Andre Derain Boats at Collioure 1905
Apologies for being late. What happened was I had a Roger Waters video from Bitchute that took over the entire text column and turned it black. Danny had it figured out in seconds. Not me.
Gonzalo 2023.02.08 The US Has Legalized Theft
“Zelensky slaughtered law and stability for the sake of applause and posturing.”
We should hear much more from Medvedchuk.
• Zelensky Burning Down Ukraine For Western Applause – Medvedchuk (RT)
President Vladimir Zelensky condemned Ukraine to destruction in the name of Western interests because he is too incompetent and ambitious to govern it properly, exiled opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk believes. Zelensky was elected in 2019 as a “peace candidate” who pledged to put an end to the warmongering policies of his predecessor, Pyotr Poroshenko, Medvedchuk, who was the leader of the banned Opposition Platform – For Life, wrote in an article published by RIA Novosti on Wednesday. But instead of becoming “a sentence” for Poroshenko, which was his campaign promise, Zelensky became a sentence for Ukraine, the politician said. The new leader had a mandate to rebalance Ukraine’s political system and make the country neutral and peaceful, Medvedchuk wrote.
But this required a boring routine and difficult work. Zelensky “failed to put the nation in order, and found that blaming Russia rather than his own incompetence for the problems” was easier, he said. By the end of 2020, polls showed a decline in the popularity of Zelensky’s party, and likely defeat in the next presidential election by a candidate proposed by the party led by Medvedchuk, he noted. An escalation of tensions with Russia and later open hostilities saved Zelensky’s career, the politician said. “The country was plunged into a fire for the inflated ego of this man,” Medvedchuk wrote. “Today, the West flatters him at every opportunity. What luck! A ruler who would destroy his country for a photo op, boost his ratings on the blood and suffering of his citizens. Zelensky slaughtered law and stability for the sake of applause and posturing.”
The actual role of the Ukrainian president is that of a “fifth columnist” for his own nation – and Europe, considering that it pays a lot for the Ukraine conflict, Medvedchuk stated. Zelensky hopes that a military victory would wash away all the things he has done to crush his political opponents and to “lease his nation as a battlefield.” But Ukraine has “already lost,” and soon this reality will catch up with him, according to Medvedchuk. The president “acts like a winner, speaks like a winner, poses like a winner. But victory is nowhere near,” he said. Continued conflict is the only thing that delays the reckoning for the president, the politician said. Medvedchuk led the largest opposition political party in Ukraine before the Zelensky government cracked down on it and its senior figures for supposedly being pro-Russian. He now lives in exile, after being charged with treason at home.
Pepe Escobar @RealPepeEscobar: “Sy Hersh rides again. Must read, of course. But, geopolitically, a childish piece. Everyone with a brain knew the Yanks did it. Now we have the “how” and especially “who” – the full chain of command. There WILL be blowback.”
• How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline (Seymour Hersh)
Biden’s decision to sabotage the pipelines came after more than nine months of highly secret back and forth debate inside Washington’s national security community about how to best achieve that goal. For much of that time, the issue was not whether to do the mission, but how to get it done with no overt clue as to who was responsible. There was a vital bureaucratic reason for relying on the graduates of the center’s hardcore diving school in Panama City. The divers were Navy only, and not members of America’s Special Forces Command, whose covert operations must be reported to Congress and briefed in advance to the Senate and House leadership—the so-called Gang of Eight. The Biden Administration was doing everything possible to avoid leaks as the planning took place late in 2021 and into the first months of 2022.
[..] The Americans at work in Norway operated under the same dynamic, and dutifully began working on the new problem—how to remotely detonate the C4 explosives on Biden’s order. It was a much more demanding assignment than those in Washington understood. There was no way for the team in Norway to know when the President might push the button. Would it be in a few weeks, in many months or in half a year or longer? The C4 attached to the pipelines would be triggered by a sonar buoy dropped by a plane on short notice, but the procedure involved the most advanced signal processing technology. Once in place, the delayed timing devices attached to any of the four pipelines could be accidentally triggered by the complex mix of ocean background noises throughout the heavily trafficked Baltic Sea—from near and distant ships, underwater drilling, seismic events, waves and even sea creatures.
To avoid this, the sonar buoy, once in place, would emit a sequence of unique low frequency tonal sounds—much like those emitted by a flute or a piano—that would be recognized by the timing device and, after a pre-set hours of delay, trigger the explosives. (“You want a signal that is robust enough so that no other signal could accidentally send a pulse that detonated the explosives,” I was told by Dr. Theodore Postol, professor emeritus of science, technology and national security policy at MIT. Postol, who has served as the science adviser to the Pentagon’s Chief of Naval Operations, said the issue facing the group in Norway because of Biden’s delay was one of chance: “The longer the explosives are in the water the greater risk there would be of a random signal that would launch the bombs.”)
On September 26, 2022, a Norwegian Navy P8 surveillance plane made a seemingly routine flight and dropped a sonar buoy. The signal spread underwater, initially to Nord Stream 2 and then on to Nord Stream 1. A few hours later, the high-powered C4 explosives were triggered and three of the four pipelines were put out of commission. Within a few minutes, pools of methane gas that remained in the shuttered pipelines could be seen spreading on the water’s surface and the world learned that something irreversible had taken place.
“This is utterly false and complete fiction,” Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, told the media in a statement..”
• Top Russian Security Official Comments On Nord Stream Blast Report (RT)
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev has said he has no information on who exactly sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines last September. He was responding to a reporter on Wednesday when asked to comment on a new investigation by American journalist Seymour Hersh, who claimed the pipelines were targeted in a US-staged clandestine operation. “If they [the Americans] report that, you can go and ask them. I don’t know who blew it up,” Patrushev claimed ahead of a meeting of security officials in the Kremlin. The report was released by Hersh earlier in the day as the debut piece on his newly-set up blog on Substack. According to an anonymous source with direct knowledge on the matter, the attack on the pipelines was commissioned by the White House and performed by the CIA and US Navy divers.
The task force planted explosives at the pipelines last June, under the guise of a BALTOPS 22 NATO exercise, according to the report. The devices were detonated remotely on September 26 with a signal from a sonar buoy, which had been dropped into the area by a Norwegian reconnaissance plane. The investigation’s conclusion has been strongly denied by multiple US officials. “This is utterly false and complete fiction,” Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, told the media in a statement. Similar messages have been transmitted by the CIA and State Department. Shortly after the blasts, Moscow branded the incident a “terrorist attack.” While falling short of blaming the US for it, the Kremlin said at the time that Washington had benefited from the incident the most, as it greatly advanced efforts to sever Europe from Russia’s gas supply, substituting it with American LNG.
In light of the Seymour Hersh bombshell on the U.S. and Norway blowing up the Nord Stream pipeline, let's recall how U.S. officials openly incited against it for months, then blamed… Russia.https://t.co/qp1d7Jx9ry pic.twitter.com/V0Cy2JPSXI
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) February 8, 2023
“..insufficient to the task, resulting in poorly trained crews taking extremely complicated weapons systems into the most dangerous environment in the world for a tank..”
• Truth About Tanks: How NATO Lied Its Way to Disaster in Ukraine (Scott Ritter)
It takes 22 weeks to train a basic American M1 Abrams crewmember. That training just gives the soldier the very basic skill set to be functional. Actual operational expertise is only achieved through months, if not years, of additional training in not just the system itself, but employing it as part of a similarly trained combine arms team. Simply put, even a Ukrainian tank crew experienced in the operation of Soviet-era T-72 or T-64 tanks will not be able to immediately transition to a Western-style main battle tank. First and foremost, the crew size of a Soviet-era tank is three, reflecting the reality that the Soviet tanks make use of an automatic loading mechanism. Western tanks have four crew members because the loading of the main tank gun is done manually. Adapting to these dynamics takes time, and requires extensive training.
Training is expensive. NATO is currently providing Ukraine with three types of Western main battle tank: the British Challenger 2, the German Leopard 2, and the American M1A2. There is no unified training course—each tank requires its own unique training prospectus that is not directly transferable to another system. The decentralized training processes created by such a diverse approach promotes inefficiencies and generates discrepancies in outcome—one crew will not be like another, which in combat, where units are supposed to be interchangeable to promote predictable outcomes if all other circumstances remain the same, is usually fatal.
Moreover, these problems will only be enhanced by the emphasis that will be placed on rapid outcomes. The reality is whatever training programs that are developed and delivered by the nations providing the tanks will be insufficient to the task, resulting in poorly trained crews taking extremely complicated weapons systems into the most dangerous environment in the world for a tank—the teeth of a Russian Army designed and equipped to kill these very same tanks. Tanks are among the most technically challenging weapons systems on a modern battlefield. They are constantly breaking down, especially if not properly maintained. For the M1 Abrams, for every hour a tank is in the field, there are three hours of maintenance time required. This problem only becomes magnified in combat.
Normally an armor unit is equipped with highly specialized organic maintenance crews that can repair most of the minor issues that can sideline a tank. Given the training requirements to produce this level of high-quality mechanic, it is unlikely Ukraine will be provided with this kind of maintenance support. This means that the tanks that are being provided to Ukraine will need to be returned to NATO nations for any significant repairs of equipment that is damaged through simple usage or actual combat. In short, it is highly likely that a Western main battle tank in Ukrainian hands will break down at some point during its operational use by Ukraine, meaning that the total number of tanks available to Ukraine will be far less than the number of tanks provided.
Fighter jets, like tanks, take a long time to learn to operate.
• Zelenskiy, In London, Wins Pledge To Train Pilots On NATO Jets (RT)
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited Britain on Wednesday to drum up aid, winning a pledge to train Ukrainian pilots on advanced NATO fighter jets, a big symbolic step up in Western military support. London was his first stop on only his second trip abroad since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. An EU diplomat said Zelenskiy would travel on to Brussels on Thursday, where the European Union is holding a summit. “The United Kingdom was one of the first to come to Ukraine’s aid. And today I’m in London to personally thank the British people for their support and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for his leadership,” Zelenskiy posted on social media, under a picture of himself and Sunak at Stansted Airport. Zelenskiy was also due to meet King Charles III, address parliament and visit Ukrainian troops training in Britain.
“President Zelenskiy’s visit to the UK is a testament to his country’s courage, determination and fight, and a testament to the unbreakable friendship between our two countries,” Sunak said in a statement. Sunak’s office announced additional sanctions on Russia, as well as plans to accelerate the supply of military equipment to Kyiv. For the first time, Ukraine’s air force and marines would now be included in the British training programme. “The training will ensure pilots are able to fly sophisticated NATO-standard fighter jets in the future,” it said. That appeared to signal a notable shift in Western support, as countries have so far held back from providing jets or other weapons capable of striking deep into Russia.
The statement gave no timeframe for the training, and British officials have said teaching pilots to fly British jets takes years. But the first commitment of its kind signals an endorsement of a long-term security relationship with Kyiv, and could pave the way for allies to send planes. Last month, Britain was the first Western country to promise Kyiv advanced battle tanks. It offered just 14, but within two weeks the United States and European allies pledged scores, ending months of debate. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who came under fierce criticism for perceived foot-dragging on approving tank deliveries, said arms supplies should be coordinated confidentially rather than announced by individual countries. “What harms our unity is a public competition to outdo each other,” he told the Bundestag lower house of parliament, according to a manuscript of his speech.
“The new weapons, he asserts, have the potential to “put Kyiv in a position to dictate ceasefire and peace terms to Moscow.”
• America Sleepwalks Into War with Russia (Sempa)
Historians still debate the causes and origins of World War I. George Kennan traced the origins of what an earlier generation called the “Great War” to the end of German Chancellor Bismarck’s European order and the “fateful alliance” between Russia and France. Robert Massie pointed to Germany’s naval challenge to Great Britain. Still others, such as German historian Fritz Fischer, blamed Germany’s hegemonic ambitions. More recently, British historian Christopher Clark argued that Europe’s statesmen “sleepwalked” into the war. This topic has assumed relevance today as the United States and NATO get closer and closer to co-belligerent status with Ukraine. Newsweek reports that 12 NATO countries, including the United States and Germany, have agreed to supply more tanks to Ukraine.
The Biden administration will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks, while Germany is sending 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks. Ukraine’s ambassador to France said that Western countries have agreed to supply Ukraine with 321 tanks. Russia called this latest move a “blatant provocation” and more evidence of “direct involvement” in the war by Western powers. Despite the seriousness of these decisions, some Western observers are acting like Russia’s generals in the lead-up to World War I. The Guardian columnist Martin Kettle claims that the new tanks will give Ukraine “a military advantage” that could transform the war to Ukraine’s favor. The new weapons, he asserts, have the potential to “put Kyiv in a position to dictate ceasefire and peace terms to Moscow.” The Economist opines that sending Ukraine tanks and long-range missiles will enable it to “withstand the next Russian offensive and to take back the territory that is theirs.”
American war hawk Max Boot is confident that the supply of tanks will enable Ukraine to mount a “successful offensive” and to take back its territory. Boot asserts that the tanks along with long-range rockets and advanced fighter planes supplied by the West will “determine the course of the war.” Jeffrey Cimmino and Shelby Magid of the Atlantic Council urge NATO to speed-up production and delivery of even more weapons systems to help Ukraine defeat Russia and integrate Ukraine in Western institutions. Which leads me to ask: Where are the American Count Witte’s? There don’t seem to be any in the Biden administration. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are all in for co-belligerency in order to preserve the “rules-based international order.” It was Kennan who warned in 1997 that NATO expansion would revive the worst aspects of Russian nationalist and imperialist traditions.
sThat same year, in an open letter to then-President Bill Clinton, a large group of elder statesmen, including Paul Nitze, Fred Ikle, Robert Bowie, Arthur Hartman, Gordon Humphrey, Stansfield Turner, Edward Luttwak, Richard Pipes, and Sam Nunn, voiced opposition to NATO expansion. Former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock agreed with this sentiment and has urged the U.S. to press for a ceasefire in the war. International relations scholar John Mearsheimer has provided Witte-like warnings about the risks of catastrophic escalation in the Ukraine war. The American Conservative’s Douglas Macgregor and the CATO Institute’s Doug Bandow have written eloquently about the dangers of escalation and the need to avoid greater U.S. and Western involvement in the war. But these modern-day Witte’s are all outsiders. They are not even on the fringes of power like elder-statesman Witte was in 1914. And Witte failed. Are there any Democratic Party elder statesmen who will rise to this challenge? If not, it may soon be too late.
Anytime Macron can get a photo-op that doesn’t make him look diminutive, he’ll take it.
• Macron Says Russia Cannot Win Against Ukraine (ZH)
After a surprise UK visit, Ukraine’s President Zelensky went to Paris immediately afterward in a whirlwind European tour to meet with Western leaders. In Paris he held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Macron asserted during the visit that Russia cannot win the war against Ukraine. “Ukraine can count on France, its European partners and allies to win the war. Russia cannot and must not win,” Macron said before a working dinner among the three leaders at the Elysee Palace. Just ahead of the meeting, Zelensky in an interview with Le Figaro hailed a change of heart in Macron. “I think he has changed, and changed for real this time,” Zelensky said. “After all, it is he who paved the way for the delivery of tanks. And he has also supported Ukraine’s membership to the EU. I think that was a real signal.”
Macron had angered Kiev when in June he said the West must not “humiliate Russia, so that when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means.” Macron has also come under fire for being among the only Western leaders to hold frequent phone conversations with President Vladimir Putin, in order to attempt a diplomatic breakthrough towards ending the war. But Ukrainian leaders have suggested such diplomatic efforts are a form of ‘capitulation’. As for Macron’s slow pivot away from pursuing a diplomatic offramp, the Associated Press now describes: Macron has said France hasn’t ruled out sending fighter jets but set conditions, including not leading to an escalation of tensions or using the aircraft “to touch Russian soil,” and not resulting in weakening “the capacities of the French army.”
As for Scholz, he was cited in the following on Wednesday: He added that Paris would “continue the efforts” to deliver arms to Kyiv. Mr Scholz also assured the Ukrainian president of enduring allied support. “We will continue to do so as long as necessary,” he told reporters, noting Germany and its partners had backed Ukraine “financially, with humanitarian aid and with weapons”. He added that Ukraine belongs to the European family.
“..with a foreign policy abroad which is dangerously more aggressive than anything Trump ever conceived..”
• Why Joe Biden Is More Dangerous Than Donald Trump (Fomenko)
A staple trait of Biden’s presidency is that he repeatedly claims that he is making things better for ordinary Americans. In his own words, he is creating jobs, bringing down inflation and “delivering for families”. He frames himself as an FDR style titan who is reinvigorating the US following troubled times, and, in his words, making it “more competitive” than ever. In reality, his statements could not be further from the truth.The United States is in chaos and the Biden administration faces painfully low approval ratings, crippling levels of inflation, weak 2022 GDP and a looming recession. Whatever the expectations of Joe Biden were, he has proved himself to be the most dangerous and hawkish Democrat leading the US since Harry Truman. As America tears itself apart at home, it is also doing so abroad.
When Joe Biden entered office, many people expected he would be different than Donald Trump. After four years of what the media described as chaos and internal turmoil in America, Biden was heralded as a breath of fresh air who would be normal, sane and moderate. What these arguments actively overlooked was that Donald Trump was not the problem, but rather a symptom of broader American failure and decline. As the world has changed, in particular through the lingering impact of globalized neoliberal capitalism, digitization and shifts in the geopolitical balance of power, the United States has struggled to assert a coherent identity amidst a changing world which has produced deep divisions and large-scale political conflict.
This is the era of “post-truth”, and as a result, Joe Biden is not in fact better than Trump, he is infinitely worse. While Donald Trump was a populist figure who railed against the political establishment, Joe Biden is a long-standing member of the political establishment. As such, he has used his reign in office to reassert its influence and give it “Trumpian characteristics”. That includes the same brand of conceited bragging, populism and political squabbles at home, but with a foreign policy abroad which is dangerously more aggressive than anything Trump ever conceived. America’s increasingly dangerous involvement in the Ukraine conflict is a prime example.
The underlying factor here is the effort by the United States to resuscitate its unconditional hegemony over the rest of the world by force, having sensed that a political shift has taken place. This change is reflected in the anger and resentment of blue collar, white Americans, and a primary driver for Trump’s election. The product of the Trump and Biden administrations has been to project those changes into resentment of China, culminating in events like the recent “Chinese spy balloon” saga that have been hyper-dramatized. China has become the designated enemy, and it appears there is a political consensus in the US around this, irrespective of the consequences.
There are some critical differences between the two administrations in how this is being pursued. While Trump operated US foreign policy on “quid-pro-quo” terms, stressing the “America First” philosophy, the Biden administration sees opportunity not through trade wars or bargaining, but through the escalation of geopolitical conflict. Biden’s team is sacrificing stability on every front for the sake of power. As such, the Biden White House, despite fawning over American jobs and prosperity, has thought nothing about tearing up global supply chains, driving up prices, accelerating geopolitical bloc confrontation, pursuing large scale sanctions and whipping up global uncertainty for hegemonic gain.
“..Ukraine’s own defense minister said Kiev is carrying out a NATO mission..”
• NATO Chief Reveals Size Of Ukraine Funding (RT)
The US-led military bloc has sent the government in Kiev over a hundred billion dollars over the past year, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday in a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington. Since last February, NATO has provided “unprecedented support to Ukraine, around 120 billion dollars in military, humanitarian and financial assistance,” Stoltenberg told reporters at the State Department. While the US has played an “indispensable role,” Canada and the European members have contributed “over half” of the overall assistance, “including tanks, advanced air defense systems” and other weapons, he added.
According to Blinken, the US has contributed “nearly $30 billion” worth of military aid, while other NATO members gave $13 billion, as well as “tens of billions more in humanitarian and economic support.” sBlinken also said that “tilting the battlefield in Ukraine’s favor” is the key to the eventual diplomatic solution of the conflict. After their joint press event, Stoltenberg and Blinken went to meet with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, with even more funding for Ukraine on the agenda. In December, the Russian Defense Ministry estimated that the collective West had provided Ukraine with $97 billion worth of weapons, ammunition and supplies. Moscow has repeatedly warned the West that arming Ukraine only prolongs the conflict and risks a direct confrontation.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements for peace in the Donbass and insisting that its neighbor pledge to never join any Western military bloc. Ukrainian, German and French leaders have since admitted that the Minsk negotiations were a ploy to buy Ukraine time to prepare for war with Russia. Though multiple Western officials have publicly said Ukraine is fighting for their “values” and world order, and Ukraine’s own defense minister said Kiev is carrying out a NATO mission, the US and NATO maintain they are technically not participants in the conflict.
“..– that it can get away with any lie it wants..”
• Colin Powell’s Anthrax Vial Taught The US A Valuable Lesson (Scott Ritter)
Twenty years ago, former Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered his now-infamous address before the United Nations Security Council, making the case for war against Iraq. The presentation would later be revealed as lies. Sadly, it would also turn out that no one seemed to care.On February 5, 2003, I watched it all with a sense of boiling anger. The day before, I had made the following prediction to Japanese media: “He’s [Powell] going to present circumstantial evidence that packaged together and presented will make a compelling case that [UN weapons] inspections don’t work, inspections can’t work, that Iraq is actively conspiring against inspections, thereby, denigrating the efficacy of inspections, while the world waits for inspectors to do their job. The purpose of Colin Powell’s presentation tomorrow is to destroy international trust and confidence in weapons inspections and that is a darn shame.”
I was 100% correct in my assessment. I was in Japan at the invitation of Japanese activists to generate political opposition to America’s looming war on Iraq. I addressed the Japanese parliament and spoke with several major Japanese media outlets. Shortly after Powell finished speaking, I gave an interview with Kyodo News, where I dismissed Powell’s assertions that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction as “unsubstantiated.” “There’s nothing here that’s conclusive proof that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction,” I told Kyodo News. “Everything in here is circumstantial, everything in here mirrors the kind of allegations the US has made in the past in regard to Iraq’s weapons program,” I said. “He just hits you, hits you, hits you with circumstantial evidence, and he confuses people – and he lied, he lied to people, he misled people.”
Powell’s iconic moment was when he raised a vial of white powder – a proxy intended to simulate dry powder anthrax, a potent biological weapons agent, in an effort to link Iraq with the terrorist attacks in the US in October 2001 where dry powder anthrax was sent through the US postal system in envelopes. Ironically, the anthrax in question was actually produced by the US. Iraq is only known to have produced liquid bulk anthrax, which has a shelf life of only three years, and the last known batch of liquid bulk anthrax was produced in 1991 at a state-owned factory which was destroyed in 1996. “Colin Powell holds up a vial of dry powder anthrax and he makes allusions to the attack in the United States through the letters. That was US government anthrax! It had nothing to do with Iraq,” I said. Powell, I explained, was engaging in “classic bait-and-switch” in his presentation. “Iraq, anthrax, vial, dry powder – what connection do they have? None!”
“..the Times and the Post were so busy self-mythologizing that they untethered themselves from accountability mechanisms that once kept papers out of trouble..”
• Take A Bow, Columbia Journalism Review (Matt Taibbi)
The Columbia Journalism Review stunned many last Monday by publishing “The Press Versus the President,” a 24,000-word autopsy of press coverage in the Trump years, focusing on the the Trump-Russia collusion scandal colloquially known as “Russiagate.” The piece was written by Jeff Gerth, a long-serving New York Times writer who is as credentialed as they come in the legacy press, having among other things won a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 (for reporting, incidentally, not commentary or public service). In retirement at the start of the Trump years, Gerth watched with growing alarm as venerable institutions like the Times and the Washington Post continually made high-stakes assertions in headlines that appeared based on thin or uncheckable sourcing.
The pile of such stories was already stacked to skyscraper height, and commemorated by awards like a joint Times-Post Pulitzer, when Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrapped up an investigation of the matter without indicting Trump or anyone else for the supposed conspiracy. There was no way for Mueller’s probe to have ended the way it did and for years of “worse than Watergate” news reports about Trump-Russian collusion to be true, so Gerth went back to the beginning in search of the real story of what, if anything, went wrong on the coverage side. The result is a long, almost book-length compendium of errors and editorial overreach. It could have been longer. Gerth focused on the would-be investigative reports at papers like the Times and the Post that drove Russiagate, mostly leaving alone the less serious players at cable news and at online journals whose main contribution was making the click-bomb bigger.
A brief note on some issues that were already popping up as problems in the media business heading into 2016-2017, and which are important subtext to Gerth’s piece: All the President’s Men was a great movie, but it may have infected the media world with a delusion. Alan J. Pakula’s atmospheric thriller depicted journalists as modern-day noir detectives, with the bustling Washington Post newsroom replacing the stylish offices of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, and Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman giving America a portrait of reporters as sexy young rebels who could topple a president with a keystroke. The job is virtually never like that, but a generation of reporters and editors grew up with this ideal, on the alert for that one great scoop that would lead to lucrative book and movie deals and model-level actors playing them onscreen.
I don’t think it’s an accident that just as journalism was beginning to lose its way, Hollywood began cranking out All the President’s Men homages one after another, from Spotlight to She Said to The Post. Gerth doesn’t say that great papers like the Times and the Post were so busy self-mythologizing that they untethered themselves from accountability mechanisms that once kept papers out of trouble, but it’s implied in the facts he uncovers. Perhaps the most damning scene in the four-part series comes in Part Two, when in an astonishing display of hubris the Times invites a documentary crew to film them for a series called The Fourth Estate. The problem is, the scene they invite Showtime to record is perhaps the biggest screwup in the Russiagate years. This is the journalistic equivalent of Captain Edward Smith inviting cameras to record him snoring away as his Titanic drives into an iceberg.
Why is he a lone voice when he says what most people think?
• Matt Gaetz Steps Out Of Line On Ukraine (ZH)
Rep. Matt Gaetz early this week took an extremely unpopular position within the D.C. swamp, saying just before President Biden’s Tuesday night State of the Union address, “How much more for Ukraine? Is there any limit?” From the swamp’s point of view, he has certainly “stepped out of line”… but from the point of view of average Americans struggling to pay rising grocery, utility, and housing costs as billions of US tax dollars remain flowing to a corrupt foreign government, Gaetz in his lonely but outspoken stance is saying precisely what needs to be said at this late stage. The Florida Republican went off in a House floor speech Monday: “How much more for Ukraine? Is there any limit?” And posed: “Which billionth dollar really kicks in the door? Which redline we set will we not later cross?”
He had earlier previewed Biden’s State of the Union address in saying: “Tomorrow, President Biden will tell us how much more we must do for Ukraine,” Gaetz said. “Look around your house. How much stuff is made in Ukraine, or even Russia for that matter?” “So why Ukraine, a country that just rounded up dozens of senior leaders in its government over overt corruption?” Gaetz asked. “Perhaps the answer is as simple as the Hunter Biden life motto: the grifters gotta grift.” He emphasized the huge risk of D.C. pursuing its policy of arming Ukraine at all costs while inching toward nuclear-armed superpowers clashing, while at the same time most Americans find the Biden administration’s rationale for the unprecedented defense aid for Kiev to be unclear.
“Why should we do more for a country that just rounded up dozens of its senior officials over overt corruption?” he asked the administration and its supporters. For many months now going back to last spring, Gaetz has warned fellow lawmakers and the public of a “bipartisan push to go to war with Russia” – which could unleash nuclear apocalypse. Ironically, Joe Biden himself in so many words has warned of the same thing, in an October speech admitting that the risk of nuclear “Armageddon” is the highest it has been for 60 years, since the Cuban missile crisis.
• Central Bank Gold Reserves See Second-Highest Increase Since 1950 in 2022 (SG)
Central banks closed out 2022 with reported net purchases of 28 tons of gold in December. Including large unreported purchases, this brought total central bank gold buying in 2022 to 1,136 tons. It was the second-highest level of net purchases on record dating back to 1950, and the 13th straight year of net central bank gold purchases. China officially started buying gold again in November and made another large purchase of 30 tons in December. That raised China’s total gold reserves to over 2,000 tons for the first time. The Chinese central bank accumulated 1,448 tons of gold between 2002 and 2019, and then suddenly went silent. Many speculate that the Chinese continued to add gold to its holdings off the books during those silent years. There has always been speculation that China holds far more gold than it officially reveals.
As Jim Rickards pointed out on Mises Daily back in 2015, many people speculate that China keeps several thousand tons of gold “off the books” in a separate entity called the State Administration for Foreign Exchange (SAFE). The Central Bank of Türkiye (Turkey) continued its consistent buying in December, adding another 25 tons to its swelling gold reserves. Over the course of 2022, Turkey added about 150 tons of gold to its hoard. Croatia bought 2 tons of gold after having not reported any changes in its gold reserves since 2001. After a pause in November, the Reserve Bank of India resumed purchasing gold in December, with a modest 1-ton purchase. India ranks as the ninth largest gold-holding country in the world. Since resuming buying in late 2017, the Reserve Bank of India has purchased over 200 tons of gold.
In August 2020, there were reports that the RBI was considering significantly raising its gold reserves. These purchases were partially offset by large sales by Kazakhstan (29 tons) and Uzbekistan (1 ton). It is not uncommon for banks that buy from domestic production – such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – to switch between buying and selling. December purchases brought the total net increase in central bank gold reserves in Q4 to 417 tons. Through the second half of 2022, central banks bought 862 tons of gold.
The total increase in reserves was a combination of reported buying, along with an estimate for significant unreported buying. Central banks that often fail to report purchases include China and Russia. Many analysts believe China is the mystery buyer stockpiling gold to minimize exposure to the dollar. According to the World Gold Council, “Should more information about this unreported activity become available, these estimates may be revised.” Total 2022 central bank purchases of 1,136 tons represented a 152% increase from 2021. It was the highest level of annual net central bank gold purchases since the suspension of dollar convertibility into gold in 1971, and the second-highest annual total on record. (The record was in 1967.)
They got rid of Mark Steyn, the presenter, but that is apparently not enough. So here comes the anti semite card.
• Jewish Group and MPs Urge GB News To Stop Indulging Conspiracy Theories (G.)
The UK’s leading Jewish organisation and a group of MPs have called on GB News and the media regulator Ofcom to tackle the broadcaster’s indulgence of conspiracy theories, warning that some recent segments and guests risked spreading ideas linked to antisemitism. The criticism comes as the channel faces increasing scrutiny over its mix of serious news with programmes that delve heavily into conspiracies about areas including Covid vaccines and a plot to create a world government. The decision by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the all-party parliamentary group against antisemitism to speak out follows a recent edition of the weekly GB News show hosted by Neil Oliver, the broadcaster and historian.
Oliver, who delivers trademark monologues to camera, used the show last Saturday to discuss what he called a “silent war” by generations of politicians to take “total control of the people” and impose a “one-world government”. The idea seemingly echoes a noted conspiracy theory document called Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars, supposedly a secret manual for world government found by chance in 1986. This has a long section on the role of the Rothschild banking dynasty, a common antisemitic trope. On the same show, one of Oliver’s guests was a man called William Keyte, introduced as a “constitutional expert”, who is a supporter of a fringe campaign group called the New Chartist Movement. Keyte’s focus is on the supposed primacy of common law over parliament, which has no crossover with antisemitic ideas.
[..] Keyte told the Guardian his interest was in constitutional law. He said: “It seems a shame that rather than focus on the important issues I raised in the interview with Neil in which so many people appear to be interested, you seem to be embarking on a piece about antisemitism. I do not condone antisemitism, but nor do I support the use of the subject to detract from other important issues.” A spokesperson for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “It is highly concerning that GB News continues to air a show which embraces all manner of conspiracy theories. Somewhat inevitably, some of those invited on to this show represent organisations that promote antisemitic conspiracy theories. If the channel will not act, we expect that Ofcom will.”
And some more cleaning.
• James O’Keefe Is on Paid Leave From Project Veritas (NYMag)
James O’Keefe, the founder and chairman of Project Veritas, has taken a paid leave from the conservative nonprofit media organization as its board considers whether to remove him from his leadership position, according to current and former employees of the organization.
An internal message sent to Project Veritas employees by the organization’s executive director, Daniel Strack, said that O’Keefe would be taking “a few weeks of well-deserved PTO.” An image of the message was shared by a source familiar with the organization’s internal operations, and its authenticity was confirmed by a current employee. When reached for comment on his personal cell phone, O’Keefe said nothing in response and did not respond to follow-up calls and text messages. Through a Project Veritas spokesman, Strack later released a statement on behalf of the organization. “Like all newsrooms at this stage, the Project Veritas Board of Directors and Management are constantly evaluating what the best path forward is for the organization,” the statement read in part. It did not directly address questions about O’Keefe’s employment status. “There are 65+ employees at Project Veritas dedicated to continuing the mission to expose corruption, dishonesty, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions,” the statement read. “To our supporters: We hear you, we care about you, and we will never give up.”
O’Keefe is his organization’s guiding ideological force and onscreen face, but his status as its day-to-day manager has become uncertain amid reports of internal turmoil, lawsuits from former employees, leaks about its internal workings, and a federal investigation into its conduct in purchasing a diary stolen from Ashley Biden, the president’s daughter. Strack’s internal message to employees made reference to what he called “a distracting time” and said that a board meeting had been held to discuss “the health of the organization” and that while “we have not come up with final solutions yet we have made a few immediate decisions.” The message said two top Project Veritas executives, including the nonprofit’s chief financial officer, had been “reinstated.” Multiple sources said that the pair had recently been fired by O’Keefe.
“They utterly smashed the world as we knew it—violating all human rights—in order to test out a new technology at great profit to themselves. In other words, they treated us all as lab rats.”
“An entire generation of politicians needs to be toppled from power all over the world. The same goes for media professionals, tech CEOs, and public-health officials. They all have to go..”
• Just How Hard Were We Trolled? (Tucker)
What if Dr. Anthony Fauci co-authored an article on vaccines that would have gotten you and me blocked and banned at any point in the past three years? That just happened. His article in Cell—“Rethinking next-generation vaccines for coronaviruses, influenzaviruses, and other respiratory viruses”—says it as plainly as possible: the COVID vaccine did not work because it could not work. [..] Now, it’s not as if Fauci admits that the vaccine was a complete flop. Of course, he has to engage in the usual incantations of the glories of the COVID vaccination. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the rapid development and deployment of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines has saved innumerable lives and helped to achieve early partial pandemic control.”
Note the word “innumerable.” It means there is no number and no possibility of a number. Exactly. Also note “early partial”—weasel words to cover the reality of egregious failure. If you click through the citation to this dubious claim, it is from April 2021, early in the mutation process when we hardly had any data at all to justify such celebration. Why is Fauci citing a two-year-old piece in defense of the vaccine? Because that’s all there is to cite: two-year-old hagiographies without meaningful data. How precisely can we account for this fiasco? If they knew, and they did know, how is it that they put us through this horrible upheaval? The most dreadful theory is that they knew for sure that the virus would become endemic through exposure.
But the point of “slowing the spread” and “flattening the curve” (lockdowns and masking), while trashing and nearly banning other therapeutics, was to preserve the customer base for the new experimental product. That product was mRNA which is supposed to be a platform for future vaccines. This is why the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was taken off market. Under this theory, they wanted to prolong the pandemic for as long as possible so they could collect data on how well the vaccine worked. And they wanted to try it universally, which is why we did not hear much at all about the risk gradient of the vaccine itself. This also accounts for the deliberate drumming up of disease panic and forced distancing. So let that sink in.
They utterly smashed the world as we knew it—violating all human rights—in order to test out a new technology at great profit to themselves. In other words, they treated us all as lab rats. An entire generation of politicians needs to be toppled from power all over the world. The same goes for media professionals, tech CEOs, and public-health officials. They all have to go. And we need a thorough accounting not to mention guarantees that nothing like this will ever happen again. As for Moderna and Pfizer, one could easily make a case for forcing their immediate end as corporate entities.
BREAKING NEWS: Swiss President and the Minister of Health are under investigation, indictment, and prosecution by the Attorney General for Covid Crimes involving lying about the vaccine effectiveness and safety. Thailand convening war crime tribunals to nullify Pfizer Contracts. pic.twitter.com/3RfT4t3puq
— Truth Justice ™ (@SpartaJustice) February 7, 2023
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