Oct 202023
 October 20, 2023  Posted by at 5:32 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  14 Responses »

Mondriaan Amaryllis 1910


Scott Ritter: US Not Ready for War With Iran (Sp.)
Israel Plans to Turn Gaza Into ‘Hiroshima’ Without Nukes – Sy Hersh (Sp.)
The US, Israel Dare Russia, China To Go To War To Save Arab Palestine (Helmer)
Pepe Escobar: Russia, China Map Out New Economic Order in Beijing (Sp.)
Israeli Gaza Operation Could Be ‘Mogadishu On Steroids’ – Petraeus (RT)
Mike Huckabee: Speaker Battle Shows Some Politicians Don’t Want Change (JTN)
Third Vote for Jim Jordan as Speaker Nominee Friday at 10:00am ET (CTH)
Iran In The White House (Kanekoa)
US Shaping Israel’s Ground Campaign Against Hamas – Bloomberg (RT)
Dem. Billionaire: Trump Foreign Record ‘Pretty Incredible’ In Hindsight (JTN)
Trump Offers To Visit Israel (RT)
Health Canada Confirms Undisclosed Presence of DNA Sequence in Pfizer Shot (ET)



We had some technical glitches today, hope they’re gone now. Danny and Willie are invaluable. But also, as I wrote to John Day earlier, “Don’t you love life, just for all the crazy stuff? Where would we be without chaos?”

Somewhere along the line, some techie changed the “theme” we use. Big deal, because it changes all fonts and spaces and you name it. We’ll be back to “normal” as soon as Danny’s back from his doctor’s appointment.





Nap Maersheimer



Israeli man Where is your brother?









Al Jazeera













“..trying his best to muster the steely-eyed stare of a man who means business, “if we don’t, who does?” The answer, it seems, is no one.”

US Not Ready for War With Iran (Scott Ritter)

Generating combat power is one thing. Deploying it in a manner that is logistically sustainable is another. The US was able to deploy some 750,000 troops into the Middle East in 1990-1991 only because it had access to friendly ports and airfields in the region where troops and military material could be offloaded in uncontested fashion. Any general war between Iran and the US would inevitably result in Iran challenging any major US military deployment, which means the airfields and ports that would normally be used to support such a deployment would be under constant Iranian attack. As a result, the US would need to execute a forced entry option into Iran, seizing a major Iranian port city, such as Chah Bahar or Bandar Abbass. This would require a major amphibious effort where the ships containing the landing force would have to run a gauntlet of Iranian missiles that would cripple or destroy the landing force before it got within striking distance of Iran.

In short, the US cannot physically defeat Iran using conventional military power without undergoing a massive mobilization of resources that would be politically unsustainable. This leaves the option of an air campaign. Israel has long advocated for a military strike using air power against Iran. One of the major problems facing Israel is the physical distance between Israel and Iran, which would necessitate the kind of large-scale air-to-air refueling support that only the United States possesses. Israel and the US have carried out joint military training involving the air-to-air refueling of Israeli strike aircraft by US refueling aircraft as part of a training exercise known as “Juniper Oak,” conducted in January 2023. This training also included US bombers and ground forces.

The problem facing the US, however, is that Iran is a huge country which is not conducive to the delivery of a knock-out blow, even if delivered by the combined resources of Israel and the United States. Lindsey Graham’s threat to “knock Iran out of the oil business” may sound good to the opponents of Iran, but it is simply empty rhetoric. If the US and/or Israel were to target Iranian oil infrastructure, Iran would unleash a retaliation which would cripple the oil production infrastructure of the entire Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Such an action would throw the US and global economies into chaos. Moreover, Iran would retain sufficient strike capacity to devastate US military bases in the region and Israeli cities alike. In short, there is no military option available to either Israel or the United States, individually or working in tandem, that can defeat Iran.

In a recent interview, CBS News’ reporter Scott Pelley asked President Biden if the wars in Israel and Ukraine were “more than the United States can take on at the same time.” “We’re the United States of America for God’s sake,” Biden responded, with his trademark bellicosity, “the most powerful nation in the history—not in the world, in the history of the world. The history of the world. We can take care of both of these and still maintain our overall international defense. We have the capacity to do this and we have an obligation to. We are the essential nation, to paraphrase the former secretary of state. And,” he concluded, trying his best to muster the steely-eyed stare of a man who means business, “if we don’t, who does?” The answer, it seems, is no one.

Read more …

“Gaza City is in the process of being turned into Hiroshima with no nuclear weapons used..”

Israel Plans to Turn Gaza Into ‘Hiroshima’ Without Nukes – Sy Hersh (Sp.)

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have every intention of staging in the Gaza Strip something similar to the US destruction of the Japanese city of Hiroshima, only without nuclear weapons, American journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in an article on Substack. “Gaza City is in the process of being turned into Hiroshima with no nuclear weapons used,” Hersh cited sources as telling him. Furthermore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has every intention “to wipe out Hamas,” with little concern for hundreds of thousands of citizens of Gaza that were told to evacuate and move south of the enclave on October 12, underscored Sy Hersh, referencing unnamed intelligence analysts in Washington. Netanyahu formed an emergency unity government a few days ago with ex-military Chief of Staff Benny Gantz to bring his National Unity party into the governing coalition and join the war cabinet including Defense Minster Yoav Gallant.

Israel has vowed to “destroy” the Hamas movement ruling in the Gaza Strip after its attacks on Southern Israel. After calling up a reported 350,000 army reservists — totalling around a tenth of the country’s workforce — since October 7, Israel appeared to be holding back on an invasion. [..] While the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt remains closed, at some point, “American-made bombs in the Israeli arsenal, including those known as “bunker busters,” may be targeted on the underground tunnel systems where Hamas manufactured the weapons and conducted planning for the horrific attacks in southern Israel on October 7,” wrote Hersh. “Under the Israeli plans, there would be no need for a massive ground invasion,” insiders had informed Hersh, while Israeli troops, “would be needed for hunting down those Hamas members underground who choose to surrender.”

However, the orders to the Israeli military, according to a cited official, would be “shoot on sight,” with surrender not an option. “The official told me that the Hamas soldiers who would emerge from the tunnels desperate for food were seen by the Israelis as starving rats who would be met with poisoned food. The fate of the nearly two hundred hostages, most of them Israeli but known also to include a few Americans, was left unsaid,” wrote Sy Hersh. Accordingly, Netanyahu’s plan, as per the official referenced by Hersh, is to ensure that the Israeli Army destroys the Hamas tunnel system, along with every member of the militant group they can hunt down. After that, the remnants of Gaza City would be purportedly barricaded at the southernmost end. Hamas “stragglers” would be tracked down as Israeli soldiers scored every block in the destroyed city.

Sy Hersh also weighed in on the visit paid by US President Joe Biden to Israel on Wednesday. After earlier sending to the eastern Mediterranean near Israel two US Navy carrier strike groups led by the USS Gerald Ford and the USS Dwight D Eisenhower, Biden pledged support to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s operation in the Gaza Strip. Recalling Biden’s Sunday interview for US media, where he conceded that while Hamas “must be eliminated entirely,” while adding that there “needs to be a path to a Palestinian state,” Hersh suggested that the latter was “not on Israel’s agenda.” His visit had come a day after an attack on the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in northern Gaza, where locals were sheltering from Israeli airstrikes on the enclave.

On October 17, a deadly attack on the al-Ahli Hospital killed hundreds of people. Palestinian authorities and the Israeli army have since been pointing fingers at one another for the disaster. Hamas said that the missile was launched by the IDF, while Israeli officials put the blame on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement. The entire international community was shocked by the catastrophe, with citizens across the globe rallying in support of Palestine and urging for a ceasefire. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stressed that the attack on the hospital is an “act of dehumanization.”

Read more …

“The new southern zone will be cordoned off by an Israeli ring of fire, and everything north of the line, including Gaza City will be destroyed, hospitals included.”

The US, Israel Dare Russia, China To Go To War To Save Arab Palestine (Helmer)

Call it a repeat of the SS ultimatum to the Warsaw Ghetto of April 1943 — evacuate and we’ll give you a small chance of surviving, or stay and we’ll kill you for certain. Following the embrace of President Joseph Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the US has endorsed the Israeli plan to force the evacuation of the Palestinians from Gaza City to designated camps in the south. There Israeli forces will allow convoys of humanitarian aid to enter from Egypt and unload after Israeli forces have inspected the cargoes. The new southern zone will be cordoned off by an Israeli ring of fire, and everything north of the line, including Gaza City will be destroyed, hospitals included.

This formula has been pressed on Egypt, the other Arab states, China, and Russia to accept by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, a Portuguese government retiree, and his deputy for humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths, a British government retiree. They have emphasized there is no alternative to the destruction of Gaza, and its full absorption into the state of Israel. Reinforcing them, the US has cast its veto of all resolutions proposed in the UN Security Council (UNSC) by Russia, China and the Arab states to create humanitarian corridors under a ceasefire. China is preparing a new UNSC resolution to face the US veto shortly, according to a statement by Zhang Jun during Wednesday’s UNSC debate in New York. In Beijing, President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping discussed between themselves what they plan to do jointly and publicly.

“Over a cup of tea”, Putin told Russian reporters on Wednesday evening, “we talked for another hour and a half, maybe two hours, and discussed some very confidential issues face to face. It was a very productive and informative part of our meeting.” “Informative” in Russian means they were unable to agree to make a public declaration of a Sino-Russian action plan. Instead, Putin announced he is deploying supersonic Kinzhal missiles within range of the US naval and air forces positioned in the eastern Mediterranean and in Jordan. “They have upped and dragged two carrier task forces to the Mediterranean. I want to say – what I am going to say and inform you about is not a threat – that I have instructed the Russian Aerospace Forces to start patrolling the neutral zone over the Black Sea on the permanent basis. Our MiG-31 aircraft carry the Kinzhal systems that, as is common knowledge, have a range of over 1,000 kilometres and can reach speeds of up to Mach 9.”

Read more …

Different worlds.

Pepe Escobar: Russia, China Map Out New Economic Order in Beijing (Sp.)

President Xi announced that participants of the business summit at the Forum clinched new infrastructure deals worth a whopping $97.2 billion. That’s the new paradigm. Compare it with the old Forever Wars paradigm: the White House working on a $100 billion package to fund the Ukraine-Israel wars. The 3-hour-long face to face meeting between Putin and Xi was crucial in more ways than one. It was a graphic illustration of Russia-China co-hosting the drive towards a multipolar world. And of BRI working side by side with the upcoming BRICS 11 (in effect on January 1, as Russia starts its BRICS presidency). Putin, sly as a fox, commented that he could not tell us “everything” he discussed with Xi. What he could say is that they went through “the entire bilateral agenda, a lot of issues there: it’s the economy, finance, political interaction, and joint work on international platforms.”

Additionally, “we discussed in detail the situation in the Middle East as well. I also briefed the president on the situation on the Ukrainian track in detail. All these external factors are common threats (italics mine). They strengthen Russian-Chinese interaction.” China-Russia signed the largest deal in their shared history for the supply of grain; 2.5 trillion rubles for 70 million tons of grain, leguminous and oilseed cargo delivered for 12 years. That completely destroys serial US Think Tankland wet dream scenarios advocating a naval blockade as the key strategy for the containment of China, to starve it of food and raw materials. On the energy front, Xi expected the extended Power of Siberia II, or Russia-Mongolia-China gas pipeline to make “substantial progress” as soon as possible. As much as Putin stressed both Russia and China’s “respect for civilizational diversity” as well as the right of each civilization-state to its own development model, what really stood out was his detailed explanation of connectivity corridors.

Putin stressed how “a North-South corridor is being formed in the European part of Russia – from the Baltic to Iran. Seamless railway communication will be organized there.” That was a direct reference to the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), whose main hubs are Russia, Iran and India. That will interconnect, in the medium and long term, with BRI’s central Eurasian corridors. Putin added that “other sections will pass through Siberia, the Urals and Yamal. The Northern Sea Passage will be built – to the Arctic Ocean. The railway routes will run from central Siberia to the south – to the Indian and Pacific Oceans (…) A corridor will also pass from the Arctic to the south – a railway line from BAM to Yakutia will be built, bridges across the Lena and Amur, highways will be modernized, and deep-sea terminals will be created.”

Putin’s characterization of the Northern Sea Route is particularly crucial: “All these transportation corridors from north to south in the European part of Russia, in Siberia, and in the Far East open up the possibility of directly connecting and integrating the Northern Sea Route with major logistics hubs in the south of our continent, on the coast of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. As far as the Northern Sea Route is concerned, Russia is not just inviting its partners to actively use its transit potential. Let me say more: we invite interested states to participate directly in its development and are ready to provide reliable ice navigation, communication and supply. As early as next year, navigation for ice-class cargo ships along the entire length of the Northern Sea Route will become year-round. The creation of the above-mentioned international and regional logistics and trade routes objectively reflects the profound changes that are taking place in the global economy.”

Read more …

“..he doesn’t believe the IDF’s operation could be won quickly, and might even take over a decade.”

Israeli Gaza Operation Could Be ‘Mogadishu On Steroids’ – Petraeus (RT)

Israel’s conflict with Palestinian militant group Hamas could become even more violent and drag on for years to come if Israeli forces launch a group operation in Gaza, former CIA chief David Petraeus warned in an interview with Politico on Thursday. Speaking on the outlet’s Power Play podcast, the US general, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, claimed that a ground invasion of Gaza by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) “could be Mogadishu on steroids very quickly.” Petraeus was referring to the 1993 incident in which three US Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in the capital of Somalia, leading to a fierce battle between local militants and American forces who attempted to rescue the crash survivors.

The former spy chief suggested that if Hamas turns out to be “as creative in the defense” as they were in the “horrific, barbaric, unspeakable attack” on Israel on October 7, “then you’ll see suicide bombers, you’ll see improvised explosive devices, there will be ambushes, booby traps, and the urban setting, again, could not be more challenging.” Petraeus noted that given his personal experience leading armies engaged in counterinsurgency campaigns, he doesn’t believe the IDF’s operation could be won quickly, and might even take over a decade. “It’s hard for me to imagine a more difficult setting than this particular one, and I was one who commanded forces in a number of major urban operations,” the general told Politico. “You don’t win counterinsurgencies in a year or two. They typically take a decade or more, as we saw in Iraq, as we saw in Afghanistan.”

Additionally, Petraeus stated that Israel already needs to think about how it intends to eventually restore and rebuild Gaza once it considers its battle against Hamas won. Meanwhile, Israel’s former defense chief, Benny Gantz, also admitted on Wednesday that the conflict between Palestinian militants and the IDF is unlikely to end anytime soon, and will probably last “for months,” while rebuilding Gaza could take “years. The latest violent conflict between Hamas and Israel erupted on October 7 when the militant group launched a surprise missile and ground attack into the country. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his country was at war, vowing massive retaliation. So far, the conflict has claimed the lives of more than 3,700 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis, according to official data.

Read more …

The real swamp.

Mike Huckabee: Speaker Battle Shows Some Politicians Don’t Want Change (JTN)

Former Arkansas GOP Gov. Mike Huckabee says that the ongoing battle regarding the next House speaker demonstrates how some politicians are subject to the donor class and don’t want change in Washington, D.C. “In many ways, it is a power play,” Huckabee said on the “John Solomon Reports” podcast. “Some of it is not ideological, but there is an ideological tinge to it. There are people who want to make sure that Washington does not significantly change. And by change, I’m not talking about from the left to right, the Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives. They don’t want the donor class to lose the power that the donor class has.”

Earlier this month, Rep. Kevin McCarthy R-Calif., was ousted by eight Republicans. Many of them initially opposed McCarthy’s speakership, and cited recent budget negotiations as the reason for ousting him. As of now, the House does not currently have a speaker. Rep. Jim Jordan R-Ohio, has lost two rounds of voting. He decided Thursday not to move forward with his bid and instead threw support behind a proposal to elevate Rep. Patrick McHenry R-N.C., from his post as speaker pro tempore to unelected speaker with the powers of the office for a period of time. “There are many members of Congress that are there because of the donor class,” Huckabee explained.

“They have remained there because of the donor class. They’re in power and they have positions because of the donor class. The last thing they can afford is for there to be a downgrading or even a demise of the donor class.” When asked if those opposing a Jordan speakership are doing so because they are afraid Jordan would actually cut government spending, Huckabee said he wouldn’t be too surprised if that were the reason. “There’s no doubt that that’s a part of it,” he said. “If it’s all about that, I don’t know. But I do think that there are people who fear that there could be a level of transparency that we simply don’t have and haven’t had, in probably forever, where the citizens can know exactly when they watched the votes who voted for what and how did that money actually get used? It’s a messy process.”

Read more …

“This internecine professionally Republican stuff has nothing to do with principle centered leadership, and everything to do with self-indulgences and personal affluence.”

Third Vote for Jim Jordan as Speaker Nominee Friday at 10:00am ET (CTH)

After a lengthy and often combative GOP conference earlier today, Jim Jordan’s office has announced there will be a 3rd vote for House Speaker Friday at 10:00am. “The House will vote Friday at 10 a.m. on a third speaker ballot, according to Jordan’s spokesman.” The UniParty Republicans had earlier floated an interim proposal to grant temporary House Speaker Patrick McHenry with additional authorities which would gain Democratic vote support. The concept was to get the House through a round of funding for Israel and Ukraine aid and avoiding a shutdown, until January. However, that effort fell short as the non UniParty Republicans would not agree to the plan.

(Via Politico) – “[…] Republicans are split. Jordan, for now, isn’t ready to call it quits, and some of his backers are gearing up for trench warfare. “I can tell you, nobody in our conference can get to 217 on two rounds, and three legislative days. So I think he deserves more time,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), a Jordan ally, told reporters. “I’m in favor of trying. For Jordan, I would go at least another week.” Yet his opponents insist there is no negotiation to be had that would result in him winning the gavel. They’ve already detailed death threats and intimidation efforts that they say have only hardened their anti-Jordan stance.”

The House GOP Speaker’s race is a system of conniving and positioning for a cushy committee assignment, indulgences from the lobbyist control apparatus, office locations and Machiavellian influence for the best junkets and largest leadership PAC deposits. That’s the truth, the non-pretending truth about the system at work behind the GOPe House Speaker vote. This internecine professionally Republican stuff has nothing to do with principle centered leadership, and everything to do with self-indulgences and personal affluence.

Read more …

X thread. Pretty crazy what Patel has to say.

Iran In The White House (Kanekoa)

Kash Patel highlights the unbelievable connections between three senior Biden intelligence officials—Robert Malley, Ariane Tabatabai, and Maher Bitar—and their associations with Hamas and Iran. On June 29, 2023, Robert Malley was placed on unpaid leave from his role as Joe Biden’s special envoy to Iran, and his security clearance was suspended due to an ongoing investigation into the potential mishandling of classified materials. On September 29, 2023, Semafor reported that Malley was involved in funding, supporting, and directing an Iranian intelligence operation to influence the United States and allied governments, as revealed by a collection of Iranian government emails.

These emails suggested that Malley facilitated the placement of an Iranian agent of influence named Ariane Tabatabai in sensitive positions within the U.S. government, initially at the State Department and later at the Pentagon, where she has been serving as Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations. On October 16, 2023, Revolver News reported that Maher Bitar, who is Senior Director for Intelligence Programs on Joe Biden’s National Security Council, was also an executive director of the “Students for Justice in Palestine” group that reportedly responded to the recent Hamas terror attack on Israel by organizing a “Day of Resistance” in support of Hamas’ “historic win” against Israel. Bitar was photographed wearing a black and white “keffiyeh,” a symbol of Palestinian nationalism, and standing in front of a sign that reads, “Divest from Israel Apartheid.”

Kash Patel has pointed out that Maher Bitar plays a significant role in determining intelligence prioritization for President Biden, even though there is a photo of him wearing Palestinian attire, calling for the economic and political boycott of Israel. Robert Malley, who recently had his security clearance suspended by the FBI, installed Ariane Tabatabai at the Department of Defense as the Assistant Chief of Staff for the Special Operations Office.Do you know what she did in 2014? “She emailed Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and asked for permission as a U.S. citizen to take a trip on behalf of the US government. This individual is still employed at the DOD.” Unbelievable.

Kash Patel

Read more …

“..the role and influence of the US in the Israel-Hamas conflict are “deeper and more intense than any exerted by Washington in the past.”

US Shaping Israel’s Ground Campaign Against Hamas – Bloomberg (RT)

The US is exerting unprecedented influence over Israel’s plans for a ground campaign against Hamas in Gaza, fearing that a massive attack could result in other regional actors joining the conflict, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing sources. According to the news outlet, while early into the conflict, Israel promised “coordinated strikes from the air, sea and land” on Hamas; its military later indicated that the ground operation “might be something different from what you think.” Bloomberg notes that this change in tone came after an unprecedented string of visits to Israel by high-ranking US officials, including President Joe Biden himself. According to three unnamed senior Israeli officials interviewed by the news agency, the role and influence of the US in the Israel-Hamas conflict are “deeper and more intense than any exerted by Washington in the past.”

While the US reportedly wants to see Hamas’ military infrastructure in Gaza destroyed, it seeks to limit civilian casualties in the Palestinian enclave, which is home to over two million Palestinians. In addition, Washington is concerned that Israel’s ground campaign could draw Hezbollah into the conflict; the Lebanon-based Islamist militant group maintains close ties to Iran, the report noted. This could potentially open a second front in the conflict, which could throw the entire region into turmoil and derail the White House’s efforts to stabilize the Middle East by promoting peace between Israel and Arab countries, the article says. While Biden on Friday condemned the Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians and signaled that he would ask the US Congress to approve additional security aid for Israel, he cautioned the Middle Eastern country “not to be blinded by rage.”

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with his country’s service members stationed near Gaza, telling them to “get organized, be ready” for the offensive. “Whoever sees Gaza from afar now, will see it from the inside,” he said. The conflict between Hamas and Israel erupted on October 7 when the Palestinian militant group launched a surprise missile and ground attack on the country, with hostilities resulting in thousands of dead and injured. In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Israel to be in a state of “war” and vowed retaliation. According to the latest official data, the fighting has claimed the lives of more than 3,800 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis.

Read more …

“So much of the work that happened in that administration turns out to have been right. And that’s what’s so frustrating for me..”

“The work on the border wall, we didn’t like the messenger, so we killed the message. Turned out it was right.”

Dem. Billionaire: Trump Foreign Record ‘Pretty Incredible’ In Hindsight (JTN)

Amid ongoing chaos in the Middle East and American involvement in multiple conflicts on the global stage, one Democratic billionaire is reevaluating the Trump administration’s tenure, which notably saw the U.S. enter into no new major wars. Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, a Democrat who increasingly leans toward the political right, said that “Trump Derangement Syndrome” has prevented people from honestly evaluation the administration in a recent episode of the All-In Podcast. “What those guys did was pretty incredible, in hindsight,” he said. “To really be able to, like, find long-lasting peace is just a real example for the world.” Palihapitiya cohosts the podcast with his friends. He had previously been critical of the administration, calling him an “an idiot savant, minus the savant” last year, according to the Epoch Times.

The billionaire went on to highlight the Abraham Accords, a landmark diplomatic agreement that saw Israel normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, while paving the way for similar developments with other neighboring nations. Apart from the Trump administration’s international accomplishments, Palihapitiya conceded that Trump’s efforts to build a border wall had largely been vindicated amid a broader surge in illegal crossings. “So much of the work that happened in that administration turns out to have been right. And that’s what’s so frustrating for me,” he said. “The work on the border wall, we didn’t like the messenger, so we killed the message. Turned out it was right.”

Read more …

Trump and Israel is not a great combination.

Trump Offers To Visit Israel (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has said that he may visit Israel in the near future. Trump’s statement came after he harshly criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his apparent failure to predict Hamas’ attack on the Jewish state. “I may, I may go,” Trump told reporters outside a courthouse in New York, where he is facing a civil fraud lawsuit. “But I believe in letting them do what they have to do,” Trump continued, “They have to straighten it out. What’s happening in Israel is all of those people dead would have never happened… if I were president.” During his term in the White House, Trump oversaw the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the signing of the Abraham Accords, under which Israel normalized relations with Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Trump often touted his close personal relationship with Netanyahu, and described himself as “history’s most pro-Israel US president.” That relationship has since deteriorated. Speaking to Fox News last week, Trump claimed that Netanyahu “was not prepared” for Hamas’ surprise attack. “He was not prepared, and Israel was not prepared,” Trump said, adding that the Israeli PM “has been hurt very badly because of what’s happened.” At a campaign rally in Florida several days later, Trump said that Israel needs to “straighten out” its intelligence agencies, and that Netanyahu “let us down” by declining to participate in the 2020 airstrike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

Trump’s comments about a potential trip to Israel came a day after President Joe Biden returned from the country. Biden met with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, where he promised additional military aid to Israel, and cautioned the prime minister not to become “consumed with rage” in responding to the Hamas attack. Israeli warplanes have been striking Gaza for almost two weeks, killing almost 3,800 Palestinians and wounding more than 12,000, according to the latest figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry. At least 1,300 Israelis have been killed in the same period, according to the Israeli military.

Read more …

Open the windows! People have a right to know what they’re dying of.

Health Canada Confirms Undisclosed Presence of DNA Sequence in Pfizer Shot (ET)

Health Canada has confirmed the presence of a Simian Virus 40 (SV40) DNA sequence in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which the manufacturer had not previously disclosed. There is debate among scientists with regards to the significance of the finding, with some saying it has the potential to cause cancer, and others saying it poses little to no threat. “Health Canada expects sponsors to identify any biologically functional DNA sequences within a plasmid (such as an SV40 enhancer) at the time of submission,” the agency said in an email to The Epoch Times. “Although the full DNA sequence of the Pfizer plasmid was provided at the time of initial filing, the sponsor did not specifically identify the SV40 sequence.”

The regulator said that after scientists Kevin McKernan and Dr. Phillip J. Buckhaults publicly raised the presence of SV40 enhancers in the vaccines earlier this year, “it was possible for Health Canada to confirm the presence of the enhancer based on the plasmid DNA sequence submitted by Pfizer against the published SV40 enhancer sequence.” Both scientists have made waves after discovering plasmid DNA in the mRNA COVID-19 injections, warning it could potentially alter the human genome. However, the two share different degrees of concern about the significance of an SV40 sequence—which is used as an enhancer to drive gene transcription during the vaccine manufacturing process—being present in the shots.

Mr. McKernan, a former researcher and team leader for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Human Genome Project, told The Epoch Times he suspects Pfizer didn’t disclose the presence of the DNA sequence due to the association of SV40 with polio vaccines. He said while there is no evidence the sequence is carcinogenic, he has concerns about its integration into the human genome. The polyomavirus Simian Virus 40, an oncogenic DNA virus, was previously removed from polio vaccines due to concerns about a link to cancers. Polio vaccines used in the late 1950s and early 1960s were found to be contaminated with SV40 as the virus was present in monkey kidney cells that were used to grow the vaccine.

Read more …








Both blocks are the same color. use your finger to cover the middle line. An example of the Cornsweet illusion using shading and gradients to challenge perception, an optical illusion that was described in detail by Tom Cornsweet in the late 1960s



Cat. Door.





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






Apr 122023

Ceiling painting from the palace of Amenhotep III, New Kingdom ca. 1390–1353 B.C.


US Will ‘Turn Over Every Rock’ Until Source Of Document Leak Found (G.)
Pentagon Chief Grilled Over Leaks (RT)
Putin Believes He Can Grind Down Ukraine: CIA Director Burns (Az.)
Pentagon Leak Shows Western Special Forces On The Ground In Ukraine (BBC)
US Has Doubts About Ukrainian ‘Counteroffensive’ – Pentagon Leaks (RT)
Imperial Washington – The New Global Menace (David Stockman)
Private Armies Are Making A Killing (Fazi)
Manhattan Prosecutor Sues Trump’s Chief House Ally Jim Jordan (RT)
Europe Warming Up To Macron’s ‘Strategic Autonomy’ Push Away From US (Pol.eu)
Switzerland Refuses To Freeze More Russian Assets (RT)
Trump Weighs In On Nord Stream Sabotage (RT)
BRICS Nation South Africa To Clarify Russia Stance With Washington (RT)
The Taliban Did In One Year What Washington Couldn’t In 20 (Marsden)
Kremlin Pours Cold Water On Unblocking Twitter (RT)
Australian, UK Politicians Call on US to Drop Julian Assange Extradition (ET)
Democrats Urge Biden To Drop Julian Assange Charges (RT)



In June ’23 UK gov plans to jab vulnerable Children from 6 months old with the unsafe & ineffective Pfizer ‘vaccine’, despite data proving unprecedented harms including death.



RFKjr Bioweapons





Nap Ritter





Tucker USD






Tucker Trump



RFKjr Fauci



Sudden death among EU athletes is up tenfold since the advent of the #covidvaccines in 2021.
– Peter McCullough





This is from a “live” thread in the Guardian. I wanted to use it, with the next 2 articles, to point out the nonsense spouted by the CIA director and the Defense Secretary.

US Will ‘Turn Over Every Rock’ Until Source Of Document Leak Found (G.)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday said the United States will investigate the recent purported leak of classified documents until the source is found. “We will continue to investigate and turn over every rock until we find the source of this and the extent of it,” Austin said during a press conference at the state department. Investigators are working to determine what person or group might have had the ability and motivation to release the intelligence reports. The leaks could be the most damaging release of US government information since the 2013 publication of thousands of documents on WikiLeaks.

Milancy Harris, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, is leading the Pentagon’s review to assess the potential impact of the leaked documents, a U.S. official told Reuters. Some of the most sensitive information is purportedly related to Ukraine’s military capabilities and shortcomings, and one document mentions the small number of western special forces troops in the country. The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the disclosure of the documents.

Russia ‘risks becoming economic colony of China’ as isolation deepens, says CIA director
Russia risks becoming an “economic colony” of China as its isolation from the West deepens after the invasion of Ukraine, CIA Director William Burns said on Tuesday. “Russia is becoming more and more dependent on China and, in some respects, runs the risk of becoming an economic colony of China over time, dependent for export of energy resources and raw materials,” Burns said at an event at Rice University in Houston.

Read more …

“Well, they were somewhere in the web, and where exactly and who had access at that point we don’t know. We simply don’t know at this point..”

Pentagon Chief Grilled Over Leaks (RT)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said he was not made aware of a major leak of classified intelligence documents until more than a month after they first appeared online, raising questions about the government’s response as the Pentagon and Justice Department scramble to determine the origin of the breach. Speaking at a Tuesday press briefing alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a senior official from the Philippines, Austin took an aside to address the document leak, which has dominated headlines since they were noticed by US media last week. Stating the government takes the disclosures “very seriously” and had ordered an “urgent cross-department” probe, the Pentagon head also revealed that he was first briefed on the leaks on the morning of April 6 – weeks after the sensitive files first appeared online.

Asked by a reporter how the documents could have been freely accessible online for “at least many weeks… before US intelligence knew they were in the public domain,” Austin was unable to provide a clear answer, instead reiterating that officials would conduct a thorough investigation. “Well, they were somewhere in the web, and where exactly and who had access at that point we don’t know. We simply don’t know at this point,” he said. “I will tell you that we take this very seriously and we will continue to investigate and turn over every rock until we find the source of this and the extent of it.” A similar query addressed to Secretary Blinken was also met with a Glomar response, with the senior diplomat stating “I’m certainly not going to comment on these purported documents.”


The batch of sensitive documents appeared online in early March on the chat platform Discord, but the first media reports on the leaks did not emerge until last week. The document trove is made up of dozens of classified pages containing information about US and NATO war planning in Ukraine, including timelines for training and arms deliveries, data on ammunition expenditures, the structure of Ukrainian combat units, estimated Russian and Ukrainian losses, and information regarding foreign special forces on the ground. Other material related to US counter-terrorism efforts, as well as its policies in the Middle East and China, is also reportedly included in the files. However, so far officials have declined to confirm the accuracy of their contents, saying only that they are looking into the leak and working to remove the documents from the internet.

Read more …

“Real countries fight back.” He doesn’t realize he describes Russia.

Putin Believes He Can Grind Down Ukraine: CIA Director Burns (Az.)

The CIA assesses that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “not serious about negotiations at this stage” of the war in Ukraine and it is “Ukrainian progress on the battlefield that is most likely to shape prospects for diplomacy” to end the ongoing conflict, CIA Director Bill Burns said on Tuesday, Report informs, citing CNN. Speaking publicly for the first time, at Rice University, since leaked classified US military documents appeared online, Burns stressed the importance of Ukraine’s planned offensive, saying “a great deal is at stake in the coming months.” “Instead of backing down, he has doubled down,” Burns said about Putin, adding the Russian president believes he can grind down Ukraine and the West. “Real countries fight back,” Burns said on Tuesday, adding that Ukraine and its president have done just that. “Putin was profoundly mistaken” in his assumptions about Ukraine before the war, Burns added.

Read more …

It IS Russia vs NATO.

Pentagon Leak Shows Western Special Forces On The Ground In Ukraine (BBC)

The UK is among a number of countries with military special forces operating inside Ukraine, according to one of dozens of documents leaked online. It confirms what has been the subject of quiet speculation for over a year. The leaked files, some marked “top secret”, paint a detailed picture of the war in Ukraine, including sensitive details of Ukraine’s preparations for a spring counter-offensive. The US government says it is investigating the source of the leak. According to the document, dated 23 March, the UK has the largest contingent of special forces in Ukraine (50), followed by fellow Nato states Latvia (17), France (15), the US (14) and the Netherlands (1). The document does not say where the forces are located or what they are doing.

The numbers of personnel may be small, and will doubtless fluctuate. But special forces are by their very nature highly effective. Their presence in Ukraine is likely to be seized upon by Moscow, which has in recent months argued that it is not just confronting Ukraine, but Nato as well. In line with its standard policy on such matters, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has not commented, but in a tweet on Tuesday said the leak of alleged classified information had demonstrated what it called a “serious level of inaccuracy”. “Readers should be cautious about taking at face value allegations that have the potential to spread misinformation,” it said.

It did not elaborate or suggest which specific documents it was referring to. However, Pentagon officials are quoted as saying the documents are real. One document, which detailed the number of casualties suffered in Ukraine on both sides, did appear to have been doctored. UK special forces are made up of several elite military units with distinct areas of expertise, and are regarded to be among the most capable in the world. The British government has a policy of not commenting on its special forces, in contrast to other countries including the US.

Read more …

“Doubts”? Ha ha.

US Has Doubts About Ukrainian ‘Counteroffensive’ – Pentagon Leaks (RT)

Documents said to have been leaked from US intelligence paint a bleak picture for Ukraine’s much-anticipated counteroffensive, according to the Washington Post. If genuine, they raise doubts about Kiev’s ability to field the manpower and ammunition needed to sustain major combat operations over the coming months. Parts of the leaked trove began circulating online last month. Files labeled ‘top secret’ reveal American reservations about the upcoming counter-attack, warning that a lack of troops and ammunition could mean that Ukraine will fall short of its ambitious goals to retake lost ground over the spring, the Post reported on Monday.

“Enduring Ukrainian deficiencies in training and munitions supplies probably will strain progress and exacerbate casualties during the offensive,” the document says, going on to cite Russia’s sturdy network of defensive installations across the southern Kherson Region and Kiev’s ongoing “force generation and sustainment shortfalls.” The document also suggests Ukrainian forces will aim to capture territory in the south and east, apparently hoping to cut off Russian troops advancing from Crimea. However, the intelligence assessment predicts only “modest” success in those goals. A separate classified briefing prepared by the National Intelligence Council, seen by only select lawmakers on Capitol Hill, concluded that Kiev’s counter-offensive is unlikely to be as successful as operations last fall, which did result in some regained ground, according to sources cited by the Post.

Yet another leaked document citedby the Wall Street Journal on Sunday also warned that Ukraine faces a “looming air defense crisis,” which could prevent its military from massing the frontline forces needed for the counteroffensive. The assessment predicts that, at the current rate of consumption, Kiev will have exhausted its supply of Buk air defense missiles sometime this week, and all of its S-300 ammunition by May 3, leaving its skies largely undefended. While the full scope of the leak – as well as the veracity of the documents, some of which appear to have been doctored – remains unclear, Pentagon spokesman Chris Meagher has acknowledgedthat the files “appear… to contain sensitive and highly-classified material.”

During a Monday briefing, he said both the Pentagon and Justice Department are probing the matter, and that a criminal investigation was underway to determine the source of the unauthorized disclosures. A previous report in the New York Times indicated that more than 100 pages had been leaked in total. The document trove contains a wealth of information about US and NATO war planning in Ukraine, including timelines for training and arms deliveries, data on ammunition expenditures, the structure of Ukrainian combat units, estimated Russian and Ukrainian losses, and, apparently, information regarding foreign special forces on the ground. Officials have declined to confirm the accuracy of their contents, however, saying only that they are investigating the leak.

Read more …

“George H. W. Bush should never be forgiven for enabling the likes of Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Gates and their neocon pack of jackals to come to power — even if he eventually denounced them in his doddering old age..”

Imperial Washington – The New Global Menace (David Stockman)

There is no peace on earth today for reasons mainly rooted in Imperial Washington — not Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, Damascus, Mosul or the rubble of what remains of Raqqa. Imperial Washington has become a global menace owing to what didn’t happen in 1991 (when the USSR collapsed). At that crucial inflection point, Bush the Elder should have declared “mission accomplished” and parachuted into the great Ramstein Air Base in Germany to begin the demobilization of America’s war machine. So doing, he could have slashed the Pentagon budget from $600 billion to $250 billion (2015 $); demobilized the military-industrial complex by putting a moratorium on all new weapons development, procurement and export sales; dissolved NATO and dismantled the far-flung network of US military bases; reduced the United States’ standing armed forces from 1.5 million to a few hundred thousand; and organized and led a world disarmament and peace campaign, as did his Republican predecessors during the 1920s.

Unfortunately, George H. W. Bush was not a man of peace, vision or even middling intelligence. He was the malleable tool of the War Party, and it was he who singlehandedly blew the peace when, in the very year the 77-Years’ War ended with the demise of the Soviet Union, he plunged America into a petty argument between the impetuous dictator of Iraq and the gluttonous emir of Kuwait. But that was none of George Bush’s or America’s business. Furthermore, George H. W. Bush should never be forgiven for enabling the likes of Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Gates and their neocon pack of jackals to come to power — even if he eventually denounced them in his doddering old age. Alas, upon his death, Bush the Elder was deified, not vilified, by the mainstream press and the bipartisan duopoly.

And that tells you all you need to know about why Washington is ensnared in its Forever Wars and is the very reason there is still no peace on earth. Even more to the point, by opting not for peace but for war and oil in the Persian Gulf in 1991, Washington opened the gates to an unnecessary confrontation with Islam and nurtured the rise of jihadist terrorism that would not haunt the world today save for forces unleashed by George H. W. Bush’s petulant quarrel with Saddam Hussein. We will momentarily get to the 52-year-old error that holds that the Persian Gulf is an American lake and that the answer to high oil prices and energy security is the Fifth Fleet.Suffice it to say here that the answer to high oil prices everywhere and always is high oil prices — a truth driven home in spades by the oil busts of 2009, 2015 and 2020, and the fact the real price of oil today (2022 $) is no higher than it was in the mid-1970s.

Read more …

PMSCs = private military and security companies. “The largest PMSC in the world, UK-based G4S, alone employs more than 500,000 people and is present in more than 90 countries.”

Private Armies Are Making A Killing (Fazi)

Crucially, the UN report acknowledges that the private security and military industry is a global and growing phenomenon. While today’s focus is on Wagner, the real mercenary boom occurred during the US-led military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. In both cases, the US relied heavily on PMSCs such as DynCorp and Blackwater (now known as Constellis). Indeed, at points, the number of contractors on the ground actually outnumbered American troops. By 2006, there were estimated to be at least 100,000 PMSC employees in Iraq working directly for the US Department of Defense.

And like Wagner today, these were involved in several human rights abuses in the country. Blackwater, for example, the most high-profile PMSC in Iraq, was involved in the massacre of 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007 (which led to the conviction of four Blackwater employees), while other PMSCs were involved in the Iraq Abu Ghraib prison scandal (though none faced prosecution) and were alleged to have participated in the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” programme — the kidnapping and forced removal of individuals to places known to torture. Despite these obvious failures, by the summer of 2020, the US had more than 20,000 contractor personnel in Afghanistan — roughly twice the number of American troops. Before that, in 2017, Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, had proposed to fully privatise the war effort there.

What could possibly inspire such chutzpah? Well, although the Iraqi and Afghan conflicts are generally considered to have been a strategic blunder for the US, not to mention a humanitarian tragedy, they were a boon for the PMSC sector: up until 2016, the US State Department spent $196 billion on PMSC contracts for the Iraq war, and $108 billion for the Afghan war. And business hasn’t slowed: in 2022, the PMSC sector — whose largest businesses are now American or British — was valued at $260 billion and is projected to reach a value of around $450 billion by 2030. The largest PMSC in the world, UK-based G4S, alone employs more than 500,000 people and is present in more than 90 countries.

Should we be surprised? Ultimately, the growth of the PMSC sector is just another example of how economic transformations in recent decades have blurred the boundary between the public and private-corporate sphere to the point of making it indistinguishable. The result has been the rise of a state-corporate Leviathan which has gobbled up every sector of the economy — healthcare, banks, energy, tech — and has now taken over the field of warfare as well, at the expense of democratic control and oversight. This applies to Russia just as much as it applies to Western countries. If the conflict in Ukraine has taught us anything, it’s that war today is a bigger business than it’s ever been. No wonder peace — in Ukraine or elsewhere — seems constantly out of reach.

Read more …

“Sen. John Kennedy reacts to the news that DA Alvin Bragg is suing Rep. Jim Jordan: “I have read his indictment … it looked to me like, as a legal product, someone knocked over a urine sample.”

Manhattan Prosecutor Sues Trump’s Chief House Ally Jim Jordan (RT)

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, seeking to quash what it describes as a “transparent campaign to intimidate and attack” Bragg and derail his prosecution of former president Donald Trump. The suit seeks to block enforcement of Jordan’s subpoena for testimony from Mark Pomerantz, who previously worked as a senior prosecutor in Bragg’s office, and to stem the flow of demands for “confidential documents and testimony from the district attorney himself as well as his current and former employees and officials” emanating from the Republican’s office.

Describing Jordan’s requests as a “constitutionally destructive fishing expedition” that threatens “federalism and the sovereign interests of the State of New York,” Bragg complains that the Republican’s demands have “no legitimate legislative purpose” as Congress lacks jurisdiction over state and local cases. Even if the “unprecedentedly brazen and unconstitutional attack” did have a legitimate legislative purpose, the suit argues, the material Jordan is seeking is protected by attorney-client, work product and other privileges. Responding to Bragg’s lawsuit, Jordan tweeted, “First, they indict a president for no crime. Then, they sue to block congressional oversight when we ask questions about the federal funds they used to do it.” Bragg has denied Jordan’s claim that $5,000 in federal funds used to investigate Trump gives Congress legitimate grounds to request information – despite his office previously stating it would comply with requests for information about the use of those funds.

Trump was arraigned last week on 34 felony charges, becoming the first US president ever to face criminal prosecution. The case centers on his alleged payment of $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels to remain silent about their purported affair ahead of the 2016 election. While falsifying business records is typically charged as a misdemeanor, Bragg had the charges bumped up to felonies, meaning that if Trump is found guilty, he could be prohibited from running in the 2024 election. The former president, who has seen his popularity soar since the indictment, has denounced the charges as politically-motivated persecution, denying having an affair with Daniels or knowingly paying her off and insisting “this fake case was brought only to interfere with the upcoming 2024 election.”

Read more …

Charles Michel is a disease. Like Ursula and Borrell.

Europe Warming Up To Macron’s ‘Strategic Autonomy’ Push Away From US (Pol.eu)

European leaders are becoming increasingly favorable toward French President Emmanuel Macron’s push for “strategic autonomy” away from the United States, European Council boss Charles Michel said Tuesday. As controversy swells around Macron’s comments that Europe should resist pressure to become “America’s followers,” Michel suggested that the French politician’s position was not isolated among EU leaders. While Macron spoke as the French president, his views reflect a growing shift among EU leaders, Michel said. “There has been a leap forward on strategic autonomy compared to several years ago,” Michel told French television show La Faute à l’Europe (which has a partnership with POLITICO) in an interview set to air on Wednesday.

“On the issue of the relationship with the United States, it’s clear that there can be nuances and sensitivities around the table of the European Council. Some European leaders wouldn’t say things the same way that Emmanuel Macron did … I think quite a few really think like Emmanuel Macron.” Following a trip last week to China with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Macron told POLITICO and French newspaper Les Echos that Europe had to limit its dependency on the United States and avoid getting pulled into “crises that are not ours.” “There is indeed a great attachment that remains present — and Emmanuel Macron has said nothing else — for this alliance with the United States. But if this alliance with the United States would suppose that we blindly, systematically follow the position of the United States on all issues, no,” Michel said.

Michel also addressed recent controversies about his use of private jets to go to U.N. climate talks and growing budget for international trips. “The order of magnitude of the number of chartered air taxis is similar to those used by the Commission. I would note that people seemed to be moved about this for one case, but less so for the other,” he said. He also said there was “absolutely nothing lavish” about his transportation budget, which is meant to ensure the EU can participate on the international stage. “It is moreover the wish of the heads of state and governments to have the European Council engage more with the rest of the world,” he said. “When [Russian] Minister Sergey Lavrov goes to Africa to spread Russia’s falsehoods, it’s important to counter fire.”

Read more …

“..such a move would violate ownership rights and would be illegal from the point of view of the Swiss legal system.”

Switzerland Refuses To Freeze More Russian Assets (RT)

The Swiss government will not block more Russian assets – apart from the funds already frozen – due to a lack of evidence they fall under sanctions, Director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) Helene Budliger Artieda said in a Tuesday interview in the German newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Her comments came in response to earlier claims by US Ambassador to Switzerland Scott Miller, who criticized SECO last month for not doing enough to implement sanctions against Russia, saying that Bern could block a further 50 to 100 billion Swiss francs in Russian assets and use them to help restore Ukraine. “The figure of 50 to 100 billion francs was initially circulated as a possible estimate of Russian funds under [Swiss] management, but it was not an estimate produced by Switzerland. Not all Russians are subject to sanctions – only a small minority,” Budliger Artieda told the NZZ.

Bern has frozen 7.5 billion Swiss francs ($8.3 billion) worth of Russian assets since the EU imposed sanctions on Moscow in connection with its military operation in Ukraine. According to the SECO chief, the blocked funds equate to around “a good third” of the €21.5 billion ($23.4 billion) frozen across the European Union, but further asset freezing would require evidence that the funds were connected with sanctioned entities or individuals. “We keep telling the US and all partner countries, if you have any valuable leads, give them to us. We will follow these up. To this day we have not received any from the Americans,” she stated. When asked whether the frozen assets could be confiscated to finance the reconstruction of Ukraine, the official reiterated earlier statements by Swiss authorities that such a move would violate ownership rights and would be illegal from the point of view of the Swiss legal system.

“The confiscation of private assets is not permitted in Switzerland if they are of lawful origin and have no proven criminal background. Their confiscation would be contrary to the Federal Constitution and the applicable legal system and violate Switzerland’s international obligations,” she stated, adding that the Swiss government is also unlikely to pressure the country’s financial institutions to stop serving Russian clients. “We do not dictate to any bank or company who it has to maintain customer relationships with,” she said. While the notion of seizing frozen Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine has been discussed by Western countries for some time, no actual steps have been taken so far, as many fear it could create a dangerous precedent in the global legal system. Russia has repeatedly warned against taking such actions, claiming they essentially constitute theft.

Read more …

“I don’t want to get our country in trouble so I won’t answer it.”

Trump Weighs In On Nord Stream Sabotage (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has dismissed the claims that Russia was behind the destruction of the Nord Stream gas pipelines last year, but said that speculating on the true perpetrator might “get our country in trouble.” Speaking to Fox’s Tucker Carlson for an interview set to air in full later this week, Trump was asked for his thoughts about “who blew up the Nord Stream pipeline,” which was hit by multiple blasts under mysterious circumstances last September. “I don’t want to get our country in trouble so I won’t answer it. But I can tell you who it wasn’t, was Russia. How about when they blamed Russia. They said ‘Russia blew up their own pipeline.’ You got a kick out of that one, too. It wasn’t Russia,” he told the Fox News pundit.

While the US and other Western governments have so far offered few details about ongoing investigations into the sabotage, a February report by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh stated that US President Joe Biden had personally ordered the bombing as a way to persuade Germany to ramp up support for Ukraine amid its conflict with Russia. Washington has vocally denied the report, which relied on anonymous sources, and insisted it had no role in the bombings. “It’s a completely false story. There’s no truth to it. Not a shred of it,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told Fox in February. Ukrainian officials have similarly denied any involvement in the Nord Stream sabotage, and subsequent reporting by the New York Times has claimed that an unnamed “pro-Ukrainian group” was behind the attack.

It is unclear how the group could have accomplished the bombing from a small pleasure yacht as reported, however, as the operation would have required military-grade explosives and experienced divers, among other things. Hersh has rejected the Times’ account as part of a “cover-up” staged by US intelligence agencies, as the outlet has largely cited unnamed intelligence officials to support its story. Moscow has also voiced skepticism about the “pro-Ukrainian group,” with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov arguing the story was deliberately circulated by Western media outlets to distract from the revelations purportedly uncovered by Hersh.

Read more …

“..Putin is scheduled to visit South Africa in August for the 15th BRICS Summit..”

BRICS Nation South Africa To Clarify Russia Stance With Washington (RT)

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that he will dispatch an envoy to Washington to clarify Pretoria’s stance on Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin. According to Obed Bapela, Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, the move comes in response to criticism of South Africa’s “non-participant” and “non-aligned” position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the country’s longstanding relationship with Moscow. President Putin is scheduled to visit South Africa in August for the 15th BRICS Summit — and concerns have been expressed about whether Pretoria intends to act on the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) arrest warrant issued against the Russian leader for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

The South African Communist Party, in an April statement, asserted that the timing of the arrest warrant, issued just before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia in March, indicated a political motivation and historical inconsistency. “Unfortunately, imperialist powers continue to manipulate this multilateral institution and use it for judicial imperialism,” the SACP wrote in a statement, according to local outlet News24. The party added that “despite many calls, and ample evidence, the ICC has consistently refused to charge the likes of Netanyahu, Bush, Clinton, Blair and Obama who have destroyed countries and killed thousands of people.”

In 2017, the ICC found South Africa in breach of its obligations by failing to arrest former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he visited the country in 2015 for an African leaders’ summit. As a signatory to the Rome Statute establishing the court, Pretoria has sought legal advice on how to deal with the ICC order against Putin. According to the presidency, the planned visit to Washington, which is not a member of the ICC, will allow South Africa to “engage and persuade” regarding its Russia position. Although the identity of the envoy heading the delegation has not been revealed, Bapela said that its members will be highly experienced and may include former ministers.

Read more …

How the CIA makes money that doesn’t need to be declared or justified.

The Taliban Did In One Year What Washington Couldn’t In 20 (Marsden)

It’s been nearly a year since the Taliban banned Afghan poppy farming used for the production of opioids. The impact of the move is set to hit global markets sometime soon, given the delay from farm to customer. You’d think that would bring a welcome sigh of relief. Apparently not. Reports are now suggesting that a lack of Afghan heroin on the global market and a reduction of available natural opioids like heroin could lead to increased use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl. If that’s the case, then it’s only because Washington and the West are about as competent at curtailing skyrocketing drug overdose deaths as they were at tackling the cultivation of Afghan opioids back when they had control of the country. Synthetic opioids from China and Mexico are increasingly being used, as are those procured through prescriptions within America’s own healthcare system.

Over the course of the US-led Global War on Terror that kicked off in Afghanistan in 2001, heroin overdoses in the US and elsewhere spiked. Despite having control over the country and its government for two decades, Washington not only failed to curtail farming and exports of Afghan opium, but oversaw an increase. In February 2004, then US Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Robert Charles, outlined a new policy for countering “narcoterrorism” in Afghanistan before Congress. He cited a desire to assist the US-backed Afghan government with its objective “to eliminate opium poppy cultivation and trade in 10 years.” The project would involve deploying CIA-linked USAID to poppy-growing areas to help find alternative farming solutions.

But there have always been strong doubts over the sincerity of such efforts. A US Department of Justice policy paper from 1991 accused the CIA of “complicity in the narcotics trade” in Afghanistan, underscoring that “covert CIA operations in Afghanistan, for example, have transformed South Asia from a self-contained opium zone into a major supplier of heroin for the world market.” The CIA would certainly be in a position to know, having backed Mujahideen jihadist fighters against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the Cold War while the trafficking occurred right under its nose. Apparently old habits die hard.In 2010, Former Director of the Federal Drug Control Service of Russia, Viktor Ivanov, met with NATO officials to request a mandate for destroying the poppy fields, citing 30,000 opium-related deaths in Russia.

“We cannot be in a situation where we remove the only source of income of people who live in the second poorest country in the world without being able to provide them with an alternative,” NATO spokesman James Appathurai replied, according to Reuters.Clearly, they just weren’t that interested. It now seems that the US and NATO counter insurgency mission served in part as cover for safeguarding and protecting the opium fields from destruction – which the Taliban had already gone about doing before the 2001 US invasion. Propping up Western proxies doesn’t come cheap, and some things simply aren’t fit for the accounting books back home. It’s no secret that the CIA has a history of using narcotic trafficking to support US interests abroad while simultaneously accusing the local opposition of doing just that – from Nicaragua and Haiti to Southeast Asia, Indochina, and even France.

Read more …

“..it has a list of around 1,300 Twitter posts which are in breach of Russian law..”

Kremlin Pours Cold Water On Unblocking Twitter (RT)

Any proposal to lift Russia’s ban on Twitter is a matter for the national media regulator, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. A senior member of the State Duma’s Committee on Information Policy recently proposed lifting restrictions on the platform. MP Anton Gorelkin suggested that the Twitter ban, which was imposed more than a year ago, could be lifted after a recent policy shift by the social media giant. Twitter has stopped hiding posts by official Russian accounts in its search results, and has added labels to Western state-affiliated news outlets, Gorelkin noted. Even so, Peskov expressed skepticism about removing the restrictions on Twitter in Russia when commenting on Tuesday.

“The relevant agency, Roskomnadzor, is the competent party on the matter. It will decide whether its conditions have been met. So far, there is plenty of material which does not comply with the requirements,” said the Kremlin spokesman. Roskomnadzor expressed similar sentiment on Monday, stating that it has a list of around 1,300 Twitter posts which are in breach of Russian law. The regulator banned Twitter in early March 2022 at the request of the prosecutor general’s office. It accused the platform of discrimination against Russian news outlets and a failure to police disinformation about Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

Previously, Roskomnadzor said Twitter had failed to delete content prohibited in Russia, such as child pornography, advice on the consumption of narcotics, and calls for illegal acts. On Sunday, Twitter CEO Elon Musk was accused of “not abiding by sanctions” over his refusal to crack down on the account of former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Musk argued in response that “all news is to some degree propaganda,” and claimed that had been told that Russian President Vladimir Putin “called me a war criminal for helping Ukraine, so he’s not exactly my best friend.” Peskov was asked to comment on that particular accusation, responding that the billionaire must have been “misinformed” and that the Russian leader had never made remarks of that nature.

Read more …

Julian had been in Belmarsh for 4 years on April 11. Where were you guys all that time?

Australian, UK Politicians Call on US to Drop Julian Assange Extradition (ET)

Politicians from Australia and the UK, from all political leanings, have asked U.S. Attorney-General Merrick Garland to end all extradition attempts for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In an open letter, 48 Australian parliamentarians from the government, opposition, and crossbench said extradition would set a “dangerous precedent” for freedom of the press and be “needlessly damaging” for the United States as a world leader in freedom of expression. “If the extradition request is approved, Australians will witness the deportation of one of our citizens from one AUKUS partner to another—our closest strategic ally—with Mr Assange facing the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison,” the letter reads.

The MPs and senators noted that Assange has been “effectively incarcerated” for over a decade, while the person who leaked the classified information, Chelsea Manning, has “been able to participate in American society since 2017.” “A clear majority of Australians consider that this matter has gone on for far too long and must be brought to a close,” the letter says. “We implore you to drop the extradition proceedings and allow Mr Assange to return home.” Assange’s father, John Shipton, previously said that his son’s incarceration was “excoriating and scarring” for him and his family. “After 14 years, you no longer use the term hope,” he said in March. But he was heartened at the growing support for his release from across the political spectrum.

“The incoming tide is now turning into a tsunami of support,” he said. “You don’t need to be a weatherman to see which way the wind’s blowing.” Similarly, 35 UK MPs and Lords from six parties have written to Garland requesting that the attorney general uphold the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and drop the extradition proceedings to allow Assange to return to Australia. “This April 11 marks the fourth anniversary of Mr Assange, an award-winning journalist and publisher, being detained in His Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh in London, where he awaits a decision on extradition to the United States of America,” the letter says.

[..] Greg Barns, the spokesperson for the Australian Assange Campaign, told the AAP that legislators from around the world were eager for the case’s conclusion. It was especially critical for Washington to understand the level of support for Assange among Australian MPs for the extradition proceedings to an end. “There has been bipartisan support for a long period of time, but what this letter says in print is the extent of that diversity,” Barns said. “That is a reflection of the Australian community [because] a lot of people think no matter what Assange has done, enough is enough.” He noted that he was unaware of anyone else subject to “inhumane” conditions while yet to be formally charged with a criminal offence.

Read more …

The Squad for Assange.

Democrats Urge Biden To Drop Julian Assange Charges (RT)

Several Democrats in the House have penned a letter calling for the immediate release of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, urging the Department of Justice to drop its charges against the publisher and halt extradition proceedings aiming to bring him to the United States to face prosecution under the World War I-era Espionage Act. The group of progressive lawmakers, frequently dubbed ‘the Squad,’ addressed their letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday to mark the fourth anniversary since Assange’s 2019 arrest, saying the charges against him represent a serious threat to the free press. “We write you today to call on you to uphold the First Amendment’s protections for the freedom of the press by dropping the criminal charges against Australian publisher Julian Assange and withdrawing the American extradition request currently pending with the British government,” the lawmakers said.

They went on to cite warnings from a long line of human rights, civil liberties and press freedoms groups – among them the ACLU, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Defending Rights and Dissent and Human Rights Watch – which have argued Assange’s case poses “a grave and unprecedented threat to everyday, constitutionally protected journalistic activity.” Assange was arrested by British authorities in 2019 after losing political asylum status at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he was holed up for more than seven years for fear of prosecution by the United States due to WikiLeaks’ publication of large amounts of classified material. Under President Donald Trump, the US Department of Justice unsealed a multi-count indictment against Assange on April 11, 2019 – the same day of his arrest – slapping him with 17 charges under the Espionage Act, which can potentially carry the death penalty.

He has been held at the UK’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison in the years since, as Washington presses an extradition request to bring Assange to the US to face his charges. The publisher’s legal team has appealed a prior ruling in favor of extradition on the grounds of Assange’s declining health, a process which continues to play out in the British courts. The Democratic lawmakers argued that Assange’s prosecution would “greatly [diminish] America’s credibility” as a defender of human rights around the globe and set a dangerous legal precedent “whereby journalists or publishers can be prosecuted.”“In the future the New York Times or Washington Post could be prosecuted when they publish important stories based on classified information. Or, just as dangerous for democracy, they may refrain from publishing such stories for fear of prosecution,” they continued. Assange’s charges stem from the 2010 publication of a massive trove of classified documents obtained by US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, including material suggesting US forces committed war crimes in Iraq and elsewhere. Manning was charged and sentenced to 35 years in prison, but was later released after President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence.

Read more …





With 891,163 km2 of wetlands, Canada has about 25% of the world’s freshwater – the largest wetland area in the world. Plus it is surrounded by 3 oceans, and has over 2 million lakes






Pareidolia makes us see shapes even in the weirdest place, even faces in unusual shark photos






Mount Etna erupting at night creating the spectacular illusion of a Phoenix rising over the Sicilian port city of Catania in 2019.





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






Nov 142019
 November 14, 2019  Posted by at 1:30 pm Primers Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  21 Responses »

Rembrandt van Rijn Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem 1630


Watching Day 1 yesterday of the impeachment inquiry that isn’t one, I was thinking about an old children’s game, which is just as useful for adults, in which, in a wide circle of persons, no. 1 tells no. 2 a story, no. 2 tells no. 3, and so forth. If the total numbers of persons in the circle is large enough, it’s certain that the story, if it has enough details, will have changed unrecognizably by, say, no. 20.

That little game is a nice illustration of why you’ve all heard the words “Hearsay, Your Honor” spoken by some lawyer or another in 1000+ movies and TV series. And hearsay was all there was yesterday from “witnesses” Bill Taylor and George Kent. They are both “witnesses” who didn’t witness anything related to the hearing in course and neither ever met or spoke to President Trump, but both claim to know exactly what he was thinking, why he did what he did, and said what he said, based on things they heard from third parties, quite a few of whom remain anonymous.

Little of what they said would therefore be ruled admissible in a court of law. But the House inquiry is not a court of law. It can probably best be compared to a grand jury, a very one-sided format designed to let a prosecutor find and present enough evidence to let a case go to court. If Taylor and Kent had been in a court room, you would have heard “Hearsay, Your Honor” about once in every ten seconds. That gets old fast.

So why do we have this circus going on when it is obvious that round 2 (or 3, if you think the basement hearings were round 1), the Senate trial which must follow if the Dems decide to impeach Trump, has to acquit him because the House based its entire case on hearsay? I don’t know, but perhaps we see some of it in Democrat Rep. Mike Quigley (IL)’s statement: “Hearsay can be much better evidence than direct … and it’s certainly valid in this instance”

Note that Quigley in that little video got shut down very rapidly in his enthusiasm for using hearsay by someone (I can’t see who) saying none of the exceptions he seemed to refer to applied to “this testimony”. And that’s the crux here: courts may have in the past, after much deliberation, allowed hearsay in specific cases, but Quigley tries to make it look as if that is now some general rule, and that is certainly not true.

Before I forget, something that struck me at the start yesterday was how both Adam Schiff and Bill Taylor in their openings emphasized their focus on Russia, while this case is not about that, but about Ukraine. And Russia Russia Russia has been shot down along with Robert Muller in his memorably awful “defense” of his failed report a few months ago.

Schiff’s opening words:

In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire. In the following years, thirteen thousand Ukrainians died as they battled superior Russian forces.

There is so much wrong and debatable and leading and what not in just those few words, I don’t even know where to start. I guess perhaps I should be shouting out “Hearsay, Your Honor” at the top of my lungs. Then there’s Taylor:

After his opening statement, Taylor answers questions. He tells committee members: “If we withdraw or suspend or threaten to withdraw our security assistance” to Ukraine, it sends a “message to Ukrainians, but its just as important to the Russians who are looking for any sign of weakness”. “That affects us” he adds. It affects the world that we live in; that our children and grandchildren will grow up in,” he adds, appearing to become emotional. “Ukraine is on the front line of that conflict,” he concludes.

These statements are important because they tell us that Schiff and Taylor both see the world through the same glasses. The Russians are looking for signs of US weakness that they can use to advance their grand plan to (re) build a grand empire. That comes with the idea that the US didn’t cause the mayhem in Ukraine in 2014 with their coup, no, it was Russia which reacted so it wouldn’t lose its only warm water port.


Back to the hearing. Taylor said it was his “clear understanding” that President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine until the Bidens and other matters were investigated. At the very least there is no proof of that. It’s much more likely from what we know today that Ukraine didn’t know Trump withheld the aid until after the July 25 phone call this whole thing rests on. It was suggested yesterday that they didn’t know until the end of August, but I’ve seen people claim that they knew a few weeks earlier. But Zelensky didn’t know on July 25, that we can agree on.

And anyway, this is merely Taylor’s opinion. Based on hearsay. Based on what some guy told him some other guy told him etc etc. And though Taylor never met Trump, the very idea of withholding aid to one of the most corrupt nations on the planet scares the heebees out of him because Russia Russia Russia.

Taylor is a career diplomat who has bought hook line and sinker into established US policy in the region, and who will defend it until his dying breath. And if that means going against the president of the country he allegedly serves, who has every right to rebalance that policy, Taylor will do it. That is what he was saying.

Taylor came close to matching Mueller’s uber-bumbling performance the other day, though he didn’t quite get there. Kent was not quite that bad, but he’s in the same camp, the same career field, and the same deep state, FBI-CIA controlled policy-making no matter who gets elected president. And looking at Bill Taylor, how can one not question the wisdom of people like him making decisions on matters such as that?

Republican counsel Steve Castor started off strong, at least from what I saw, but seemed to fizzle out a little because he became lost in his own one question every five seconds model. Perhaps it was the format, maximum time limits etc., which you don’t have in a courtroom. Jim Jordan did well, he just got named to the committee, but he could have been more effective as well. Still, this part was strong:

You didn’t listen in on President Trump & Zelensky’s call?

Taylor: I did not.

Jordan: You’ve never talked with Chief of Staff Mulvaney?

Taylor: I never did.

Jordan: You’ve never met the President?

Taylor: That’s correct.

Jordan: And you’re their star witness.

All in all, if you thought yesterday was a good day for the Democrats, for the inquiry, or for Adam Schiff, you really need to check a few fundamental issues. All Schiff managed to bring to the table was hearsay. And it’s only because of the grand jury-like format that he even gets to start day 2. No judge would have let him. But there is no judge, and there is no jury. There’s only an executioner.

PS I found this thing from the BBC intriguing and illustrative:

Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, said a member of his staff was told Mr Trump was preoccupied with pushing for a probe into Mr Biden. He was speaking at the first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry.

[..] During a detailed opening statement, Mr Taylor said a member of his staff had overheard a telephone call in which the president inquired about “the investigations” into Mr Biden. The call was with Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, who reportedly told the president over the phone from a restaurant in Kyiv that “the Ukrainians were ready to move forward”. After the call, the staff member “asked ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine”, Mr Taylor said. Mr Taylor said: “Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden.”

First, it argues that a member of Taylor’s staff was told something by a third party, but later it changes to him/her hearing the president “live”. Albeit through an allegedly private phone call in which Trump may have sounded a bit loud. You want to impeach your president on the basis of a maybe overheard phone call that someone told you someone told someone else about?

By the way, that phone call allegedly was between Trump and Gordon Sondland, hotelier cum US ambassador to the EU, the same person who testified in the famous Schiff basement and whose laywer at some point contested Taylor’s statements about what Sondland told him, after which the latter went back to the basement to change his testimony. He said she said but then he said and then she said and so on.

What’s on the schedule for the circus today, is it the clowns or the elephants? I may take a day off. We have weeks more of this. And already I have no idea left of who told whom what.


Please support the Automatic Earth on Paypal and Patreon so we can continue to publish.

Top of the page, left and right sidebars. Thank you.