Mar 292024
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Christ and St Mary Magdalene at the Tomb 1638

 

Washington Crossed a Fatal Red Line with the Crocus Attack (Paul Craig Roberts)
Statements By Alexander Bortnikov, Director of FSB (Doctorow)
FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison (ZH)
Avenatti: Michael Cohen Was Having Affair With Stormy Daniels Since 2006 (GP)
Putin Friendship Could Help End Ukraine Conflict – Ex-German Chancellor (RT)
Ukraine Needs Air Defense To Boost Birth Rate – Zelensky (RT)
‘Russia for Russians’ Slogans Alarming – Putin (RT)
China Opposes US Practice of Creating Enemies Out of Thin Air (Sp.)
Who’s Running the EU? Big Global Corporations Which Aren’t Even European! (Jay)
UN Court Orders Israel To Let Food Into Gaza (RT)
UK Won’t Extradite Assange While Risk of Death Penalty Remains – Tory (Sp.)
The Crucifixion of Julian Assange (Chris Hedges)
Biden To Host Star-studded NYC Fundraiser With Obama And Clinton (BBC)
Maori King Calls For Recognizing Whales As People (RT)

 

 

 

 

Trump stocks

 

 

Trump Bragg
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773034485077921940

 

 

Watters Diddy

 

 


Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. – John W. Gardner

 

 

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773336445173829641

 

 

Scott Ritter

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Television talk is suddenly very violent with talk of flattening Kharkiv and Kiev and bringing a quick end to the conflict..”

Washington Crossed a Fatal Red Line with the Crocus Attack (Paul Craig Roberts)

Gilbert Doctorow Now Confirms with his own analysis my prediction that Putin’s toleration of provocations is spinning the Ukraine conflict out of control. Doctorow is a careful analyst never overstating a situation. In this interview he says that the FSB statement implicating the US and UK governments in the Crocus attack had to have been approved by Putin and that implicating the US and UK in the Crocus attack has brought us to the level of danger of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Doctorow reports that Russian television has undergone a massive change following the Crocus attack. Commentators are unwilling to accept any longer Putin’s nonresponse to attacks on Russians. Television talk is suddenly very violent with talk of flattening Kharkiv and Kiev and bringing a quick end to the conflict that has been permitted to endure for far too long. It seems that a fatal red line has been crossed.

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“..Russian state security on 8 March was too tight for the terrorist mission to succeed and the United States decided to pull the plug on that operation..”

Statements By Alexander Bortnikov, Director of FSB (Doctorow)

To the uninitiated, I explain first that the FSB is the successor organization to the Soviet Union’s well-known and much feared KGB. However, the FSB today might be better compared with the FBI in the United States. It deals with domestic criminality of all kinds and with threats to Russian civilians such as terrorism. The agency and its head are rarely in the news. In this respect, the FSB is less visible both at home and abroad than the Foreign Intelligence Service headed by Sergei Naryshkin, a state figure who spent five years of this millennium as chairman of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of the legislature, and also three years as head of the Presidential Administration. In both positions Naryshkin was very often seen on television performing his duties.

By contrast, Bortnikov spent the past 15 years in his FSB offices out of sight. However, the spectacular attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue has propelled him to center stage and yesterday he met with the Russian state television journalist Pavel Zarubin for an interview and then allowed himself to be questioned further by a gaggle of other journalists on his way out along a corridor. This spontaneous Q&A was later broadcast on the television news. What Bortnikov had to say was extraordinary and bears directly on whether you and I should now be looking for bomb shelters. Regrettably you will not find any of it in the lead stories of today’s mainstream media. The Financial Times, for example, features an account of Xi’s meeting with CEOs of American businesses to mend ties: interesting, but not very relevant if we are at the cusp of WWIII.

*****
Bortnikov is by definition a member of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle of advisors. He, Putin and Naryshkin are all roughly the same age. At 72, Bortnikov is just several years older. I was struck in particular by his poise and prudent, carefully weighed choice of words while setting out where the investigation is heading with transparency and a ‘let the chips fall where they may’ unaffected demeanor. The journalists were all probing the question of who stood behind the terror attack. Bortnikov told them…and us: standing behind the terror act committed by Islamist extremists are the United States, Great Britain and Ukraine.

Bortnikov said that the preliminary findings indicate that the four perpetrators of the slaughter were headed by car to the border with Ukraine where they were awaited on the other side. He very calmly explained that the involvement of foreign powers is being clarified and that he will say nothing out of pure emotion now but will wait for the facts to be solidly collected before being presented. Nonetheless, it was entirely newsworthy that he named the United States, Great Britain and Ukraine as the likely puppet masters of the terror act. Let us remember that following the bombing of the Nord Stream pipelines, the most significant attack on critical civilian infrastructure globally in the last 50 years, Russian officials did not point the finger directly at any country. There was innuendo but no direct accusations such as we heard from Bortnikov yesterday.

*****
Meanwhile, quite apart from Mr. Bortnikov’s chat with journalists, a lot of new elements to the terror attack at Crocus City Hall were posted yesterday on the Russian state television news and analysis program Sixty Minutes. In particular, we learned that in the last days of February and first couple of days of March two of the four attackers were in Istanbul. The departure and arrival of one at a Moscow airport was recorded on video. We were told which hotels they stayed in, and the selfies and other photos taken by one in Istanbul were put up on the screen. It is still not clear with whom they met in Turkey. However, the timing itself is very important, because the point was made that they returned to Moscow to carry out a terror attack on 8 March, International Women’s Day, a sacred date on the Russian calendar. Had they done so on that day, the effect would have been catastrophic for the presidential elections in Russia one week later.

However, per Sixty Minutes, it was determined that Russian state security on 8 March was too tight for the terrorist mission to succeed and the United States decided to pull the plug on that operation. Note that this is approximately the time when Victoria Nuland tendered her resignation at the State Department (5 March). The possible causal link here surely deserves attention by my peers in the U.S. ‘dissident’ community. In any case, the scenario which was explored later in the day on the Evening with Vladimir Solovyov talk show is that the Ukrainians decided to proceed with the terror attack a week after the Russian presidential elections, when it lost most of its rationale. They did so over the objections of Washington.

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SBF donated many millions to the Democrats. His victims would like that money back, please.

FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison (ZH)

And there it is – Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison – more than Elizabeth Holmes, less than Bernie Madoff, same as Bernie Ebbers. SBF will also have to forfeit more than $11 billion. Judge Kaplan did not hold back during his sentencing: “When not lying, he was evasive, hair splitting, trying to get the prosecutors to rephrase questions for him. I’ve been doing this job for close for 30 years. I’ve never seen a performance like that.”

Update (1105ET): Just before the federal judge was about to sentence Bankman-Fried in his fraud case, the former FTX founder said that he was “sorry.” “I know a lot of people feel really let down,” he said at his sentencing hearing Thursday morning in lower Manhattan. “I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry about what happened at every stage.” “All of the company followed me across the earth, across continents, burning the midnight oil working until 2 a.m., 4 a.m., dedicated to FTX,” he said in a plea for leniency. “I remember so many of them.” He said the staff “all built something really beautiful. They threw themselves into it and then I threw that all away. It haunts me every day. I made a series of bad decisions. They weren’t selfish decisions, they were bad decisions.” Bad decisions indeed Sam.

[..] in November 2023, as Michael Washburn reports via The Epoch Times, jurors decided to convict Mr. Bankman-Fried on all seven of counts of conspiracy and fraud with which government lawyers charged him. Mr. Bankman-Fried and his attorneys have repeatedly argued that he didn’t intentionally do anything wrong and that he deserves no more than 6 1/2 years in jail. In his trial testimony in October 2023, Mr. Bankman-Fried insisted he used sophisticated analytics to try to keep track of the state of FTX’s finances and suggested that subordinates acting without his knowledge or imprimatur made costly mistakes. But prosecutors, citing testimony from Alameda Research head Caroline Ellison, who was at times romantically involved with Mr. Bankman-Fried, vehemently disagreed with the more charitable view and are pressing for a sentence of half a century or longer.

The government’s tough stance has found support from the current CEO of FTX, John Ray III, the former chair of the recovery corporation in another high-profile insolvency: that of Enron, which imploded in December 2001. In a letter to Judge Kaplan, Mr. Ray denounced the “categorically, callously, and demonstrably false” claims that Mr. Bankman-Fried and his lawyers have put forth in the hope of getting a lighter sentence. [..]

[..]The verdict in November 2023 came exactly one year after a Nov. 2, 2022, report in the cryptocurrency publication Coindesk began to stoke wide concern about the state of FTX’s finances. The report cited a leaked balance sheet of FTX’s hedge fund trading affiliate, Alameda Research. According to Coindesk’s analysis, a bulk of Alameda’s $14.6 billion of assets was in the form of FTX’s own crypto token, FTT, rather than a fiat currency. This not only suggested that Alameda’s wealth was potentially less fungible than many had assumed but also pointed to extensive commingling of FTX customer deposits with the hedge fund affiliate. Whether or not Coindesk was correct to impute instability and weakness to FTX on the basis of its position in FTT, the reaction in the market was swift. On Nov. 6, 2022, Changpeng Zhao, then-CEO of Binance, one of the other leading cryptocurrency exchanges, sent out a sharply worded post on Twitter.

Mr. Zhao alluded to the fact that Binance had been distancing itself from FTX over the past year and had received the equivalent of about $2.1 billion in U.S. dollars in the form of both cash and the FTT token. “Due to recent revelations that have come to light, we have decided to liquidate any remaining FTT on our books. We will try to do so in a way that minimizes market impact,” Mr. Zhao wrote.Despite that assurance, Binance’s move, and forthright public announcement, immediately helped fuel a run on the bank during which customers pulled $6 billion from FTX in three days. The exchange would never recover; some $9 billion of customer funds are still lost through the commingling of funds and Bankman-Fried’s lavish spending.

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Avenatti and Michael Cohen. What a pair.

Avenatti: Michael Cohen Was Having Affair With Stormy Daniels Since 2006 (GP)

Tony Seruga is a very popular commentator on Twitter. In his profile, the conservative commentator with over 77K followers, Mr. Seruga, states that he’s an Intel Ops CIA/NSA Contractor/Whistleblower. This afternoon, Mr. Seruga dropped a bombshell, and if true, it could blow up the whole Stormy Daniels affair with Trump lie that the mainstream media and Democrats have been clinging to since 2015. Tony Seruga claims he used to share office space with the convicted felon and former attorney, Michael Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her case alleging that then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump paid her hush money to keep their alleged “affair” out of the public. [..] Here’s where Seruga’s story gets to be very interesting as it relates to Stormy Daniels and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, “In any case, Avenatti shared details of his client Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, case and the fact that her and Michael Cohen were actually having an affair since 2006.”

And then, Seruga drops a bombshell: “The whole hush money scheme was cooked up by Michael Cohen to extort the Trump Organization before the 2016 election. Avenatti seemed pleased at how deviant Michael Cohen was.” Seruga followed up his first tweet by explaining how the shady lawyer Michael Avenatti bragged about the scheme more than once and even bragged about it to former NBA star Dennis Rodman on the patio in Corona Del Mar, CA. In addition to being one of the all-time best defensive players in the NBA, Dennis Rodman is known for his relationship with Madonna and his unusual friendship with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un. So, it’s pretty easy to believe Rodman could be friends with the flamboyant CA lawyer Michael Avenatti.

“Understand, Michael Avenatti is a serial liar, but he did speak about his client (that he would later steal from) and Michael Cohen’s affair touching on their scheme to bilk the Trump Organization out of money. He spoke about it on more than one occasion. He was very passionate that Trump had not signed the NDA making it null and void. One time, in fact, he was bragging about it to Dennis Rodman at the Port Restaurant out on the patio, in Corona Del Mar, CA. I was only half listening as I had heard it all before, but Dennis Rodman seemed engaged in the conversation.” Another popular Twitter personality from California, who goes by “SL,” had this to say about the Dennis Rodman and Michael Avenatti conversation that allegedly occurred at the Port Restaurant in California.

“Interesting. I know Dennis Rodman visits Port Restaurant on occasion since I had a conversion [conversation] [with] him there around 2015/2016. Likely to be a true story.” On Monday, when asked by reporters, President Trump said that he would testify in the alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels’ trial in NYC that was brought against him by the rabidly anti-Trump,] but soft-on-actual criminals DA Alvin Bragg. “I would have no problem testifying,” Trump said. “I didn’t do anything wrong.” Trump also suggested that he’s planning to appeal the trial date set for April 15 and said he’s unsure if there will even be a trial following his appeals.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1773436810229694731

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Schroeder persists.

Putin Friendship Could Help End Ukraine Conflict – Ex-German Chancellor (RT)

Talking to Moscow is the only way to end the hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told the press agency dpa in an interview published on Thursday. His personal friendship with President Vladimir Putin could play a role in stopping the bloodshed, Schroeder said. The former chancellor and Russian leader are known to have close ties that stretch back to when Schroeder headed the German government in the late 1990s. In 2014, Putin attended Schroeder’s birthday party in St. Petersburg. Later, Schroeder joined the boards of directors of the Russian operator of the Nord Stream gas pipeline and energy giant Rosneft. He faced a backlash over his ties to Moscow after the conflict between Russia and Ukraine erupted in February 2022 – and resigned from the Rosneft board in May of that year. Asked about maintaining his friendship with Putin amid the Ukraine conflict, the former chancellor insisted the two matters were entirely distinct.

“I think it would be completely wrong to forget all the positive things that have happened between us in politics in the past,” he told the German news agency, adding that breaking relationships with friends was “not his style.” Contacts with the Russian leadership could still prove crucial in the future peace talks, Schroeder believes. “We have worked together sensibly for many years. Perhaps that can still help to find a negotiated solution,” he said, telling dpa that he saw “no other way” to end the conflict. “It is obvious that the war cannot end with the total defeat of one side or the other,” Schroeder said. The former chancellor has repeatedly called for a negotiated solution to the conflict and accused the US of forcing Kiev to reject a peace deal with Moscow. In October 2023, he also said that Western Europe had “failed” to seize the opportunity to push for peace in March 2022.

Schroeder himself traveled to Istanbul and Moscow on a “peace mission” in the spring of 2022 and also met Putin in July of the same year. His efforts yielded no results at that time. In Germany, Schroeder was ostracized by his own party, which deprived him of his parliamentary privileges, but failed in an effort to expel him over his ties to Russia. In 2023, he relinquished his honorary citizenship of Hannover before the city could strip him of it. Moscow has repeatedly said it is ready for peace talks as long as the situation on the ground is taken into account. Ukraine has insisted on Russian troops withdrawing from all the territories it claims as its own, including Crimea and the four former Ukrainian territories that joined Russian following a series of referendums in autumn 2022. Russia has dismissed such demands as “absurd.”

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No. It needs peace.

Ukraine Needs Air Defense To Boost Birth Rate – Zelensky (RT)

Kiev needs more air defense systems to help Ukrainians have more children, President Vladimir Zelensky said on Thursday. Ukraine currently has the lowest fertility rate in the world. The issue of demographics came up during Zelensky’s meeting with students in Sumy, a city near the border with Russia, when someone asked him if there were plans to financially support new parents. “We need not only financial incentives, because in my opinion, finances help, but they do not stimulate birth itself during war,” Zelensky said. “Help, yes. But as for births, it seems to me that it’s mainly a matter of security.” The government should put air-raid shelters in schools and kindergartens, he added, as well as getting “the latest technologies when it comes to air defense” from foreign partners, manufacture them domestically, and “inform the society about this.”

Zelensky further argued that there would be a “baby boom” after the conflict is over and millions of Ukrainians who left the country return from abroad “confident in a better tomorrow and the future of Ukraine.” Ukraine’s total fertility rate – the average number of babies per woman of child-bearing age – is currently 0.7, the lowest in the world. The country’s demographics have been further affected by a mass exodus to the West and significant casualties on the battlefield, to the point where the very survival of the nation is in question, a government-funded think tank told The Times earlier this year.

“Male life expectancy has decreased from 66-67 before the war to 57-58,” said Ella Libanova, head of the Institute for Demography and Social Studies at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Only four African countries – Chad, Nigeria, Lesotho and the Central African Republic – have lower life expectancies. Last June, the Ukrainian Institute for the Future (UIF) estimated that only 29 million people remained in the country – down from 52 million in 1991, when Ukraine declared independence. These estimates also included residents of the regions that joined Russia. The number of Ukrainian refugees abroad has been estimated by the government at over six million. While Kiev has been hopeful that most of them would come back eventually, the UIF estimated that the majority had no interest in returning.

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“And they treat both their small Motherland and our common big Motherland in a way that, I think, no one in other parts of the world treats their homeland..”

‘Russia for Russians’ Slogans Alarming – Putin (RT)

Nationalist ideas are concerning for a multicultural country like Russia, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday during a visit to Tver Region. He was referring to the slogan, “Russia for Russians,” which promotes the idea that the ethnic majority deserves more rights than other nationalities in the country. Russia is a multinational and a multi-confessional state, and the violation of rights of any citizens will only lead to a collapse of the country, the president warned, adding that all religions are treated with respect in teh country. He noted that 190 ethnic groups currently live in Russia, with some nationalities comprising millions of people. “When I listen to hurrah-patriots – and there are such people everywhere, in any society, including those who say that ‘Russia is only for Russians,’ you know, I get a feeling of anxiety,” Putin said.

He emphasized the importance of persevering with the multinational Russian state and warned that “destructive thoughts such as everyone else is a foreigner here” would ruin the country. Representatives of all religious denominations, all peoples of Russia, are “showing their best side on the battlefield today,” Putin said. “And they treat both their small Motherland and our common big Motherland in a way that, I think, no one in other parts of the world treats their homeland,” he concluded. Putin made the comments during a visit to Torzhok air force base in Tver Region, home of the 344th Training Center for Russian combat pilots, where personnel are being trained to take part in the Ukraine military operation.

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“The US practice of artificially creating enemies out of thin air for the sake of boosting its military budget..”

China Opposes US Practice of Creating Enemies Out of Thin Air (Sp.)

The US practice of artificially creating enemies out of thin air for the sake of boosting its military budget is strategically extremely dangerous, and China firmly opposes it, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on Thursday. The United States had repeatedly used China as a pretext for increasing its military budget, inflating a non-existent “Chinese military threat,” Wu said at a briefing. “This practice of artificially creating enemies out of thin air is extremely dangerous from a strategic point of view, and China is firmly opposed to it,” the spokesman added. He also said that China did not wish to threaten anyone, but it was also not afraid of anyone’s threats, and no amount of force can stop the development of the Chinese army.

On Saturday, US President Joe Biden signed into law an appropriations package that includes the $825 billion defense spending bill for fiscal year 2024. The act doubles security cooperation funding for Taiwan. The United States would counter China by maximizing its production of critical munitions and by spending more than $66 billion for the US Indo-Pacific Command capabilities, including $42 million to bolster its military capabilities in the region, the House Appropriations Committee said in a summary of the package.

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“..the elitist payroll which you might be fooled into thinking was the EU itself. Oh you thought he was talking about the West in general and its population? Is it April 1st yet?”

Who’s Running the EU? Big Global Corporations Which Aren’t Even European! (Jay)

If you can get your head around the Moscow attacks or the British foreign minister’s recent video monologue where he explains how the UK is sanctioning a number of Chinese officials, have a thought about the European Union, a Rubik’s Cube which has all its faces painted one colour as its real identity is so opaque. With just weeks away from its own elections – yes, the most undemocratic organisation in the world even organises elections for its own fake parliament – the EU itself is about to redefine itself. Already there are signs that even EU leaders are growing tired of its foibles and delusional dreams about its identity on the international circuit as a geopolitical contender, but people, humble voters, will soon deliver a message to the elites which run the EU soon: reform or crumble. Just recently, EU nerds in Brussels noticed that when all of the EU’s leaders descend on the grey, depressing Belgian capital – a city many associate with industrial scale paedophilia, graft, chocolate and a pissing urchin – that they show anyone who’s paying attention who ultimately runs the EU: member states.

Or at least that’s the theory. In the last few days EU leaders attended a meeting at the European Council of Ministers building and voted to “condemn” illegal West Bank settlers in Israel. Most editors of UK newspapers didn’t even understand what was happening. It was reported as “EU slams Israel’s West bank settlers” or “EU mulls sanctions against violent settlers” in a number of exclusive, European high-brow journals but completely unreported in the UK or US. Perhaps the British press didn’t understand the significance of EU leaders – rather than the European Commission or the parliament – taking this initiative? EU leaders themselves, in theory, have the power. They hold the aces. And when they decide on a line or a certain policy, the European Commission has no choice but to go along with it – affirming the old hacks’ dinner party circuit rambling that “the EU Council of Ministers is the most powerful institution in Brussels”. Perhaps it is. Or was. But what were EU leaders really trying to say with the stunt?

Simply that they object to Ursula von der Leyen’s repulsive, uncompromising support for the genocide in Gaza and send a signal that Jewish settlers’ violence when they steal Palestinians’ land is unacceptable. Just keep on stealing and looting as much as you can, but please do it peacefully, seems to be the message. This in itself is a clear message who really runs the so-called EU “foreign policy” rather than the Spanish gimp in Brussels otherwise known as Josep Borrell. EU member states own this domain and every now and again need to remind the elite in Brussels that they, member states, humour the EU hierarchy with this fantasy of being a geopolitical dick swinger with its own hegemony. But even being the guardian of such a dossier, where does it get the EU or its “members” when both are so impotent, hesitant and ultimately cowardly on the international stage? Ultimately, all the EU can do is make statements. That’s it. It has proven over and over again that it is powerless against anything that Israel does, regardless of that old chestnut often known as “international law”.

And the call from EU leaders for violence in the West Bank to stop is also an indicator to who are the super elites around the world who really control David Cameron or pay for Boris Johnson to fly out to Kiev recently and bang on the “let’s never give peace a chance” drum: Jewish money and power. And that Jewish money – American Jewish money – which controls the UN banking system, the federal exchange, World Bank, IMF, Hollywood, both houses in U.S. politics and most of big business in America is worried about anti-Semitism growing in the West. And so they inform their servants to go to the garden and find the lost jewels of the lady in the house while the rest of the world burns. Priorities. EU leaders didn’t meet in Brussels to thrash out a peace plan as they don’t have the instructions to do so. Hatred towards Jews in the West is the most important issue as it could be the thin end of the wedge which removes power from the elites who own Sunak, Scholz, Macron et al not to mention the European Union project which serves their global interests most admirably.

And you can always tell when these powerful hidden elites are fretting over their power base being slightly shaken. Their surfs start whining. Just listen to Josep Borrell recently talk about the Ukraine war and Russia. “We cannot afford for Russia to win this war. Otherwise the U.S. and European interests will be very damaged” he gushed. “It is not a matter of generosity alone … of supporting Ukraine because we love Ukrainian people. It is in our own interest”. Of course, when he spoke of “our own interest” he literally meant his own interest and a few of his cronies on the elitist payroll which you might be fooled into thinking was the EU itself. Oh you thought he was talking about the West in general and its population? Is it April 1st yet?

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Binding.

UN Court Orders Israel To Let Food Into Gaza (RT)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to allow uninterrupted shipments of food into Gaza. Before issuing the legally-binding order, the Hague-based court warned that “famine is setting in” in the besieged enclave. Issued on Thursday, the order commands Israel to take “all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, in full cooperation with the United Nations, the unhindered provision…of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance,” including food, water, and medicine. The ruling comes two months after the court ruled that “the state of Israel shall take all measures to prevent the commission of genocide in Gaza,” including by blocking humanitarian aid shipments.

“The court observes that Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine … but that famine is setting in,” the judges wrote in Thursday’s ruling. Israel can help alleviate this looming famine “by increasing the capacity and number of land crossing points and maintaining them open for as long as necessary,” they noted. The Israeli military controls all entry and exit points to Gaza except the Rafah crossing between the enclave and Egypt. However, Cairo allows Israel to determine when the crossing can be opened, and Israeli troops inspect every truck that passes. Every other crossing has been shut since Israel imposed a siege on Gaza immediately after Hamas militants attacked the Jewish state on October 7, and aid groups say that the trickle of supplies passing the Rafah crossing is insufficient to feed Gaza’s starving population.

A UN-backed report warned last week that more than 70% of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are facing “catastrophic hunger,” and that famine conditions now exist in the northern part of the enclave. At least 27 children have already starved to death, the ICJ judges noted on Thursday. Thursday’s order was requested by South Africa, which filed a legal action last year accusing Israel of committing “systematic” war crimes and genocide in Gaza. Israel denies that it is committing genocide and insists that its military campaign against Hamas – which has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children – is legitimate self defense.

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“..their judgment is about the law as it stands not as some might like it to be..”

UK Won’t Extradite Assange While Risk of Death Penalty Remains – Tory (Sp.)

The government of the United Kingdom will not want to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States as long as he could still face the death penalty there, Lord Richard Balfe, a Conservative member of the UK Parliament’s House of Lords, told Sputnik. On Tuesday, the High Court of Justice in London ruled that Assange has a real prospect of success on three of the nine grounds of appeal. The court asked the US government to provide assurances that the WikiLeaks founder would be able to claim the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees freedoms related to religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. The court also asked to ensure that Assange would not be prejudiced at his trial due to his nationality, and that he would not face the death penalty. The next hearing is scheduled for May 20 if the parties submit the necessary documents.

“I am sure that the lawyers of Julian Assange will pursue appeals for as long as they can. It is my belief that the UK Government will be unwilling to extradite without a clear undertaking that the death penalty will not be imposed,” Balfe said. When asked about the High Court’s decision, Balfe stated that the UK-US extradition treaty signed by the Blair government has a reputation of being flawed and placing uneven responsibilities on the UK as opposed to the US. “The job of the High Court is to interpret the existing law, not to invent new laws. As such their judgment is about the law as it stands not as some might like it to be,” Balfe said.

The lawmaker stated that he in no way supports the past actions of Assange, stressing the importance of passage of confidential information between governments for conducting international diplomacy and that “sometimes difficult decisions need to be taken and examples need to be made.” Assange, an Australian citizen, was transferred to London’s high-security Belmarsh prison in April 2019 on bail breach charges. In the US, he faces prosecution under the Espionage Act for obtaining and disclosing classified information that shed light on war crimes and human rights violations committed by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. If convicted, the WikiLeaks founder could face up to 175 years in prison. One of the last means of preventing his transfer to the US may be an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Assange lost his previous appeal at the UK High Court last June.

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“..the British court could order Julian’s immediate extradition prior to a Rule 39 instruction, or decide to ignore a request from the ECtHR to allow Julian to have his case heard there.”

The Crucifixion of Julian Assange (Chris Hedges)

Prosecutors representing the United States, whether by design or incompetence, refused — in the two-day hearing I attended in London in February — to provide guarantees that Julian Assange would be afforded First Amendment rights and would be spared the death penalty if extradited to the U.S. The inability to give these assurances all but guaranteed that the High Court — as it did on Tuesday — would allow Julian’s lawyers to appeal. Was this done to stall for time so that Julian would not be extradited until after the U.S. presidential election? Was it a delaying tactic to work out a plea deal? Julian’s lawyers and U.S. prosecutors are discussing this possibility. Was it careless legal work? Or was it to keep Julian locked in a high security prison until he collapses mentally and physically? If Julian is extradited, he will stand trial for allegedly violating 17 counts of the 1917 Espionage Act, with a potential sentence of 170 years, along with another charge for “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” carrying an additional five years.

The court will permit Julian to appeal minor technical points — his basic free speech rights must be honored, he cannot be discriminated against on the basis of his nationality and he cannot be under threat of the death penalty. No new hearing will allow his lawyers to focus on the war crimes and corruption that WikiLeaks exposed. No new hearing will permit Julian to mount a public-interest defense. No new hearing will discuss the political persecution of a publisher who has not committed a crime. The court, by asking the U.S. for assurances that Julian would be granted First Amendment rights in the U.S. courts and not be subject to the death penalty, offered the U.S. an easy out — give the guarantees and the appeal is rejected.

It is hard to see how the U.S. can refuse the two-judge panel, composed of Dame Victoria Sharp and Justice Jeremy Johnson, which issued on Tuesday a 66-page judgment accompanied by a three-page court order and a four-page media briefing. The hearing in February was Julian’s last chance to request an appeal of the extradition decision made in 2022 by the then British home secretary, Priti Patel, and many of the rulings of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser in 2021. If Julian is denied an appeal, he can request an emergency stay of execution from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) under Rule 39, which is given in “exceptional circumstances” and “only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm.” But it is possible the British court could order Julian’s immediate extradition prior to a Rule 39 instruction, or decide to ignore a request from the ECtHR to allow Julian to have his case heard there.

[..] Julian did not, unlike Daniel Ellsberg, leak the documents. He published documents leaked by U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Three of the nine legal grounds were accepted by the judges as potential points for appeal. The other six were denied. The two-judge panel also rejected the request by Julian’s lawyers to present new evidence. Julian’s legal team asked the court to introduce into the case the Yahoo! News report that revealed, after the release of the documents known as Vault 7, that the then-director of the CIA Mike Pompeo, considered assassinating Julian. Julian’s lawyers also hoped to introduce a statement from Joshua Dratel, a U.S. attorney, who said that Pompeo’s use of the terms “non-state hostile intelligence service” and “enemy combatant” were phrases designed to give legal cover for an assassination.

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“Hundreds of deranged Hollywood liberals will be in attendance, and they will open their wallets to fund the destruction of country!”

“Mr Trump is also in the New York area on Thursday, attending the wake of a police officer, Jonathan Diller, who was shot and killed in the line of duty..”

While there, Trump offered to pay off the mortgage for his widow.

Biden To Host Star-studded NYC Fundraiser With Obama And Clinton (BBC)

US President Joe Biden is set to host a record-breaking fundraiser in New York City, alongside his predecessors Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. The event is projected to raise over $25m (£20m) for the Democrat’s re-election campaign – the most ever for a single political event, says his team. The event looks set to extend a growing cash gap between Mr Biden and his Republican challenger Donald Trump. The Biden campaign recently declared it had $155m cash to hand. Mr Trump is also in the New York area on Thursday, attending the wake of a police officer, Jonathan Diller, who was shot and killed in the line of duty. Despite the Republican’s lower cash pile and legal troubles, a number of national polls indicate he could still beat Mr Biden in their November rematch. Over 5,000 people are expected to attend the star-studded Democratic fundraiser on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall, with many more watching online.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1773401980355944563

Late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert will moderate a conversation with the three presidents. The event will be hosted by actress Mindy Kaling and feature musical performances from Lizzo, Queen Latifah and Lea Michele. First Lady Jill Biden will host an after-party for 500 guests. The president’s son, Hunter Biden, and his family are also attending. The tickets are priced between $225 and half-a-million dollars. For $100,000, guests can get a picture with all three presidents, with star photographer Annie Leibovitz taking the snaps. President Biden was joined on the Air Force One flight to New York by Mr Obama, whom he served as vice-president from 2009-2017. Mr Obama, wearing a casual dress shirt, briefly came back for an off-the-record chat with reporters on the presidential jet. New York ground to a halt for their arrival as the two men’s huge motorcade cut across Manhattan in the pouring rain. Hundreds of onlookers jostled to take pictures.

Mr Biden’s previous best single-day fundraising effort was the $10m he raised in 24 hours after his State of the Union address this month. His fundraising has also been boosted by the advantage of incumbency. “Biden raising a lot of money is probably a function of him not having any real primary challengers,” Joseph Campbell, a communications professor at American University, told the BBC. “There’s no competition for Democratic donor money.” The $155m million in cash his campaign has is the most of any Democratic candidate in history at this point in an election cycle, according to his campaign. Mr Trump and his political action committees reported having $74m.

The Republican candidate raised $20m in the whole of February, less than what President Biden expects to receive just from Thursday’s event.In addition to Mr Trump’s fundraising challenges, his campaign and committees have spent millions of dollars in legal fees fighting four criminal cases against him. Mr Trump, 77, blasted the Democratic fundraising event in a fundraising email of his own, sent out by his campaign on Thursday morning. “Hundreds of deranged Hollywood liberals will be in attendance, and they will open their wallets to fund the destruction of country!” the message said.

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“The sound of our ancestor’s song has grown weaker..”

Maori King Calls For Recognizing Whales As People (RT)

The king of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori people has signed a ‘Declaration for the Ocean’ that calls for whales to be granted legal personhood as part of a plan to protect them, AFP reported on Thursday. The declaration reportedly recognizes the mammals as legal persons with the inherent right to freedom of movement, natural behavior, and expression of their unique cultures. The declaration has been made with the intent of helping whales recover their depleted population. “The sound of our ancestor’s song has grown weaker, and her habitat is under threat, which is why we must act now,” King Tuheitia Potatau te Wherowhero VII was quoted as saying. He was echoed by high chief Travel Tou Ariki, who said: “We can no longer turn a blind eye. Whales play a vital role in the health of our entire ocean ecosystem … We must act with urgency to protect these magnificent creatures before it’s too late.”

Whales have traditionally had cultural significance for the Maori as supernatural beings and as harbingers of spiritual growth. Some tribes see the mammals as the descendants of Tangaroa, the god of the ocean. Whales are some of the largest mammals on earth, with blue whales reaching up to 30.5 meters (100 feet) in length and weighing up to 200 tons. Many of the species are endangered. The move to grant whales personhood would not be without precedent. In 2017, New Zealand passed a groundbreaking law granting personhood status to the Whanganui River and Mount Taranaki volcano, both of which are important to the Maori people. The Maori are the second-largest ethnic group in New Zealand and currently make up about 17% of the country’s total population, or about 900,000 people.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Cancer: A Food-Borne Illness

 

 

Camelemon

 

 

Cats

 

 

Swan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773217153363181623

 

 

 

 

Shoal

 

 

Puppy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773473225487389036

 

 

Moose
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773228532237214034

 

 

Boji

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 192024
 
 February 19, 2024  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Assange – by Mr. Fish

 

Julian Assange’s Final Appeal (Chris Hedges)
We Have Seen Assange’s Plight In A UK Prison (RSF)
2024: The Year from Political Hell – Martin Armstrong (USAW)
The Genocide of the West (Paul Craig Roberts)
Biden & Blinken – Rule of Illegal Power Over Rule of Law (Ralph Nader)
Western Europe Could Become The New Ukraine (Bordachev)
Everything Happening in Ukraine Matter of Life, Death for Russia – Putin (Sp.)
Denmark Will Give All Its Artillery To Ukraine – PM (RT)
Biden Offered Prime Time Russian TV Slot (Sp.)
French “Democracy” Establishes Medical Tyranny (Paul Craig Roberts)
Von der Leyen Wants Second EU Term – Bild (RT)
Netanyahu To Be Ousted – Israel Media (RT)
ICJ to Examine 57 Years of Israeli Occupation of Palestine (Wilkins)
Hunter’s Lawyers Balked at Kevin Morris Laptop Conspiracy Theories (Turley)

 

 


Anthony Bourdain: “Today nearly everything is made in China — except for courage, it’s made in PALESTINE!”

 

 

Assange

 

 

 

 

Tucker invasion

 

 

Mike Benz
https://twitter.com/i/status/1759213479817334819

 

 

 

 

Ted Cruz

 

 

Gorka Taibbi

 

 

 

 

God have mercy.

Julian Assange’s Final Appeal (Chris Hedges)

If Julian Assange is denied permission to appeal his extradition to the United States before a panel of two judges at the High Court in London this week, he will have no recourse left within the British legal system. His lawyers can ask the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for a stay of execution under Rule 39, which is given in “exceptional circumstances” and “only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm.” But it is far from certain that the British court will agree. It may order Julian’s immediate extradition prior to a Rule 39 instruction or may decide to ignore a request from the ECtHR to allow Julian to have his case heard by the court. The nearly 15-year-long persecution of Julian, which has taken a heavy toll on his physical and psychological health, is done in the name of extradition to the U.S. where he would stand trial for allegedly violating 17 counts of the 1917 Espionage Act, with a potential sentence of 170 years.

Julian’s “crime” is that he published classified documents, internal messages, reports and videos from the U.S. government and U.S. military in 2010, which were provided by U.S. army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. This vast trove of material revealed massacres of civilians, torture, assassinations, the list of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay and the conditions they were subjected to, as well as the Rules of Engagement in Iraq. Those who perpetrated these crimes — including the U.S. helicopter pilots who gunned down two Reuters journalists and 10 other civilians and severely injured two children, all captured in the Collateral Murder video — have never been prosecuted.

Read more …

Christophe Deloire is secretary-general and Rebecca Vincent is director of campaigns at Reporters Without Borders (RSF) .

We Have Seen Assange’s Plight In A UK Prison (RSF)

Given the high stakes for journalism and press freedom, we have been dismayed to be confronted with extensive barriers to our UK-focused work on Assange’s case. Our prison visits followed months of fighting for access after the prison arbitrarily barred us in April 2023, when we were refused entry for a vetted prison visit on the grounds that the prison had received “intelligence” that we were journalists. As a non-governmental organisation (NGO), our role differs from that of journalists. We sought access to discuss our advocacy efforts directly with Assange rather than to interview him for a media report. Over the next four months, we sought legal advice, submitted subject access requests, secured an intervention by a member of parliament, and engaged in extensive correspondence with Belmarsh. In August 2023, the block on our access was finally lifted, and we became the only NGO that has been able to visit Assange in prison.

This is not the first time the British system has created obstacles to our work on Assange’s case. We have experienced extensive and evolving barriers to accessing court hearings as NGO observers, often having no choice but to queue outside for up to five hours, very early in the morning and sometimes in freezing temperatures, to secure one of the few spaces in the public gallery. At one point during the pandemic, we were threatened with arrest simply for queueing to get into court. This absurd series of restrictions meant that RSF was the only NGO to monitor the full proceedings. We have not experienced such barriers, which effectively violate the principles of open justice and the right to a fair trial, in any case we have monitored in any other country. But these difficulties are nothing compared with the violations Assange has faced directly, including the fact that he has not been allowed to attend court hearings in person since 6 January 2021 – the last time he was seen outside prison walls.

Prisons are always grim places, and high-security Belmarsh is no exception. It’s hard to describe how Assange himself is faring in this environment, which is a stark contrast to his previous life of freedom, or even to his years at the Ecuadorian embassy. Assange’s worrying state of mental health, and his risk of suicide, have been well-documented in the medical evidence presented to court. But he is still very much involved in his case and fighting for his future. These visits allowed us to discuss and evaluate Assange’s situation with him, and RSF’s interventions led to him finally being permitted a typewriter, which he had been requesting for three years. On our last visit in January, he was clearly unwell and in pain, with a broken rib due to excessive coughing from a respiratory illness. It is a bleak and unjust situation, but it’s also clear how much worse the conditions of extradition and long-term detention in the US would be, which he may not survive.

Of course, Assange should not be in prison anywhere – not in the UK, nor the US, nor Australia, as was suggested to the UK court by the US authorities. No one, anywhere, should be targeted for publishing information in the public interest. Assange should be immediately released – perhaps through a political solution if not the courts, given the political nature of the case against him. The possibility of extradition is dangerously close. From 20 to 21 February, a panel of two high court judges will consider Assange’s final application to appeal against the order for his extradition. Any grounds that are rejected this time cannot be further appealed against, leaving the European court of human rights as his only further recourse.

In the meantime, Assange is in a high-security prison nearly 4,000 miles from the epicentre of the case, reading through a pile of books in his cell, finally typing some letters, and chatting with the few visitors who manage to navigate the myriad obstacles to get in. He has referred to his possible extradition as “Day P” – the day he might be put on a plane. It remains to be seen whether the British judiciary will deliver some form of justice at this late stage by preventing extradition, or whether the UK will become the country that enables a historically damning blow to press freedom, and the right of all of us to know.

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“60% of the world is going to the polls in 2024 to vote for a new government. You might as well throw them into a tumbler, shake well and see what comes out.”

2024: The Year from Political Hell – Martin Armstrong (USAW)

Legendary financial and geopolitical cycle analyst Martin Armstrong is predicting political turmoil, civilian unrest, war and a big economic downturn in 2024 in a new report called “The Year from Political Hell.” It’s not just a US election year, but it is an election year for more than half of the world. This is a global phenomenon which no one can be sure of the outcome. Armstrong explains, “This is not just the United States election. This is what you hear on the news locally. However, step outside this country, and, for example, Indonesia just voted in a leftist government. You have the EU going for elections. You have on May 2nd all the local elections in Britain. You have Russian elections on May 7th. 60% of the world is going to the polls in 2024 to vote for a new government. You might as well throw them into a tumbler, shake well and see what comes out. I mean it’s all over the place.”

On the war front, get ready for more mass killing, and don’t be surprised if it goes nuclear. Armstrong predicts, “There will be nuclear weapons. The neocons keep telling people on Capitol Hill that Russia would never use a nuke because they know we would use them back. That is nonsense! If you are about ready to conquer somebody, and this is all they’ve got left, they are pushing the button. . . . These people, all they want is war. They don’t care. They really do not care. They don’t care about the economy. They don’t care about anything.”

Armstrong says the coming war will make the economy “crash in 2024” as people get scared, spend a lot less and save a lot more. Armstrong says, “What we are looking at is a contraction in spending because of uncertainty. This is what these neocons are creating, and they don’t want to listen to anybody, and it is just their agenda, and they don’t care what happens to the country. . . .We are looking for a contraction of 12% to 18%. GDP is not going to be rising, but you are going to find inflation still rising.” Armstrong also says to look for “a rebellion in government debt” as people lose faith in governments around the world. This rebellion in government issued debt will include US Treasuries, according to Armstrong. This means interest rates will continue to trend upward and not downward.

On volatility in the markets, Armstrong predicts, “Look for volatility to start around July, and there may be some false flags too.” Armstrong continues to say Trump is still looking like he can “win in a landslide in 2024,” but expect the Deep State to pull every dirty trick in the book to keep him out of office. Armstrong points out, “If Trump gets back in power, they are all fired. . . . They know they are losing power. Instead of reforming and doing the right thing, they clamp down and they think they can retain power by pressing us even more. Sorry, but that’s what creates revolution.” In closing, Armstrong says, “Pretty much everything is going wrong for the Deep State. . . . confidence in government has collapsed everywhere.” This is what makes the Deep State Dems, RINOs and Neocons very dangerous. By the way, Armstrong says he would be a buyer of physical gold to hold as a core asset.

Read more …

“From the Woke perspective, which has risen to the ascendancy in the intellectual outlook in the West, all normal people are undesirables..”

The Genocide of the West (Paul Craig Roberts)

Are NGOs another example of liberal goody two shoes good intentions going wrong, or are they an organized plot against white countries? Whatever the answer, NGOs have certainly done enormous harm to white countries. After many years of negligence, Putin finally partially cracked down on Western-financed NGOs that were organizing disruptive events in Russia and creating the image of Putin as a dictator. Putin’s government required foreign-financed NGOs to register as foreign agents. Documented reports from independent journalists have established that NGOs are spearheading the immigrant-invaders who are overrunning the United States. As I recently reported, NGOs are actually recruiting “people of color” into the ranks of immigrant-invaders, providing them with transportation, money, and maps of the pathways to the US border that are supplied with accommodation, food, and health care.

One of the most important NGOs underwriting the immigrant-invaders seems to be the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), of which the current director of the US Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, himself a Jew, was a board member until December 2020. According to an article on substack, HIAS has received $100,000,000 from the US government in the past three years. If this is true, then the Biden regime is underwriting the immigrant invasion with US taxpayers’ money. The long-term, ongoing invasion of the EU and UK has benefited enormously from NGOs, especially from the moral support the NGOs provide for the invasion and for their work in conditioning Europeans to accept immigrant-invaders as the moral thing to do. You might remember the reports of the German women whose reward for welcoming the immigrant-invaders was to be raped by them. When the women complained of being raped, they were branded “racists.”

The story is the same in Sweden and Norway. NGOs are largely a post-1990 phenomena. Recently there have been reports of the impact of foreign-funded NGOs in diversifying Ireland’s population and transforming its culture in Woke directions that elevate the legitimization of sexual perversion above Christian morality. US billionaire Chuck Feeney has underwritten pro-immigrant-invader NGOs in Ireland. In Ireland NGOs have been successful in bringing abortion in under the cover of human rights. Other NGOs focus on legitimizing sexual perversion, such as Lesbians In Cork. In other words, the NGOs serve as weapons with which to revolutionize society and to replace natural life with Woke ideology and its amoral and immoral values.

Every Western country is being watered-down with diverse elements that destroy the unity of the country, turn it into a tower of babel, replace sexual and Christian morality with legitimization of sin, and transform traditional citizens into undesirables, arrogantly rejecting the majority as Hillary Clinton did Trump voters when she branded them “Trump deplorables.” From the Woke perspective, which has risen to the ascendancy in the intellectual outlook in the West, all normal people are undesirables. Consequently large numbers of NGOs have been, and are being, created, and huge sums are being funneled into them to take our culture away from us. No one is funding a countervailing effort. Indeed “our” governments provide matching funds for the NGOs. This is what I mean when I speak of the genocide of the West.

Read more …

“..this lawless, Israeli government-indentured Congress which refuses even to demand a ceasefire..”

Biden & Blinken – Rule of Illegal Power Over Rule of Law (Ralph Nader)

Among the puzzling questions that the media chooses to ignore is asking high government officials why they are exercising the illegal use of power that violates the rule of law which they are required to obey. This week, the Veterans for Peace (VFP) made it very easy for reporters to pose questions by sending an open letter (See veteransforpeace.org) to the Inspector General of the U.S. State Department and Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, invoking several U.S. statutes that require the “termination of provision of military weapons and munitions to Israel.” Josh Paul, a former senior official in the State Department’s office charged with reviewing weapon transfers to foreign countries, said: “The Secretary and all relevant officials under his purview should take this letter from Veterans for Peace with the utmost seriousness. It is a stark reminder of the importance of abiding by the laws and policies that relate to arms transfers.”

What laws are being violated by the State Department daily as it approves ships and cargo planes full of weapons of mass destruction to be used in Israel’s war crimes and genocide against hundreds of thousands of Gaza’s civilians, mostly children and women? These are the laws highlighted in the VFP letter:
• The Foreign Assistance Act, which forbids the provision of assistance to a government which “engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”
• Arms Export Control Act, which says countries that receive US military aid can only use weapons for legitimate self-defense and internal security. Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza goes way beyond self-defense and internal security.
• The U.S. War Crimes Act, which forbids grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, including wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and unlawful deportation or transfer, perpetrated by the Israeli Occupying Forces.
• The Leahy Law, which prohibits the U.S. Government from using funds for assistance to units of foreign security forces where there is credible information implicating that unit in the commission of gross violations of human rights.
• The Genocide Convention Implementation Act, which was enacted to implement U.S. obligations under the Genocide Convention, provides for criminal penalties for individuals who commit or incite others to commit genocide

Under these laws, the State Department has a “Conventional Arms Transfer Policy” which, the letter notes, “prohibit [U.S. weapons transfers when it’s likely they] will be used by Israel to commit … genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, [including attacks intentionally directed against civilian objects or civilians protected] or other serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights laws.” The VFP letter continues, “Dozens of authoritative complaints and referrals made by hospital administrators in Gaza, as well as by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Palestine Authority, South Africa, Turkey, Medicins san Frontieres, UNRWA, UNICEF, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the World Food Programme have confirmed that there is an ongoing human rights and humanitarian disaster due to Israel’s cutoff of water and electricity, deliberate destruction of sewage infrastructure and delaying of aid shipments by Israeli forces.”

If you are wondering why these laws are not being enforced – the answer is that individual citizens or groups of citizens do not have any “legal standing” to sue Secretary Blinken, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. Only a Committee of Congress, backed by a Senate or House Resolution, can take the State Department to federal court. That action to enforce Congressionally passed and enacted laws is not likely to happen in this lawless, Israeli government-indentured Congress which refuses even to demand a ceasefire. Mike Ferner, VFP National Director, observed “Just as any good soldiers can recognize when they are given an unlawful order, we believe some State Department staff are horrified at the orders they’re given and will decide to uphold the law, find the courage to speak out and demand an end to the carnage.”

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“..journalists are persistently interested in the topic of a ‘potential war with Russia’ because they see it as a good selling point to their readers..”

Western Europe Could Become The New Ukraine (Bordachev)

A side effect of the tragic Ukrainian problem for Russian foreign policy is that it helps us to understand the degree of economic and moral decay that our other Western neighbors would have to reach in order to pose a threat to our security. It is these two factors – impoverishment and spiritual decline – that create a critical mass necessary for an adventurer to drag his country into a destructive conflict. So far, as public opinion polls show, the citizens of Western European countries do not see any potential for aggressive behavior towards Russia. Despite the fact that some NATO military leaders and even politicians have suddenly started talking about the possibility of a military conflict, the inhabitants of its member states in Europe do not perceive Russia as a threat at all. Therefore, they have no feelings of aggression towards us. However, this state of affairs could change, and the most important thing is not the geopolitical situation, but the internal situation of our neighbors to the West.

The military-political conflict between Russia and NATO over Ukraine has been accompanied by hostile rhetoric in the media and political circles of Western countries that is unprecedented by the standards of recent decades. We can see how this goes through stages. It is not difficult to see the distribution of roles among the various representatives of Russia’s adversaries in Europe and North America. Now, for example, representatives of military structures are the most active. Literally every week, the Russian media discusses another statement by a British, Danish, or Dutch commander on the alleged inevitability or high probability of an armed conflict between Russia and NATO within a few years. With the same frequency, new NATO ‘secret plans’ for war with Russia are leaked to the Western European media. As a rule, they are poorly adapted to the mass-reader scenarios of yet another hypothetical exercise. The question inevitably arises – should we take all this at face value? So far, there seems to be a certain cunning in such statements.

Especially since the main organizers of the Ukraine crisis – the Americans – prefer to remain silent on the matter and are not throwing around theories about the likelihood of a direct armed conflict with Russia. The situation is fundamentally different for Washington’s European allies. First of all, Western European military and political leaders act with no formal accountability for their words. Since all security and defense decisions within NATO are made by the US, any general or politician in Europe can say whatever he wants; his words mean absolutely nothing in practice – especially since military spending is in the hands of the civilian authorities, and they are in no hurry to spend money on military exercises. Secondly, it is clear to Western European military leaders that politicians are in no hurry to fulfil the promises they made in the early stages of the conflict. As early as March 2022, for example, the German chancellor loudly proclaimed a U-turn in Berlin’s defense policy, an increase in real spending on armaments, and a build-up of military forces.

So far, nothing has been done, and the state of the German economy is not conducive to new spending that goes beyond supporting the welfare of citizens and the corporate sector. Thirdly, journalists are persistently interested in the topic of a ‘potential war with Russia’ because they see it as a good selling point to their readers. And the generals have to answer direct questions that European men in uniform, due to their lack of intellectual flexibility, cannot delicately avoid. And generally speaking, their job is to prepare for war, even if they know they will never have to fight it. Civilian heads of military departments also fall for this bait. A few days ago, for example, journalists had to literally torture the bellicose meaning out of an interview with Poland’s new defense minister.

It should be noted that officials directly involved in US military planning, as well as representatives of Eastern European countries, are more circumspect in their statements. Even officials and military officers from the former Baltic republics of the USSR have not yet issued statements of comparable alarm to their counterparts in Western Europe. Nor does NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speak of a direct armed conflict as a foreseeable probability. American restraint and better coordination between the US and those which directly represent its interests in Europe are probably at work here. Of course, German, Swedish, Dutch, and Danish generals cannot count on the same quality of communication with Washington that Warsaw has. And the Americans themselves, to their credit, are rather cautious when it comes to strategic issues – despite their adventurism and constant desire to test Russia’s patience ‘on the ground’.

The assessments of European generals and officials are even more contradictory when compared with the opinions of their populations. The Bundeswehr general’s comments on the likelihood of war with Russia were published alongside the results of an opinion poll showing that 71% of Germans do not consider Russia a military threat. The annual Munich Security Conference, the West’s main ‘production meeting’ on its relations with the rest of humanity, has produced a report devoted in part to Western Europeans’ attitudes to various threats. Observers have already noted that Russia has fallen to ninth place on the list of ‘threats’ this year. Clearly, the Western European populace no longer feels that Russia threatens them in any way. More importantly, they have no reason to be aggressive towards Russia themselves.

The real causes of major armed conflicts such as world wars are always linked to socio-economic factors. For the naturally cautious German nation to become a bunch of cannibals, it first had to sink into the economic misery and moral oppression of the 1920s. Before that, demographic growth and the unresolved social problems of industrialization created the necessary mass of people willing to kill and die on the fields of the First World War.

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“For them [the West], this is an improvement in their tactical position. While for us it is fate, it is a matter of life and death,..

Everything Happening in Ukraine Matter of Life, Death for Russia – Putin (Sp.)

Everything that is happening in the Ukrainian direction is a matter of life and death for Russia, it is the fate of the country, whereas for the West it is only a matter of their tactical position, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “I think that for ourselves, and even more so for listeners and viewers abroad, it is important to understand the course of our thoughts, to understand our condition, to understand how sensitive and important this is for our country — everything that is happening in the Ukrainian direction. For them [the West], this is an improvement in their tactical position. While for us it is fate, it is a matter of life and death,” Putin said, commenting on the historical part of his recent interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson. Last week, Putin sat down for an interview with Carlson, discussing the Ukraine conflict, the Nord Stream sabotage, Russia-NATO relations, artificial intelligence, and other topics. The interview has attracted huge interest around the world. The video has been viewed 202 million times on X. On YouTube, the video has been viewed over 17.4 million times.

Read more …

“..other EU member-states should follow suit..”

Denmark Will Give All Its Artillery To Ukraine – PM (RT)

Denmark will transfer all of its artillery to Ukraine, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a panel debate at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. According to her, despite production issues, Copenhagen and the EU in general have enough arms stockpiled to supply the country with the necessary weaponry. Kiev has increasingly complained of personnel and ammunition shortages on the front lines, appealing to its Western supporters for more financing and arms. However, Brussels is yet to finalize its next aid package, while the EU’s earlier pledge to provide Ukraine with one million artillery rounds by March this year has not been met. “If you ask Ukrainians – they are asking us for ammunition now, artillery now.

From the Danish side, we decided to donate our entire artillery to Ukraine,” Frederiksen stated, adding that other EU member-states should follow suit. “I am sorry to say, friends, but there is still ammunition in stock in Europe. This is not only a question about production because we have weapons, we have ammunition, we have air defense, that we don’t have to use ourselves at the moment, that we should deliver to Ukraine,” she said. Frederiksen noted that it would be ineffective to wait for the US aid package to come through to make decisions on supplies to Ukraine. US lawmakers failed to approve additional funding of around $60 billion for Kiev before going on winter break, and are expected to resume discussions on the package on February 28.

“We have to speed up and scale up, no matter what will happen in the US. We as Europeans need to be able to protect ourselves, and to protect ourselves we need to deliver what is needed in Ukraine now. The responsibility for Europe has to be in Europe and we have to do more,” she stated. Denmark is among the major suppliers of weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It also spearheaded an effort to help Ukraine procure F-16 fighter jets and train its pilots to fly the warplanes last year, and is a member of the so-called ‘drone coalition’, a recently-formed group of countries that has pledged to give Kiev one million drones to fight Russia.

Read more …

“..on Russia 1, the country’s most popular TV channel.”

Biden Offered Prime Time Russian TV Slot (Sp.)

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down for an interview with US journalist Tucker Carlson to discuss the Ukraine conflict, the Nord Stream sabotage, Russia-NATO relations, artificial intelligence and other topics. Dmitry Kiselev, general director of the Rossiya Segodnya media group — Sputnik’s parent company — said he had sent a request to the White House for an interview with US President Joe Biden. “We believe that our countries lack the ability to listen and hear each other, and we believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin has set a worthy example by agreeing to an interview aimed at the American viewer,” the letter said. “The interview is planned to be conducted by me, Dmitry Kiselev, CEO of the Rossiya Segodnya Media Group and host of the highest-rated Sunday news and analysis program Vesti Nedeli on Russia 1, the country’s most popular TV channel.”

If it goes ahead, the interview would be translated into foreign languages and distributed on Sputnik’s Telegram channel, the ria.ru website, and numerous media platforms and social networks of the media group in Russia and around the world “In general, in a good way, US President Biden must respond to all this. The best and most spectacular option for the White House would be a mirror interview with a Russian journalist. As we have a saying, waiting for an answer, like the nightingale of summer,” Kiselev said in his program.

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“Does the Kremlin comprehend that its de-nazification agenda cannot be limited to Ukraine but must be applied to the entirety of the Western world?”

French “Democracy” Establishes Medical Tyranny (Paul Craig Roberts)

Professor Michel Chossudovsky, director of Global Research, has examined the new French law that defines dissent from official medical narratives as a “sectarian aberration” and criminalizes dissent from medical narratives, such as “the mRNA vaccine is safe and effective.” The law also creates a new crime called “provocation to abstention from medical care.” A French citizen is guilty of a crime if the person refuses a vaccine or medical treatment handed down by authorities. Had the law been in place during the mass vaccination campaign with the deadly mRNA “vaccine,” all who refused would have received three years imprisonment and paid a 45,000 euro fine. This ensures that next time everyone will receive the “vaccine,” because if you refuse you will be imprisoned and the prison rules will require you to be “vaccinated.”

The new law also protects the pharmaceutical corporations from any accountability for the deaths and health damage their lies caused by criminalizing French citizens–including doctors and medical scientists–who speak against the Covid-19 “vaccines.” This demonstrates the power of Big Pharma over democracy, which with this death blow given to free speech and medical fact no longer exists in France. This is a very serious development. It is an official act by an alleged “Western democracy” that criminalizes truth. For example, French medical scientists who find that the mRNA “vaccines” result in death and health injury will be imprisoned if they report their findings. The new French law takes the determination of medical fact out of the hands of medical scientists. The “fact” henceforth is whatever Big Pharma’s paid shills among politicians and medical “authorities” say it is.

Something similar has occurred in Germany. The distinguished German attorney Reiner Fuellmich was about to file a lawsuit supported by thousands of medical doctors and attorneys against the mRNA manufacturers when he was kidnapped by the German state and imprisoned in Germany where he is currently standing trial on trumped up charges brought by what appears to be paid “witnesses.” This is not the way democracies operate. As I have written on many occasions, Western countries have ceased to be democracies. The people have no voice. The countries are governed by the agendas of the elites and powerful corporations with the money to purchase the laws that serve their agendas and interests. The people who run for office are the people approved by these elites. Trump was the exception, and look at what has happened to him. The ruling elite have made their point: “Cross us and we will destroy you.”

Western governments serve at the expense of the people the material interests of the powerful and ideologies such as the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset.” Dutch and Irish governments are dispossessing under the rubric of “global warming” farmers of their flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, thereby driving up food prices by curtailing the supplies of meat, milk, butter, and cheese, while simultaneously allowing entry to hordes of immigrant-invaders whose support the people are forced to undertake. Today a “Western democracy” is an institution that forces citizens to support interests that are not their own. We are now witnessing, with the new French law, with the German government’s kidnapping of Reiner Fuellmich, with the American persecution of medical scientists who truthfully reported the mRNA danger, the Stalinist indictments of President Trump, and with media that no longer serve as watchdogs over the government but as propaganda ministries for government lies, the legalization and institutionalization of the tyranny that has displaced democracy in the Western world.

A large percentage of Western peoples are so indoctrinated and brainwashed that they do not see what is happening. Moreover, Western countries having been turned into towers of babel means there is no social unity, which makes it impossible to oppose the tyranny as some of the diverse elements see tyranny useful in suppressing political and ideological opponents. In the US the Democrats’ policy of wide-open borders for “people of color” but not for whites is dispossessing Americans of their own country. Despite public opposition to the policy, it has moved into high gear with, according to official numbers, entry each year of immigrant-invaders in numbers equivalent to 12 cities the size of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There is no doubt whatsoever that the goal is to replace the white American population who are powerless to do anything about it. Meanwhile the Western governments foment wars with Russia, China, and Iran and expect the demoralized citizens they are dispossessing to supply the army. Does the Kremlin comprehend that its de-nazification agenda cannot be limited to Ukraine but must be applied to the entirety of the Western world?

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She’s addicted to power.

Von der Leyen Wants Second EU Term – Bild (RT)

Ursula von der Leyen will formally announce her candidacy for a second term as president of the European Commission on Monday, German tabloid Bild has reported. Von der Leyen has already hinted that she seeks a second term, promising on Saturday to appoint a dedicated “defense commissioner” if she holds on to her office. To secure a second term, von der Leyen will first have to be nominated by her faction in the European Parliament, the centrist European People’s Party (EPP). Speaking to Reuters last month, EPP lawmaker Daniel Caspary said the party would nominate von der Leyen at a congress in March, “if that’s what she wants.” Should the EPP emerge as the largest party in June’s European elections, which it is projected to do, von der Leyen’s candidacy would then be put before the European Council.

From there, a majority vote by the council’s 27 members followed by the parliament’s final approval would see the German installed for another five-year term at the helm of the commission. Opponents of von der Leyen, chief among them Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, will have few opportunities to stymie her nomination. Despite the fact that Hungary will hold the council’s rotating presidency after the elections, no one member state can veto a majority vote in her favor. Additionally, the EPP is a big-tent organization of centrist and center-right parties, meaning potential dissenters like Italy’s Forza Italia will be easily overruled by von der Leyen’s Christian Democrats and their allies. Von der Leyen has already strongly suggested that she will seek a second term. “If I would be the president of the next European Commission, I would have a commissioner for defense,” she said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, without spelling out what this commissioner’s responsibilities would be.

Since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began, von der Leyen has positioned herself as one of Kiev’s most ardent Western backers. She has authorized 12 packages of sanctions on Russia, overseen the dramatic expansion of the so-called ‘European Peace Facility’ – a €12 billion ($12.9 billion) fund used to funnel weapons to Ukraine – and hurried Ukraine’s bid for EU membership through the normally drawn-out application process. So antagonistic is her relationship to Moscow that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reportedly forbade US President Joe Biden last year from endorsing her bid to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as secretary-general of NATO. According to Germany’s Welt newspaper, Scholz felt that von der Leyen’s hardline anti-Russian stance “could prove to be a disadvantage in the long term.” Von der Leyen will return to Berlin from Munich on Sunday, and is expected to announce her candidacy after a discussion with her fellow Christian Democrats on Monday, Bild reported.

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“..last thing we need right now is elections.”

Netanyahu To Be Ousted – Israel Media (RT)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be able to retain power after the country’s military has concluded its operation against Hamas in Gaza, Ynet media outlet has claimed, citing anonymous sources within his Likud party. Amid mounting calls for early elections, the Israeli leader insisted on Saturday that now is “not the time for politics,” suggesting that the next vote will take place “in a few years.” Multiple opinion polls have demonstrated that Netanyahu’s approval ratings and those of his Likud party have been on the decline since Hamas militants conducted their deadly surprise incursion into Israeli territory on October 7, 2023. Back in December, the Israel Democracy Institute, citing survey results, claimed that more than two-thirds of Israelis want general elections to be held as soon as hostilities in Gaza are over.

A survey conducted earlier this month showed that opposition parties would secure as many as 75 of the Israeli parliament’s 120 seats if elections were held now.In its report on Saturday, Ynet quoted an unnamed senior member of Likud as predicting that “whoever was prime minister on October 7 will finish his post at the end of the war.”Another staffer from Netanyahu’s party allegedly contended that no matter “how much Netanyahu postpones the end and how much he doesn’t want to, at the end of this war we will go to elections.” According to the media outlet, the anonymous Likud bigwig added that the prime minister would be forced to call a snap election either by members of his own political force or by other parties making up the ruling coalition, with everyone understanding that “this is what’s going to happen.”

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Netanyahu dismissed calls for a snap election, insisting that a vote for the Knesset should take place as scheduled, that is, in October 2026. “I suggest we don’t concern ourselves with that during the war,” the prime minister said, arguing that the “last thing we need right now is elections.” Netanyahu warned that internal political division in Israel would play into the hands of Hamas. The opposition Yesh Atid party released a statement describing the prime minister’s comments as “another performance by an unfit prime minister who, by all accounts, has long lost the public’s trust and continues to flee from the responsibility of the greatest failure to the Jewish people since the Holocaust.” “Israel needs change. Elections are the order of the day,” the party argued.

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“..a week of hearings on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestine..”

ICJ to Examine 57 Years of Israeli Occupation of Palestine (Wilkins)

More than 50 countries are set to participate in next week’s hearings at the International Court of Justice focusing on Israel’s illegal 57-year occupation of Palestine, a forum that follows the Hague tribunal’s finding last month that Israel is “plausibly” committing genocide in occupied Gaza. The ICJ—also known as the World Court—will hold a week of hearings on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, which dates to the Israeli conquest of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, Syrian Golan Heights, and Egyptian Sinai Peninsula during the 1967 Six-Day War. “The International Court of Justice is set for the first time to broadly consider the legal consequences of Israel’s nearly six-decades-long occupation and mistreatment of the Palestinian people,” Human Rights Watch senior legal adviser Clive Baldwin said in a statement.

“Governments that are presenting their arguments to the court should seize these landmark hearings to highlight the grave abuses Israeli authorities are committing against Palestinians, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.” The West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights remain under Israeli military occupation six decades after their conquest. The United Nations—to which the ICJ belongs—and many international NGOs contend that, despite removing its troops and settlers from Gaza two decades ago, Israel continues to occupy Gaza by controlling the besieged enclave’s airspace, territorial waters, and the entry and exit of people and goods. Since the October 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have killed or wounded more than 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza while forcibly displacing around 90% of the population. Numerous Israeli leaders have called for the renewed physical occupation, Jewish resettlement, and ethnic cleansing of the strip.

During the current assault on Gaza, occupation forces have also killed at least 388 Palestinians, including 99 children, in the West Bank, according to U.N. human rights officials. Israeli settlers have for decades been steadily colonizing the occupied territories under the protection of the IDF, while ethnically cleansing Palestinians whose lands and homes they steal. Next week’s hearings come on the heels of the ICJ’s provisional ruling last month in a case led by South Africa—which will be the first nation after Palestine to present at next week’s hearing—that Israel is “plausibly” committing genocide in Gaza. The tribunal ordered Israel to “take all measures within its power” to adhere to its obligations under Article II of the Genocide Convention.

Earlier this week, South Africa urgently appealed to the ICJ to act amid the looming threat of an Israeli ground invasion of Rafah. More than 1.5 million Palestinians, most of them refugees ordered to flee to the south of Gaza by invading Israeli forces, are crammed into what is now one of the world’s most densely populated places. On Friday, the ICJ declined to take any additional action against Israel, while reiterating that the “perilous situation” in Rafah “demands immediate and effective implementation of the provisional measures indicated by the court” in last month’s ruling.

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“..including the threat from Morris to sue me for defamation if I continued to raise ethical concerns over his conduct..”

Hunter’s Lawyers Balked at Kevin Morris Laptop Conspiracy Theories (Turley)

We have previously discussed the controversial representation of Kevin Morris of Hunter Biden, including the threat from Morris to sue me for defamation if I continued to raise ethical concerns over his conduct. Now a report by the New York Times suggests that even Hunter’s other lawyers had concerns over Morris’s claims, particularly the fostering of a conspiracy theory to deny the authenticity of the infamous laptop of Hunter Biden. According to the New York Times, Kevin Morris “quietly pushed a complex theory under which the repair shop was a front and the information had been made public through a cast of characters including a psychiatrist who had treated Mr. Biden’s addiction using ketamine therapy and the Trump-allied operative Roger J. Stone Jr.” That is notable because many in the media picked up on the conspiracy theory despite ample evidence that the laptop was genuine.

Indeed, a similar theory was contained in the now debunked letter of former intelligence officials just before the election — a letter widely used in the media to effectively shutdown coverage. Some later admitted that they assumed the emails were genuine. The Washington Post’s Phillip Bump and others pushed the conspiracy theory. Indeed, in 2021, when media organizations were finally admitting that the laptop was authentic, Bump was still declaring that it was a “conspiracy theory.” Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Bump continued to suggest that “the laptop was seeded by Russian intelligence.” What is equally astonishing is that in 2023 the Post expressly stood by Bump’s reporting on the laptop and other debunked claims. The media report suggests that Chris Clark and Joshua Levy stopped working on the case as the false claims were being pushed. It is not clear if they support the reporting in the Times. Levy reportedly exited from representation in March 2023 after “unease and dissent” over the Hunter Biden legal team and its direction.

Clark withdrew shortly after he admitted that Hunter’s notorious 2017 WhatsApp text demanding money from a Chinese businessman was genuine. In the message, Hunter literally describes his father sitting next to him to drive home the threat, declaring “I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled…I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight…I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father.” Morris has increasingly appeared to be something of an enabler for Hunter, reinforcing a persecution complex while funding his lavish lifestyle. What is striking about the report is that the conspiracy theory is precisely the type of disinformation that the Biden Administration has alleged against critics to seek their censorship, throttling, and banning on social media.

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Dog turtle

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 312024
 
 January 31, 2024  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  60 Responses »


Tamara de Lempicka The refugees 1937

 

Biden Wants Taylor Swift To Sing For Him – NYT (RT)
Is There A Taylor Swift Psyop? (ZH)
The Next Big Thing (Jim Kunstler)
US Foreign Arms Sales Rocket to Record Highs (Sp.)
Stoltenberg: Weapons for Ukraine Are ‘the Way to Peace’ (Sp.)
West Asks Countries To Secretly Send Russian Weapons To Ukraine – Lavrov (RT)
Russia Warns US Against Returning Tactical Nuclear Weapons to UK (Sp.)
The Palestinians Won in The Hague: So Did the Rest of Us (Patrick Lawrence)
ICJ Ruling Is What It Is: Symbolic. But What Happens Next Is Critical (Jay)
West Starts to Understand That Ukraine Project ‘Failing’ – Lavrov (Sp.)
Lavrov Blasts ‘Absurd’ Claims That Russia Will Attack NATO (RT)
Zelensky Ready To Further Fuel Ukraine Conflict (Sp.)
Ukraine To Teach Troops To Speak Ukrainian (RT)
US Facing ‘Death Spiral’ Of Swelling Debt – Nassim Taleb (RT)
Imran Khan Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison (RT)
Imran Khan Sentenced To 14-year New Jail Term (RT)

 

 

 

 

Illegals

 

 

Poll
https://twitter.com/i/status/1752450941633335551

 

 

A Delaware judge just retroactively voided Elon’s $55B Tesla pay package from 2018 where shareholders voted in favor for it, all milestones were hit, and Tesla stock is up 800% since then.


Elon Musk:”Never incorporate your company in the state of Delaware.”

 

 

Cybertruck

 

 

Tucker Russell Brand


https://twitter.com/i/status/1752487123528093806

 

 

 

 

Joe Biden, George Soros and Taylor Swift. What a plotline.

“Joe Biden is in [a] hole with young people, he knows it. And if he thinks Taylor can get him out of that hole, he’s gonna go for it.”

Biden Wants Taylor Swift To Sing For Him – NYT (RT)

US President Joe Biden is pursuing an endorsement from global pop superstar Taylor Swift ahead of November’s election, the New York Times has claimed. The Democratic leader’s campaign is reportedly seeking to counter flagging polls that show him trailing likely Republican candidate, Donald Trump. Trump’s strong performances in early Republican primaries and caucuses have suggested that a rematch of the 2020 election is the most likely scenario at the US ballot box later this year. As such, Biden’s staff plan to rehash tactics that proved successful in the caustic battle with Trump four years ago, the New York Times said on Monday. Principally, this is said to involve painting the former president as a threat to American democracy, along with a heavy focus on abortion rights as part of a broader appeal to voters against alleged conservative efforts to restrict personal freedoms.

One influential voice the Democrats again intend to harness is that of Swift, arguably the most famous popstar on the planet. Perhaps more specifically, her 280 million Instagram followers are of significant interest, the report claims. Swift publicly backed Biden and his vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris in 2020, saying that she would “proudly vote” for the Democratic ticket because “under their leadership, I believe America has a chance to start the healing process it so desperately needs.” Last year, a single social media post from Swift led to the registration of 35,000 new voters in the US, the NYT report said, and Democrats are keen to secure her backing to expand this enthusiasm to a national scale. It is also predicted that fund-raising appeals from the singer could boost Biden’s campaign to the tune of millions of dollars.

“Taylor Swift stands tall and unique,” California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, said last year. “What she was able to accomplish just in getting young people activated to consider that they have a voice and that they should have a voice in the next election, I think, is extremely powerful.” Perhaps courting Swift’s backing, the White House last week condemned salacious fake AI images of the singer that have been circulating on social media in recent days. Fox News anchor Jeanine Pirro, a vocal backer of Trump, on Monday warned Swift not to “get involved in politics.” “We don’t want to see you there,” Pirro said on the news network’s ‘The Five’ show. “Joe Biden is in [a] hole with young people, he knows it. And if he thinks Taylor can get him out of that hole, he’s gonna go for it.” Trump, though, is also no stranger to leaning on popular culture for support. He has previously boasted of backing from the likes of Kanye West and Kid Rock. The latest polling data shows Trump holding an advantage of between 1 and 5 percentage points over Biden in a head-to-head race.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1752521142831562803

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“..has been pitched by legacy media as finally finding the “perfect match”: Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce. The relationship doesn’t pass the sniff test..”

Is There A Taylor Swift Psyop? (ZH)

Welcome to the matrix. The current news cycle gives the impression that Taylor Swift is everywhere. According to Bloomberg data, corporate media headlines featuring “Taylor Swift” began ramping up in the first half of 2023 and hit new record highs later in the year. The singer, who has made an entire career whining about having chosen the wrong men, has been pitched by legacy media as finally finding the “perfect match”: Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce. The relationship doesn’t pass the sniff test, given Taylor’s terrible choices with men. Let’s begin with Michael Benz, a former Trump admin State Department official whose work has been cited in congressional hearings, posted on X a video from 2019 featuring the Pentagon’s psychological operations research that pitched the idea of turning Taylor into an asset to combat “disinformation.”

Back to Taylor’s relationship with Kelce. Consider this:

https://twitter.com/i/status/1752042447088017527

And there’s this.

We’re not alone. Fox News’ Jesse Watters also asked: “Why is Taylor Swift Everywhere?” Perhaps it’s not by chance that the story count in corporate media for Taylor has exponentially exploded, averaging above 1,000 per day since late September. Taylor’s surge comes as legacy corporate media is terrified about the rise of alternative media. Wall Street Journal Chief Emma Tucker warned WEF elites at Davos this month: “We no longer own the news.” [..] While it remains to be seen if Taylor has become a NATO asset. Certainty Democrats appear to be salivating all over her ahead of the presidential election to turn ‘Swifites’ into blue voters.

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“Joe Biden” will seize an excuse to declare a national emergency and subject the US to some manner of martial law..”

The Next Big Thing (Jim Kunstler)

I’m sure you can see exactly where all this is going. By all this, I refer to the cortège of disasters orchestrated by “Joe Biden” and associates — with help from a power-crazed globalist cabal — hauling our country at a gallop now to the graveyard of empires. Is there any question that they are out to wreck Western Civ? And speeding up the action because too many actual citizens are rising to oppose their degenerate wickedness? Most particularly, the people who have not surrendered their reason to the Woke-Marxist mind-fuck that calls itself “progressivism” have had enough of the purposeful inflow of something like ten-thousand fake asylum-seekers a day across the border, mostly men, a lot of them from China, and many more of them mutts from faraway lands where Jihad is the order of the day — meaning the crusade to exterminate the people of Western Civ. We’re supposed to be okay with that.

This deliberate, treasonous policy was rightfully declared an “invasion” last week by the Governor of Texas, requiring the human wave to be met with real force, not the welcome wagon that the federal border patrol has been turned into. The result so far is a real-live Mexican stand-off between the regime in Washington and the state of Texas, joined by twenty-five other sympathetic US states willing to send men and matériel to seal the border. None of this is reported in Monday morning’s New York Times, by the way, though you can read Is Dying Your Hair Bad for Your Health there. Nor will you read about the caravan of American truckers striking out from all points around the country to “peacefully protest and pray” at the border while Texas attempts to settle its hash with “Joe Biden.” Nor will you read about the uprising of European farmers blocking highways to protest ruinous EU rules on food imports, diesel fuel prices, carbon emissions inanity, and, of course, the officially-enabled tide of Africans and jihadists flooding into EU member states.

“Joe Biden’s” response so far is to say he’ll attend to the border situation only if Congress green-lights another massive aid package for Ukraine, a dishonest proffer from any angle. Ukraine is a lost cause that should never have been a cause of ours in the first place. Yet securing the US border is a principal duty of the executive branch, not some optional fringe benefit to be used as leverage for other projects. Congress has already got impeachment articles ready for Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, who has lied repeatedly under oath about the border being “secure.” But it’s obviously not enough. The failure is entirely “Joe Biden’s” and warrants his impeachment on its face, aside from all the evidence of bribery and racketeering among him and his family.

The best move would be to impeach both the president and his proclaimed “border czar” Veep Kamala Harris — which would put Speaker Mike Johnson in the oval office. But the impeachment process is too slow and awkward for that. So, now I will tell you where all this is actually going: “Joe Biden” will seize an excuse to declare a national emergency and subject the US to some manner of martial law. The excuse could be an outbreak of violence in the quarrel between the states and the feds over the border. Or it could be a widening of the war in the Middle East, a direct confrontation with Iran that would draw in Russia and Turkey and kickoff World War Three, a war we would have an excellent shot at losing, considering our DEI-ravaged, over-vaxxed army, our obsolete naval carrier groups that can be sunk by hypersonic missiles, and our depleted reserves of armaments already fobbed off by Ukraine and, lately, given to Israel in the Gaza campaign to destroy Hamas.

If such a war didn’t set off a world-ending exchange of nukes, it would at least collapse the economies of Europe and America and, with that, many governments, including possibly ours. And what role might all those recently-arrived illegal aliens play in such a fiasco? Any way you cut it, we’d be in for chaos and hardship. Or, if we somehow avert major war, “Joe Biden” can try the national emergency ploy when the much-heralded (by the WHO) “Disease X” trots onstage. (And we must ask whether that will just be a delayed side-effect of the mRNA vaccine deaths?) Ultimately, the purpose of any national emergency at this moment in history, whatever prompts it, will be to suspend the 2024 elections. The Democratic Party has gone so completely off-the-rails psychologically that it will do anything to avert losing control of the government.

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What it’s all about. The bottom line.

US Foreign Arms Sales Rocket to Record Highs (Sp.)

Capitalizing on armed conflicts across the world is not uncommon for Washington, something that is confirmed by the fact that the US’ foreign military sales (FMS) reached $80.9 billion in fiscal year 2023, soaring almost 56% from the previous year to set a new record. Apart from FMS, America’s so-called direct commercial sales (DCS) likewise increased last year to $157.5 billion from $153.6 billion in fiscal 2022, the State Department said in a statement. A record total of FMS and DCS in FY2023 stands at about $238 billion. The total $80.9 billion figure for FMS last year includes $62.25 billion in arms sales funded by US allied and partner nations, as well as $3.97 billion through the Title 22 Foreign Military Financing program, according to data released. An additional $14.68 billion was funded through other Department of State and Department of Defense programs, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

Poland made some of the biggest purchases, buying Apache helicopters for $12 billion and also paying $10 billion for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). Germany spent $8.5 billion on Chinook helicopters while Bulgaria paid $1.5 billion for Stryker armoured vehicles and Norway bought $1 billion worth of multi-mission helicopters. The Czech Republic bought $5.6 billion in F-35 jets and munitions. Outside of Europe, the State Department data indicated that South Korea paid $5 billion for F-35 fighter jets and Australia spent $6.3 billion on C130J-30 Super Hercules planes. Also, Japan reached a $1 billion deal for an E-2D Hawkeye surveillance plane. Examples of last year’s major DCS Congressional Notifications include a hefty agreement with the Ukrainian Defense Ministry to supply National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) worth $1.2 billion.

Other agreements worth approximately the above-mentioned sum pertain to Italy, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, and Norway, per the State Department. It’s safe to assume that commercializing wars has become a trend in US policy. In the same vein, in a 2022 extensive report by the Washington-based Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft think tank, the authors urged the Biden administration “to address a number of key issues if US policy on arms sales is to be made consistent with long-term US interests.”

“The key policy consideration is how to restrict sales to those that will help allies defend themselves without provoking arms races or increasing the prospects for conflict,” the report pointed out, referring to the AUKUS submarine deal, which “will benefit US contractors but risks fueling arms competition and increasing tensions with China.” On the “rapid” US military assistance to Ukraine, the report underscored that “the United States has failed to offer an accompanying diplomatic strategy aimed at ending the war before it evolves into a long, grinding conflict or escalates into a direct US-Russian confrontation.” Moscow has repeatedly warned the US and its allies that sending arms to Kiev would only prolong the Ukraine conflict. The authors warned that foreign arms sales can also pose risks to US security “by fueling conflicts, provoking American adversaries, stoking arms races, and drawing the US into unnecessary or counterproductive wars.”

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Works for the industry.

Stoltenberg: Weapons for Ukraine Are ‘the Way to Peace’ (Sp.)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a press briefing that supporting Ukraine goes beyond charity, serving as an investment into global security. “Supporting Ukraine is not a charity, it is an investment in our own security,” Stoltenberg said during a press briefing on Monday. Stoltenberg also suggested that arms for Ukraine are “the way to peace.” In October, the White House requested from Congress supplemental funding of for more than $100 billion, including more than $60 billion for Ukraine, but Republican lawmakers have refused to approve the request without including substantive measures to strengthen US border security and address record levels of illegal immigration into the United States.

Western countries have been providing military aid to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s special military operation in February 2022 in the amount of hundreds of billions of dollars. The aid evolved from artillery munitions and training in 2022 to heavier weapons, including tanks, advanced air-defense systems, cluster munitions and missiles later that year and in 2023. The Kremlin has consistently warned against the West’s continued arms deliveries to Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly stated that Western military supplies do not bode well for Ukraine and only prolong the conflict. In addition, vehicles carrying supplied weapons are a legitimate target for the Russian Army.

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“In accordance with this certificate, the recipient of the weapon does not have the right to resell it or redirect it anywhere without the consent of the supplier country..”

West Asks Countries To Secretly Send Russian Weapons To Ukraine – Lavrov (RT)

Moscow has become aware of several cases of Western powers asking certain countries to secretly donate Russian-made weaponry to Kiev for use in the Ukraine conflict, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. The Russian diplomat’s comments come as Kiev ramps up its demands for more military aid, citing acute shortages in hardware and ammunition. The US and its allies have also been seeking to approve further financial and military support for Ukraine. Speaking at a roundtable meeting with the heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Moscow on Tuesday, Lavrov stated that Russia has been in contact with “certain countries” that the West has been trying to convince to hand over Russia-supplied weapons to Ukraine, without informing Moscow of such transfers.

The minister noted that there have been “several cases of this kind” recorded by Moscow over the past year and a half, and stressed that Russia will continue to demand that all international obligations regarding weapons transfers be observed. Lavrov pointed out that when a foreign country legally acquires Russian arms, the shipments come with a certain package of documents, including an end-user certificate. “In accordance with this certificate, the recipient of the weapon does not have the right to resell it or redirect it anywhere without the consent of the supplier country,” the minister explained.

At the same time, Russia’s top diplomat noted that the West has been pretending not to notice that its own weapons, which it has supplied to Ukraine, have already spread to war zones across the world, where they are frequently being used by extremists and terrorists. “The weapons that the West supplies to the Ukrainian regime have been found not only in conflict zones in the Middle East, but in illegal shipments that have been recorded in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Gaza,” Lavrov said. Last week, speaking at a UN Security Council meeting, Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s claims that Kiev has been reselling Western weapons on the black market, and expressed disbelief that Ukraine’s backers were unaware of this. Russia has repeatedly condemned Western weapons deliveries to Ukraine, insisting that such shipments only serve to prolong the fighting and lead to more bloodshed without affecting the eventual outcome.

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“..the United States is expected to station B61-12 gravity bombs, which are three times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, at the Lakenheath base for the first time in 15 years..”

Russia Warns US Against Returning Tactical Nuclear Weapons to UK (Sp.)

Russia strongly warns the US against returning its tactical nuclear weapons to the territory of the UK, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Tuesday.”Regarding the hypothetical return of US tactical nuclear weapons to the UK territory, I would like to strongly warn against this destabilizing step,” Ryabkov told reporters. The move would not strengthen the security of either the UK or the US, but would increase the level of escalation and threat in Europe, the diplomat said. “We assume that despite the rather sad experience, from the point of view of ensuring European security, the experience of recent years in London and Washington, hotheads are not drawing any lessons from this, so this scenario is quite possible,” he added.

The Telegraph reported on January 26 that the United States is expected to station B61-12 gravity bombs, which are three times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, at the Lakenheath base for the first time in 15 years after Washington decided to remove its nuclear arsenal from the United Kingdom in 2008. A Pentagon spokesperson, commenting on the development, said in a statement to Sputnik that it is a US policy to neither confirm nor deny the presence or absence of nuclear weapons at a specific location amid reports that Washington plans to station its nuclear weapons in the United Kingdom.

“It is U.S. policy to neither confirm nor deny the presence or absence of nuclear weapons at any general or specific location,” the statement said. The statement noted that the United States “routinely upgrades its military facilities in allied nations. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said that the Kremlin would view the deployment of US nuclear weapons in the United Kingdom as an escalatory action.

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“.. it ordered Israel should facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid, it actually said, “You have to cease fire because there is no [other] way of doing that.”

The Palestinians Won in The Hague: So Did the Rest of Us (Patrick Lawrence)

Half a dozen years ago I sat in the lobby lounge at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan talking at length with Richard Falk, the scholar, lawyer, U.N. rapporteur, and advocate of Palestinian rights. Inevitably, the conversation turned for a time to international law, a topic on which Falk has long been a recognized authority. Here is a little of what he said as we took our afternoon tea: When international law is on the side of the geopolitical actors, then they are very serious about its relevance. When the American embassy was seized in Tehran after the Iranian Revolution, they talked about the flouting of international law as if that was the most sacred body of law that ever existed. International law is used very instrumentally. If you’re protecting private investment in Venezuela or Chile, then it’s barbaric not to uphold it. But if it’s blocking the pursuit of some kind of interventionist project, then it’s flaky or irrelevant to talk about it …

I thought about that exchange over the weekend, as I considered the International Court of Justice’s ruling last Friday that the apartheid state of Israel may be guilty of genocide against Gaza’s Palestinian population, as South Africa charges, and that the case Pretoria brought last month must proceed. Later Friday, the estimable Phyllis Bennis quoted Falk in a piece she wrote for In These Times. Falk called the decision the court’s “greatest moment,” and went on to explain, “It strengthens the claims of international law to be respected by all sovereign states—not just some.” Consistency of thought: It does not get more admirable than this. There are many, many ways to look upon the ICJ’s ruling, many things worth saying. The very first of these is that the significance of the ICJ’s interim finding lies beyond dispute.

Will the barbarities of a nation self-evidently suffering a collective psychosis now stop? No. What Dick Falk said six years ago still holds: Israel has already made clear it will ignore The Hague’s judgment. But what “the Jewish state” does this week or next is not for the moment our question. What are the enduring consequences of this ruling for the global order? How shall we situate the court’s judgment? Where does its importance lie? These are our questions. And Falk was right last Friday, too: The ICJ has begun the work—the long work—of restoring international law as a foundational feature of a world order worthy of the term. Having made this point, I must immediately note the abject deflections we find in the reports of our corporate media—which, nearly to a one, urge their readers, listeners, and viewers to dismiss the ICJ’s interim finding as, borrowing from Falk, more or less flaky and irrelevant.

In the second paragraph of its main story Friday, The New York Times, fairly bursting to get the point across, wrote, “The court did not rule on whether Israel was committing genocide, and it did not call on Israel to stop its campaign to crush Hamas…” Three untruths here, straight off the top. One, the South Africans did not ask The Hague to issue a ruling on genocide one way or the other. In the cause of expedience, to stop the savagery as quickly as possible, it asked for what it got—a swift interim judgment so the court could order Israel to stop the violence and that the larger case on genocide could proceed. Two, a mountain has been made of the fact that the ICJ did not, in so many words, call upon Israel to cease fire in Gaza. This is preposterously misleading.

Peruse the six stipulations that comprise the ruling, the first of which reads, “Israel shall take all measures within its power to prevent all acts within the scope of Genocide Convention, Article 2.” Here I defer to Raz Segal, an Israeli historian who professes at Stockton University in New Jersey. This is from a segment of Democracy Now!, distributed last Friday: We’re already seeing headlines in The New York Times today which frame this as, “The court did not issue an order for a ceasefire”—which, in effect, it actually did, because if it ordered that Israel should cease from genocidal acts, and it ordered Israel should facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid, it actually said, “You have to cease fire because there is no [other] way of doing that.”

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“It’s the starter’s pistol of a global clampdown, which will impact humble Israelis as their economy tumbles and life gets tougher..”

ICJ Ruling Is What It Is: Symbolic. But What Happens Next Is Critical (Jay)

All eyes now will be on Joe Biden to see what card he will play next after he has cut UNRWA aid – a despicable move which will haunt him until his dying days For many, the ruling of the ICJ in the Hague was surreal as it swiftly delivered a judgement against Israel for its genocide in Gaza. Yet even though the interpretation from around the world was that the conclusion of the court was unequivocal, the only real way of judging the validity of both the court and its judgement is with its impact. One has to wonder why the court, for example, didn’t use the word “genocide” and also why it stopped short of calling for an all-out ceasefire. For those naïve enough to believe that the court is entirely independent, the decision by the U.S. to veto any decision made by the United Nations Security Council should set minds at rest. We know that the Americans will do nothing at all, but there might be plans, however, for other countries to use the ruling as a basis for a host of actions against Israel, beyond merely legal ones.

The Americans were quick to point out on the day of the ruling that the court did not rule that Israel carried out a genocide. And so, by definition, it didn’t. This mentality, which is popular among gangsters, is really all that matters and is what those seeking justice will have to grapple with now.But the ruling did throw a spotlight on just how desperate both the Americans and Israelis are becoming as the stunt they pulled on the same day of the ruling, to distract media attention away from the court case and its significance, is telling.UNRWA is the UN agency, which takes care of the Palestinians, not only in Israel but in other countries like Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. For the Biden administration to entirely pull its funding of this agency, the last lifeline for thousands of Palestinians who rely on it even for food aid, is desperate, pathetic and despicable.

For those wondering what this stunt was intended to do, all they had to do is watch BBC news and see how this once fine international broadcaster has become a propaganda channel for U.S. hegemony. Eight minutes were given to why the Biden administration took the decision and only a couple of minutes given to the court decision itself.The Americans and Israel are still fighting a media war, which, for them, must feel like flogging a dead horse, despite most analysts acknowledging that all of the West’s media giants are completely supportive of israel. Israel clearly prepared the dossier and tortured its Palestinian prisoners to fabricate a story about UNRWA workers being complicit with the October 7th attacks in a confession signed in blood. Shamefully, this “evidence” which wouldn’t stand up in any court in the U.S. or UK, was all it took for Biden to go ahead with the plan, which leading commentators like George Galloway in the UK have already called an act of genocide in itself.

The UNRWA stunt is absolutely disgusting as it is craven and an all-time new low point for Biden. It paints Biden as a U.S. president who is happy to play his role in murdering thousands of civilians all in the name of fighting the media and controlling the debate. Some commentators will no doubt note the irony that the Gaza campaign started with claims by Israel of Hamas beheading babies and Israeli women being raped – the latter claim just retracted by the New York Times in recent days – and is now noted for Israel’s baptism of fake news as it struggles now even to get the upper hand in Gaza amidst reports of Hamas fighters returning to northern Gaza.

The ruling however will send shockwaves around the world for Israel to deal with. Certainly most of the countries, which make up the UN General Assembly, which has a good working relationship with the court, will not keep quiet about a U.S. veto in the Security Council. The boycott of goods may well be cranked up to official sanctions on Israel’s goods, visas and even the entity’s participation of international events. But for Netanyahu, this is not a badge of honour. He knows that the ruling will only compound his all-time low ratings in his own country. It’s the starter’s pistol of a global clampdown, which will impact humble Israelis as their economy tumbles and life gets tougher. Biden of course, could use the ruling to leverage Bibi to call a ceasefire. That is of course if you believe the reports that sleepy Joe really wants one, or is just bluffing once again, using his own journalists to help him with this deception.

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Oh, they know.. Admitting it is something else.

West Starts to Understand That Ukraine Project ‘Failing’ – Lavrov (Sp.)

The West is beginning to understand that the “Ukraine project” is failing but can not stop assisting Kiev because of its economic benefit and fear of losing “prestige,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday. “The figures that are hidden in Ukraine, they speak a lot about how important it is for the West to prevent the ‘failure’ of their ‘Ukraine project’. Moreover, they already understand that the failure has already begun. But nevertheless they cannot stop. And not only for reasons of prestige … And also from the point of view of economic benefits,” Lavrov said during a meeting with foreign diplomats in Moscow. Addressing the UN Security Council meeting on January 22, 2023, Lavrov emphasized that there are no interests – and there never were – in the conflict with Russia in favor of the Ukrainian people.

There are only “the interests of the Anglo-Saxons, their henchmen and the criminal, rotten Kiev elite, which is tied to the West by mutual responsibility and which is afraid of being swept away the day after the end of the war.” The Russian top diplomat pointed out that Moscow has never given up on a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine conflict. “We never gave up on the peaceful resolution, we are always ready to negotiate — negotiate not about how to keep the leadership of the Kiev regime in place but about overcoming the inheritance of a decade-long destructive looting of the country and violence against the people, removing the reasons for the tragic Ukrainian situation,” Lavrov said. However, the key factor hindering a resolution of the conflict in Ukraine is the continued support of the West, he added.

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Without those claims, what is left?

Lavrov Blasts ‘Absurd’ Claims That Russia Will Attack NATO (RT)

Speculation in the West that Russia could attack the Baltic and Nordic states once the Ukraine conflict ends is pure fiction, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. Speaking to the heads of diplomatic missions on Tuesday, Lavrov said the US had gathered a group of 54 countries to provide military, technical and intelligence aid to Ukraine to help it fight Russia. “All this is being done to prevent Russia from claiming victory,” he added. He said Western countries were claiming that “if Russia wins and asserts its interests in this war, the Baltics, Sweden, and Finland will be next.” Three Baltic nations became NATO members in the early 2000s, more than a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Both Helsinki and Stockholm applied to join the bloc after the start of the Ukraine conflict, although only Finland’s application has been ratified so far.

Lavrov noted that this view was shared by Joe Biden, referring to remarks by the US president in early December, when he said that “if [Russian President Vladimir] Putin takes Ukraine, he won’t stop there” and could proceed to attack a NATO country. Moscow said at the time that such comments were “unacceptable for a responsible nuclear state.” The Russian foreign minister said that “the absurdity of such statements is clear to anyone who understands the slightest bit of history and the goals of the special military operation in Ukraine, which we announced openly and without hiding.” Russian officials have repeatedly said that Moscow is seeking the “denazification” and “demilitarization” of Ukraine, as well as an arrangement guaranteeing that the country would not join NATO, and would instead recommit to neutrality.

Lavrov further noted that the military campaign against Kiev is aimed at eliminating “historical injustice.” According to the minister, Moscow is fighting attempts to rewrite history, as well as efforts to turn territories where Russians and other peoples of Russia have lived for centuries “into a springboard for US-led NATO to be used to threaten the [country’s] security.” Last month, Putin said Moscow had no interest whatsoever in launching an offensive against the bloc. He added that the president of the United States – which he called the “master” of NATO – surely knows that “Russia has no interest… geopolitically, economically or militarily… in waging war against [the bloc].”

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When you lose, escalate.

Zelensky Ready To Further Fuel Ukraine Conflict (Sp.)

Doubts about the West’s willingness to further prop up the Kiev regime may drive Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to stir up the Ukraine conflict even further by ordering riskier attacks against Russia, Time magazine reported. Zelensky is already taking “bigger risks” in order to turn the conflict around and bolster his political standing at home, according to the publication. Every one of these actions is ripe with the potential for Russian retaliation, which may in turn deepen the hostilities and directly drag in NATO, Time magazine notes, adding that neither Moscow nor Brussels wants such a development. Armed conflicts “take on a life of their own, particularly with one of the key players -in this case, Zelensky- becoming a wild/ card to watch, the magazine concluded.

This follows Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling reporters that Zelensky is currently in a tight spot because no one is providing him with money and Ukraine is up against a crisis at the moment. “Zelensky is in a tough position. He has stopped receiving money, there are not enough shells for him abroad, he is also facing a tense situation inside the country, and many people are dissatisfied. In order to cloak his positions, he resorts to disguising them with utterly ludicrous decrees. It is unlikely that this can help the Kiev regime in any way, [so] the difficulties will only mount. This is despite the fact that there certainly are still more or less bright minds who understand what needs to be done to get out of this situation,” Peskov said, commenting on Zelensky’s decree entitled “On the territories of the Russian Federation historically inhabited by Ukrainians.”

Time’s report comes after The American Conservative pointed out that Zelensky has issued frenzied orders to attack civilians in order to fuel the conflict and secure further assistance from the West. On January 21, 27 people were killed and 25 more wounded when Ukrainian troops shelled the Kirovsky district of the city of Donetsk, according to head of the Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin. The shelling was preceded by the Ukrainian military’s strike on the Russian city of Belgorod on December 30, which killed 25 civilians and wounded 109 others. Moscow excoriated the murderous attack, slamming it as an act of terrorism. Also in December, President Vladimir Putin stressed in an interview with Russian media that Moscow has “no reason and no interest – neither geopolitical, nor economic, political, and military – to fight with NATO countries.” Russia and NATO members do not have any territorial claims against one another, Putin noted, adding that Moscow is unwilling to spoil relations with the alliance.

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“..Many soldiers reportedly continue to speak Russian on the front lines..”

Ukraine To Teach Troops To Speak Ukrainian (RT)

Special courses will be created for Kiev’s troops so that they can improve their command of the Ukrainian language, government official Taras Kremen has said.Kremen, who is Ukraine’s language ombudsman, made the announcement as he met with servicemen at a Territorial Defense Forces training center on Monday, his office said in a statement.Violations of the country’s language law, which among other things obliges the military to use Ukrainian, have been recorded in a large number of units, including in the capital Kiev, according to the commissioner.Ukraine historically has a large Russian-speaking population, especially in its eastern regions. Many soldiers reportedly continue to speak Russian on the front lines. In a 2001 census, more than 14.2 million Ukrainian citizens (almost 30% of the population) called Russian their native language.

During the meeting with servicemen, it was “agreed to open language courses for military personnel who want to improve their knowledge and properly prepare for the exam to determine the level of proficiency in the state language,” Kremen said. “I will be happy to assist in the creation of such a network [of courses] in other military units as well,” the commissioner added. Signed by then President Pyotr Poroshenko in 2019, the language law established Ukrainian as the sole state language and made it obligatory for use in all areas of social life. It was a continuation of Kiev’s policy of forcing out the Russian language, pursued by the authorities after the violent Western-backed coup in 2014.Since 2021, passing a Ukrainian language exam has been mandatory to become a government employee or to obtain Ukrainian citizenship.

“Nobody there [in the conflict zone] speaks Ukrainian,” a sniper from Kiev’s forces told the TSN media outlet in October. Despite concealing his identity, the serviceman enjoyed a certain celebrity status in Ukraine due to his regular interviews and podcast appearances.He claimed that Russian was common in all sections of the front line that he had been posted to. In his own unit, “two people speak the harshest Surzhik [a mix of Russian and Ukrainian] and, probably, two or three others [use] Ukrainian language. All the rest are Russian-speaking,” the sniper insisted. Moscow has repeatedly denounced Kiev’s clampdown on Russian culture and language, insisting that the “forced Ukrainization” violates international law and infringes upon the rights of native Russian speakers, who make up around a quarter of the population.

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“..It now amounts to about $102,000 for an average American family of three..”

US Facing ‘Death Spiral’ Of Swelling Debt – Nassim Taleb (RT)

The burgeoning US debt pile is akin to a “death spiral” that only a “miracle” could extract the country from, economist and ‘Black Swan’ author Nassim Taleb said at a business event on Monday, as quoted by Bloomberg. Taleb defined the expanding US debt load as a “white swan,” meaning a risk event that is highly predictable and more probable than a “black swan” event, a metaphor describing an occurrence that comes as a complete surprise. “So long as you have Congress keep extending the debt limit and doing deals because they’re afraid of the consequences of doing the right thing, that’s the political structure of the political system, eventually you’re going to have a debt spiral,” Taleb said. “And a debt spiral is like a death spiral.” Earlier this week, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that the absolute level of US public debt looks like “a scary number.”

US government federal debt topped $34 trillion for the first time in history at the end of December. It now amounts to about $102,000 for an average American family of three. In 2023 alone, it grew by more than $4 trillion.According to Taleb, a former trader who is best known for publishing several bestselling books on economics, white swans include both the US deficit and the American economy that has grown more vulnerable to shocks than in previous years. He called such vulnerability a feature of globalization, as problems in one region can ricochet around the world.When asked how the US “debt spiral” could play out, Taleb said, “we need something to come in from the outside, or maybe some kind of miracle,” adding that this makes him “kind of gloomy about the entire political system in the Western world.”

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“..a classified cable that was sent to Islamabad by the Pakistani ambassador to Washington in 2022, which allegedly suggested that the US wanted Khan ousted over his neutrality in the Ukraine conflict.”

Imran Khan Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison (RT)

A Pakistani court has sentenced former prime minister Imran Khan to ten years behind bars. He has been charged with leaking state secrets, according to the spokesman for the politician’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI). On Tuesday, Zulfiqar Bukhari said, as quoted by AP, that the verdict was announced at a prison in the northern city of Rawalpindi, not far from the capital, Islamabad. The same sentence was also imposed on former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. The charges relate to the so-called cipher, a classified cable sent to Islamabad by the Pakistani ambassador to Washington in 2022, shortly after the start of the Ukraine conflict. The document allegedly suggested that the US wanted to remove Khan over his neutrality regarding the hostilities.

The ex-Pakistani PM called the cipher case on Tuesday “false,” adding that it “is being completed in violation of constitutional requirements and legal regulations.” “This is not a trial but a fixed match outcome of which was predetermined,” he added. Echoing those comments, his party PTI noted that “there can be no more ridiculous case than the cipher.” “What can be more ridiculous than that Pakistan has imprisoned its prime minister and foreign minister for exposing the foreign conspiracy!” Khan, a former professional cricket player who became prime minister in 2018, was ousted in 2022 in a non-confidence vote. The opposition accused him of poor governance, as well as of mismanaging the economy and foreign policy. At the time, he claimed that he had been toppled as a result of a US conspiracy.

The controversy around the politician did not end there, however, with Khan becoming a target of dozens of cases, sparking mass street protests organized by his supporters, which resulted in dozens of casualties. In August 2023, the politician was sentenced to a three-year jail sentence on charges related to what prosecutors argued was an attempt to conceal receiving state gifts while Khan was serving as PM. The country’s judiciary, however, later suspended the sentence, granting him bail. Khan still remained incarcerated on other charges.

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And one day later, there’s more…

Imran Khan Sentenced To 14-year New Jail Term (RT)

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife have been sentenced to 14 years in prison in a corruption case. This comes after another court ruling in which Khan was given ten years for leaking state secrets. The politician and his wife, Bushra Bibi, were sentenced by a Pakistani accountability court on Wednesday in the city of Rawalpindi, not far from the capital, Islamabad. Both were charged with the illegal sale of state gifts while Khan was prime minister from 2018 to 2022. In addition to the sentence, the two have been barred from running for public office for ten years and fined $2.7 million.

This comes after Khan was sentenced to ten years on Tuesday for leaking state secrets. The charges are related to a cipher, a classified cable that was sent to Islamabad by the Pakistani ambassador to Washington in 2022, which allegedly suggested that the US wanted Khan ousted over his neutrality in the Ukraine conflict. Commenting on the verdict, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) denounced what it called the “complete destruction of every existing law in Pakistan in two days.” “Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi have faced yet another kangaroo trial in which no right to defense was given to both. Like cipher, this case has no basis to stand in any higher court.”

Both sentences come ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for February 8. The PTI said the “atrocities against [Khan] will be avenged by the power of the vote.” Khan, a former cricketer-turned-politician, was ousted in a no-confidence vote in 2022, with the opposition accusing him of mismanaging the economy and foreign policy. Khan claims that he was overthrown as a result of a US conspiracy. Since then, the former leader has fought dozens of legal battles. Islamabad’s attempts to prosecute him sparked massive public unrest with numerous casualties.

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In the earliest days of space exploration, most calculations for early space missions were done by “human computers,” and most of these computers were women. These calculations helped the U.S. launch its first satellite, Explorer 1, 65 years ago #Today.

 

 

Stonehenge

 

 

Paris
https://twitter.com/i/status/1752419193520115948

 

 

Big baby

 

 

Hummingbird

 

 

Baby elephant

 

 

Finch

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 292024
 


MC Escher Relativity 1953

 

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

 

 

High class trolling.

 

 

Gutfeld
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751577374200623489

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Hillary

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lankford

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

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

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

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

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

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

Articles Of Impeachment Against Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas (JTN)

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

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

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It doesn’t smell democratic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pelosi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israel Fails To Destroy Hamas Tunnels (Cradle)

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

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

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

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

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

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

NATO Won’t Defend US – Trump (RT)

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

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

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

22 Articles Of Impeachment Filed Against Fani Willis (ZH)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Unboxed process

 

 

 

 

New language
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751417533373002093

 

 

The duck

 

 

Camels

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 282024
 
 January 28, 2024  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  49 Responses »


Balthus Therèse dreaming 1938

 

RFK Jr. Praises Texas In Battle With Biden Over Border (Hill)
Biden Vows To Shut Border If Lawmakers Pass Budget Deal (RT)
How Trump and US Conservatives Deal a Blow to Ukraine Aid Package (Sp.)
US Promised To Seize Russian Assets – Kiev (RT)
Seizing Russia’s Money Would Endanger Euro – Italian Central Bank (RT)
EU and NATO Heading for the Abyss Over Foreign Policy Foibles (Jay)
‘No Threat’ Of Russia Attacking NATO – Germany (RT)
Davos, Dictators, and the Real ‘Threats to Our Democracy’ (Hollis)
WH’s New Strategy on Ukraine ‘Will De-Emphasize’ Retaking ‘Lost Territory’ (Sp.)
Putin Vows To Eradicate Nazism For Good (RT)
ICJ Ruling May Entail Dire Consequences for Israel (Sp.)
Who is Kevin Morris? Even Hunter’s Lawyer Seems Unsure (Turley)
Hunter Biden Partner Rob Walker Confirms Payments To Biden Family (JTN)
Boeing’s Nosedive: How Greed Ruined A Great American Company (Johnston)
83 million? (Victor Davis Hanson)

 

 

The alleged rape supposedly took place in 1996. With a script straight out of Law and Order. 16 years later, she’s a big fan of her “rapist”.

Note: the 83 million is not for the “rape”, but for defamation. Which she says cost her her job at ELLE magazine. ELLE has denied this.

 

 

Tucker Texas cartels

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..Biden’s failure to secure the border leaves states no choice but to take matters into their own hands..”

RFK Jr. Praises Texas In Battle With Biden Over Border (Hill)

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Thursday backed Texas in its ongoing battle with the federal government over border authority, criticizing the Biden administration for its handling of the U.S. southern border. “Texas is right. Biden’s failure to secure the border leaves states no choice but to take matters into their own hands,” Kennedy wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “As President, I will end this humanitarian crisis once and for all. I will secure the border and destroy the business model of the drug cartels. A country without borders is not a country at all.” Kennedy joins a growing list of politicians, most of them Republican, who have thrown their support behind Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) fight against the federal government over the fencing and razor wire installed by Texas at the U.S.-Mexico border. In a major blow to Abbott, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that border agents can remove the razor wire erected on the border, siding with the Biden administration.

Abbott has defended the fencing as necessary for his state’s security, claiming he was forced to take matters into his own hands due to what he characterizes as a lack of action on the Biden administration’s part. The federal government, meanwhile, contends the state does not have the power to build the fencing, which it says prevents it from managing the border. Abbott railed against the high court ruling and contended his authority is the “supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes.” Texas appeared to continue installing razor wire after the ruling came down. Kennedy has previously spoken out against what he sees as a “border crisis” that is leading to the smuggling of drugs and humans. He called Biden’s border policies a “disaster” in a Newsweek op-ed last year. Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley also spoke out in support of Abbott on Thursday and called Biden’s position “absolutely ridiculous.”

RFK border

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“Biden already has authority to shut down illegal immigration. And now he’s telling us he’s willing to do that, but only if we pass a new law — one whose authors refuse to share with the public or even their own colleagues. Something’s not right here.”

Scott Adams: “The plan is to close the barn door after too many horses get out.”

Biden Vows To Shut Border If Lawmakers Pass Budget Deal (RT)

US President Joe Biden has again urged Republican lawmakers to approve a long-stalled budget deal, vowing to shut down his country’s southern border as soon as he’s given the authority to do so. Republicans have been blocking the White House’s attempts to push through a $106 billion ‘national security package’ for Ukraine and Israel since October. They have demanded tougher security measures on the southern frontier be included in the agreement. ”For too long, we all know the border’s been broken. It’s long past time to fix it,” Biden outlined in a written statement on Friday. He described the border deal, now being negotiated in the Senate, as “the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country.”

“It would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed. And if given that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill into law,” Biden vowed. Under the bipartisan agreement, the administration would, among other things, be required to shut the border down if the number of migrants trying to get into the US illegally on any given day reaches 5,000, the New York Times reported. This threshold had been surpassed “routinely” in recent months, the paper stressed. Finding common ground on the immigration deal would be “a win for America,” the president insisted. “If you’re serious about the border crisis, pass a bipartisan bill, and I will sign it,” Biden said, addressing the Republican lawmakers.

The Washington Post described the comments as “a remarkable shift” in the Democratic president’s rhetoric on the immigration issue. The media outlet underscored “the urgency” of the situation on the border for his re-election bid. Biden’s statement came as Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said on Friday that if the leaks about the deal’s content were accurate, it would be “dead on arrival” in the lower chamber. The likely Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, slammed the border deal earlier this week, warning that it “would be another gift to the radical left Democrats.” The agreement “will be meaningless in terms of border security,” Trump argued, reiterating that the only way to solve the immigration issue would be voting for him in November.

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“..the draft bipartisan agreement could allow up to 5,000 migrants to enter the US daily at the border..”

How Trump and US Conservatives Deal a Blow to Ukraine Aid Package (Sp.)

Former US President Donald Trump and Republican policymakers have subjected a draft bipartisan US border security deal to harsh criticism, casting doubt on the future of military aid packages for Ukraine and Israel. The border security deal is seen by Democratic lawmakers as a necessary evil to ram a new multi-billion Ukraine aid bill through the US Congress. Last December neither chamber managed to reach a compromise on the provision of further funds to Kiev despite pleas and even threats from the White House. Eventually, Republican and Democratic senators come up with a draft border agreement. Even though the formal text of the deal has not been officially released yet, leaks keep coming irritating US conservatives, as per Just the News, an independent US media outlet.

Media reported that the draft bipartisan agreement could allow up to 5,000 migrants to enter the US daily at the border. To that end, the White House is reportedly requesting at least $14 billion to help cities to absorb the flow of migrants released by US border authorities into the country. Former President Donald Trump denounced that as a bad deal in every way: “I do not think we should do a Border Deal, at all, unless we get everything needed to shut down the invasion of millions and millions of people, many from parts unknown, into our once great, but soon to be great again, country!” he wrote on his Truth Social media site on January 25. The US mainstream media warns that the former president’s comment was a “serious blow to the talks”. Trump has emerged as the leading Republican presidential candidate following the party’s first two primaries this month, with the power to influence the outcome of the negotiations.

Punchbowl News reported that Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell told his colleagues on Wednesday that the situation had “changed,” and that Trump was going to build his re-election campaign around the border crisis. “We don’t want to do anything to undermine him,” McConnell allegedly said. However, on Thursday the GOP leader appeared to backpedal on his remarks, asserting to the press that he still backed the bipartisan migration deal. Deputy White House Press Secretary Olivia Dalton also signaled that the Biden administration as supporting the bipartisan immigration agreement. “The president has been clear, we need action on the border,” Dalton told reporters on Thursday. “We’ve been engaging in good faith, bipartisan negotiations with both Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans to that end. And we believe that there’s no reason that shouldn’t continue.”

Still, some US senators warn that the effort is doomed. US Senator Ted Cruz said on Wednesday that the Ukraine aid-border security supplemental bill is a train wreck and has no chance of passing the US House of Representatives. Senator Rick Scott echoed Cruz, saying that the bill will be dead on arrival in the House. Earlier this week the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft suggested that House Republicans may kill the foreign aid bill even if a bipartisan border security and immigration deal is passed. The lower chamber’s Republican majority has no appetite for throwing good money after bad to Ukraine, according to the institute. The DC-based think-tank also noted House Speaker Mike Johnson’s ardent support for a sweeping migration reform and his record of opposing Ukraine funding packages. Some House Republicans, such as Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, even threatened to introduce a “motion to vacate” and oust the speaker if Johnson passes funding to Ukraine.

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“..a US Senate committee approved the “Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act..”

US Promised To Seize Russian Assets – Kiev (RT)

The US assured Kiev that the Russian assets that remain frozen in the West are going to be seized and used to rebuild Ukraine after the conflict, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal has said. The US, EU, and their allies blocked some $300 billion of Russian central bank assets as part of sanctions in response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. Around $200 billion of that money is held in the EU. Politico reported on Thursday that it asked Shmygal if he was concerned that US funding for the Kiev government would come to a complete stop if Donald Trump won the presidential election in November and returned to the White House for his second term. ”We have all the assurances from the US about long-term support for Ukraine – for example, the seizure of Russian assets to fund the Ukrainian recovery,” he claimed.

On Wednesday, a US Senate committee approved the “Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act,” which should help pave the way for such a move by Washington. If it passes both houses and is signed into law by President Joe Biden, Washington could seize the Russian central bank assets, using such a measure against a country that it’s not directly at war with for the first time in history. Reuters reported this week, citing a senior official in Brussels, that the EU will be unlikely to join the US in confiscating the Russian funds as there’s no agreement on such a step between the bloc’s member-states. Earlier in January, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned that Moscow would respond to a possible seizure of its assets by the West, inducing tit-for-tat measures.

Previously, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the confiscation of Russian funds would amount to “outright theft” by the West. He told reporters that it would undermine the trust in the US and EU financial systems around the globe. Shmygal also stated that Kiev is “working hard with the administration of President Biden and with Congress to have support for 2024.” As for the continuation of the aid in 2025, “we’ll see how conditions develop,” he stressed. ”I believe that any president of the US will support our fight for civilized values, our mutual values,” the Ukrainian PM said. The US has provided Ukraine with around $111 billion in economic and military support amid the conflict with Russia. But the flow of funds subsided dramatically in recent months as Republican lawmakers continue to resist attempts by the White House to push through another $60 billion in assistance for Kiev.

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“..weaponizing a currency inevitably reduces its attractiveness and encourages the emergence of alternatives..”

Seizing Russia’s Money Would Endanger Euro – Italian Central Bank (RT)

The EU should not use the euro as a tool in sanctions wars and political disputes, as it would harm the currency’s image and standing, Bank of Italy Governor Fabio Panetta warned on Friday. He as commenting on discussions in Brussels regarding frozen Russian assets. The EU, US, Japan and Canada froze some $300 billion of Russian central bank assets in 2022 as part of Ukraine-related sanctions against Moscow. Some $200 billion of that is held in the EU, largely in the Belgian clearing house Euroclear. Brussels is currently working on plans to apply a windfall tax to the profits Euroclear is making on the frozen funds, while opting not to seize the immobilized money outright.

However, Italy is one of several EU member states, including Germany and France, that have been skeptical of moves involving the assets, arguing that using them could prompt investors from other countries to doubt the safety of their own holdings in the EU and quit the bloc’s market, ultimately weakening the euro. “This power must be used wisely,” Panetta said, referring to euro’s standing as a global reserve currency. “International relations are part of a ‘repeated game’: weaponizing a currency inevitably reduces its attractiveness and encourages the emergence of alternatives,” he warned at an event in Riga, marking the 10th anniversary of Latvia adopting the euro. According to the official, the recent surge in the use of the yuan in trade between China and Russia is “instructive in this respect,” because it was Western sanctions that prompted the trend, as they made it difficult for Russia to use US dollars and euros in cross-border trade.

“The Chinese authorities are explicitly promoting [the yuan’s] role on the global stage and encouraging its use in other countries, including those sanctioned by the international community following the invasion of Ukraine,” Panetta said, adding that the share of Chinese trade financed in the domestic currency has doubled in the past three years, allowing the yuan to overtake the euro as the world’s second most-used trade currency. The official warned if the need to “be alert to the possibility that politics will have a greater impact on international currencies in the coming years.” Western currencies have been largely phased out in Russia-China trade, as nearly 95% of all transactions between the countries are now carried out either in rubles or yuan. Russia is not the only major economy to use the Chinese currency for trade settlements, as more and more nations seek alternatives to the dollar and euro. These include Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Iran.

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“..this BS is being fed into the echo chamber because a panic is setting in both on a EU level and national one as elections are looming and the smell of defeat is beginning to fill the lungs of the corrupt..”

EU and NATO Heading for the Abyss Over Foreign Policy Foibles (Jay)

A number of odd statements have been coming from the EU in recent days, coupled with some even odder skulduggery giving rise to thought that the entire project is having its ‘last days of the Roman Empire moment’. Is it possible that the EU that we know is on its last legs and what we are witnessing is the final demise? Ursula von der Leyen, whose grandparents were probably Wafen SS officers has said that if she doesn’t get her way in finding new money for Ukraine she will have to resort to dirty tricks. Well, she didn’t actually say “dirty tricks” but this is what is implied. And what might those underhand moves might be? In fact, there is already a motion in the EU corridors to make Hungary effectively a non-EU member state, a sort of rogue member which is still in the EU but has no voting rights.

Given that the EU is anything but a democracy and that the institutions in Brussels are monolithic and consensus-driven (there is no ‘opposition’ in Brussels like in most democratic countries) it is hardly surprising to see nefarious activities which would make an African dictator proud of his handy work. The EU, or rather the super federalist elite which run it in Brussels like von der Leyen and her mates as Pfizer – yes, multinational corporations really wield the most power in Brussels and more or less own the European Parliament – are getting worried. The project is starting to indulge in in-fighting and creating a lot of mixed message in the media. Gardner-in-chief Josep Borrell wants a new shiny state for the Palestinians but Ursula is perfectly happy with the present genocide program. Perhaps she sees in investment opportunities in offshore gas off the coast of Gaza?

And so with the economy in the doldrums and the EUs most powerful member state Germany looking more and more like the Czech Republic in the late 90s, the uber elites like Ursula and the most vile MEP the European Parliament ever had – Guy Verhofstadt – are worried that the project can be hijacked by far-right MEPs come the next euro election in the summer. Ironically, in such a scenario where the European parliament’s main majority bloc would be a far-right group, the support for Netanyahu would peak and even save him from falling into his own quagmire of corruption charges, as the far-right in Europe support the Zionists, shifting from the once popular idea of wiping them out under Hitler’s ‘final solution’ plan.

But the EU would never be the same again. These MEPs support reversing the centralisation of power back to member states. And so it is hardly any surprise at all that Verhofstadt, a man so bereft of charm that he makes a pile of damp towels look exciting, gives another one of his fiery speeches in the European parliament with always the same theme: all our problems can be resolved if we has more money, more power and an EU army. The fault is with member states, the European parliament’s top wanker-in-chief argues as he throws his head around and animates very much like a power hungry leader in the 1930s who got us in this mess in the first place. Have you noticed lots of media reports pointing to war with Russia? Wonder what this is based on? Of course there is no imminent war with Russia but the pundits can’t help presenting one to us, proclaiming that Putin wants to take the odd European country, like a rich man who collects them like pets.

The reality is that this BS is being fed into the echo chamber because a panic is setting in both on a EU level and national one as elections are looming and the smell of defeat is beginning to fill the lungs of the corrupt who have been feeding from the same trough for too long. Create a panic about a war looming and enough stupid Europeans and Americans will accept spiralling consumer prices, high pump prices, insane utility bills (like in the UK), poor growth and no jobs. Few westerners see through the lies and see the ruse in the making. Even the Germans.

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“..this is just a “snapshot” of the current situation and there’s no way of knowing how things would turn out in the future..”

‘No Threat’ Of Russia Attacking NATO – Germany (RT)

There’s currently no threat of Russia attacking NATO or any of the partners of the US-led military bloc, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has suggested. Moscow’s military is now fully occupied with the Ukraine conflict, Pistorius explained, in an interview with the tabloid Bild on Friday. ”At the moment, I don’t see any danger of a Russian attack on NATO territory or on any NATO partner-country,” he added. However, the minister stressed that this is just a “snapshot” of the current situation and there’s no way of knowing how things would turn out in the future. Pistorius warned against underestimating the alleged risks related to Russia, saying that NATO needs to rely on “the principle of deterrence, as we know it from the times of the Cold War.” During that time, things between the West and Moscow were “much more predictable than the situation we have today,” he argued.

”We are coming out of 30 years of peace… from which we have all benefited. And now the journey is going the other way,” the minister said. NATO and Germany must “really pick up the pace” in order to be able to face the emerging challenges, he stressed. Germany has given to Ukraine “a lot of systems” that Berlin needed for itself since the outbreak in February 2022 of fighting between Moscow and Kiev, but “we will get them again,” Pistorius vowed. Earlier this week, commenting on the possibility of a direct conflict between NATO and Russia, the bloc’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that “we don’t see any direct or imminent threat against any NATO ally.” He stressed, however, that NATO “closely monitors what Russia does” and has increased its “vigilance and presence in the eastern part of the alliance” in order to be able to counter any moves by Moscow.

Pistorius told ZDF on Monday that Germany should be ready to respond to a possible Russian attack. In order to be able to resist an aggression “that you don’t know if and when it will occur, then that means you have to arm yourself – and that’s what we’re currently doing together with allies in NATO,” he explained. On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed Pistorius’ speculation about a possible conflict between Russia and NATO, saying that, due to internal problems the EU faces, its politicians “now need to somehow pump up public opinion, artificially agitate it, by inventing an external enemy.” Speaking at UN headquarters in New York the following day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that “no one wants a big war,” especially Moscow. “We have lived through ‘big wars’ many times in our history,” he added. President Vladimir Putin last month rejected as “complete nonsense” claims that Russia could attack NATO. Moscow has “no geopolitical, economic… or military interest” in doing so, he pointed out. Russia is, on the contrary, interested in developing ties with the bloc, he said.

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“..American voters see where the threats of authoritarianism truly lie, and it isn’t with Donald Trump…”

Davos, Dictators, and the Real ‘Threats to Our Democracy’ (Hollis)

The former Soviet Union collapsed politically because its centrally planned economy suffered disaster after disaster. Government takeover of the Venezuelan economy destroyed that once-prosperous country, plunging its residents into abject poverty. When the president of Sri Lanka banned nitrogen-based fertilizer, the country’s agricultural sector collapsed, as did its exports, leaving Sri Lankans without adequate food, fuel, or oil to heat their homes. Here in the United States, we have witnessed the nasty consequences of plenty of government policy failures: the health risks of COVID-19 shots; the spectacular failure of wind power in Texas during the 2021 winter storm; the inability of electric vehicles to start in the bitter temperatures across the northern U.S. two weeks ago; California’s water shortages and the struggling capacity of its electrical grid.

Egotists like WEF founder Klaus Schwab and his God-complex, like-minded cronies across the globe never consider that they could be wrong about anything. But they are always wrong about something. Trump voters do not want a dictator; they do not want an imperial presidency at all. They want a president who understands that free and independent businesses operating in a minimally regulated environment are the lifeblood of American prosperity. They recognize that an executive branch that refuses to enforce federal laws is failing in its primary constitutional obligations to the American public. They understand that a justice system that picks and chooses whom to prosecute based upon their race, ethnicity, or political belief is no justice at all. They are tired of inflation caused by misguided energy, trade, and environmental policies.

They are tired of our veterans suffering and dying with their physical and mental health needs unmet; tired of homeless people living in the streets; tired of open borders, of tens of thousands of Americans dying of fentanyl overdoses, and tired of unpunished crime, all while hundreds of billions of our hard-earned tax dollars get laundered through foreign wars into the pockets of multinational defense contractors, corruptocrat politicians, and warmongering toadies who never saw a foreign conflict they didn’t want to exploit. These Americans reject the globalist overlords pushing their anti-human philosophies down everyone’s throats, and they fear being enslaved by governments infiltrated by mindless drones in thrall to the latest apocalyptic power grab. The press and the Left can hand-wave and hyperventilate all they want about “threats to our democracy.” But American voters see where the threats of authoritarianism truly lie, and it isn’t with Donald Trump.

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Just give up.

WH’s New Strategy on Ukraine ‘Will De-Emphasize’ Retaking ‘Lost Territory’ (Sp.)

The Biden administration’s new strategy will “de-emphasize” Kiev’s recovery of the so-called “lost territories” this year and instead focus on Washington helping the Zelensky regime survive amid Russia’s ongoing special military operation, the Washington Post quoted unnamed sources as saying. The sources were apparently referring to the territories previously reunited with Russia as a result of popular referendums. They claimed that the Biden administration, “still smarting” from Kiev’s bungled counteroffensive in 2023, is “putting together the new strategy,” which includes helping the Zelensky regime strengthen its armed forces and economy in the face of the Ukraine funding impasse in the U.S. Congress.

The strategy’s other purpose is to help Kiev strengthen its fighting force and economy in the face of Ukraine funding-real impasse in the US Congress, according to the sources. “The emerging plan is a sharp change from last year, when the US and allied militaries rushed training and sophisticated equipment to Kiev in hopes that it could quickly push back Russian forces,” insiders pointed out. One source added that “it’s pretty clear” that it will be difficult for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to try to achieve “the same kind of major push on all fronts that they tried to do last year.” The idea is help Ukraine “hold its position on the battlefield for now, […] and “get them on a more sustainable path,” per the source. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu declared in late December that the Russian armed forces had achieved last year’s main goal by thwarting Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive.

“The main efforts of the past year were focused on achieving the goals of the special military operation. The main one was to stop the counter-offensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which was loudly proclaimed by Ukraine and its NATO allies. This task was successfully accomplished,” Shoigu emphasized at the time. The statement came after Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov told reporters that Ukraine had lost some 160,000 troops and over 3,000 armored vehicles, including 766 tanks, as well as 121 aircraft and 23 helicopters in all areas during the six-month counteroffensive.

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“..in a number of European countries, Russophobia is being promoted as the state policy.”

Putin Vows To Eradicate Nazism For Good (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to crush modern-day forces that promote Nazism, singling out Ukraine and the Baltic states as countries where the authorities have embraced such ideologies. Speaking on Saturday at the opening of a memorial to Soviet civilians killed by Nazi German forces in Leningrad Region, the Russian head of state said: “these days the outcomes of the Nuremberg trials are effectively being revised.” He claimed that some countries have gone from rewriting history and whitewashing the Nazis to “arming themselves with Hitlerites’ ideology and methods.”

President Putin cited the Baltic states, in an apparent reference to their treatment of Russian-speaking minorities, which Moscow deems discriminatory. “The regime in Kiev lionizes Hitlers’ accomplices, SS members, and uses terror against” those who resist it, the Russian leader alleged, accusing the Ukrainian authorities of subjecting the elderly, women and children to “barbaric shelling.” According to President Putin, “in a number of European countries, Russophobia is being promoted as the state policy.” “We will do everything – everything to undercut and eradicate Nazism for good,” the Russian head of state pledged.

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“..South Africa was after the provisional ruling to force Israel to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza.”

ICJ Ruling May Entail Dire Consequences for Israel (Sp.)

“Provisional measures is what South Africa wanted,” noted Carrillo, “that there is enough evidence to show that Israel has violated the 1948 Genocide Convention. “This is what South Africa wanted when they filed this suit because a final ruling by the courts can take months, it can take years. South Africa was after the provisional ruling to force Israel to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza.” Still, Carrillo noted that Israel often ignores world opinion and discounts measures taken against it in the international arena, such as when the Soviet Union led a 1975 effort in the United Nations to declare that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination. “Israel has a long history of disregarding the rulings or the opinions of international organizations,” said Carillo. “They do as they will, and they have the complete protection of the United States who at best is going to issue a lukewarm statement about protecting civilians. That’s what I think we should expect.”

However, host Jamarl Thomas noted the significant “moral weight” the decision carries as Carillo insisted Israel “did not refute any of the evidence, they did not disprove any of the South African evidence.” Amidst a rapidly emerging multipolar world order, Carillo suggested Global South countries and their allies may enforce material consequences against Israel for their actions in Gaza, where 70% of the more than 26,000 deaths are said to be of women and children. “We will have to see, because we are seeing a polar shift in the geopolitical sphere,” said the analyst. “Maybe we will see countries like Russia, maybe like China, or maybe like South Africa or other BRICS members, find a way to stop or to punish Israel in a way.”“Economically, Israel is already facing dire consequences,” Carillo claimed. “Its ports are empty, its workforce is completely depleted, and, among other things, their currency is on the downward trend.

So if you add on top of these, as you said, the moral weight of committing genocide and then more than likely not stopping, how are nations not aligned with the US, why would they continue dealing with Israel? Where is the benefit?”Israel also continues to face economic repercussions as a result of the effective blockade in the Red Sea enforced by the Houthi movement in Yemen. Despite Yemen’s status as one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, Yeminis have demonstrated strong support for the Palestinian cause, with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets to protest US and UK-led retaliatory strikes in the country. “There will always be resistance to oppression,” Carillo insisted. “Always. We know this through human history.”

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“The problem is that when you are “everything” to a client, you may end up with nothing when it comes to confidentiality.”

Who is Kevin Morris? Even Hunter’s Lawyer Seems Unsure (Turley)

Kevin Morris testified last week in the House. The question that lingered then, and now, is who is Kevin Morris. The Hollywood lawyer, producer and Democratic donor has emerged as a major figure in the corruption scandal surrounding Hunter Biden.For years, some of us have complained that we are not sure what Morris was at any given moment.What became clear in the deposition is that Morris does not appear certain himself. He’s Hunter’s confidant, art patron, business partner, and his lawyer. That could prove his undoing … both for himself and his client. Morris seems to move effortlessly between roles in his relationship with Hunter Biden.Hunter met Morris when he attended a political fundraiser as a major donor. Soon thereafter, he warned Biden associates that Hunter’s unpaid taxes raised political problems during Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential run.

He later proceeded to pay off Hunter’s taxes and to subsidize his lavish lifestyle. He also took an apparent lead in planning public campaigns against the critics of the Bidens, reportedly pushing a scorched-earth approach to attack potential witnesses and accusers. Then Morris seemed to take on the role of Hunter’s bank and art patron. He reportedly gave millions to Hunter while insisting that they are loans, not gifts. Most recently, it was revealed that, despite accounts of buyers flocking to buy Hunter’s overpriced art, it was Morris all along who bought most of the pieces. The overpriced art could be used to excuse some of these “debts” — a type of special crafts project for the president’s son to write off millions. The most striking thing about the deposition from his House interview was the speed at which Morris seemed to put on and remove his various hats.

He invoked attorney-client privilege at least 17 times over questions related to his payments and work for Hunter Biden. Yet, while refusing to answer those questions, he admitted to an array of other financial ties and transactions with his “client.” To the extent that Morris was not acting as a lawyer but as a businessman or a friend, these conversations (and related records) may not be protected. In his deposition, Morris also discusses his ownership of 10% of Bohai Harvest RST LLC (BHR), through his acquisition of interest in Skaneateles LLC. Those are business interests associated with Hunter Biden Morris seemed to be working through his own identity crisis with the help of House investigators. While insisting that his legal representation of Hunter Biden was “global and complete,” Morris detailed how his relationship floated from loan giver to friend to patron to film producer.

His counsel insists that all loans and roles were clearly laid out for Hunter in writing and reviewed by outside counsel. House investigator: “How did it come up that you were going to purchase Skaneateles? Or why did you buy Skaneateles of all the companies that Hunter Biden was involved with? Why that one?” Morris: “That’s privileged. I am not going to answer that because of attorney-client privilege.” That prompted a quick intervention by his lawyer. Morris reversed and agreed it was not protected and said that he “evaluated it as a businessman, and I thought it was something that could be a very successful investment.” Morris’ confusion often left his answers in an unintelligible morass. When asked about his decision to do a movie on his client, Morris again seemed to merge his roles, saying these are “just materials being collected for representation that may be used in the future after the representation.”

Later, Morris seemed to invoke an open-ended, running privilege. At one point, Morris claimed he was “like a general counsel” in Hunter Biden’s “virtual corporation.” He explained, “Counsel, in my job, I represent high-profile individuals. … [H]igh-profile individuals have basically virtual corporations. And in those virtual corporations, they have all kinds of staff and assistants. You know, agents and managers … publicists. You know, whatever. And what I do is I oversee … sort of the squad. Sort of like a general counsel.” With that, Morris was viewed as asserting a type of floating privilege because “I am involved in everything. And the same is with Hunter. If you check my retainer agreements, you’ll see that it’s not — it says all matters.” The statement is both factually accurate and ethically dubious. It seeks sweeping privilege claims despite the layers of different relationships, from loaner to donor to lawyer to producer. If Morris is called to testify in court, this may not fly. The problem is that when you are “everything” to a client, you may end up with nothing when it comes to confidentiality.

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“..The relationship between James Biden, Hunter Biden, Ye, and other partners resulted in at least $9 million in payments to Biden-connected companies in 2017 alone after Joe Biden returned to private life..”

Hunter Biden Partner Rob Walker Confirms Payments To Biden Family (JTN)

Hunter Biden associate Rob Walker appeared for a transcribed interview with the House Oversight Committee Friday as the latest witness in the impeachment inquiry and weeks before Hunter Biden is set to testify. According to a source familiar with Walker’s testimony, he confirmed reports that Hunter Biden’s work for the Chinese energy company CEFC began while Joe Biden was still Vice President, in 2015. In December, Just the News reported that the impeachment inquiry had assembled a growing body of evidence that Hunter’s work with the Chinese energy company started years before its million dollar payments began to flow into the Biden family coffers in 2017, following Joe Biden’s departure from office. “Today we learned that Joe Biden met with the now-missing Chairman of CEFC, Ye Jianming, as Hunter Biden and his associates received $3 million from a Chinese entity CEFC controlled. Evidence continues to reveal the Bidens sold the ‘Biden Brand’ to enrich the Biden family,” Oversight Chairman James Comer said in a statement released by the Oversight Committee.

“Today’s interview confirmed Hunter Biden and his associates’ work with the Chinese government-linked energy company began over a year before Joe Biden left the vice presidency, but the Bidens and their associates held off being paid by the Chinese while Joe Biden was in office,” he continued. “The Chinese company paid Hunter Biden and his associates $3 million shortly after Joe Biden left office as a ‘thank you’ for the work they did while Joe Biden was in office. Members of the Biden family received payments from the Chinese deal even though they did not work on it. This is the type of swampy influence peddling the American people want us to end,” Comer said. The relationship between James Biden, Hunter Biden, Ye, and other partners resulted in at least $9 million in payments to Biden-connected companies in 2017 alone after Joe Biden returned to private life.

The payments included a $3 million “thank you” in March 2017, a $5 million loan in August 2017, and a $1 million legal retainer fee to Hunter Biden from CEFC official Patrick Ho after he was indicted on bribery charges, according to documents gathered by Congress and federal prosecutors. Yet, evidence from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop and FBI interviews with Biden business partners provided to Congress show that the relationship dates back to at least 2015 and 2016. One email from Rob Walker to another of Hunter Biden’s business partners referenced an apparent letter from Hunter to Zang Jianjun, the executive director of CEFC China Energy, who worked directly for its founder and Chairman Ye Jianming.

In an interview with the FBI, Walker told investigators that he recalls two meetings that Vice President Biden had with CEFC officials, one after leaving office in 2017 and another while he was still in office. The interview was provided by IRS Whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joe Ziegler to the House Ways and Means Committee in their probe of the IRS and DOJ investigation into Hunter Biden. “Any times when he was in office or did you hear Hunter say that he was setting up a meeting with his dad with them (CEFC) while dad was still in office?” an FBI agent asked Walker. “Yeah,” Walker responded. After this admission, the investigators inexplicably changed course and did not follow up on what Walker had just told them.

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“..hunter killer assassins meeting boy scouts.”

Boeing’s Nosedive: How Greed Ruined A Great American Company (Johnston)

The singular event cited as marking the beginning of Boeing’s downfall was its 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas, which put it on a collision course with a culture steeped in cost-cutting and financial performance. Somewhat perversely, although Boeing had acquired McDonnell, it was the latter that took over. McDonnell’s executives ended up running the company and its culture became ascendant. Scores of cut-throat managers battle-hardened in the company’s perform-or-die culture were brought in. A federal mediator once likened the partnership to “hunter killer assassins meeting boy scouts.” The self-effacing and introspective Bill Allen, Boeing’s genteel CEO through the post-war era and the man behind the 707 gamble, described his company’s ethos as “to eat, breathe, and sleep the world of aeronautics.”

But a new generation of leaders was emerging who brought new priorities and a new vocabulary. It was no longer about making great airplanes; it was about “moving up the value chain.” What it was really about was maximizing shareholder value. Now looming like a colossus over Boeing was the figure of Harry Stonecipher, McDonnell’s CEO. The blunt, hard-nosed son of a coal miner, Stonecipher was known for vicious cost-cutting, emails written in all caps – and for jettisoning executives who didn’t hit financial targets. But Stonecipher was a ‘winner’: McDonnell’s stock price had risen fourfold under his tenure. What predictably ensued was nothing short of a complete transformation of Boeing from being a company run by engineers to one that prized financial profit over all, and was willing to cut all manner of corners to reduce costs and boost returns.

The quality of the product was, to put it mildly, severely compromised. Downstream from these changes are the spectacular failures we all know about: the outrageous cost overruns, delays and production issues in making the Boeing 787, which ended up being temporarily grounded for battery fires that regulators attributed to flaws in manufacturing, insufficient testing and a poor understanding of an innovative battery; the abject failure of the jimmy-rigged 737 MAX, which saw two deadly crashes and, most recently, a harrowing incident in which a sealed-off emergency exit blew out mid-air in an Alaska Airlines flight, leaving a gaping hole in the fuselage. m It is possible to see Boeing’s merger with McDonnell as simply an unfortunate mistake, and the rise of the likes of Harry Stonecipher as simply an instance in which the wrong person found his way to the top; and the outsourcing and cost-cutting as simply a misbegotten strategy.

But this would miss the wider trends at work in the American corporate landscape at the time. Boeing was hardly alone on this path. The writer David Foster Wallace once wrote that “America… is a country of many contradictions, and a big contradiction for a long time has been between a very aggressive form of capitalism and consumerism against what might be called a kind of moral or civic impulse.” What is evident is that starting roughly in the 1970s, this “aggressive form of capitalism” became ascendant in the US and for a long time overwhelmed – and is arguably still overwhelming – the “moral and civic impulse.” However, to view this as simply a moral failing is to miss the greater economic pressures at work.

The ‘70s were, in the words of historian Judith Stein, the “pivotal decade” that “sealed a society-wide transition from industry to finance, factory floor to trading floor, [and] production to consumption.” America had emerged from World War II with unquestioned manufacturing supremacy, but within a few short decades, US companies had begun falling behind. Whereas Japan, Germany, and, later on, China invested heavily in their industrial bases in the post-war period, the US came to emphasize innovation at the expense of capital investment. The 1970s were when nascent industrial powerhouse Japan pulled off its so-called ‘revolution of quality,’ which went a long way toward putting American manufacturers on the back foot.

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“..Trump will have to soldier on. He must stay controlled amid the tsunamis, not play into the hands of his accusers, and remember that he may soon be the only eleventh-hour hope to stop this mockery of American law, customs and traditions.”

83 million? (Victor Davis Hanson)

Donald Trump in furor stormed out of a New York courtroom for a while, in the defamation suit brought by author and dating/boyfriend/sex-advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. It was just settled against Trump for $83.3 million! The Carroll suit was largely subsidized by Reid Hoffman the billionaire capitalist, and mega-donor to the Democratic Party and leftwing causes. The subtext of Trump’s rage, aside from the outrageous monetary size of the defamation ruling, is that he was facing—and angered—a leftwing claimant, a quite hostile leftwing judge, and a leftwing New York jury. The civil suit serves as a mere preview of four additional leftwing criminal prosecutions, leftwing judges, and leftwing juries to come—all on charges that would never had been filed if Trump either had not run for president or been a liberal progressive. Yet here we are.

The E. Jean Carroll case is the most baffling of all five. She, the alleged victim, did not remember even the year in which the purported sexual assault took place, nearly three decades ago. Observers have pointed out dozens of inconsistencies in her story. It was never clear what were the preliminaries that supposedly (Trump denies meeting her) led both, allegedly, willingly to retreat together to a department store dressing room, where during normal business hours the alleged violence took place. Moreover, the sexual assault complaint came forward decades post facto—and only after Trump was running for and then president. Carroll eventually sued him for battery, but well after the statute of limitations had expired and thus the case seemed defunct.

Her claims of defamation injuries arise from being fired from her advice column job at ELLE magazine. She claimed that Trump’s sharp denials and ad hominem retorts led to her career ruin. But the loss for anyone of a column at 76 does not seem such a rare occurrence, and the absence of a salaried job in one’s late seventies for four years does not seem to equate to a $83 million hit. And note the allegation that her dispute with Trump led to her firing was strongly denied by the very magazine that cut her loose. But then another strange thing happened. In 2022, a new law (“The Adult Survivors Act”) was passed in the New York legislature. It also post facto established a twelve-month window (beginning six months from the signing of bill) that permitted survivors of long ago alleged sexual assaults suddenly to sue the accused long-ago perpetrator—regardless of the previous statute of limitations.

That unexpected opening suddenly gave Carroll’s prior unsuccessful efforts a rebirth. And she quickly refiled with the help of arch-Trump hating billionaire Hoffman. Yet the bill may have been introduced with Trump particularly in mind—given the legislator who introduced it, Brad Hoylman-Siga, was known as another Trump antagonist. More interestingly, he had earlier introduced and had passed another Trump-targeted bill. That “TRUST” act had empowered particular federal Congressional committees to have access to the New York State once sealed tax returns of high-ranking government officials—such as Trump. That bill’s generally agreed subtext was a green light for anti-Trump members of Congress to obtain legal access to Donald J. Trump’s tax returns.

So there is an eerie feeling that the New York legislature may have abruptly passed legislation that was aimed at the past conduct of Donald Trump but only after he entered the political arena. While these are not quite bills of attainder, there is something unsettling if they are post facto laws aimed at targeting the most famous and controversial man in America and the leading candidate for the presidency. In essence they were targeted statutes designed to make Trump’s prior legally unactionable behavior suddenly quite legally actionable. Trump will be subject to such special treatment all summer and fall. Prosecutors Bragg, James, Smith, and Willis will synchronize their court business for maximum effect.

Trump again will face leftwing prosecutors, judges, and juries on charges that are politically driven, involving alleged behavior that is either usually not criminalized or not to the same degree as Trump’s case. (Do we remember the nearly $375,000 federal fine belatedly leveled at an exempt Obama but only five years after his 2008 illegal garnering of, and not reporting, foreign campaign contributions?) The stakes are higher each day as Trump closes in on the nomination and thus becomes the hope of half the country to end the Biden madness. Somehow Trump will have to stay calm, give no opening to his legion of hostile prosecutors, while conducting a nonstop campaign against Biden (and for a while Hayley), and while fighting to keep his name on various state ballots.

So what we are witnessing is not even the extralegal efforts of Steele/Fusion GPS, Perkins Coie/DNC/Hillary Clinton in 2016, or the 2020 “Russian disinformation” ruse/change the voting laws/infuse half a billion dollars to absorb the work of the registrar machinations against Trump. We are way beyond all that. The legal system itself, hand-in-glove with leftwing politicos (compare campaign boasts of James and Willis, or prosecutorial visits to the January 6 committee and the White House) is turning the process of balloting and elections into an embarrassing farce. Still, Trump will have to soldier on. He must stay controlled amid the tsunamis, not play into the hands of his accusers, and remember that he may soon be the only eleventh-hour hope to stop this mockery of American law, customs and traditions.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Wild dogs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751228420925562943

 

 

Baby goat
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751252951375712290

 

 


The bearded vulture is the only known animal whose diet is almost exclusively bone

 

 

Fata morgana

 

 

Monarch
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751398451152044152

 

 

Clay
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751471302169227699

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 142024
 


Pablo Picasso Blue nude 1902

 

Year of the Dragon: Silk Roads, BRICS Roads, Sino-Roads (Pepe Escobar)
Troubling Questions in Strange Case of Pentagon Chief Missing in Action (SCF)
The Evidence of Genocide Is Chilling, Overwhelming and Incontrovertible (SP)
The Case for Genocide (Chris Hedges)
Israel Dismisses Genocidal Intent as ‘Random Assertions’ (Lauria)
How Israeli Forces Trapped And Killed Ravers At The Nova Festival (Cradle)
Europe’s Big Powers Back Out Of US-Led Bombing Campaign Of Yemen (Cradle)
CIA Providing Intel On Hamas Leaders To Israel – NYT (RT)
Musk Reacts To Death Of Gonzalo Lira (RT)
Friendly Fire (Vivek Ramaswamy)
Judge Berates Lawyers for ‘Inadvertently’ Disclosing Epstein Victim Names |(Sp.)
FBI Stonewalls Over Seth Rich Laptop Production (ZH)
Voter Fraud Convictions Challenge Narrative of Secure Elections (ET)

 

 

 

 

Habba

 

 

O’Leary

 

 

Dream Team

 

 

More Fani
https://twitter.com/i/status/1746199122409885717

 

 

Nap Macgregor

 

 

Tucker Quaid

 

 

3 world wars

 

 

 

 

“..It remains an inextinguishable source of debate to what extent this fabulous economic Great Leap Forward under Deng generated calamitous social consequences..”

Year of the Dragon: Silk Roads, BRICS Roads, Sino-Roads (Pepe Escobar)

On the Russian front, the inimitable Sergey Karaganov has laid down the law: “We should not deny our European roots; we should treat them with care. After all, Europe has given us a lot. But Russia must move forward. And forward does not mean to the West, but to the East and the South. That is where the future of humanity lies.” And that leads us to the Dragon – in the Year of the Dragon.

There were a whopping 3.68 billion Chinese trips by rail in 2023 – an all-time record. China is fast on the way to become an AI global leader by 2030. Tech giant Baidu, for instance, recently released Ernie Bot to rival ChatGPT. AI in China is expanding fast on healthcare, education, and entertainment. Efficiency is the key. Chinese scientists have developed the ACCEL chip – capable of performing 4.6 quadrillion operations per second, in comparison to NVIDIA’s A100, which delivers 0.312 quadrillion operations per second of deep learning performance. China graduates no less than one million more STEM students than the U.S., year after year. This goes way beyond AI. Asian nations always reach the top 20% in science and mathematics competitions.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) may be lousy on geopolitics. But at least they did a public service showing nations that lead the planet in 44 critical technology sectors. China is number one, leading on 37 sectors. The U.S. leads on 7. Everyone else leads zero sectors. These include Defense, space, robotics, energy, the environment, biotechnology, advanced materials, key quantum technology and of course AI. How did China get here? It’s quite enlightening today to revisit a 1996 tome by Maurice Mesner: The Deng Xiaoping Era: An Inquiry into the Fate of Chinese Socialism, 1978-1994. First of all, one needs to know what happened under Mao: “From 1952 to the mid-1970s, net agricultural output in China increased at an average per annum rate of 2.5 percent, whereas the figure for the most intensive period of Japan’s industrialization (from 1868 to 1912) was 1.7 percent.”

Across the industrial sphere, all indicators went up: steel production; coal; cement; timber; electric power; crude oil; chemical fertilizers. “By the mid-1970s, China was also producing substantial numbers of jet airplanes, heavy tractors, railway locomotives, and modern oceangoing vessels. The People’s Republic also became a significant nuclear power, complete with intercontinental ballistic missiles. Its first successful atomic bomb test was held in 1964, the first hydrogen bomb was produced in 1967, and a satellite was launched into orbit in 1970.” Blame it on Mao: he transformed China “from one of the world’s most backward agrarian countries into the sixth-largest industrial power by the mid-1970s.” On most key social and demographic indicators, China compared favorably not only with India and Pakistan in South Asia but also with “’middle-income’ countries whose per capita GNP was five times that of China.”

All these breakthroughs laid down the path for Deng: “The higher yields obtained on individual family farms during the early Deng era would not have been possible had it not been for the vast irrigation and flood-control projects – dams, irrigation works, and river dikes – constructed by collectivized peasants in the 1950s and 1960s.” Of course there were distortions – as the Deng drive produced a de facto capitalist economy presided by a bureaucratic bourgeoisie: “As has been true of the histories of all capitalist economies, the power of the state was very much involved in establishing China’s labor market. Indeed, in China a highly repressive state apparatus played a particularly direct and coercive role in the commodification of labor, a process that has proceeded with a rapidity and on a scale that is historically unprecedented.” It remains an inextinguishable source of debate to what extent this fabulous economic Great Leap Forward under Deng generated calamitous social consequences.

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“..It is not clear if he was always conscious during this period or under sedation..”

Troubling Questions in Strange Case of Pentagon Chief Missing in Action (SCF)

It seems utterly bizarre that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin – the second-highest ranking civilian military commander in the United States – was absent from duty for several weeks without President Joe Biden or Congress knowing about it. A charitable view would be to call the scandal a “comedy of errors”. More appropriately, however, are urgent concerns about the implications for global peace and security. The U.S. resembles a juggernaut out of control careening along a precipice. This inexplicable prolonged gap in U.S. military command and control at the apex of the Pentagon goes from bizarre to deeply worrying considering the rapidly deteriorating security conditions in the Middle East. And especially because the deterioration is largely caused by the United States and its accomplices in their blatant contempt for international law.

This week, the United States and its British ally carried out over 100 cruise missile strikes against Yemen, purportedly in retaliation for Yemen’s blocking of commercial shipping in the Red Sea. The Yemenis claim that their actions to interdict shipping are legally entitled by their support for Palestinians suffering 90 days of genocidal aggression from Israel backed by the U.S. Indeed, the Middle East powder-keg situation is set for an escalation towards an all-out region-wide war given the weeks of tensions caused by the U.S.-backed genocide in Gaza by Israel. American bases in Iraq and Syria have come under fire in retaliation for U.S. and Israeli assassinations of senior Palestinian and other Arab militant leaders. There is growing fear that the violence will spiral into an open armed confrontation between the United States and Iran.

Given this ferment of conflict, it seems incredible that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was effectively missing in action for several weeks without his nominal superior, Joe Biden, knowing of his whereabouts. Biden’s other title is Commander-in-Chief. In the supposed civilian command structure of the United States military, Austin is second to Biden. Among their supposed responsibilities is the command of U.S. nuclear forces. Austin underwent surgery on December 22 for prostate cancer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. A subsequent urinary tract infection then caused Austin to be hospitalized again on January 1 for several more days. It is not clear if he was always conscious during this period or under sedation.

It then transpired in recent days that during those weeks of absence, the Biden White House did not know about Austin’s surgery or subsequent hospitalization. Even Austin’s designated Deputy Secretary of Defense, Kathleen Hicks, also did not know the exact reason for her boss’s absence. Enquiries have now been launched by the Armed Services Committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are even bipartisan calls for Austin’s resignation due to accusations of gross dereliction of duty to adequately inform the White House and Congress about his leave of absence.

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“The Hague won’t stop us – Netanyahu..”

The Evidence of Genocide Is Chilling, Overwhelming and Incontrovertible (SP)

Notable quotes from Jan. 11 ICJ hearing

From South African attorney Tembeka Ngcukaitobi:

“There is an extraordinary feature in this case: that Israel’s political leaders, military commanders, and persons holding official positions have systematically and in explicit terms declared their genocidal intent… And these statements are then repeated by soldiers on the ground in Gaza as they engage in the destruction of Palestinians and the physical infrastructure of Gaza.” “What state would admit to a genocidal intent? Yet the distinctive feature of this case has not been the silence as such but the reiteration and repetition of genocidal speech throughout every sphere of state in Israel.” “We remind the court of the identity and authority of the genocidal inciters: the prime minister, the president the minister of defense, the minister of national security, the minister of energy and infrastructure, members of the Knesset, senior army officials, and foot soldiers… The evidence of genocidal intent is not only chilling, it is also overwhelming and incontrovertible.”

From South African attorney Adila Hassim:

“Israel has subjected Gaza to what has been described as one of the heaviest conventional bombing campaigns in the history of modern warfare. Palestinians in Gaza are being killed by Israeli weaponry and bombs from air, land and sea. They are also at immediate risk of death by starvation, dehydration and disease as a result of the ongoing siege by Israel, the destruction of Palestinian towns, the insufficient aid being allowed through to the Palestinian population, and the impossibility of distributing this limited aid while bombs fall. This conduct renders essentials to life unobtainable.“

“…the level of Israel’s killing is so extensive that nowhere is safe in Gaza. … Palestinians in Gaza are subjected to relentless bombing wherever they go. They are killed in their homes, in places where they seek shelter, in hospitals, in schools, in mosques, in churches, and as they try to find food and water for their families. They have been killed if they failed to evacuate. In the places to which they have fled, and even while they attempted to flee along, Israeli declared safe routes.” “Israel has killed an unparalleled and unprecedented number of civilians with the full knowledge of how many civilian lives each bomb will take.“

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“Thousands more Palestinian civilians, including children, have been arrested, blindfolded, numbered, beaten, forced to strip to their underwear, loaded onto trucks and transported to unknown locations…”

The Case for Genocide (Chris Hedges)

The exhaustive 84-page brief submitted by South Africa to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) charging Israel with genocide is hard to refute. Israel’s campaign of indiscriminate killing, wholesale destruction of infrastructure, including housing, hospitals and water treatment plants, along with its use of starvation as a weapon, accompanied by genocidal rhetoric from its political and military leaders who speak of destroying Gaza and ethnically cleansing the 2.3 million Palestinians, makes a strong case against Israel for genocide. Israel’s smearing of South Africa as “the legal arm” of Hamas exemplifies the bankruptcy of its defense, a smear replicated by those who claim that demonstrations held to call for a ceasefire and protect Palestinian human rights are “anti-Semitic.” Israel, its genocide live streamed to the world, has no substantial counter argument.

But that does not mean the judges on the court will rule in South Africa’s favor. The pressure the U.S. will bring – Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called the South African charges “meritless” – on the judges, drawn from the member states of the U.N., will be intense. A ruling of genocide is a stain that Israel – which weaponizes the Holocaust to justify its brutalization of the Palestinians – would find hard to remove. It would undercut Israel’s insistence that Jews are eternal victims. It would shatter the justification for Israel’s indiscriminate killing of unarmed Palestinians and construction of the world’s largest open air prison in Gaza, along with the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It would sweep away the immunity to criticism enjoyed by the Israel lobby and its Zionist supporters in the U.S., who have successfully equated criticisms of the “Jewish State” and support for Palestinian rights with anti-Semitism.

Over 23,700 Palestinians, including over 10,000 children, have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, when Hamas and other resistance fighters breached the security barriers around Gaza. Some 1,200 people were killed – there is strong evidence that some of the victims were killed by Israeli tank crews and helicopter pilots that intentionally targeted the some 200 hostages along with their captors. Thousands more Palestinians are missing, presumed buried under the rubble. Israeli attacks have left over 60,000 Palestinians wounded and maimed, the majority of them women and children. Thousands more Palestinian civilians, including children, have been arrested, blindfolded, numbered, beaten, forced to strip to their underwear, loaded onto trucks and transported to unknown locations.

A ruling by the court could be years away. But South Africa is asking for provisional measures that would demand Israel cease its military assault – in essence a permanent ceasefire. This decision could come within two or three weeks. It is a decision that is not based on the final ruling by the court, but on the merits of the case brought by South Africa. The court would not, by demanding Israel end its hostilities in Gaza, define the Israeli campaign in Gaza as genocide. It would confirm that there is the possibility of genocide, what the South African lawyers call acts that are “genocidal in character.”

The case will not be determined by the documentation of specific crimes, even those defined as war crimes. It will be determined by genocidal intent – the intent to eradicate in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group – as defined in the Genocide Convention. These acts collectively include the targeting of refugee camps and other densely packed civilian areas with 2,000-pound bombs, the blocking of humanitarian aid, the destruction of the health care system and its effects on children and pregnant women – the U.N. estimates there are around 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, and that more than 160 babies are delivered every day – as well as repeated genocidal statements by leading Israeli politicians and generals.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu equated Gaza with Amalek, a nation hostile to the Israelites in the Bible, and cited the Biblical injunction to kill every Amalek man, woman, child or animal. Defence Minister Yoav Gallant called Palestinians “human animals.” Israeli President Isaac Herzog stated, as the South African lawyers told the court, that everybody in Gaza is responsible for what happened on Oct. 7 because they voted for Hamas, although half the population in Gaza are children who are too young to vote. But even if the entire population of Gaza did vote for Hamas this does not make them a legitimate military target. They are still, under the rules of war, civilians, and entitled to protection. They are also entitled under international law to resist their occupation via armed struggle.

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‘We will eliminate everything. We will reach all places. Eliminate everything there, reach all places without any restraints.’

Israel Dismisses Genocidal Intent as ‘Random Assertions’ (Lauria)

In its defense against allegations by South Africa that it is committing genocide in Gaza, a British barrister arguing at the World Court on Friday for Israel downplayed numerous statements by senior Israeli officials of genocidal intent against Palestinians as mere “random assertions” that prove nothing. Instead, the barrister turned the tables, accusing South Africa itself of complicity in genocide. Kings Counselor Malcolm Shaw, for Israel, told the Court on the second day of a two-day hearing: “As far as acts are concerned in this case, there is little beyond random assertions to demonstrate that Israel has or has had the specific intent to destroy in whole or in part the Palestinian people as such.”

Without proving intent, Shaw argued, a genocide case is impossible. “It is like Hamlet without the prince, a car without an engine,” he said. As Shaw himself pointed out, lawyers for South Africa on Thursday thus “placed considerable emphasis upon intent.” They laid out in great detail the “genocidal rhetoric” of Israeli officials and how it has influenced Israeli soldiers and airmen attacking Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu twice referred to an Old Testament genocide implying the same was needed for Gaza, argued attorney Tembeka Ngcukaitobi. “The genocidal invocation to Amalek was anything but idle,” Ngcukaitobi said. He then showed a video of Israeli soldiers singing in celebration of a victory in Gaza, in which they mention Amalek.

On Oct. 9, Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, Ngcukaitobi, went on:] “gave a situation update to the Army where he said that as Israel was imposing a complete siege on Gaza, there would be ‘no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel,’ everything would be closed because Israel is fighting human animals. Speaking to troops on the Gaza border, he instructed them that he has released all the restraints and that Gaza won’t return to what it was before. ‘We will eliminate everything. We will reach all places. Eliminate everything there, reach all places without any restraints.’ Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu said that Israel must find ways for Gazans that are more painful than death. It is no answer to say that neither are in command of the army. They are ministers in the Israeli government. They vote in the Knesset and are in a position to shape state policy. The intent to destroy Gaza has been nurtured at the highest levels of state. …

Senior political and military officials encouraged without censure, the 95 year old Israeli army reservist Ezra Yachin, a veteran of the Deir Yassin massacre against the Palestinians in 1948, to speak to the soldiers ahead of the ground invasion in Gaza. In his talk, he echoed the same sentiment while being driven around in an official Israeli army vehicle dressed in Israeli army fatigue. ‘I quote the triumphant and finish them off and don’t leave anyone behind. Erase the memory of them. Erase them, their families, mothers and children. These animals can no longer live. If you have an Arab neighbor, don’t wait. Go to his home and shoot him. We want to invade. Not like before. We want to enter and destroy what’s in front of us and destroy houses.’”

Read more …

Hannibal.

How Israeli Forces Trapped And Killed Ravers At The Nova Festival (Cradle)

Israeli forces had not only the fire power, but also an official order to kill Israelis at Nova. A major reason Hamas launched the Al-Aqsa Flood operation was to take Israeli captives that could be exchanged for the thousands of Palestinians held captive in Israeli prisons. But Israeli forces were determined to prevent Hamas from taking captives back to Gaza, even if this meant killing the captured civilians. An investigation of Israel’s long-controversial Hannibal Directive concludes that “from the point of view of the army, a dead soldier is better than a captive soldier who himself suffers and forces the state to release thousands of captives in order to obtain his release.” But, on 7 October, according to a Yedioth Ahronoth investigation, the Hannibal Directive – which has previously only applied to army captives – was issued against Israeli civilians as well. The Hebrew-language daily writes that “at noon on October 7, the IDF [Israeli army] ordered all of its combat units in practice to use the ‘Hannibal Procedure’ although without clearly mentioning this explicitly by name.”

The order was to stop “at all costs any attempt by Hamas terrorists to return to Gaza, that is, despite the fear that some of them have abductees,” the investigation concludes. In the days and weeks after the incident, Israeli authorities made a great show of distributing images of vehicles destroyed at the festival site, fully implying that the cars – and the dead victims inside – had been burned to a crisp by Palestinian fighters. The Yediot report completely upends that claim: “In the week after the attack, soldiers of elite units checked about 70 vehicles that were left in the area between the settlements and the Gaza Strip. These are vehicles that did not reach Gaza, because on the way they were shot by a combat helicopter, an anti-tank missile or a tank, and at least in some cases everyone in the vehicle was killed,” including Israeli captives.

Nof Erez, the Israeli Air Force colonel noted above, similarly concluded, in regard to Israel’s indiscriminate use of helicopter firepower that day, that “The Hannibal directive was probably deployed because once you detect a hostage situation, this is Hannibal.” An apparent instance of this at the Nova festival was inadvertently documented by the BBC, which reported that video footage showed a woman who was taken hostage, but who: “Suddenly reappears two minutes later. She jumps and waves her arms in the air. She must think help is at hand – by this time, the Israeli Defence Forces had began their efforts to repel the incursion. But seconds later she slumps to the floor as bullets bounce around her. We don’t know if she survived.”

The rationale for the Hannibal Directive was further explained by Brigadier General Barak Hiram, who ordered a tank to open fire on a home to resolve a hostage situation in Kibbutz Be’eri, “even at the cost of civilian casualties.” The strike killed 12 Israelis, including 12-year-old Liel Hetzroni, and dozens of Hamas fighters. “I am very afraid that if we return to Sorana [Israeli military headquarters in Tel Aviv] and try to hold all kinds of negotiations [to free hostages], we may fall into a trap that will tie our hands and not allow us to do what is required, which is to go in, manipulate, and kill them [Hamas]…”

Read more …

“.. a European Union operation in the Red Sea, which is expected to be announced in the coming days..”

Europe’s Big Powers Back Out Of US-Led Bombing Campaign Of Yemen (Cradle)

Europe is divided over the US-UK bombing of Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries, as Italy, Spain, and France have refused to take part in the operation. Washington and London carried out late-night strikes on Yemen Thursday evening, which targeted several areas of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. The US and UK are seeking to target Yemen’s Ansarallah-led forces for their efforts to target Israeli-linked ships in the Red Sea in response to Israel’s brutal bombing campaign in Gaza, which many view as genocide. The US-UK strikes were supported by Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, and Bahrain, who all signed a joint statement backing the bombing. However, Europe’s major powers, France, Italy, and Spain, refused to take part in the strikes and declined to sign the statement in support of them.

The Italian government, led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, said it was not asked to participate in the US-UK attacks on Yemen. It stated further that even if a request had been made, it could not have participated without a debate and vote in parliament to authorize military action. The Italian deputy prime minister said Italy could not have participated at such short notice “because the constitution does not allow us to commit acts of war without a debate in parliament.” However, a government source told Reuters that Rome had been asked to participate but refused because it preferred a “calming policy.” The French government, led by Emmanuel Macron, also ruled out joint action with the US and UK, unlike in Libya in 2011 and against ISIS in Syria in 2015. French Rear Admiral Emmanuel Slaars said on Thursday that although the French Navy is active in protecting French ships in the Red Sea, Paris’s current mandate did not include striking Ansarallah directly.

The Telegraph reported that an anonymous French official said Paris feared that by joining the US-led assault on Yemen’s Ansarallah-led forces, it would lose any leverage it had in mediating between Hezbollah and Israel. France says it is focusing its diplomatic efforts on avoiding an escalation in Lebanon, where Hezbollah has been fighting Israel on the border since 7 October, also in support of Gaza. In Spain, Minister of Defense Margarita Robles reiterated Friday that Spain will not participate in any military operation against Yemen. She said this included a rejection of participating in a European Union operation in the Red Sea, which is expected to be announced in the coming days. “Spain is a country firmly committed to peace in the world, precisely for that reason we have 17 missions and more than 3,000 people in many places,” Robles acknowledged. “From the beginning we have said that in the Red Sea we understand that Spain is not going to participate at this time.”

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“..government had possessed the details of the group’s plans to strike Israel, code-named Jericho Wall, for over a year without sharing the information widely within Israel or with the US.”

CIA Providing Intel On Hamas Leaders To Israel – NYT (RT)

The CIA is helping Israel gather intelligence on top Hamas officials, for targeting purposes, unnamed US officials have told the New York Times. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan ordered the creation of a task force focused on Hamas in the days following the militant group’s October 7 attack on Israel, the sources claimed. The unit is focused exclusively on high-level officials. The CIA also raised its priority level for Hamas from level four to two, officials said, freeing up additional funding for the collection of intelligence. However, with Gaza’s borders even more tightly locked down than they were before the war and communications networks being deliberately disrupted by Israel, the Times acknowledged that “it will take time to develop new [human] sources.” Washington had previously relied on West Jerusalem for information about Hamas but was alarmed to learn that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government had possessed the details of the group’s plans to strike Israel, code-named Jericho Wall, for over a year without sharing the information widely within Israel or with the US.

The US reportedly hopes that focusing on high-level Palestinian militants will reverse some of the negative fallout from West Jerusalem’s devastation of Gaza’s civilian population and infrastructure. Officials told the Times they were concerned that Israel’s focus on low-level Hamas operatives was “misguided,” explaining these could be easily replaced. Additionally, they said, the attendant risk to the civilian population was excessive and could even galvanize non-combatants to join the militant resistance. The head of US Central Command, General Michael Erik Kurilla, and several other high-level military officials have traveled to Israel on more than one occasion to urge them to focus on Hamas leaders instead of mid- or low-level fighters, according to the report. Israel claimed at the end of 2023 that it had killed about a third of the 20,000 to 25,000 Hamas fighters believed to reside in Gaza.

Killing or capturing the central Hamas figures believed to be responsible for the October 7 raid that killed 1,200 Israelis and kidnapped another 240 back to Gaza would be a major public relations victory for the beleaguered Netanyahu government. US officials believe at least one of them – the group’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar – is holed up in a tunnel system deep under the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis. The other, military commander Mohammed Deif, has avoided capture by Israel’s security services for decades. Israel has killed upwards of 23,000 Palestinians in Gaza since October 7 and seriously injured tens of thousands more, according to the enclave’s Health Ministry. The resulting international outcry recently culminated in charges of genocide filed against Israel by South Africa in the International Court of Justice.

Read more …

“The Biden administration could have gotten Gonzalo Lira back with a phone call but didn’t lift a finger. Therefore, the Ukrainian government knew it could act with impunity,” Sacks wrote..”

Musk Reacts To Death Of Gonzalo Lira (RT)

Elon Musk has condemned a lack of action on the part of US officials in the case of an American journalist, Gonzalo Lira, who had been jailed by Kiev and who ultimately died in Ukrainian custody. Authorities there allegedly ignored Lira’s serious health problems for a long time, while he remained behind bars on accusations of justifying Moscow’s military operation against Kiev. Lira moved to Ukraine and married a local woman in 2010. When long-simmering tensions between Moscow and Kiev turned to military engagement in February 2022, the journalist started actively covering the fighting on social media. He also blamed the development on Kiev and its Western backers, asserting that Ukraine had no chance of winning against Russia.

Lira, who was 55 when he died, had also been criticizing efforts by Western media to portray Ukraine as a “democracy,” pointing to rampant corruption and publishing a list of Zelensky’s opponents who, he claimed, had been “disappeared” by various authorities. The US State Department confirmed Lira’s death to Russia’s TASS news agency on Friday. He had been in pre-trial detention in Ukraine’s city of Kharkov since May 2023. News website The Grayzone has reported that, since last October, he had severe health problems from pneumonia and a collapsed lung. The Ukrainian authorities only acknowledged the issue on December 22, according to Lira’s own note, cited by the news outlet.

“This is super messed up!” Musk wrote on X (formerly, Twitter) on Saturday, commenting on another post by an entrepreneur and investor, David Sacks, who also slammed US President Joe Biden’s inaction in Lira’s case. “The Biden administration could have gotten Gonzalo Lira back with a phone call but didn’t lift a finger. Therefore, the Ukrainian government knew it could act with impunity,” Sacks wrote. He also described Lira’s case as evidence that Ukraine is controlled by a “thuggish and unmoored regime.” Last month Musk questioned the US approach to Kiev, wondering how it was possible that “an American citizen is in prison in Ukraine after we sent over a $100 billion” to support Kiev amid its conflict with Russia.

He also said that it was a “serious problem” if a person in Ukraine got jailed for “simply criticizing” President Vladimir Zelensky. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO then called on the Ukrainian president to clarify the situation. On Saturday, the issue was also addressed by Donald Trump Jr, son of former US President Donald Trump. He decried Lira’s death as a “murder” and questioned the US policy of sending aid to a country where American citizens are killed. Kiev has insisted that it has rightfully targeted Lira over his activities, with the Security Service of Ukraine repeatedly stating the journalist has been accused of “producing and distributing materials justifying the armed aggression,” as well as disseminating “fakes” about the country’s armed forces.

Lira Nuland

Read more …

X thread. The comments show that not everyone’s a fan..

Friendly Fire (Vivek Ramaswamy)

Yes, I saw President Trump’s Truth Social post. It’s an unfortunate move by his campaign advisors, I don’t think friendly fire is helpful. Donald Trump was the greatest President of the 21st century, and I’m not going to criticize him in response to this late attack. I’ve met tens of thousands of Iowans across 390+ events here, and they are deeply worried – and so am I – that this “system” won’t allow Donald J. Trump anywhere near the White House again. It seems they will stop at *nothing* to keep him away from power. I’m worried for Trump. I’m worried for our country. I’ve stood up against the persecutions against Trump, and I’ve defended him at every step.

Vivek Obama

I showed up at the Miami courthouse in solidarity following his first federal indictment. I filed a FOIA demand to the Biden DOJ. I submitted an amicus brief this week with the U.S. Supreme Court calling on them to overturn Colorado’s ruling. I pledged to remove myself from Maine’s & Colorado’s primary ballots if they remove Trump, calling on DeSantis and Haley to do the same. But we have to open our eyes. Last time it was a man-made pandemic & Big Tech election interference. Now, the same billionaires funding the lawsuits against Trump are the ones trying to prop up Nikki Haley. The same MSM blasting Trump is lavishing praise on Nikki.

They want to narrow this to a two-horse race between Trump & Haley, eliminate Trump (one way or other), & trot their puppet into the White House. We can’t fall for that trap. 1 year from now, we won’t look back and say we were shocked that it happened. We’ll kick ourselves for not stopping it. Our movement must live on. America-First didn’t start in 2016. It started in 1776. We owe it to our Founding Fathers to do the right thing for our country. I want to save Trump & to save this country. Let’s do it together. You won’t hear any friendly fire from me.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1746319944772432378

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Honest mistakes?

Judge Berates Lawyers for ‘Inadvertently’ Disclosing Epstein Victim Names |(Sp.)

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York earlier unsealed scores of documents connected to Jeffrey Epstein, identifying multiple individuals, some of whom include prominent politicians and notable public figures. Lawyers failed to properly redact some of the files tied to the Jeffrey Epstein case, harming the late convicted pedophile’s victims, District Judge Loretta Preska has admitted. According to the judge, the lawyers’ failure to remove classified information resulted in the disclosure of photos, phone numbers, and email addresses of people tied to the case, including Epstein’s victims, referred to as ‘Jane Does.’ “Counsel is thus reminded of the human cost of inadvertently disclosing the names and identifying information of Does, who should have remained under seal,” Preska pointed out.

The victims and others “have reported fearing for their safety and the safety of loved ones,” the judge said, adding that their reputations and personal relationships have been affected. In early January, Preska ordered the release of nearly 200 names tied to the Epstein case, although two people requested their identification remain sealed for the time being, due to the possibility of physical harm. The names include accusers and witnesses in the case. The filings include excerpts of depositions with former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and Virgina Giuffre, who previously accused Maxwell of facilitating her sexual abuse after being introduced to Epstein.

Maxwell was sentenced in 2022 to 20 years in prison on a variety of charges, including sex trafficking for her involvement with Epstein’s criminal doing. Epstein faced 45 years in prison before he was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell on August 10, 2019. It happened more than a decade after his first conviction for soliciting prostitution from a minor, for which he was registered as a sex offender. In the latter case, he was accused of running a “vast network” of underage girls for sex. He had pleaded not guilty. His death sparked controversies and wild conspiracy theories that alleged he was silenced in order to protect his more powerful associates.

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They want 66 more years.

FBI Stonewalls Over Seth Rich Laptop Production (ZH)

The FBI has asked a federal court for a second delay after being ordered to produce information from Seth Rich’s computer to a Texas resident, Brian Huddleston who has sued the bureau. Huddleston says that the court should force the agency to produce the information before the 2024 presidential election, as it may show that Rich, not Russians, was Wikileaks’ source of leaked emails which were damaging to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US election. On Thursday, the FBI asked Obama-appointed US District Judge Amos Mazzant to reconsider their request not to produce the documents, and should be withheld under exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The filing was a response to Mazzant’s Nov. 2023 order to hand over images of Mr. Rich’s personal computer, as well as an index of his work computer.

It gets better; the FBI initially claimed that they didn’t have said records – only to later admit to being in possession of Rich’s personal and work computers, along with other items. As if it wasn’t suspicious enough that the FBI is stonewalling on information related to a ‘mugging gone wrong.’ According to Ty Clevenger, Huddleston’s attorney, the judge should deny the FBI’s latest bid for a production delay. “A presidential election is fast approaching, and voters have the right to know (1) whether the FBI knowingly framed one of the frontrunners, i.e., former President Trump; and (2) whether the FBI is still trying to cover up its partisan political activities,” he wrote.

“It is bad enough that FBI personnel took opposition research from the Hillary Clinton campaign and used it to open a bad-faith investigation of Mr. Trump, thereby sabotaging him for more than two years,” Clevenger added. “It would be considerably worse and considerably more scandalous, however, if FBI personnel knew all along that Seth Rich—not Russian hackers—was responsible for leaking DNC emails to Wikileaks.” Many believe that Rich was indeed the source of the leaked DNC emails provided to WikiLeaks – a rumor which was fueled by the odd circumstances surrounding his death, the sudden retirement of D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier five weeks after the murder, and an email John Podesta sent to Hillary’s inner circle about ‘making an example’ of a suspected leaker, written more than a year before Rich’s death.

Troves of emails were published by Wikileaks giving insight into the corrupt inner machination of the Democratic National Committee. While Rich was never officially revealed as the source of the leaked emails, it has been heavily suggested. Julian Assange was one key figure who made that suggestion when he highlighted Rich’s murder during a 2016 interview in which he was asked about the risks that come with operating WikiLeaks. Megavideo founder and entrepeneur Kim Dotcom said in May of 2017 that he worked with Rich to connect him with Assange. At one point, Assange heavily implied Rich was his source for the DNC emails. Meanwhile, WikiLeaks offered a $130,000 reward for information leading to the murderer of Rich.

Read more …

In the most secure elections in US history, a man who didn’t campaign got the most votes in US history..

Voter Fraud Convictions Challenge Narrative of Secure Elections (ET)

Superior Court Judge William Clark nullified the results of a Democrat mayoral primary in November 2023 and ordered a new election. The ruling was based on hours of video evidence showing hundreds of illegally harvested absentee ballots being stuffed into drop boxes in Bridgeport, Connecticut. “The videos are shocking to the court and should be shocking to all the parties,” Judge Clark wrote in his ruling. A California judge overturned the result in a 2021 Compton City Council run-off race that was initially decided by one vote. The judge tossed four fraudulent ballots cast by people not legally registered in the jurisdiction. Five people pleaded either guilty or no contest to conspiring to commit election fraud. After discovering that 66 of the 84 absentee ballots cast in a 2021 Democrat primary for alderman in Aberdeen, Mississippi, were invalid and shouldn’t have been counted, a judge ordered a new runoff election.

Police arrested a notary for notarizing ballots without watching voters sign them or checking their identification. The court also found evidence of intimidation at the polls involving candidate Nicholas Holliday, Mayor Maurice Howard, and Henry Randal, the town’s police chief. The above examples of election fraud have occurred since the contentious 2020 presidential election that President Donald Trump alleged was marred with fraud. Democrats, meanwhile, have cast the former president’s assertions about the 2020 election as the “big lie” and generally contend that election fraud is extremely rare and inconsequential. In a June 2023 Congressional hearing, Rep. Joe Morelli (D-N.Y.) called Republican members’ attitudes about widespread voter fraud “cynical” and the series of election integrity hearings they were conducting in the House “tedious” and “redundant. Mr. Morelli said Republicans are fixated on an “unproven lack of integrity” that they claim exists.

However, an ongoing study by the Heritage Foundation details widespread instances of election fraud across the United States and shows that the illicit activity has resulted in election results being overturned in at least a dozen races. In a number of cases, the abuse of the system is well-calculated and organized, but in most instances violations appear to have been committed by individuals acting independently. Case studies show that some perpetrators exploit the aged, mentally infirm, and homeless in order to garner a few more votes for their preferred candidate. Heritage’s findings were bolstered by a Rasmussen Reports and Heartland Institute poll of 1,085 likely voters published in December 2023.

The poll found that 21 percent of those who voted by absentee or mail-in ballot in 2020 admitted to filling out a ballot “in part or in full” for someone else, which is illegal. Of the 30 percent who said they voted by mail or absentee ballot in 2020, 19 percent said a friend or family member filled out their ballot, in part or in full, on their behalf. One-fifth said they signed a ballot or ballot envelope “on behalf of a friend or family member, with or without their permission,” the poll results state. Seventeen percent of those who voted by mail in 2020 said they cast a ballot in a state where they’re no longer a permanent resident, which is illegal. Among the 1,085 voters questioned, 8 percent said that a friend, family member, political party, or organization offered “to pay or reward them for voting in the 2020 election,” according to the poll.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Czech cartoon

 

 

Tasmanian tiger

 

 

Loved

 

 

 

 

Trust jump

 

 


Tobias Messerli, Utzingen, Switzerland.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 122024
 
 January 12, 2024  Posted by at 9:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  81 Responses »


Salvador Dalí White calm 1936

 

The Georgia Case Against Trump Should Be Paused (Gregg Jarrett)
Fani Willis Coordinated with J6 Committee Before Launching Trump Case (PB)
Biden White House Has Been Prosecuting Trump (JTN)
US Confirms Ukraine Military Supplies Have Stopped (RT)
Ex-Ukrainian MP Calls For Corruption Charges Against Biden (RT)
Ukraine Prosecutor ‘Fired’ By Biden May Be Killed, Ex-MP Warns (RT)
The Russian Art of War: How the West Led Ukraine to Defeat (Baud)
Israel Cannot Be a Colonial Power and a Democracy (Chris Hedges)
What Israel Faces at The Hague (Gareth Porter)
Questions For NYT About Shoddy ‘Hamas Mass Rape’ Report (GZ)
The EU’s Worst Nightmare: Pitchforks! (Butler)
US School Boots Out Students To Shelter Migrants (RT)
Trump Runs On ‘Largest Deportation Effort’ If Reelected (SAC)
X, Drugs, Politics: What’s Behind The Latest Attack On Elon Musk? (Amar)

 

 

A reader sent me this, saying “I’ve had a graphic in my head for awhile now that I was hoping would appear in the public domain but I haven’t seen anyone post it yet. Finally I just hacked it out on an old version of Photoshop..”

 

 

These people are serious (-ly ill)

 

 

Ben Carson

 

 

 

 

ICJ

 

 

Voter fraud
https://twitter.com/i/status/1745617977750196505

 

 

Letitia
https://twitter.com/i/status/1745451111870525938

 

 


No Europe (maybe Belgium?!), no North America.

 

 

 

 

“Willis might want to consult with a criminal defense attorney for some advice. Just a suggestion.”

The Georgia Case Against Trump Should Be Paused (Gregg Jarrett)

Sex, money, and power. That’s what drove District Attorney Fani Willis to bring flimsy racketeering and conspiracy charges against former President Donald Trump and others in Georgia, according to a recent court filing demanding that the case be toss out. The scheme that Willis purportedly concocted reads like a steamy Harlequin romance novel, replete with a secret lover and luxury trysts financed by taxpayer dollars as they plotted to elevate her career by destroying a political opponent seeking to retake the White House. Pull up a beach chair and dig in. The salaciously shocking accusations by Trump co-defendant Michael Roman threatens to upend the Fulton County prosecution by disqualifying the DA and even dismissing entirely her prosecutions for election interference.

There’s a lot of slime to unpack here. But it begins with the curious decision made by Willis to hire —allegedly without authorization— a private attorney by the name of Nathan Wade to honcho the case against Trump, even though he has scant experience in felony cases. That would normally make him an unqualified prosecutor. So, what was going on? Perhaps Wade has other skills because Roman claims that the Trump-hating DA and her married subordinate were having an affair before and after she retained him. So far, neither one has denied the liaisons. To complicate matters, Willis has been subpoenaed by Wade’s wife to appear as a witness in their divorce case on January 23. That’ll be stimulating. Oh…but there’s more.

County records show that Wade was paid a whopping $654,000 for his “work,” which is hard to fathom by any compensation standard. The court motion contends that Willis and her paramour then used some of the cash for lavish vacations taken together in California, Florida, and the Caribbean. I’m guessing there wasn’t much incriminating Trump evidence to be gathered in those venues. But you never know what you’ll find on board one of those popular cruise lines. Billing records also show that Wade traveled to Washington DC for two different meetings at the Biden White House, which are identified on the invoices as 8 hours each. This would put a lie to Willis’s earlier statements that her prosecution of Trump was not discussed or coordinated with his election opponent.

I have long argued that the Georgia case is tainted by the stench of political prejudice, manipulated evidence, and a shameful contortion of the racketeering laws. But now, one is left to wonder whether it was “pillow talk” that led to inventing charges against Trump. In a sane world, the Georgia trial judge should hold an open hearing and demand honest answers. The accusations are serious, the conflict of interest is self-evident, and the ethical impropriety is severe. If warranted, the judge must refer the matter to the state attorney general, Christopher Carr, for immediate investigation of Willis and Wade. Obviously, the District Attorney’s office cannot be trusted to investigate itself. And neither can the feds appointed by Biden and controlled by his lapdog Merrick Garland at the DOJ.

In the meantime, the misbegotten racketeering case against Trump should be halted until an independent probe is concluded so that the public can be assured that this dubious prosecution was not poisoned at the outset by unethical or even corrupt conduct. If the allegations have validity, Willis’s actions demand her removal from the case and, potentially, the charges dropped against Trump and all other defendants. The previously negotiated plea agreements could be vacated due to prosecutorial misconduct. Willis might want to consult with a criminal defense attorney for some advice. Just a suggestion. Did she and her lover conspire to nail Trump while enriching themselves and promoting her political career as the darling of Democrats who brought down Joe Biden’s nemesis? It sure looks like it.

Funneling county money to your amorous partner and then using it jointly for extravagant recreation smacks of misappropriation of public funds and honest services fraud. As the court filing notes, Willis and Wade were “profiting significantly from this prosecution at the expense of taxpayers.” One can even contend, as Roman does, that it was Willis and Wade who were running an organized criminal enterprise known as racketeering, not Trump. But that’s probably a bridge too far.

Read more …

The White House AND the J6 Committee…

Fani Willis Coordinated with J6 Committee Before Launching Trump Case (PB)

There is more evidence of political motivation behind the Trump “racketeering” case launched in Fulton County, Georgia last year. According to a new report in Politico, the Fulton County prosecutor got help from none other than January 6 committee, which was organized and run during the previous Congress under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The partisan coordination between the January 6 committee and the Fulton County D.A.’s office reveals more insight into Trump opponents’ relentless efforts to criminalize legal objections to the 2020 election. “Georgia prosecutors probing Donald Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election got an early boost in the spring of 2022. It came from another set of investigators who were way ahead of them: the House Jan. 6 select committee,” Politico’s report noted.

“Committee staff quietly met with lawyers and agents working for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in mid-April 2022, just as she prepared to convene a special grand jury investigation,” the report continued. “In the previously unreported meeting, the Jan. 6 committee aides let the district attorney’s team review — but not keep — a limited set of evidence they had gathered.” “Over the next few months, committee staff also had a series of phone calls with Willis’ team,” the report added. “They answered the prosecutors’ questions and shared insight on matters like Trump’s false electors gambit and his efforts to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Both of those ploys ultimately featured prominently in the criminal charges that Willis brought against Trump and his allies last summer.”

“The contacts between the committee and Willis’ team also helped prosecutors prepare for interviews with key witnesses,” the report noted. The Politico report continues to shed new light on the contacts between the partisan January 6 committee and the Fulton County D.A.’s office, again, framing legal objections to the 2020 election as “election subversion.” “The content of the meetings and calls was described by two former committee officials familiar with the outreach, who were granted anonymity to speak candidly about the contacts,” Politico noted in the exclusive report. “The timing was corroborated by exhibits attached to new court filings in Willis’ ongoing prosecution of Trump and 14 co-defendants for their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

“The committee aided Willis’ nascent probe even as it rebuffed the Justice Department’s requests for material in the separate federal criminal probe of Trump’s election subversion,” it continued. The Fulton County D.A.’s office replied that it was only granted access to now-public information. “As the January 6th Committee’s final report transparently stated, the Committee shared information — all of which is now public — with prosecutors conducting concurrent, independent investigations.”

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Changed the title. Enough beating around the bush.

Original title: “Georgia prosecutor’s meeting with Biden officials the latest evidence of WH hand in Trump cases”
Subtitle: “The Biden White House had previously worked with the National Archives and FBI to provide “special access” to Trump’s presidential documents.”

Biden White House Has Been Prosecuting Trump (JTN)

The special prosecutor in the Fulton County, Georgia case against former President Donald Trump sent an invoice to the district attorney which included charges for meetings with the Biden White House officials, according to court documents, raising questions about the White House’s involvement with criminal cases against Trump. This revelation comes after Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor, and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis came under scrutiny because of the court filings which allege that the two have been engaged in an affair while the DA’s office paid Wade over $650,000 in legal fees since January 2022. The new information regarding the White House Counsel meeting with Wade also follows previous reports by Just the News that the Biden White House worked to facilitate “special access” for the FBI to 15 boxes of Trump presidential documents that he had returned to the National Archives.

The new court filing, which is part of a Georgia case against Michael Roman, a Trump codefendant, shows that the special prosecutor met on at least one occasion with Biden’s White House Counsel. Wade indicated that this meeting was part of his travel to Athens, Ga., on May 23, 2022, according to an invoice that he submitted to the DA’s office. “Travel to Athens; Conf with White House Counsel,” the invoice reads. Wade charged the DA’s office $2,000 in attorney’s fees for the work. The invoices provided in the suit show at least one more meeting with Biden White House staff, on November 18, 2022, that appears to have taken place in Washington, D.C., though there is no record of a visit by Wade in the White House visitor logs. “Interview with DC/White House,” the invoice reads. Wade charged another $2,000 in fees for this meeting.

The November meeting with undisclosed White House staff was held just three days after Trump, the widely anticipated election opponent of Biden, announced that he was running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Roman’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, filed the motion calling for the court to dismiss the criminal charges against her client, arguing that Willis “never had legal authority to appoint the special prosecutor, who assisted in obtaining both grand jury indictments.” The motion also called for Willis and Wade to be disqualified from office and removed from the prosecution, respectively, because of an “improper, clandestine personal relationship” between the two during the case, according to the filing. Merchant is interested in sealed court records that are a part of the special prosecutor Wade’s divorce, which may shed light on his alleged relationship with Willis. Merchant told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she reviewed these filings and is asking a judge to unseal the case, arguing that they were improperly sealed.

Wade started his special prosecutor contract with Willis the day before he filed for divorce in Cobb County, Ga., in November 2021, but the filing was improperly sealed, the court document also states. Willis hired Wade to prosecute Trump, and he has been paid nearly $654,000 in legal fees from January 2022 through December 2023, according to the court filing. Willis’ office didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. Willis spokeswoman Pallavi Bailey said that the district attorney’s office would respond to the allegations “through appropriate court filings,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Roman, the former president, and 17 other co-conspirators were charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, among other Georgia state counts, for their alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in favor of Trump. Three former Trump attorneys, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, as well as Republican poll watcher Scott Hall, have all pleaded guilty in the case, while all other defendants pleaded not guilty. The Fulton County case is one of four ongoing criminal cases brought against Trump.

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Secure the border now?

US Confirms Ukraine Military Supplies Have Stopped (RT)

The military aid Washington has been providing Kiev has come to a halt, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday. His remarks came amid the resurgence of debate in Congress about the importance of continuing support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. “We have issued the last drawdown package that we had funding to support, and that’s why it’s critical that Congress move on that national security supplemental request,” Kirby told reporters at a press briefing, admitting that “the assistance that [the US had] provided has now ground to a halt.” The last aid package worth $250 million was authorized by President Joe Biden in late December through the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows for urgent deliveries of weapons to allies without congressional approval.

Biden has been asking Congress to vote for his more than $100 billion supplemental budget request, of which more than $60 billion is slated for Ukraine. Republicans have blocked the measure, demanding that the White House and congressional Democrats agree to their plan of tightening security at the border with Mexico. Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shalanda Young told the press in January that the drawdown authority “is not going to get big tranches of equipment into Ukraine,” describing the situation as “dire.” Earlier in the month, Pentagon spokesman, Major General Patrick Ryder, warned that the army was running out of options “to replenish the stocks.”

While Biden has publicly pledged to back Kiev for “as long as it takes,” some Republicans and the media have been questioning Washington’s existing strategy, given that Ukraine’s much-hyped counteroffensive ended in a failure. Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top general, admitted last year that the conflict was “at a stalemate.” EU officials are also increasingly acknowledging that the deliveries of weapons to Ukraine have been delayed due to production and logistics issues. “Europe doesn’t know how to fight wars,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said in a recent interview. “Unfortunately, our friends spent too much time deliberating on how and when to ramp up their production of weapons and ammunition.”

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“..Biden’s partners in the corruption business in Ukraine finance terrorist acts, thus avoiding responsibility for corruption in Ukraine..”

Ex-Ukrainian MP Calls For Corruption Charges Against Biden (RT)

The Republican-led effort to impeach US President Joe Biden should include an indictment for facilitating corruption in Kiev, former Ukrainian MP Andrey Derkach said in an interview published on Wednesday. The ongoing impeachment inquiry against Biden, dismissed by US Democrats as a partisan publicity stunt, is looking into the president’s potential involvement in influence peddling in Ukraine by his son, Hunter. It is also investigating possible interference in the 2020 US presidential election, during which reporting about Biden Jr.’s laptop was suppressed by partisan American media and tech giants. Former Ukrainian MP Derkach is a controversial figure who worked with Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s lawyer, who investigated Biden’s ties with Ukraine. Speaking to Italian-US journalist Simona Mangiante in the Belarusian capital Minsk, Derkach claimed there was substantial evidence of the Biden family enriching itself in Ukraine, which is allegedly being ignored by US authorities.

“What’s important to me in the congressional investigation is not to bring Biden in for influence peddling. It is important for me that the final document of the Congress says that the money stolen from my fellow Ukrainians was taken out of Ukraine… and given to… Biden,” he said. As vice president, Joe Biden was the leading official on Ukraine in Barack Obama’s administration. A widely publicized example of Biden’s influence on Kiev came in 2016, when he pressured the country into sacking its prosecutor general. At the time, Viktor Shokin was investigating Burisma, a gas firm that listed the then-vice president’s son Hunter Biden on its board. Critics have accused Joe Biden of abusing his position to cover for his son, though the US president has claimed he was merely removing a corrupt official from power. Derkach, who has been accused by the US and Ukraine of working for Russia, lives in exile and says he is focused on anti-corruption advocacy.

Anyone who wants to expose alleged Ukraine-linked criminality in the Biden family is routinely dismissed by American officials as agents of Moscow, Derkach argues. In his interview with Mangiante, the former lawmaker implied that US influence on Ukraine allowed Joe Biden ensure that anyone involved in the alleged corruption schemes was let off the hook. He cited the example of Burisma head Nikolay Zlochevsky, who in 2020 was accused of sending $6 million in cash to people investigating him in exchange for closing the case. Despite being caught red-handed, neither Zlochevsky nor his middlemen were duly punished, Derkach said. The businessman effectively received a slap on the wrist last year in the form of a $1,800 fine, he pointed out.

Zlochevsky has also donated tens of millions of dollars to Kiev’s war effort against Russia, which some Ukrainian media have speculated impacted the outcome of the case. According to Derkach, some of the money went to the GUR, Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, and was presumably used to fund its operations. The agency’s leadership makes “no secret of the fact that they carry out terrorist acts and political assassinations for extra-budgetary cash. Once again: Biden’s partners in the corruption business in Ukraine finance terrorist acts, thus avoiding responsibility for corruption in Ukraine,” the former official alleged.

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“Shokin is now a hostage on Ukrainian territory. As far as I know, he is not allowed to leave Ukraine. He is under the total control of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU)..”

Ukraine Prosecutor ‘Fired’ By Biden May Be Killed, Ex-MP Warns (RT)

The former Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Viktor Shokin, who was famously sacked by then-President Pyotr Poroshenko, under pressure from US president Joe Biden, is being used by the current government in Kiev as a bargaining chip with Washington, controversial former MP Andrey Derkach has claimed in an interview. Biden had Poroshenko sack Shokin in 2016, when he was Vice President in the Obama administration, and threatened to withhold a $1 billion loan otherwise. The now-incumbent US president claimed that the prosecutor was corrupt, and also bragged about getting rid of the man. Critics of Biden have alleged that he used his office to derail an investigation into the gas firm Burisma, which infamously retained his son Hunter on a well-paid board position during his father’s tenure as Obama’s VP.

Derkach made his explosive claims in an interview with Italian-US journalist Simona Mangiante, which she published on Wednesday on X (formerly Twitter). It was recorded in Minsk, Belarus. “Shokin is now a hostage on Ukrainian territory. As far as I know, he is not allowed to leave Ukraine. He is under the total control of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU),” he claimed. The senior figures interested in information possessed by Shokin are President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the US side, and President Vladimir Zelensky and his chief-of-staff Andrey Yermak on the Ukrainian side, according to Derkach. He claimed that last October Shokin had contacts with two attorneys “working with the US Congress,” Jake Greenberg and Clark Abourisk.

The SBU “recorded those conversations, where Shokin told the Congress about real criminal acts of Blinken and Biden, and about the corruption of the Biden family.” The former official said he’d been tipped off about the surveillance by sources inside the SBU. Derkach is an intelligence officer by background and served in the Ukrainian agency before being elected to the parliament. He claimed that his sources had told him that “the question of liquidating Mr Shokin on the territory of Ukraine is under consideration.” He urged the US Congress to ensure the man’s safety and extraction from his home country. During the hour-long interview Derkach spoke in Russian and touched on a number of sensitive aspects of US-Ukraine relations, including those he’d been personally involved in.

He was the official that published in 2020 what he claimed to be recordings of conversations that Biden and Poroshenko had in 2015-2016. In the interview this week he also claimed that he was acting with the blessing of Zelensky’s office, which was seeking to discredit the former president. The US government branded Derkach a Russian agent in 2022 and indicted him for allegedly interfering in the 2020 presidential elections. Last year, Ukraine accused him of treason, claiming he was working for Moscow. Zelensky stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship in January 2023. Derkach has denied the accusations and claims in the interview that the Ukrainian charges against him were brought after Kiev failed to dispose of him by other means, on a direct request from Antony Blinken.

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“This is an excerpt from Colonel Jacques Baud’s latest book, The Russian Art of War: How the West Led Ukraine to Defeat (L’art de la guerre russe: Comment l’occident conduire l’ukraine a la echec)”

The Russian Art of War: How the West Led Ukraine to Defeat (Baud)

Throughout the Cold War period, the Soviet Union saw itself as the spearhead of a historical struggle that would lead to a confrontation between the “capitalist” system and “progressive forces.” This perception of a permanent and inescapable war led the Soviets to study war in a quasi-scientific way, and to structure this thinking into an architecture of military thought that has no equal in the Western world. The problem with the vast majority of our so-called military experts is their inability to understand the Russian approach to war. It is the result of an approach we have already seen in waves of terrorist attacks—the adversary is so stupidly demonized that we refrain from understanding his way of thinking.

As a result, we are unable to develop strategies, articulate our forces, or even equip them for the realities of war. The corollary of this approach is that our frustrations are translated by unscrupulous media into a narrative that feeds hatred and increases our vulnerability. We are thus unable to find rational, effective solutions to the problem. The way Russians understand conflict is holistic. In other words, they see the processes that develop and lead to the situation at any given moment. This explains why Vladimir Putin’s speeches invariably include a return to history. In the West, we tend to focus on X moment and try to see how it might evolve. We want an immediate response to the situation we see today. The idea that “from the understanding of how the crisis arose comes the way to resolve it” is totally foreign to the West.

In September 2023, an English-speaking journalist even pulled out the “duck test” for me: “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.” In other words, all the West needs to assess a situation is an image that fits their prejudices. Reality is much more subtle than the duck model…. The reason the Russians are better than the West in Ukraine is that they see the conflict as a process; whereas we see it as a series of separate actions. The Russians see events as a film. We see them as photographs. They see the forest, while we focus on the trees. That is why we place the start of the conflict on February 24, 2022, or the start of the Palestinian conflict on October 7, 2023. We ignore the contexts that bother us and wage conflicts we do not understand. That is why we lose our wars…

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“Religious nationalism is to religion what National Socialism was to socialism..”

Israel Cannot Be a Colonial Power and a Democracy (Chris Hedges)

The scholar, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who Isaiah Berlin called the conscience of Israel, warned that, “If Israel did not separate church and state, it would give rise to a corrupt rabbinate that would warp Judaism into a fascistic cult. Religious nationalism is to religion what National Socialism was to socialism,” warned Leibowitz, who died in 1994. He understood that the blind veneration of the military, especially after the 1967 war that captured the West Bank in East Jerusalem was dangerous and would lead to the ultimate destruction of democracy. “Our situation will deteriorate to that of a second Vietnam, to a war and constant escalation without prospect of ultimate resolution,” he wrote. He foresaw that, “The Arabs would be the working people and the Jews, the administrators, inspectors, officials and police, mainly secret police. A state ruling a hostile population of 1.5 million to 2 million foreigners would necessarily become a secret police state.

With all that implies for education, free speech and democratic institutions. The corruption characteristic of every colonial regime would also prevail in the state of Israel. The administration would have to suppress Arab insurgency on the one hand and acquire Arab quiz links on the other. There is also good reason to fear that the Israeli Defense Force, which has been until now, a people’s army would, as a result of being transformed into an army of occupation to generate and its commanders who will have become military governors, will resemble their colleagues in other nations.” He warned that the rise of virulent racism would consume Israeli society. He knew that prolonged occupation of the Palestinians would spawn concentration camps for the occupied, and that in his words, “Israel would not deserve to exist and it will not be worthwhile to preserve it.”

The decision to obliterate Gaza has long been the dream of Israeli fanatics, heirs of the fascistic movement led by the extremist Meir Kahane, who was barred from running for office and whose Kach Party was outlawed in 1994 and declared a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States. These Jewish extremists who today make up the ruling coalition government are orchestrating the genocide in Gaza, where hundreds of Palestinians are being killed or wounded a day. They champion the iconography and language of their homegrown fascism. Jewish identity and Jewish nationalism are the Zionist versions of blood and soil. Jewish supremacy is sanctified by God as is the slaughter of the Palestinians who are compared to the biblical Amalekites massacred by the Israelites. Enemies, usually Muslims, slated for extinction are subhuman who embody evil.

Violence and the threat of violence are the only forms of communication those outside the magic circle of Jewish nationalism understand. Millions of Muslims and Christians, including those with Israeli citizenship, are to be purged. Joining me to discuss what the occupation of Palestine has done to Israeli society and what the results of the current murderous campaign in Gaza and the West Bank portends for Israel in the future is Ilan Pappe, Professor of History of the University of Exeter in Great Britain, who has described what Israel does to the Palestinians as incremental genocide. He has written numerous books including The Biggest Prison on Earth: A History of the Occupied Territories and The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, which his French publisher has ceased publishing despite a surge in sales since the October 7th attacks, part of the concerted campaign by Zionists and their supporters to discredit and censor narratives that are critical of Israel.

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“..As many as 312 Palestinian families in Gaza lost over 10 members each in just the first month of the bombing alone…”

What Israel Faces at The Hague (Gareth Porter)

When the International Court of Justice opens its consideration of the case against Israel’s genocidal policy towards Palestinians living in Gaza on Thursday it will have before it a petition from South Africa, which initiated the case. In legal terms it is a request that the court decides on “provisional measures” to protect the Gazan people from “imminent and irreparable loss,” in other words, to stop Israel’s assault on Gaza. But in political terms the 84-page document that South Africa submitted to the Court represents the most powerful indictment of Israeli genocide that has been available to the public thus far. It not only documents the genocidal consequences of the Israeli massive bombing and siege of Gaza, but presents a complete file of official Israeli professions of determination to carry out genocide against the Palestinians population of the Gaza strip.

The latter evidence comes directly from the mouths of Prime Benjamin Netanyahu himself, the president of Israel, the minister of defense, the minister of national security, five other government ministers and several leading Israeli military figures. It is a heart-rending document that can leave no one who reads it in doubt about the explicitly genocidal motive of the Israeli government in ordering indiscriminate bombing and the deliberate denial of food, water, energy and medical care and supplies to the Palestinian population with the explicit intention of making it impossible for Palestinians to sustain life in Gaza. The terrible human toll of the Israeli assault on the population of Gaza in terms of death and injury from Israeli bombing is well known. What is not generally known to the U.S. public is evidence provided in the South African document that Israelis have deliberately chosen the most indiscriminate way of bombing possible.

Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas of the world, so indiscriminate weapons are far more lethal there than in normal situations. Yet despite the availability of precision guided weapons, as the South African document points out, Israel has been dropping completely unguided “dumb bombs” and 2,000 pound munitions that have a lethal radius of up to 360m and cause serious injuries for 800m in all directions. Primary victims of the Israeli strategy, counting for 40 percent of the casualties, are children, with more than 115 Palestinian children in Gaza killed every day. The document cites a study by Save the Children showing that the 3,195 Palestinian children killed in the first three weeks in Gaza alone is more than total number of children killed each year since 2019 across all the world’s conflict zones.

And because of the close-knit character of Palestinian families and the prolonged war, the document reveals that this bombing strategy has taken a tragic toll on entire extended families, with mothers, fathers, children, siblings, grandparents, aunts and cousins frequently killed simultaneously with no remaining survivors. As many as 312 Palestinian families in Gaza lost over 10 members each in just the first month of the bombing alone.

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Max Blumenthal and Aaron Maté.

Questions For NYT About Shoddy ‘Hamas Mass Rape’ Report (GZ)

The Grayzone has identified serious issues with the credibility of key sources quoted in the New York Times’ December 28 story, “Screams Without Words: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on October 7.” Authored by Jeffrey Gettleman, Anat Schwartz, and Adam Sella, the article purports to prove “a broader pattern of gender-based violence on Oct. 7” than even Israeli authorities have been willing to allege . However, the Times report is marred by sensationalism, wild leaps of logic, and an absence of concrete evidence to support its sweeping conclusion.

The Times has come under fire from family members of Gal Abdush, the so-called “girl in the black dress” who features as Exhibit A in Gettleman and company’s attempt to demonstrate a pattern of rape by Hamas on October 7. Not only have Abdush’s sister and brother-in-law each denied that she was raped, the former has accused the Times of manipulating her family into participating by misleading them about their editorial angle. Though the family’s comments have sparked a major uproar on social media, the Times has yet to address the serious breach of journalistic integrity that its staff is accused of committing. The Israeli police have also issued a statement since the publication of the Times’ article asserting that they themselves are unable to locate eyewitnesses of rape on October 7, or to connect the testimonies published by outlets like the Times with anything remotely resembling evidence.

We call on the New York Times to publicly address the comments by the Abdush family accusing Times reporters of misleading them and lying about the circumstances of her death. The Times must also address the statement issued by Israel’s police subsequent to the article’s publication and explain why Gettleman and his co-authors apparently omitted it. Further, we demand a response to our thoroughly sourced debunking of testimony by key witnesses quoted in the story, as well as the documented record of discredited claims and ethically dubious activity by those same witnesses. We have provided several questions for your consideration. If you are unable to furnish responses which satisfactorily address the issues we have raised about the credibility of your article, we believe it must be retracted in full.

You write, “Based largely on the video evidence — which was verified by The New York Times — Israeli police officials said they believed that [Gal] Abdush was raped, and she has become a symbol of the horrors visited upon Israeli women and girls during the Oct. 7 attacks.” However, the sister of Gal Abdush, Miral Alter, stated in a January 2 Instagram comment that “she was not raped… There was no proof that there was rape, it was only a video.” She also pointed out that the timeline between Gal’s last message to the family and the time of her reported murder made it impossible for a rape to occur: “How in 4 minutes [were] they also raped and burned [?]” Alter concluded, “the New York Times that came to us indicated that they wanted to do a story in memory of Gal and Nagy [her husband] and that’s why we approved. If we knew that it was a headline like rape slaughter, we would never agree. Never.”

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“Having been pushed too far, the farmers are now threatening to undermine the entire European project with support for populist and, in some cases, outright anti-EU parties..”

The EU’s Worst Nightmare: Pitchforks! (Butler)

I recently wrote about what has become a global, populist political phenomenon. Citizens of multiple countries, in both hemispheres, are not only voting for populist candidates but are also working outside their entrenched political establishments to either enact desired changes or oppose undesired ones. The latter has been in focus this week as German farmers travelled to Berlin and other cities to blockade the roads in protest at the removal of certain subsidies considered noncompliant with official climate policies. Although not well reported in the British media, in the continental media, the protests made the front page. Farm subsidies have existed all across Europe ever since the EU was founded. Affordable and available basic food was considered – and still is – a matter of national security. And since European farmers are not always as competitive as those elsewhere, subsidies were deemed required to keep them in business.

No longer. Apparently, climate goals now trump food security and affordability. And so the subsidies are to be ended, rendering farmers less competitive and possibly forcing some into bankruptcy. As has been true throughout modern European history, the progressive Dutch were among the first to revolt against what they perceived as oppressive rules handed down from above. Farmers blockaded multiple cities and motorways in response to proposed nitrogen (fertiliser) quotas. More recently, the Dutch gave the largest portion of seats in the Tweede Kamer – their equivalent of the House of Commons – to the populist party of Geert Wilders. Now farmers in Germany, the EU’s largest, wealthiest country, and largest net contributor to the EU budget, have joined the fray. They, in turn, have been joined by farmers in neighbouring Poland, Hungary and Austria. HGV drivers, many of whom supply farms with fertilisers and other essentials and in turn deliver produce from farm to table.

The pitchforks have come out, as it were. As it happens, the UK also has a venerable populist tradition. In 1381, there was the so-called “Peasants Revolt” led by Wat Tyler. It began in Brentwood, Essex, with a dispute over unpaid taxes and rapidly spread to engulf much of southeast England. London was sacked, and many prominent buildings were set on fire. These included the Tower of London, in which Richard II’s lord chancellor and lord high treasurer were discovered by the rebels and summarily killed. By comparison, today’s EU farmers are rather restrained in their actions. But they have laid down a populist political gauntlet of sorts. The common agricultural policy has been the backbone of the EU for decades. The perceived common interest of farmers has functioned as a form of political “cement” to hold the European project together and provide a base on which to build further integration into other industries.

Having been pushed too far, the farmers are now threatening to undermine the entire European project with support for populist and, in some cases, outright anti-EU parties. Recent polls suggest that, in eastern Germany, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is the leading political party. Brussels has yet to voice any specific concerns about the matter. Perhaps they see these developments as just storms in teacups. Ensconced in their modern glass and steel palaces, they might even ponder whether, if European food security and affordability are compromised in pursuit of their lofty climate goals, they should just let their peasants eat cake instead.

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“Over 162,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since the spring of 2022, when governors and mayors of states along the southern US border began busing them north en masse..”

US School Boots Out Students To Shelter Migrants (RT)

Thousands of New York City public school students were ordered to attend classes remotely on Wednesday so that migrants previously housed in a Brooklyn tent city could take shelter in their school’s gymnasium during an approaching storm. Students and teachers were informed on Tuesday morning that James Madison High School had been “activated” as a “temporary overnight respite center” for some 1,900 migrants staying at Floyd Bennett Field, a tent city five miles away. They were given until 5pm to remove everything they might need for the coming days. The relocation was described by City Hall spokeswoman Kayla Mamelak as “a proactive measure being taken out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals working and living at the center,” as the storm was predicted to bring winds of up to 70mph. However, it was not clear how long the migrants were expected to be staying at the gym.

“The relocation will continue until any weather conditions that may arise have stabilized and the facility is once again fit for living,” Mamelak said. She noted that the migrants would “continue to be provided with essential services and support” while occupying the school building. New York City Mayor Eric Adams attempted to convert public school gyms into migrant housing last spring as thousands of illegal immigrants descended on the city every week. The plan met with strident opposition and organized protests from parents concerned about their children sharing space with unvetted adults of unknown origin. The mayor ultimately backed off on plans to convert dozens of gyms into temporary migrant accommodation, though his administration denied a policy reversal had taken place and reserved the right to commandeer the buildings once more if the rate of new arrivals increased.

Over 162,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since the spring of 2022, when governors and mayors of states along the southern US border began busing them north en masse to so-called “sanctuary cities” known for their refusal to enforce immigration law. The human tide has long since overwhelmed the shelter system, leading the city to erect three massive tent complexes across the five boroughs – though only Floyd Bennett Field, with its tents held down by “heavy stones” rather than permanent anchors, was deemed at risk enough to warrant evacuation in the face of the coming storm. Last month, Adams predicted the resulting humanitarian crisis would cost the city $12 billion over three years. He has declared a state of emergency and significantly cut funding for most city services, further outraging long-time residents, who are fleeing the city in droves. New York lost more residents in 2023 than any other state, many hailing from the city.

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“.. we’re going to have peace through strength.”

Trump Runs On ‘Largest Deportation Effort’ If Reelected (SAC)

The border crisis has reached such a level that even liberal, so-called sanctuary cities, are admitting migrants are taking over their resources at an unsustainable rate. During his Fox News town hall Wednesday night, former President Donald Trump vowed that if he were to be reelected, he would create the “largest deportation effort in the history of our country…we have no choice.” Trump stated more than 18 million people will have entered the United States borders illegally by the end of President Joe Biden’s presidency. Not only is the number “not sustainable for our country” but a huge risk lies within just who the individuals are that are passing through without detection. “Many of those people come from jails and prisons, many of those people come from mental institutions and insane asylums, and many of those people are terrorists,” Trump said.

National Review notes a few other key points trump made during the Fox News live event: Trump called the economy under Biden “horrible” and said inflation also continued to be “horrible.” But, he noted, the stock market is doing well, and attempted to take credit. “I think if I wasn’t leading [in the polls] the stock market would be 25 percent lower,” he said. “And I think, frankly, if I didn’t win, I think the stock market would crash.” He touted the relative global calm under his leadership, saying, “I’m the only president in 72 years, I didn’t have any wars.” He claimed that Russian president Vladimir Putin wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine if he was president, and Hamas terrorists wouldn’t have attacked Israel. “They see a weak president in our country and they did something that is unthinkable,” Trump said, adding that if he’s elected again “we’re going to have peace through strength.”

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“..the death of “X,” as Musk has renamed the platform, has been foretold with a regularity reminiscent of Western fantasies about Russia’s government..”

X, Drugs, Politics: What’s Behind The Latest Attack On Elon Musk? (Amar)

A few months ago, Musk committed the unforgivable sin of stating the facts. From Beijing’s standpoint, he explained, Taiwan is “an integral part of China that is arbitrarily not part of China mostly because … the US Pacific Fleet has stopped any sort of reunification effort by force.” That is, actually, true. (Yes, he also made a comparison with Hawaii. Frankly, who cares?) Taiwan, it is also true, is a special case. The US and China have long practiced a compromise, going back to 1972. China has insisted that it has the right to use force to reunite Taiwan with mainland China, but, crucially, it has refrained from doing so. The US has recognized that Beijing speaks for China (and not Taiwan’s capital Taipei), while still supporting Taiwan militarily and maintaining a policy of “strategic ambiguity.” This is designed to leave open the question of whether Washington would fight for Taiwan. This compromise has been inconsistent but helped preserve the peace for half a century.

Yet since 2022, it has been Washington, not Beijing, that has upset this fragile balance the most, by provocative visits, exercises, and statements, most importantly by President Joe Biden himself. This is the context in which Musk reminded everyone of the underlying reality: that Taiwan is not a sovereign country, and that China has a legitimate claim under international law. Yet the narrative build-up to what may be the next major war for American global hegemony (this time to be lost against China, not Russia), requires us to forget that basic fact. It would be hard for CNN et al to whip Western publics into the requisite furor against “Chinese aggression,” if they were too well aware that, as a matter of fact, China is after what is legally its own territory.

If Musk has been worse than tactless, namely factual, about the world outside the US, he also has created upset at home. In general, he has become more outspoken about his politics that tend strongly – and for my taste – very unattractively to the right, even by American standards, in a capitalist-libertarian register. In particular, he has loudly challenged what he sees as the bane of the “woke-mind virus” and the failure of American border and immigration policy. In addition, he has been open about shifting his allegiance from the Democrats to the Republicans. And, worst of all, of course, he has taken over the social media platform once known as Twitter. Since then, the death of “X,” as Musk has renamed the platform, has been foretold with a regularity reminiscent of Western fantasies about Russia’s government.

Musk has also been criticized for bias and caprice in his very personalized handling of X, often with good reason. But the real issue for his centrist detractors is not his being biased but being biased in the wrong direction. Whereas old Twitter was a solid bastion of the center-liberal US establishment, Musk’s X is more right-wing, erratic, and unpredictable. It is, however – as Jill Lepore, another Musk-slayer with impeccable centrist credentials has rightly pointed out in the New Yorker – not a matter of “free speech” or “representation.” Because Twitter/X has always been a business. What is at stake is something else: control, or, as the perspicacious Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci would have put it, ideological hegemony. And with Musk at the helm, the former Twitter is certainly not a stable tool of such hegemony. That does not make it an agent of revolution or even progress. But it does make for an increase in establishment insecurity and infighting, for now.

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Alphabet

 

 

Snow

 

 

Giraffe

 

 

 

 

Poetry
https://twitter.com/i/status/1745490185880551606

 

 


“You may know that cicadas spend most of their lives as underground nymphs, emerging in cycles of 13 or 17 years (coincidentally two prime numbers). The years when the two cycles emergence coincide are therefore rare, and one is 2024. The 17-year cicada and the 13-year cicada, which are periodical cicadas, are scheduled to emerge in Middle Tennessee in 2024. The broods co-emerge every 221 years. The last time the two broods co-emerged was in 1803, the same year as the Louisiana Purchase and Thomas Jefferson was president.”

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 112024
 
 January 11, 2024  Posted by at 9:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  40 Responses »


Salvador Dalí Figure at a window 1925

 

BRICS Member South Africa Takes Zionism To Court (Pepe Escobar)
The War Within Israel’s War Cabinet (Cradle)
Ukraine Conflict Drove Up Ammo Prices Tenfold – Sweden (RT)
Lavrov Knew of ‘Secret’ Ukraine Meeting Weeks Before Bloomberg Report (Sp.)
Ukrainians Will Benefit From Zelensky’s Fall – Medvedchuk (RT)
West Got Ukraine ‘Painfully Wrong’ – Slovak PM Robert Fico (RT)
Ukrainians In UK Told To Register For Military Service (RT)
US Government Debt Biggest Threat To Global Economy – Russian NGO (RT)
China Has Become More Aggressive – UK Foreign Secretary (RT)
Germany’s ‘Krisenmodus’ Has No End in Sight (Conor Gallagher)
German Government Is Ripping Off The Farmers Who Feed The Country (Marsden)
UK Parliament Cold, Damp, and Infested With Mice – Politico (RT)
Hunter Biden Defends Including Father On Business Calls (Fox)
Can Big Pharma Be Held Accountable? (Paul Craig Roberts)
Trump Says Georgia Case ‘Totally Compromised’ (ET)

 

 

Fani Willis and her beau were there, but so was Letitia James. It was all coordinated.

 

 

Trump

 

 

Before: Russia exported cheap energy to European industries & imported European industrial goods. Now: Russia exports cheap energy to Asia & imports Asian industrial goods.

 

 

Hunter

 

 

 

 

Rogan study

 

 

LGBTs

 

 

 

 

Poland
https://twitter.com/i/status/1745104202597081348

 

 

 

 

“Both Pretoria and Tel Aviv are members of the ICJ – so the rulings are binding..”

But are they enforcable?

BRICS Member South Africa Takes Zionism To Court (Pepe Escobar)

Nothing less than the full concept of international law will be on trial this week in The Hague. The whole world is watching. It took an African nation, not an Arab or Muslim nation, but significantly a BRICS member, to try to break the iron chains deployed by Zionism via fear, financial might, and non-stop threats, enslaving not only Palestine but substantial swathes of the planet. By a twist of historical poetic justice, South Africa, a nation that knows one or two things about apartheid, had to take the moral high ground and be the first to file a suit against apartheid Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The 84-page lawsuit, exhaustively argued, fully documented, and filed on 29 December 2023, details all the ongoing horrors perpetrated in the occupied Gaza Strip and followed by everyone with a smartphone around the planet.

South Africa asks the ICJ – a UN mechanism – something quite straightforward: Declare that the state of Israel has breached all its responsibilities under international law since 7 October. And that, crucially, includes a violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention, according to which genocide consists of “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”South Africa is supported by Jordan, Bolivia, Turkiye, Malaysia, and significantly the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which combines the lands of Islam, and constitutes 57 member states, 48 of these harboring a Muslim majority. It’s as if these nations were representing the overwhelming majority of the Global South. Whatever happens at The Hague could go way beyond a possible condemnation of Israeli for genocide. Both Pretoria and Tel Aviv are members of the ICJ – so the rulings are binding.

The ICJ, in theory, carries more weight than the UN Security Council, where the US vetoes any hard facts that tarnish Israel’s carefully constructed self-image. The only problem is that the ICJ does not have enforcement power. What South Africa, in practical terms, is aiming to achieve is to have the ICJ impose on Israel an order to stop the invasion – and the genocide – right away. That should be the first priority. Reading the full South African application is a horrifying exercise. This is literally history in the making, right in front of us living in the young, tech-addicted, 21st century, and not a science fiction account of a genocide taking place in some distant universe.

Pretoria’s application carries the merit of drawing The Big Picture, “in the broader context of Israel’s conduct towards Palestinians during its 75-year-long apartheid, its 56-year-long belligerent occupation of Palestinian territory, and its 16-year-long blockade of Gaza.” Cause, effect, and intent are clearly delineated, transcending the horrors that have been perpetrated since the Palestinian resistance’s Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on 7 October, 2023. Then there are “acts and omissions by Israel which are capable of amounting to other violations of international law.” South Africa lists them as “genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent (dolus specialis) to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group.”

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“..originally intended to be about post-war plans — a topic the prime minister appears reluctant to tackle given the potential risks to his political and personal future..”

The War Within Israel’s War Cabinet (Cradle)

Three months into Israel’s longest and costliest unconventional war, the country’s armed forces have emerged as a significant indirect source of pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s extremist government. This development comes at a crucial juncture, both politically and in terms of security, for Tel Aviv. Amid ongoing internal differences over post-Gaza war strategies and proposed resolutions for Hamas’s prisoner exchange demands, the negative shift in international and regional public opinion over Israel’s 13-week Gaza assault has generated further stressors. At the same time, the escalating situation on the northern front with Hezbollah has compelled the Israeli army to establish a committee to investigate the political, security, and military shortcomings that led to the 7 October Al-Aqsa flood operation.

This decision by the Israeli army has triggered a political uproar, particularly from a faction uncertain about how to deal with intensifying Palestinian resistance activities brought on by the formation of Netanyahu’s coalition government – which is marked by extremism and controversial decisions, even by Israeli standards. During a recent cabinet meeting, far-right and nationalist Zionist ministers slammed army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi’s decision to probe intelligence and operational failures leading up to the 7 October resistance operation, claiming that forming an inquiry commission during the ongoing Gaza war damages army and soldier morale. Some cabinet members rallied to scuttle the selection of former Minister of Defence Shaul Mofaz as head of the inquiry commission, largely because of his role in Israel’s unilateral Gaza disengagement plan in 2005.

The timing of the investigative committee’s formation is underscored by Defense Minister Yoav Galant and emergency cabinet member Benny Gantz’s vigorous defense of Halevi’s decision. They emphasize its importance in learning from past mistakes, addressing security gaps, and preparing for potential wider conflicts, particularly with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Less clear, however, is Netanyahu stance on the matter, despite the fact that he scheduled the session which was originally intended to be about post-war plans — a topic the prime minister appears reluctant to tackle given the potential risks to his political and personal future.

Netanyahu’s right-wing cabinet members view the inquiry as a tool to further undermine an already precarious government. They recognize that the findings of the commission could be especially damning for their governing coalition, which, since its formation, has implemented an agenda focused on the oppression of Palestinians living under occupation and the strangulation of their national aspirations. It is an agenda which security and military experts in Israel have consistently warned could heavily exacerbate the level of retaliatory violence against settlers and inflame the security situation, whether in the Gaza Strip or in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

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In other news, Sweden is telling its people to prepare for war with Russia.

Ukraine Conflict Drove Up Ammo Prices Tenfold – Sweden (RT)

The deficit of ammunition in Europe has led to inflated prices as Western nations scramble to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, the chief of staff of the Swedish Armed Forces has said. Speaking to Sveriges Radio national broadcaster on Tuesday, Michael Claesson said the conflict had led to a surge in demand in a very short period of time. He described the increase as “dramatic.” “I won’t give exact figures, but we are talking about an increase of between five to ten times compared to the time before the war started,” he said, noting that it impacted not only ammunition, but also other military materiel. According to Claesson, artillery shells for the Swedish-designed Archer 155mm self-propelled howitzer are now eight times more expensive than in 2021.

He told the broadcaster that the development had been caused by a significant rearmament campaign underway both in Sweden and other European countries. “All this creates an enormous demand and competition, essentially as if people were standing in a queue.” Commenting on weapons procurement in late December, Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson admitted that his country found itself in a “difficult situation” because it had not only to support Ukraine, but also take care of its own security. As of December, Stockholm has provided Kiev with $2.2 billion in military assistance. On Sunday, speaking online at the Society and Defense conference held in Sweden, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky urged his European partners to “create an arsenal for the defense of freedom” by stepping up joint arms production.

Russian officials have repeatedly said that the Western push to arm Ukraine will only prolong the conflict while becoming a burden on ordinary taxpayers. In October, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov stated that “the potential of the collective West to produce munitions is limited,” saying that it would have to spend a lot of time mobilizing its resources, an effort he suggested could cause “certain points of friction.” Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba admitted last month that Kiev senses a growing “war fatigue” in the West, and acknowledged that the country’s much-hyped counteroffensive had failed to produce swift and decisive results. Moscow has described Kiev’s push as a complete fiasco, claiming that Ukraine lost some 160,000 troops over the six months of the offensive.

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Secret meeting to discuss Zelensky’s “peace plan”, “that Kiev be given control over its pre-2014 borders, while calling for the prosecution of the Russian leadership and reparations from Moscow..”

Lavrov Knew of ‘Secret’ Ukraine Meeting Weeks Before Bloomberg Report (Sp.)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spilled the beans on the much-touted “secret meeting” of Ukrainian, Western, and Global South countries’ national security advisors in Riyadh on December 16 weeks before Bloomberg’s report on the gathering, telling Rossiya Segodnya chief Dmitry Kiselev about it on December 28. “Considering our good relations [with Global South countries, ed.], I can say that another meeting like this took place 10 days ago – the G7 plus the leading developing nations. Not all countries from the world majority attended. Some turned down their invitations. The meeting took place in complete secrecy. Nothing was reported about it; there were no leaks,” Lavrov said at the time. “But you know about it,” Kisilev interjected.

“Yes, we do. Our close allies and associates who attended that meeting did not promise to keep an issue that concerns Russia secret from us. Another meeting is scheduled to take place in January 2024 and a ‘peace summit,’ where [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky’s ‘peace formula,’ is to be approved in February 2024,” Lavrov said. Commenting on Bloomberg’s report and the absurdity of organizing “peace talks” aimed at resolving the Ukraine crisis without inviting Moscow to the table, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Radio Sputnik on Wednesday that the “secret meeting” had less to do with ending the conflict, and more to do with pumping up Mr. Zelensky’s ego.

“This is a well-worn concept of attracting political attention specifically to the Zelensky regime. This is PR for the Zelensky regime. Speaking in terms used in political science, [the talks] were about maintaining a sense of constant activity in the information and political space, at the center of which is Zelensky,” Zakharova stressed. “This has nothing to do with resolving the Ukrainian crisis. These are two completely different topics.” In fact, the spokeswoman suggested, holding “peace talks” without Russia, and on maximalist terms which Russia would never accept only serves to weaken the possibility of peace actually being reached.

“Because resolving the situation in Ukraine is, of course, painstaking work. This is work on the political and diplomatic track. This is negotiations, contacts and so on. This is not about the fate of one person, 10 people or their commercial, financial and economic interests, but about the fate of peoples and nations. That’s if we’re talking about the situation in Ukraine and a real resolution [to the crisis]. The PR around Zelensky, his so-called peace initiatives, his endless statements, appearances at various places and platforms – all this hype is created precisely to maintain the illusion of some kind of political activity while diverting the world’s attention from real processes of a possible settlement,” Zakharova said.

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“..an “unfunny parody of a dictator..”

Ukrainians Will Benefit From Zelensky’s Fall – Medvedchuk (RT)

President Vladimir Zelensky has antagonized all his allies, both domestic and foreign, and is doomed to be ousted this year, exiled Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk has said. But his failure will be good for the Ukrainian people, he added. Medvedchuk was the leader of the Opposition Platform – For Life party, which Zelensky’s government banned for allegedly being “pro-Russian.” He was arrested and forced out of Ukraine in a prisoner exchange with Moscow. The politician has since been promoting a project, which would make his home nation a neutral state, prioritizing national interests, as opposed to being a Russian enemy. In a column published on Wednesday, Medvedchuk blasted the incumbent Ukrainian president, branding him an “unfunny parody of a dictator,” whose weakness sends a signal to all “political predators to eat him.”

“Zelensky has antagonized everyone he could: big businessmen, whom he blacklisted as traitors and oligarch, professional Nazis, who see his cowardice, the military, who sees his incompetence, and last but not least the people, who see his indifference and cruelty,” he wrote. Ukraine is in a deep crisis that is bound to lead to a national disaster once Western funding for the proxy war against Russia is reduced, he claimed. And Ukrainian citizens need to realize that Zelensky’s downfall “does not necessarily mean a defeat of the Ukrainian people.” Instead, the opposite is true, according to Medvedchuk. It will be a victory for them, since the president “has long betrayed them and is selling them out for cannon fodder.”

The column predicted hard times for the US, which Medvedchuk believes has lost its direction, and the EU, which he expects to be sacrificed by Washington to support the American economy. For Ukraine, it means no EU membership, and its citizens should know that “Europeans will have to give their financial goodies to the American elites, not Ukrainian refugees.” Medvedchuk believes that Russia may serve as an alternative to “impoverishing Europe.” He expects that “the number of Ukrainians in Russia will increase in 2024, benefiting not just them, but everyone.” Russia has become a major destination for Ukrainian nationals, with officials estimating that as many as five million fled eastwards after the hostilities erupted in 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he considers Russians and Ukrainians brotherly peoples. He described as tragic the fact that Kiev’s divisive policies after the 2014 armed coup had led to bloodshed between these peoples.

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“..in two or three years we will still be where we are now,” Fico predicted. “The EU alone will be perhaps 50 billion euros lighter, and in Ukraine, cemeteries will be full with thousands more dead soldiers.”

West Got Ukraine ‘Painfully Wrong’ – Slovak PM Robert Fico (RT)

Funding and arming Ukraine is a “futile waste of human resources and money” that will serve only to fill Ukrainian cemeteries with “thousands of dead soldiers,” Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico wrote in an op-ed on Tuesday. Fico’s article was a rebuttal to his country’s president, who has urged him to send weapons to Kiev. Following his party’s electoral victory in September, Fico immediately cut off Slovakia’s military aid to Ukraine and vowed to block Kiev’s accession to NATO. Slovak President Zuzana Caputova, however, has called for Ukraine to be given “the means needed to defend itself,” while pro-Western pundits in Slovakia have accused Fico of cozying up to the Kremlin. “I will no longer be subject to stupid liberal and progressive demagoguery,” Fico wrote in Slovakia’s Pravda newspaper. “It is literally shocking to see how the West has repeatedly made mistakes in assessing the situation in Russia.”

Despite pumping Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons and sanctioning Moscow’s economy, “Russia completely controls the occupied territories militarily, Ukraine is not capable of any meaningful military counter-offensive, [and] it has become completely dependent on financial aid from the West with unforeseeable consequences for Ukrainians in the years to come,” he explained. “The position of the Ukrainian president is shaken, while the Russian president increases and strengthens his political support,” Fico continued, pointing out that “neither the Russian economy nor the Russian currency collapsed, [and] anti-Russian sanctions have increased the internal self-sufficiency of this huge country.”

Should the West continue along the path desired by Caputova, “in two or three years we will still be where we are now,” Fico predicted. “The EU alone will be perhaps 50 billion euros lighter, and in Ukraine, cemeteries will be full with thousands more dead soldiers.” Fico’s Slovak Social Democracy (SMER-SD) faction currently leads a three-party coalition government, while Caputova is the co-founder of the Progressive Slovakia party. Caputova’s role as president is largely ceremonial, and Fico claimed in his op-ed that she is “impatiently waiting” for the end of her term this year so that she can re-enter parliamentary politics.Fico has labeled Caputova an “American agent” on several occasions. After consulting the American Embassy in Bratislava last summer, Caputova sued Fico over the remarks, Slovakia’s SITA news agency reported.

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“..Ukrainians living abroad who have not registered for military service may end up being denied both consular and banking services under the new law..”

Ukrainians In UK Told To Register For Military Service (RT)

Ukrainians living abroad must register for military service, according to a recently adopted government decree, the consulate in the UK has said. In a statement released on Wednesday, it explained that the move is in response to numerous inquiries from Ukrainians residing in the country. According to the new rules, Ukrainian nationals must register for the military “in case of staying outside Ukraine for a period of more than three months,” the consulate stated. New arrivals must show up at Ukrainian diplomatic institutions within a week of entering Britain, it added. Currently, there are no penalties for avoiding military registration, the diplomatic body said, adding that rumors of consular services being denied to people who do not sign up are not true.

The situation, however, could change if these provisions are included in the new mobilization law, which is currently being considered by the Ukrainian parliament, it warned. Previously, Batkivshchyna party MP Vadim Ivchenko, who sits on the parliamentary committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, warned that Ukrainians living abroad who have not registered for military service may end up being denied both consular and banking services under the new law. It remains unclear whether the provisions will be included in the new legislation, which is expected to be voted on in the first reading on Thursday. The mobilization law was introduced in the Ukrainian parliament late last year. It proposes lowering the draft age from 27 to 25, eliminating exemptions for some categories of disabled people, and other measures to bolster the ranks of the military.

Shortly before the mobilization bill was put forward, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said the military had asked him to round up another 450,000 to 500,000 soldiers. This claim has been disputed by Ukraine’s top general, Valery Zaluzhny, who insisted the military had not come up with exact figures, but wanted the government to ensure a steady flow of recruits to meet its combat needs and make up for losses. Kiev has never officially disclosed the country’s casualties amid the conflict with Russia, yet the tally is widely believed to be in the hundreds of thousands. According to the latest estimates by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu provided on Tuesday, Ukraine lost more than 215,000 troops and 28,000 pieces of military hardware last year alone. Last month, the minister said that Kiev lost more than 383,000 service members, killed or wounded, since the beginning of the hostilities, with more than half of the casualties sustained during its summer counteroffensive, which was launched early last June.

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“The excessive debt was accumulated at low rates but needs to be refinanced at high rates that limit economic activity and reduce cash flow..”

US Government Debt Biggest Threat To Global Economy – Russian NGO (RT)

US government debt and Washington’s budget deficit present the biggest threats to the global economy this year, Russian government agency Roscongress has warned. Washington’s $34 trillion burden is mathematically impossible to pay off, Roscongress has claimed in a report it published on Wednesday. The agency based its estimate on the current ratio between the size of the debt, the rate at which it is growing, and budget revenues. “The excessive debt was accumulated at low rates but needs to be refinanced at high rates that limit economic activity and reduce cash flow. In the medium term, the servicing of US debt will cost $1 trillion a year,” reads the report, titled ‘Key Events – 2024. Geoeconomics. Forecasts. Major risks’.

The US government cannot solve the problem by restarting the printing press this year because that would lead to higher inflation, the report added. The country saw consumer prices shoot up to the highest levels in decades in 2022, prompting the Federal Reserve to embark on a series of rate hikes to tame inflation. US government federal debt toped $34 trillion for the first time in history at the end of December. It now amounts to about $102,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country. US total public debt is roughly equivalent to the economies of China, Germany, Japan, India, and the UK combined, as pointed out by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan fiscal policy group in New York.

Among other threats to the global economy, Roscongress identified the global real estate bubble, mentioning the high-profile bankruptcies of Chinese property developers Country Garden and Evergrande; the volatility of the US stock market; and demographic issues, namely the shrinking of China’s population. The Roscongress Foundation was established in 2007 and is a key organizer of nationwide and international congresses and exhibitions with an economic and social focus. Among the events it hosted recently is the Russia-Africa forum in St. Petersburg in July, a high-profile international gathering attended by dozens of delegations from African nations.

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As I said the other day, Cameron was hired as war secretary, not Foreign Secretary.

China Has Become More Aggressive – UK Foreign Secretary (RT)

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron has claimed that China has become more “aggressive and assertive” in the years since he headed the UK government and tried to build warm relations with Beijing. Speaking in front of the UK Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Cameron, who was prime minister from 2010 to 2016, said that while there had been a lot of incentives for the UK to develop business relations with China in the previous decade, “a lot has changed” since then. The diplomat pointed to China’s alleged repression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province, which Beijing denies, as well as its policies in Hong Kong and its “wolf warrior diplomacy” as some of the primary examples of the country’s aggressive and assertive attitude.

Nevertheless, Cameron insisted that it was still crucial to engage with Beijing on various policy issues because China represented “a fifth of humanity.” “We’re not going to solve climate change without talking with the Chinese. We’re not going to work out the rules of the road on AI without at least engaging with the Chinese,” Cameron said, noting that he believes this is the foreign policy the UK should pursue. Meanwhile, China reported on Monday that it had detained the head of an overseas consulting firm for allegedly gathering sensitive data on the Asian nation on behalf of the British Secret Intelligence Service MI6.

Beijing’s Ministry of National Security accused the UK spy agency of hiring a man identified as Huang Moumou, who it claims was recruited by MI6 in 2015. He had allegedly been ordered to travel to China to collect state secrets and identify personnel to “incite rebellion.” The ministry added that London had provided Huang with intelligence training in the UK and other places, and with special spy equipment. The UK has so far declined to comment on the incident. In October, however, the British Security Service MI5 warned of the “epic scale” of Chinese espionage, claiming that more than 20,000 people in the UK had been approached by operatives who sought to acquire various secrets. China has consistently denied that it is engaged in spying against the US and UK.

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“..the fairytale that Germany’s crises are just a string of bad luck as opposed to the result of government policy..”

Germany’s ‘Krisenmodus’ Has No End in Sight (Conor Gallagher)

The Association for the German Language chose the term Krisenmodus as the ‘Word of the Year’ for 2023. I’m not sure they’ve ever awarded a back-to-back winner, but krisenmodus (crisis mode) looks to have a chance to repeat in 2024. The current government coalition has lost almost all trust from the public, yet they soldier on determined to make things worse for the vast majority of Germans. The Greens push for more war, the Free Democrats want more social spending cuts, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his Social Democratic Party (SPD) are in the middle adopting the worst from both sides and leading Germany to ruin. The chancellor’s decision making likely won’t get any better after a Christmastime bout with Covid-19 – if he sticks around much longer.

On the international front, Deutsche Welle declares that this year “Berlin must find ways to deal with two wars, an increasingly aggressive China, and a world order in transition.” Led by the ill-equipped and overconfident Green, Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign policy has been disastrous and has spilled over into the domestic arena. Severing itself from Russian energy drained government coffers; at the same time, in addition to the money and weapons already sent to Ukraine, Berlin wants to increase military spending and become more interventionist. After running up the tab in these areas, there are now calls for a renewed fiscal responsibility, which means social spending cuts at home. A botched energy transition led by the Greens, which has industry collapsing and higher prices for consumers, militarization, and austerity – has proved to be an awful combination for the average citizen. And the data is grim.

Inflation continues to be problematic, the economy is contracting as industry shrinks, exports to China are declining and there is constant pressure from Atlanticists to self-impose a further reduction, living standards are declining, political paralysis reigns on most matters except social cuts and more military spending, wealth inequality grows, and industry continues to leave the country. Farmer protests are also now taking place across the country in response to the government’s decision to phase out a tax break on agricultural diesel. Scholz paid homage to the krisenmodus in his New Year’s address (including erroneously blaming Putin for “turn[ing] off the tap on our gas supplies”), centered around the fairytale that Germany’s crises are just a string of bad luck as opposed to the result of government policy.

He concluded with the following: “If we realize this, if we treat each other with this respect, then we don’t need to be afraid of the future, then the year 2024 can be a good year for our country, even if some things turn out differently than we expected today, on the eve of this New Year.” Such vacuous rhetoric is a sign that Scholz knows the path the country is currently on is doomed and yet plans nothing to change it. If anyone was watching, it was another reminder why Scholz’s approval rating has sunk to a miserable 26 percent and he and/or his government could soon be headed for an early exit.

Tucker Vlaar

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“Team Scholz is making one of the most productive elements of German society pay a heavy price for its own relentless screwups..”

German Government Is Ripping Off The Farmers Who Feed The Country (Marsden)

Farmers and their tractors started gathering on Monday here in Berlin as well as in cities across all of Germany’s federal states, including Hamburg, Cologne, and Bremen. The culmination, a massive planned protest, is set for Monday, January 15. The aim? To get Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government to backtrack on its decision to eliminate tax breaks on the diesel fuel used for farming – a sector already struggling with high energy costs as a result of the government’s de facto policy to screw itself and its own citizens over “for Ukraine” by cutting off cheap fuel from Russia because Brussels ordered it to. And then deciding that it’s cool because gas isn’t “green” enough anyway. Who knew that the German economy couldn’t just run on wind and sun? Not this government, apparently.

Feeling the heat, Team Scholz has already said that it’ll now just slow roll the cuts to subsidies. Apparently he’s never tried removing a band-aid really slowly. The farmers responded with some slow rolling of their own – right down the Autobahn and up to the Brandenburg Gate. The other issue is a road tax exemption for agricultural vehicles that the government decided to reimpose. Well, at least the farmers are getting their money’s worth this week by taking their tractors out for a spin along roads they probably never would have bothered with, just to join up with the protests.

This whole mess is a result of Team Scholz’s own screwup. What else is new? Pretty standard operating procedure for the Western establishment: they screw up, then the cost of their mess gets dumped onto the average person. Scholz quietly took €60 billion ($65 billion) from a Covid recovery slush fund and plonked it into a fund for the much put-upon German industry. But only for the “green” industrials. Everyone else can just shove off. Which is also the arrogant attitude being bandied about by some establishment figures when it comes to farm diesel subsidies. Anyway, Scholz was ordered by the courts to put the misappropriated cash back – lest the government run the risk of incurring a debt. Whoops, too late. Berlin ended up €13 billion short in repaying it. So then the government had to figure out who it was going to have to screw over in an attempt to drum up some quick cash. Apparently those who literally feed the German people were identified as viable cash cows.

The government can now hear and see the honking tractors and big rigs from the Bundestag, gathering just a stone’s throw away from the epicenter of the protests at Brandenburg Gate. But Scholz has been talking instead about the need for European nations to mirror Germany in devoting more money to Ukraine – like he has nothing else going on inside his own country. You’d think that if he didn’t keep loading Ukraine up with cash and weapons then Russian tanks would just roll right into Berlin. He really should be more concerned about the German tractors and trucks that are already nearly right up under his office window. Germany doubled its Ukrainian military aid to €8 billion just before the New Year. Compare that with the €900 million that its rolled back tax breaks on farmers are expected to save them.

If Team Scholz was so blasé about shuffling money around in the creation of this whole debt problem, you’d imagine it would be easy enough at the very least just to hold onto that cash for Ukraine and take the jackboots off the necks of the farmers. It seems that German farmers may have to move to Ukraine to get treated fairly by their own government. Team Scholz is making one of the most productive elements of German society pay a heavy price for its own relentless screwups. The precise cost amounts to €10,000 annually for some farmers, who say it represents a potentially catastrophic loss for them. But the message being peddled by government officials is that farmers are already subsidized enough. You’d think they were just rolling in cash. Clearly, the reality is quite the opposite when €10,000 represents a make-or-break scenario.

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“..temporarily fixing problems as they appear is costing the British taxpayer £2 million ($2.54 million) per week..”

UK Parliament Cold, Damp, and Infested With Mice – Politico (RT)

Politicians and aides alike “dread” coming to work at Westminster Palace, Politico reported on Tuesday, describing how the crumbling Victorian building is driving them to work elsewhere in order to avoid the cold, the mold, and the rodents. British lawmakers returned to work at the House of Commons on Monday, as the Met Office warned that freezing temperatures will linger for the next week. Westminster Palace offers little respite from the winter weather, multiple staffers told Politico, citing persistent heating failures, power cuts, and moldy bathrooms. A report compiled by the GMB trade union – which represents parliamentary aides – in 2022 also noted crumbling masonry and falling glass even in one of the more modern buildings of the complex, as well as an outbreak of the legionella bacteria in showers on the estate.

“If it wasn’t a protected heritage site, there would be absolutely no way – with the current health and safety regulations – that we would be allowed to even set foot in a building this broken and damaged,” a Conservative Party staffer told Politico. “I would never go in again [if I could],” a Labour Party staffer said. “I think there is a sense that parliament is a very important building, you’re very lucky to be here – but there are basic standards, actually.” Much of Westminster Palace was built in the 19th Century and has not been renovated since before World War II. Some politicians have been demanding restoration works for years, but a vote authorizing this work will not be held until at least 2025. In the meantime, temporarily fixing problems as they appear is costing the British taxpayer £2 million ($2.54 million) per week, an anonymous official told Politico last September.

“This building is falling down and becoming a hazard to all those who work here,” Scottish National Party MP Pete Wishart said in an address in 2019. “It is so overrun with vermin that even the mice in this place now wear overalls.” Earlier this year, the Public Accounts Committee warned in a report that there is a “real and rising danger” that the building could be destroyed by a “catastrophic incident” before repairs take place. Labour leader Keir Starmer has almost completely eschewed working in the palace, multiple officials told the news site. Instead, he chooses to work up to three days per week at the party’s newly-built headquarters in Southwark, around a mile away. “It doesn’t feel as imposing, it’s not freezing cold, and it’s much more modern,” a Labour staffer said of the new building, describing it as “good for morale.” Despite the litany of complaints, politicians are unlikely to advocate too loudly for renovations these days, a GMP representative told Politico. “I don’t think that the general public have a lot of sympathy for politicians and their staff complaining about being cold at work… when there’s a lot worse things going on in other workplaces,” she said.

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“Yes, but why did you talk to him during business meetings if he had nothing to do with your business?”

Hunter Biden Defends Including Father On Business Calls (Fox)

Hunter Biden defended including his father on business calls with Ukrainian associates while speaking to a FOX Business reporter on Wednesday. Hunter Biden was questioned by FOX Business’ Hillary Vaughn after walking out of a House hearing as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., began to question him about President Biden’s ongoing impeachment probe. “Why did you put your dad on speakerphone during these business meetings if he had nothing to do with your business?” Vaughn asked as Biden left the Rayburn office building on Capitol Hill. “Do you have a dad? Does he call you?” the first son asked in reply. “Yes,” Vaughn said. “Do you answer the phone?” Biden continued. “Yes,” Vaughn answered. “OK,” Biden said. “Yes, but why did you talk to him during business meetings if he had nothing to do with your business?” Vaughn pressed.

Devon Archer, a former best friend and business associate of Hunter Biden in Ukraine, testified to lawmakers in July that President Biden met with dozens of Hunter’s business associates while he was serving as vice president between 2009 and 2017. Archer testified about meetings he witnessed attended by both Bidens — Hunter and Joe — either in person or via telephone. During the meetings, Hunter would specifically introduce his father to foreign business partners or prospective investors, Archer claimed. Archer said Hunter put his father, then the vice president, on speakerphone while meeting with business partners at least 20 times. He described how Joe Biden was put on the phone to sell “the brand.”

Crack

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“..there is to be no more accountability for Big Pharma’s mass murder than there is for Israel’s mass murder of Palestinians..”

Can Big Pharma Be Held Accountable? (Paul Craig Roberts)

In 1935 Trofim Lysenko, a fraudulent agronomist took control of Soviet genetics and agronomy and destroyed the science with political and ideological explanations. With biology under Lysenko’s dominance, the principles of Mendel’s classical genetics were banned, and real scientists suffered political repression. The Lysenko affair exemplifies my point that without truth there can be no science and no scholarship. Tony Fauci and his puppet-masters introduced their own form of Lysenkoism with the Covid campaign. It was early apparent to independent scientists that the virus was a manufactured one made in a laboratory and that the “vaccine” was more dangerous than the virus. The distinguished scientists who sounded the alarm were suppressed, deplatformed, fired, prosecuted, and stripped of medical licenses. Big Pharma was a modern day Lysenko, and the large part of the medical profession under Big Pharma’s control discredited distinguished scientists by branding them spreaders of disinformation. The useless media did no investigation.

The Cleveland Clinic has shown that the “vaccine” actually makes it easier to catch the virus, and the excess deaths on the heels of mass vaccination demonstrate the killing and health injury power of the Covid mRNA “vaccines.” Professors Angus Dalgleish and Paul Goddard have just published a book, The Death of Science. Big Pharma has taken over regulatory agencies such as FDA, NIH, CDC, and controls with research grants the findings published in medical journals and the curriculums of medical schools. The fraud is far more extensive than the fraud imposed by Lysenko. We are in danger of losing medical science altogether as the young entering the profession are Big Pharma indoctrinated. When older generations such as Dalgleish and Goddard pass, there will be none to take their place. Medical science will die with them.

Congress and medical schools can do nothing about it as both are dependent on Big Pharma’s money. Scientists are not always adept at speaking to the public. If you have any doubts that a deadly world-wide fraud was perpetrated in service to private agendas, read The Death of Science. This is my only posting for today. Because of its importance, I do not want to distract you with multiple offerings. Dr. Reiner Fuellmich, a world-renowned international trial lawyer who was leading an organized effort to hold Big Pharma accountable is sitting in a German prison detained on false charges orchestrated in order to stop a campaign that was nearing success. In other words, there is to be no more accountability for Big Pharma’s mass murder than there is for Israel’s mass murder of Palestinians. When mass murderers cannot be held accountable, what is the prospect for humanity?

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It’s almost funny.

Trump Says Georgia Case ‘Totally Compromised’ (ET)

Ms. Willis brought the case against President Trump and more than a dozen co-defendants under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a law drafted to fight organized crime. The indictment accuses President Trump, and 18 others, of being part of a “criminal organization” that sought to overturn the Georgia results of the 2020 presidential election by unlawful means. “It’s illegal. What she did is illegal. So we’ll let the state handle that, but what a sad situation it is,” President Trump added.Ms. Willis’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times, though a spokesperson for her office told media outlets that she would “respond through appropriate court filings.” Ms. Willis brought the case against President Trump and more than a dozen co-defendants under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a law drafted to fight organized crime. The indictment accuses President Trump, and 18 others, of being part of a “criminal organization” that sought to overturn the Georgia results of the 2020 presidential election by unlawful means.

Mr. Roman, who faces seven charges in the Georgia election interference case, served on President Trump’s 2020 campaign as director of Election Day operations. In Monday’s court filing, Mr. Roman cited “discussions with individuals with knowledge” about Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade allegedly being “romantically involved” before the special prosecutor was brought onto the case by Ms. Willis. “Sources close to both the special prosecutor and the district attorney have confirmed they had an ongoing, personal relationship during the pendency of the special prosecutor’s divorce proceedings,” states the filing, which also accuses Ms. Willis of bringing Mr. Wade on as a special counsel without obtaining proper government authorization. The filing further states that Mr. Wade allegedly had a “lack of relevant experience” although he was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the county.

Mr. Roman’s filing also accused Ms. Willis of having potentially committed “an act to defraud the public of honest services” due to what he called an “intentional failure” to disclose her alleged relationship with Mr. Wade, which she “personally benefitted from.” Records obtained by a local media outlet show that Mr. Wade was paid over $650,000 in legal fees since January 2022 and that the district attorney is the one who authorizes it. Mr. Roman’s filing alleges that checks sent to Mr. Wade from Fulton County and vacations that he purchased with Ms. Willis could amount honest services fraud, which is a federal crime.

“Willis has benefitted substantially and directly, and continues to benefit, from this litigation because Wade is being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to prosecute this case on her behalf,” the filing states. Mr. Roman’s filing states that Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade could be prosecuted under a federal racketeering statute. Besides the public comments President Trump made on Tuesday in response to Mr. Roman’s filing, he also took to Truth Social to post that the case “should be immediately dropped” and that Ms. Willis should apologize. Earlier court filings by President Trump’s co-defendants have alleged that Mr. Wade’s work is “void as a matter of law” because he allegedly failed to file his oath of office paperwork in time to formally join Ms. Willis’ team.

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Tiger and her cubs drinking from a creek in the forests of India. – Ricky Patel

 

 

Ocean

 

 

Cheetah

 

 


Most of you is 10 years old or less, because your cells are always renewing. The epidermis recycles every 2-4 weeks, red blood cells every 4 months, and your skeleton every 10 years.

 

 

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Jan 072024
 
 January 7, 2024  Posted by at 9:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  37 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn An Old Scholar Near a Window in a Vaulted Room 1631

 

In a World Fraught With War and Danger… Signs of Hope (SCF Op-ed)
Israeli War Cabinet Cracks At The Seams Over Possible 7 October Probe (Cradle)
Israel Aiming To Derail ICJ Genocide Case – Axios (RT)
Biden Admin Can Force Israel to Stop Fighting in Gaza But Will Not Do It (Sp.)
Retired US General on Why American Army Numbers Smallest Since 1940 (Sp.)
Zelensky Punishes Men And Women Who Refuse Draft (Kominyenko)
White House Warns Of ‘Dire’ Situation With Ukraine Aid (RT)
Obama Sends Election Warning To Biden – WaPo (RT)
Criticism Over Secrecy of Pentagon Chief’s Hospitalization Mounts (Sp.)
Trump Says He Has ‘More Indictments Than Al Capone’ (RT)
Epstein, Clintons, Zelenska & Cash (Sp.)
Epstein Invoked Fifth Amendment 600 Times in 2016 Testimony (Sp.)
Hunter Biden’s ‘Sugar Brother’ Kevin Morris Plots Gauzy Documentary On First Son
When Satire Beats You By 18 Months

 

 

 

 

Trump Jan 6

 

 

Tucker Clay Higgins Jan 6 – Revealing -Over 200 FBI assets

 

 

 

 

RFK

 

 

 

 

Orlov

 

 

Ritter

 

 

 

 

“The U.S. and its Western partners are bankrupt in every way, financially, morally and politically. The world can see that as clear as the fable of the naked emperor..”

In a World Fraught With War and Danger… Signs of Hope (SCF Op-ed)

The emergence of a multipolar world is a reminder that the world has a lot to be optimistic about – despite the ravages of conflict and manifold perilous tensions. Russia and China’s strength to face down U.S. aggression is one such assurance of a better world taking shape. Out with the old and in with the new. There is an unerring sense that we are witnessing not merely one year giving way to the next. The world is undergoing truly historic changes that are related to the inexorable decline of the U.S.-led Western order and the emergence of a multipolar global order. The United States is still undoubtedly a global power with hegemonic ambitions. Its possession of hundreds of military bases in over 100 countries around the world is a testimony to its formidable military strength.

Nevertheless, the Washington-dominated Western order – or so-called “rules-based order” – is in fateful decline. The emergence of a multipolar alternative order is illustrated by numerous fora, the BRICS with its growing membership, the increasing influence of the G20, and the dynamism of the Eurasian economies. All these developments bear witness to the demise of the Western order. The substantial move away from the U.S. dollar as the premier currency of trade is perhaps the most consequential manifestation of the global shifts in power. Empires rarely expire quietly as millennia of history show. There is always a hard-bitten struggle to maintain privileges and monopoly control. The fading of the U.S. is no different. The empire is going down screaming and kicking.

This would account for the mainspring of tensions and conflict in today’s world. The proxy war in Ukraine against Russia, the eruption of genocidal violence in the Middle East and the incendiary tensions in the Asia-Pacific with China are all related to the U.S. loss of imperial power. Given the appalling violence and danger of these conflicts escalating into a conflagration, we nevertheless conclude the year with hopeful realism. Russia, China, and many other nations are steadfastly refusing to capitulate to U.S. aggression. The American empire is cornered by its own corruption and internal crisis. There was a time in history when Western powers could shoot their way out of trouble by starting wars overseas under all sorts of false pretences.

Those days are over. The U.S. and its Western partners are bankrupt in every way, financially, morally and politically. The world can see that as clear as the fable of the naked emperor. Russia, China and other nations that aspire for a new, fairer world based on respect for international law and the founding principles of the United Nations are not going to pander to the geopolitical blackmail of the U.S. and its dying Western empire. Despite the grim circumstances existing in parts, the world has much to look forward to in terms of achieving international cooperation, development and peace. Signs of hope are all around us. When an empire goes down there is much grinding and gnashing. But it goes down and the world goes on.

Happy New Year to all our readers.

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“What happened yesterday was a politically motivated attack in the middle of a war.” “I have participated in many cabinet meetings. Such conduct has never occurred and must not occur..”

Israeli War Cabinet Cracks At The Seams Over Possible 7 October Probe (Cradle)

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz says he supports the Israeli Army Chief of Staff’s call for an investigation into the security and intelligence failures of 7 October, the Times of Israel reported on 6 January. During a cabinet meeting on 5 January, several extremist ministers, including National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, ganged up against Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi for his intention to launch a probe into the army’s shortcomings on 7 October, when Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on military bases and settlements in southern Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly ended the meeting after shouting erupted as some ministers came to Halevi’s defense.

Gantz acknowledged it was appropriate for government ministers to challenge the information provided to them by security chiefs at cabinet meetings but added: “What happened yesterday was a politically motivated attack in the middle of a war.” “I have participated in many cabinet meetings. Such conduct has never occurred and must not occur,” he said. Gantz then defended Halevi’s decision to appoint a panel to probe the military’s failures on 7 October. Netanyahu has insisted that such a probe can only occur after the war. The Chief of Staff explained his reason for opening a probe to Ynet: “Something happened here that the army should learn from. Tomorrow, if an incident happens in another sector, we want to understand what caused the failure in the chain of command. This is an operational investigation that has implications for the fighting in the north.”

Opening an investigation into the events of 7 October is controversial for Israeli leaders as it could affect the political fortunes of many should they be found responsible for an event that Israelis view as the greatest national tragedy since the Holocaust. Numerous reports have also emerged in Israeli media suggesting that the army killed many of their soldiers and civilians on 7 October to stop the Hamas attack. Roughly 1,200 Israeli soldiers and civilians died during the fighting; Israeli authorities typically claim Hamas murdered them all.

Israel deployed tanks, attack helicopters, and armed drones to attack the Israeli settlements infiltrated by Hamas. Troops bombed homes with Hamas fighters and their Israeli captives inside and attacked Hamas fighters near the border as they were taking Israelis captive back to Gaza. As a result, many Israelis were killed in their homes by Israeli tanks and helicopter fire, while others were gunned down near the Gaza border. Any investigation into the army’s conduct on 7 October would provide additional details of how, when, and how many Israelis were killed by friendly fire.

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“A ruling by the court could have significant potential implications that are not only in the legal world but have practical bilateral, multilateral, economic, security ramifications..”

Israel Aiming To Derail ICJ Genocide Case – Axios (RT)

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has ordered its embassies across the globe to pressure their host countries to reject South Africa’s genocide case against it at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Axios has reported, citing an urgent diplomatic cable. Pretoria addressed the ICJ last week, claiming that Israel’s ongoing attacks on Gaza are “genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part” of the Palestinian population. South Africa wants the The Hague-based court to issue an injunction ordering the IDF to suspend its military campaign in the enclave. More than 22,600 people have been killed in Gaza over the past three months, according to the local health ministry.

ICJ
https://twitter.com/i/status/1743520801620480247

The cable, which was sent out by the Foreign Ministry on Thursday, stresses that Israel’s “strategic goals” are for the ICJ to reject South Africa’s request for an injunction, refrain from determining that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and acknowledge that the IDF’s actions in the enclave comply with international law, Axios said in an article on Saturday. “A ruling by the court could have significant potential implications that are not only in the legal world but have practical bilateral, multilateral, economic, security ramifications,” the document, copies of which were seen by the outlet, read. According to the Foreign Ministry, Israeli diplomats must pressure their counterparts and high-level politicians in host countries to issue “immediate and unequivocal public statement along the following lines: To publicly and clearly state that YOUR COUNTRY rejects the outragest, absurd and baseless allegations made against Israel.”

It’s also important for foreign nations “to publicly acknowledge that Israel is working to increase the humanitarian aid to Gaza, as well as to minimize damage to civilians, while acting in self defense after the horrible October 7 attack by a genocidal terrorist organization [Hamas],” the cable read. The Foreign Ministry stressed that Israeli diplomats must urgently work on obtaining such statements so that they come out before the ICJ hearings begin on January 11. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also send letters to dozens of world leaders, relaying a similar message, it added. Countries like Türkiye, Jordan, and Malaysia have supported South Africa’s cases. However, it was rejected by Israel’s prime backer, the US. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said earlier this week that “we are not seeing any acts that constitute genocide” in Gaza.

Nap Mearsheimer

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“But of course, Blinken is not going to do that. He is a diehard Zionist. He is in on the plot over there with Netanyahu to inflict outright genocide on the Palestinians..”

Biden Admin Can Force Israel to Stop Fighting in Gaza But Will Not Do It (Sp.)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has undertaken yet another voyage to the Middle East, meeting Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip. While media reports this week suggested that Blinken will try facilitate the return of Palestinians displaced by the fighting back to their homes and to urge Israel to increase aid to Palestinians, American human rights lawyer Francis Anthony Boyle argues that the US state secretary is “up to no good.” In an interview with Sputnik, Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois’ College of Law, suggested that Blinken headed to the Middle East to “better coordinate the escalation of conflict” there instead of trying to put an end to bloodshed. “In fact, the Biden administration just needs to order Israel to cease fire immediately, and they will have to do it.

“But of course, Blinken is not going to do that. He is a diehard Zionist. He is in on the plot over there with Netanyahu to inflict outright genocide on the Palestinians,” Boyle said. According to him, the US appears to be “just backing whatever Israel wants to do,” which currently appears to be attempting to to displace over 2 million Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. “If you look at the countries Blinken is going to, he is going to try to neutralize any opposition to this plan by by Israel and see if they can pull it off,” Boyle remarked. He also argued that the Biden administration is “complicit in Israeli genocide against the Palestinians” by supplying Israel with military hardware and munitions and by providing Tel Aviv with political support.

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“..they’re trying to bring those individuals back into the force, but it’s not happening. They don’t want to come back.”

Retired US General on Why American Army Numbers Smallest Since 1940 (Sp.)

By the end of 2023, there will be only 452,000 active-duty soldiers in the US Army, the smallest force since 1940, Defense News recently reported. In this vein, the international military news outlet pointed to recruiting shortfalls in the U.S. Army that could result in 3,000 Army Special Operations troops being cut before the end of this year. There are a number of factors that have contributed to the dwindling strength of the [US] armed forces, Paul E. Vallely, a retired US Army major general and chairman of the Stand Up America US Foundation, told Sputnik. First and foremost is the COVID-19 pandemic, in which a number of US soldiers were discharged from the army without pay because they didn’t want to take the vaccine, according to Vallely. “And of course, now they’ve changed that around, and they’re trying to bring those individuals back into the force, but it’s not happening. They don’t want to come back.”

The second factor, Vallely claimed, was “the surrender and withdrawal out of Afghanistan.” He argued that “many future soldiers decided they didn’t want to go into the armed forces with the poor leadership of some of the generals and admirals. “I think the third thing is that based on this racial rather than equity type of performance standards, where they’re going to select you based on race, rather than your ability to fly an airplane or whatever under what we call the critical race theory, that has to do with DEI, [namely] diversity, equity and inclusion.” The retired US Army major general accused the left wing of the American political system of trying “to judge you based on your racial makeup, rather than on your ability and skill to conduct certain actions required in the military.”

“And then you have this diversity trend where they’ve gone LGBTQ, and young American people, for the most part, don’t buy into that. They’re not going to go into the Air Force or the Army or Special Forces if there’s a transgender person next to them or in the shower and so on. So these are the issues that have affected both re-enlistment and the enlistment of new people.” Vallely remained pessimistic about the Pentagon’s hope that putting more money into the recruiting budget will help recruiters bring more people into the Army. “I don’t think it’s going to have any effect,” he remarked. Asked if it’s safe to say that the coming structural changes in the U.S. Army also reflect the challenges America faces abroad and at home, Vallely pointed to the migration crisis, saying, “What the military has to do is protect our [US] southern border.”

“We have thousands coming illegally across our southern border that are financed and supported by the Mexican cartels. So our military has to do something. We can’t depend on police or border patrol with the situation now and that’s going to be a major challenge for the United States to protect its borders. We have people coming in from all over the world,” he added.

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“In October 2023 Zelensky purchased a former Nazi lakeside luxury villa for €8.12 Million in Germany via his offshore company. The “Bogensee House” was a gift from Hitler to the Nazi minister Joseph Goebbels on his 39th birthday. The Egyptian journalist who investigated the purchase of this luxury villa by Zelensky’s mother-in-law was found dead with numerous abrasions, fractures and a severe head injury.”

Zelensky Punishes Men And Women Who Refuse Draft (Kominyenko)

All Ukranian men aged 25-60 years (including those abroad) who do not report to a recruiting station will be punished. Roughly 6,000 Ukro men flee Ukraine daily, 45% of them in the guise of truck drivers, another 150-200 men as volunteers, the residual are fathers with multiple children and the disabled. Divorcing and taking the kids has become popular some escape by taking the disabled aboard, others have medical certificates of exemption and some change their gender on their passport. Soon it will be a criminal act to flee the country to avoid the draft, justifying the complicit EU countries in their arresting and deporting of Ukrainians to die at the frontline.

A financial crisis is unfolding in Ukraine due to Zelensky’s mass mobilisation plan, Ukraine’s financial system is on the brink of collapse. The threat of drafting another 500,000 Ukrainians is sweeping the country with panic. Zelensky’s punishment; includes isolating people from; their bank accounts, selling property, consular services, renewing ID’s, acquiring power of attorney, access to credit cards. From Jan. 1st, 2024 it is impossible to see a doctor in Ukraine without a military service pass. So much for do no harm! Kiev authorities will serve summonses at checkpoints, law enforcement will also issue summonses to unsuspecting citizens at checkpoints. They are proposing a mechanism to track those eligible for mobilisation, the “international rules based order (NWO)” wet dream. A run on ATM’s in Ukraine has seen USD 1 billion extracted in a single day. They are plundering their accounts and hoarding cash while dumping the banks.

Ukraine is developing a single database listing all potential recruits, this system shall deliver digital conscription notices via phone. The military is using ministerial databases to create it. Antiquated push-button Nokia phones are now the craze in Ukraine, no Internet, no ID, hence nowhere to send friendly military summons. Men are reassigning property to their partners, one man transferred his car and apartment to his wife. In the meantime, Ukraine’s Finance Minister has stated that the country does not have the money to finance the mobilisation of 500,000 cannon fodder. Zelensky needs western cash to continue sacrificing innocents. The West has always known that Ukraine would be decimated by Russia and will probably not survive as a nation-state.

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Note that the GOP has just about offered to support Ukraine aid, if and when the Biden admin promises to secure the border. Also note that they haven’t said even one single word about that. They want to keep the border open. That’s priority no. 1.

White House Warns Of ‘Dire’ Situation With Ukraine Aid (RT)

The White House desperately needs congressional approval for its major aid package for Ukraine if it hopes to continue supporting Kiev, Shalanda Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, told journalists on Friday. Washington has very few other options left to continue the aid flow, she said, adding that the US is running out of time in this regard. Washington provided Ukraine with a $250 million arms package in late December, deemed the last one due to the lack of funding. According to Young, the administration of President Joe Biden decided to forgo its drawdown authority, allowing it to take weapons from existing US stockpiles and send them to Kiev. These stocks cannot be refilled without the funding that is yet to be approved by Congress.

The Pentagon still has some limited authority to provide the Ukrainian military with weapons, but “that is not going to get big tranches of equipment into Ukraine,” the official added. Earlier this week, Pentagon spokesman Major General Patrick Ryder also said the US Defense Department was running “out of money” for Ukraine. The situation with the aid for Ukraine is nothing short of “dire,” Young admitted, warning of an event when the US would potentially have to stop its assistance to Kiev completely. “Yes, Kiev might have a little time from other donors to make sure they can keep their war footing, keep the civil service, but what happens in the [European Union], in other NATO allies, if the US pulls out their support?” she told journalists at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

The official warned that such a development might also prompt other nations to withdraw their support for Kiev. “What message does that send to the rest of the world? And what will their decisions be if they see the United States not step up to the plate?” Biden urged lawmakers to pass a massive aid package, including some $61 billion for Kiev, in late October 2023. The bill remained stuck in Congress for months amid Republican opposition, which demanded a stricter border protection policy. The legislation was eventually left in limbo after Congress shelved it late last year, postponing discussions until after the holiday break.

At the same time, another major donor – the EU – also saw its major aid package to Kiev delayed due to internal disagreements. A planned four-year scheme worth some €50 billion ($55 billion) was vetoed by Hungary late last year, with deliberations on it pushed into 2024. Amid such developments, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour earlier this week that his nation had no “plan B” without the US military aid. He also reiterated Kiev’s demands for combat drones, long-range missiles, and air defense capabilities, among other gear.

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“..He is not only concerned by Biden’s weak polling number but also by the effectiveness of his unorthodox campaign structure..”

Obama Sends Election Warning To Biden – WaPo (RT)

Former US President Barack Obama has urged Biden’s advisers to bolster the reelection campaign by engaging top-level decision-makers or empowering those already in place in the headquarters amid the lackluster voter approval that may see Donald Trump return to power in 2024. Obama and Biden discussed the campaign during a previously unreported private lunch at the White House in recent months, the Washington Post reported in an article published on Saturday, citing sources familiar with the matter. The former president reportedly became “animated” while talking about the 2024 elections and the prospect of former president Donald Trump winning the race.

Obama, who served as the 44th president of the US, recalled the success of his 2012 reelection campaign when some of his top aides took charge of the reelection operations on the ground across the country, and criticized Biden’s approach of leaving his advisors in the White House. According to the people, who spoke to the outlet on the condition of anonymity, Obama did not refer to anything specific in the campaign structure but rather suggested that it needs to “move aggressively” as Trump appears to take the lead in the 2024 Republican presidential nominating contest. He did not recommend any specific individuals to be recruited by the campaign but allegedly mentioned his senior strategist David Plouffe, who led Obama’s 2008 race, as an example of who could help.

The Biden campaign and Obama’s spokespeople did not respond to a request for comment from the Washington Post. However, Obama has long worried about Donald Trump’s political strength and warned earlier this year that he could be a more formidable challenger than many Democrats realize. He is not only concerned by Biden’s weak polling number but also by the effectiveness of his unorthodox campaign structure. Biden’s campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodrigues is based in the campaign’s headquarters in Wilmington. At the same time, the top aides – Anita Dunn, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Mike Donilon, and Steve Ricchetti work from the White House, which means that all important decisions need to go through the White House first.

Some Democrats raised their concerns that the campaign may not be able to immediately respond to fast-moving developments. David Axelrod, the former senior presidential advisor, said on Friday that while he cannot comment on Obama’s discussions with Biden, each president approaches his reelection differently. Back in November, Axelrod suggested that Biden should consider dropping out of the 2024 race. Biden’s support rating hit a record low before the year’s end with just 38% of voters approving his performance, according to the polls recently conducted by the Washington Post. Voters, including a majority of Democrats, are particularly concerned about Biden’s age as well as his handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

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Weird story. Was he afraid they’d take his powers away? He was in the ICU for four days, but the latest pieces just say “hopitalized”.

Criticism Over Secrecy of Pentagon Chief’s Hospitalization Mounts (Sp.)

There has been a growing wave of censure over the secrecy that has surrounded the hospitalization of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The Pentagon has been slammed for concealing 70-year-old Austin’s condition for four days after he was admitted on January 1 to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center over “complications following a recent elective medical procedure.” No details have been released as to what the procedure was or what complications ensued. In an effort to smooth the situation over, Lloyd Austin himself released a statement on Saturday taking “full responsibility” for not divulging his condition earlier. “I am very glad to be on the mend and look forward to returning to the Pentagon soon. I also understand the media concerns about transparency and I recognize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better,” Austin said, adding: “But this is important to say: this was my medical procedure, and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure.”

However, the statement did little to quell the disapproval. “When one of the country’s two National Command Authorities is unable to perform their duties, military families, Members of Congress, and the American public deserve to know the full extent of the circumstances,” said Senator Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a member of the aforementioned committee, said that Austin “must address promptly” why the White House wasn’t informed of his hospitalization until later. The Pentagon Press Association underscored in a letter to the Defense Department that has been shared with the media that amid the current global tensions, it was “particularly critical for the American public to be informed about the health status and decision-making ability of its top defense leader.”

According to the nonprofit Military Reporters and Editors (MRE), the decision to keep the hospitalization under wraps for days was “in the worst traditions of obfuscation and opacity.” “This is a violation of the intent and spirit of the Pentagon’s own Principles of Information, and it fails to meet the standards of public disclosure for senior government officials unable to exercise their duties,” MRE said in a statement. On January 4, the Defense Department spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder announced that Lloyd Austin had been hospitalized since New Year’s Day, with his deputy, Kathleen Hicks, taking over some of his duties. On January 5, Austin reportedly resumed full duties while still remaining in hospital.

However, the hospitalization was purportedly kept secret even from senior Pentagon officials and congressional lawmakers until Ryder’s press release. The “vast, vast majority of leaders were unaware,” one US official was cited as saying. When questioned why it took days for the Pentagon to notify the public about Austin’s hospitalization, Ryder said: “This has been an evolving situation in which we had to consider a number of other factors.” He added that Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks was “prepared to act for and exercise the powers of the Secretary, if required.”

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“..I was being indicted so fast we didn’t know where in the hell they were coming from. If I flew over a blue state, the next day I’d get served with a subpoena..”

Trump Says He Has ‘More Indictments Than Al Capone’ (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has dismissed the multiple criminal cases against him, telling supporters that he’s been prosecuted more harshly than infamous Chicago gangster Al Capone. He made his comments at a rally in Iowa ahead of the first contest of the election year. “I’ve got more indictments than Al Capone, did you ever hear of Al Capone?” Trump asked supporters in Mason City on Friday. “The great Alphonse Capone…but I’ve got it worse than Al Capone and he’s about as bad as you get,” he continued. “This was never in my plan…I was being indicted so fast we didn’t know where in the hell they were coming from. If I flew over a blue state, the next day I’d get served with a subpoena,” he exclaimed, to laughter from the crowd.

With eleven months to go until the 2024 presidential election, Trump is facing more than 90 criminal counts in two federal cases – concerning his alleged instigation of the January 2021 riot on Capitol Hill and his alleged mishandling of classified documents – as well as two state-level cases and a multitude of civil suits. He has dismissed the federal indictments as a “pathetic attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their weaponized Department of Justice to interfere with the 2024 Presidential Election.” Trump held two rallies in Iowa on Friday, during which he implored residents of the Hawkeye State to turn up at next week’s Republican caucuses and support his bid for the presidency. The Iowa caucuses are the first contest of the primary season, and recent polling shows him with a commanding 32-point lead over his nearest Republican rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Nevertheless, Trump urged his supporters not to get complacent. “Bad things happen when you sit back,” he said, adding that “you have to get out and vote because it sets the tone. It even sets the tone, frankly, for November.”

Hours before Trump spoke in Iowa, President Joe Biden delivered a speech of his own in Pennsylvania, in which he claimed that American democracy was “nearly lost” when Trump’s supporters rioted at the Capitol three years ago. Trump argued that Biden is the real “threat to democracy,” citing the indictments against him and the harsh sentences handed down to non-violent participants in the Capitol riot. “Joe Biden’s record is an unbroken streak of weakness, incompetence, corruption, and failure,” Trump told the crowd at the first rally of the evening. “That’s why Crooked Joe is staging his pathetic fearmongering campaign event in Pennsylvania today.” Despite the Biden campaign’s efforts to frame the 2024 election as a referendum on democracy itself rather than on his own record, most recent polls show the incumbent Democrat losing to Trump.

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Where the Clintons typically find their money.

Epstein, Clintons, Zelenska & Cash (Sp.)

Unsealed court filings over accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein named over a hundred of rich and powerful people connected to the billionaire pedophile — including former US President Bill Clinton and his aide Doug Band. Ironically, back in 2003, Doug Band helped kick off now-famous Clinton Foundation international initiatives with the aim of rehabilitating Bill’s post-presidential image, marred by sex scandals, and turning the ex-president into “the world’s philanthropist in chief,” writes Vanity Fair. The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), one of the foundation’s international projects, was supposedly started in league with Jeffrey Epstein — who died in Manhattan jail in 2019 while awaiting trial — late in 2004-early in 2005, according to Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst who has been investigating the Clinton Foundation’s alleged fraud for several years.

Ortel said the Clinton Foundation and its numerous offshoots were nothing but a vehicle to transform the once-broke presidential family into mega-multi-millionaires and help their associates to get rich too. The Wall Street analyst is highly skeptical about the Clintons’ new joint endeavor with the Zelenskys, who have also been mired in corruption allegations. “By the time Hillary Clinton commenced work with Ukraine’s First Lady, the Clinton family had more than twenty years of experience breaking key charity laws, especially in New York City and State which, to date, have targeted Donald Trump and his family for charity frauds, but allowed Clinton charity frauds to expand in scope, scale, and international breadth,” Ortel told Sputnik. “In fact, ‘Clinton Global Initiative’ and ‘The Clinton Foundation’ have not complied with laws concerning ‘public charities’,” the Wall Street analyst continued. “These laws require that such entities be controlled by truly independent boards of directors, bar creation of ‘private gain’ through their operation, and forbid partisan political activities.”

The Zelenska Foundation was founded in 2022 with the declared aim of attracting foreign businesses, funds and donors to “restore Ukraine’s human capital”. The Foundation’s public launch took place on September 22, 2022 at a charity event in New York during the opening of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly. The event was attended by former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, then-British foreign secretary James Cleverly, actor Matt Damon and “a wide circle of diplomats and businessmen”, according to the Ukrainian president’s official website. Around that time Hillary Clinton started wooing the Ukrainian first lady, who received the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for exceptional leadership in December 2022 and the 2023 Clinton Global Citizen Award in September 2023. Hillary and Olena’s partnership, which started in 2022, resulted in the CGI Ukraine Action Network announced by the Clintons in September 2023, according to The Independent.

Ortel noted that the Clintons have a long record of collaborating with the Ukrainian elites, including oligarch Viktor Pinchuk and his wife Olena — daughter of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. Like Zelenskaya, Olena launched a foundation, this one to raise funds to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ukraine, and cooperated closely with the Clintons. Her husband is well known as one of the most generous donors to Clinton charities. “The Clinton family began operating in association with various persons in Ukraine by 2003 even though the original purported Clinton charity – The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation never legitimately obtained approvals to operate outside Little Rock, Arkansas for any charitable purposes other than housing Presidential Records for Bill Clinton’s period as President (20 January 1993 through 20 January 2001) and allowing interested parties to perform research on these records at the Presidential Center,” explained Ortel.

“Without complying with applicable state, federal and foreign laws, Bill Clinton and his cohort of co-conspirators then ostensibly raised money for a raft of ‘charitable’ projects, including in Ukraine, for which there has never been proper accounting. If Ukraine maintains legal records on charities (an open question), there should be filings available to investigators that might allow authorities to compare claims made by Bill Clinton concerning his work there with apparent legal reality,” he continued. According to Ortel, “as during the Clinton years as Secretary of State, there is no oversight of monies flowing towards Ukraine from donors who believe they might be helping Ukraine repel Russia’s special military operation.”

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“..conspiracy theorists continue to wonder if Epstein was murdered..”

Epstein Invoked Fifth Amendment 600 Times in 2016 Testimony (Sp.)

Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein invoked the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution about 600 times in 2016 while testifying for a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by one of his victims, Virginia Giuffre, according to a court filing. The Fifth Amendment states that a person has the right against self-incrimination. Epstein’s reluctance to testify against his longtime associate, Ghislaine Maxwel, was revealed during Friday’s filing in Manhattan federal court involving a new batch of unsealed documents related to the billionaire financier’s sexual abuse of teenage girls. According to the court filing, Epstein routinely answered “Fifth” to about 500 substantive questions posed by Giuffre’s attorneys during a September 2016 deposition.

In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to procuring a person under 18 for prostitution and felony solicitation of prostitution. The 66-year-old billionaire financier was later released under a plea deal, only to be charged with sex trafficking in July 2019. In August of that year, he was found dead in his New York City jail cell, with officials declaring his death a suicide. The cause of his death remains controversial, however, as conspiracy theorists continue to wonder if Epstein was murdered to prevent him from testifying against his high-profile friends, including Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Prince Andrew.

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“..he has given me back my dignity. He has been a brother to me…”

Hunter Biden’s ‘Sugar Brother’ Kevin Morris Plots Gauzy Documentary On First Son

First son Hunter Biden’s so-called “sugar brother,” Hollywood attorney Kevin Morris, is backing a soft-focus documentary on the disgraced and indicted presidential offspring. While the first son’s life as viewed through his now-infamous laptop resembles a Quentin Tarantino film — with plenty of not-so-tasteful nudity — the untitled Morris project would show a more gentle Hunter “painting, selling his art, raising his son, and navigating everyday life as a sober adult with ongoing criminal investigations and in the crosshairs of [former President Donald] Trump and his supporters,” the Los Angeles Times credulously reported this week. A film crew has been trailing Hunter, 53, for years and was most recently spotted recording the first son publicly defying a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee to sit for a deposition Dec. 13.

The Post has also noted the presence of cameras around the Biden scion, including when Hunter cozied up to one of our reporters at a December 2022 showing off his surprisingly pricey work at Soho’s Georges Berges gallery. The crew also popped up at the same gallery in the fall of 2021, at the very first public showing by the world’s most well-compensated amateur artist. Morris even took his cameras all the way to Serbia, where the crew crashed the set where filmmaker Phelim McAleer was shooting “My Son Hunter,” a flick mocking the Biden family that was distributed by Breitbart in September 2022. The Ireland-born McAleer told the LA Times he allowed Morris and his crew to film on their set for a few days and even went out to dinner with his adversary. At one point, the director said, Morris began asking him questions along the lines of “What was the history of the laptop? What did I know about the history of the laptop?”

“He was out there looking for information and evidence for his client while he was pretending to be something he was not,” McAleer claimed. There is no current release date for the flick, but if it ever does show up at a theater or streaming service near you, it may be among the costliest openings in history. Morris, of the powerhouse entertainment law firm Barnes & Morris — now known as Yorn Levine Barnes Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner Endlich & Gellman after he left the practice in 2021— made his bones repping “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone before cultivating a client list for the firm that included Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson and Will Ferrell. Professional expertise and political opportunity converged when Morris met Hunter at a November 2019 Southern California fundraiser for then-candidate Joe Biden.

Over the following three years, according to IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler, Morris gave Hunter $4.9 million — covering expenses including overdue tax bills, legal fees, housing, and car payments. At least one loan to Hunter from Morris, for at least $1.2 million in 2020, carried interest and requires repayment beginning in 2025. Vexed by an onslaught from federal prosecutors and congressional Republicans, the younger Biden has stepped up the public defenses of his conduct over recent months. He sued Ziegler and another IRS whistleblower, Gary Shapley, in September, accusing them of trying to “target and “embarrass” him.

Hunter has also repeatedly and petulantly accused the GOP of weaponizing his drug and alcohol addiction and other personal struggles. The friendship with Morris — who has his own history of alcohol addiction and also grew up in an Irish-Catholic family outside of Philadelphia — appears part of the first son’s own spin on rehabilitation. “I don’t know where I would be if not for Kevin,” Hunter Biden told the LA Times. “And I don’t mean just because he has loaned me money to survive this onslaught, I mean because he has given me back my dignity. He has been a brother to me.

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Word for word. Does the Biden Admin follow Babylon Bee?

The article is Babylon Bee, Jul 27, 2022 : “‘You Can’t Be Pro-Insurrection And Pro-American,’ Says President Of Nation Founded By An Insurrection”

When Satire Beats You By 18 Months

The president shot back at what he called “Super Duper Ultra MAGA Turbo Titans” Monday as he claimed “you can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-American” despite being the commander in chief of a nation founded by an insurrection. “Can you imagine Thomas Jefferson calling for the blood of tyrants? What if John Adams refused to pledge fealty to King George? England would’ve nuked us to oblivion. It would’ve been total malarkey anarchy!” said the unblinking Biden, unflinching in the face of a citizenry increasingly questioning whether he is fit to be president.

“Look, here’s the deal, these Capitol insurrectioneserutes are traitors to American ideals because they wanted to challenge the results of an election,” Biden confirmed. “I know this for a fact because a traitor is everyone who does not agree with me.” “We saw what happened,” he continued, referring to the events of January 6. “Law enforcement agencies were speared with terrorist javelins dripping in blood, surrounded by carnage.” “These are all things that actually happened that I am not making up,” he added. At publishing time, White House officials had advised the president to stop saying “we saw what happened” in regards to the January 6 capitol riots because he keeps describing events that never took place.

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Elephant

 

 

Norwegian
https://twitter.com/i/status/1743537552764576104

 

 

 

 

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