Pablo Picasso Les femmes d’Alger 1955
.@joerogan is deeply concerned by the dehumanizing rhetoric emanating from both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict and genuinely fearful that escalating tensions in the Middle East could lead to Global Thermonuclear War.
"When you look at what's happened now, oh, my god, the… pic.twitter.com/I8k2zltt0k
— KanekoaTheGreat (@KanekoaTheGreat) October 20, 2023
Human rights investigators have shared new information with Channel 4 News that they say casts doubt on some aspects of Israel’s account of the Gaza hospital explosion.@alextomo reports. pic.twitter.com/h9C02qMYLj
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) October 20, 2023
Biden’s request to Congress includes:
$14 billion for Israel
$60 billion for Ukraine
$10 billion for general humanitarian aid
$7 billion for the Indo-Pacific
$100 million for Gaza
$14 billion to process illegals faster at the border
A thinking man.
“I believe that in our current course with regards to the continued – indeed, expanded and expedited – provision of lethal arms to Israel – I have reached the end of that bargain..”
A senior official in the US Department of State responsible for weapons transfers has resigned in protest, stating that Washington’s rush to arm Israel was “shortsighted, destructive, unjust, and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse.” Josh Paul had served as the director of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM) for more than 11 years. On Wednesday, he published his resignation letter on his LinkedIn profile. Huffington Post was the first major news outlet to report it on the same day. Paul said he took the job knowing that it entailed “moral complexity and moral compromises” and strived to make sure that “the harm I might do could be outweighed by the good I could do.” “I believe that in our current course with regards to the continued – indeed, expanded and expedited – provision of lethal arms to Israel – I have reached the end of that bargain,” he explained his decision.
Washington was repeating the same mistakes that it made for decades, he wrote. The policy is “an impulsive reaction built on confirmation bias, political convenience, intellectual bankruptcy, and bureaucratic inertia.” The letter cited Paul’s academic experience in the Middle East and official work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He said he had “deep personal ties” to both sides of the conflict, and denounced the biased approach, which he claimed obfuscates wrongdoing by the party that the US is partnered with. Paul condemned the murder of civilians by “terrorists” whether the victims “dance at a rave” or “harvest their olive grove” and the kidnapping of children “whether taken at gunpoint from their kibbutz or taken at gunpoint from their village.”
Collective punishment is an enemy of the desire to build a better world, “whether it involves demolishing one home, or one thousand; as too is ethnic cleansing; as too is occupation; as too is apartheid,” he stated. Violence escalated in the region after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise incursion into southern Israel this month, killing hundreds of people and capturing scores of hostages. Paul described the raid as “a monstrosity of monstrosities” in his letter. Israel responded by ramping up its blockade of Gaza and subjecting it to intense bombardment. The Israeli government said it was determined to “obliterate” Hamas. US President Joe Biden visited Israel on the day Paul tendered his resignation letter, pledging to ask Congress to allocate additional aid to meet the ally’s military needs. He will reportedly ask for $10 billion in emergency spending this week.
“All three West Asian powers are Muslim-majority states, important affiliations for a multipolar Russia that hosts its own sizable Muslim population.”
Is it possible that the philo-Semitic Russian President Vladimir Putin is slowly but surely re-evaluating his geopolitical assessment of Israel? To call this the key riddle in Moscow’s corridors of power is actually an understatement. There are no outward signs of such a seismic shift – at least when it comes to the officially “neutral” Russian position on the intractable Israel-Palestine drama. Except for one stunning statement last Friday at the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Summit in Bishkek, when Putin blasted Israel’s “cruel methods” employed to blockade Gaza, and compared it with “the siege of Leningrad during World War Two.” “That’s unacceptable,” declared the Russian president, and warned that when all of Gaza’s 2.2 million civilians “have to suffer, including women and children, it’s hard for anyone to agree with this.”
Putin’s comments may have been one hint at the changes underway in the frustratingly opaque Russia-Israel relationship. A close second is this very important article published last Friday on Vzglyad, a security strategy website close to the Kremlin, diplomatically titled “Why Russia remains neutral in the conflict in the Middle East.” It’s crucial to note that only six months ago and mirroring a near consensus among Russia’s intelligence community, Vzglyad editors were calling for Moscow to shift its considerable political weight toward supporting the number one issue for the Arab and Islamic worlds. The article noted the key points Putin voiced in Bishkek: there’s no alternative to negotiations; Tel Aviv was subjected to a brutal attack and has the right to defend itself; a real settlement is possible only via an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem.
The Russian president favors the UN’s original “two states” solution and believes that a Palestinian state should be established “by peaceful means.” But, as much as the conflict was “a direct result of the failed policy of the United States in the Middle East,” Putin rejects Tel Aviv’s plans to launch a ground operation in Gaza. This qualified hedging is certainly not evidence of Putin swinging to what is a near consensus among the General Staff, the siloviki in several intel agencies, and his ministry of defense: They consider that Israel may be a de facto enemy of the Russian Federation, allied with Ukraine, the US and NATO. Tel Aviv has been extremely cautious not to frontally antagonize Russia in Ukraine, and this may be a direct consequence of the notoriously cordial relations between Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Yet way more consequential than Israel on the geopolitical chessboard are Moscow’s evolving relations with Arab states today, especially OPEC+ partner Saudi Arabia which has helped thwart western efforts to control oil prices. Also highly central to Russia’s regional policymaking is its strategic partnership with Iran, which has reaped dividends in Syria and the Caucasus, and which helps contain US expansionism. Finally, Moscow’s complex, multi-layered, back-and-forth with Ankara is crucial to Russian economic and geopolitical ambitions in Eurasia. All three West Asian powers are Muslim-majority states, important affiliations for a multipolar Russia that hosts its own sizable Muslim population.
“..if Hezbollah comes in with everything they have, they will seize northern Israel in its totality, all the way up to the Sea of Galilee. Syria will recapture the Golan Heights, and there isn’t anything Israel can do to stop it.”
The US cannot give Israel the arms it needs for a war with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran — or even maintain its own forces — says a military veteran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared war on the Hamas movement that rules in the besieged Gaza Strip in the wake of the surprise attack by several allied militant groups on October 7. The incursion and subsequent skirmishes — including with Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas on Israel’s northern border – has left almost 300 Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) troops dead with 200 more held captive in Gaza. around 1,000 Israeli civilians were also killed. That represents Israel’s worst losses since its 1982 invasion of southern Lebanon. Tel Aviv has called up some 350,000 IDF reservists and has bombed Gaza for almost two weeks in preparation for a ground offensive, which Economy Minister Nir Barkat said had been given the “green light” on Thursday.
But that invasion has yet to materialise. Former US Marine and UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter told Sputnik the IDF simply “can’t go into Gaza.” “If they go into Gaza, they will be slaughtered by Hamas who has deliberately set this trap,” Ritter stressed. “Hamas is waiting for them to come in. Hamas will kill them in large numbers.” Along with the risk of heavy casualties in Gaza, Israel is wary of Hezbollah’s threat to launch a major attack from the north if the IDF goes in. “Israel cannot beat Hezbollah,” Ritter argued. “There’s a real likelihood that if Hezbollah comes in with everything they have, they will seize northern Israel in its totality, all the way up to the Sea of Galilee. Syria will recapture the Golan Heights, and there isn’t anything Israel can do to stop it.”
US president Joe Biden visited Tel Aviv on Wednesday to pledge unqualified support to Israel — while endorsing Netanyahu’s claim that it was a stray Islamic Jihad rocket that killed 471 Palestinian refugees at the al-Ahli Baptist hospital in Gaza, not an Israeli bomb or missile. Israel has asked Washington for large quantities of military equipment and munitions, including tens of thousands of 155mm-calibre artillery shells previously earmarked for Ukraine, and as many missiles for its Iron Dome air defense system — used to intercept rockets launched from Gaza — as the US could supply. “Israel has exhausted its Iron Dome. They sent an emergency request to the United States for all of the Iron Dome ammunition we had,” Ritter noted. But while “Israel’s hoping to get several thousand rounds, maybe 10,000 rounds,” all the US could offer was “360-some odd. That’s all we have.”
“Hamas will exhaust that in one night, firing two salvos of 150 rockets each. That’s it,” he warned. “And Hezbollah’s sitting on a stockpile of tens of thousands. And if they fire these… and Israel has nothing to knock them down, that means Hamas will eviscerate Israel will destroy Israel’s leadership capacity, industrial capacity, military capacity.” Ritter said Israel’s leaders had “backed themselves into a corner” by vowing to destroy Hamas, a goal they have failed to achieve several times in the past. “They’ve let their rhetoric get the better of them,” he said, noting that even Biden had told Netanyahu to “calm down.”
“..and how great it was that in these wars we support – we don’t have to die in them, that is for the Ukrainians and the Israelis..”
Joe Biden’s speech from the Oval Office on Thursday was at once “militaristic”, “threatening”, steeped in “self-aggrandizement”, and permeated with “direct lies”, retired Lt-Col Karen Kwiatkowski, a former analyst for the US Department of Defense, told Sputnik. Joe Biden’s slurred address to the nation, conceived as an impassioned plea to support Israel and Ukraine, also appeared to have been pre-recorded, suggested Kwiatkowski, who noticed a glitch in the footage. It would hardly be surprising if that were the case, bearing in mind how prone the 80-year-old POTUS is for making gaffe-riddled public statements. In his rare address on Thursday, Biden announced he would be sending a budget request to Congress to “fund America’s national security needs.”
By that he meant sending further support to the ongoing NATO proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, and aiding Israel in its fight against Hamas. Previous reports indicated that the additional funding request may include as much as $60 billion in aid to the Kiev regime and a total of $40 billion in aid for Tel Aviv, as well as Taiwan and the US-Mexico border. The US President underscored that the bill he is sending to Congress will help Israel “have what they need” and will “sharpen” their qualitative military edge, including helping to fund their Iron Dome defense system. Biden likened Russia’s military operation in Ukraine to hostilities between Palestine and Israel, and warned that if the US were to step away from aiding Ukraine, “conflict and chaos could spread” abroad.
“That’s why tomorrow I’m going to send to Congress an urgent budget request to fund America’s national security needs – needs to support our critical partners, including Israel and Ukraine. It’s a smart investment that’s gonna pay dividends for American security for generations,” Biden said. Biden’s martial speech making the case for pumping further aid to Ukraine, and for supporting Israel, ended with the words “God protect our troops”, Kwiatkowski pointed out. “It is usually ‘God Bless America’… His ending tonight is unusual, especially given that the wars he is talking about in Ukraine and Israel are not covered by any existing US mutual defense treaties. Congress certainly has not declared war, or even approved US troops – and Biden himself noted that we give this ‘aid’ that he supports and is asking for as an ‘investment’ in America’s own upgrade of its military capacity. He mentioned several states where military weapons and munitions are made, and how great it was that in these wars we support – we don’t have to die in them, that is for the Ukrainians and the Israelis,” the former DoD analyst said.
[..] Biden, who recently visited Israel to show his support for the long-time non-NATO ally, “coughed when he spoke of concern and protection of innocents in Gaza, under the laws of war,” Kwiatkowski said. “He also curiously spoke of the United States as a beacon of freedom of religion and speech – even as he was asking for billions more to send to countries where churches and religions are being banned, where elections are suspended, and the allied governments’ – in Tel Aviv and in Kiev – intolerance and war against different ethnicities, religions and cultures reminds the world of 1939 Germany,” Kwiatkowski emphasized.
As to the “lies” littering Biden’s speech, the former DoD analyst pointed to his reporting to the nation that “the Ukrainian Army has taken back 50 percent of the territory initially taken by Russia”, and said that that did not ring true. Surprised that Biden’s speechwriters even allowed this to remain in his address, Kwiatkowski continued: “I understand that the line of demarcation between Russian and Ukrainian troops is roughly what it was last year, and that the summer counteroffensive was a net loss to Ukraine. I’m not sure how they are going to explain that 50% of territory taken back by Kiev.”
“..validated George Kennan’s view that the United States is similar to one of those prehistoric monsters with a body as long as this room and a brain the size of a pin,”
President Joe Biden’s nationally broadcast speech seeking broad support for stepping up already huge levels of US aid to Ukraine and Israel was another unthinking, reflexive expression of the globalist mindset that has been destroying the US economy and society over the past several decades in pursuit of crazed international goals, former State Department diplomat James Carden said. “The speech will be remembered, if at all, as a perfect encapsulation of the ‘America Last’ mindset of our ruling class, which privileges foreign countries over middle and working class Americans,” Carden said. The US president said he was requesting that Congress fund renewed supplies of weapons and other aid to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s regime in Ukraine and he was linking that goal with pushing through a parallel enormous increased aid package to Israel as it prepares to invade Gaza to eliminate Hamas.
However, Carden pointed out that Biden paid no attention to the out of control crime, security, economic, social and drug crises now sweeping the United States. “Biden spent no time at all addressing the sufferings of the domestic communities that have been destroyed over the past three decades by free trade agreements, endless wars and an open border policy that has flooded the country with fentanyl and opioids which are killing what little remains of their communities”, Carden said. The almost-81-year-old president gave no hint of new thinking, moderation, compromise or flexibility in his address, Carden added. “Biden’s speech signals that there will be no rethinking US policy toward Ukraine or the Middle East,” he said, adding that instead, the “strategic assumptions in the speech were absurd and obsolete”.
Biden’s comments “validated George Kennan’s view that the United States is similar to one of those prehistoric monsters with a body as long as this room and a brain the size of a pin,” Carden added. sThe Biden administration is requesting from Congress funds in the amount of $106 billion, primarily for the defense needs of Ukraine and Israel, but also for strengthening the United States’ position in the Indo-Pacific and for operations on the southern US border. Of the total sum, the administration is requesting more than $60 billion for Ukraine.
X thread. “Russia has openly shown interest in Iranian missiles, not the other way round..”
About the expiry of the UN’s resolution regarding Iran’s missile program Some have commented and shared news that due to the expiry of the UN’s resolution on Iranian missiles, Russia can now freely export missiles to Iran, which is technically true. However, they also claim more specifically and without evidence, that Russian hypersonic missiles are ‘probably’ already arriving in Iranian ports. First of all, Iran has their own domestically produced hypersonic missile (Fatah HGV) which was released earlier this year, they don’t need Russian ones, and there is no evidence to suggest that Iran has expressed any interest in Russian missiles, and they’re definitely not already arriving in Iranian ports. This whole story was made up on the spot and based on a false premise, and to be honest I don’t know where it came from.
Second of all, whoever wrote that Iran will be interested in obtaining Russian missile technology, is seeing it the wrong way. The significance of the expiry of this UN charter was not for Russia to be able to export to Iran, but for Iran to be able to export to Russia. Iranian missiles are known to be extremely accurate, hard to intercept, and most importantly cost effective. This is why Russia has openly shown interest in Iranian missiles, not the other way round. Iran’s ballistic missile industry is fully domestic and self sufficient, and Iran does not seek to acquire any foreign missiles, as this is not needed. However, cooperation in the field of technological development, specifically when it comes to increasing the missile’s range, cannot be excluded.
“Biden and the parade of other Western politicians to Israel to embrace the warmongering regime of Benjamin Netanyahu is a disgusting spectacle. It is a parade of criminals and psychopaths.”
What needs to be recognized is that the Israeli state has been waging a murderous occupation against Palestinians for decades since the violent establishment of the state in 1948. The sordid inception of Israel was a deal worked out by British and American imperialism to cover up for their own guilt of anti-Semitism and manipulation of Arab nations. The Palestinians paid the price and continue to pay the price. bWestern states, primarily the United States, have given Israeli regimes a license to continue and expand their occupation in flagrant violation of international law. Washington has used the Israeli state as a garrison to project its imperialist power in the oil-rich Middle East. When that crime is resisted by Palestinians the acts of defiance are desperate and bloody. No one can condone the killing of innocent civilians. But one has to understand the systematic conditions for violence and the hegemonic power play that ensures no peace can ever be achieved.
Ending the cycle of violence means ending the Western-sponsored Israeli occupation and genocidal repression against the Palestinians. The denial of national rights and statehood to Palestinians is unacceptable but this prolonged denial is partly why there is no peace in that region. Russia, China and most other nations of the world recognize that there must be justice for Palestinians if there is ever to be peace. For Western leaders to keep invoking Israel’s right to self-defense is a cynical distortion of reality. An illegal, brutal occupying regime does not have such a right. It is an oxymoron and an insult on top of injury. Biden and the parade of other Western politicians to Israel to embrace the warmongering regime of Benjamin Netanyahu is a disgusting spectacle. It is a parade of criminals and psychopaths.
Netanyahu had the gall to describe this week’s situation as “the world’s darkest hour”. How right he is, but for completely opposite reasons. When men, women and children are being butchered and the killers are openly backed by Western governments then that situation certainly amounts to a “darkest hour”. The war crimes being committed in Gaza and the West Bank are comparable to the murderous conduct of the Nazi Third Reich. And yet the Zionist regime carrying out the present-day genocide shamelessly, relentlessly invokes the Nazi Holocaust for its supposed credentials. Netanyahu called Hamas the “new Nazis”.
Western leaders lining up with the Israeli regime in its genocidal barbarity are fully complicit in that genocide. The Western public and the rest of the world can see the real and ugly quality of the United States and its allies who have indulged in duplicity and deceit for so long. Biden on returning to Washington after giving Tel Aviv license to expand its mass murder had the brass neck to address his nation in a prime-time speech from the Oval Office. He announced his administration was seeking to give $100 billion in “emergency aid” to Israel and the Nazi regime in Kiev fighting the proxy war against Russia. Biden called this a “smart investment”. In his mumble-filled, incoherent televised address, Biden said: “American leadership is what holds the world together.”
Between the lines…
The $105 billion funding request US President Joe Biden sent to Congress would see the monthly subsidy to the Ukrainian government slashed to $825 million, according to documents made public on Friday. As Biden outlined in his Thursday evening speech, the aid to Ukraine is getting bundled with funding for Israel, Taiwan, and the US border. The bundling is intended to secure bipartisan support in Congress, according to the US media. Ukraine aid would account for $61.4 billion and Israel would get $10.6 billion, under the 69-page proposal the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sent to the acting Speaker of the House, Patrick McHenry. One of the revelations in the document is that the US has been sending $1.1 billion a month to Ukraine as part of the Economic Support Fund program, enabling Kiev to plug holes in its budget and pay government employees.
“This request provides a glidepath from $1.1 billion per month in direct budget support to $825 million per month,” for a total of $11.775 billion, the OMB request states. These numbers are based on the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates of Ukraine’s 2024 budget and US “assumptions of robust burden sharing by the EU, Japan, and other donors.” Propping up Kiev is necessary because Russia “is explicitly seeking to ensure that Ukraine’s economy collapses in order to secure Ukraine’s surrender,” according to the OBM letter. It adds that the money will be provided “through the World Bank as reimbursements for authorized and verified expenditures to the Government of Ukraine in line with the current conditionality framework” developed by the US.
Among the other notable requests in the OMB proposal were changing the drawdown limit for military aid from $100 million to $7 billion and doubling the loan guarantees for Ukraine from $4 billion to $8 billion. Congressional action is needed “to ensure that we can continue to meet Ukraine’s battlefield needs and protect its people,” because the funding previously approved by Congress “has nearly run out,” Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters in a conference call on Friday. The House of Representatives has been without a speaker since October 3, when Kevin McCarthy was ousted in a rebellion by several Republicans, reportedly over striking a secret deal on Ukraine funding with the White House. His replacement has yet to be elected.
“Asked on Friday whether Israel should delay the ground operation, President Joe Biden told reporters “Yes.” However, the White House later clarified that the president was “far away” and had misheard the question.”
The US government and some European allies are pushing Israel to postpone its ground attack on the Gaza Strip in order to negotiate the release of more hostages held by Hamas, Bloomberg reported. Israeli forces are planning a major operation in the Palestinian enclave in response to a deadly terrorist attack earlier this month. Though Israel previously signaled it would soon deploy troops to Gaza, it has “agreed under US pressure to hold off,” multiple sources familiar with the hostage negotiations told the outlet on Friday. Hamas, the Palestinian militant faction that rules Gaza, captured more than 200 people during its October 7 terrorist attack on Israel, including several US citizens. Washington has taken part in “secret,” Qatari-brokered talks to free the captives in the weeks since, according to Bloomberg.
On Friday, US officials confirmed that two American hostages had been released, a mother and daughter identified as Judith Tai Raanan and 17-year-old Natalie Raanan. They are now under the care of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which attributed their release to military “pressure” placed on Hamas. The Qatari Foreign Ministry later called the move a “breakthrough,” adding that it followed “many days of continuous communication between all the parties involved.” The ministry vowed to maintain dialogue with Hamas in hopes of freeing “all civilian hostages from every nationality.” Though the White House has been vocal in its support for Israel in recent weeks, Washington has also warned against a lengthy occupation of Gaza in private talks, according to US and other Western officials cited by CNN.
One unnamed NATO defense minister told the outlet that Israel’s allies “completely respect their right to go after Hamas,” but have merely urged caution. “So it’s not ‘Don’t do it,’ but it is ‘Think about what happens and have a strategy, not just a tactical maneuver.’ We expect Israel to act within international humanitarian law, but we understand that they’re dealing with an enemy here,” the official said, echoing public comments from other Western governments. Asked on Friday whether Israel should delay the ground operation, President Joe Biden told reporters “Yes.” However, the White House later clarified that the president was “far away” and had misheard the question.
“The question sounded like ‘Would you like to see more hostages released?’ He wasn’t commenting on anything else,” White House spokesperson Ben LaBolt said in a statement. The latest round of violence has left thousands killed and injured on both sides, with over 4,100 Palestinians and some 1,400 Israelis reported dead, according to local officials. The IDF has launched weeks of heavy airstrikes on Gaza since the Hamas attack earlier this month, prompting warnings from the United Nations and other rights groups about a looming humanitarian disaster in the enclave.
“All the work we have done with the Global South [over Ukraine] has been lost … Forget about rules, forget about world order. They won’t ever listen to us again.”
The Biden administration has continued to firmly back Israel after two weeks of war in the Gaza Strip, refusing calls for a ceasefire and blocking attempts in the United Nations to bring a stop to the fighting. While Hamas’ initial and unprecedented attack on Israeli border towns killed more than 1,300 Israelis, the all-out siege and bombing campaign in Gaza has killed more than 4,000 Palestinians. Now, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are gathering their strength for an invasion of Gaza to destroy Hamas, ordering 1.1 million people to evacuate. The shocking destruction of the conflict had sharply divided the world into supporters of Israel and of the Palestinians, with citizens and governments alike either demanding a ceasefire, or sending money and weapons to Israel, or even joining in attacking Israeli forces from nearby countries.
As a consequence, the conflict in Ukraine is no longer dominating headlines, and as one senior diplomat from a Group of Seven nation told a London-based newspaper earlier this week, the dissonance in Washington’s positions has undermined efforts to win global support for Ukraine and to isolate Russia. “We have definitely lost the battle in the Global South,” the diplomat said. All the work we have done with the Global South [over Ukraine] has been lost … Forget about rules, forget about world order. They won’t ever listen to us again.” “What we said about Ukraine has to apply to Gaza. Otherwise we lose all our credibility,” the diplomat added. “The Brazilians, the South Africans, the Indonesians: why should they ever believe what we say about human rights?”
US labor and human rights lawyer, writer and activist Dan Kovalik told Radio Sputnik’s The Critical Hour that in fact, Moscow was never a global pariah, it’s the G7 nations that have isolated themselves from the majority of humanity. “The majority of countries, representing a majority of the world’s people, have been backing Russia ever since the special military operation began last year. But even putting that aside, I mean, I think the point is well taken that the US claims to be so offended that Russia, in their words, ‘invaded Ukraine’ … now the US is is backing Israel to the hilt in an assault on Gaza, which is much worse in terms of its intended effect on civilians, than Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.” “Especially in light of the bombing of the hospital that killed at least 500 people in an instant – there’s no type of incident like that that we know of in Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.
And the number of children killed: Israel’s killed over a thousand children in Gaza since in the last, what, ten days or so – again, that’s on a scale that has not happened in Ukraine. So, yeah, the US looks like a huge hypocrite and that’s obvious to the world.” However, the hosts noted there was one way the US had been consistent: in both Israel and Ukraine, US President Joe Biden has intervened to shut down potential peace deals championed by Russia and China in favor of keeping the conflicts going. “The US does this time and time again,” Kovalik pointed out. “It kills peace in order to keep the wheels of war moving.”
“.. an unapologetic neoconservative and transatlanticist who is single-handedly undermining the autonomy, respect, and foreign policy stature of the EU..”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s showboating in support of Israel in the current Middle East conflict has reportedly provoked a backlash from EU lawmakers and diplomats. When the Israel-Gaza war broke out just over a week ago, von der Leyen made the decision to offer unconditional support to West Jerusalem rather than urge for calm or mediation, having Israel’s flag projected onto the European Commission headquarters and paying a visit to Israel herself. She clearly did so out of an inclination to appear in line with the US. But her actions have aged poorly as reports of civilian deaths and humanitarian disaster in the besieged Gaza Strip continue to mount.
Anyone familiar with von der Leyen knows that she is an unapologetic neoconservative and transatlanticist who is single-handedly undermining the autonomy, respect, and foreign policy stature of the EU by actively working to make the bloc subordinate to the US in multiple areas, all while attempting to showcase herself as a true regional leader. If the EU sees itself in a fundamental competition with China and Russia, there could not be a worse advert to the rest of the world than her leadership, and her Israel blunders may be her most damaging decisions yet.
Von der Leyen’s foreign policy legacy involves dragging the EU into several confrontations it could have done without. This week, she is heading to Washington DC to try to forge a deal on steel and aluminum trade targeted at China, but that will ultimately resort in throwing the EU market under the bus, again. Other acts have included backing the American position on Ukraine and striving for full escalation of the war there, promoting energy decoupling with Russia, as well as inventing the term “de-risking” with China and seeking to undermine the bloc’s lucrative relationship with Beijing. Throughout this, she has been repeatedly eager to pull large sums of money out of thin air and propose fantasy projects which amount to little more than posturing, and which her office alone is not even able to authorize.
For example, that includes offering Belarus billions if it goes ahead with a US-backed regime change, or inventing numerous “infrastructure” schemes to compete with China, such as the Global Gateway, among other things. She has thus repeatedly used the stature of her office to follow American objectives and try to shape the continent without establishing any kind of due consensus. Almost immediately after the war in Gaza broke out, the European Commission announced all EU aid to Palestine would be frozen. Regardless of what you think of Hamas, with hindsight that decision now appears spiteful, reactionary and inhumane, which tells you how fast the Commission was to jump to the American position of unconditional support for Israel.
But this time there is a widespread feeling it has gone too far. Rather than allowing Europe to have staked out a moderate position on the Gaza conflict, even if it would not be too sympathetic to Palestine, the decision was essentially outsourced to the US, discrediting the EU and only serving to contribute to the growing backlash starting to emerge among Muslim communities in response to the conflict. For countries such as France, this is disastrous. This hurts the EU’s image across the Islamic world and the Global South by seemingly siding with the oppressors.
Soon enough, a series of embarrassing U-turns followed, including the reinstatement of aid, combined with tweets in Arabic, but the damage had already been done, because Israel has long been given the green light to pursue unparalleled destruction in Gaza, at seemingly whatever the cost. In doing so, von der Leyen has in fact undermined, in yet another way, the bloc’s ability to present itself as a serious and comprehensive political actor. She seems to have no love for the idea that the EU should have strategic autonomy and be capable of calibrating its own interests and place in the world, and would prefer that it instead be a simple parrot of the US.
Of course, if she took into greater consideration the interests and positions of member states it would be less of a problem. But she does not and instead essentially serves as a completely disruptive force, in practice undermining European diplomacy and preventing the EU from building relations with a wide range of states. In the end, this favors only the US.
“European people have become poorer, while Russia has not fallen on its knees.”
The ambassadors to Hungary of NATO countries have held an unscheduled meeting amid concerns about a recent encounter between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Beijing, the US state-run media outlet Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported Thursday. The gathering of the bloc’s ambassadors and the representative of Sweden, whose NATO membership has yet to be ratified by Türkiye and Hungary, took place in Budapest on Thursday. At the meeting, the diplomats discussed “security concerns” about the “deepening relations” between Moscow and the NATO and EU member, David Pressman, the US ambassador to Hungary, told the outlet.
Pressman also noted that Washington expects the Hungarian government to take these “legitimate security concerns” seriously, calling the Putin-Orban meeting “worrying.” On Tuesday, the day of the meeting, Pressman posted a picture on X (formerly Twitter) of Orban and Putin shaking hands, with the caption that Hungary’s prime minister was choosing to stand with Russia “alone among our allies.” Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, told ATV channel on Wednesday that “the US ambassador is not competent to determine Hungarian foreign policy because that is the job of the Hungarian government.” Putin and Orban met on October 17 in the Chinese capital, where the international Belt and Road Forum was held.
It was the first meeting between the Russian president and the Hungarian prime minister since the conflict in Ukraine erupted. Over the past decades, relations between Moscow and Budapest “have been built solely on the basis of taking into account each other’s interests,” Putin said during the meeting, noting that Russia’s relations with many European countries are “maintained and developed,” which can only cause satisfaction. Last September, Orban criticized EU sanctions on Moscow, claiming that “European people have become poorer, while Russia has not fallen on its knees.” He called for a ceasefire to end the Ukraine conflict, noting that the restrictions on Russia were hurting Europe’s economy.
“The Democratic party uses BLM and Antifa as theirs, throwing the rock and hiding the hand. Of course, they’re going to do it; they’ve always done it, even at the beginning, they used the Ku Klux Klan..”
“In other words, George Floyd, according to the official autopsy, was not murdered. He died instead of what we used to call natural causes, which, in his case, would include decades of drug use, as well as the fatal concentration of fentanyl that was in his system on his final day,” Carlson continued – laying out how the initial George Floyd storyline was endorsed and amplified by mainstream media, and ignited nationwide protests, intensive racial discourse, and movements like Black Lives Matter. These changes encompassed police defunding efforts, corporate hiring practices, and the institutionalization of new cultural observances like Juneteenth. Carlson interviewed Vince Everett Ellison, author of “Crime Inc.” – who discussed the possibility of orchestrated degradation and victimization within the Black community by political entities, particularly the Democratic party.
Ellison suggests that the glorification of figures like George Floyd represents an insidious strategy to perpetuate a certain stereotype of blacks who are reliant on the system, thereby solidifying a voting base and maintaining a form of socio-political control. Drawing parallels between movements like BLM and historical or international groups used for political leverage, Ellison’s commentary insinuates that these organizations could be modern iterations of ‘domestic militias’ utilized by the Democrats for social manipulation and power consolidation. The unsettling comparison of BLM to groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, or the historical utilization of the Ku Klux Klan, paints a grim picture of political machinations where civil unrest is a tool rather than a byproduct. “The Democratic party uses BLM and Antifa as theirs, throwing the rock and hiding the hand. Of course, they’re going to do it; they’ve always done it, even at the beginning, they used the Ku Klux Klan,” he said.
Ep. 32 You’ll be shocked to learn this, but it turns out the whole George Floyd story was a lie. pic.twitter.com/4vDXBStHf5
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) October 20, 2023
“..she has imposed a vaguely worded court order that could turn campaign speeches into criminal contempt..”
The imposition of a gag order on former President Donald Trump was overwhelmingly applauded by pundits and press alike. Journalists described the order from U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan as “narrow” and “limited.” Most of them lionized Chutkan as an “unflinching” and “no-nonsense” judge who would not tolerate Trump’s penchant for personal attacks and reckless rhetoric. However, this order should concern everyone who values freedom of speech. While the odds may favor Chutkan on appeal, this order should be overturned as overbroad and dangerous. For years, many of us have been criticized Trump for his personal attacks on judges and opponents alike. Undeterred, Trump has continued such inflammatory attacks on “deranged” Special Counsel Jack Smith and the “biased, Trump-hating Judge” Chutkan.
Smith has pushed aggressively for a gag order, even though one of the major issues in Trump’s campaign is whether the Biden Administration has weaponized the criminal justice system against him and other Republicans. This week, Chutkan issued a partial gag order and stressed that she will not allow Trump to conduct a “smear campaign” in which he seeks to “vilify and implicitly encourage violence against public servants who are simply doing their jobs.” She stressed that “no other criminal defendant would be allowed to do so, and I’m not going to allow it in this case.” Chutkan reflects this trend in stating categorically that these are the limits that must be imposed regardless of the defendant. These orders come at a great cost — limiting both parties and counsels in raising objections to alleged abuses of the government.
The First Amendment was written in the aftermath of such abuses, including the infamous prosecution of publisher John Peter Zenger 290 years ago in 1733. Some polls show that a majority now believe the Trump prosecutions are “politically motivated.” Tens of millions oppose the prosecutions, and this will be the single most-discussed issue of the campaign. Yet, one candidate would be both the subject of this national debate and a gag order barring full participation in it. Chutkan steadfastly refused to recognize that either this case or this defendant are far from typical. Her order bars Trump from making statements against Smith, his staff, court personnel, and potential witnesses. That last category could include one of Trump’s opponents in the presidential election, former Vice President Mike Pence.
If Chutkan had simply barred statements targeting court staff or jurors, there would be no controversy. But she has imposed a vaguely worded court order that could turn campaign speeches into criminal contempt. While appellate courts have largely ruled in favor of lower courts’ gag orders, there have long been constitutional concerns over these limits on not just the free speech rights of defendants but also their zealous representation by defense counsel. It is not surprising that Smith dismisses such concerns. Smith has long adopted extreme legal positions that ignore constitutional values. This includes his prosecution of the former governor of Virginia, Robert McDonnell (R), which was reversed in a unanimous 8-0 decision by the Supreme Court in 2016.
Grass cutter ants
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