke fear amongst the population, as if to constantly remind them of what they have. This has ranged from the Soviet Union, to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, to North Korea, to Russia and to China.

Every adversary is depicted as almost omnipotent, with power to infiltrate, sabotage, and subvert the US. In doing so, as we are seeing now with the debt ceiling crisis, every single one of these adversaries is deemed to benefit from whatever fundamental disagreement US politicians may be having, subsequently forcing them to coalesce around a position of unity for the “greater good” – as if it doesn’t exist otherwise. When analyzed through this lens, if the US runs out of adversaries and threats, politicians genuinely might have difficulty justifying the existence or unity of the nation altogether in its current form. The US centralizes itself through fear and hysteria, because if not for those things constantly looming, Americans wouldn’t have a whole lot to agree on, be it guns, abortion, LGBTQ rights, immigration, or anything else.

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Talk about a threat to America…

End the FBI (McMaken)

Even if we ignore the fact that there is no provision in the US constitution for a federal police force, it is nonetheless apparent that the FBI, which now bills itself primarily as an intelligence organization, is simply duplicating the work of countless other organizations in this respect. There are at least 18 intelligence organizations current being funded by US taxpayers. Further, prosecuting any real crime does not require an additional layer of federal law. Fraud, theft, murder, and assault are all already illegal in every single US state. If a huge continent-spanning police force is necessary to keep law and order, how is it that Europe somehow manages to survive without a Europe-wide police? Data sharing organizations like INTERPOL—which is staffed by agents with no power to arrest or launch their own investigations—somehow manage to work. The FBI will no doubt argue that it brings valuable resources to cash-strapped police forces when more resources are needed.


The FBI only has access to these resources, however, because the federal government extracts more than $10 billion dollars from state and local taxpayers first, and then hands it over to the FBI to “help” the locals. The Durham report is only the latest indication that the true nature of the FBI. In a 2020 essay, Angelo Codevilla examined the rot at the core of the FBI. He goes far too easy on the FBI in early decades, but he was right enough when it came to the present state of the agency. He wrote: Thus FBI officers became standard bureaucrats who learned to operate on the assumption that all Americans were equally likely as not to be proper targets of investigation. They replaced the distinctions by which they had previously operated with the classic bureaucratic imperative: look out for yourselves by making sure to please the powerful.

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A class society.

Israel’s State-Building Project Is Unraveling – From Within (Cook)

As Israel celebrates its 75th anniversary, the state-building project it cemented into place in 1948 by expelling 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland is showing the first signs of unraveling. The surprise is that Israel’s woes spring not, as generations of its leaders feared, from outside forces – a combined attack from Arab states or pressure from the international community – but from Israel’s own internal contradictions. Israeli leaders created the very problems they all too obviously lack the tools to now solve. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bombardment of Gaza in recent days, killing dozens of Palestinians, should be understood in that light. It is one more indication of Israel’s internal crisis.

Once again, the Palestinians are being used in a frantic bid to shore up an increasingly fragile “Jewish” unity. Israel’s long-term problem is underscored by the current, bitter standoff over Netanyahu’s plan for a so-called judicial overhaul. The Israeli Jewish population is split down the middle, with neither side willing to back down. Rightly, each sees the confrontation in terms of a zero-sum battle. And behind this stands a political system in near-constant paralysis, with neither side of the divide able to gain a stable majority in the parliament. Israel is now mired in a permanent, low-level civil war.To understand how Israel reached this point, and where it is likely to head next, one must delve deep into the country’s origin story.

The official narrative is that Israel was created out of necessity: to serve as a safe haven for Jews fleeing centuries of persecution and the horrors of the Nazi death camps in Europe. The resulting ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the erasure of hundreds of their towns and villages – what Palestinians call their Nakba, or Catastrophe – is either mystified or presented simply as a desperate act of self-defense by a long-victimized people. This colossal act of dispossession, aided and abetted by western powers, has been reinvented for western publics as a simple morality tale, as a story of redemption.

Israel’s establishment was not only a chance for the Jewish people to gain self-determination through statehood so they would never again be persecuted. Jews would also build a state from scratch that would offer to the world a more virtuous model of how to live. This tapped neatly, if subliminally, into a western, Christian-derived worldview that looked to the Holy Land for salvation. Jews would restore their place as “a light unto the nations” by “redeeming” the land they had stolen from the Palestinians and offering a path by which westerners could redeem themselves too.

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“..peace-making is no longer made in the US or Israel, as China’s success in mediating between Iran and Saudi Arabia has significantly shifted Middle Eastern geopolitics..”

Israel and the ‘New’ Middle East (Sheikh)

In 2020, when Israel, backed by the US, signed the Abraham Accords with the UAE and some other Middle Eastern states, the Israeli government looked well in charge of the trajectory of the peace process in the Middle East. Three years later, peace-making is no longer made in the US or Israel, as China’s success in mediating between Iran and Saudi Arabia has significantly shifted Middle Eastern geopolitics’ local and international dynamics. Locally, more and more Arab states are now pursuing ‘normalisation’; internationally, Beijing, rather than Washington, is playing the lead role. This adds to Israel’s troubles, as it can no longer influence these developments even indirectly via Beijing for obvious reasons. At the same time, if the underlying logic of the Abraham Accords was to expand Israeli influence in the Arab world and further isolate Iran, this is no longer possible.

While the US and Israeli officials have stated that the Iran-Saudia deal doesn’t impact the politics and the possibility of the possible extension of the Abraham Accords, it remains that the deal has not materialised despite various rounds of talks. While one of the key reasons is the change of government in the US, with the Biden administration not sharing the Trump administration’s enthusiasm for both peace in the Middle East and deep ties with Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, too, is not keen to make this deal. In other words, the China-led ‘new’ peace process in the Middle East is nothing short of a setback for Israel. This is most clearly evident from the way Saudi position vis-à-vis talks with Israel has hardened in the past few months or so.

As reported in the mainstream media in the US as well, not only is Saudi Arabia demanding additional security guarantees from Washington but is also seeking the latter’s help to develop its civilian nuclear programme. This is besides the Saudi demand from the US to loosen restrictions on the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia. These demands are in addition to a persistent Saudi demand from Israel to “do something to address Palestinian aspirations for independence.” From the US and Israeli perspectives, the Saudis are only using the scenario to extract maximum concessions from them in exchange for ‘normalisation.’ From their perspectives, they might ultimately need to address some of the Saudi demands, given that a peace process in the Middle East that excludes Israel as a player will ultimately lead to Israeli isolation in the region insofar as other states are most likely to continue pursuing their normalization politics under the Chinese auspices.

As irony would have it – and as it may further complicate the US position – China recently offered its services to mediate between Israel and Palestine to develop a realistic peace plan. If the US fails to convince Saudia, Israel, fearing increasing isolation, may ultimately move towards China for a new peace process. The US, so far, has failed to make any headway in this direction i.e., towards an Israel-Saudi peace process. In fact, the failure to address Saudi demands is pushing the latter in the opposite direction. Saudi Arabia, as again reported in the US mainstream media, is moving to normalise and streamline its ties with Hamas, a Palestinian militia resisting Israel but designated by the US as a ‘terrorist group.’

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“.. in 2030, Poland will be wealthier than we are,” he said. “In 2040, we will be the poor man in Europe.”

UK In ‘Geriatric Decline’ – Legendary Financier (RT)

Brexit has weakened the UK economy and driven the nation into a “sort of geriatric decline,” British financier and chairman of the private equity firm Terra Firma told Bloomberg on Friday. Since the UK left the European Union, it has been competing on the world stage, but the country’s current laws might not be suitable for the new environment, billionaire Guy Hands suggested in the outlet’s weekly ‘In The City’ podcast. Unless change happens, the UK risks becoming poorer and poorer compared to other European countries. “I look at the UK and see that, in 2030, Poland will be wealthier than we are,” he said. “In 2040, we will be the poor man in Europe.”

According to Hands, the UK should not have left the EU, as the country needs rule of law and consistency, but not a single politician is talking about going back. He lamented that Brexit has essentially thrown the country back 50 years, to the 1970’s, a decade that is widely remembered as a time of crisis, with skyrocketing inflation, high unemployment, strikes and power cuts. The enormous amount of political change that has happened in the UK over the past seven years has left investors concerned, and the public lacking confidence, the billionaire believes.

Now that the UK is out of the EU, the British government could take a radical approach and change some of its laws, Hands said, citing the country’s “extraordinarily complex” labor laws that are “a nightmare” compared to other European countries. The UK also needs some “boring bookkeeping,” and the current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak seems to be good at it, according to Hands. The financier noted that the British government has succeeded in repairing some of the damage caused by Liz Truss, whose economic policies were “absolutely disastrous” and would have led to the country needing a bailout. Truss’s argument, however, that the UK needed to become much more productive to be more competitive was “100% right”.

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Elon 2008

 

 


The Japanese paradise flycatcher is a medium-sized passerine bird native to southeastern Asia. Photo by Young Sung Bae

 

 

Rotor

 

 

 

 

Acorn

 

 


Severely damaged by a storm, the tallest tree in Wales was supposed to be cut down. But chainsaw artist Simon O’Rourke found a better solution to symbolise the tree’s last attempt to reach the sky…

‘The Giant Hand Of Vyrnwy’

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 012023
 
 April 1, 2023  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  58 Responses »


Willem de Kooning Door to the river 1960

 

The Capital of the Multipolar World: A Moscow Diary (Pepe Escobar)
US Urges Americans To Leave Russia ‘Immediately’ (RT)
Nebenzya: Without Russia the UN Will Lose Its Meaning (TASS)
ICC’s Putin Arrest Warrant Based On US-funded Report That Debunked Itself (GZ)
Europe Needs Russia To Survive – Lukashenko (RT)
China’s Xi Is Right: Changes Not Seen For A Century (Lukyanov)
From Iraq War To Arming Ukraine. Where Will This Lead? (Sushenstov)
Comparing Beijing, Minsk Peace Plans In Ukraine Inappropriate – Kremlin (TASS)
West Can’t Sweep Nord Stream Sabotage Under The Carpet – Diplomat (TASS)
Russian Needs Major Effort In Bakhmut Despite Heavy Kiev Losses – Wagner (TASS)
EU Underestimates Russian Economic Capacity – Orban (RT)
Norway’s Wealth Fund Unable To Withdraw Funds From Russia (RT)
‘Peacekeepers’ Deployed To Ukraine Without Russia’s Consent – Medvedev (TASS)
Did They Light Up a Cigarette Afterward? (Kunstler)
Manhattan Assistant DA Nukes Twitter Account After Anti-Trump Bias Exposed (ZH)
The Trump Indictment: Making History in the Worst Possible Way (Turley)
Stirrings of Euro Eco-rebellion (Higgie)

 

 

 

 

Dowd

 

 

“Gates, the WHO, a ton of these universities: they’re all talking about including mRNA vaccinations as part of the food. They’re gonna modify the genes of these foods to make them mRNA vaccines,” warned attorney @TomRenz. Missouri HB 1169 seeks to counter such an effort. It’s been described as “one of the most controversial bills in history,” but all it is – is a labeling bill. If a food product is a gene therapy product, you have every right to know. So, if this bill gets passed, it’s a major victory not just for our well-being — but also for discovery, too.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641990297142829056

 

 

 

 

Trump team
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641827495426113536

 

 

Tucker Trump
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641973692740833281

 

 

Beck
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641603632100524035

 

 

 

 

Ursula

 

 

Kneissl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western media refuse to report on the major changes happening. How does that serve their audience?

The Capital of the Multipolar World: A Moscow Diary (Pepe Escobar)

How sharp was good ol’ Lenin, prime modernist, when he mused, “there are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen”. This global nomad now addressing you has enjoyed the privilege of spending four astonishing weeks in Moscow at the heart of an historical crossroads – culminating with the Putin-Xi geopolitical game-changing summit at the Kremlin. [..] The initial gut feeling the day I arrived, after a seven-hour walk under snow flurries, was confirmed: this is the capital of the multipolar world. I saw it among the West Asians at the Valdai. I saw it talking to visiting Iranians, Turks and Chinese. I saw it when over 40 African delegations took over the whole area around the Duma – the day Xi arrived in town. I saw it throughout the reception across the Global South to what Xi and Putin are proposing to the overwhelming majority of the planet.

In Moscow you feel no crisis. No effects of sanctions. No unemployment. No homeless people in the streets. Minimal inflation. Import substitution in all areas, especially agriculture, has been a resounding success. Supermarkets have everything – and more – compared to the West. There’s an abundance of first-rate restaurants. You can buy a Bentley or a Loro Pianna cashmere coat you can’t even find in Italy. We laughed about it chatting with managers at the TSUM department store. At the BiblioGlobus bookstore, one of them told me, “We are the Resistance.”

By the way, I had the honor to deliver a talk on the war in Ukraine at the coolest bookshop in town, Bunker, mediated by my dear friend, immensely knowledgeable Dima Babich. A huge responsibility. Especially because Vladimir L. was in the audience. He’s Ukrainian, and spent 8 years, up to 2022, telling it like it really was to Russian radio, until he managed to leave – after being held at gunpoint – using an internal Ukrainian passport. Later we went to a Czech beer hall where he detailed his extraordinary story. In Moscow, their toxic ghosts are always lurking in the background. Yet one cannot but feel sorry for the psycho Straussian neocons and neoliberal-cons who now barely qualify as Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski’s puny orphans.

In the late 1990s, Brzezinski pontificated that, “Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical center because its very existence as an independent state helps transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.” With or without a demilitarized and denazified Ukraine, Russia has already changed the narrative. This is not about becoming a Eurasian empire again. This is about leading the long, complex process of Eurasia integration – already in effect – in parallel to supporting true, sovereign independence across the Global South.

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This is hilarious. Blinken and Jean-Pierre tell everyone to “depart immediately”, and then “National Security Council spokesperson” Kirby “explained Washington was not actually calling upon all Americans to literally leave Russia and was not encouraging news outlets to withdraw their correspondents from the country.”

Leave, but not literally?! Do note Russia says they caught Gershkovich “red-handed”…

US Urges Americans To Leave Russia ‘Immediately’ (RT)

Washington has called upon Americans who are traveling to or residing in Russia to leave the country “immediately” in the aftermath of the arrest of Wall Street Journal (WSJ) correspondent Evan Gershkovich. While Moscow said he was caught “red-handed” trying to obtain state secrets, the US has condemned the arrest as an assault on “press freedom.” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was “deeply concerned” about the development, adding that “in the strongest possible terms, we condemn the Kremlin’s continued attempts to intimidate, repress, and punish journalists and civil society voices.”

“We reiterate our strong warnings about the danger posed to US citizens inside the Russian Federation. US citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately,” the top diplomat said in a statement. A similar message was conveyed by the White House, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stating that the “targeting of American citizens by the Russian government is unacceptable.” “We also condemn the Russian government’s continued targeting and repression of journalists and freedom of the press,” she added, urging Americans to “heed the US government’s warning to not travel to Russia” or leave should they happen to already be in the country.

The call was somewhat watered down by US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, who explained Washington was not actually calling upon all Americans to literally leave Russia and was not encouraging news outlets to withdraw their correspondents from the country. Gershkovich, a WSJ correspondent who covers news from Russia, Ukraine, and the former USSR, was detained in the city of Ekaterinburg on suspicion of espionage, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced earlier in the day. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the journalist was caught “red-handed” while trying to obtain Russian state secrets.

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“Apparently, the collective West’s thinking is that children, in particular, orphans, are better left in the war zone.”

Nebenzya: Without Russia the UN Will Lose Its Meaning (TASS)

Will the informal meeting of the UN Security Council on the “Arria formula” on children evacuated from the Ukrainian conflict zone touch upon the issue of their return, as you mentioned at the press conference? The “Arria formula” meeting is designed to bring to the international community first-hand information about evacuated children from the war zone in Donbass and Ukraine and dispel the false narrative spread by the Western media about the alleged “abductions” of children from Ukraine and attempts to “destroy their identity.” I would like to emphasize once again that we are talking about evacuation from the war zone in full compliance with the obligations under International Humanitarian Law, as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Apparently, the collective West’s thinking is that children, in particular, orphans, are better left in the war zone.

From the beginning of the special military operation to the present, millions of people have been evacuated in this way, including children, who in the overwhelming majority of cases arrived on the territory of Russia with their parents, guardians and trustees. Only a small number of evacuated children were in institutions for orphans and children left without parental care. Children who were pupils at institutions located within the administrative boundaries of the DPR and LPR at the time of recognition of their independence by the Russian Federation were transferred under guardianship. Great attention was paid to the placement of minors in the families of blood relatives living in Russia. The Westerners’ use of the term “adoption” in this context is deliberately misleading. In reality, we are talking about temporary preliminary guardianship or temporary guardianship.

The main goal is for children to be in families, not orphanages. This form was chosen specifically taking into account the potential reunification of minors with their blood relatives, if any are found. The Russian side does not prevent children from maintaining contact and communication with their relatives and friends, regardless of their place of residence. To simplify the reunification process, parents can seek help finding their child directly from the office of the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights. To this day, with the participation of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights, 15 children from 8 families have already been reunited with their relatives. We have held a number of meetings with representatives of the Regional Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, who also decided to facilitate the reunification of children with parents outside the Russian Federation and Ukraine (in Poland, Portugal and Norway), within the framework of the organization’s mandate.

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Jeremy Loffredo and Max Blumenthal for the Grayzone.

ICC’s Putin Arrest Warrant Based On US-funded Report That Debunked Itself (GZ)

On March 17, the Prosecutor General of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, introduced an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Llova-Belova. The warrant, which accused Putin and Lolva-Belova of conducting the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children to a “network of camps” across the Russian Federation, inspired a wave of incendiary commentary in the West. US Sen. Lindsey Graham, perhaps the most aggressive cheerleader in Congress for war with Russia, proclaimed: “The ICC has an arrest warrant for Putin because he has organized the kidnapping of at least 16,000 Ukrainian children from their families and sent them to Russia. It is exactly what Hitler did in World War II.” CNN’s Fareed Zakaria echoed Graham, declaring the ICC warrant revealed that Putin “is in fact following parts of Hitler’s playbook.”

The ICC prosecutor appeared to have based his arrest warrant on research produced by Yale University’s Humanitarian Research Lab (HRL). Yale HRL’s work was funded and guided by the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, an entity the Biden administration established in May 2022 to advance the prosecution of Russian officials. During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Yale HRL’s executive director, Nathaniel Raymond, claimed his report provided proof that “thousands of children are in a hostage situation.” Invoking the Holocaust, Raymond asserted, “We are dealing with the largest network of children camps seen in the 21st century.”

Yet in an interview with Jeremy Loffredo, the co-author of this report, and in his own paper for Yale HRL, Raymond contradicted many of the bombastic claims he made to the media about child hostages. During a phone conversation with Loffredo, Raymond acknowledged that “a large amount” of the camps his team investigated were “primarily cultural education – like, I would say, teddy bear.” Yale HRL’s report similarly acknowledges that most of the camps it profiled provided free recreational programs for disadvantaged youth whose parents sought “to protect their children from ongoing fighting” and “ensure they had nutritious food of the sort unavailable where they live.” Nearly all of the campers returned home in a timely manner after attending with the consent of their parents, according to the paper. The State Department-funded report further concedes that it found “no documentation of child mistreatment.”

Yale HRL based its research entirely on Maxar satellite data, Telegram postings, and Russian media reports, relying on Google translate to interpret them and at times misrepresented the articles in its citations. The State Department-funded unit conceded that it performed no field research for its paper, stating that it “does not conduct ground-level investigations and therefore did not request access to the camps.” Unlike the Yale investigators who inspired the ICC’s arrest warrant, Loffredo gained unfettered access to a Russian government camp in Moscow that houses youth from the war-torn Donbas region. Though it is precisely the kind of center that Yale HRL – and by extension, the ICC – have portrayed as a “re-education camp” for Ukrainian child hostages, he found a hotel full of happy campers receiving free classical music lessons in their native Russian language from first-class instructors – a “teddy bear,” as Raymond called it.

At The Donbas Express music camp located just outside of Moscow, youth told Loffredo they were grateful to have found refuge from the Ukrainian army’s years-long campaign of shelling and besiegement of their homeland. By fleeing the war in Donbas, these children had escaped a nightmarish military conflict for which Yale HRL and the ICC have demonstrated little to no concern.

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The UN needs Russia, and Europe needs Russia.

Europe Needs Russia To Survive – Lukashenko (RT)

The world is currently witnessing “the destruction of Europe,”Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told the national parliament in an annual address on Friday. The continent is losing its independence because Western nations are turning into US satellites, the Belarusian leader believes. Only uniting with Moscow could stop that, he said. “The policy of the European Union, both foreign and internal, has become totally subordinated to US interests,” Lukashenko said, as he accused European leaders of lacking the political will to make their nations truly independent in international affairs. According to Lukashenko, the US has long been pursuing a policy of economic suppression against the EU. The emergence of Europe’s own competitive currency, the euro, has prompted the US to start “suffocating” its “subjects,” he stated.

Washington is also using the ongoing conflict in Ukraine to “stall” Europe, the Belarusian president added. The only way out for Europe is to join forces with Russia, Lukashenko said. “Europe can survive only together with us, primarily with Russia,” he told the lawmakers. “If Russia and Europe unite, it will be a powerhouse no one can beat.” The statements were made as Russia unveiled its revised foreign policy concept. The document, which outlines the nation’s strategic priorities, called the “anti-Russian policy” of the US a major threat to international peace. At the same time, Moscow maintained that it did not consider Western nations to be adversaries and was ready for dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect.

The developments came amid the ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, in which the EU followed the US in supporting Kiev with both military and financial aid while slapping Moscow with unprecedented sanctions. The EU has also tried to get rid of Russian oil and gas imports, which has negatively impacted European nations that were previously heavily dependent on Russian energy imports, like Germany. Although the German government announced in January that the country would narrowly avoid a recession this year, credit ratings agency Fitch predicted earlier this month that the German economy would enter recession by late 2023.

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“We will take our cue from Xi, who sees the changes taking place as a sign of necessary renewal. And we will manage the costs somehow.”

China’s Xi Is Right: Changes Not Seen For A Century (Lukyanov)

The second half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first have been very comfortable times for the world as a whole. In terms of the overall geopolitical arrangement, we saw first a rather strong balance based on bipolar confrontation, then a relatively stable hegemony. But there has also been progress in the social and economic senses. Many positive changes took place after the Second World War. The welfare state model spread across most of Europe, and even the United States, with its more modest traditions in this sphere, made great strides. Similar changes also took place on the other side of the Iron Curtain, with a focus on improving living standards and consumer diversity added to the traditional priorities of defence. In the Third World, as colonial possessions were disappearing there was an enthusiasm for freedom and a belief in the future. Even if many of the new states carried little heft.

The end of the Cold War brought with it new expectations. The ‘free world’ enjoyed a ‘peace dividend’ (reduced military spending) and the opportunity to extend its economic expansion into previously closed areas. The former socialist countries took advantage of the opening up in every way they could and – at least for individuals – there were more opportunities than before. This was often to the detriment of state capacity, but it was believed that this was the general trend – the individual was more important. Eventually, the former Third World tried to take advantage of both. Many countries in Asia, for example, have benefited greatly from globalization. Meanwhile, a lot of people from states which have underachieved have chosen to move to wealthier locations.

Both periods had one thing in common – a widespread feeling that tomorrow would be better than yesterday. However, now, just like that, it’s over. At present, it’s commonplace to accuse political elites of unprofessionalism and bad governance. Without making excuses for individual politicians, the current generation – which grew up in these very favourable conditions – has had to deal with shifts of a tectonic nature. The exhaustion of the previous financial model of the capitalist economy, the communications revolution (one of the main results of which is the mental divide between the mature and the young), technological change with inevitable consequences for the labour market, an ageing population in the developed countries, and a rejuvenation in previously troubled states is creating a completely different international environment.

Moreover, the interconnectedness of the planet does not allow anyone to isolate themselves from the general instability, which spills over national borders in various forms. Moreover, as was the case a century ago, the growth of socio-political activism among the masses is leading to the radicalization of political groups. And with traditional parties and ideologies in deep crisis, radicalization can take quite archaic forms. We will take our cue from Xi, who sees the changes taking place as a sign of necessary renewal. And we will manage the costs somehow.

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“America at the Apex.”

From Iraq War To Arming Ukraine. Where Will This Lead? (Sushenstov)

This year’s twentieth anniversary of the illegal Iraq invasion paradoxically coincided with major international events. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, was in Moscow on the day, while a Russia-Africa Parliamentary Forum opened at the same time. In 2003, at the height of its power, the US proclaimed its “unipolar moment” in which it would dominate unchallenged, needing no allies and tolerating no objections from adversaries. History, it was believed, had a single purpose, and they would stop at nothing to achieve it. Indeed, American military, political and economic dominance seemed total at the time, echoing the sentiments of Henry Kissinger, who a few years earlier had written that “America at the Apex.”

Twenty years later, we are witnessing the flowering of multi-polarity: in Moscow, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China talking to the Russian President, two countries contributing to a change the world has not seen in a hundred years. This transience of world history shows how quickly historical cycles change, but it is also important that the US itself, through its actions in different parts of the world, is accelerating its course. One of the most important strategic mistakes made by Washington was the invasion of Iraq. Based on a false pretext and deliberately misleading the international community, it led to a series of serious war crimes, a catastrophic civil war, the shattering of Iraqi statehood and significant repercussions for the entire Middle East.

Just a few years of American presence in Iraq resulted in huge numbers civilian deaths, indiscriminate use of force, and the destruction of several cities, including Mosul. During the evacuation of the Russian embassy during the 2003 US invasion, a convoy of diplomats came under US fire and several were injured. US private military contractors, who at one point had the same presence in the country as official troops, committed a number of war crimes. The abuse of prisoners by the US military at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad has been well documented. When the International Criminal Court raised the question of the responsibility of American citizens being charged over offenses in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US responded by saying that it would prosecute the judges who raised the issue and that they should withdraw their initiatives immediately. Arguably the greatest crime of the US in Iraq has been to create a civil war that has resulted in a terrible number of casualties with estimates ranging from 600,000 to one million.

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“..a number of provisions of China’s plan were unlikely to materialize right away, as Kiev was unable to disobey the West.”

Comparing Beijing, Minsk Peace Plans In Ukraine Inappropriate – Kremlin (TASS)

It will be inappropriate to compare the two sets of ideas for a peace settlement in Ukraine, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on Friday. “We believe it will be hardly appropriate to compare these two sets of ideas, I mean the plan that was voiced by [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] and the one that [Belarusian] President Alexander] Lukashenko has just mentioned,” the Kremlin spokesman said. He also noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had discussed with Xi the plan proposed by China and some of its individual provisions. At the same time, according to Peskov, a number of provisions of China’s plan were unlikely to materialize right away, as Kiev was unable to disobey the West.

“The plan [peace plan proposed by China] has not been put on hold, but there are certain provisions that, so to say, cannot be implemented for now due to the inability of the Ukrainian side to disobey its patrons, its commanders,” Peskov said. “These commanders, as we know, are not in Kiev. They insist that the war should continue,” he added. On March 20-22, Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Moscow. Among other things he discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin China’s plan for a peace settlement in Ukraine. The Russian leader said afterwards that many of the provisions of that plan were in line with Russia’s own approaches and could be used as the basis for a peace settlement, when the West and Kiev were ready for it.

Earlier on Friday, Lukashenko, in his address to the people and parliament of Belarus, called for declaring truce in Ukraine “without the right to move and regroup troops on both sides and without the right to move weapons and ammunition, manpower and equipment.” Lukashenko explained that in such a situation, “if the West once again tries to use the pause to deceitfully strengthen its positions, Russia will be obliged to use the entire strength of its military-industrial complex and the army to prevent an escalation of the conflict.”

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Nebenzya comes to the front. Yet another erudite spokesman.

West Can’t Sweep Nord Stream Sabotage Under The Carpet – Diplomat (TASS)

The West will not be able to “sweep under the carpet” the topic of sabotage on the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said in an exclusive interview with TASS. Russia will take the chair of the UN Security Council in April. According to the diplomat, when voting on March 27 in the UN Security Council on a draft resolution on the establishment of an international commission to investigate the circumstances of sabotage, the United States and its allies “preferred to hide behind the “front” of convenient national investigations in Germany, Denmark and Sweden.” “The tactics of our Western colleagues do not surprise us – after all, as we once again became convinced from the recent investigation of the autoritative American journalist Seymour Hersh, all the evidence points to who is behind the explosions on the Nord Stream,” Nebenzya said.

“The behavior of the United States and Western countries during the discussion of this topic at the Council platform, including the eloquent silence of the American delegates in response to the reminder of the threats against the gas pipeline from the American leadership, only reinforces these suspicions. But unfortunately for their Western colleagues they will not be able to “sweep under the carpet” this topic. We will continue to strive to ensure that the true circumstances of what happened are established, and all those responsible are punished,” the diplomat stressed.

Nebenzya noted that during the discussion of this initiative, Russia’s representatives showed “the most flexible and responsible approach, and a balanced text was put to a vote, taking into account the concerns expressed by states.” “Its adoption was supported by such major players as China and Brazil. However, the United States and its allies, of course, did not come out in favor,” the diplomat stated. He noted that “investigations in Germany, Denmark and Sweden, whose objectivity is questionable” for Russia “given that the authorities of these countries, without any clear reason, refused to cooperate” with the Russian competent authorities.

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The fields are mud. Russia is not in a hurry.

Russian Needs Major Effort In Bakhmut Despite Heavy Kiev Losses – Wagner (TASS)

The Ukrainian military is suffering serious casualties in Artyomovsk (called Bakhmut in Ukraine) but Russian troops still have to take enormous efforts in that area, Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner private military company, said on Friday. “No, the Ukrainian army is not fleeing anywhere. The Ukrainian army is engaged in bloody battles and is defending Artyomovsk at the expense of serious casualties,” the Wagner press office quoted Prigozhin as saying on its Telegram channel. “Another important aspect that should be mentioned is the need to hold the flanks,” he stressed. “Today we need to concentrate efforts in the city because this is an enormous amount of combat work to do. The flanks should not let us down and allied units should hold them,” Prigozhin said.

Russian forces “are moving forward and taking every building, every building entrance and every garage between buildings,” he said. “In Bakhmut, there are about 800 high-rise buildings. If we tell about each [building] entrance, you will be tired of hearing it. When we take Bakhmut, then we will talk about that,” the Wagner founder said. Artyomovsk is located on the Kiev-controlled part of the Donetsk People’s Republic and is a major transportation hub for the Ukrainian army’s supplies in Donbass. Fierce fighting for the city is underway.

Yan Gagin, military-political expert and adviser to the acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said on March 22 that the city had been practically sealed off by Russian forces and all approaches to Artyomovsk were under Russian artillery control. He earlier said that Russian forces controlled about 70% of the city. Acting DPR Head Denis Pushilin has repeatedly said that there is no evidence of the Ukrainian army’s plans to leave Artyomovsk. Meanwhile, Kiev claims that the city’s defense will be bolstered. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky earlier said that Ukrainian troops would not surrender Artyomovsk and would fight for it as long as they could.

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“Russia’s foreign trade grew by more than 8% last year, while inflation is expected at around 4% this year. This comes as “other Europeans” are trying “to convince everyone of the imminent collapse of the Russian economy..”

EU Underestimates Russian Economic Capacity – Orban (RT)

Western countries are making a mistake by underestimating Russia’s ability to adapt to sanctions, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban stated on Friday. According to Orban, Moscow demonstrated it could adjust its economy to restrictions following the first wave of Western sanctions, introduced after Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and to reunify with Russia. “I remember well that in 2015 we exported a lot of food products to Russia…In three years, Russia has built its agriculture and food industry to such an extent that if Hungary wanted to export food there today, it would either not work or be much more difficult than before the imposition of sanctions,” the politician told Kossuth Radio.

The Russian economy has shown its resilience to sanctions and “underestimating” the ability of a country as “huge” as Russia to adapt to restrictions is a “fatal mistake,” Orban added. The Hungarian premier is a vocal critic of the bloc’s approach to the conflict in Ukraine, and has repeatedly argued that sanctions are hurting the EU more than they hurt Russia. Earlier, Orban said that the punitive measures “were supposed to hit Russia, but hit Europe.” The anti-Russia measures have had a devastating impact on Budapest, by sending energy prices soaring and raising costs throughout the economy.

According to the prime minister, EU sanctions introduced against Russia over its military operation in Ukraine have cost Hungary’s economy €10 billion but have failed to stop the conflict. Meanwhile, Russia has survived the loss of Western markets and its economy is developing in a new way, with GDP expected to grow as soon as the second quarter of this year, President Vladimir Putin said earlier in March. Russia’s foreign trade grew by more than 8% last year, while inflation is expected at around 4% this year. This comes as “other Europeans” are trying “to convince everyone of the imminent collapse of the Russian economy,” even though EU inflation rates are higher, the Russian president noted.

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“..a wrapped gift to the oligarchs who buy our shares.”

Norway’s Wealth Fund Unable To Withdraw Funds From Russia (RT)

Norway’s $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund, one of the world’s largest investors, is still unable to divest its holdings in Russia as the custodian bank is under Western sanctions, the Norwegian Finance Ministry said on Friday. The Oslo-based Government Pension Fund is the world’s biggest owner of publicly traded companies with a portfolio of about 9,000 stocks. It has around 0.2% of its assets invested in Russia. “The market for trading in Russian financial instruments is still subject to comprehensive sanctions and has not been normalized as of March 2023,” the ministry said in a statement. The Nordic country’s authorities decided to sell Russian stocks right after the start of the military operation in Ukraine.

The fund held shares in 47 Russian companies and government bonds valued at 25 billion Norwegian crowns ($2.4 billion) at the end of 2021. However, at that time the fund’s management was resisting pressure to shed Russian assets, with CEO Nicolai Tangen saying it would be “a wrapped gift to the oligarchs who buy our shares.” Since then, Western nations have imposed sweeping sanctions against Russia which now prevent the Norwegian pension fund from divesting its assets. “The concrete and practical problem is that the custodian bank that we use is under sanctions, and can’t assist us with settlement of transactions, and neither with voting on shares” in Russian companies, deputy CEO, Trond Grande said in January.

The situation is “deadlocked” he noted, adding that “there is no way we can either sell or buy or vote on these shares.” Details of the fund’s portfolio at the end of 2022 released in January revealed a loss of about $2.8 billion from Russian holdings, compared to their value at the end of 2021. Meanwhile, Russia has repeatedly warned that sanctions imposed on the country would backfire. Earlier this month, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Western nations would “suffer from their own restrictions” while being “disappointed” by Russia’s resilience.

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A pretty crazy plan, if you ask me. Do they really think Russia will let armed troops wander around?

‘Peacekeepers’ Deployed To Ukraine Without Russia’s Consent – Medvedev (TASS)

So-called peacekeepers, whose deployment to Ukraine under NATO auspices is currently being mooted in Europe, will be eliminated should any appear at the frontlines without Russia’s consent, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dimity Medvedev said on Friday. “It is obvious that such ‘peacekeepers’ are our unvarnished enemies, wolves in sheep’s clothing. They would be a legitimate target for our armed forces should they be deployed at the frontlines, without Russia’s consent, with weapons in hand and presenting a direct threat to us,” Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel. According to Medvedev, “those ‘peacekeepers’” must be destroyed mercilessly as they are the “soldiers of the enemy.”

“They will die in the course of combat,” the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council stated with confidence. “Is Europe prepared for a long line of coffins holding its ‘peacekeepers’?” he asked rhetorically. “Their (NATO member countries’ – TASS) true intentions are crystal clear – to impose a peace that is favorable to them on the line of contact from a position of strength and to station their ‘peacekeeping’ troops in Ukraine, who would be armed with assault rifles and riding on tanks, and would be wearing some sort of blue helmets with yellow stars,” the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council said.

Medvedev recalled that the potential results of such actions can be seen in the “history of operations conducted by the United States and its allies in various regions of the world, [including] the tragedies of Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and numerous African countries.” “It is clear that the so-called NATO peacekeepers are simply preparing to enter the conflict on the side of our enemies in order to make hay out of this, bringing the situation to the point of no return, and to unleash that World War III they claim to be so afraid of.”.

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“It’s a little early to assess the knock-on effects of the Left’s ecstatic Trumpgasm..”

Did They Light Up a Cigarette Afterward? (Kunstler)

The New York Times enjoyed its long-delayed tantric Trumpgasm so much today that it rolled out the full-page banner headline format usually reserved for the commencement of world wars. (They took the banner down before seven o’clock this morning.) For many of the cat-ladies employed as “reporters” at the once-august paper, it was the first Trumpgasm they’ve ever experienced in a lifetime of emotional displacement, over-eating, and furious knitting of pink polyester hats for the crusade to root out patriarchal wickedness. This fulfillment of a years-long psychodrama, starring the feared and loathed occult persona of a gold-coiffed “Daddy” figure who once presided in the political household, came at the hands of dragon-slayer Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, archetype of the many long-oppressed victims worked to death in the bilges of our slave ship of state — now turned righteous Woke deliverer of cosmic vengeance!

This, of course, is brought to you by the party of hoaxes, flimflams, and mandated death shots, so it’s amusing here on the sidelines to see The Times’s op-ed writers squirm with post-coital pleasure underneath the full-page Trumpgasmic headline. The lead editorial declares: “Even Donald Trump Should Be Held Accountable”— overlooking the utter absence of accountability that has been the norm in every recent insult to the nation’s dignity from wholesale and repeat election fraud, to six years of lawless depravity in the FBI, to overt support of Antifa and BLM street havoc, to the forced, deceitful administration of deadly “vaccines.” “How a President’s Arrest Can Strengthen a Democracy,” honorary cat-lady Nicholas Kristoff opined, repeating the bad-faith trope that his legions of Wokery have an interest in political rectitude — when, in fact, they are solely preoccupied with coercing, censoring, cancelling, persecuting, punishing, and defenestrating anyone who objects to their grifts and hustles.

“Only love and a leap of faith can break through distrust. That is why a credible form of patriotism is so important right now,” explained The Times’s official Superintendent of Platitudes, David Brooks, to soothe consciences grated by this loutish gambit to shove a political adversary off the game board in advance of an election. “Joe Biden may not be your cup of tea,” Mr. Brooks summed up his civics lesson, “but he’s restored sanity, effectiveness and decency to the White House.” [..] It’s a little early to assess the knock-on effects of the Left’s ecstatic Trumpgasm. A common theme flying across the Web is that Alvin Bragg’s jerry-rigged case will only make a martyr of Mr. Trump, neatly illustrating and personifying the government’s apparent war against its own citizens — making it clear that they will stop at nothing and no one to enforce the corrupt bureaucracy’s will against the public — and that the net result will be to ensure Mr. Trump’s reelection in 2024.

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There are tons of Trump-haters in positions of power. A new one very day.

Manhattan Assistant DA Nukes Twitter Account After Anti-Trump Bias Exposed (ZH)

Less than 24 hours after the Gateway Pundit exposed Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Meg Reiss’ public hatred of Donald Trump on Twitter, Reiss – who’s been accused of masterminding the case against the former president, locked and then deleted her account. As TGP documented Thursday morning, Reiss ‘liked’ several anti-Trump tweets, exposing her absolute bias against the man her office is about to indict over hush money paid to former adult actress Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford). Of note, Trump’s alleged payment to Daniels through former lawyer Michael Cohen would normally be a misdemeanor which falls outside the statute of limitations. Not for Bragg’s office. Not for Reiss. For comparison, Hillary Clinton was allowed to pay a fine to the FEC for actual election interference with the Steele Dossier hoax her campaign paid for and then boosted throughout the media.


As TGP further notes; The Institute for Innovation in Prosecution (IIP) which is a research center out of the Soros-funded John Jay College has tagged her dozens of times. Reiss served as the Executive Director for the IIP.” DA of Brooklyn Eric Gonzalez also tagged Reiss, who previously served in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office as the Chief of Social Justice, on several occasions too. Most of these tweets Reiss liked were while she served in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office as the Chief of Social Justice and as she served as the director of the IIP. However, her political bias extends into her time at the Manhattan DA’s office as well. Earlier in the year as she was serving as Manhattan’s Chief Assistant District Attorney she retweeted a video of Democrat representative Hakeem Jeffries giving a speech at the State of the Union. At one point during the video Reiss shared, Rep. Jeffries says Democrats will put “Maturity over Mar-a-Lago”.

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“Bragg ran on his pledge to bag Trump and Pomerantz ramped up the political base to demand an indictment for a crime. It really did not matter what that crime might be.”

The Trump Indictment: Making History in the Worst Possible Way (Turley)

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has finally made history. He has indicted former President Donald Trump as part of an investigation, possibly for hush money payments. We are all waiting to see the text of the indictment to confirm the basis for this unprecedented act. But history in this case — and in this country — is not on Bragg’s side. The only crime that has been discussed in this case is an unprecedented attempt to revive a misdemeanor for falsifying business documents that expired years ago. If that is still the basis of Thursday’s indictment, Bragg could not have raised a weaker basis to prosecute a former president. If reports are accurate, he may attempt to “bootstrap” the misdemeanor into a felony (and longer statute of limitations) by alleging an effort to evade federal election charges.

While Trump will be the first former president indicted, he will not be the last if that is the standard for prosecution. It is still hard to believe that Bragg would primarily proceed on such a basis. There have been no other crimes discussed over months, but we will have to wait to read the indictment to confirm the grounds. What we do know is the checkered history leading to this moment. The Justice Department itself declined to prosecute the federal election claim against Trump. There was ample reason to decline. The Justice Department went down this road before and it did not go well. They tried to prosecute former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on stronger grounds (which I also criticized) and failed. In that case, campaign officials and donors were directly involved in covering up an affair that produced a child.

At the time, Edwards’ wife was suffering from cancer. The prosecution still collapsed. The reason is that you need to show the sole purpose for paying hush money in such a scandal. For any married man, let alone a celebrity, there are various reasons to want to bury a sexual scandal. For Trump, there was an upcoming election but he was also married man allegedly involved in an affair with a porn star. He was also a television celebrity who is subject to the standard “morals clause” that’s triggered by criminal conduct or conduct that brings “public disrepute, scandal, or embarrassment.” These clauses are written broadly to protect the news organizations and their “brand.”

Various presidents from Warren Harding to Bill Clinton have been involved in efforts to hush up affairs. They also had different reasons for burying such scandals, including politics. However, scandals are messy matters with a complex set of motivations. Showing that Trump only acted with the future election in mind — rather than his current marriage or television contracts — is implausible. That was likely the same calculus made by the Justice Department. That is also why the use of the “bootstrapping” theory as the primary charge would be an indictment of the prosecution and its own conduct. The office has already been tarnished by the conduct of the prosecutors who pushed this theory.

When Bragg initially balked at this theory and stopped the investigation, two prosecutors, Carey R. Dunne and Mark F. Pomerantz, then resigned from the Manhattan DA’s office. Pomerantz then did something that some of us view as a highly unprofessional and improper act. He published a book on the case against Trump — a person who was still under investigation and not charged, let alone convicted, of any crime. It worked. Bragg ran on his pledge to bag Trump and Pomerantz ramped up the political base to demand an indictment for a crime. It really did not matter what that crime might be.

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Save the world by destroying society. Sounds like a plan.

Stirrings of Euro Eco-rebellion (Higgie)

It’s not often that a development in north-western Tasmania looms large on the international stage. But a site near Burnie is set to be a key part of Germany’s resistance to Green pressure to abandon internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in favour of electric cars. Porsche is the driving force behind the A$1 billion investment in the HIF (Highly Innovative Fuels) plant now in development – one of three such e-fuel plants globally – as part of a move to mass production by 2026. E-fuel, not yet commercially available, is a combination of hydrogen with carbon dioxide captured from the atmosphere which ICE vehicles can run on. While the use of e-fuel produces carbon emissions, these are offset according to producers by the CO2 sucked from the atmosphere to make the fuel. Germany’s car producers are touting ICE vehicles using e-fuel – with the price eventually expected to be around A$2 a litre – as an alternative to battery-powered cars.

Germany’s insistence that ICE vehicles can and must remain into the future has shown that even for its Green-Left government, economics can eventually trump environmental political correctness. The country remains by far Europe’s largest car producer and is the world’s largest car exporter by value, employing 800,000, 5 per cent of the workforce. Car production has in large part powered Germany’s modern economy and more than a little Teutonic pride is inspired by the fact that one of their own, Karl Benz, pioneered the first reliable petrol engine and commercial production of ICE vehicles. Torpedoing the EU plan to ban the sale of new ICE vehicles will allow car producers to continue using their existing products and infrastructure.

Germany’s position has thrown a spanner in the works of what the EU had proclaimed as a landmark step in its climate change activism. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government last year signed off on an EU commitment for all new vehicles sold from 2035 to have zero emissions. In February the European parliament, including representives of Germany’s coalition parties, passed legislation to that effect. To be confirmed as EU law, the measure needs to be approved by the European Council, the EU member-state leaders. But at the eleventh hour, the one non-Green-Left element in Germany’s ruling coalition, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), began echoing through its Porsche-driving transport minister, Volker Wissing, fierce objections of the country’s car producers to an all-electric vehicle future. The FDP has long been a strong backer of the car industry, including through its resistance to efforts by the other main parties to end Germany’s status as Europe’s only country without a general motorway speed limit. Despite objections from the Greens, Scholz has backed the FDP’s objections to the EU’s planned 2035 law.

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Latest photo of Julian Assange. Now I want to cry.

 

 


Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel, Jimmy Durante and Buster Keaton in 1932.

 

 

Gervais
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641683221153972226

 

 

Burnt tree
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641750060965715969

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 262023
 
 March 26, 2023  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  37 Responses »


Jasper Johns Map 1961

 

Ukraine Not Ready For Offensive – Zelensky (RT)
No Ukraine Offensive Without More Weapons – Zelensky (BBC)
Biden Downplays Russia-China Ties (RT)
G7 vs BRICS – Off to the Races (Scott Ritter)
Hungary Comments On Ukraine’s NATO and EU bids (RT)
Biden Snubs Türkiye And Hungary For ‘Democracy’ Summit (RT)
Putin Indictment Deals Fatal Blow to ICC Legitimacy (Develay)
Western Economic Prosperity Is Over And Not Coming Back Any Time Soon (Fomenko)
New Worldwide Financial System/Banking Crisis is Upon Us (Mannarino)
Is A Full-Blown Global Banking Meltdown In The Offing? (Satyajit Das)
Could Trump Win By Losing? Sometimes ‘Nothing’ Is ‘A Real Cool Hand’ (Turley)
Fired FBI Goon Peter Strzok Issues Veiled Death Threat to Donald Trump (GP)
Prosecutor Admits DC Police Officers Acted as Provocateurs on Jan. 6 (ET)
CIA Says Americans Who Visited Assange Had No Privacy Rights (Gosztola)

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

France fire
https://twitter.com/i/status/1639775790698217472

 

 

 

 

ATF

 

 

GI bacteria

 

 

 

 

Greenwald

 

 

Bhakdi

 

 

Atlas

 

 

 

 

“..Moscow is well aware of Ukrainian plans to stage an offensive, noting that Russia’s General Staff is making its own assessments on the matter and planning a response.”

Ukraine Not Ready For Offensive – Zelensky (RT)

Ukraine has not yet accumulated enough resources to stage an offensive, President Vladimir Zelensky has admitted. In an interview released on Saturday by the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri, Zelensky said that the situation on the frontline “was not good,” explaining that Ukraine was lacking enough ammunition for successful operations. On the subject of an offensive, the Ukrainian president stated that “we can’t start [it] yet. Without tanks, artillery and [US-supplied rocket launchers] HIMARS, we cannot send our brave soldiers to the front lines.” “We are waiting for ammunition to arrive from our partners,” he added, claiming that Russian troops had been firing three times as many shells as the Ukrainian side. In light of this, he reiterated his calls for Kiev’s Western backers to send more arms and urged them to sign off on deliveries of fighter jets.

Commenting on a potential dialogue with Russia, Zelensky insisted that “absolutely no conditions have been formed for this,” suggesting that Moscow would have to leave the territories Ukraine claims as its own first. Moscow has repeatedly said that it is open to talks with Kiev on condition that it recognize the “reality on the ground,” referring to the new status of four former Ukrainian regions as part of Russia. Speculations about an imminent Ukrainian spring counteroffensive have been swirling in the Western media for several weeks now. Last week, Politico reported that the US expected Kiev to start the offensive in May, with Ukrainian troops attempting to push into Crimea either by crossing the Dnieper River – which was considered an unlikely option – or moving out from their positions in the north.

Around the same time, the New York Times reported that Western officials were worried that Ukraine’s costly attempts to hold on to the strategic Donbass city of Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine) could jeopardize the upcoming offensive, given that Kiev’s Western backers would not be able to replenish its ammunition stocks any time soon. With this in mind, one Pentagon official cited by the outlet described the anticipated push as a “last-ditch effort.” On Friday, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who now serves as deputy chairman of the Security Council, said that Moscow is well aware of Ukrainian plans to stage an offensive, noting that Russia’s General Staff is making its own assessments on the matter and planning a response.

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BBC=MSM

No Ukraine Offensive Without More Weapons – Zelensky (BBC)

President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Ukraine’s counter-offensive against Russia cannot start until Western allies send more military support. He told a Japanese newspaper he would not send his troops to the frontlines without more tanks, artillery and Himars rocket launchers. In an interview with Yomiuri Shimbun, he said the situation in eastern Ukraine was “not good”. “We are waiting for ammunition to arrive from our partners,” he said. And when asked about the expected counter-offensive, he said: “We can’t start yet, we can’t send our brave soldiers to the front line without tanks, artillery and long-range rockets.” He added: “If you have the political will, you can find a way to help us. We are at war and can’t wait.” There has been talk for some weeks of Ukraine launching a spring offensive against Russian forces. Ukrainian commanders have hinted it might be imminent.

Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, said this week it might come “very soon”. Some analysts say Ukraine’s military is talking up the idea of a counter-offensive to discomfit their Russian counterparts. They want Russian commanders to spread their forces thinly along the front lines, ready for any attack, rather than concentrate them in particular places, such as the eastern city of Bakhmut. Other analysts believe a counter-offensive is possible soon. A US-based think tank, the Institute for the Study of War, last week suggested that Russia’s own offensive was potentially losing momentum and concluded: “Ukraine is therefore well positioned to regain the initiative and launch counter-offensives in critical sectors of the current frontline.”

But President Zelensky is more pessimistic. He has often warned that the war could drag on for years unless Western allies speeded up the delivery of weapons. But this is the first time he has actually said the counter-offensive itself might be delayed by the lack of Western equipment. His remarks reflect not only his desire to encourage more speed, but also his frustration at what he sees as the lack of haste.

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“..the Western countries have “significantly expanded our alliances.” “I haven’t seen that happen with China and/or Russia or anybody else in the world..”

Biden Downplays Russia-China Ties (RT)

The global community is paying too much attention to cooperation between China and Russia, US President Joe Biden said on Friday. His comments came several days after Chinese President Xi Jinping concluded a landmark three-day visit to Russia. Speaking at a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Biden was asked to comment on China’s efforts to deepen economic ties with Russia. The president replied that the Western countries have “significantly expanded our alliances.” “I haven’t seen that happen with China and/or Russia or anybody else in the world,” he added. Biden went on to say that he has met with 80% of the world leaders since being sworn into office. “We’re the ones expanding the alliances. The opposition is not,” he claimed.

“We’re in a situation in the United States where NATO is stronger, we’re all together – the G7, the Quad [security agreement between Australia, India, Japan, and the US], the ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations], Japan, and Korea,” Biden said. The president stated that while he does not take China and Russia lightly, “we vastly exaggerate” their ties. “I’ve been hearing now for the past three months about ‘China is going to provide significant weapons to Russia, and they’re going to…’ They haven’t yet. Doesn’t mean they won’t, but they haven’t yet.” The US has said that China is considering arms shipments to help Russia in the Ukraine conflict. This claim has been vehemently denied by Beijing, which has positioned itself as a neutral party in the context of hostilities between Moscow and Kiev, while repeatedly calling for a peace settlement.

Earlier this week, Xi wrapped up a three-day visit to Moscow, which included talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and resulted in the signing of more than a dozen agreements on cooperation in the defense, economic, and industrial spheres. Moscow and Beijing also pledged to “deepen relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction entering a new era,” while urging the US “to stop undermining international and regional security… in order to maintain its own unilateral military superiority.”

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“This was not a projection, but rather a statement of accomplished fact: BRICS was responsible for 31.5 percent of the PPP-adjusted global GDP, while the G7 provided 30.7 percent..”

G7 vs BRICS – Off to the Races (Scott Ritter)

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an ideological divide that has gripped the world, with one side (led by the G7) condemning the invasion and seeking to punish Russia economically, and the other (led by BRICS) taking a more nuanced stance by neither supporting the Russian action nor joining in on the sanctions. This has created a intellectual vacuum when it comes to assessing the true state of play in global economic affairs. It is now widely accepted that the U.S. and its G7 partners miscalculated both the impact sanctions would have on the Russian economy, as well as the blowback that would hit the West. Angus King, the Independent senator from Maine, recently observed that he remembers “when this started a year ago, all the talk was the sanctions are going to cripple Russia. They’re going to be just out of business and riots in the street absolutely hasn’t worked …[w]ere they the wrong sanctions? Were they not applied well? Did we underestimate the Russian capacity to circumvent them? Why have the sanctions regime not played a bigger part in this conflict?”

It should be noted that the IMF calculated that the Russian economy, as a result of these sanctions, would contract by at least 8 percent. The real number was 2 percent and the Russian economy — despite sanctions — is expected to grow in 2023 and beyond. This kind of miscalculation has permeated Western thinking about the global economy and the respective roles played by the G7 and BRICS. In October 2022, the IMF published its annual World Economic Outlook (WEO), with a focus on traditional GDP calculations. Mainstream economic analysts, accordingly, were comforted that — despite the political challenge put forward by BRICS in the summer of 2022 — the IMF was calculating that the G7 still held strong as the leading global economic bloc.

In January 2023 the IMF published an update to the October 2022 WEO, reinforcing the strong position of the G7. According to Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the IMF’s chief economist, the “balance of risks to the outlook remains tilted to the downside but is less skewed toward adverse outcomes than in the October WEO.” This positive hint prevented mainstream Western economic analysts from digging deeper into the data contained in the update. I can personally attest to the reluctance of conservative editors trying to draw current relevance from “old data.” Fortunately, there are other economic analysts, such as Richard Dias of Acorn Macro Consulting, a self-described “boutique macroeconomic research firm employing a top-down approach to the analysis of the global economy and financial markets.”

Rather than accept the IMF’s rosy outlook as gospel, Dias did what analysts are supposed to do — dig through the data and extract relevant conclusions. After rooting through the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Data Base, Dias conducted a comparative analysis of the percentage of global GDP adjusted for PPP between the G7 and BRICS, and made a surprising discovery: BRICS had surpassed the G7. This was not a projection, but rather a statement of accomplished fact: BRICS was responsible for 31.5 percent of the PPP-adjusted global GDP, while the G7 provided 30.7 percent. Making matters worse for the G7, the trends projected showed that the gap between the two economic blocs would only widen going forward.

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“Around 156,000 ethnic Hungarians live in Ukraine, most of them in the western region of Transcarpathia. Ukraine is also home to around 150,000 ethnic Romanians and more than 250,000 Moldovans..”

Hungary Comments On Ukraine’s NATO and EU bids (RT)

Hungary will not agree to Ukraine joining NATO and the EU as long as Kiev continues to discriminate against ethnic Hungarians living in Transcarpathia, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has said. Szijjarto added that he raised the issue at a meeting with the UN assistant secretary general for human rights, Ilze Brands Kehris. Up to 99 Hungarian primary and secondary schools are in danger of being closed in Ukraine due to the nation’s education law, Szijjarto said. “I made it clear to Ilze Brands Kehris… that Hungary will not be able to support Ukraine’s transatlantic and European integration [bids] under any circumstances as long as Hungarian schools in the Transcarpathia region are in danger,” the minister wrote on Facebook on Friday. Kiev has been cracking down on minority language rights for years.

Laws enforcing the use of Ukrainian in education and television were adopted as early as 2017 under then-President Pyotr Poroshenko. In 2018, another law banned the teaching of Russian, as well as Romanian, Polish, and Hungarian beyond the primary school level. In 2019, the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission criticized Ukraine’s State Language Law, saying it “fails to strike balance between strengthening Ukrainian and safeguarding minorities’ linguistic rights.” Budapest has been among the most vocal critics of Kiev’s language policies in the West. According to Szijjarto, Ukraine has not done anything substantial to address Hungary’s concerns. “For the past eight years, we have continuously received promises from the Ukrainian authorities that they will solve this problem, but they have not actually done anything,” he said.

Around 156,000 ethnic Hungarians live in Ukraine, most of them in the western region of Transcarpathia. Ukraine is also home to around 150,000 ethnic Romanians and more than 250,000 Moldovans, and Bucharest previously joined Budapest in demanding that the language laws be revised. In February, Szijjarto announced that the Council of Europe will review Kiev’s treatment of minorities and issue a report on its alleged discrimination against ethnic Hungarians and Romanians living in Ukraine this summer. He pointed to yet another law adopted in December 2022, which mandated the use of Ukrainian in most aspects of daily and public life, including schools.

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They want a declaration of wonderful unity, not diverse voices.

Biden Snubs Türkiye And Hungary For ‘Democracy’ Summit (RT)

The administration of US President Joe Biden has left NATO allies Türkiye and Hungary off the invite list for next week’s Summit for Democracy, Foreign Policy magazine reported on Thursday, citing three US officials familiar with the decision. The two countries were also snubbed from last year’s inaugural rendition of the summit, an event that, despite being held only twice, Biden has lauded as one of his signature foreign policy achievements. A State Department official confirmed that all participants in the 2021 summit had received an invitation for this year’s event, plus some additions. However, he said, the Biden administration was “not interested in this event being seen as an all-encompassing judgment on the strength of another country’s democracy.”

Rob Berschinksi, senior director for human rights and democracy in the National Security Council, told al-Monitor that while Türkiye was “an important NATO ally of the United States and an incredibly important partner,” Washington had “been quite clear in terms of [its] assessment of the status of democracy and human rights within the country,” namely, that it was declining. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement last week that the country would begin ratifying Finland’s membership in NATO but not Sweden’s likely contributed to the decision to leave it off the list a second time. While Erdogan has not ruled out admitting Sweden to the military alliance, he stressed that Stockholm’s refusal to turn over more than 210 alleged terrorists to Turkish custody was a deal-breaker.

Hungary, which Biden memorably denounced as “totalitarian” in 2020, has fallen into disfavor among NATO allies for its refusal to support the strictest sanctions the EU has attempted to deploy against the Russian oil and gas industry. With about 80% of its natural gas coming from Russia, Budapest has repeatedly pointed out that an embargo would hurt Hungary and other European nations much more than it would punish Moscow for the conflict in Ukraine. The Hungarian prime minister’s office earlier this week reiterated calls for a ceasefire in Ukraine and condemned the UK’s decision to send depleted uranium ammunition to Kiev. The country’s opposition to allowing Ukraine into the EU will not change unless “basic human rights norms are complied with” regarding the use of EU languages in Ukraine, Gergely Gulyas, head of the PM’s office, told reporters on Thursday, though Hungary has expressed support for Finland and Sweden joining NATO. The Summit for Democracy will take place from March 28-30 in Washington, as well as in partner countries Costa Rica, South Korea, and Zambia.

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The ICC is just another black hole for money and truth.

Putin Indictment Deals Fatal Blow to ICC Legitimacy (Develay)

Already under considerable pressure these past few years for its perceived selective prosecution of mostly African leaders, the International Criminal Court has placed its own proverbial “nail in the coffin” on March 17th when it issued an arrest warrant against the Russian Federation’s President Vladimir Putin. To be sure, the Court had since its inception faced numerous obstacle in trying to establish its status as the preeminent jurisdiction tasked with prosecuting senior official alleged to have committed or abetted the most heinous crimes under international criminal law. First, the United States never ratified the Rome Statute. While former US President William J. CLINTON had hinted that the US would join the list of Member-States by signing (but not ratifying the Treaty of Rome), George W. BUSH (egged on by his then Permanent Ambassador to the UN, John BOLTON) promptly dashed any hopes that this would ever happen.

Indeed, the BUSH administration presided over the adoption of the Hague Invasion Act of 2002 (the same year the Court effectively came into existence in the wake of its having collected the prerequisites sixty signatures from its Members). The Act openly called if necessary for the US military to storm the ICC in order to exfiltrate US soldiers. If that wasn’t enough of a message that some (the most powerful) States would take a pass on granting the Court jurisdiction over their nationals (China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India and Israel never even signed the Treaty), Washington proceeded to amend all of the SOFAs (Status of Forced Agreements) negotiated with the governments of every country having ratified the Rome Statute where the US has some of its troops stationed by providing that American soldiers would not be subjected to any types of extradition proceedings to the Hague (ASPA).

This sequence of events essentially set the tone for 20 years of subsequent campaigns engineered by the Court so as to establish its own relevance. The powerlessness of the Court is to be found within the Rome Statute itself. Indeed, the Court may not claim jurisdiction over occurrences of alleged Jus Cogens violations (those violations not subjected to any Statute of limitations) unless said violations are alleged to have occurred on the territory of a Member-State which thus has accepted the Court’s jurisdiction or if said jurisdiction is expressly granted through a resolution adopted by the UN Security Council (not subjected to a veto from any of its Five Permanent Members).

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“US leadership is in the past, living in denial, and running policies on how they assume the world “should be,” rather than how it actually “is..”

Western Economic Prosperity Is Over And Not Coming Back Any Time Soon (Fomenko)

The years of Western boom, enjoyed in the 90s and early 2000s, never returned and if the past few years are any indication, won’t anytime soon. The geopolitical climate is now in such a position that globalization is being rolled back, deliberately. The economic system the US once built and heralded as a virtue to show communist countries the light of capitalism is now being dismantled because it is perceived not to have converted, but empowered “adversarial” states. The US now opposes free trade, opposes economic integration between its allies and both China and Russia, and has no qualms about tearing up the roots of the globalization tree. The answer is less free trade, more tariffs, more sanctions, more export controls, more forcing allies to comply with what it wants, and unreasonable investments fueled by geopolitics, not market needs.

The Biden administration’s economic policy is a disaster precisely because it is a mix of geopolitical assertiveness, heavy-handed protectionism, and catastrophic fiscal policy. Washington’s decision to inject trillions to shore up the US economy, prolong a war which produces a running inflation crisis, insist on a growing economic war with China, and then be forced to raise interest rates multiple times, despite banks going under, is a cocktail of death. The US has drastically narrowed its options, and continually lied that it can handle the fallout.

Thus, the good old days of Western prosperity are over. The neoliberal Reaganite economic order was once the bedrock of global growth, as unfair and uneven as it was. But it is fair to say that by 2023, the geopolitical conditions which enabled this system no longer exist. The world has changed, and it is little wonder why. The US has not truly been able to arrest the rise of China despite trying its darndest to disrupt it, or to deal a death blow to the Russian economy, which Washington officials had prematurely declared doomed. All of it indicates that US leadership is in the past, living in denial, and running policies on how they assume the world “should be,” rather than how it actually “is,” and it’s ordinary people who are footing the bill for it all.

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” Year over year mortgage applications have dropped a record 43 percent, and bank refi’s have dropped another record 74 percent.”

New Worldwide Financial System/Banking Crisis is Upon Us (Mannarino)

Once again! The global financial system finds itself in crisis. Indeed, a new full-on worldwide financial system/banking crisis is upon us. (And it’s just getting started). Let us consider… Is it even remotely possible that banking regulators and central banks simply missed this? Meanwhile, We the People saw this coming? Is that even possible? Really? How about no. There is absolutely no feasible or realistic way that banking regulators and central banks could have not seen this coming from miles away, and here are just a few reasons why. Let’s start with this. Every bank is required to submit financial reports to regulatory authorities every quarter and moreover, even without seeing these reports, it’s plainly obvious that banks were failing because of just three things. Number 1. No deposits, Number 2. No loans, and Number 3. No deals.

I brought these three things listed above up to the attention of those who follow my work beginning no less than eight months ago. Now, just to put this into further perspective. The average savings rate, which is calculated as the percentage of cash which people put away after expenses, is 8.84 percent. Again 8.84 percent is the average. Well today, the savings rate has dropped to just 4.7 percent (and personally I believe that this number is inflated). This 4.7 percent savings rate appears inflated to me because currently more and more people are becoming dependent on credit card usage. (Credit card debt has exploded, rising 11 percent in just the last year). With respect to “no loans and no deals.” Year over year mortgage applications have dropped a record 43 percent, and bank refi’s have dropped another record 74 percent.

And on top of all this, loan delinquencies across the board continue to skyrocket. But it gets even worse. People are withdrawing cash from both their money market and savings accounts at a record pace. So, no… It is not possible, even in the remote! That those who stand in charge of the world economy, the banking system, and the markets just missed all this. Therefore, it is deliberate. In fact, it’s more than just deliberate! This entire banking system crisis/global financial system collapse has been perfectly orchestrated and engineered by central planners/banks. But why? The question of why comes down to just a few things. Central banks are “rearranging the deck chairs” so to speak, and it comes down to a consolidation of the banking system in preparation for the rollout of an entirely new central bank digital/cashless system.

It is also about a consolidation of power. Understanding that even the Super Banks are also facing those same issues as the smaller regional banks, with “no deposits, no loans, and no deals.” That situation, combined with rising loan delinquencies. Let’s not forget the flight of cash from people who are being forced to deplete their savings and money market accounts just to make ends meet in this ongoing inflationary environment. What better way could central planners use to re-liquify the large Wall Street Super Banks than to foster a meltdown of the smaller regional banks who will have no choice but to be forced into selling their assets to the mega banks at fire sale prices?

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“In Annie Hall, Woody Allen cannot have his brother, who thinks he is a chicken, treated by a psychiatrist because the family needs the eggs. Banking regulation flounders on the same logic.”

Is A Full-Blown Global Banking Meltdown In The Offing? (Satyajit Das)

The UBS acquisition of Credit Suisse requires the Swiss National Bank to assume certain risks. It will provide a Swiss Franc 100 billion ($108 billion) liquidity line backed by an enigmatically titled government default guarantee, presumably in addition to the earlier credit support. The Swiss government is also providing a loss guarantee on certain assets of up to Swiss Franc 9 billion ($9.7 billion), which operates after UBS bears the first Swiss Franc 5 billion ($5.4 billion) of losses. The state can underwrite bank liabilities including all deposits as some countries did after 2008. As US Treasury Secretary Yellen reluctantly admitted to Congress, the extension of FDIC coverage was contingent on US officials and regulators determining systemic risk as happened with SVB and Signature. Another alternative is to recapitalise banks with public money as was done after 2008 or finance the removal of distressed or toxic assets from bank books.

Socialisation of losses is politically and financially expensive. Despite protestations to the contrary, the dismal truth is that in a major financial crisis, lenders to and owners of systemic large banks will be bailed out to some extent. European supervisors have been critical of the US decision to break with its own standard of guaranteeing only the first $250,000 of deposits by invoking a systemic risk exception while excluding SVB as too small to be required to comply with the higher standards applicable to larger banks. There now exist voluminous manuals on handling bank collapses such as imposing losses on owners, bondholders and other unsecured creditors, including depositors with funds exceeding guarantee limit, as well as resolution plans designed to minimise the fallout from failures.

Prepared by expensive consultants, they serve the essential function of satisfying regulatory checklists. Theoretically sound reforms are not consistently followed in practice. Under fire in trenches, regulators concentrate on more practical priorities. The debate about bank regulation misses a central point. Since the 1980s, the economic system has become addicted to borrowing-funded consumption and investment. Bank credit is central to this process. Some recommendations propose a drastic reduction in bank leverage from the current 10-to-1 to a mere 3-to-1. The resulting contraction would have serious implications for economic activity and asset values. In Annie Hall, Woody Allen cannot have his brother, who thinks he is a chicken, treated by a psychiatrist because the family needs the eggs. Banking regulation flounders on the same logic.

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“..The level of excitement could prompt Pornhub to do its first live courthouse feed…”

Could Trump Win By Losing? Sometimes ‘Nothing’ Is ‘A Real Cool Hand’ (Turley)

Donald Trump was back in all caps this week, denouncing prosecutors, warning of “death and destruction” if he is arrested, and even posting a picture wielding a baseball bat menacingly near a headshot of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. After each tirade, many of us denounced the inflammatory rhetoric while others insisted the former president was becoming unhinged at the prospect of being arrested. As if to speed along that decline, others posted viral fake AI-generated pictures showing Trump being arrested. Then Trump shared his own AI-generated photo of praying. The fact is that Trump is in his element: In the land of rage, the most enraged man is king. If you surf cable shows, you will see pundits in virtual ecstasy as they prepare for the possibility of a Trump mug shot or perp walk. The level of excitement could prompt Pornhub to do its first live courthouse feed.

[..]Trump is unlikely to see the inside of a prison before the election. Even after the election, courts likely would allow appeals to be exhausted before ordering the arrest of a sitting president — and those appeals could take years. On the federal charge, special counsel Jack Smith would have to finish his grand jury investigation and then convince Attorney General Garland to green-light criminal charges. He then may need to bring an indictment before the end of summer 2024, since Justice Department policy discourages filings that might affect an election. For the presidential election, that period would likely extend to August 2024. If Smith cannot indict Trump before then, he would run into another long-standing Justice Department policy. The department has long maintained (in my view, incorrectly) that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

If Smith secured a conviction before the election, Trump could still stay on the ballot. Indeed, even if he were jailed, he still could be elected president. After all, Eugene Debs ran for president in 1920 on the Socialist ticket despite being in prison for violating the Espionage Act. Trump literally could run on a promise to self-pardon and then immediately negate any conviction. Indeed, that issue may prove the ultimate anti-establishment rallying point for him. Trump won in 2016 in part because many of his voters wanted to stick it to the media and political elites. So, a charge or conviction before the election could well turn that anti-establishment wave into a tsunami. Of course, Trump could not pardon himself on a state conviction. Moreover, Georgia is one of only three states that do not give pardon authority to the governor; that authority rests with Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. (Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican who has long been a target of Trump’s ire, may feel relieved to have his authority limited in this instance.)

However, the state could push for changes to negate a conviction or prevent enforcement against a sitting president. To most people, that may seem like an utter mess. For Donald Trump, it is an opportunity. Trump has always found advantage in chaos. That is why, if much of the public continues to view these legal cases as political prosecutions, Democrats may be handing Trump a winning hand. A Washington Post columnist previously declared that Trump has nothing to offer in defense to federal charges. That may or may not be true, but “nothing” could prove a major “something” in an election year. In the film, “Cool Hand Luke,” fellow prisoners asked Paul Newman’s character why he would continually raise the stakes in a poker game when he was holding nothing of value. His reply: “Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand.”

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“Strzok, who is famous for running an illicit coup on the US president and banging a colleague in the broom closet..”

Fired FBI Goon Peter Strzok Issues Veiled Death Threat to Donald Trump (GP)

It’s been 30 years since the ATF-FBI siege on the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas in 1993. The government siege led to a massacre of 76 people including 25 children. The deadly assault on David Koresh’s Branch Davidian compound took place from February 28 through April 19, 1993, over suspected weapons violations. The ATF had attempted to raid the compound and a gun battle ensued, leaving four government agents and six Branch Davidians dead. For the next 50 days, the government would use psychological warfare, such as playing the sound of animals being slaughtered, until ultimately the compound was burned to the ground with nearly everyone still inside.


The siege ended with the massacre of 76 people. On Friday fired FBI agent Peter Strzok posted a veiled death threat against President Trump just hours before his historic rally Saturday in Waco, Texas. Strzok, who is famous for running an illicit coup on the US president and banging a colleague in the broom closet, posted a photo of the government-led massacre at the religious compound in Waco, Texas. Everyone knows it was the feds who were ultimately blamed for this horrible mass killing. And, now Peter Strzok is posting this warning to Trump and his supporters. It is shocking to see today that such an unhinged and unethical monster was sitting at the top level of the FBI!

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Where are Tucker’s 40,000 hours of video?

Prosecutor Admits DC Police Officers Acted as Provocateurs on Jan. 6 (ET)

A federal prosecutor admitted in court papers that three D.C. Metropolitan Police Department undercover officers acted as provocateurs at the northwest steps of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The admission came in a March 24 filing before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras that seeks to keep video footage shot by the officers under court seal. Prosecutors accused the case defendant—William Pope of Topeka, Kansas—of an “illegitimate” attempt to unmask the video as part of his alleged strategy to try the case in the news media. Pope filed a motion to remove the court seal on Feb. 21. [..] Nearly 30 members of the Electronic Surveillance Unit were assigned to duty on Jan. 6, some of whom were gathering evidence on crowd activity. Members wore special bands on their left wrists to identify themselves as part of the Electronic Surveillance Unit, according to the MPD’s 96-page Jan. 6 action plan.

Officer 1 repeatedly joined in chants of “Drain the swamp!” and “Our house! Our house! Our house!” A little closer to the Capitol, the video captures a protester shouting, “Joe Biden! We wanna hear you speak, you [expletive] pedophile satanist [expletive]!” A short time later, Officer 1 joined the crowd in a “USA!” chant, repeating the phrase five times. At the foot of the northwest stairs, someone leaned part of a bicycle rack against the balustrade. As a protester climbed up the makeshift ladder, Officer 1 shouted, “C’mon, man, let’s go! Leave that sh*t.” Officer 1 got help from a protester climbing onto the balustrade of the steps. Then, surveying the people moving up the staircase, he shouted, “C’mon, go, go, go!” Officer 1 encouraged the crowd to move up the stairs with repeated shouts, “Keep going! Keep going!” and “Keep going, keep going, come on!”

Once Officer 1 jumped from the balustrade onto the stairs, he passed someone he knew, a man in a blue sweatshirt wearing a dark cap, protective goggles, and what appeared to be a Halloween mask. “Tim!” the officer said, to which the unidentified man replied, “What’s going on, bro?” Walking on a sidewalk next to the Capitol, Officer 1 hears a protester say, “Now they’re letting everybody in, there ain’t nowhere to go.” Officer 1 replied, “I think it’s gonna…they’re going to trap everyone in.” “This video clearly evidences undercover law enforcement officers urging the crowds to advance up the stairs and scaffolding towards the Capitol on January 6,” Pope wrote in an earlier case filing. “The government may claim that incidents like this did not happen, but the facts show they did.”


Two undercover Metropolitan Police Department officers walk behind Ashli Babbitt on the northwest side of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. One had earlier remarked “someone would get shot.” (William Pope via U.S. District Court/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

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“..the United States government believes that any American who talked to Assange forfeited their privacy rights under the U.S. Constitution.”

CIA Says Americans Who Visited Assange Had No Privacy Rights (Gosztola)

The Central Intelligence Agency and former CIA director Mike Pompeo contend that attorneys and journalists, who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, had no “legitimate expectation of privacy” when it came to conversations with a “notorious wanted fugitive in a foreign embassy.” “There is no plausible argument that it would be unreasonable or indiscriminate for the government to surveil Assange, who oversaw WikiLeaks’ publication of large amounts of U.S. national security information,” the CIA and Pompeo additionally contend. “Thus, any alleged surveillance of Assange that incidentally captured his conversations with U.S. citizens such as plaintiffs would not violate the Fourth Amendment [right to privacy] as a matter of law.”

The statements are part of a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that was brought by a group of Americans, who allege that they were spied on by the CIA when they met with Assange while he was living under political asylum in the Ecuador embassy. When one considers that Assange has been held in detention at Belmarsh prison and faces Espionage Act charges for publishing classified documents, the government is essentially arguing that it may spy on any journalist who publishes such documents and “incidentally capture” the communications of anyone communicating with that particular journalist. The CIA and Pompeo are also making it clear that the United States government believes that any American who talked to Assange forfeited their privacy rights under the U.S. Constitution.

In August 2022, four Americans who visited Assange in the embassy sued the CIA and Pompeo in his individual capacity: Margaret Ratner Kunstler, a civil rights activist and human rights attorney; Deborah Hrbek, a media lawyer, represented Assange or WikiLeaks; journalist John Goetz, who worked for Der Spiegel when the German media organization first partnered with WikiLeaks; and journalist Charles Glass, who wrote articles on Assange for The Intercept. The filed complaint alleged that as visitors Glass, Goetz, Hrbek, and Kunstler were required to “surrender” their electronic devices to employees of a private company called UC Global that was contracted to provide security for the embassy. They did not know that UC Global “copied the information stored on the devices” and allegedly shared the information with the CIA, and that Pompeo allegedly authorized and approved the action.

They further claim, “Security contractors required the attorneys and journalists to leave their devices with them, which contained ‘confidential and privileged information about their sources or clients.’” In the motion to dismiss filed on March 20 by United States Attorney Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York, the government asserts that the attorneys and journalists “cannot show they had a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to conversations that took place on the property of a foreign embassy located in a foreign country.” The government insists any searches that may have taken place were reasonable or authorized. “Indeed, U.S. citizens who communicate with foreign surveillance targets have diminished Fourth Amendment rights that are easily overcome in the alleged circumstances at issue.”

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Hare

 

 

Horse power

 

 

Head lice

 

 


Schalow’s turaco birds have long white tripped crests with small red beaks and red skin around their dark eyes lined with white feathers. Mature birds have, on average, the longest crests of any turaco species

 

 

Platysternon megacephalum (or big headed turtle) is a very odd-shaped turtle with a huge head and a long tail that are almost the same size as its body.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1639360896085417999

 

 

Otters
https://twitter.com/i/status/1639785211679457283

 

 

 

 

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