Jan 142024
 


Pablo Picasso Blue nude 1902

 

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

 

 

 

 

Habba

 

 

O’Leary

 

 

Dream Team

 

 

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

 

 

Nap Macgregor

 

 

Tucker Quaid

 

 

3 world wars

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

Notable quotes from Jan. 11 ICJ hearing

From South African attorney Tembeka Ngcukaitobi:

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

From South African attorney Adila Hassim:

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

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

Read more …

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

The Case for Genocide (Chris Hedges)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

Hannibal.

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

Musk Reacts To Death Of Gonzalo Lira (RT)

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

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

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

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

Lira Nuland

Read more …

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

Friendly Fire (Vivek Ramaswamy)

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

Vivek Obama

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

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

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

Read more …

Honest mistakes?

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

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

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

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

Read more …

They want 66 more years.

FBI Stonewalls Over Seth Rich Laptop Production (ZH)

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

Voter Fraud Convictions Challenge Narrative of Secure Elections (ET)

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

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

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

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

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Czech cartoon

 

 

Tasmanian tiger

 

 

Loved

 

 

 

 

Trust jump

 

 


Tobias Messerli, Utzingen, Switzerland.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 202022
 
 November 20, 2022  Posted by at 9:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  51 Responses »


Paul Gauguin Van Gogh painting sunflowers 1888

 

Musk Reinstates Trump’s Twitter Account After Millions Vote In Poll (JTN)
War On Everything (El Gato Malo)
Europe Warns Musk He Must Hire Hundreds Of Moderators (ZH)
German Public TV Compares Elon Musk to Goebbels (Kogon)
CBS News Suspends All Twitter Activity (NYP)
France Should Stop Backing Zelensky – Ex-Presidential Candidate (RT)
West Is ‘Pushing’ Kiev Toward Talks – Medvedev (RT)
Germany Warns Against Escalation Between Russia and NATO (RT)
Goodbye G20, hello BRICS+ (Escobar)
Ukraine Could Seize Crimea Before Year Ends – MOD (RT)
‘Harsh Winter’ Ahead For Ukraine – Lloyd Austin (RT)
Outcome of Ukraine Conflict Will Help Define 21st Century – Lloyd Austin (RT)
EU Leaders Accuse US Natural Gas Producers Of Profiteering (IA)
‘Laziness Epidemic’ Grips France – Study (RT)

 

 

 

 

Judge Nap- Macgregor MUST watch

 

 


Schwarzenegger

 

 

Old video

 

 

 

 

Tucker FTX

 

 

“If you don’t believe how powerful American propaganda is, they made Fauci and Zelensky the heroes..”

 

 

 

 

Musk Reinstates Trump’s Twitter Account After Millions Vote In Poll (JTN)

New Twitter owner Elon Musk declared Saturday night that former President Trump’s account will be reinstated. Musk made the decision after polling Twitter users Friday. More than 15 million people responded, with nearly 52% supporting the return of the 45th president to the social platform, “The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Musk tweeted at about 8 p.m. ET Saturday. The former president’s account was suspended after the Jan.6, 2021, Capitol riot. Since then, Trump has launched his own social platform called Truth Social that has attracted millions of new users. Both Trump and Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes have said the former president plans to stay on his own platform. Trump reiterated that position on Saturday, even as he encouraged followers to vote in Musk’s poll. “Vote now with positivity, but don’t worry, we aren’t going anywhere. Truth Social is special!,” he wrote.

Read more …

One of the last things Michael Moore said that made sense, was “You can’t declare war on a noun”. El Gato takes it from there.

War On Everything (El Gato Malo)

We live in the age of the war machine. The purpose of the war machine is not to produce victory. The purpose of the war machine is to produce war. War unending. War on everything. Permission to think the unthinkable and excuse to do that which is inexcusable. It is the triumph of the terrible and the tyrannical. The war on covid, poverty, injustice, drugs, terrorism: It’s all the same. War is the worst of humanity. It is the end of cooperation, the end of rationality, the abrogation of ethics. War is permission to “do what it takes to win” This cannot be the way. War is the end of good choices and the embrace of conflict, the end of citizens and the pursuit of subjugation. It is the end of humanity and the beginning of amoral destruction of the enemy. Perfect for politicians. Anathema to the free breath of we the people.

This is jingo as justification. It’s the supplanting of rights by righteousness. And this war machine will roll right over you and if it does its job well you will never even guess at the real reasons why. The facts and faces may change, but the war will not. It will take from you those most fundamental rights and choices and replace them with the fist, with violence, with taking. The war on drugs takes the free choice of free people and replaces it with 27 kinds of new statist intrusion breaking down doors with unaccountable no knock warrants and systems of international collaboration giving rise to vast police and surveillance states. Has it stopped drugs or even made headway? Nope. Does it have any ethical basis in a world where our own intelligence agencies traffic in the very narcotics our police profess to suppress? Nope.

It just oppresses you and takes the rights of peaceful people and shifts to unsafe and violent black markets that which was once free. It just tightens the net around you and the endless failure to win is right there in the design. The goal is not to stop drugs. The goal is to rule and to profit. The war on poverty is just the same. It seeks to take by force from some and give to others. Has it alleviated poverty? No. By most credible accounts, it has made it FAR worse among those it purports to help from the african american community in the US that was literally devastated by the so called “great society” programs to the african african community in africa where endless, meddling aid has made dependencies of countries while preventing real domestic industry and self sufficiency from emerging for who can open and support a store or a farm when trucks of free rice arrive daily and aid money is laundered into vast programs of profiteering by folks like the gates foundation? It has enabled 700 kinds of grift and grasping rapacity.

Read more …

Some two-bit little man trying to make himself look powerful.

Europe Warns Musk He Must Hire Hundreds Of Moderators (ZH)

At a time when Musk is cutting hundreds if not thousands of workers on a weekly basis, early on Friday Europe delivered some unexpected news to the world’s richest man: according to Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, Musk will have to increase the number of moderators in Europe, a continent which long ago gave up all pretense of having free speech. “He is in the process of reducing a certain number of moderators, but he will have to increase them in Europe,” Breton told Franceinfo in an interview, Bloomberg reported. Breton added that Musk “will have to open his algorithms. We will have control, we will have access, people will no longer be able to say rubbish.”

By “rubbish” he meant anything that Europe’s unelected technocrats disagree with, which these days is anything not endorsed by the World Economic Forum. Breton earlier warned that Twitter would have to “fly by our rules,” shortly after Musk closed his $44 billion takeover last month. The EU’s Digital Services Act gives governments power to enforce rules governing how tech companies moderate content and to decide when they must take down illegal content. The DSA specifically will also force companies to moderate content in the languages they operate in, according to Bloomberg.

If Musk doesn’t comply, Twitter will face fines of as much as 6% of annual sales and could even be banned. Breton said he had proposed establishing a “working relationship” with Musk to discuss Europe’s expectations of the social media platform. “He knows perfectly well what the conditions are for Twitter to continue operating in Europe,” Breton said, and he is right: Europe is one so-called “Democracy” where nobody even pretends there is freedom of speech even as it bashes authoritarianism in places like China and Russia; and sadly it’s a preview of what is coming to the US.

Read more …

It’s a German specialty after all. Meanwhile, that country is falling apart fast.

German Public TV Compares Elon Musk to Goebbels (Kogon)

After Germany’s “first” public television network, ARD, compared Elon Musk reducing Twitter censorship to “letting rats out of their holes,” Germany’s “second” public television network, ZDF, has now compared Musk to Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels! (The network’s name Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen literally means “Second German Television.”) Thus, last Friday, ZDF’s would-be comedy program, the “Heute Show,” posted the below tweet and photoshop.. The Tweet reads: “Thanks to Elon Musk, you’re allowed to say anything again on Twitter! Total freedom of speech! #heuteshow.” The caption, whose color scheme and font invoke Nazi-era propaganda, reads “Do you want total tweet?”

It is an allusion to Goebbels’s 1943 speech at the Berlin Sportspalast, in which the Nazi Minister of Propaganda famously shouted, “Do you want total war?” – in response to which audience members leapt to their feet shouting “Yes!” and raising their arms in the Hitler-salute. The background image appears to show a Nazi Party rally with the swastikas replaced by the Twitter bird logo. Two smaller swastikas are still visible in the lower left-hand corner of the full-size image. Leaving aside the extreme mental contortionism required to associate freedom of speech with Nazi Germany, if ever there was a don’t-throw-stones-in-glass-houses moment, this was it. For, as so happens, during the Second World War, the founding director of ZDF, Karl Holzamer, himself served in one of the propaganda units that none other than Goebbels’s Ministry of Propaganda embedded with the different divisions of the Germany military.


Holzamer served in a propaganda unit of the Luftwaffe or German air force. As noted in a 2012 article titled “Goebbels’s Soldiers” in the German daily Die Frankfurter Rundschau, Holzamer was embedded with the Luftwaffe during its April 1941 bombing of Belgrade and was “the first” to report on the German subjugation of the Yugoslav capital. The online Lexikon der Wehrmacht, which also notes Holzamer’s service in the propaganda troops, cites Goebbels himself, who explained that “the Wehrmacht’s propaganda troops ensure the coordination between propaganda warfare and armed warfare in the theater of operations.”

Read more …

Musk inch perfect on Twiter: “Who made that decision?” “Oh, never mind, who cares?”

CBS News Suspends All Twitter Activity (NYP)

Fearful of the “uncertainty” surrounding Elon Musk’s management of Twitter, CBS News announced that it would be suspending its usage of the social media site. CBS News is one of first major media entities to flee Twitter in the wake of threats from many Musk critics to leave the platform once the billionaire Tesla CEO took over the company. The major news network confirmed the move during Friday’s episode of “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell.” Coverage began with the network reporting on the mass resignations of employees offended by Musk’s “ultimatum” from earlier this week. In his quest to streamline the company, the world’s richest man emailed all employees asking them to commit to an “extremely hardcore” workload or leave the company.

The “ultimatum,” as many disgruntled folks called it, prompted backlash from onlookers who trashed the company under Musk, some calling it a “hellscape.” The ensuing chaos from Musk’s email, as well as the general vitriol generated by him taking over the reins of company, did not sit well with CBS News. During its segment, titled “Twitter Turmoil,” CBS News national correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reported in a dire tone, “Tonight, as questions mount over Twitter’s future, Elon Musk offers little reassurance he has a permanent plan, tweeting, ‘What should Twitter do next?’” The story featured a quote from a disgruntled former engineer who was laid off, who claimed that the culture of Twitter under Musk was “definitely a culture of fear and uncertainty, of anxiety.”

Apparently, that anxiety made quite an impression on CBS News. In the middle of the segment, Vigliotti reported the outlet’s decision to pause its usage of Twitter. He reported, “In light of the uncertainty around Twitter, and out of an abundance of caution, CBS News is pausing its activity on the social media site as it continues to monitor the platform.”

Read more …

“Let’s stop supporting this dangerous man. [We should] urgently make up a peace plan,” he added.”

France Should Stop Backing Zelensky – Ex-Presidential Candidate (RT)

France should stop supporting Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky after he almost incited a global conflict by alleging that a recent deadly blast in Poland, a NATO member, was caused by a Russian missile, former presidential candidate Nicolas Dupont-Aignan suggested on Saturday. Writing on Twitter, Dupont-Aignan, who heads the right-wing party Debout la France and has run for the presidency several times, said that “by launching a missile at Poland and accusing the Russians, Zelensky almost triggered World War III.” “Let’s stop supporting this dangerous man. [We should] urgently make up a peace plan,” he added.

Following up on his post, he claimed that the Ukraine conflict could be resolved only if Moscow and Kiev agree to a ceasefire and autonomy is given to the two Donbass republics, as the Minsk agreements were designed to do. Both the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics recently overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in public referendums. The politician also argued that any peace plan would have to include “Russia’s retreat” and “Ukraine’s neutrality.” On Tuesday, two civilians were killed when a missile landed in the Polish village of Przewodow near the Ukrainian border. Shortly after the incident, Poland signaled that it may invoke Article 4 of the NATO Treaty, which allows any member of the bloc to request consultations if it believes that its security is at risk. Western officials subsequently admitted that the missile was of Ukrainian and not Russian origin.

However, following the blast, Zelensky pinned the blame on Russia, calling the incident “a very serious escalation” and as an attack on NATO that demands a response. Later, however, he toned down his claims, admitting that “we do not know for 100%” what caused the explosion. The Russian Defense Ministry denied any involvement in the incident, saying its military experts had analyzed the photos from the scene and identified the debris as parts of an S-300 air defense system missile used by Ukraine. France, along with many other Western countries, has been providing Ukraine with military aid to support it in its fight against Russia. In recent months, Paris has sent to Kiev a number of Caesar self-propelled howitzers, MILAN anti-tank missiles, and other military hardware.

Read more …

“..if [Zelensky] does not accept the reality of Ukraine’s collapse, it is pointless to sit down at the [negotiating] table. And if [he] does accept it – he will be taken out by his own nationalists, who are intertwined with the army top brass.”

West Is ‘Pushing’ Kiev Toward Talks – Medvedev (RT)

The collective West is growing tired of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and is “pushing” Kiev into talks with Moscow, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a Telegram post on Saturday. He added that the US and NATO don’t want to risk a new world war. The reaction to the missile strike that hit the Polish village of Przewodow on Tuesday, killing two civilians, has revealed a new “symptom” in this trend, with even “the most ardent Russophobes” in Warsaw refusing to blame the incident on Moscow, the ex-president commented. On Friday, Warsaw said the strike was an “unfortunate accident” that was “practically impossible” to prevent. Kiev has repeatedly tried to blame the strike on Moscow.

The Russian military, meanwhile, said it did not carry out any launches near the Ukrainian-Polish border at the time, while analysis of photos from the site showed that the projectile was an S-300 anti-aircraft missile operated by Ukraine’s military “Everyone is tired of the Kiev regime. Especially of the neurotic Zelensky, who is constantly whipping up tensions, whining, sniveling and extorting more and more money and weapons handouts. [He] acts like a hysterical child with developmental problems,” Medvedev stated. Fatigue with Kiev and its actions is prompting the collective West to “push” Ukraine into talks with Russia, the deputy head of the nation’s Security Council continued. “The US, NATO and the European Union do not want a complete rupture with Russia, risking a third world [war]. Hence, the frequent attempts to rein in Kiev and bring it to its senses, to push it to negotiate,” Medvedev wrote.

By refusing to talk with Russia, Zelensky is actually pursuing much more mundane and selfish goals, Medvedev suggested. He added that “if [Zelensky] does not accept the reality of Ukraine’s collapse, it is pointless to sit down at the [negotiating] table. And if [he] does accept it – he will be taken out by his own nationalists, who are intertwined with the army top brass.” The former president’s comments came as several leading politicians in the West, including French President Emmanuel Macron, have repeatedly called for direct talks between Kiev and Moscow. Recent reports have also indicated that Washington has been privately pushing Ukraine to drop its uncompromising rejection of the peace process with Russia. Last week, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, suggested that a Ukrainian military victory might be unachievable and that winter could provide an opportunity to begin talks with Moscow.

Read more …

Noted that Scholz, Sunak, Zelensky are all 1.70m (5’58”). That’s a lot of complexes to make up for. Even Macron is a whole inch taller.

Germany Warns Against Escalation Between Russia and NATO (RT)

The West should do its best to prevent an escalation between Russia and NATO, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Saturday, while stressing that it is necessary to continue providing Ukraine with arms to fight Russia. Speaking at a conference of the Social Democratic Party in the southern German city of Friedrichshafen, Scholz admitted that many European citizens “are scared, and have reasons for it.” While highlighting the importance of supporting Ukraine militarily, he noted that Western countries should “be concerned that there is no escalation that could lead to a war between Russia and NATO.” “It is important to act prudently and decisively at the same time,” he added.

Scholz’s comments come after last month he warned against taking “careless steps” amid the Ukraine conflict. “There must be no direct conflict between Russia and NATO,” he stressed at the time. With relations between the West and Russia already having hit new lows after Moscow started its military operation in Ukraine, fears of a direct clash between Russia and NATO were recently triggered by a missile having landed in a Polish village close to the Ukrainian border. Shortly after the incident, the Polish Foreign Ministry claimed that the projectile was “Russian-made.” Later, the nation’s authorities signaled that they may invoke Article 4 of the NATO Treaty, which allows any bloc member to request consultations if it believes that its security is at risk.

Following the blast, Zelensky pinned the blame on Russia, calling the incident “a very serious escalation” and an attack on NATO that demanded a response. Ultimately, however, Western officials admitted that the missile was of Ukrainian and not Russian origin. The Russian Defense Ministry denied any involvement in the incident, saying its military experts had analyzed the photos from the scene and identified the debris as parts of an S-300 air defense system missile used by Ukraine. Germany, along with many other Western countries, has been providing Ukraine with military hardware, including Gepard anti-aircraft guns, MARS II multiple rocket launchers, and the IRIS-T air defense system. Moscow has repeatedly warned that weapons shipments will only prolong the Ukraine conflict.

Read more …

“..the recent record shows Xi has few reasons to take Biden at face value..”

Goodbye G20, hello BRICS+ (Escobar)

The increasingly irrelevant G20 Summit concluded with sure signs that BRICS+ will be the way forward for Global South cooperation. The redeeming quality of a tense G20 held in Bali – otherwise managed by laudable Indonesian graciousness – was to sharply define which way the geopolitical winds are blowing. That was encapsulated in the Summit’s two highlights: the much anticipated China-US presidential meeting – representing the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century – and the final G20 statement. The 3-hour, 30-minute-long face-to-face meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden – requested by the White House – took place at the Chinese delegation’s residence in Bali, and not at the G20 venue at the luxury Apurva Kempinski in Nusa Dua.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs concisely outlined what really mattered. Specifically, Xi told Biden that Taiwan independence is simply out of the question. Xi also expressed hope that NATO, the EU, and the US will engage in “comprehensive dialogue” with Russia. Instead of confrontation, the Chinese president chose to highlight the layers of common interest and cooperation. Biden, according to the Chinese, made several points. The US does not seek a New Cold War; does not support “Taiwan independence;” does not support “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”; does not seek “decoupling” from China; and does not want to contain Beijing. However, the recent record shows Xi has few reasons to take Biden at face value.

The final G20 statement was an even fuzzier matter: the result of arduous compromise. As much as the G20 is self-described as “the premier forum for global economic cooperation,” engaged to “address the world’s major economic challenges,” the G7 inside the G20 in Bali had the summit de facto hijacked by war. “War” gets almost double the number of mentions in the statement compared to “food” after all. The collective west, including the Japanese vassal state, was bent on including the war in Ukraine and its “economic impacts” – especially the food and energy crisis – in the statement. Yet without offering even a shade of context, related to NATO expansion. What mattered was to blame Russia – for everything.

Read more …

This kind of fantasy costs a lot of lives.

Ukraine Could Seize Crimea Before Year Ends – MOD (RT)

Ukraine could capture Russia’s Crimea by the end of this year, the country’s deputy defense minister, Vladimir Gavrilov, has said. In an interview with Sky New on Saturday, Gavrilov stated that what is known as a ‘black swan’ – or a sudden and unexpected event – could bring about Kiev’s victory. “I think Russia can face a black swan in their country, inside Russia, and this can contribute to [our] success with Crimea,”he said, adding that there was “also a military option as well with some kind of combination of forces, resources and something else.” “We can step into Crimea, for example, by the end of December. Possible? Possible. Not ruling out that it can be so,” Gavrilov added.

When asked what type of a black swan event could happen in the coming months, Gavrilov suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin could “disappear, for example, due to some reason, physical and political,” or that the Russian public could become “disillusioned” with the situation on the battlefield. Echoing a previous statement by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Gavrilov said that Kiev would resume negotiations with Russia “only when they’re ready to leave our territories.” Expressing optimism about Ukraine’s chances, Gavrilov stated: “My feeling is that by the end of spring this war will {be} over.” Crimea broke away from Ukraine and voted to join Russia shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev.

In July, Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said that the refusal “by Ukraine or any NATO state” to consider Crimea a part of Russia would be considered a threat. In early October, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Ukraine’s former Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, officially became part of Russia following referendums that saw the majority of local residents vote in favor of accession. Last week, Russian troops withdrew from Kherson, amid concerns that Ukrainian forces could destroy a nearby hydroelectric dam, thus provoking flooding that could cause the deaths of soldiers and civilians. Putin said in late September that Moscow would defend the new territories “with full force and all means at our disposal.”

Read more …

“..Austin claimed that Ukraine’s population would rather go without electricity and heat than have talks with Moscow..”

You asked them?

‘Harsh Winter’ Ahead For Ukraine – Lloyd Austin (RT)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warned on Saturday that Ukraine faces a “harsh winter,” as Russia continues missile strikes on its infrastructure. Earlier, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, suggested that Kiev should take the opportunity to talk with Moscow. Speaking at the Halifax Security Forum in Canada, Austin praised the Ukrainian military’s efforts against Russia, but cautioned that “hard times lie ahead as Ukraine faces a harsh winter.” Although Ukraine has received tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons from the US and NATO, Russian drone and missile strikes have been pounding its command centers and energy infrastructure since early October. These launches have, according to Ukrainian authorities, left 40% of the country’s power infrastructure destroyed or damaged.

Amid the destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure, a split has reportedly emerged within the White House. Some top-level Biden administration officials are urging Kiev to keep fighting Russia “for as long as it takes,” whereas Milley has declared that Ukraine cannot win militarily and should instead seize “an opportunity to negotiate.” In his address on Saturday, Austin claimed that Ukraine’s population would rather go without electricity and heat than have talks with Moscow. However, he reiterated that the US would “not be dragged into [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war,” but would continue to funnel arms to Kiev.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. Earlier, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked. In early October, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, officially became part of Russia following referendums that saw the majority of local residents vote in favor of accession.

Read more …

Open. Door.

Outcome of Ukraine Conflict Will Help Define 21st Century – Lloyd Austin (RT)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin declared on Saturday that the outcome of the conflict in Ukraine will shape the geopolitical order of the 21st century. The West’s “stability and prosperity” is on the line, he stressed. “The outcome of the war in Ukraine will help determine the course of global security in this young century,” Austin told an audience at the Halifax Security Forum in Canada. “And those of us in North America don’t have the option of sitting this one out.” “Stability and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic are at stake,” he continued, asserting that Russia’s military operation “tears at the rules-based international order that keeps us all secure.”

“Rules-based international order” is a term often used interchangeably with “liberal world order.” It encompasses the web of Western-dominated institutions – such as the World Bank, World Trade Organization, UN, EU, and NATO – that have regulated global diplomacy, trade, and conflict since the end of World War II. Commenting on this approach before, Russian President Vladimir Putin has argued that, rather than benefiting the whole world, this order serves as an instrument of “unipolar hegemony,” used by the US to make the rest of the world its “vassals.”

“The West is insisting on a rules-based order,” he remarked in a speech in September. “Where did that come from anyway? Who has ever seen these rules? Who agreed or approved them?” “Russia is a great thousand-year-old power, a whole civilisation, and it is not going to live by such makeshift, false rules,” he declared. Putin has spoken on numerous occasions of building a competing “multipolar” world order, in which multiple superpowers balance and constrain each other, and disputes are settled in accordance with laws rather than Western-dictated “rules.” Earlier this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi declared that Beijing stands ready to work with Russia “and other like-minded countries to promote the development of a multipolar world.”

Read more …

“It’s hardly a surprise he did not go into detail on how this affordable price would be achieved. …This is a free market, isn’t it?”

EU Leaders Accuse US Natural Gas Producers Of Profiteering (IA)

European leaders are unhappy with natural gas prices. Some leaders are insisting that the EU impose a price cap on all natural gas imports, regardless of origin, – notes Oilprice.com. France’s president Emmanuel Macron accused the United States of a “double standard” because of the difference between the price at which liquefied natural gas produced in the U.S. sells in Europe and the price at which natural gas sells within the U.S. “The North American economy is making choices for the sake of attractiveness, which I respect, but they create a double standard,” Macron said, also adding that “they allow state aid going to up to 80% on some sectors while it’s banned here – you get a double standard.”

He wasn’t alone among European national leaders in being unhappy about gas prices. In fact, as many as 15 leaders were unhappy, and they insisted that the EU imposes a price cap on all natural gas imports, regardless of origin. Now, the U.S. is striking back at the accusations. “What’s happening is the companies that hold those long-term contracts with US LNG producers, they’re marking that up and earning that margin in the European market,” Brian Crabtree, an assistant secretary at the Department of Energy, – told the Financial Times. “It’s not the US LNG company, it’s basically European-headquartered international oil companies and traders.” Indeed, producers of liquefied natural gas do not invariably sell their product directly to the consumer, in the face of a country in Europe, for instance, They work with commodity majors such as Vitol and Trafigura, or the supermajors, including BP and Shell.

This is not to say that LNG producers are not benefiting from the much stronger demand for LNG from Europe. And this is exactly the reason they have been benefiting, in the form of higher profits: demand has surged, and when demand surges, prices follow, especially if supply is not growing as fast as demand. In other words, Europe seems to want businesses to not act as businesses and take every opportunity to make a profit, which is what businesses are all about. Be that as it may, a Ministry of Energy analyst, told the FT that the U.S. was committed to helping Europe get enough gas “at a price that is affordable to the continent.” It’s hardly a surprise he did not go into detail on how this affordable price would be achieved. …This is a free market, isn’t it?

Read more …

“..prevents nearly half of the French population from leaving their homes..”

‘Laziness Epidemic’ Grips France – Study (RT)

Laziness regularly prevents nearly half of the French population from leaving their homes, a new study has revealed. The “epidemic of laziness,” which is affecting roughly 45% of the population, is a direct consequence of the Covid lockdowns, the researchers say. “This laziness to leave home particularly affects the medium age groups: 52% among 25-34 year olds and 53% among 35-49 year olds, against only 33% of those 65 and over,” according to the study by the International Market Research Group (IFOP) and the Jean-Jaures foundation think tank. The survey, which was published last week, found that “the appeal of the sofa seems to be very powerful,” and the word “bed” had positive connotations for 74% of the respondents.

According to the research, the pandemic and strict lockdowns have had “a profound impact” on the attitude of the French to work, family life, free time, and personal space. Some 37% of respondents said they were less motivated than before in their work, and 41% complained about feeling more tired. The increase in fatigue seems to occur regardless of gender, age, social background, and location and “affects the morale of the population,” according to the research. From a historical standpoint, the attitudes of the French to ‘work-life balance’ have changed even more dramatically, the study shows. In 1990, 60% of French people believed that work was “very important,” compared to only 24% in 2021.

In 1953, 54% of employed adults believed that they had a good work-life balance. Now, only 39% think that is the case, while 48% of respondents “consider themselves to be losers.” This “movement of tectonic plates,” as the study puts it, was exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, but its origins are related to the general “devaluation of certain business experiences.” Regular lay-offs of long-term staff and management focusing solely on financial achievement “have altered the relationship” between employers and employees, the research claims. Some 1,001 French adults took part in the research, which was conducted online between September 1 and 2.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthrax Ukraine

 

 

 

Canada

 

 

 

 

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