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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Bears

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 252023
 
 March 25, 2023  Posted by at 9:02 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  61 Responses »


David Hockney Nichols Canyon 1980

 

Brazil To Propose Ukraine ‘Peace Club’ With China (RT)
The Iran-Saudi deal: A Bid To End Endless War (Shakil)
China’s Xi Has Sent ‘Very Troubling Message’ – Pentagon (RT)
There Could Be No Winner In War Between Russia, US – Medvedev (TASS)
Russia Warns Of Radioactive Disaster In Ukraine (RT)
EU Censorship Regime Is About To Go Global (Spiked)
Biden and the ICC: ‘A New Level of Farce’ (Patrick Lawrence)
Biden’s Nord Stream Cover-up Enters New Slippery Phase (Seymour Hersh)
Seymour Hersh Makes Claim Over Reasons For Nord Stream Sabotage (RT)
US Rulers Keep The Masses Divided And Distracted From Demanding Justice (Cox)
The Season is Here (Kunstler)
EU Is Melting Down And Contagion Spreading To UK Economy (Mitch Feierstein)
US Bank Trouble Heralds End Of Dollar Reserve System (David Goldman)
White House Worried Over Janet Yellen’s Fumbling Of US Bank Crisis (Gasparino)
Carbon War ‘Net Zero’ Would Starve Half the Planet (Celente)

 

 

 

 

McAfee

 

 

 

 

Suramin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1639006754355683330

 

 

Remdesivir
https://twitter.com/i/status/1639319822667218944

 

 

Orthodox

 

 

Morons

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brazil of course means BRICS. Next, bring in India. Their GDP(PPP) is already higher than G7. After that, all the countries who want to join BRICS. 60+% of world population, 60+% of GDP. Impossible to ignore.

Brazil To Propose Ukraine ‘Peace Club’ With China (RT)

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will present his vision for an international “peace club” aimed at resolving the conflict in Ukraine when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing this week, his foreign minister told the Financial Times on Friday. Lula, who has remained neutral on the conflict, believes non-aligned nations like Brazil have the best chance of brokering a peace deal. “We are very interested in promoting or helping generate some kind of meeting that would lead to a peace process,” Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira told the newspaper. “The president has said so many times he hears a lot about war but very few words about peace. He is interested in peace conversations.”

Since defeating the right-wing Jair Bolsonaro in last October’s elections, Lula, as he is most commonly called, has largely stuck to his predecessor’s policy of neutrality on Ukraine. However, Lula has taken a more active role internationally than Bolsonaro, announcing in January that he intends to rally a G20-like group “to put an end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.” “It is necessary to constitute a group with enough strength to be respected at a negotiating table, and sit down with both sides,” he said at the time. During his election campaign, Lula declared Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky “as responsible as [Russian President Vladimir] Putin for the war,” and condemned US and EU leaders for promising NATO membership to Ukraine.

Since taking office, the Brazilian leader has met with US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and has spoken by phone to Zelensky and Putin. Stressing the need to find “a way out to end this war” after meeting Biden last month, Lula’s calls for peace were echoed by China, which released its 12-point ‘Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis’ two weeks afterwards. The Chinese plan was welcomed by Putin, but rejected by the US. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday described Beijing’s proposal as a “tactical move” to stall the conflict in Russia’s favor, while in Ukraine, Zelensky said last month that he only agrees with a handful of points in the document.

Any plan put forward by Lula and his potential “peace club” may be received the same way, as was the case when Mexico proposed a peace plan of its own at the United Nations last year. Ukrainian government adviser Mikhail Podoliak dismissed the Mexican proposal as a “Russian plan,” and Kiev released its own ten-point peace plan two months later. However, Kiev’s plan included demands that Russia cede the territory of Crimea to Ukraine and send its officials to war crimes tribunals, and as such was dismissed as a non-starter by Moscow.

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China did the Iran-Saudi deal. Russia is doing the same with Saudi-Syria. Get rid of the US, and peace becomes possible.

The Iran-Saudi deal: A Bid To End Endless War (Shakil)

The China-mediated Saudi-Iran peace agreement, inked on 10 March in Beijing, marks a significant geopolitical shift with far-reaching implications for the Persian Gulf and Iran’s neighboring countries. For decades, Saudi Arabia and Iran have been engaged in ideological and economic competition on the territories of their neighbors, causing regional tensions to escalate. If the agreement is successful and relations between Riyadh and Tehran improve as envisioned, tensions will likely begin to significantly subside in the Persian Gulf, Levant, and further afield in neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan. The former, long concerned about its security and energy supply vulnerabilities, will potentially benefit from improved relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which could help address its oil and gas crises.

Similarly, Afghanistan, whose Taliban-led government is still struggling to gain international recognition and is in dire need of reconstruction and investment initiatives, may also benefit from the kingdom’s rapprochement with the Islamic Republic. An early litmus test for the Saudi-Iranian reconciliation will be its impact on Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, where a perceived proxy war has wreaked havoc on their respective economies and in their public spheres. One of the most critical areas where the impact of the peace agreement will be tested is Yemen, where Iran and Saudi Arabia have backed opposing sides in the country’s eight-year war. The conflict has resulted in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises after a Saudi-UAE-led coalition in 2015 launched military attacks against Yemen’s pro-Iran Ansarallah movement, which had seized control of the capital, Sanaa.

Iran’s permanent mission to the UN said in a statement that the Iran-Saudi deal will “accelerate the ceasefire, help start a national dialogue, and form an inclusive national government in Yemen.”

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“Xi’s visit to Putin and remaining there for a couple of days I think sends a very troubling message, a message of support..”

China’s Xi Has Sent ‘Very Troubling Message’ – Pentagon (RT)

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent state visit to Russia should be regarded as a matter of grave concern for Washington, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told lawmakers on Thursday. Speaking at the House of Representatives’ subcommittee on defense appropriations, Austin was asked to comment on Xi’s trip to Moscow, and its ramifications for Sino-US competition. “Xi’s visit to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and remaining there for a couple of days I think sends a very troubling message, a message of support,” the Pentagon chief replied. He stated that while the Pentagon has not seen signs that China had been providing Russia with military equipment for use against Ukraine, it is watching the situation “very closely,” cautioning that “if they were to go down that path, I think that would be very troubling for the international community.”

He went on to warn that if Xi decided to arm Moscow, “it would prolong the conflict and certainly broaden the conflict potentially – not only in the region, but globally.” On Monday, the Chinese leader embarked on a three-day state visit to Moscow, holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the summit, the two sides signed more than a dozen documents on increased defense, industrial and economic cooperation.Moscow and Beijing also pledged to “deepen relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction entering a new era.”

The US has claimed that China has been considering sending arms to Russia, while threatening “consequences” should it make such a move. Beijing, however, has dismissed such plans, accusing Washington of “spreading false information” and “fanning the flames” of the Ukraine conflict. “It is the United States and not China that is endlessly shipping weapons to the battlefield,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said last month. Since the start of the Ukraine conflict more than a year ago, Western countries have supplied Kiev with large amounts of military equipment, with the US alone having committed more than $32.5 billion in security assistance. Moscow has repeatedly warned the West that such support will only prolong the conflict while making it a direct participant in the hostilities.

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“..I would not speculate on whether one army is stronger than the other. A fighting army is a strong army..”

There Could Be No Winner In War Between Russia, US – Medvedev (TASS)

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev warned of the disastrous consequences of a potential confrontation between the armies of Russia and the United States. In an interview with Russian media outlets and users of leading Russian social media network VKontakte, Medvedev said, “The first thing is, only a real conflict can decide which army is first, second or 21st. Secondly, it would be wrong to say that the US army is No. 1, while ours is No.2 for one simple reason. If these armies start a war, how could we say who the winner is? Obviously, there will be no winner.”


A potential confrontation “would cause disastrous consequences,” the politician warned. “And it would be impossible to say whose army is superior,” he added. According to Medvedev, the US army could have been considered the best “at least during that period when it was active on the ground – as usual, not on its own soil, at that,” referring to the US occupation of Vietnam. He said he was shocked to learn that 3 million Vietnamese people had been killed in that conflict. “Therefore, I would not speculate on whether one army is stronger than the other. A fighting army is a strong army,” Medvedev concluded.

Conte

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“..reducing any export of agricultural produce from Ukrainian territory for many decades, if not centuries to come..”

Russia Warns Of Radioactive Disaster In Ukraine (RT)

The potential use of Western-supplied depleted uranium shells by Ukraine would have a devastating impact on the country’s economy and population, lasting for centuries to come, the Russian Defense Ministry warned on Friday. Speaking at a briefing, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, who is in charge of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Forces, issued a scathing criticism of the UK’s plans to support Kiev with armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium. He noted that such munitions have only ever been deployed in combat by NATO countries, most notably during the Iraq War, when the US used at least 300 tons of depleted uranium.

“As a result, the radiation situation in the [Iraqi] city of Fallujah was much worse than in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the nuclear bombings by the United States,” Kirillov stated, recalling that Fallujah had been dubbed “the second Chernobyl,” while the local population suffered from a skyrocketing number of cancer cases. The West is well aware of the consequences of using such weapons, the general stressed. Even though it “will cause irreparable harm” to the health of Ukrainian troops and civilians, “NATO countries, in particular the UK, express a readiness to supply this type of weapon to the Kiev regime,” Kirillov stated.

He warned that the use of the munitions will contaminate farmland. “In addition to infecting its own population, this will cause tremendous economic damage to the agro-industrial complex of Ukraine… reducing any export of agricultural produce from Ukrainian territory for many decades, if not centuries to come,” the general said. The UK’s plans to send depleted uranium shells to Ukraine for use with Challenger 2 battle tanks were first unveiled on Monday, prompting an outcry from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which called the move a sign of “absolute recklessness, irresponsibility and impunity” on the part of London and Washington. While the US has said it does not plan to support Ukraine with such ammunition, it shrugged off Russian concerns over the matter, describing depleted uranium shells as “a commonplace type of munition” which has “been in use for decades.”

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“..the DSA includes a ‘crisis-management mechanism’, added last year in a last-minute amendment. The Commission argued it needs to be able to direct how platforms respond to events like the Russian invasion of Ukraine..”

EU Censorship Regime Is About To Go Global (Spiked)

Not many people know that 16 November 2022 was the day that freedom of speech died on the internet. This was the day the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) came into law. Under the DSA, very large online platforms (VLOPs) with more than 45million monthly active users – like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – will have to swiftly remove illegal content, hate speech and so-called disinformation from their platforms. Or they will face fines of up to six per cent of their annual global revenue. Larger platforms must be DSA compliant by this summer, while smaller platforms will be obliged to tackle this content from 2024 onwards. The ramifications of this are immense. Not only will the DSA now enforce the regulation of content on the internet for the first time, but it is also set to become a global standard, not just a European one.

In recent years, the EU has largely realised its ambition to become a global regulatory superpower. The EU can dictate how any company worldwide must behave if it wants to operate in Europe, the world’s second-largest market. As a result, its strict regulatory standards often end up being adopted worldwide by both firms and other regulators, in what is known as the ‘Brussels effect’. Take the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a privacy law which came into force in May 2018. Among many other things, it requires individuals to give explicit consent before their data can be processed. These EU regulations have since become the global standard, and the same could now happen for the DSA.

The EU’s enforcement of GDPR has been somewhat tentative. It has issued only about €1.7 billion in penalties since 2018, according to The Economist, which is peanuts in an industry that generates more than a trillion euros in revenue annually. But the EU seems to have learnt from this: the DSA has enormous enforcement capabilities built into it. The European Commission expects its internal industry watchdog to have over 100 full-time staff by 2024. Plus, contract workers and national experts will be expected to supervise Big Tech’s operations, too. It amounts to what EU internal-markets commissioner Thierry Breton calls a ‘historic moment in digital regulation’. The VLOPS are expected to fund this enforcement operation themselves, paying up to 0.05 per cent of their global annual turnover each year to the Commission.

This gives the EU an extraordinary amount of power. The regulation of the DSA will be overseen by the Commission itself, not an independent regulator. What’s more, the DSA includes a ‘crisis-management mechanism’, added last year in a last-minute amendment. The Commission argued it needs to be able to direct how platforms respond to events like the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Apparently, in a crisis, the ‘anticipatory or voluntary nature’ of obligations on tech companies to tackle disinformation would be insufficient. Under the DSA, the Commission has given itself the power to determine whether such a ‘crisis’ exists, defined as ‘an objective risk of serious prejudice to public security or public health in the Union’.

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“..simple issues of legal procedure, of due process, are no longer allowed to stand in the way when a demand to do something of this nature appears.”

Biden and the ICC: ‘A New Level of Farce’ (Patrick Lawrence)

There was talk among the Western powers for most of last year, readers may recall, of the U.N. forming a special court to try Putin and other Russian officials on charges of war crimes allegedly committed in the course of the Ukraine conflict. But Washington and its allies overestimated international sentiment: They could get no appreciable support among member states for any such project. They similarly failed when, as an alternative, they tried to get the U.N. General Assembly to authorize the ICC, a U.N. body, to investigate the numerous allegations of war crimes leveled since the start of hostilities in February 2022. It was at this point that the West—reportedly led by Britain—began an intense lobbying campaign at The Hague to get the ICC to act even without a U.N. referral behind it. The arrest warrant announced last Friday appears to be the result of this pressure.

The legalities here are important. While Russia is not a signatory to the ICC’s founding treaty, a U.N. referral such as the U.S. and its allies sought would extend the court’s jurisdiction even to nations that do not recognize it. This is why the Western powers spent all those months trying to bring the General Assembly around. Is our conclusion other than obvious? The ICC’s action last week has no sound legal basis, and the court has no jurisdiction over a nation that does not recognize it. “But as we have seen on so many occasions, over so many matters in the past few years,” Alexander Mercouris observed in an informed webcast over the weekend, “simple issues of legal procedure, of due process, are no longer allowed to stand in the way when a demand to do something of this nature appears.”

The charges of criminal abduction and forced deportation of children appear to be equally flimsy. The Russian Federation has made no secret of its effort to remove thousands of children from harm’s way over the past year. Some of these children were parentless and living in orphanages, by the Russian account; when parental consent was involved, the Russians running the program say they had it. These children, not to be missed, were removed from areas under constant artillery bombardment from Ukrainian forces in the eight years following the U.S.–cultivated coup in 2014.

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I think this is the Hersh piece that was behind a paywall.

Biden’s Nord Stream Cover-up Enters New Slippery Phase (Seymour Hersh)

It’s been six weeks since I published a report, based on anonymous sourcing, naming President Joe Biden as the official who ordered the mysterious destruction last September of Nord Stream 2, a new US$11 billion pipeline that was scheduled to double the volume of natural gas delivered from Russia to Germany. The story gained traction in Germany and Western Europe, but was subject to a near media blackout in the US. Two weeks ago, after a visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Washington, US and German intelligence agencies attempted to add to the blackout by feeding the New York Times and the German weekly Die Zeit false cover stories to counter the report that Biden and US operatives were responsible for the pipelines’ destruction.

Press aides for the White House and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have consistently denied that America was responsible for exploding the pipelines, and those pro forma denials were more than enough for the White House press corps. There is no evidence that any reporter assigned there has yet to ask the White House press secretary whether Biden had done what any serious leader would do: formally “task” the American intelligence community to conduct a deep investigation, with all of its assets, and find out just who had done the deed in the Baltic Sea. [..] In early March, President Biden hosted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington. The trip included only two public events—a brief pro forma exchange of compliments between Biden and Scholz before the White House press corps, with no questions allowed; and a CNN interview with Scholz by Fareed Zakaria, who did not touch on the pipeline allegations.

The chancellor had flown to Washington with no members of the German press on board, no formal dinner scheduled, and the two world leaders were not slated to conduct a press conference, as routinely happens at such high-profile meetings. Instead, it was later reported that Biden and Scholz had an 80-minute meeting, with no aides present for much of the time. There have been no statements or written understandings made public since then by either government. But I was told by someone with access to diplomatic intelligence that there was a discussion of the pipeline exposé and, as a result, certain elements in the Central Intelligence Agency were asked to prepare a cover story in collaboration with German intelligence that would provide the American and German press with an alternative version of the destruction of Nord Stream 2. In the words of the intelligence community, the agency was to “pulse the system” in an effort to discount the claim that Biden had ordered the pipelines’ destruction.

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Pepe Escobar tweets it was not Scholz, but Robert Habeck. He’s the vice-chancellor, from the Green Party(!).

Pepe Escobar: “Sy Hersh’s sources told him that it was during a one-hour Biden-Scholz meeting that the CIA plan was concocted – to plant the Ukrainian group story as a misdirection to cover up the US blowing up the Nord Streams. It was HABECK, not Scholz who discussed this on site with Biden.”

“A Biden-HABECK meeting green lit the whole Nord Stream scam + misdirection. Scholz knew what HABECK was doing. These revelations WILL explode. And they will bring down both Biden and liver sausage Scholz. This may well end up as Sy Hersh’s greatest scoop.”

Seymour Hersh Makes Claim Over Reasons For Nord Stream Sabotage (RT)

US President Joe Biden ordered the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines because he was unhappy with the level of support provided by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has claimed. Hersh first accused Washington of destroying the key European energy route in an article released in February, and made more allegations in an interview with the China Daily newspaper published on Friday. “The [US] president was afraid of Chancellor Scholz not wanting to put more guns and more arms [forward for Kiev]. That’s all. I don’t know whether that it was anger or punishment, but the net effect is that it cut off a major power source through Western Europe,” Hersh claimed.

Despite attempts by the US to deny its involvement in the Nord Stream attack, “Europe is in crisis now” and Biden will receive “a lot of criticism for what he did” in the coming months, the journalist argued. The Pulitzer Prize winner alleged that “the people that were initially asked to do the job” of destroying the pipelines were contacted by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan towards the end of 2021. The initial purpose of mining Nord Stream 1 and 2, built to deliver Russian gas to Europe through Germany, was “to give the [US] president an option to say to [Russian] President Putin, ‘If you go to war [in Ukraine], we’re going to destroy the pipelines,’” Hersh claimed. Biden himself publicly confirmed that stance but “unfortunately, those people in the Western press seemed to have forgotten,” the journalist stated.

Just under three weeks before the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, Biden warned during a press conference on February 7 that “if Russia invades… there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” According to Hersh, the US leader decided to order the detonation of mines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea last September because the conflict “wasn’t going great in Ukraine” from a US perspective. There was “at best a stalemate” during that period, in what Hersh described as “the American war that President Biden was so eager to support.”

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”Their “leaders” are all on the same team, the one that keeps the masses warring with each other rather than turning their pitchforks and torches against the ruling class..”

US Rulers Keep The Masses Divided And Distracted From Demanding Justice (Cox)

Washington is where securing political power means never having to say you’re sorry – regardless of how many thousands or millions of people you might have gotten killed. Tribalism is what keeps the perpetrators from ever being held accountable. Consider, for example, this month’s Axios/Ipsos poll showing that more than six in ten US adults believe that George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq was a mistake. While it might seem encouraging that most Americans have come to realize that the Iraq debacle was a bad move – sort of like recognizing that the sun comes up in the East – a glance beneath the headline number reveals that voters haven’t really learned anything. You see, two decades on from a war that was started on false pretenses and was illegal under the UN Charter, 58% of Republicans still believe that the Bush administration was right to launch the invasion (compared to 26% of Democrats).

They still feel this way despite a bevy of troubling truths that should be clear to everyone by now, including the fact that the whole basis for the invasion – the hype that Saddam Hussein had obtained weapons of mass destruction – was a sham. It was a sham that cost US taxpayers over $2 trillion, helped give rise to ISIS and killed or maimed tens of thousands of American troops. Along the way, this bogus war also killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and left the country shattered, even to the present day. The cherry on top is that it also strengthened Washington’s arch-enemy, Iran. It’s almost incomprehensible that any Americans, other than the war criminals themselves, would still defend such a fiasco – unless one factors in the level of tribalism that currently pervades the US political system.

Rank-and-file members of the red team and the blue team can see no evil nor hear no evil when it comes to their tribe. Their “leaders” are all on the same team, the one that keeps the masses warring with each other rather than turning their pitchforks and torches against the ruling class. No one was punished for the Afghan debacle. Biden, Blinken and the Pentagon brass still refuse to admit to any mistakes. The only person fired over the withdrawal was Stuart Scheller, the Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who dared to publicly criticize the evacuation and call for senior officials to be held accountable. He was court-martialed for his temerity.

Meanwhile, the so-called experts in Washington continue advancing their careers, regardless of how many lives they destroy. It’s a town where Victoria Nuland can play a key advisory role in the Bush administration’s Iraq debacle, help engineer the Obama-Biden administration’s overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government in 2014 – setting the table for the current crisis in Eastern Europe – then land a job as the Biden administration’s undersecretary of state. It’s also where former secretary of state Madeleine Albright can say in a television interview that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children resulting from US sanctions were “worth it” – then be eulogized by three presidents upon her death last year and praised by Biden for her “humanity.”

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“..everybody… the formerly Woke, the unvaxxed, the penitent and unrepentant, the middle and lower orders especially, who suffer most harshly… will find themselves all on one side of that line in opposition to the wicked who have brought a hard rain upon them..”

The Season is Here (Kunstler)

Expect three evolving dynamics to stipulate our country’s zeitgeist in the stirring months to come. First, the collapse of our project for using Ukraine to destabilize Russia, an enterprise so feckless it could have only been conceived by the dead-of-brain. Our geniuses of foreign affairs screwed the pooch on this one. It’s almost too obvious that they never cared about the people of that sore-beset land. Notice, they do not even use the word “peace” in any of their confabulations about what’s going on there, because it is the opposite of what they seek, which is…chaos unending. Thus, others will end the project for us — namely, our antagonist there, Russia — and the regime of “Joe Biden,” for the second time in its mortifying two years-plus of rule, will be left holding its limp, generative member in its collective hand, another humiliation for our over-reaching imperial soldiery — and the deluded empty suits commanding it.

Will they be able to pretend this time, as they did in Afghanistan, 2021, that there’s nothing to see here, folks? Just a blizzard of press-releases declaring “mission accomplished” or some-such other craven bullshit? I don’t think so. The reaction may be enough to bum-rush “Joe Biden” and Company out of office. His grotesque family rackets (including the Ukraine grifts) will finally and magically come to the public’s attention, and that’ll be all she wrote for “JB”— except for the historians waking from their own long catatonic spells to record the disaster they will swear they couldn’t see coming. Next, we will go through the tipping-point where a critical mass of the population — not just in America, but throughout Western Civ, and even beyond — realizes that they have been poisoned and injured by the mRNA “vaccines” they were so eager to line up for.

It will produce a special sort of collective agony centered around a raging despair that leads with astonishing speed to prosecutions. The torpor and uncertainty of the past three years evaporates and the machinery of law actually starts cranking again, and in the right way — not as a mere instrument of coercion and intimidation, but to actually seek justice. Third will be the transformation of a raging inflation into a ruinous debt deflation that leaves Americans, one way or another, with no money. At the same time, the people will wake to the wrecking of their energy and food supply. A line will appear drawn in the ground from sea to shining sea, as by a cosmic power, and everybody… the formerly Woke, the unvaxxed, the penitent and unrepentant, the middle and lower orders especially, who suffer most harshly… will find themselves all on one side of that line in opposition to the wicked who have brought a hard rain upon them. And there you will finally see the beginning of your long-promised hope and change. No need even to wait for it. At long last, it’s upon us.

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“As interest rates continue rising, to fight inflation, razor-sharp needles are popping up in every direction.”

EU Is Melting Down And Contagion Spreading To UK Economy (Mitch Feierstein)

In 2008, the Bank of England’s Mervyn King began quantitative easing (QE) and bank bailouts. Increased debt levels devalued British pound sterling by 34 percent vs. the US Dollar. Sterling has not recovered since. In 2013, George Osborne hired central bank “rock star” Mark Carney to replace King. Carney maintained misguided ‘easy money’ interest rate policies through 2020. Zero Interest Rate Policy set the table for more dire future economic downturns far worse than the Great Financial Crisis. Carney inflated asset bubbles across UK markets, the most prominent bubble was in the UK’s commercial and residential property markets. As interest rates continue rising, to fight inflation, razor-sharp needles are popping up in every direction. When variable rate mortgages reset, a credit event will impair banks’ asset quality and impact our financial system.

King’s QE devaluation, Carney’s asset bubbles, and Boris and Rishi’s COVID money printing have caused the most significant cost of living crisis in UK history. Last week, the USA’s Silicon Valley Bank failed because it did not manage its risks. SVB made lending, business, and employment decisions that prioritised social justice, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance), ahead of profitability! So, what happened? SVB – Got woke & went broke. EU and USA Bank failures bode poorly for the UK. UK taxpayers still own NatWest bank shares from Kings 2008 bank bailouts. Biden, Yellen, and UK regulators promised that SVB depositor bailouts: “Will not cost taxpayers anything.” The US Fed created a $2.5 TRILLION bailout fund calling it a Bank Term Funding Program or “BTFP.”

BTFP is highly inflationary QE and the program signals a de facto nationalisation of the banking system. Was SVB a “one off”? Not at all, in fact, later that week, Credit Suisse went bust. Despite the “The banking system is sound, it’s all fine”, mantra from those responsible for this mess, continued currency declines, bank failures, bankruptcies and defaults are likely. What dishonest diversions will the media unwittingly spread? The blame shifting for the coming credit crisis will include: COVID, Russia, Putin, the Climate Emergency! Arrest Trump! Bring Back Boris from his £4m speaking tour, implement CBDCs.

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“Bank credit quality today is the best in a generation. The crisis stems from the now-impossible task of financing America’s ever-expanding foreign debt.”

US Bank Trouble Heralds End Of Dollar Reserve System (David Goldman)

The US banking system is broken. That doesn’t portend more high-profile failures like Credit Suisse. The central banks will keep moribund institutions on life support. But the era of dollar-based reserves and floating exchange rates that began on August 15, 1971, when the US severed the link between the dollar and gold, is coming to an end. The pain will be transferred from the banks to the real economy, which will starve for credit. And the geopolitical consequences will be enormous. The seize-up of dollar credit will accelerate the shift to a multipolar reserve system, with advantage to China’s RMB as a competitor to the dollar.

Gold, the “barbarous relic” abhorred by John Maynard Keynes, will play a bigger role because the dollar banking system is dysfunctional, and no other currency—surely not the tightly-controlled RMB—can replace it. Now at an all-time record price of US$2,000 an ounce, gold is likely to rise further. The greatest danger to dollar hegemony and the strategic power that it imparts to Washington is not China’s ambition to expand the international role of the RMB. The danger comes from the exhaustion of the financial mechanism that made it possible for the US to run up a negative $18 trillion net foreign asset position during the past 30 years.

Germany’s flagship institution, Deutsche Bank, hit an all-time low of 8 euros on the morning of March 24, before recovering to 8.69 euros at the end of that day’s trading, and its credit default swap premium—the cost of insurance on its subordinated debt—spiked to about 380 basis points above LIBOR, or 3.8%. That’s as much as during the 2008 banking crisis and the 2015 European financial crisis, although not quite as much as during the March 2020 Covid lockdown, when the premium exceeded 5%. Deutsche Bank won’t fail, but it may need official support. It may have received such support already. This crisis is utterly unlike 2008, when banks levered up trillions of dollars of dodgy assets based on “liar’s loans” to homeowners. Fifteen years ago, the credit quality of the banking system was rotten and leverage was out of control. Bank credit quality today is the best in a generation. The crisis stems from the now-impossible task of financing America’s ever-expanding foreign debt.

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“On one hand they’re kind of stuck with her; it would be bad to get rid of a Treasury Secretary during a banking crisis..” “On the other hand, they know they don’t have anyone good to be their face in terms of a response.”

White House Worried Over Janet Yellen’s Fumbling Of US Bank Crisis (Gasparino)

Janet Yellen is once again on thin ice inside the Biden Administration over her bungling of the banking crisis that keeps roiling markets, The Post has learned. The question is when will Sleepy Joe & Co. finally act? They need to put Yellen out of her misery and end ours by handing her job to someone who knows how to deal with the very real possibility of banks failing on a scale not seen since the 2008 financial crisis and a possible deep recession. As we have reported, the political types in the White House — the people that craft messaging and give input on cabinet choices — have been increasingly wary of Yellen’s ability to do the job despite her expansive resume and years running the Fed, people with direct knowledge tell the Post.

They grew sour over her bungled response to inflation (recall how she said it was transitory as it was exploding). It’s why they floated possible replacements last year, including Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America. Both are seen as policy heavyweights. Unlike Yellen, they have real-world business experience (Yellen’s been in academia and government throughout her career). Yet she survived that attempt to get her removed because her ultimate boss, the president, didn’t want to fire a woman in such a high-profile post, these people say. Sleepy Joe might not have much choice now given the growing severity of what she and the country are facing: The collapse of large regional banks Silicon Valley and Signature banks. First Republic, with more than $200 billion in assets, is on the precipice.


Credit Suisse nearly imploded and was forced to merge with its Swiss neighbor, UBS. On Friday, investors began freaking out about another European banking giant, Deutsche Bank and began predicting its failure. Yellen’s response to this has been bewildering from a messaging standpoint. White House advisers are pointing to her multiple flip-flops on whether the government will back up all deposits in a failed bank — even those well past the FDIC insurance threshold of $250,000. I get it, she doesn’t want people to pull money out of regional banks at just the hint of weakness, but what she is saying lacks credulity. Will the federal government or the underfunded FDIC insurance fund really cover a deposit of more than a million dollars?

Another criticism: Her slow-walking the possible severity of weakness in the plumbing of banks as failures begin to pile up. She says the system is safe and secure, but it’s obviously not. Years of historical and super-low interest rates distort asset values and risk-taking, and banks can’t be immune from the consequences. “On one hand they’re kind of stuck with her; it would be bad to get rid of a Treasury Secretary during a banking crisis,” said one of my sources, who works at a large DC-based think-tank and has heard the griping firsthand. “On the other hand, they know they don’t have anyone good to be their face in terms of a response.” [..] ..check your calendar: We’re going on week three of a fast-moving banking contagion that could spark a significant recession if banks collapse en masse and lending dries up, so whatever she’s doing is still far too late.

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“..nitrogen fertilizer [derived from fossil fuels] now supports approximately half of the global population.”

Carbon War ‘Net Zero’ Would Starve Half the Planet (Celente)

That victory Dutch farmers just won in provincial elections might literally save the world. After massive demonstrations against government targeting of nitrogen fertilizers to fulfill a UN zero carbon agenda, the BBB (BoerBurgerBeweging or “Farmer-Citizen Movement”) party picked up a significant bloc of senate seats. It was a major rejection of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s environmental policies, as Reuters reported in “Dutch farmers’ protest party scores big election win, shaking up Senate.” According to a final tally reported by Eva Vlaardingerbroek on 19 March, the number of seats gained was 17, more than enough to turn back environmental directives that would destroy the Dutch farming sector. But the significance is far greater than just farmer livelihoods in the Netherlands.

Nitrogen fertilizers are crucial to sustaining the world’s food supply, and banning their use as part of “net-zero” carbon goals could literally starve half the world. That’s the warning of a new report called “Challenging ‘Net Zero’ with Science,” compiled by two longtime pre-eminent climates scientists, William Happer, Professor of Physics, Emeritus, of Princeton University, and Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science, Emeritus, of MIT. The report was released by co2coalition.org. It says that extreme goals of the so-called “green energy” movement are built on decidedly unscientific premises. And they make no bones about the disastrous consequences that would result from following a course that continues to try to phase out the use of nitrogen fertilizers:

“As to the disastrous consequences of eliminating fossil fuels, it ‘is estimated that nitrogen fertilizer [derived from fossil fuels] now supports approximately half of the global population.’ As one of us (Happer) has made clear, without the ‘use of inorganic fertilizers’ derived from fossil fuels, the world ‘will not achieve the food supply needed to support 8.5 to 10 billion people.’ The authors cited Sri Lanka as a cautionary example of how devastating this one facet of the “zero carbon” agenda is already playing out: “The recent experience in Sri Lanka provides a red alert. ‘The world has just witnessed the collapse of the once bountiful agricultural sector of Sri Lanka as a result of government restrictions on mineral fertilizer.’5 The government of Sri Lanka banned the use of fossil fuel derived nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides, with disastrous consequences on food supply there. If similarly misguided decisions are made eliminating fossil fuels and thus nitrogen fertilizer, there will be a starvation crisis worldwide.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Catfight
https://twitter.com/i/status/1639175659418435584

 

 

Pandas
https://twitter.com/i/status/1639163711280562176

 

 

Octopi

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1639400762068582401

 

 

 

 

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Mar 242023
 


Gustav Klimt Pine forest II 1901

 

US Facing New Global Reality Post Xi-Putin Summit, Says Expert (TASS)
US ‘Uneasy’ About China’s Peace Plan For Ukraine – Media (RT)
Pompeo Warns Of Biden Administration’s ‘Enormous’ Mistake (RT)
The ‘Junior Partner’ Meme Gives No Insight To Real Changes (MoA)
‘The United States of America Is Our Enemy,’ Says Medvedev (TASS)
Medvedev Says Diplomacy Doesn’t Always Work, Special Op Was Right Move (TASS)
Effects Of Depleted Uranium In Ukraine Cannot Be Controlled – Zakharova (TASS)
Nato Chief: West Must Brace To Support Ukraine In A Long War (G.)
Ukraine Deployed Over 80,000 Servicemen Around Bakhmut – Prigozhin (TASS)
Ukraine Welcomes ICC Office (RT)
Hungary Says It Won’t Arrest Putin (RT)
House Judiciary Committee Expands Probe Into Alvin Bragg (PM)
CIA Planted Nord Stream Stories in NYT, German Outlets – Hersh (Celente)
Biden Played Direct Role in Addressing Hunter’s Business Deals (Turley)
FOIA Document Shows Government Anticipated Mass Vaccine Injuries (Horowitz)

 

 

 

 

Marseille
https://twitter.com/i/status/1638887827999174656

 

 

OZ

 

 

 

 

Blinken
https://twitter.com/i/status/1638925911905955841

 

 

AI

 

 

 

 

“..the US and the entire West have to consider this rapidly changing international environment, and that it may be better to cooperate with it, rather than to lose more and more influence by opposing this peace plan..”

US Facing New Global Reality Post Xi-Putin Summit, Says Expert (TASS)

A German political activist urged the United States and its Western allies to pay heed to rapid changes underway in the international arena following Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Moscow visit. In an interview with TASS on Wednesday, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder of the US-based Schiller Institute, said that China’s peace proposal “is not only endorsed by Russia, but is supported by the entire Global South.” “The initial reaction of [US] President [Joe] Biden was to reject it, as did some other leaders of the EU. But it is now becoming clear to the whole world who is trying to establish peace, and who is trying to prolong and escalate the war,” Zepp-LaRouche emphasized, when asked whether the Chinese leader’s visit to Russia could usher in peace in Ukraine.

According to her, Western establishments “are still completely underestimating the reality that there is a powerful renaissance of the non-aligned spirit occurring right now.” “The countries of the Global South are determined to end colonialism for good in its new cloth, and they do not want to be drawn into a geopolitical conflict between the US and Russia, or between the US and China, with whom many of them have very beneficial economic ties,” she underscored. Zepp-LaRouche praised as spectacular China’s diplomatic success “in getting Saudi Arabia and Iran to return to diplomacy and cooperation,” and said that Beijing had proven that “it can be a surprising peacemaker.” “So, the US and the entire West have to consider this rapidly changing international environment, and that it may be better to cooperate with it, rather than to lose more and more influence by opposing this peace plan,” she noted.

In February, the Chinese Foreign Ministry published a position paper on a political settlement of the crisis in Ukraine. The twelve-point document includes calls for a ceasefire, respect for the legitimate interests of all countries in the field of security, settlement of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the exchange of prisoners of war between Moscow and Kiev, as well as the cancellation of unilateral sanctions imposed without a corresponding decision of the UN Security Council. In the published document, China described dialogue and negotiations as the sole way of resolving the crisis in Ukraine and called on all parties to support Moscow and Kiev in “moving toward each other”, urging a resumption of direct dialogue as soon as possible. The world community should create conditions and provide a platform for the resumption of talks, the document emphasized.

Following talks with Xi on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that many provisions of China’s peace plan on Ukraine could be used as a basis for the conflict settlement whenever the West and Kiev were ready for that. At the same time, he pointed out that so far, “no such readiness” could be seen.

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“..with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claiming that China does not have “much credibility” on the issue..”

US ‘Uneasy’ About China’s Peace Plan For Ukraine – Media (RT)

There is a “sense of unease” in the White House about the consequences of its dismissal of the Chinese peace plan for Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing an unnamed official in the administration of President Joe Biden. In February, the US publicly brushed off the roadmap for peace presented by China for the conflict between Russia and its neighbor. However, Bloomberg reported that Washington now fears it could be “backed into a corner” by Beijing’s proposals, with the Biden administration said to be concerned that it has created the impression that the US does not want peace. America’s stance could be used by Beijing to convince nations that are weary of the conflict that the US has no interest in ending the hostilities, Bloomberg added.

“China will likely ramp up messaging that the US is opposed to a ceasefire, that the US is opposed to the end of the war,” former Pentagon official Bonny Lin, who is now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the media outlet. The Bloomberg report follows a three-day visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow this week, during which he held extensive talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Moscow had previously welcomed the Chinese peace initiative for Ukraine, and during this week’s talks Putin expressed his readiness to discuss and build upon it. He also reiterated that Moscow is willing to seek a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

The peace plan presented by China called for the resumption of talks between Moscow and Kiev. It also condemned unilateral sanctions, and urged the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations to be upheld. Along with Washington, other Western powers largely brushed off the initiative, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claiming that China does not have “much credibility” on the issue. However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken did later admit that the plan includes “positive elements.” Speaking to Fox News on Wednesday, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the Biden administration for failing to prevent what he described as a “wedding” between Moscow and Beijing. Downplaying the increasingly close ties between Russia and China “is an enormous strategic mistake,” Pompeo insisted.

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“They have allowed the Russians and the Chinese to come together in this way and it presents enormous risk to the US and every citizen..”

Pompeo Warns Of Biden Administration’s ‘Enormous’ Mistake (RT)

The Biden administration is making “an enormous strategic mistake” by downplaying the importance of rapidly expanding Russia-China ties, Mike Pompeo, who served as US secretary of state under Donald Trump, has said. The alliance between Moscow and Beijing “may be a shotgun wedding, but they’re still married,” Pompeo told Fox News on Wednesday. “To hear the White House play this down as if it’s insignificant or unimportant is an enormous strategic mistake,” he said. Pompeo, who was speaking hours after Chinese Xi Jinping concluded his landmark visit to Moscow, where multiple deals were signed, stressed that China has been “getting energy at a discounted price” from Russia.

“Think about that. American manufacturing companies are paying full freight for energy today and the Chinese are getting a 15, 20% discount on each barrel of oil, allowing them to continue to dump their products here in America,” he explained. The former secretary of state also claimed that “at least for today, the Chinese Communist Party is providing lethal assistance to Ukraine, almost certainly.” He was apparently referring to Russian forces fighting Ukraine, not Kiev itself. Weapons for Ukraine are being provided by the US and its NATO allies, together with funds, intelligence and training for troops. Beijing has previously denied claims that it’s supplying or planning to supply arms to Moscow amid its conflict with Kiev, calling such allegations by Washington “false.”

Russia has also insisted that it relies on locally made weaponry in its military operation. “Now, the Biden administration has failed. They have allowed the Russians and the Chinese to come together in this way and it presents enormous risk to the US and every citizen,” Pompeo continued. Commenting on Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said he didn’t believe that there was an alliance between Moscow and Beijing, reiterating his earlier suggestion that it was just “marriage of convenience.” Russia’s President Vladimir Putin sees “a potential backer” in Xi, but “whether it results in anything, we’ll see,” Kirby remarked during a briefing on Tuesday.

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“..changes “the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years.”

“A hundred years ago the world had just seen off a big war. Four big empires, the Russian, German, Austria-Hungarian and the Ottoman had suddenly vanished. The U.S. had stepped onto the international scene..”

The ‘Junior Partner’ Meme Gives No Insight To Real Changes (MoA)

Is there really a ‘junior partner’ in the Russian Chinese relations? Does Russia really need China more than China needs Russia? Well, who of two, Russia and China, has all the stuff that is needed for a modern life? I mean energy, minerals, commodities, foodstuff plus the abilities to retrieve and process all of them into useful products. It is obvious that Russia has all this stuff right within its borders. China, on the other side, is mostly importing these things through rather fragile sea routes. China has a naval problem that can only be solved with Russian weapons. So who is really in need of whom? China has obviously more people than Russia. But for all the Chinese riches these are still less well off than the people in Russia.

On purchase power parity base (PPP) Russia’s GDP per capita in 2022 was $31,962 while China’s was $21,291. When the Russian GDP per capita is 50% higher than the Chinese one can it really be a ‘junior partner’ in this? I don’t think so. I believe that Russia and China see themselves as equals. That is certainly true for the relation between President Putin and President Xi. Two equals who together do great things: As he left a state reception at the Kremlin on Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping turned to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and said the world was undergoing changes “the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years.” “And we are the ones driving these changes together,” he said. “I agree,” Putin replied, shaking hands with the Chinese leader in an exchange that was captured on camera.

A hundred years ago the world had just seen off a big war. Four big empires, the Russian, German, Austria-Hungarian and the Ottoman had suddenly vanished. The U.S. had stepped onto the international scene. In China the Kuomintang and the Communists founded the United Front to beat the rampant warlords the imperialists had created. (Russia helped with that.) Those were indeed times of great changes. We now see similar changes in this world. The U.S. empire and its proxies are in decline. The BRICS countries, led by Russia and China and rising, now have a bigger GDP(PPP) than the G7. Times have changed. The arrogance of the ‘west’ has ruined its own position in the world. A multitude of other powers have established themselves and are taking over. Russia and China together will see to that. Can the ‘west’ do something about this. I could. If it became humble and truly aware of its own position and of those of the rest of the world. But I for now see no way that it is going to happen. Certainly not anytime soon. Certainly not as long as its political discussions are made up from unfounded memes.

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“..the US’ position “is perfectly logical.” “What I can’t understand is the position of European leaders who are unable to make decisions that benefit Europeans..”

‘The United States of America Is Our Enemy,’ Says Medvedev (TASS)

The United States is currently a hostile country that seeks to cause as much damage to Russia as possible, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said. “They are our rivals, and today – let’s put it bluntly-they are our enemy. The United States of America is our enemy,” Medvedev pointed out in an interview with Russian media outlets, including TASS, and users of the VKontakte social media network. However, he pointed out that unlike EU nations, the US holds “a consistent stance.” “They are trying to cause us as much damage as possible, and, where feasible, even tear our country apart and put Europe under their spell in the worst way so that it is unable to move at all,” the Russian Security Council deputy chairman noted, adding: “The reason is that sometimes, the leaders that come to power there start getting clever, either withdrawing from NATO or suspending membership or doing something else.”


The Americans have now achieved their goal, Medvedev went on to say, pointing out that the US’ position “is perfectly logical.” “What I can’t understand is the position of European leaders who are unable to make decisions that benefit Europeans. All of their decisions benefit either certain rival political groups or the Americans,” the deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council said. He emphasized that European nations “are no longer an independent subject of international law as they have simply become a cash cow for the United States at the expense of their taxpayers.” “And they are doing it not even for ideological reasons, but out of stupidity and cowardice,” Medvedev concluded.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1639160121841385472

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“As a result, Russia would get a neighbor “who is not only a member of an unfriendly bloc but also plans to produce nuclear weapons..”

Medvedev Says Diplomacy Doesn’t Always Work, Special Op Was Right Move (TASS)

There are situations where agreements are counterproductive and one needs to take steps like launching a special military operation, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Russian media outlets, including TASS, and users of the VKontakte social media network. “In my view, it makes no sense to negotiate in certain situations. One must ignore it, and in some cases make decisions like the one that was made on February 24 last year because agreements can be counterproductive in certain cases,” Medvedev pointed out, when asked if Moscow needed to make agreements with the countries that failed to see Kiev’s crimes.

According to him, Moscow tried for decades to convey some simple things to the West. “Guys, the Soviet Union collapsed. Yes, it’s sad but that is what happened, both because of the Soviet leadership’s incompetent policy and your external interference. The country fell apart but ties did not, and the people remained the same. How do you imagine that? Ukraine becoming part of NATO?” he said, clarifying Russia’s message. Meanwhile, Ukraine “had its own nuclear weapons complex,” Medvedev went on to say. As a result, Russia would get a neighbor “who is not only a member of an unfriendly bloc but also plans to produce nuclear weapons,” he noted. “I would like to point out that Ukraine’s leader spoke about this shortly before the start of the operation, in late 2021.

So do you want us to put up with it? Particularly in a situation where we have a dispute over Crimea because we consider it part of our land and they regard it as their territory. So imagine them joining NATO and launching a large-scale operation against our country under NATO’s umbrella – we cannot accept this,” Medvedev stressed. The politician stressed that Russia had proposed a draft agreement on security guarantees to Western countries. “They responded ‘no’,” Medvedev said. In his opinion, “the current ramifications are much more complicated than they would have been” had the document been signed last December.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1638809561045037057

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Iraq and Kosovo tell the story.

Effects Of Depleted Uranium In Ukraine Cannot Be Controlled – Zakharova (TASS)

Radiation effects of depleted uranium shells, should these be used on the territory of Ukraine, will be impossible to control, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday. “Now the impact of used weapons and shells will be impossible to control either for neighboring states or for the states of the region. This simply cannot be done,” she said, while commenting on London’s intention to provide shells with depleted uranium to Kiev.


“It is possible to participate in the exchange of intelligence, it is possible to ask Washington to control the Kiev regime to ensure it should not carry out strikes at the territory of Poland or shoot down aircraft of some other countries, it is possible to do many other things, but no one can give instructions to radiation, it’s impossible to negotiate with it, there is no way of controlling it.” Zakharova recalled the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power plant disasters. “Both tragedies still have dire consequences. Their scale is different, but the lesson is the same: it’s impossible to come to terms with radiation,” she added.

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Take from the Guardian. “..to enable the Ukrainians to retake territory to liberate more and more and more land..”

Nato Chief: West Must Brace To Support Ukraine In A Long War (G.)

Vladimir Putin has no immediate plans for peace in Ukraine and so the west needs to brace itself to supply lethal aid to Kyiv for a long time to come, Nato’s secretary general has warned in an interview with the Guardian. Jens Stoltenberg said the Russian president was engaged in “a war of attrition”, and said he wanted Nato members to agree that spending 2% of GDP on defence as a minimum at the alliance’s next summit, in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. The fierce fighting, currently centred around Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, demonstrates Russia is willing “to just throw in thousands and thousands more troops, to take many casualties for minimal gains”, the Nato head said.

“President Putin doesn’t plan for peace, he’s planning for more war,” Stoltenberg continued, adding that Russia was increasing military industrial production and “reaching out to authoritarian regimes like Iran or North Korea, and others to try to get more weapons”. As a result, the US, UK, France, Germany and other western states had to be prepared to support Ukraine with weapons, ammunition and spares over a long time. “The need will continue to be there, because this is a war of attrition; this is about industrial capacity to sustain the support,” the secretary general said. At present, the combat was so intense that Ukraine’s use of artillery shells – 4,000 to 7,000 a day to Russia’s 20,000 – was outrunning western manufacturing.

“The current rate of ammunition expenditure is higher than the current production rate,” Stoltenberg said, although new contracts meant that was changing. Earlier this week, EU members agreed to supply Ukraine with a million rounds of shells, enough for six months or so. But heading into what is expected to be his final summit, Stoltenberg said he wanted Nato members to be prepared to spend more to reverse Russia’s invasion. Nato’s annual report, out on Tuesday, acknowledged that only seven of 30 member states – the US, UK, Poland, Greece and the Baltic countries – met the current defence spending target of 2% of GDP in 2022. France at 1.89% and Germany at 1.49% fell short, although both have committed to increases.

[..] A serious effort by China to act as a mediator in the conflict must be accompanied by an attempt “to understand Ukraine’s perspectives”, the Nato chief said, and to “engage with President Zelenskiy directly”. But while welcoming any peace initiative, he complained that Beijing had not yet condemned the Russian invasion. Stoltenberg thought the west had provided enough military equipment, including tanks, fighting vehicles and rocket artillery, “to enable the Ukrainians to retake territory to liberate more and more and more land” seized by Russia after the initial invasion in February 2022. The goal, he emphasised, was “to enable the Ukrainians to launch an offensive and to retake territory” although he said Nato was not a party to the conflict, with alliance members making their own decision on providing weapons and leaving battlefield calculations to Ukraine’s commanders.

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“..and prepared reserves of about 200,000 people..”

Ukraine Deployed Over 80,000 Servicemen Around Bakhmut – Prigozhin (TASS)

The Ukrainian armed forces have gathered over 80,000 servicemen around Artyomovsk (the Ukrainian name of the city is Bakhmut – TASS), Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner private military company, said in a video published on his press service’s Telegram channel on Thursday. “As of today, the enemy has deployed more than 80,000 [servicemen] around Bakhmut. This grouping is in Seversk, Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Druzhkovka, Konstantinovka and Chasovoy Yar,” Prigozhin said. “The Ukrainians received a very large amount of various NATO equipment, various armored vehicles, Leopards tanks, which everyone is talking about, and prepared reserves of about 200,000 people,” he added.


According to Prigozhin, with the help of the accumulated forces, in addition to military action in Artyomovsk, the Ukrainian armed forces may try to strike the first blow in the direction of Belgorod. “They will try to go near Belgorod,” he theorized. The founder of the Wagner private military company indicated the Svatovo – Kremennaya contact line, where, in his opinion, they may try to “reach Valuiki.”

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Ukraine, like US and Russia, never ratified the Rome Statute. But it does get an ICC office?! And to look only at Russian “crimes”?

Ukraine Welcomes ICC Office (RT)

Ukraine’s prosecutor-general signed an agreement on Thursday to allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open a representative office in Kiev. Andrey Kostin called it a “significant beginning” in the country’s relationship with the ICC, though Ukraine has still not signed the Rome Statute to accept its jurisdiction. “I am convinced that we will not stop until all those guilty of international crimes committed against Ukraine are brought to justice,” including the Russian military and political leadership, Kostin said after meeting with ICC Secretary Peter Lewis. The prosecutor’s visit to The Hague comes just days after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and children’s rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, alleging that the evacuations of children from the combat zone amounted to “forcible transfer of population.”

Kostin also praised ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan, a British lawyer, for “tirelessly standing guard over justice,” and said Ukraine and the court were “building a more just world”together. The ICC itself acknowledged that Ukraine is not a party to the Rome Statute, the 1998 international treaty that established the ICC. However, the court noted that Kiev has selectively accepted its jurisdiction for alleged crimes committed beginning in November 2013 – when US-backed protests against the government, later known as the Maidan revolution, began – and for an indefinite period thereafter.

Russia never ratified the Rome Statute, and Moscow has responded to the warrant by saying the ICC has no authority or legitimacy. Former president Dmitry Medvedev said that the charges signaled a “complete collapse of international law.” Russian authorities have also initiated criminal proceedingsagainst Khan and ICC judges Tomoko Akane, Rosario Salvatore Aitala and Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godinez, involved in issuing the warrant. The ICC also revealed that referrals for the alleged crimes in Ukraine came from a collection of countries, mainly EU and NATO members or otherwise allied with Washington. The US itself was not directly involved, however, as it too does not recognize the court. The US withdrew its signature in 2002 and passed a law allowing for a military invasion of The Hague in case any Americans or allies were detained there.

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Hungary did ratify Rome, but turns its back on the arrest warrant.

Hungary Says It Won’t Arrest Putin (RT)

While the Hungarian government has yet to take an official position on the International Criminal Court’s war crimes warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, the prime minister’s chief of staff said on Thursday that the country’s constitution wouldn’t allow for its enforcement. “We can refer to the Hungarian law, and based on that we cannot arrest the Russian president … as the ICC statute has not been promulgated in Hungary,”said PM Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, addressing reporters during a press conference in Budapest. “These decisions are not the most fortunate as they take things towards further escalation and not towards peace,” Gulyas said in reference to the ICC warrant, qualifying it as his “personal, subjective opinion.”

Last week, the ICC called for the arrest of Putin and Russian children’s rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, accusing them of personal, command and indirect responsibility for “forcible transfer of population,” referring to Moscow’s efforts to evacuate children from the combat zone. Ukraine cheered the move, accusing Russia of “kidnapping” children. Moscow responded by saying the ICC has no authority or legitimacy, as Russia never ratified the 1998 Rome Statute that established the court. Former president Dmitry Medvedev said that the charges meant a “complete collapse of international law.” Russian authorities have also initiated criminal proceedingsagainst the ICC’s head prosecutor and three judges involved with the warrant.

Ukraine never ratified the Rome Statute either, but the government set up after the US-backed coup in 2014 announced it would accept its jurisdiction for crimes allegedly committed by Russia on its territory. Hungary did ratify the Rome Statute, and was actually among the NATO countries and other US allies that sent the ICC a criminal referral on Ukraine on March 2, at least according to the court. Washington was not directly involved, however, as the US does not recognize the ICC either. After withdrawing its signature on the Rome Treaty in 2002, the US Congress passed a law allowing for the use of military force to rescue any American or member of an allied military, should they be detained in The Hague.

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“Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is “having trouble” convincing members of the grand jury to hear the case..”

House Judiciary Committee Expands Probe Into Alvin Bragg (PM)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent letters Wednesday to former special prosecutors Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz demanding documents and testimony relating to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority” amid the reported impending indictment of former President Donald Trump. Dunne and Pomerantz both resigned from their positions in the DA’s Office in January 2022 after Bragg’s initial reluctance to move forward with charges against President Trump. Since leaving the DA’s office, Dunne and Pomerantz have publicly criticized Bragg for refusing to aggressively prosecute the former president and now have even opened a law firm to bring lawsuits to prevent Trump from holding future office.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) wrote in the letters “Your criticisms of Bragg’s investigation were widely reported. It now appears that your efforts to shame Bragg have worked as he is reportedly resurrecting a so-called ‘zombie’ case.” The letters asked Pomerantz and Dunne to turn over documents related to the Trump investigation, including communications with federal agencies and other staffers in the DA’s office and sit for transcribed interviews by the morning of March 27. On Monday, Jordan, Reps. Jim Comer (R-KY) and Bryan Steil (R-WI), the chairs of the Oversight and House Administration Committees sent a letter to Bragg requesting his testimony and documents which included the communications of Pomerantz and Dunne.

Jordan wrote, “In January 2022, soon after you took office, you expressed doubts about President Trump’s case and suspended the investigation.” News broke Wednesday that the grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump for his alleged involvement in a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election was told not to show up and would reconvene on Thursday amid reports that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is “having trouble” convincing members of the grand jury to hear the case.

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“..the explosions occurred in an area that had toxic seafloor sediments, which could prove to be worse for the marine life than the release of CO2..”

CIA Planted Nord Stream Stories in NYT, German Outlets – Hersh (Celente)

Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday that the CIA planted stories about the Nord Stream pipelines sabotage in the New York Times and German magazine Die Zeit in a coordinated effort to discredit his story that it was the Biden administration behind the attack.“The disinformation professionals inside the CIA understand that a propaganda gambit can only work if those on receiving are desperate for a story that can diminish or displace an unwanted truth. And the truth in question is that President Joe Biden authorized the destruction of the pipelines,” an American intelligence source told Hersh. Hersh’s original story went into detail on how the U.S. and Norway allegdly carried out the elaborate bombing.

His theory is that President Joe Biden was concerned Germany would turn back to Russia for its natural gas if there was a cold winter and restart the pipeline. The White House called Hersh’s story completely false. Hersh brushed off the report in The New York Times that blamed the attack on a “pro-Ukrainian group.” Hersh seemed unimpressed with the report and laughed when reached by The Trends Journal. He joked, “I always thought either Somalia or Nepal were behind it.” The Times’s report cited unnamed U.S. officials who said they reviewed new intelligence about the pro-Ukraine group with no known ties to the Ukrainian government. Ukraine also denied any role in the attack. The paper said: The review of newly collected intelligence suggests they were opponents of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, but does not specify the members of the group, or who directed or paid for the operation.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said it supports Russia’s draft resolution that calls on the UN to launch an international investigation into the blast, according to The Global Times. The blast was an environmental disaster. Phys.org wrote, “the explosions took place near the Danish Island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. It has previously been estimated that more than 115,000 tons of natural gas escaped the damaged pipeline in just six days, with a greenhouse gas contribution of approximately 15 million tons of CO2—or the amount of carbon that can be absorbed by roughly 580 million trees in a year.” The report noted that the explosions occurred in an area that had toxic seafloor sediments, which could prove to be worse for the marine life than the release of CO2.

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“While many Democrats repeatedly stress that influence peddling is not criminal, it is corrupt and the Bidens appear to be a class in themselves..”

Biden Played Direct Role in Addressing Hunter’s Business Deals (Turley)

Some of us have written for two years that President Biden’s denial of knowledge is patently false. It was equally evident that the Biden family was selling influence and access. There are emails of Ukrainian and other foreign clients thanking Hunter Biden for arranging meetings with his father. There are photos from dinners and meetings that tie President Biden to these figures, including a 2015 dinner with a group of Hunter Biden’s Russian and Kazakh clients. People apparently were told to avoid directly referring to President Biden. In one email, Tony Bobulinski, then a business partner of Hunter’s, was instructed by Biden associate James Gilliar not to speak of the former veep’s connection to any transactions: “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.”

Instead, the emails apparently refer to President Biden with code names such as “Celtic” or “the big guy.” In one, “the big guy” is discussed as possibly receiving a 10 percent cut on a deal with a Chinese energy firm; other emails reportedly refer to Hunter Biden paying portions of his father’s expenses and taxes. Bobulinski has given multiple interviews that he met twice with Joe Biden to discuss a business deal in China with CEFC China Energy Co. That would seem obvious evidence. In addition, the New York Post reported on a key email that discussed “the proposed percentage distribution of equity in a company created for a joint venture with CEFC China Energy Co.” That was the email on March 13, 2017 that included references of “10 held by H for the big guy.”

The new emails show that, as early as 2015, [former Biden Communications Director Kate] Bedingfield told Hunter’s top financial lieutenant Eric Schwerin via email that Joe Biden approved a statement regarding Hunter’s board position. Yet, for years, Biden’s communications office repeated his denial of any involvement or knowledge. That stands in contradiction to Bedingfield’s 2015 email acknowledging that “VP signed off on this — will give this quote to reporters in my name shortly.” Bedingfield left the White House in 2023. The White House has continued the categorical denials. When confronted by Fox’s Fox News’ Peter Doocy on the transfer records showing millions sent from China, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded: “Look, I’m just not going to respond to that from here. Look, we have heard from House Republicans for years and years and years how — the inaccuracies and lies when it comes to this issue. And, I don’t even where to begin to even answer that question because, again, it’s been lies and lies and inaccuracy for the past couple of years and I’m just not going to get into it from here.”

The only reason that Biden would even attempt to maintain this clearly false defense is that he could count on a supportive media to blunt any attacks and limit inquiries. Of course, there is a difference with the Sgt. Schulz defense. Schultz was harmless and comical. The Biden influence peddling allegations is neither. Despite the striking lack of interest of many in the media, this is about millions of dollars paid to the First Family by foreign sources, including some with foreign intelligence ties. Influence peddling has long been the favored form of corruption in Washington. While many Democrats repeatedly stress that influence peddling is not criminal, it is corrupt and the Bidens appear to be a class in themselves. Yet, even with the clear contradiction of the President’s repeated statements to the public, Democrats still oppose any investigation into the alleged influence peddling. What made Sgt. Schultz funny is precisely why the Biden defense is collapsing. The refusal of the media to see what is now in plain view will convince no one. At some point, Democratic leaders will have to recognize the obvious or join the Bidens (and many journalists) in this cast of this theater of the absurd.

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In several steps, VAERS was massively expanded. They knew.

FOIA Document Shows Government Anticipated Mass Vaccine Injuries (Horowitz)

[..] as Hebrew University Professor Josh Guetzkow reveals, not only did the CDC know about the vaccine injuries blowing up VAERS at record levels (even before the general public had access to them), the agency contracted with defense contractor General Dynamics to handle the database in anticipation of record use. Then, when the vaccines were released, the CDC had to up the contract to account for even more entries, yet showed no moral qualms about continuing with the campaign without disclosing these revelations to the public. Guetzkow, who has secured numerous FOIA’ed documents both in the U.S. and Israel throughout COVID, posted 69 pages of FOIA’ed documents and contracts from General Dynamics Information Technology to the CDC’s immunization safety office.


Thanks to his work, we already know from the previous FOIA’ed documents that the CDC’s $9.45 million contract with General Dynamics in August 2020 stated that officials anticipated 1,000 adverse event reports a day, with 40% of them being serious. Yet, like a cold serial killer soullessly counting his casualty list, the CDC was completely fine with going through with this campaign, as if it were the price that had to be paid to worship the spirit of the age – the modern-day Moloch. However, this document shows that as early as Jan. 15 – when most people still could have avoided these shots – the CDC was aware of record-setting reports that crushed even the agency’s initial cold-hearted, morbid expectations.

As you can see from page 8 of the pdf, General Dynamics warned the CDC that VAERS had blown through the expected 1,000 cases per day and even reached a level above 4,500 – to the point that GD couldn’t process the data. Mind you, they were never concerned with the human toll, just the logistics of the contract labor. They predicted a need for “reforecasting of staffing needs” to process all these reports. Already in December 2020, when the shots were only available for select people like doctors, there were over 19,000 reports and close to 344,000 website visits. It’s hard to see how this wasn’t organic from people genuinely in pain because there was no organized campaign in the United States to inform people of VAERS at the time. I myself (who obsessively focused on this) hadn’t heard of it until two months later.


By Feb. 15, General Dynamics reported a continued record-setting pace of reports and website visits, to the point that workers had to expand their VAERS ID reports to allow for seven digits instead of six. In April, officials reported that they had to hire an additional 200 staffers to deal with the backlog and continue to process 25,000 reports per week, well beyond the threshold they originally contracted for. As eligibility for the shots expanded for all age groups, they continued to process over 30,000 injury reports a week, yet the CDC never said a word about it. Not only did officials not take the products off the market, they began mandating them over late summer 2021, with some mandates that remain in place to this very day.

Read more …

 

 

 

 


20,000 year-old fossilized human footprints were discovered in Australia in 2006: they indicate the hunter who made them was running at ~37 km/h (or 23 mph), the speed of a modern Olympic sprinter, but barefoot and in sand

 

 

Black hole sound

 

 


The Ili pika (Ochotona iliensis) is a critically endangered species of mammal in the family Ochotonidae, endemic to northwest China. It was discovered in 1983: this is the first documented photo in 20 years, taken in 2015

 

 

Full frontal flip

 

 


Claude Monet in his Giverny garden in 1899.

 

 


What the inside of a tardigrade looks like
Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa, Corinna Schulze and Ricardo Neves

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 182023
 
 March 18, 2023  Posted by at 9:16 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  44 Responses »


Leonardo da Vinci A Copse of Trees 1508

 

Xi Jinping To Make State Visit To Russia On March 20-22 – Kremlin (TASS)
US and Other Western Nations Wary Of Xi’s Trip To Moscow (SCMP)
Kissinger Assesses China-brokered Deal Between Saudi Arabia And Iran (RT)
International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Putin (TASS)
The Gathering Storm (Macgregor)
Kiev Issues Warning To Countries That Don’t Support Ukraine (RT)
US ‘Obviously’ Blew Up Nord Stream – French Politician (RT)
US ‘Taking Close Look’ At Drone Operations – CNN (RT)
Russian Forces Block Ukrainian Army From Leaving Bakhmut (TASS)
EU States Using Ukraine To Dispose Of Old Weapons – Kremlin (RT)
Putin Says Crimea’s Reunification With Russia Was Historic Event (TASS)
‘Foreign Agent’ Rules: The End Of Globalization As We Knew It (Lukyanov)
Using NGOs In Hybrid Wars Favorite Method Of Russia’s Enemies – Medvedev (TASS)
Twitter Pushed To Censor ‘True Stories’ On Covid – Twitter Files (RT)
SVB + FTX + SBF = WTF? (Kunstler)
Swiss Government Discussing Merging UBS & Credit Suisse (Az.)
US Security Forces Brace For Possible Trump ‘Arrest’ (RT)

 

 

 

 

RFK military operation
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636817052710125569

 

 

 

 

Mappin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636520757328064513

 

 

mRNA victims

 

 

Orthodox

 

 

 

 

Watters Hallie Schweizer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636524966958039040

 

 

Orban peace

 

 

 

 

Xi arrives on the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.

Labeling this an official state visit means documents have been prepared that are ready to be signed. By all parties, including US and Ukraine.

US and EU can say that China should join the world community vs Russia, but it’s Xi who speaks for the majority.

Xi Jinping To Make State Visit To Russia On March 20-22 – Kremlin (TASS)

Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to Russia from March 20-22 at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin press service said in a statement on Friday. According to the statement, the two leaders will discuss “pressing issues related to the future of relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China.” The parties are also expected to exchange views on ways to enhance Russian-Chinese cooperation on the international stage. In addition, the Kremlin press service specified that “a number of important bilateral documents will be signed” during the Chinese leader’s visit. Putin and Xi Jinping last met in person on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Uzbek city of Samarkand in September 2022.


In late December, Putin held a video conference call with Xi Jinping, inviting him to make a state visit to Moscow in the spring of 2023. Earlier in March, Xi Jinping was re-elected as Chinese president for a third five-year term. Putin said in his congratulatory message that Moscow and Beijing would continue coordination on key issues. The Russian president also expressed confidence that together with the Chinese president, he would be able to boost cooperation between the two countries in various fields. Following the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2022, Xi Jinping was also re-elected as General Secretary of the party’s Central Committee for a third time. That said, this will be his first visit to Russia since the re-election.

Ritter Xi

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“If China brokers peace here like it just did with Saudi and Iran, it’s a new world order, instantly.”

US and Other Western Nations Wary Of Xi’s Trip To Moscow (SCMP)

Washington and other Western capitals reacted warily on Friday to the announcement of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia next week, with the US “deeply concerned” Beijing could try to pose as a peacemaker by promoting an immediate ceasefire in the war in Ukraine. Both Beijing and the Kremlin confirmed on Friday that Xi will make a state visit to Russia from Monday to Wednesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It will be Xi’s first foreign trip since he secured an unprecedented third term as China’s president last week. His face-to-face talks with Putin are widely expected to have broad implications for the war, now in its second year, and China’s already tense relationship with the US.

But its significance grew further on Friday after pressure grew on Putin: the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, issued an arrest warrant for him over the war crime of illegally deporting Ukrainian children to Russia. Additionally, Turkey, after blocking Finland’s application to join Nato in the wake of Russia’s invasion, agreed to support it. Putin has maintained that Nato is a threat to Russia. Beijing’s foreign ministry described the trip as a “visit of friendship, cooperation and peace”. Washington, though, sees it as a potentially harmful reframing of the conflict. The Chinese might promote a ceasefire and “try to couch themselves as peacemakers and as … the only ones calling for the fighting to stop”, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. “We have deep concerns about that, because of what it actually means in terms of benefiting Russia at the expense of Ukraine,” he said.

“That’s why we’re expressing these concerns even before the visit.” The US position is that any ceasefire that freezes positions on the ground would validate Russia’s seizing of Ukrainian territory and give it a chance to rebuild its forces for further attacks. “We don’t support calls for a ceasefire right now,” Kirby said. “We certainly don’t support calls for a ceasefire that would be called for by the PRC [People’s Republic of China] in a meeting in Moscow that would simply benefit Russia.” He criticised Beijing for not joining the rest of the international community in supporting Ukraine. “We would certainly hope that they would. But we’ll see what comes out of this meeting,” he said. Britain also said that any peace deal not predicated on Ukraine’s sovereignty and self determination was no peace deal at all.

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“China has in recent years declared that it needs to be a participant in the creation of the world order. It has now made a significant move in that direction..”

Kissinger Assesses China-brokered Deal Between Saudi Arabia And Iran (RT)

China has taken a major step towards its goal of becoming a participant in the shaping of the world order, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said. The veteran diplomat was commenting on the recent landmark deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which Beijing mediated. Riyadh and Tehran agreed to restore diplomatic relations after a seven-year pause during talks in Beijing a week ago. In comments cited by the Washington Post on Thursday, Kissinger said the development is “a substantial change in the strategic situation in the Middle East.” The Saudis, who have been among Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East for decades, “are now balancing their security by playing off the US against China,” he explained.

According to Kissinger, Riyadh’s actions are comparable to what he himself accomplished in the early 1970s when, as secretary of state in the Nixon administration, he helped achieve rapprochement with Beijing amid its tensions with Moscow. The Saudi-Iranian deal will also complicate matters for Israel, as “pressure on Iran will now have to take into account Chinese interests,” he said. Israel remains increasingly concerned about Tehran’s alleged nuclear weapon program, and has warned of potential pre-emptive strikes against Iranian targets. “China has in recent years declared that it needs to be a participant in the creation of the world order. It has now made a significant move in that direction” by persuading Saudi Arabia and Iran to negotiate, Kissinger said.

The author of the article, Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius, also acknowledged that “the US is no longer the indispensable power in the region – the only country strong or supple enough to broker peace deals.” “China has claimed a share of that convening power” by playing the role of mediator on this scale for the first time, he wrote. Another major regional player, the United Arab Emirates, is also “courting” Beijing, Ignatius said. Chinese President Xi Jinping stated earlier this week that Beijing should “actively participate in the reform and construction of the global governance system” and promote “global security initiatives.” In doing so, China will add “positive energy to world peace and development,” he added.

Read more …

Russia was (is) moving Ukrainian children out of the line of fire. Where Ukraine let them remain. The west now talks of “re-education camps”..

“Who would have thought 15 years ago, that taking care of children, saving them and treating them, would become criminally punishable in the West.” – Maria Zakharova

International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Putin (TASS)

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, the court said in a statement on Friday. The statement said they could be responsible “for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.” ICC arrest warrants are usually secret in order to protect victims and witnesses and also to safeguard the investigation. However, the court stated that it authorized the public disclosure of the existence of the warrants, the names of the suspects and the crimes for which the warrants are issued, because “the conduct addressed in the present situation is allegedly ongoing, and that the public awareness of the warrants may contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes.”


Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier, when he commented on potential ICC cases against Russia, that Russia doesn’t recognize the court’s jurisdiction. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in comments on the information from the Hague, said decisions of the court have no consequence in Russia and any potential arrest warrants are null and void. The International Criminal Court was established by the Rome Statute in 1998. It’s not part of the UN and is accountable to the countries that have ratified the statute. The countries that aren’t parties to the statute include Russia (signed, didn’t ratify), the US (signed, then revoked signature) and China (didn’t sign). Putin signed an executive order in 2016 that stated Russia wouldn’t be a member of the ICC. According to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the court didn’t live up to expectations and failed to become a truly independent organization for international justice. The US expressed strong displeasure with the court in 2020, after ICC prosecutors indicated they would investigate crimes by US servicemen in Afghanistan.

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“Biden’s policy of forcibly pushing NATO to Russia’s borders forged a strong commonality of security and trade interests between Moscow and Beijing that is attracting strategic partners in South Asia like India, and partners like Brazil in Latin America.”

The Gathering Storm (Macgregor)

The crisis of American national power has begun. America’s economy is tipping over, and Western financial markets are quietly panicking. Imperiled by rising interest rates, mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasuries are losing their value. The market’s proverbial “vibes”—feelings, emotions, beliefs, and psychological penchants—suggest a dark turn is underway inside the American economy. American national power is measured as much by American military capability as by economic potential and performance. The growing realization that American and European military-industrial capacity cannot keep up with Ukrainian demands for ammunition and equipment is an ominous signal to send during a proxy war that Washington insists its Ukrainian surrogate is winning.

Russian economy-of-force operations in southern Ukraine appear to have successfully ground down attacking Ukrainian forces with the minimal expenditure of Russian lives and resources. While Russia’s implementation of attrition warfare worked brilliantly, Russia mobilized its reserves of men and equipment to field a force that is several magnitudes larger and significantly more lethal than it was a year ago.Russia’s massive arsenal of artillery systems including rockets, missiles, and drones linked to overhead surveillance platforms converted Ukrainian soldiers fighting to retain the northern edge of the Donbas into pop-up targets. How many Ukrainian soldiers have died is unknown, but one recent estimate wagers between 150,000-200,000 Ukrainians have been killed in action since the war began, while another estimates about 250,000.

Given the glaring weakness of NATO members’ ground, air, and air defense forces, an unwanted war with Russia could easily bring hundreds of thousands of Russian Troops to the Polish border, NATO’s Eastern Frontier. This is not an outcome Washington promised its European allies, but it’s now a real possibility. In contrast to the Soviet Union’s hamfisted and ideologically driven foreign policymaking and execution, contemporary Russia has skillfully cultivated support for its cause in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. The fact that the West’s economic sanctions damaged the U.S. and European economies while turning the Russian ruble into one of the international system’s strongest currencies has hardly enhanced Washington’s global standing.

Biden’s policy of forcibly pushing NATO to Russia’s borders forged a strong commonality of security and trade interests between Moscow and Beijing that is attracting strategic partners in South Asia like India, and partners like Brazil in Latin America. The global economic implications for the emerging Russo-Chinese axis and their planned industrial revolution for some 3.9 billion people in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are profound.

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“..while Kuleba was “trying to clumsily intimidate the world community,” he was simultaneously publishing announcements on his ministry’s website searching for “anyone who could represent the Kiev regime at the ambassador level abroad.”

Kiev Issues Warning To Countries That Don’t Support Ukraine (RT)

Ukraine will remember those who backed it in its conflict with Russia and will hold those who did not accountable, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba warned in a BBC interview on Friday. The choices every nation made during Russia’s military operation in Ukraine will be “taken into account in building future relations,” Kuleba said, adding that countries that have “misbehaved in the course of this war and mistreated Ukraine” would pay a price. “If anyone in the world thinks that the way this or that country behaved – or treated Ukraine at the darkest moment of its history – will not be taken into account in building future relations, these people just don’t know how diplomacy works,” he stated, noting that “war is a time when you have to make a choice. And every choice has been recorded.”

The minister also blasted the West for not giving Ukraine weapons fast enough, pointing out that every day weapons are not delivered is a day some Ukrainian soldiers die on the frontline. Russia responded to Kuleba’s statement by noting that everything he said had already long been understood by Ukrainian citizens, which is why they are fleeing even from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote in a Telegram post that while Kuleba was “trying to clumsily intimidate the world community,” he was simultaneously publishing announcements on his ministry’s website, searching for “anyone who could represent the Kiev regime at the ambassador level abroad.”

“Even though there is a foreign currency salary, it seems there is no one to be found,” Zakharova said. Meanwhile, Russia has pointed out that more and more UN member states are beginning to question the true nature of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev as they grow more skeptical of the West’s calls for peace in Ukraine. “Very quickly it has become obvious that it’s not Russia and Ukraine that are fighting in Ukraine right now. It’s a NATO proxy war against Russia with the hands of the Ukrainians, until the last Ukrainian,” Dmitry Polyansky, the deputy head of Moscow’s mission to the UN, said last week.

Read more …

Violent protests in France over Macron unilaterally pushing through pension reforms.

US ‘Obviously’ Blew Up Nord Stream – French Politician (RT)

French party leader Florian Philippot believes it has long been obvious that the United States was behind last year’s sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, which were built to deliver Russian natural gas to Western Europe. “Even before the war in Ukraine, the US for years fought against Nord Stream, it was a permanent part of their policy,” he told RIA Novosti in an interview published on Friday. “In early February 2022, [US President Joe] Biden said the Americans could make it so that the pipeline was no more. That’s what happened. And it was in the interest of the Americans,” according to Philippot, who heads the right-wing ‘The Patriots’ party in France. Last month, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that Biden personally ordered the bombing of the pipelines, and that Norway assisted in the sabotage.

He cited an unnamed source and supported his case using some of the same arguments as Philippot. Biden remarked that “there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2” during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in early February 2022. Hersh also claimed that Biden allowed US special services to classify the operation in a way that justified not informing the US Congress about it beforehand. Nord Stream 2 is the name of the second, newer pipeline, which was meant to greatly expand the capacity of the original Nord Stream, but was never operational. Both were disabled by sabotage. Philippot said he considered US culpability “obvious” even before Hersh’s revelations, but was not sure about Norway’s role.

He reasoned that Oslo had a motive since it “competes with Russia in gas trade, and many European nations replaced the Russian gas with Norwegian.” Both the US and Norway have denied any responsibility. Philippot also urged France to leave NATO, saying the military alliance “needs to be disbanded because it has no reason to exist.” “We have to stop this agenda of world war against Russia and China, it is absolutely insane,” he told the Russian news outlet, blaming the US for increasing global tensions. He also called French President Emmanuel Macron a deceitful leader. His government “prioritizes the US, and not its own people,” Philippot stated. He cited Macron’s decision to send billions of dollars worth of weapons and ammunition to Kiev, even as he is pushing through an unpopular pension reform, claiming a lack of money to fund social programs.

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“..the US is now “weighing the costs and benefits” of further drone operations..”

That took just one drone…

US ‘Taking Close Look’ At Drone Operations – CNN (RT)

The US is weighing the benefits and risks of drone flights over the Black Sea after losing an unmanned aircraft there while being chased by Russian interceptors, CNN reported on Thursday, citing sources. On Tuesday, Washington claimed that two Russian Su-27 fighters dumped fuel on a MQ-9 Reaper drone conducting a reconnaissance flight in the area, with one jet later colliding with the US aircraft. Moscow’s Ministry of Defense, however, dismissed the accusation, insisting that its interceptors had neither come into contact with the Reaper nor fired a weapon, saying that the drone crashed due to “sharp maneuvers.” Several officials have told CNN that the US is now “weighing the costs and benefits” of further drone operations.

At the same time, Washington has not entirely halted flights while the review is underway, the report says, and another Reaper was sent to monitor Russian forces searching for the debris. Pentagon officials say they are “taking a close look” at US drone routes and at ways to reduce the risk of clashing with Moscow’s military in the area. They are also said to be analyzing the potential intelligence benefits of such missions compared with the danger of escalation. One senior official told CNN the US was concerned that curbing drone activities could adversely affect intelligence gathering related to the Ukraine conflict. However, the US could still rely on other assets such as satellites, the report states.

Despite the ongoing review, Washington is considering flying another drone over the Black Sea in the near future, US officials said, without providing further detail. The US has significantly ramped up intelligence operations close to Russian borders, seeking to provide Ukraine with valuable data. Moscow has repeatedly insisted that such activities make the US a direct party to the conflict. On Friday, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who now serves as deputy chairman of the Security Council, blasted the US for sending its drone into the restricted flight Moscow has imposed due to the Ukraine conflict. “To put it simply, the Americans went way out of line, and there is no need to stand on ceremony with them,” he said, while recognizing the value of contacts between the Russian and US militaries.

Nap/Ritter

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They can leave, but not fully armed.

Russian Forces Block Ukrainian Army From Leaving Bakhmut (TASS)

Russian forces are steadily advancing in Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine) having thwarted the attempted withdrawal of several Ukrainian army units, acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin said on Friday. “We saw that several Ukrainian army units tried to get out of there, but they were thwarted by our forces,” he said in an interview with Russia’s Channel One. “The situation is steadily developing toward the liberation of this settlement.” Artyomovsk is located in the Kiev-controlled part of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Fierce fighting for control of the city is underway. According to the latest data, Russian forces have blocked or taken control of all paved roads to the city while the nascent spring mud season is complicating logistics efforts to supply the Ukrainian army with fresh ammunition and personnel.

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“.. the jets were retired last year, and several reports suggested that they were mostly not in operational condition…”

EU States Using Ukraine To Dispose Of Old Weapons – Kremlin (RT)

Plans by Poland and Slovakia to send Soviet warplanes to Ukraine look like attempts to dispose of antiquated equipment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during his Friday press briefing. “This is another example of how a number of NATO member states, including Poland, are raising their direct involvement in the conflict,” he announced, reacting to the recent announcements that Warsaw and Bratislava would send Soviet-designed MiG-29 warplanes to Kiev. Peskov added that it would not affect the outcome of Russia’s military operation but instead “may lead to additional suffering for Ukraine itself and its people.” “It seems like these countries [Poland and Slovakia] are just disposing of old equipment they no longer need,” Peskov said. The MiG-29 was designed in the 1970s and entered service in the 1980s.

Warsaw’s plan to transfer four of the MiG-29 fighters to Kiev “in the next few days” was announced by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki earlier this week. This makes Poland the first NATO country to pledge warplanes to Ukraine. The country has 28 MiG-29s, but it is unclear how many of them are in working condition, as the country has sought to update its air force with US- and South Korean-made fighters. Slovakia, also a NATO member, similarly announced on Friday that it would send 13 of its MiGs to Kiev. However, the jets were retired last year, and several reports suggested that they were mostly not in operational condition.

Ukraine has been requesting warplanes, specifically American-made F-16s for its military, but US President Joe Biden said in January that they were not planning to send any over. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz similarly stated the same month that Berlin was not even discussing transferring its own F-16s. French President Emmanuel Macron has sounded more vague, saying in January that he would not rule out sending fighter jets to Ukraine. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced in February that London would be training Ukrainian pilots, adding that there was still no decision on actually sending Western-made fighter jets to Kiev. Moscow has warned on numerous occasions that arming Ukraine was akin to playing with fire and that Western countries had practically already become a party to the conflict.

Read more …

9 years ago.

Putin Says Crimea’s Reunification With Russia Was Historic Event (TASS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin took the opportunity on Friday to congratulate all citizens of Russia with the upcoming anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia, calling it a historic event. “I want to congratulate the citizens of Crimea, Sevastopol and all citizens of our country with the Day of Crimea’s Reunification with Russia,” Putin said, opening a session on the socio-economic development of Crimea and Sevastopol. March 16, 2023 marks nine years since the Crimean referendum, where the majority of citizens of Crimea and Sevastopol voted in favor of reunification with Russia.


After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a coup in February 2014, mass protests erupted in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. On March 11, 2014, Crimea’s Supreme Council and Sevastopol City Council adopted a declaration of independence. On March 15, 2014, the Crimean authorities held a referendum on reuniting with Russia. Most voters supported the idea (96.77% in Crimea and 95.6% in the city of Sevastopol), with turnout reaching 80%. On March 18, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Ukraine, the United States and the European Union refused to recognize Crimea’s independence and its decision to reunite with Russia.

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“..The idea that cross-border funding of NGOs is not only acceptable, but normal and necessary, has become a product and a feature of the era of liberal globalization..”

‘Foreign Agent’ Rules: The End Of Globalization As We Knew It (Lukyanov)

Georgia hit the headlines early this month over the government’s attempt to pass a law on “foreign agents.” The draft bill (there were actually two of them) was eventually withdrawn and the issue taken off the agenda for the time being. The case is unusual because the Georgian leadership – far from being pro-Russian and anti-Western – has suddenly been relegated to this niche by the international media. Of course, everything is black-and-white these days, but the general topic is interesting in a wider context. The concept of a “foreign agent,” which was introduced in the US on the eve of World War II to counter enemy propaganda, has found new life in the 21st century. Until recently, it was mainly used in polemics between Russia and the West.

The latter accused Moscow of using the status to remove dissenters from the public space. Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s argument that the public has a right to know about foreign money being spent domestically is dismissed as a mere justification for restricting freedoms. The argument goes that “civil society” has the right to be funded “independently.” Herein lies a fundamental contradiction that we are now likely to see everywhere more and more. The idea that cross-border funding of NGOs is not only acceptable, but normal and necessary, has become a product and a feature of the era of liberal globalization. This view of civil society has been logically derived from the conceptual approach itself. If the aim is to remove trade, economic and, ideally, political barriers and to create a single global regulatory space, then non-governmental structures must either have no national affiliation at all or be connected with international organizations as much as possible.

This contradicts the classical notion of civil society, the essence of which is precisely its bottom-up origin, i.e., that it should emerge domestically. However, the West believes the top-down approach is a good thing – when it suits it, of course. Five years ago, US doctrine enshrined the return of great power rivalry as the core content of international politics. It drew a line under the previous period, which was more open. If this is the essence of world politics, then all the instruments are in play, and all the old themes, such as “money has no nationality” and “let information circulate without barriers,” can no longer be understood outside this context. Over the past couple of decades, there has indeed been a high degree of openness on the part of states to both socio-political and information activities. This is partly due to the significant increase in the number of embassy staff after the Cold War – where the scope of work, including with civil society, has expanded.

The impressive scale of mutual expulsions of diplomats after 2018 is linked to the collapse of relations, but also has an objective basis. Embassies are returning to more classical, i.e., narrower tasks, and there is no reason to have so many staff present. The same phenomenon applies to restrictions on media activity, which was relatively freely tolerated after the end of the Cold War. However, the atmosphere in this area has changed as the dominance of Western sources in the information space has been challenged by other players. In Western Europe and the US, measures against Russian and, to some extent, Chinese news channels have been explained by the fact that they are state-funded, while many of those from the West are private, in addition to their own state media.

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“To create organizations under benign covers, which actually seek to destabilize the situation in the country, to undermine stability in civil society..”

Using NGOs In Hybrid Wars Favorite Method Of Russia’s Enemies – Medvedev (TASS)

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev noted that using nonprofit organizations in hybrid wars is the favorite method of certain states that are hostile to Russia. The politician called “not to be shy” and to decisively thwart the operation of such structures. “We know that the favorite method of our enemies – all types – is to use nonprofits in hybrid wars. To create organizations under benign covers, which actually seek to destabilize the situation in the country, to undermine stability in civil society. We have seen many examples of this. These methods have been honed to perfection,” Medvedev said, speaking at a Ministry of Justice board meeting Friday. Medvedev noted that the Ministry has already created special measures for nonprofits, including publication of reports online.


“It is necessary to continue fine-tuning the law in this area, to prevent unfair competition, to introduce principles of openness and transparency, and streamline corporate management of nonprofit organizations,” he listed.Achieving balance and security in this area is of key importance, the official explained. “Thus, on the one hand, it is necessary to create comfortable conditions for normal, good-faith nonprofits, whose operation truly benefits the state and society. And, on the other hand – to brutally thwart the operation of structures, whose operation runs counter to Russia’s interests,” he noted. In this regard, one “should not be shy and should use all the necessary legal instruments,” Medvedev believes.

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“As Orwellian proof-of-concept, the Virality Project was a smash success..”

Twitter Pushed To Censor ‘True Stories’ On Covid – Twitter Files (RT)

A government-linked academic group pushed Twitter to censor factually correct stories about Covid-19 if they risked “fueling hesitancy” about vaccines, according to the latest batch of internal documents released by the platform’s new owner, Elon Musk. Published by journalist Matt Taibbi on Friday, the documents show that from February 2021 onwards, senior Twitter management – including former trust and safety chief Yoel Roth – signed up to a Stanford University initiative that would alert them to the latest “vaccine-related disinformation narratives” spreading on the platform.

Titled ‘The Virality Project,’ the initiative was led by a former CIA employee and comprised academics from several universities, as well as researchers from organizations funded by the Pentagon, the National Science Foundation, and the US State Department. The Virality Project also stated on its website that it “built strong ties” with the Office of the Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Homeland Security, among other agencies and departments. In its briefings to Twitter, the Virality Project recommended that “true content which might promote vaccine hesitancy” – such as stories of side effects and certain vaccines being banned abroad – be censored. Posts raising concern about vaccine mandates were viewed as “anti-vax” misinformation, while “just asking questions” was deemed “a tactic commonly used by spreaders of misinformation,” and posting about the “surveillance state” was deemed a bannable “conspiracy” theory.

It is unclear how often Twitter acceded to the Virality Project’s demands, though Taibbi said that within a month, the platform’s staff began using the project’s recommendations when evaluating content to censor. At the time, Twitter’s rules on Covid-19 “misinformation” required a specific post to be “demonstrably false,” while permitting “strong commentary,” opinion writing, and satire. The Virality Project, however, urged Twitter management to ban “repeat offenders” before they even made new posts. Sharing the leaked emails of White House coronavirus czar Anthony Fauci could “exacerbate distrust in Dr. Fauci and in US public health institutions,” the Virality Project warned in a June 2021 briefing, while a follow-up report highlighted the spread of “worrisome jokes” about harassing the door-to-door vaccine promoters deployed by the administration of US President Joe Biden.

“As Orwellian proof-of-concept, the Virality Project was a smash success,” Taibbi wrote on Friday. “Government, academia, and an oligopoly of would-be corporate competitors organized quickly behind a secret, unified effort to control political messaging.” Since purchasing Twitter in October and installing himself as the platform’s new CEO, Musk has been releasing regular batches of internal documents and communications in a bid to shed light on its previously opaque censorship policies. A tranche of files released in December revealed that Twitter censored “legitimate content” on Covid-19 at the direct request of the White House.

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“Money dies when it loses its direct connection to the generation of wealth from the real things of this earth..”

SVB + FTX + SBF = WTF? (Kunstler)

As if all the operations around finance in this land were not already unsound and degenerate enough, the alleged president just cancelled moral hazard altogether. It’s now official: from here forward there will be no consequences for banking fraud, poor decision-making, fiduciary recklessness, self-dealing, or any of the other risks attendant to the handling other people’s money. Bailing out the Silicon Valley Bank and Barney Frank’s deluxe Signature Bank means that the government will now have to bail out every bank every time something goes wrong. The trouble, of course, is that the government doesn’t have the means to bail out every bank. Its only resort is to ask the Federal Reserve to summon new money from a magic ether where the illusion of wealth is conjured to paper-over ever greater fissures in the splintering matrix of racketeering that America has become.

That will quickly translate into US dollars losing value, that is, accelerating inflation, which is how nature punishes you when your government lies and pretends that it has a bad situation well-in-hand. Be advised: the situation is not in-hand and is going to get a whole lot worse as new and subsidiary shocks thunder through the weeks and months ahead, until the whole wicked business blows. Likewise, the reactions of our government will only get more tragi-comically pathetic. The harder this gang of feckless, wannabe control freaks pretends to control events, the faster events spin out of control. Money dies when it loses its direct connection to the generation of wealth from the real things of this earth: fuels, crops, metals, materials, labor, and the value-added products made from them.

Since that divorce has already happened, the need arises for something else that can function as money (a store of wealth, an index of value, and a medium of exchange). The government will pretend that a Central Bank Digital Currency is that something else. Since banking is now nationalized by the Federal Reserve backstopping everything and everybody, then theoretically all the wealth of the nation is under its command. That would be another illusion. This CBDC would not be “money” representing wealth because America’s wealth is going, going, gone, pissed away, falling apart, de-laminating, oxidizing, rusting in the rain, going up in a vapor. Think of all those mortgaged cars on the road racking up the mileage until they’re worthless and all those mortgaged suburban houses built out of particle-board and vinyl smeared all over the landscape, decomposing into their constituent chemicals — over time, a dead loss. And that’s what’s left of our American Dream: coldcocked by entropy and, by extension, the laws of the universe.

Yellen

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Credit Suisse was back tanking yesterday.

Swiss Government Discussing Merging UBS & Credit Suisse (Az.)

UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse Group AG are opposed to a forced combination, even as scenario planning for a government-orchestrated tie-up continues, according to people with knowledge of the matter, Report informs referring to Bloomberg. UBS would prefer to focus on its own wealth-centric standalone strategy and is reluctant to take on risks related to Credit Suisse, the people said, asking not to be identified as the deliberations are private. Its smaller rival is seeking time to see through its turnaround after winning a liquidity backstop from the central bank, they said.


Credit Suisse arrested a collapse in investor confidence on March 16 after winning a 50 billion franc ($54 billion) credit line from the Swiss National Bank. That came after the Swiss lender had appealed to authorities for a public show of support following an unprecedented slump in the shares. With investors jittery after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, comments by Credit Suisse’s largest shareholder that it wasn’t willing to invest more in the bank were enough to provoke a deep selloff.

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They’re really scared of him. He’s polling well compared to DeSantis. And New York is as Dem as they come. But really? Stormy Daniels is all you got?

US Security Forces Brace For Possible Trump ‘Arrest’ (RT)

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are reportedly discussing security preparations in the event former President Donald Trump is indicted on felony falsification charges sometime in the coming days, according to multiple media outlets citing anonymous officials. The agencies are carrying out “preliminary security assessments” in and around a Manhattan courthouse to prepare for a possible indictment linked to an alleged “hush money” scheme involving a woman who claimed to have been intimate with the ex-president, five senior officials told NBC on Friday. While the officials stressed that the discussions are “precautionary” given that no charges have been filed, they said preparations are being made for an indictment that could come as early as next week.


Four law enforcement officials reached by the Associated Press confirmed the interagency conversations, which they said involve “security, planning and the practicalities of a potential court appearance” by Trump. The agencies discussing security preparations reportedly include the New York Police Department, New York State Court Officers, the US Secret Service, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Manhattan DA’s Office. According to a “source in the courts” cited by Fox News, the Secret Service will determine whether Trump is handcuffed in the event he is charged. The former leader is under a grand jury investigation launched by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office over the alleged felony falsification of business records, and is accused of arranging a payment of $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels through his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Trump
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636890792051523585

Daniels claims she was paid during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep quiet about alleged sexual encounters with Trump in the past, though he denies such liaisons ever took place. Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, told NBC News that if the ex-president is charged, he will “follow the normal procedures,” but has insisted on his client’s innocence. “The payments were made to a lawyer, not to Stormy Daniels. The payments were made to Donald Trump’s lawyer, which would be considered legal fees,” he said during a separate interview with MSNBC earlier this week, adding that Cohen “was his lawyer at the time and advised him that this was the proper way to do this to protect himself and his family from embarrassment. It’s as simple as that. That is not a crime.”


Cohen pleaded guilty to a federal charge related to the payment in 2018, and has since cooperated with the investigation into Trump after a public falling out with his former boss. He has provided hours of testimony before the grand jury probing Trump on the alleged felony charge, appearing for a second time on Wednesday.

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Canucks
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636546986601066496

 

 

 

 

Knots

 

 

Coral

 

 

Humpback

 

 

Amur
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636800272231190528

 

 

Best friends
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636696497025699843

 

 

 

 

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Jun 062022
 
 June 6, 2022  Posted by at 8:56 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  46 Responses »


Robert Rauschenberg Collection 1954-55

 

The War in Ukraine Can Be Over If the US Wants It (Barkan)
Russia Will Strike West If US Rockets Hit Us – Medvedev (Times)
Japan’s Perceptions of the Propaganda regarding the SMO (Patricia Ormsby)
UK Offers More Support For ICC War Crimes Investigation In Ukraine (G.)
US To Allow Venezuelan Oil To Be Shipped To Europe (Hill)
Biden Scrambles To Avoid Summit of the Americas Flop (AP)
Food, Gas Prices Soar With No End In Sight, Americans Change Habits (JTN)
Spanish Court Orders Mike Pompeo To Testify On CIA Plot vs Assange (ZH)
Ratcliffe: Durham Lost Sussmann Battle, But Winning War (NM)
Schiff Says Jan. 6 Panel Has More Revelations For Americans (Hill)
Twitter In Settlement Talks With Deplatformed Journalist Alex Berenson (JTN)
Musk’s Twitter Acquisition Clears US Antitrust Review (Fox)
Musk: Things I’ll Never See In My Life (CB)
Why Your Depression May Really Be Insulin Resistance (PT)

 

 

 

 

What Happens To Europe When Russia Wins
Europe Cannot Survive Without Russia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desmet

 

 

Erdogan

 

 

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.
–Albert Einstein

 

 

The US doesn’t want it…

The War in Ukraine Can Be Over If the US Wants It (Barkan)

The trouble with the seemingly bottomless pleas for more armaments for Ukraine is that with them a viable end to the war falls ever further out of reach. Though many American foreign-policy analysts and pundits believe the only acceptable outcome of the war is full freedom for Ukraine and a total repulsion of Russian forces, this remains highly unlikely and may put the world in further danger. That is Kissinger’s contention, and it’s one that must be heeded. If the American-backed military gains for Ukraine are fleeting and merely increase the odds of a more ruinous collision between NATO and Russia, should Ukraine keep receiving American missiles? This is the dilemma both Kissinger and Chomsky confront.

The economic shocks of the war cannot be dismissed any longer. Skyrocketing energy prices across the globe are destabilizing for affluent and precarious nations alike. Mass starvation looms — Russia is trapping 20 million tons of grain in Ukraine, which has been one of the world’s great breadbaskets. Ordinarily, Russia and Ukraine account for one-quarter of the grain traded internationally. Even before the war, strains on the global food supply were emerging with the pandemic and ongoing droughts in North America and the Horn of Africa. Wheat prices are now surging. And there is the faint possibility, always to be taken seriously, of nuclear conflict.

Kissinger is one of a vanishing number of men who worked in American government when nuclear war was a much-discussed existential threat to be averted at all costs. Russia is an enormous country that is going to play a role in global affairs for the rest of this century, just as it did in the past one. This fact cannot be hand-waved away, nor can the reality that Russia has stockpiled more nuclear weapons than any other nation in the world. Putin’s Russia is more unsettling than the Soviet Union because it is far weaker and dominated by fewer men; it simply has less to lose. As in the defeated Germany after the First World War, grievance culture might take hold, this time in a nation with enough nuclear warheads pointed outward to annihilate every large city on Earth.

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“The Horsemen of the Apocalypse are already on their way and all hope now is with Lord God the Almighty.”

Russia Will Strike West If US Rockets Hit Us – Medvedev (Times)

One of President Putin’s closest allies has warned that Moscow could target western cities if Ukraine uses rocket systems supplied by the United States to carry out strikes on Russian territory. Washington said this week that it was sending M142 high-mobility artillery rocket systems to Ukraine, which will more than double its army’s artillery range and allow it to strike targets 50 miles away. “If, God forbid, these weapons are used against Russian territory then our armed forces will have no other choice but to strike decision-making centres,” said Dmitry Medvedev, a former prime minister under Putin who is deputy chairman of Russia’s national security council. “Of course, it needs to be understood that the final decision-making centres in this case, unfortunately, are not located on the territory of Kyiv,” he said in an interview with Al Jazeera.


Officials in Moscow have accused Nato of using the war in Ukraine to wage a proxy war against Russia. Medvedev, who also served a single term as president from 2008 to 2012 but was widely viewed as Putin’s puppet, was once seen as a liberalising force in Russia but has transformed in recent months into one of Moscow’s biggest hawks. He also warned that the fighting in Ukraine was pushing the world dangerously close to nuclear Armageddon, saying: “The Horsemen of the Apocalypse are already on their way and all hope now is with Lord God the Almighty.” Kremlin-controlled state television has said on a number of occasions that Moscow could launch nuclear missiles against western countries, including Britain, if the war in Ukraine turns against Russia.

Long range rockets

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“Zelensky’s arming of civilians to help fight the invasion rendered the entire civilian population a military target under international law..”

Japan’s Perceptions of the Propaganda regarding the SMO (Patricia Ormsby)

I can attest as a woman living in Japan nearly four decades that I could not watch the news without feeling that I would be a monster if I didn’t have any sympathy at all for the victims, even if I considered it all unverified and mostly likely misleading. I can’t tolerate such a level of cognitive dissonance, and just flee after a few minutes. My husband and his brother, by contrast, can continue watching with no emotional involvement, just out of curiosity to see how far the authorities will take such obvious propaganda. In contrast to the successful emotional man-handling of the women, virtually all of the men I know in Japan quickly saw through the deception and many, in fact, took umbrage at it.

It was men who told me they were sick of hearing constantly about Ukraine. They pointed out how odd the unilateral condemnation of Russia was, considering this was the same sort of action America was constantly engaging in with other small impoverished countries far away that the news otherwise had no interest in. They recognized the attempted manipulation, and what they and an increasing number of women began to see behind it was an anticipated new attempt to rewrite Japan’s constitution enabling it to engage in military actions overseas. In addition, the talk shows never really managed to shut out pro-Russian views entirely. Prior to the SMO, there had been some positive coverage of Russia in the Japanese media. The knowledge people possessed from before the conflict could not be erased.

According to my husband, one commentator noted that Zelensky’s arming of civilians to help fight the invasion rendered the entire civilian population a military target under international law. The public’s perceptions of Zelensky’s role in the conflict changed. The Minsk Accords were brought up in one daytime program, catching one of the young “experts” off-guard. The general perception gradually formed among the public that there was indeed another side to this story. Russian signage was restored at train stations in April. I have not heard recently of on-line harassment of Russians (or anyone suspected of being Russian, including Ukrainians), which was occurring during the first few weeks of the SMO. Prior to Biden’s recent appearance in Japan, the propaganda increased, but seems to have subsided since then somewhat, though the other day they aired a documentary on what a dictator Putin is.

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“..the global community will work together to ensure justice is served.” Right, with another probe in Mariupol.

UK Offers More Support For ICC War Crimes Investigation In Ukraine (G.)

The UK Ministry of Justice has announced a second tranche of support for the international criminal court’s (ICC) investigations into war crimes in Ukraine, including the deployment of a specialist legal and police team. Karim Khan QC, the court’s chief prosecutor, will be in London on Monday to provide an update on the progress of the investigation. During this time, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab will present further support to the independent investigation on top of the £1m of funding provided earlier this year. The package includes a police liaison officer based in The Hague to lead on information sharing between the UK and the ICC, and seven legal experts to support the ICC with expertise in international criminal law and the handling of evidence to be presented to court.


The UK will also provide two police officers with expertise in the collection of intelligence through publicly available data sources, ongoing defence analysis and monitoring of events in Ukraine, as well as war crimes investigation training to Ukrainian police on behalf of the ICC, in collaboration with Norwegian police. “The UK has responded swiftly to a request from the international criminal court for more police and lawyers to aid their investigation into Russian war crimes in Ukraine,” Raab said. “Russian forces should know that they will be held to account for their actions and the global community will work together to ensure justice is served.” The attorney general, Suella Braverman, added: “Following my appointment of war crimes expert Sir Howard Morrison as an independent adviser to the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office, I am determined that British expertise continues to be available to our friends in Ukraine in their search for justice.

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Hmmm it doesn’t mention Guiado…

US To Allow Venezuelan Oil To Be Shipped To Europe (Hill)

The U.S. will reportedly resume allowing Venezuelan oil to flow to Europe, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The outlet on Sunday reported that Eni SpA and Repsol SA, which are Italian and Spanish respectively, could ship Venezuelan oil to Europe as early as next month after the Biden administration authorized the plan last month. People familiar with the matter told Reuters that the oil “has to go to Europe. It cannot be resold elsewhere.” The volume of oil Eni and Repsol will receive is expected to be fairly small with a minimal impact on oil prices around the world. The Biden administration’s reported permission to allow for the use of Venzeluan oil comes as part of a push to rely less on Russian oil and redirect Venezuela’s shipments from China, Reuters added.


In May, 18 progressive House Democrats wrote to Biden asking that he lift all sanctions against Venezuela that “exacerbate the humanitarian situation” amid President Nicolás Maduro’s alleged human rights violations. But earlier this year, talks of lifting those sanctions and engaging more with Venezuela about oil were criticized by lawmakers. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said a deal with Maduro for the purchase of Venezuelan oil “risks perpetuating a humanitarian crisis that has destabilized Latin America and the Caribbean for an entire generation.”

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It’s already a flop.

“The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent.”

Biden Scrambles To Avoid Summit of the Americas Flop (AP)

When leaders gather this week in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas, the focus is likely to veer from common policy changes — migration, climate change and galloping inflation — and instead shift to something Hollywood thrives on: the drama of the red carpet. With Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador topping a list of leaders threatening to stay home to protest the U.S.’ exclusion of authoritarian leaders from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, experts say the event could turn into a embarrassment for U.S. President Joe Biden. Even some progressive Democrats have criticized the administration for bowing to pressure from exiles in the swing state of Florida and barring communist Cuba, which attended the last two summits.

“The real question is why the Biden administration didn’t do its homework,” said Jorge Castañeda, a former Mexican foreign minister who now teaches at New York University. While the Biden administration insists the president in Los Angeles will outline his vision for a “sustainable, resilient, and equitable future” for the hemisphere, Castañeda said it’s clear from the last-minute wrangling over the guest list that Latin America is not a priority for the U.S. president. “This ambitious agenda, no one knows exactly what it is, other than a series of bromides,” he said. The U.S. is hosting the summit for the first time since its launch in 1994, in Miami, as part of an effort to galvanize support for a free trade agreement stretching from Alaska to Patagonia.

But that goal was abandoned more than 15 years ago amid a rise in leftist politics in the region. With China’s influence expanding, most nations have come to expect — and need — less from Washington. As a result, the premier forum for regional cooperation has languished, at times turning into a stage for airing historical grievances, like when the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez at the 2009 summit in Trinidad & Tobago gave President Barack Obama a copy of Eduardo Galeano’s classic tract, “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent.”

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“..if these energy prices stay high in the long run then they will entirely work their way into food prices.”

Food, Gas Prices Soar With No End In Sight, Americans Change Habits (JTN)

Americans are changing their shopping habits because of soaring food prices. And disruptions in the international farming community have some worried about the food supply heading into 2023. The BMO Real Financial Progress Index, a quarterly survey from BMO and Ipsos, shows that 42% of surveyed adults “are changing how they shop for groceries,” including “opting for cheaper items, avoiding brand names and buying only the essentials.” The report found “46% are either dining out less or consciously spending less when dining out.” Record high energy costs and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have been major factors in rising food prices.

Gas prices hit new record highs every day in the past week. According to AAA, the national average gas price rose to $4.85 on Sunday, with diesel gas prices at their own record of $5.64 per gallon. That added cost makes it more expensive for farmers to operate equipment, transport goods to market, and more. “By the economics textbook, higher costs work themselves up through the supply side of the market and raise prices,” said Roger Cryan, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation. “The prices are especially high right now because of the sudden lack of access to Black Sea grain, but if these energy prices stay high in the long run then they will entirely work their way into food prices.”

Ukraine is a major food exporter, and it also is an exporter of several key chemicals used to make fertilizer. “Ukraine is one of the largest wheat producers and suppliers, so wheat is definitely under pressure,” said Maksym Chepeliev, an agriculture professor at Purdue University and a Research Economist at the Center for Global Trade Analysis. “Corn as well, because apart from the fact that Ukraine is a large corn producer and supplier that needs to be replaced, there have been issues with some droughts in South America and also the U.S. that kind of reduced the corn supply, and China is demanding more corn … and that is … pushing the global corn market.”

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Saw the ABC Spain report a few days ago, but it was behind a paywall. Pompeo won’t show up, but with the extradition still in the air, this might be a useful twist.

Spanish Court Orders Mike Pompeo To Testify On CIA Plot vs Assange (ZH)

In a surprising development surrounding WikiLeaks and the fate of Julian Assange, who is still in London’s Belmarsh prison awaiting awaiting a decision from UK Home Secretary Priti Patel on extradition to the US, a Spanish court has summoned former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify on whether the CIA planned to assassinate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Pompeo was head of the agency during the time period that a bombshell Yahoo News investigative report last year revealed that the CIA allegedly plotted to kidnap or even kill Assange, following Washington outrage that WikiLeaks made public a batch of documents exposing the agency’s ultra-secretive hacking tools known as Vault 7.

At the time, the Yahoo report quoted a former Trump national security official who described that Pompeo and other top intel officials “were completely detached from reality because they were so embarrassed about Vault 7 … they were seeing blood.” As ABC Spain reports, the summoning comes after filings by Assange’s legal team related to his ongoing proceedings with the UK government: “According to legal sources consulted by ABC, Pompeo has been summoned this June, although he may appear by videoconference. The same resolution agrees to call William Evanina, a former key US counterintelligence official who reportedly made statements supporting that theory. Pedraz has made this decision after the prosecutor Carlos Bautista reported in favor of the petition filed by the lawyer Aitor Martínez who, together with Baltasar Garzón, defends Assange.”

The Spanish report continues, “Separately, Spain’s National Court has been probing a Spanish security firm that may have spied on Assange for the CIA while providing security for the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.” “National High Court Judge Santiago Pedraz agreed to summon Pompeo and former U.S. counterintelligence official William Evanina as witnesses to explain whether a plot was drawn up,” it adds. Pompeo has yet to issue comment on the ruling or whether he plans to appear, which isn’t likely, given current or former top US intelligence officials do not subject themselves to legal examinations on classified intelligence matters.

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“The leadership at the FBI has played a prominent role in the American people losing faith in that organization..”

Ratcliffe: Durham Lost Sussmann Battle, But Winning War (NM)

Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Sunday denounced the acquittal of former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, calling the verdict “contrary to the evidence.” In an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Ratcliffe lamented the judicial decision to not allow certain evidence in the case. “The verdict was disappointing because it was contrary to the evidence,” he said. “Michael Sussmann’s own text messages confirmed exactly what the government said, which is that he claimed to just be a private citizen coming in when he had a story about a connection between the Trump campaign server and a Russian bank, which was clearly false, when the evidence clearly showed that he was acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign.”

“It wasn’t a judge verdict,” he added, because “the judge in this case wouldn’t allow certain evidence of the Clinton conspiracy to be included.” But Ratcliffe said the “bigger picture” is that though special counsel John Durham’s prosecution may have lost this battle … “they’re clearly winning the war.” “The most powerful testimony to come out of this was admissions by the Clinton campaign about the fact that the Trump-Russia collusion narrative was, in fact, approved by Hillary Clinton,” Ratcliffe said. According to Ratcliffe, some people in the FBI misled the American people for political reasons. “The leadership at the FBI has played a prominent role in the American people losing faith in that organization,” he declared. “Our law enforcement community was briefed on the fact that it was Hillary Clinton that created this entire Trump-Russia collusion narrative and that the FBI knew that from the beginning,” he said

“When that is the purpose of what your special counsel is to be, and you leave that out altogether, it shows that there was a deliberate effort here, unfortunately, on behalf of some folks in our law enforcement community to mislead the American people for political reasons,” he said. Ratcliffe railed that from the start, “the FBI and everyone in law enforcement that then became part of the Mueller investigation were aware from day one with that this whole Trump-Russia investigation that was playing out over years to the American people was created by the Hillary Clinton campaign.”

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He said numerous times he had “ample evidence” of collusion. He didn’t. But now he’s back as if that never happened.

Schiff Says Jan. 6 Panel Has More Revelations For Americans (Hill)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising, hinted on Sunday there are more revelations in store about the events that led up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, saying a “comprehensive narrative” would be mapped for the first time when the panel holds its first public hearing this week. Schiff told host Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Americans have already seen “a number of bombshells” come out of the panel’s investigation — but said more surprises would be revealed on Thursday, including a narrative of the events leading up to Jan. 6. “Our goal is to present the narrative of what happened in this country, how close we came to losing our democracy, what led to the violence,” Schiff said.


“Americans I think know a great deal already — they have seen a number of bombshells already [and] there’s a great deal they haven’t seen. But perhaps the most important is the public has not seen it woven together, how one thing led to another.” The Jan. 6 panel will hold its first public hearing at 8 p.m. on Thursday. It’s unclear exactly who will be testifying publicly, as the committee has not released the names of any witnesses. Chairperson Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) has said up to eight public hearings could be held throughout June as the panel presents the findings of its investigation, which included more than 1,000 interviews. The Jan. 6 insurrection saw a mob of pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn certification of the 2020 election, which Trump and his allies and supporters continue to claim without evidence was stolen.

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“The case recently swung in Berenson’s favor when U.S. District Judge William Alsup greenlit his breach-of-contract claim against Twitter..”

Twitter In Settlement Talks With Deplatformed Journalist Alex Berenson (JTN)

Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson and Twitter are in active settlement talks to resolve his censorship lawsuit against the company, which deplatformed him following a tweet that said COVID-19 vaccines don’t stop infection or transmission, a view that has long been confirmed by global data and reiterated by Bill Gates this year. In a joint filing Thursday, the parties asked the U.S. District Court in San Francisco for a “modest extension of the discovery deadlines” in the case so they can “focus their efforts on resolution,” a request granted Friday. They had mediation sessions May 27 and 31, the filing says.


A previous order required Berenson to produce certain documents by Monday, which has now been pushed off until June 16, and other deadlines were also moved back 10 days. The case recently swung in Berenson’s favor when U.S. District Judge William Alsup greenlit his breach-of-contract claim against Twitter, saying he plausibly alleged the company “fail[ed] to abide by its own five-strike policy and its specific commitments” made by a PR executive directly to Berenson before his first strike. Berenson shared the new filing with subscribers to his newsletter Thursday, saying he would let it “speak for itself.”

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“Neither agency requested additional information.”

Musk’s Twitter Acquisition Clears US Antitrust Review (Fox)

Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter is a step closer to completion as the regulatory waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 officially expired on Friday. The HSR requires companies to give advance notice of transactions above a certain threshold to the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice. The agencies have 30 days from the notification to pursue an initial investigation of the transaction to determine whether additional information is needed to assess its legality. Neither agency requested additional information. While the expiration of the HSR waiting period has been satisfied, Twitter emphasized that the deal’s completion is still subject to remaining customary closing conditions, including shareholder and remaining applicable regulatory approvals.


The deal, which would take Twitter private at $54.20 per share, is expected to close in 2022. The latest development comes after Musk said the deal would be temporarily put on hold as he awaits calculations supporting the social media giant’s internal estimate that spam and fake accounts make up less than 5% of the platform’s users. Musk, who has vowed to crack down on Twitter’s spam bots, has said he believes at least 20% of its users are spam or fake accounts and that he would be willing to renegotiate the deal for a lower price proportionate to the total percentage.

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“Hey, why are they already writing my suicide story!?”

Musk: Things I’ll Never See In My Life (CB)

It came the day before he tweeted a meme that said, “Things I’ll never see in my life,” along with photos of a fire-breathing dragon, a unicorn, a dinosaur, and the Jeffrey Epstein/Ghislaine Maxwell client list. “Only thing more remarkable than DOJ not leaking the list is that no one in the media cares. Doesn’t that seem odd?” he added. A Twitter user posted a picture of Musk with Maxwell to which Musk replied: “Ah yes, Maxwell photobombing me at a @VanityFair Oscars party – you should ask them why they invited her.” “The same people who push this photo say nothing about prominent people who actually went to his island a dozen times. Also very strange…” he added.


It isn’t the first time Musk mentioned Maxwell’s client list. A Twitter user asked: “It says it all that we heard more about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock than we heard about Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial. It is also “interesting” that the account tracking the Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial got banned when it gained traction. Lovely people indeed…” Musk then quipped: “Where is their ‘client’ list? Shouldn’t at least one of them go down!?” Shortly thereafter he added: “Hey, why are they already writing my suicide story!?”

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I think fasting may be crucial.

Why Your Depression May Really Be Insulin Resistance (PT)

Remarkably, as of 2022, most people have still never heard of insulin resistance. This is true even though it is the single most common chronic health condition in the U.S. and a major contributor to six of the top eight causes of death in 2021 (heart disease, cancer, COVID, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes). How common can insulin resistance be if you’ve never heard of it? Extremely common; an estimated 88 percent of U.S. adults in 2018 had this condition (1). Briefly stated, insulin resistance is a process in which cells become less responsive to a hormone called insulin. Because insulin receptors are found in every cell in the body—muscle, fat, organs, bone, skin—how well cells respond to insulin signals is critical to how we feel and function.

One of insulin’s main functions is to help the body control blood sugar levels by putting excess blood sugar into cells for storage. This process occurs every time you eat. Because insulin is so crucial to blood sugar regulation, even people who have heard of insulin or insulin resistance mostly think of it as a problem for diabetics. Indeed, this is partly true. In people with diabetes, their cells have become so resistant to insulin that insulin can no longer keep their blood sugar levels in a healthy range. As a result, blood sugar levels run high, with catastrophic consequences if left unchecked. Unfortunately, even when a person with diabetes receives treatment, this treatment doesn’t necessarily improve their underlying insulin resistance; a person can lower blood sugar levels while remaining insulin resistant, giving them a false sense of security about their health.

Insulin affects every organ in the body—including the brain. When insulin levels become chronically elevated, brain tissue also becomes insulin resistant. The consequences of this are numerous and severe. For example, although the science is not yet strong enough to make it an official diagnosis, many researchers now refer to Alzheimer’s disease, the progressive and fatal form of dementia associated with severe memory loss, as “Type 3 diabetes” in reference to the effects possibly being the result of long-term insulin resistance in the brain.

[..] The rapidly evolving science on insulin resistance and brain function now also suggests that effects could extend beyond dementia to include depression. Depression is a condition defined by a heterogeneous collection of symptoms. Some of the classic symptoms of depression—such as sadness, guilt, suicidality, and poor concentration—are believed to result from dysfunction in a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Popular antidepressants such as Prozac work by improving serotonin function in the brain. In contrast, other common symptoms of depression such as anhedonia (a lack of motivation or interest), fatigue, motor impairment, and loss of sex drive are more closely linked to dysfunction in other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine. This is another area where insulin resistance becomes especially relevant.

Vitamin D reduces autoimmune disease

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Sep 112018
 
 September 11, 2018  Posted by at 9:16 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  10 Responses »


Claude Monet The Manneporte at Étretat 1886

 

 

Please Note: The mailing lists I’ve used for many years all of a sudden stopped working. This appears to be because there is some sort of discrepancy between Gmail and Apple Mail. I’ve lost all access to one Gmail account in Apple Mail, though it still works in a browser. Two other Gmail accounts still function in Apple Mail, but bounce back all mails sent as part of the mailing lists. Working on a solution.

Ilargi

 

 

 

America’s Sub-4% Unemployment Rate Means A Recession Is Not Far Off (Colombo)
Mass Evacuations Ordered As Hurricane Florence Heads Toward Carolinas (R.)
EU’s Barnier Says Brexit Deal Still ‘Realistic’ As Deadline Looms (Ind.)
Three-Bagger (Jim Kunstler)
Kim Jong Un Asks Trump For Another Meeting In ‘Very Warm’ Letter (R.)
US Threatens To Arrest ICC Judges Who Probe War Crimes (AFP)
Moscow Has Upped the Ante in Syria (VIPS)
Netherlands Ends Support To Syrian Militants & White Helmets (RT)
Catalan Separatists Plan Mass Rally Tuesday For Independence From Spain (R.)
Creditors Warn Greece On Debt Relief As Inspectors Return (AP)
Greece’s Moria Migrant Camp Faces Closure Over Living Conditions (K.)
US Teens Prefer Remote Chats To Face-to-Face Meeting (AFP)

 

 

Not all that glitters is gold.

America’s Sub-4% Unemployment Rate Means A Recession Is Not Far Off (Colombo)

The strong job market has become a reason for optimism for many Americans in the past couple years in stark contrast to the dark days of the Great Recession and the ensuing “jobless recovery.” The unemployment rate fell beneath 4% for the past several months, weekly jobless claims are at a 49-year low, and wages are growing at their fastest rate since 2009. So, what’s not to like? Obviously, everyone likes good news on the economic front, but these strong job market statistics are a sign that the economic cycle is much closer to the end (including a recession and bear market) rather than the beginning. As the chart below shows, when the U.S. unemployment rate falls under 4%, recessions follow soon after (recessions are marked by the gray shaded areas on the chart).

Historically, U.S. unemployment under 4% is quite rare and typically occurs after a long, powerful economic expansion. By the time the unemployment rate is under 4%, the economic cycle is already mature, the labor market is tight, and inflation is becoming a concern. At this time, the Federal Reserve has been hiking interest rates steadily, which eventually causes the demise of the economic cycle. According to Nicole Smith, chief economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce: “The 4 percent number is not exactly a number that economists are necessarily happy with.” “What’s been happening here is, if we look historically at other times when the unemployment rate has fallen below 4 percent, it’s times where it was the boom phase just before recession or just after a major war period.”

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Florence is dangerous. Get out of the way.

Mass Evacuations Ordered As Hurricane Florence Heads Toward Carolinas (R.)

Mass evacuations were ordered along the U.S. Atlantic Coast as Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm and the most powerful to menace the region in nearly three decades, barreled toward the region on Tuesday. Governor Ralph Northam issued an evacuation order for about 245,000 residents in flood-prone coastal Virginia beginning at 8 a.m. local time while South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has ordered more than 1 million residents along his state’s coastline to leave starting at noon on Tuesday. “This is a serious storm and it’s going to effect the entire state,” Northam told a news conference. “Everyone in Virginia needs to prepare.”

Florence, packing winds of 140 miles per hour (220 kph), was expected to grow even stronger before making landfall on Thursday, mostly likely in southeastern North Carolina near the South Carolina border, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference his state was in “the bull’s eye.” At least 250,000 more people were due to be evacuated from the northern Outer Banks in North Carolina on Tuesday after more than 50,000 people were ordered on Monday to leave Hatteras and Ocracoke, the southernmost of the state’s barrier islands.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland governors have declared states of emergency. Authorities warned of life-threatening coastal storm surges and the potential for Florence to unleash prolonged torrential rains and widespread flooding, especially if it lingers inland for several days. NHC Director Ken Graham warned of “staggering” amounts of rainfall that may extend hundreds of miles inland and cause flash flooding across the mid-Atlantic region.

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If the UK change their positions, that is.

EU’s Barnier Says Brexit Deal Still ‘Realistic’ As Deadline Looms (Ind.)

It is “realistic” to believe Britain and the EU will sign a Brexit withdrawal agreement before the looming deadline, Michel Barnier has said. Speaking at the Bled Strategic Forum conference in Slovenia the EU’s chief negotiator said a deal was “possible” in the next six to eight weeks – the cutoff date set for talks. The pound jumped by nearly 1 per cent against the dollar on the foreign exchange markets following the comments, after traders apparently over-interpreted the official’s words. “If we are realistic, I want to reach an agreement on the first stage of the negotiation, which is the Brexit treaty, within six or eight weeks,” Mr Barnier said.

He added: “The treaty is clear, we have two years to reach an agreement before they leave… in March 2019. “That means that taking into account the time necessary for the ratification process in the House of Commons on one side, the European Parliament and the Council on the other side, we must reach an agreement before the beginning of November. I think it is possible.” The episode comes around a week after jumpy financial markets also boosted the pound after Mr Barnier repeated his mantra about wanting to do an ambitious and unique trade deal with the UK. Though little has changed on the ground, both sides of talks are staying publicly positive – if only to give them the upper hand in any ensuing blame game that follows a no deal.

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“..a cast of rogue spooks from the CIA, various FBI officers, and British Intelligence in a scheme that is now going to grand juries.”

Three-Bagger (Jim Kunstler)

The likely confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh may be a last straw for the “Resistance.” It would certainly affect the adjudication of any new disputes that arise over relations between Mr. Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the weeks ahead. The Mueller investigation into 2016 election “collusion” between Russia and Trump looks more and more like a case of displacement-projection syndrome, since dumpster-loads of evidence now point to collusion between the Hillary campaign, the DNC, a cast of rogue spooks from the CIA, various FBI officers, and British Intelligence in a scheme that is now going to grand juries.

All that nasty business, starting with the news that a grand jury has been secretly grilling former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for weeks, suggests that events are about to unspool dramatically. The story has been coiling for months as fresh documents emerge and officials, such as the DOJ Inspector General, confirm what they mean. It remains to be seen whether the Web chatter about dozens of “sealed indictments” coming down is horse-shit. The baffling part is the role of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. I’m inclined to doubt that Mr. Trump’s regular vilifications of Sessions are a ruse, meant to mislead the media about the AG’s activities in these matters. But the DC Swamp is unnerved by Sessions’ extraordinary absence of presence on the scene. Has he actually been involved in any of this, or is he playing animal lotto on his desk?

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The Korea’s want peace and unison. Let nobody put a loophole, a loophole in their way.

Kim Jong Un Asks Trump For Another Meeting In ‘Very Warm’ Letter (R.)

U.S. President Donald Trump received a “very warm, very positive” letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un asking for a second meeting and the White House is looking at scheduling one, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Monday. The two countries have been discussing North Korea’s nuclear programs since their leaders met in Singapore in June, although that summit’s outcome was criticized for being short on concrete details about how and whether Kim is willing to give up weapons that threaten the United States. The likely timing of a second Trump-Kim meeting was unclear.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to have his third summit with Kim next week in Pyongyang, and his government had pushed for a three-way summit involving Trump, with the aim of agreeing a joint declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War. The conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the U.S.-led United Nations forces including South Korea technically still at war with North Korea. While South Korea had hoped an accord formally ending the conflict could have been unveiled on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly later this month, Moon’s security chief Chung Eui-yong said last week, without elaborating, that the necessary conditions for a three-way meeting were missing.

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The ICC was only ever meant to go after Arican dictators fallen out of favor with the west. Bolton protects himself and his ilk.

US Threatens To Arrest ICC Judges Who Probe War Crimes (AFP)

The United States threatened Monday to arrest and sanction judges and other officials of the International Criminal Court if it moves to charge any American who served in Afghanistan with war crimes. White House National Security Advisor John Bolton called the Hague-based rights body “unaccountable” and “outright dangerous” to the United States, Israel and other allies, and said any probe of US service members would be “an utterly unfounded, unjustifiable investigation.” “If the court comes after us, Israel or other US allies, we will not sit quietly,” Bolton said. He said the US was prepared to slap financial sanctions and criminal charges on officials of the court if they proceed against any Americans.

“We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system,” Bolton said. “We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans.” Bolton made the comments in a speech in Washington to the Federalist Society, a powerful association of legal conservatives. Bolton pointed to an ICC prosecutor’s request in November 2017 to open an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by the US military and intelligence officials in Afghanistan, especially over the abuse of detainees. [..] He also cited a recent move by Palestinian leaders to have Israeli officials prosecuted at the ICC for human rights violations.

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Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is made up of former intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers and congressional staffers.

Moscow Has Upped the Ante in Syria (VIPS)

Mr. President:

We are concerned that you may not have been adequately briefed on the upsurge of hostilities in northwestern Syria, where Syrian armed forces with Russian support have launched a full-out campaign to take back the al-Nusra/al-Qaeda/ISIS-infested province of Idlib. The Syrians will almost certainly succeed, as they did in late 2016 in Aleppo. As in Aleppo, it will mean unspeakable carnage, unless someone finally tells the insurgents theirs is a lost cause. That someone is you. The Israelis, Saudis, and others who want unrest to endure are egging on the insurgents, assuring them that you, Mr. President, will use US forces to protect the insurgents in Idlib, and perhaps also rain hell down on Damascus.

We believe that your senior advisers are encouraging the insurgents to think in those terms, and that your most senior aides are taking credit for your recent policy shift from troop withdrawal from Syria to indefinite war. Russian missile-armed naval and air units are now deployed in unprecedented numbers to engage those tempted to interfere with Syrian and Russian forces trying to clean out the terrorists from Idlib. We assume you have been briefed on that — at least to some extent. More important, we know that your advisers tend to be dangerously dismissive of Russian capabilities and intentions. We do not want you to be surprised when the Russians start firing their missiles.

The prospect of direct Russian-U.S. hostilities in Syria is at an all-time high. We are not sure you realize that. The situation is even more volatile because Kremlin leaders are not sure who is calling the shots in Washington. This is not the first time that President Putin has encountered such uncertainty . This is, however, the first time that Russian forces have deployed in such numbers into the area, ready to do battle. The stakes are very high. We hope that John Bolton has given you an accurate description of his acerbic talks with his Russian counterpart in Geneva a few weeks ago. In our view, it is a safe bet that the Kremlin is uncertain whether Bolton faithfully speaks in your stead, or speaks INSTEAD of you.

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A government spending million to support what it itself has labeled ‘terrorists’. We’re not even surprised. Standard fare in the west.

Netherlands Ends Support To Syrian Militants & White Helmets (RT)

The Netherlands has decided to end its support to militants in Syria, since the program did not yield “expected” results. The move comes as journalists found one of the groups had been labeled as terrorists by the country itself. “The opportunity to quickly change the situation [in Syria] is extremely small,” reads the letter the lower house of the parliament by Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok and Minister for Foreign Trade Sigrid Kaag, announcing the end of support programs for the militants in Syria. The program to support of “moderate” anti-government groups in Syria was established in close cooperation with “like-minded donors who pursued the same goals as the Netherlands” and cost the country over $80 million over the years, according to the document.

It failed to “bring the expected results,” however, and is to be closed since the Syrian troops “will soon win” the war against militant groups. Over the years, the Netherlands allocated $29 million to the so-called “non-lethal assistance” (NLA) program, $14.5 million were donated to the so-called White Helmets and $17.1 million went to the Access to Justice and Community Service (AJACS) program. The AJACS was supposedly designed to support “community police” work in Syria, specifically the so-called Free Syrian Police (FSP) group. The support for militants is set to end immediately, yet the White Helmets will be funded until December, according to the document.

Since the White Helmets now operate only in the Idlib province, which is believed to be the destination of the looming offensive by the Syrian Army and its allies, their future is quite doubtful, the document states. [..] The “non-lethal” goods supplied by the Dutch government included satellite phones, uniforms, assorted equipment and even the ‘iconic’ Toyota Hilux pick-up trucks, widely used by various militant groups in Syria. At least one of the groups supplied by the Netherlands, Jabhat al-Shamiya, turned out to be labeled a terrorist group by the country’s own justice department, the journalists have revealed. One Dutch man is currently prosecuted for joining the group back in 2015, with the indictment describing it as a “salafist and jihadist” movement which can qualify only as a “criminal organization with terrorist intent.”

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What year is it?

Catalan Separatists Plan Mass Rally Tuesday For Independence From Spain (R.)

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans are expected to fill the streets of Barcelona on Tuesday for the Spanish region’s first commemorative day since its leader declared independence last year and pitched the country into constitutional crisis. Supporters of splitting the wealthy northeastern region from the rest of Spain have in recent years used the Sept. 11 “Diada”, the anniversary of the fall of their coastal capital to Spanish forces in 1714, to promote the cause. This year, Catalonia’s leader Quim Torra, who took over from his exiled predecessor after Madrid ended an unprecedented period of direct rule, has called for a mass rally in support of his bid for a binding referendum on independence.

“Our government has committed to making the republic a reality,” Torra said in a televised address to mark the occasion. “I wish you all a very good Diada. Long live free Catalonia.” He wore a yellow ribbon signifying support for nine politicians whose jailing for their role in the independence bid is one of the Catalan government’s biggest grievances. Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who took power in June, has taken a softer approach to one of the thorniest issues in national politics than that of his conservative predecessor Mariano Rajoy, but he has stood firm against allowing a vote on secession, or any unilateral attempt by Catalonia to secede.

Last year’s Diada, in which marchers often climb on each other’s shoulders in shows of the traditional sport of forming human towers, fell as the regional government was preparing to hold a referendum in defiance of Madrid, which ultimately sent riot police to try to stop the vote.

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Sovereignty, 2018.

Creditors Warn Greece On Debt Relief As Inspectors Return (AP)

Greece’s lead creditor warned the country on Monday not to stray from reforms agreed upon before the end of its international bailout, as European monitors arrived to check the nation’s finances. The five-day inspection is expected to focus on government promises over the weekend to offer tax relief as well as plans to scrap promised pension cuts that are due to take effect in 2019. Klaus Regling, managing director of the European Stability Mechanism, the eurozone’s rescue fund, told Austria’s Die Presse newspaper that Greece’s needed to stick to its commitments. “We are a very patient creditor. But we can stop debt relief measures that have been decided for Greece if the adjustment programs are not continued as agreed,” he said.

“The debt level appears to be frighteningly elevated. But Greece can live with that as the loan maturities are very long and the interest rates on the loans are much lower than in most other countries.” Left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is trailing opposition conservatives in opinion polls and must call a general election within the next 12 months. Amid large protest rallies led by labor unions over the weekend, the prime minister said that relief measures promised to taxpayers would not jeopardize fiscal performance targets and would be introduced gradually. Greece has promised to deliver high primary surpluses — the budget balance before calculating the cost of servicing debt — for years to come, along with a series of reforms in exchange for better debt repayment terms.

The end of the bailout means Greece will have to return to international capital markets to finance itself. However, the country faces a troubled return after the financial turmoil in Turkey and Italy halted a decline in Greek borrowing rates. The yield on Greece’s 10-year-bond remains above 4 percent. The bailout program ended Aug. 20 but the country’s debt level remains near 180 percent of gross domestic product.

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Let’s see what happens in the next 30 days.

Greece’s Moria Migrant Camp Faces Closure Over Living Conditions (K.)

The Regional Authority of the Northern Aegean has given the Ministry of Migration Policy 30 days to clean up the overcrowded Moria hot spot for migrants and refugees on the island of Lesvos, or face closure. The announcement is part of a report compiled by environmental and health inspectors from Lesvos’ public health directorate who found the camp is unsuitable and dangerous for public health and the environment. According to the report, inspectors said there is an uncontrolled wastewater spill at the entrance of the camp, which ends into an adjacent stream or even on the road.

In another section of the camp, toilet waste pipes are broken, resulting in a strong stench and creating a danger to public health. Inspectors said the overcrowding living conditions in Moria, in which up to 15 people are squeezed into the small houses and up to 150 in every tent, increases the risk of disease transmission. “There was also a strong stench and insects (flies) due to the inability to properly clean the living quarters,” the report added. North Aegean Regional Governor Christiana Kalogirou says the ministry will have to restore every damage or problem detailed in the report, otherwise the authority will forbid the hot spot’s operation.

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It’ll take years to assess the damage. And then it’ll be too late.

US Teens Prefer Remote Chats To Face-to-Face Meeting (AFP)

American teenagers are starting to prefer communicating via text instead of meeting face-to-face, according to a study published Monday by the independent organization Common Sense Media. Some 35% of kids aged 13 to 17 years old said they would rather send a text than meet up with people, which received 32%. The last time the media and technology-focused nonprofit conducted such a survey in 2012, meeting face-to-face hit 49%, far ahead of texting’s 33%. More than two-thirds of American teens choose remote communication — including texting, social media, video conversation and phone conversation — when they can, according to the study. In 2012 less than half of them marked a similar preference.

Notably, in the six-year span between the two studies the proportion of 13 to 17-year-olds with their own smartphone increased from 41 to 89%. As for social networks, 81% of respondents said online exchange is part of their lives, with 32% calling it “extremely” or “very” important. The most-used platform for this age group is Snapchat (63%), followed by Instagram (61%) and Facebook (43%). Some 54% of the teens who use social networks said it steals attention away from those in their physical presence. Two-fifths of them said time spent on social media prevents them from spending more time with friends in person. The study was conducted online with a sample of 1,141 young people ages 13 to 17, from March 22 to April 10.

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