Benjamin -Bibi- Netanyahu has always been a warmonger. He thinks he, and his people, are superior to the Palestinians, and come to think of it, to Muslims in general. And when he first appeared on the scene some 30 years ago, he might have had a point, at least from a military point of view.
But he does not today, and that is very dangerous for his people. Bibi lives in the past, because he liked that past – he could feel superior. He does not recognize to what extent the world, including his, has changed. But change it did, while he was dreaming of winning warfare.
He is not unique in this. The entire US political system suffers from the same “affliction”. There has never been a better reason to introduce term limits in Congress and the Senate. Politicians like Pelosi and Feinstein are just about crying out for help: please get me out of here! Enter Joe Biden stage left. At least Joe has the excuse that he can’t find the exit.
Bibi is not 85 or 90 yet. He’s “only” 73. But he’s been around long enough to get stuck (rusted) in his own preferred ideas and view of the world. Bibi thinks he can do with the Palestinians whatever he sees fit. But, again, the world has changed. And Israel’s alleged military superiority has changed with it.
It didn’t have to be this way. Bibi is more or less the successor to Yithzak Rabin, who was elected PM in 1992 (he had earlier been PM from 1974-77) , and murdered in 1995. Rabin had entirely different ideas about his country. He rejected the use of force in favor of peace negotiations with the Palestinians (1993 Oslo Accords, 1994 Nobel Peace Prize).
That’s why he was murdered. Bibi first became PM in 1996. He had several stints in the job and kept floating to the top. And now Bibi threatens to raze the Gaza strip, and potentially kill 100s of 1000s of civilians. But there is no place in the world for people like him.
The Arab world around Israel has become much stronger and richer and more united. If Israel attempts to kill that many Muslims, it’s not just the Gaza strip that is under threat, but Israel itself is.
The Saudi’s have started talking to Iran, and there are many more such initiatives underway. Dividing the Arab world is no longer a feasible plan of action. Watch Turkey! But exactly like Bibi, the US political system doesn’t understand that either.
They could have though; the Ukraine war could have told them that. But Washington does not want to face its own diminishing role in the world any more the Bibi wants to in his part of it. Russia and China have advertized it loud enough through the BRICS, but the old US system wants nothing to do with multipolarity. They want things back to what they were 30 years ago, when those in charge today could still understand what was happening, and were the “masters”.
It’s not just Pelosi and Biden, Donald Trump doesn’t get it either. If he gets re-elected, he’ll move another embassy to Jerusalem. Bobby Kennedy also has a blind spot on Israel. They are all blind. They should go talk -a lot- to Putin and Xi. If there is to be peace in the Middle East, it will come from them.
Xi Jinping is 70, Putin is 71. Not the youngest either. But there is one main difference. They did not grow up in positions where they were kings. China and Russia 30 years ago were poor countries, perhaps desperately so. Therefore, the architects of the multipolar world have seen the changes they implemented, come to fruition.
That makes for a completely different world view from the Bibi’s and Pelosi’s etc etc who’ve only seen their positions shrink, and are trying to deny and counter that development. Growing at 70 is not the same as shrinking at 70. Or 80.
Yes, Bibi might well be crazy enough to drop a nuclear bomb. It’s up to Israel to get rid of him, and that threat. And it’s up to Xi and Putin to help them do that.
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Latest from Sy on corruption in Zelensky circles (siphon $400m off US aid) judged fake news by Facebook. Rationale: “Independent fact-checker”, a Ukrainian org, partly funded by Foreign Offices of two NATO countries, says so. Their evidence: White House and Pentagon denials. pic.twitter.com/oXDShlRLto
Tucker: “The other channels took hundreds of millions of dollars from big Pharma companies and then they shield for their sketchy products on the air. And as they did that they maligned anyone who was skeptical of those products. At the very least it was a moral crime. It was… pic.twitter.com/rAd4YK3rJM
Singaporean diplomat and scholar Kishore Mahbubani on the main reason for the Ukraine war: "The absence of the culture of pragmatism in European cultures. ALL they had to do was reach a compromise with Russia" pic.twitter.com/0LqnqKj3fZ
Renowned geopolitical and financial cycle expert Charles Nenner has been warning his war cycles are going up. Nenner also predicted a few years back that, at some point, the U.S. dollar cycle would be headed down—way down. The future is here, and Nenner explains, “We have known each other for many years, and I said the dollar is going to hold up, but not anymore, not anymore. It is really in trouble. There is actually no reason to be in the dollar. They especially underestimate this BRICS situation, and all the countries will be forming an anti-dollar. . . . Saudi Arabia is coming onboard, and that means the end of the dollar as the reserve currency.” Nenner says his cycles see, “The dollar going down to 70 on the dollar index.” It’s a bit over 100 now, but it gets worse.
Nenner points out, “I don’t want people to get depressed, but I am really worried. If the U.S. does not rule the world any more. . . . They think they can still tell the world what to do. Physically, the Americans are in danger, and they don’t seem to understand that. . . . The economy is really going to suffer. If the dollar goes really low, we could have a small bounce in the economy because it’s good for exports. That’s just a fooling bounce for people. Longer term, it’s just finished.” Nenner says the signs are clear in the cycle that “America is at the end of empire. . . . The United States is going backwards, and it is not number one anymore.” On the war cycle, Nenner has been forecasting a huge loss of life coming. Nenner is predicting “30% of the people on Earth will die in the next war cycle. . . . We are like at the end of civilization of the United States.
It’s not that we are all going to drop dead, but it’s the end of civilization. The same issues that finished other countries like bad education, too many outstanding loans and people will become too lazy to really do hard work. That usually means the end of an empire.” Nenner also talks about the top in the real estate market and why commercial and residential are on their way down for a long time. Nenner also talks about a “coming Great Depression style crash” in the no-so-distant future. Nenner also brought up that big banks are contacting him to consult on buying physical gold because “they want to survive what is coming.” Nenner says big banks are building their own vaults to make sure governments do not confiscate their yellow metal. Nenner gives a sign to look for when the economy is going into a recession that has a 100% track record.
Finally, Nenner predicts, “We are going to have a bad dollar. That usually means people are going to dump their securities. . . . If you have China and Russia dumping their U.S. bonds, you are going to have a problem. What I see on my cycle is . . . . The rates that went up stop in June. . . . I am getting very worried because there might be a run for safety.” Nenner is worried about war, and not just in Ukraine. Nenner is looking at war in Taiwan, South Korea, and the Middle East with Iran. Nenner says, “I think you could have all these wars at the same time. . . . It’s endless possibilities. . . . I think they will all act at the same time. Wouldn’t you? You are waiting for the right moment, and if the United states get weaker and busy. . . . That’s the time to do whatever you want.”Nenner points out, “Warren Buffett sold most of his Taiwan semiconductor manufacturing shares last week.”
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg defiantly declared Thursday that Ukraine’s “rightful place” is in the military alliance and pledged more support for the country on his first visit to Kyiv since Russia’s invasion just over a year ago. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Stoltenberg, who has been instrumental in marshaling support from NATO members, to push for even more from them, including warplanes, artillery and armored equipment. The Kremlin has given various justifications for going to war, but repeated Thursday that preventing Ukraine from joining NATO is still a key goal of its invasion, arguing that Kyiv’s membership in the alliance would pose an existential threat to Russia.
NATO leaders said in 2008 that Ukraine would join the alliance one day, and Stoltenberg has repeated that promise throughout the war, though the organization has established no pathway or timetable for membership. “Let me be clear, Ukraine’s rightful place is in the Euro-Atlantic family,” Stoltenberg told a news conference. “Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO.” Zelenskyy said he was grateful for an invitation to a NATO summit in July in Vilnius, Lithuania, but said his country needs a roadmap for becoming a member. “The time has come for the (alliance’s) leaders to define the prospects of Ukraine’s acquisition of NATO membership, to define the algorithm of Ukraine’s movement towards this goal, and to define security guarantees for our state for the period of such movement — that is, for the period before NATO membership,” he said.
Stoltenberg said he and Zelenskyy discussed a NATO support program for Ukraine. “This will help you transition from Soviet-era equipment and doctrines to NATO standards and ensure full interoperability with the alliance,” Stoltenberg said. “NATO stands with you today, tomorrow and for as long as it takes.” He noted an announcement Thursday by Denmark and the Netherlands that they plan to provide Ukraine with at least another 14 refurbished Leopard 2 battle tanks by early 2024. He added that he expected countries to “make new announcements of concrete military support to Ukraine” at a meeting Friday in Germany.
London’s decision to supply Kiev with depleted uranium (DU) ammunition will hurt the Ukrainian people the most, as they will have to live with the consequences of the toxic metal for generations, Andrey Kelin, the Russian ambassador to the UK, told RT on Wednesday. In addition to sending Ukraine main battle tanks, the British government has promised to deliver armor-penetrating ammunition made with DU, and has already trained some Ukrainian troops in its use. Ambassador Kelin told RT that he will “continue to explain” the harmful effects of the ammunition, including the drastic increase in cancer rates, birth defects, and the contamination of the water and the soil “for at least six generations.” “This is a terrible thing, and if it happens in Ukraine, it will be big trouble, for the agriculture and for the people that are living over there,” Kelin told RT. He admitted there is little chance that London will change its mind, because that would mean admitting a mistake.
Kelin made headlines recently when The Sunday Times published an extensive interview with him, only to quietly delete it several days later, without an explanation. The Russian Embassy subsequently published a copy of the article in full, to protest the censorship. “I have very controversial experience with dealing with British journalists,” the ambassador told RT, noting that sometimes they are “very aggressive” and ask loaded questions. The Times sent “a very experienced political observer”who spoke with him for an hour, and produced an article “reflecting in fact what I have said, without distortions or phrases taken out of context.” That such a prominent paper as the Times found itself under “serious pressure” to remove the article shows the extent of censorship in the UK, Kelin said.
Relations between Russia and the UK were dismantled by London, and Moscow intends to wait for the British to come to their senses before attempting to rebuild them. Normalization of contacts “is not an issue for today or tomorrow,”Kelin told RT, but for some point in the future. Anglo-Russian relations go back 450 years, he noted, and the full disruption “happens only when two countries are in a state of war.”This is not yet the case, even though the UK is getting more involved in the Ukraine conflict by the day “So far we haven’t seen any revelations of common sense on the part of official London,” Kelin said. However, even the British authorities recognize that it is important to maintain channels of communication, so the embassy’s work continues.
The European Union has exhausted its options for further economic restrictions against Russia, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing EU officials. The bloc has so far adopted ten rounds of sanctions in response to the Ukraine conflict and is currently working on an eleventh package of punitive measures against Moscow. Meetings between the European Commission and member state officials to informally discuss new actions will start on Friday, FT wrote. Officials working on further sanctions told the outlet that they are likely to be limited to expanding the list of individuals subject to asset freezes and travel bans, as well as steps to scale up existing measures by closing loopholes.
Most officials reportedly admitted that those parts of the Russian economy that were left unsanctioned are parts that one or more EU member states “can’t live without,” and thus measures targeting them would be vetoed. “We are done,” one of the officials told FT, adding: “If we do more sanctions, there will be more exemptions than measures.” New restrictions could reportedly target Russia’s nuclear fuel and services exports, but those would be opposed by some member-states, such as France, Hungary, and others. Sweeping EU sanctions have targeted various sectors of the Russian economy as well as individuals and entities. According to FT, almost 1,500 people and more than 200 entities are currently subject to asset freezes and travel bans.
The report indicated that the bloc’s restrictive measures have banned bilateral trade flows worth more than €135 billion ($148 billion), including energy imports from Russia, as well as exports of technology, machinery, and electronic goods. Some €21.5 billion worth of assets belonging to sanctioned individuals and entities has been frozen, alongside €300 billion of Russian central bank reserves. Many economists and politicians, however, have argued that the embargos harm the West more than Moscow. Hungarian President Viktor Orban has repeatedly called for “the failed policy of Brussels” to be changed, noting that the sanctions “didn’t fulfill the hopes that were pinned on them,” while Europe is “slowly bleeding.” Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has likened the bloc’s attempts to cut itself off from Russian fossil fuels to economic “suicide.”
Europe’s influence is waning and it is nothing but a “pawn” of the US, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has claimed. The official delivered the remarks as he met members of a youth association in Istanbul on Tuesday. Soylu argued that European leaders are becoming more and more discredited, while the continent is facing numerous issues, ranging from an aging population to dwindling economic output. He also alleged that Europe lost any international clout long ago, and has become nothing more than an American pawn. Known as an outspoken critic of Washington, Soylu asserted that the US itself continues to lose credibility. Washington is universally “hated” all around the globe, while Europe is facing a similar attitude – largely due to its subordination, according the minister. Europe is now particularly “hated” all across Africa, as local nations justifiably despise those who exploit them, Soylu claimed.
Ahead of a general election in Türkiye scheduled for May 14, the minister also criticized the Western model of democracy, insisting it has been damaged by ongoing turmoil in numerous Western countries. Soylu specifically pointed to political upheaval in the UK, which saw three prime ministers in quick succession last year. “We’re seeing that the [democracy] paint of Europe and America has peeled off,” Soylu stated. The dominance of the collective West no longer exists, yet the US and Europe are still trying to persist with old habits, Soylu claimed, before praising Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s efforts to secure “full independence” for his country.
“What our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is doing is to turn the history of the world,” the minister asserted. “Türkiye’s biggest goal is full independence, and Türkiye will reach that goal together with Erdogan.” Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003, first as prime minister and later as president from 2014,is seeking to secure a third term in May’s elections. He is opposed by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who was selected by a broad alliance of six opposition parties. The incumbent president and his ruling AK Party are expected to face a stern challenge, particularly in the wake of the devastating earthquake that killed over 50,000 people across Türkiye’s in early February.
MEP Mislav Kolakušić tells the EU Parliament: "Three decades ago Europe was a world power… back then it was led by strong national politicians and today is led by men in dresses… and the EU is completely irrelevant on the world map, except as a tourist destination." pic.twitter.com/jbk7rGEJ7e
People in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, as well as the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions have fought for many years for the right to be a part of Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. People in the new territories “have fought for many years for the right to be with Russia,” he said at a meeting of the Local Self-Government Council. “For many years they have lived in absolutely different conditions of regional and municipal government, which are not like the conditions in Russia,” he went on to say.
The president said municipal officials working in the new territories should be treated with warmth and consideration and provided with “all the necessary assistance for the integration of the new regions into the unified system of Russia’s public government.” Putin also said “there are many volunteers among the municipal community, who decided for themselves to be there (in the area of the special military operation – TASS), where things are tough.” “They are an example of loyalty to the Motherland and its interests and are now defending our historical territories, protecting people in these territories,” the president continued.
A majority of the world’s population has remained neutral in the Ukraine conflict, despite strong US/western pressure. A host of non-western-aligned economies are making tentative steps to transacting commerce in currencies other than dollars, pounds, yens, or euros. A so-called Pink Tide in Latin America has replaced a number of conservative regimes. China is emerging not only as an economic power, but diplomatically has helped broker closer relations between traditional adversaries Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as floated a peace proposal for Ukraine. All these favorable developments foreshadow a change in the geopolitical climate. The vision of a multipolar world informs the progressive impulse for a better world. Such a world is possible only if the centrality of US imperialism is replaced by a new order.
Such a reordering is a necessary pre-condition for a better world. Currently a realignment is being led by major counter-hegemonic powers such as China and Russia and more regional powers such as Brazil and Iran (and before its dismembering by Libya in Africa). Multipolarity is not the ultimate goal, but it is an intermediary step in the struggle against imperialism. More than just a reshuffling of the deck of world power relationships is needed. Overarching the interregnum is the specter of US preparations for a war with China, perhaps as soon as the turn of this decade. The quasi-governmental RAND Corporation prepared the strategic planning document, War with China – Thinking the Unthinkable, commissioned by the US Army. Released in 2016, such a confrontation does not appear so unthinkable today. Even some mainstream sources recognize that the Ukraine conflict is but a prelude to war with China.
The US juggernaut is lurching to war. Once pivoted to Asia, it does not appear to be equipped with a steering wheel, let alone brakes. Opposition to such a confrontation is virtually absent at the elite level. Both parties of capital compete with each other over which can be more Sinophobic. The Democrats, in particular, used to have dissenting voices, but now have embraced neo-conservatism. They exhibit an imperialist unity that is the envy of the Tea Party Republicans. Meanwhile, a mass peace movement is AWOL. Oddly, the libertarian right is sounding more like peaceniks than some putative liberals who are shrieking “Slava Ukraini.” War with China is not inevitable; China could be blackmailed into accommodation. The US, meanwhile, is crazy enough to precipitate a nuclear apocalypse. Remember that just two days after Hiroshima came the capricious genocide of Nagasaki.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is being investigated by the Committee on the Judiciary and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for his prominent role in persuading 51 former intelligence officials to falsely discredit the “New York Post story regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop as supposed Russian disinformation” during the 2020 Presidential election. The intelligence assessment led to a nearly blanket censorship of investigative stories exposing the alleged corruption of President Joe Biden and his family and kept the truth hidden from the American people before the election, according to a letter released Thursday night by the committees and obtained by SaraACarter.com. During the campaign, Blinken was a senior campaign advisor to then former Vice President Joe Biden and recruited the direct assistance of then former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morell, who was one of the 51 signatories of the public statement.
Biden used this false letter signed by former senior intelligence officials, including five former heads of the CIA, from both parties, on October 22, 2020 to disparage President Donald Trump During the final presidential debate. Biden used the intelligence assessment that the Hunter Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation against President Trump during the campaign. Despite legitimate calls by Trump to have the FBI investigate Biden’s deeply concerning family business ties with China and Ukraine, as well as other allegations contained in the laptop that did belong to his son Hunter Biden, the Biden campaign used its connections within the intelligence apparatus to cover up the evidence, the truth and keep it from the American people. Biden used the assessment signed by the intelligence officials to target Trump during the campaign’s last debate.
“They have said this has all the characteristics—four—five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage. Nobody believes it except him and his good friend Rudy Giuliani,” said Biden during the debate and reiterated in Jordan’s letter to Blinken. The committees letter was sent to Blinken on Thursday and it contains transcribed parts of a recent interview the lawmakers had with Morell. [..] Former CIA chief Morell stated during his testimony to the lawmakers that he worked with Blinken in the hopes that then Vice President Biden would be elected to the presidency and not former President Trump.
“The Biden campaign and Anthony Blinken put together the bogus Hunter Biden letter and then used it during debates to ‘prove’ that the Hunter Biden story was fake. Have American voters ever been more blatantly lied to?” stated the Senior GOP Aide. The transcribed interview with Morell is stunning. According to sources who spoke with this reporter, Morell frequently had spoken both publicly and privately against former President Trump and according to one source, “his actions don’t surprise me in the least. It’s disgusting how someone of his stature and Blinken’s have trashed the American people and the Constitution.”
I recently heard one of the most bizarre remarks by European Central Bank (ECB) chief Christine Lagarde that gave me migraines. She said that the eurozone could not go bankrupt, that this is technically impossible because the ECB can provide unlimited liquidity at any time. In plain English, when we run out of money, we print what we need. I admit I am probably a bit oversensitive. Counterfeiting is the very basis of our financial system, and the fact that the money we have right now is losing more and more purchasing power due to newly printed money need not concern me because I have none anyway. CBDC stands for “Central Bank Digital Currency.” PR consultants and journalists prefer to use the term “digital euro,” which is easier to remember and sounds nicer, but the trivialization of the term does not change the fact that behind all of this, total surveillance awaits.
The ECB’s planned digital euro works like Bitcoin on the basis of blockchain technology, but with a few key differences. Provided you have some, you can protect your money from inflation by holding it in the form of Bitcoin, you just need to have some tolerance for volatility. The Bitcoin blockchain is public and resistant to censorship because it is managed in a decentralized manner by a worldwide network of tens of thousands of computers, with no need for a central authority. Thus, unlike the fiat system, the amount in circulation cannot be increased by command. Bitcoin is transparent because every transaction is recorded in the public blockchain and can be viewed by anyone on the network. At the same time, the anonymity of the sender and receiver is preserved, as transactions are only tied to public addresses, not to individuals.
In contrast, the blockchain on which the digital euro is based is not public and is managed centrally. All transactions go through the European Central Bank (ECB) network, which means there is no transparency whatsoever. Already, no one really knows how many euros are in circulation because they can be printed at will by the ECB. The digital euro will not change this. Since almost all transactions already take place digitally, the question arises as to what benefit a euro on a private, centrally managed blockchain will have for the population. It is unclear who will benefit from the digital euro at all. Well, if you think about it a bit, it’s not so unclear anymore.
In the future, each of us will have a personally assigned account with the central bank. Every transaction can be tracked by the central bank and its associated authorities. The authorities can and will collect information about anyone who sends money to your wallet, who you send money to, how much money you spend, when you spend it, where you spend it, and on what. The authorities will know how often you go to the hairdresser, whether you have a subscription to the gym, whether you like to eat bananas, and how much money you spend on cat food.
Recently, some media outlets have quit Twitter over what they see as unjust labeling, which leads to the question – where was their outrage when the same rules were being applied to their competition? Where was the Western fury when the social media platform was slapping labels of state affiliation or funding on media linked to Russia and China, like RT? Nowhere to be found. How about when the platform was extending that same labeling to individual journalists contributing to those platforms? Again, silent. It’s only now that they can’t object strongly enough. So what changed? The platform’s ‘newish’ owner, Elon Musk, woke up one morning recently and decided to level the playing field by slapping Western media recipients of state funding with the “government funded” label.
Britain’s BBC has protested its tagging, America’s National Public Radio rage-quit the platform over its new designation, and Canada’s CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) suspended posting. “Twitter can be a powerful tool for our journalists to communicate with Canadians, but it undermines the accuracy and professionalism of the work they do to allow our independence to be falsely described in this way,” CBC spokesman Leon Mar said. The Western media outlets object to these tags being applied to them because they’ve long accepted the negative connotation that such tags carry when they are exclusively applied to media or journalists linked to Russia or China. They didn’t care that the integrity of those journalistic competitors was smeared by a scarlet letter. They didn’t appreciate or support the coverage offered by those labeled platforms that offer alternative information and analysis to the mainstream Western establishment agenda and related narratives.
It apparently never occurred to the Western press – even to the CBC, which received $1.24 billion in 2021-2022 from the Canadian federal government – that they could be next in line for this kind of labeling. At least not enough for them to stand up against such labels. Why? A likely explanation is that they felt that social media platforms like Twitter would always fall in line with the Western establishment agenda and narrative. Also, that it was just an extension of the ongoing efforts to marginalize geopolitical competitors and alternative sources of information that might challenge them. Labeling of Western media makes no sense in that context, so they likely presumed that they were safe. However, Musk came along and opened Pandora’s Box, with Western media now haggling with him over precisely how much funding they ought to be able to get from the state without being slapped with a “state-affiliated” moniker. “Canadian Broadcasting Corp said they’re ‘less than 70% government funded,’ so we corrected the label,” Musk tweeted, stating that he had amended CBC’s label to “69% Government-funded media.”
Musk has also managed to make Western politicians denounce the tags, which they previously supported when it was used against press sources that they didn’t like. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hysterically played the class warfare card in defense of the CBC, accusing Conservative Party opposition leader Pierre Poilievre of cozying up to US billionaires (an obvious reference to Musk). Poilievre had written a letter to Twitter drawing attention to the fact that the CBC shouldn’t be left out of the labeling spree.
European farmers are furious over a bullshit plan by the European Union which would force then to be treated as industrial plants, similar to steel mills or chemical works, in order to force them to cut greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution, the Financial Times reports Greek farmer Takis Kazanas, 66, and his four sons run a 230-acre ranch with 300 cattle ranch in the mountains overlooking the Thessalian Plain. While the farmers already capture biogas from cow dung, and use homemade manure vs. chemical fertilizer, Kazanas is one of many farmers up in arms over environmentalist bureaucrats who want to impose crippling new rules on them in order to cut emissions by 55% by 2030 vs. 1990 levels. “That’s what the EU says and that’s what I do,” says Kazanas, regarding the ‘earth-friendly’ measures he already employs. “Today, everyone blames cattle for methane production and pollution . . . I have a different opinion.”
“The sheer scale of the transformation that the European Commission is asking for in its Farm to Fork strategy — halving the amount of pesticides applied by 2030, cutting the use of fertilisers, doubling organic production and rewilding some farmland — would be remarkable even in less urgent times. Yet it comes as the war in Ukraine has upended global food markets, and as farmers face a cut in subsidies in the Common Agricultural Policy, the €55bn-a-year programme that has underwritten Europe’s food security since 1962. The EU argues that the agriculture sector is badly in need of environmental reforms. One senior EU official working on climate policy calls it “our problem child”. -FT According to Brussels, nitrous oxides found in fertilizer, as well as animal urine and poop, are a large part of the problem.
One problem facing farmers is thin margins between organic producers who survive on local trade, to pig farmers whose profits are being whittled away by international competition. As the Times notes, “even a small increase in the price of feed can wipe out annual profits.” After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU almost immediately unveiled ‘Farm to Fork’ pollution targets. According to a senior commission official, “the debate has changed.” The goals of the program, via FT, are to: • Cut the use of chemical and hazardous pesticides by 50% by 2030 • Reduce fertiliser use by 20% by 2030 • Lower by 50% the sales of antimicrobials for farmed animals and in aquaculture • Increase the amount of land devoted to organic farming to 25% in 2030 from 9.1% in 2020 • Bigger livestock farms to comply with clean air and water regulations that apply to heavy industry That said, farmers have banded together – and thanks to organized, well-funded campaigns, EU governments have softened their tone over what is becoming a new battleground over green ambitions.
For quite some time, TikTok has been recruiting former State Department officials to run its operations. The company’s head of data public policy for Europe, for example, is Jade Nester. Before being recruited for that influential role, Nester was a senior official in Washington, serving for four years as the State Department’s director of Internet public policy. Mariola Janik, meanwhile, left a long and fruitful career in the government to work for TikTok. Starting out at the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Janik became a career diplomat in the State Department before moving to the Department of Homeland Security. In September, however, she left the government to immediately take up the position of TikTok’s trust and safety program manager, a job that will inevitably include removing content and reshaping algorithms.
While there is no suggestion that Janik is anything other than a model employee, the fact that a U.S. government agent walked into such an influential position at the social media giant should be cause for concern. If, for instance, a high Chinese official was hired to influence what the U.S. public saw in their social media feeds, it would likely be the centerpiece of the TikTok furor currently gripping Washington. Janik is not the only former security official working on TikTok’s trust and safety team, however. Between 2008 and 2021, Christian Cardona enjoyed a distinguished career at the State Department, serving in Poland, Turkey and Oman, and was in the thick of U.S. interventionism in the Middle East. Between 2012 and 2013, he was an assistant to the U.S. ambassador in Kabul. He later left that role to become the political and military affairs manager for Iran.
In the summer of 2021, he went straight from his top State Department job to become product policy manager for trust and safety at TikTok, a position that, on paper, he appears completely unqualified for. Earlier this year, Cardona left the company. Another influential individual at TikTok is recruiting coordinator Katrina Villacisneros. Yet before she was choosing whom the company hires, Villacisneros worked at the State Department’s Office of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. And until 2021, she was part of Army Cyber Command, the U.S. military unit that oversees cyberattacks and information warfare online. Other TikTok employees with long histories in the U.S. national security state include: Brad Earman, global lead of criminal and civil investigations, who spent 21 years as a special agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigation and also worked as a program manager for antiterrorism at the State Department; and Ryan Walsh, escalations management lead for trust and safety at TikTok, who, until 2020, was the government’s senior advisor for digital strategy. A central part of Walsh’s State Department job, his own résumé notes, was “advanc[ing] supportive narratives” for the U.S. and NATO online.
As the feds abandon a one-size-fits-all COVID-19 vaccine strategy in the face of plunging booster uptake, growing research on serious adverse events and the first government payments to victims of the novel therapeutics, the CDC’s director is trying to rewrite history. In a hearing Wednesday, Rochelle Walensky told the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds her agency that COVID vaccines only stopped preventing transmission of the virus due to “an evolution of science,” contradicting her own agency’s uncertainty about the products during the early mass vaccination campaign and its contemporaneous data.
The exchange was prompted by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) reminding Walensky that she told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow March 29, 2021 that CDC data suggest “vaccinated people do not carry the virus” or “get sick,” based on both clinical trials and “real-world data.” Walensky responded that the statement was true at the time, when the “wild-type” virus was dominant, but then revised it by saying “even if they got sick” infected people could not transmit COVID. Because of the “evolution of the virus” that’s no longer true, she told Clyde. Hearing watchers quickly noted the CDC pulled the rug out from Walensky three days after her Maddow interview in a statement to The New York Times. “The evidence isn’t clear” on transmission by “fully vaccinated” people, which is “possible,” the agency said.
Not only did Walensky falsely invoke the vaccine trials, which didn’t test for transmission, but the CDC may have been aware of breakthrough infections when its director denied they were possible. The CDC showed the Times a study that found “the vast majority” — not all — of nearly 4,000 vaccinated people remained uninfected two weeks after vaccination. It set up a breakthrough infection page as early as April 16 that reported about 5,800 cases “so far,” but didn’t tell CNN when it started receiving them. The number crossed 10,000 by month’s end. The FDA threw out a major pillar of its COVID strategy this week in its attempt to “simplify” vaccine recommendations, belatedly joining an international consensus that does not recommend vaccination across ages and risk levels.
It withdrew authorization for the original Pfizer and Moderna two-dose mRNA vaccines and told “most” vaccinated and even unvaccinated people they “may receive” a single bivalent dose. Among those already boosted with a bivalent, only elderly and immunocompromised people for now can get another dose. Unvaccinated children up to age 5 can get a two- or three-dose bivalent, while the number of bivalent doses will depend on monovalent vaccination history for other children, the FDA said. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, cited the high rate of natural and vaccine immunity in the general public in explaining the revision, while still recommending everyone “consider staying current” with bivalent doses.
“A lot of people are spouting out a lot of things about me and Twitter,” Fauci told Fox News. “I’ve never had a Twitter account. I don’t intend on having a Twitter account, and I’ve had nothing to do with Twitter. So I don’t know what they’re talking about when they say that.” Fauci made similar claims during an almost 7-hour deposition. While under oath, the then-medical advisor to President Biden denied using Twitter or even paying attention to social media. “I don’t do social media.” “Since I don’t have a Twitter account, I don’t see tweets.” “I’m so dissociated from social media … I’ve never gotten involved in any of that.” “The social media and Twitter, I told you, I don’t have a Twitter account. I don’t tweet. I don’t do Facebook. I don’t do anything.”
Not true according to a new Twitter File uncovered during a visit to Twitter’s San Francisco HQ that shows Anthony Fauci…taking over the White House’s Twitter account. “Dr. Anthony Fauci did an account takeover for @WHCOVIDResponse,” reads a Twitter internal COVID-19 monthly update. Twitter’s monthly update also documented work they did with Johnson and Johnson on “messaging strategy” to help market the pharma company’s COVID-19 vaccine—action that happened only months after Twitter began removing and labeling tweets that they deemed vaccine “misinformation.” By the summer of 2021, Johnson and Johnson began a full court press, marketing multiple pharma products on Twitter. In a separate Twitter File, a senior Twitter attorney, who interfaced with the FBI on enforcement and removal of “disinformation,” praised Fauci to Twitter’s lawyers as America’s “leading trusted voice” on COVID-19.
A peek behind the paywall… “The Louisiana and Missouri attorney generals sued the federal government in May 2022 claiming agencies were colluding with social media companies to “censor and suppress free speech—including truthful information—related to COVID-19, election integrity and other topics under the guise of combating ‘misinformation.’” After a fierce legal battle, Louisiana and Missouri were allowed to depose Anthony Fauci under oath, during which he constantly claimed he could not recall information. The Biden administration has sought to keep the legal proceedings secret. Emails show that when a reporter contacted Fauci to ask why he could not recall key details about his handling of the pandemic during his deposition, Fauci emailed NIH colleagues, “So much for confidentiality.” The states released Fauci’s deposition last December, noting that Fauci said “I don’t recall” 174 times, including when asked about emails that he sent, interviews that he gave, and important documents he was shown.”
As SpaceX tests Starship, the largest rocket ever built, we're one step closer to a future full of hope. Asked in 1974, “What is space travel going to do for man?”, Ray Bradbury gave the most mystical, mind-expanding, and strangely moving answer I could have imagined. pic.twitter.com/yhLHkJls6T
In 2016, Victoria Nuland told Congress that US advisors serve in 12 Ukrainian ministries, US-trained police operate in 18 Ukrainian cities, the US Treasury helped close 60 Ukrainian banks while protecting depositors, and the US spent $266 million on training Ukrainian soldiers. pic.twitter.com/scOUCQQsdg
What a Scam: Taxpayers May Be on the Hook to Pay for Moderna's Alleged Patent Infringements
"Not only did American taxpayers pay to develop the drug — not only did they make the guy who runs the company and billionaire — now you might be on the hook for bailing out Moderna if… pic.twitter.com/A5F5QBzmw5
They knew Ivermectin was the answer to a coronavirus outbreak. They had done the research beforehand. Then they kept it from the public in favor of lockdowns, masks and gene therapies. So we had a pandemic that could be treated fairly easily with Ivermectin . pic.twitter.com/ACb4dWvlwH
Very few in the west have an overview of how the world changed last weekend.
“..the Russian position remains ironclad: demilitarization, Ukrainian neutrality, and enshrining the new facts on the ground. In parallel, the Russian Foreign Ministry completely ruled out a role for the US, UK, France, and Germany in future Ukraine negotiations: they are not considered neutral mediators.”
What has just taken place in Moscow is nothing less than a new Yalta, which, incidentally, is in Crimea. But unlike the momentous meeting of US President Franklin Roosevelt, Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in USSR-run Crimea in 1945, this is the first time in arguably five centuries that no political leader from the west is setting the global agenda. It’s Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin that are now running the multilateral, multipolar show. Western exceptionalists may deploy their crybaby routines as much as they want: nothing will change the spectacular optics, and the underlying substance of this developing world order, especially for the Global South. What Xi and Putin are setting out to do was explained in detail before their summit, in two Op-Eds penned by the presidents themselves. Like a highly-synchronized Russian ballet, Putin’s vision was laid out in the People’s Daily in China, focusing on a “future-bound partnership,” while Xi’s was published in the Russian Gazette and the RIA Novosti website, focusing on a new chapter in cooperation and common development.
Right from the start of the summit, the speeches by both Xi and Putin drove the NATO crowd into a hysterical frenzy of anger and envy: Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova perfectly captured the mood when she remarked that the west was “foaming at the mouth.” The front page of the Russian Gazette on Monday was iconic: Putin touring Nazi-free Mariupol, chatting with residents, side by side with Xi’s Op-Ed. That was, in a nutshell, Moscow’s terse response to Washington’s MQ-9 Reaper stunt and the International Criminal Court (ICC) kangaroo court shenanigans. “Foam at the mouth” as much as you like; NATO is in the process of being thoroughly humiliated in Ukraine.
During their first “informal” meeting, Xi and Putin talked for no less than four and a half hours. At the end, Putin personally escorted Xi to his limo. This conversation was the real deal: mapping out the lineaments of multipolarity – which starts with a solution for Ukraine. Predictably, there were very few leaks from the sherpas, but there was quite a significant one on their “in-depth exchange” on Ukraine. Putin politely stressed he respects China’s position – expressed in Beijing’s 12-point conflict resolution plan, which has been completely rejected by Washington. But the Russian position remains ironclad: demilitarization, Ukrainian neutrality, and enshrining the new facts on the ground. In parallel, the Russian Foreign Ministry completely ruled out a role for the US, UK, France, and Germany in future Ukraine negotiations: they are not considered neutral mediators.
In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, there was a great deal of division among UN Security Council (UNSC) members. US Secretary of State Colin Powell presented questionable evidence of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, while the foreign ministers of Germany and France publicly opposed the aggression, for which they occasionally received applause in the Council. China and Russia, who vehemently opposed the war, began coordinating their decisions and responses, in part because of their respective oil interests in Iraq. This cooperation between Moscow and Beijing set the stage for a coordinated multilateral approach between the two nations. Both governments understood that a war would open Pandora’s box, leading to the collapse of Iraqi institutions and resulting in widespread regional disharmony.
Unfortunately, this is precisely what happened. The subsequent years saw weekly attacks, an expansion of Salafi terror groups like Al Qaeda, the rise of ISIS in 2014, and perpetual internal Iraqi conflict. Anyone familiar with the country‘s conditions was aware of the looming catastrophe when the illegal invasion of Iraq began on 20 March, 2003. Twenty years to the day, Chinese President Xi Jinping will embark on a three-day state visit to Moscow, and the focus will extend beyond bilateral energy relations, which have been a consistent priority since 2004. As previously stated in their joint declaration in Beijing in February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart aim to coordinate their foreign policy and advance it together. Their discussions may also touch on the Ukraine dossier, although media expectations in the west may be overestimated.
It may be pure coincidence that the meeting coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Iraq invasion. Yet it also highlights how extensively Russian and Chinese strategies have intertwined over the past two decades. Today, increasingly, “orientation comes from Orient.” Cooperative geostrategic leadership and sound alternative propositions to resolve global conflicts are being shaped in Beijing and Moscow – because the old centers of power can offer nothing new. Twenty years after the US invasion of Iraq, a failed ‘war on terror,’ the proliferation of extremism, millions of dead and displaced in West Asia, and never-ending conflict, China and Russia have finally teamed up to systematically advance their view of the world, this time with more resolve and global clout.
It was in 2018 that Vladimir Putin took the stage to present Russia’s new hypersonic weapons. The term “hypersonic” refers to missiles that fly at speeds of 5 mach and higher. At the time, many in the west dismissed Putin’s claims and thought it was a bluff. We now know that he wasn’t bluffing. Russia is the only country in the world that has deployment-ready hypersonic missiles – not one but three types: Zircons, Kinzhals and Avantguards. Domazet explained why these weapons are radical game changers in warfare. Namely, in World War 1, tanks were the game changing military technology. Since World War 2, it’s been the air-force. Aircraft carrier strike groups have been an irresistible force wherever they travelled, dominating the seas ever since. But hypersonic precision missiles have rendered that force obsolete overnight.
The main military front in today’s global conflict, according to Domazet, are the Anti-Ballistic (ABM) batteries which the US has set up on the Poland-Romania axis, and the Russians on the North Pole-Kaliningrad-Crimea-Syria axis. These are defensive systems, conceived to intercept incoming nuclear missiles (though they can easily be converted to offensive nuclear missiles). However, today’s ABM systems are only effective against missiles flying at speeds up to mach 3.5 (3.5 x the speed of sound). Russia’s new Kinzhal missile flies at speeds of mach 12 to mach 15 and nothing in western defensive arsenals can stop its strike. During the war in Ukraine, Russia staged a stunning demonstration of its power.
The first Kinzhal strike, delivered one month after the beginning of hostilities in Ukraine, was perhaps the most significant: Russian forces targeted a large weapons depot in Ukraine which had been built during the Soviet times to withstand a nuclear strike. It was buried 170 meters (over 500 ft) underground and protected by several layers of armored concrete. The Kinzhal flies at altitudes of between 20 and 40 km, with a maximum range of 2,000 km. When above target, it dives perpendicularly and accelerates to 15 mach, generating enormous kinetic energy in addition to its explosive payload. That first strike with a single Kinzhal missile destroyed Ukraine’s nuke-proof underground weapons depot. This was a message for the west.
[..] Western intelligence estimated that Russia had some 50 Kinzhals at the start of the war in Ukraine, and thus far it has used only 9 of them. Last week, they fired six Kinzhals in a single salvo. That too, was a message. Here’s how Domazet explained it: United States have 11 aircraft carrier strike groups. Of these, fewer than half will be active at any one time (while others are in dock for maintenance, or in preparation). Firing six Kinzhals in one go is military-speak for, “we have the capability to sink ALL of your aircraft carriers at once.”
Russia will always remain important for Europe, Austria’s foreign minister told Reuters on Wednesday as he defended Raiffeisen Bank’s continued operations in the sanctioned country. Alexander Schallenberg made his comments after the US sanctions authority launched a probe into the Austrian lender over its business related to Russia last month. “Let’s get real,” he said. “91% of Western companies are still in Russia and doing what is sensible: waiting, containment, ring fencing.” Raiffeisen Bank International is Austria’s second-largest lender and, despite sanctions, still plays a critical role in the Russian economy.
It’s one of only two foreign banks on the Russian central bank’s list of 13 systemically important credit institutions. The other is UniCredit, a pan-European commercial bank. “To think that there won’t be Russia anymore and we can decouple in all areas is delusional,” Schallenberg told Reuters, adding that while Austria would loosen ties, this “can’t happen overnight.” Schallenberg also discouraged Europe from introducing further sanctions against Russia. “It is a very blunt weapon,” he said. “We’ve had massive sanctions packages. Give them time to work.”
No unity in EU on supply of ammunition to Kiev!#säkpol
Bulgaria joins Hungary and doesn't support and will not send weapons to Ukraine, not under the current government; we call only for peace – Bulgarian President Radev. pic.twitter.com/ZY0yrcvAyk
It is the results of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia that matter, not the Western coverage that was predictably hostile, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday. “Undoubtedly, the most important thing is not the West’s reaction after all, but the results of these talks that have taken place. The main thing is the results of the state visit itself,” the Kremlin spokesman said. “As for the reaction of the Western countries, it is practically on all issues nothing but unfriendly and deeply hostile, this is not a secret to anyone. The coverage of this important visit is not an exception,” Peskov stressed.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was on a state visit in Russia from March 20 to 22. On Monday, he had a tete-a-tete informal meeting with Putin, which lasted for 4.5 hours. On Tuesday, the Chinese leader met with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and then arrived in the Kremlin for official talks with Putin. The leaders signed two joint statements after the talks. They both pointed out that the talks were successful. Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, who was part of the expanded circle of Russian delegates at the talks, pointed out that he was pleased that most Westerners were furious about Russia-China high-level talks.
Putin had told Xi that the peace plan “correlates to the point of view of the Russian Federation”; but the message out of Biden officials was “don’t be fooled” as it’s all about Moscow seeking to “freeze the war on its own terms,” in the words of Secretary of State Blinken. Also on Tuesday, NSC spokesman John Kirby said China is not an impartial mediator and that China “keeps parroting the Russian propaganda”. On Wednesday the Chinese foreign ministry hit back, charging that Washington is “adding fuel to the fire” of the conflict by its “continuous supply” of weapons to the battlefield. Spokesman Wang Wenbin was asked directly about Kirby and Blinken’s comments from the day prior.
“The US side claims that China’s stance isn’t impartial. But is it impartial to continuously supply weapons to the battlefield? Is it impartial to constantly escalate the conflict? Is it impartial to allow the effects of the crisis to spill over globally?” Wang said. “We advise the American side to rethink its own stance on the Ukraine issue, turn away from the erroneous path of adding fuel to the fire, and stop shifting the blame to China,” he added. The spokesman further insisted Beijing has “no selfish motives on the Ukraine issue, has not stood idly by… or sought profit for itself,” but that “what China has done boils down to one thing, that is, to promote peace talks.” He went on to assert that contrary to popular assumptions in the West, the global community stands by China on the side of diplomatically pursuing peace. According to a transcript:
“On the Ukraine issue, voices for peace and rationality are building. Most countries support easing tensions, stand for peace talks, and are against adding fuel to the fire. This is also China’s position. President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia is a journey of friendship, cooperation and peace. It has been warmly received internationally. We call on the US to reflect on its own role in the Ukraine issue, stop fueling the flames, and stop deflecting the blame on China.”
The British government’s plans to send depleted uranium shells to Kiev for use in the conflict with Moscow show that Western claims of caring about peace and the future of Ukraine are lies, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed. Speaking to Radio Sputnik on Wednesday she insisted that the statement by London is a sign of the “absolute recklessness, irresponsibility and impunity” of the US and Britain when it comes to international affairs. She stressed that munitions containing depleted uranium are not only more powerful and have greater penetrating ability, but they also contaminate the soil with radiation, delivering lasting damage to the environment and affecting many generations of people living in the area.
“Everything that we hear from those countries [the US and UK] about peace, the settlement of the conflict, the future of Ukraine, the well-being of the Ukrainian people – it’s all a lie, falsehood and absolute disorientation of the international community. In reality, the goal is completely different,” Zakharova said. After the UK announced plans to supply armor-piercing depleted uranium shells to the Kiev government, “there can’t be any doubts that we’re talking about is the strongly pronounced intention of the collective West, headed by the US and Britain, to see Ukraine completely destroyed,” she stressed. On Monday, Annabel Goldie, the UK Minister of State for Defense, said that “alongside our granting of a squadron of Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, we will be providing ammunition including armor-piercing rounds which contain depleted uranium.”
According to the official, such ammunition should be sent to Kiev because it is “highly effective in defeating modern tanks and armored vehicles.” The announcement by Goldie is “yet another British provocation,” which is aimed at escalating the conflict in Ukraine to a new level, Zakharova said. It’s no coincidence that it was made during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, which were focused on international stability and the Chinese peace initiative for Ukraine, she suggested. The rounds containing depleted uranium are actually “weapons of mass destruction with a nuclear component,”the spokeswoman insisted, adding that “the WMD issue is part of Anglo-Saxon logic of destabilizing the global international situation.” She recalled how Washington’s unsubstantiated claims that the government of Saddam Hussein had been in possession of weapons of mass destruction became a pretext for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
She also noted that NATO had used munitions with depleted uranium during its bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. “Some 15 tons of depleted uranium 238” were dropped on Yugoslav territory back then, and Serbia is still suffering from the fallout, reporting record numbers of some forms of cancer, Zakharova added. After the announcement of the deliveries of shells with depleted uranium to Ukraine, “we have no grounds anymore to doubt in principle who stands behind the activation, the launch of the conflict in Ukraine in all its phases. It is certainly the NATO-centric collective West, which is headed, in the first place, by the US and UK,” she insisted. Speaking about the issue on Tuesday, President Putin warned that if London follows through with its plans, then “Russia will be forced to react accordingly, bearing in mind that the collective West has already started to use weapons with a nuclear component.”
Western countries led by the US have decided to bring the humankind to the brink of a nuclear Armageddon, Russia’s Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said in Washington on Wednesday. He was responding to statements by US officials that depleted-uranium munitions are a standard type of weapons that’s been used for decades and doesn’t pose any heightened risk. “Commenting on this kind of nonsense is really hard. US officials have reached a new low with their irresponsible statements. There is a continuous flow of lethal weapons to Ukraine, which are used to annihilate civilians, residential areas, schools, hospitals, kindergartens,” Antonov said, according to a statement from the embassy.
“It seems that the enlightened West, led by Washington, has irrevocably decided to bring humanity to a dangerous line, beyond which a nuclear Armageddon is looming ever more distinctly.” According to a statement published on Monday, UK Minister of State for Defense Annabelle Goldie wrote in response to an inquiry from a member of the House of Lords that the British government would send Ukraine munitions containing depleted uranium and featuring enhanced effectiveness against armored vehicles. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia will have to react appropriately to the fact that the “collective West begins using weapons with a nuclear component.”.
The British decision to supply depleted uranium munitions to Kiev is part of a dangerous trend that makes the Ukraine conflict a threat to the whole of Europe, Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has warned. “The war to the last Ukrainian could become a war to the last European,” the politician said in a social media post. Numerous Russian officials have claimed that Kiev’s Western backers are prepared to sacrifice every Ukrainian for their geopolitical interests. Volodin argued that Kiev’s acquisition of depleted uranium munitions, which can contaminate the battlefield and cause health risks for generations to come, could become a stepping stone to even more dangerous weapons. The next step “could be the use of a dirty bomb by the Kiev regime or the deployment of a tactical nuclear weapon,” added Volodin.
President Vladimir Putin expressed concern about the British decision earlier this week, warning that Russia “will be forced to react accordingly, bearing in mind that the collective West has already started to use weapons with a nuclear component.” The Russian military claimed last October that two organizations in Ukraine had been given instructions to build a so-called ‘dirty bomb’, using materials that Kiev has had access to since it was part of the Soviet Union. The Russian Defense Ministry provided a list of locations in Ukraine where nuclear fuel and nuclear waste is present. A dirty bomb has a conventional explosive core surrounded by a radioactive jacket, and when detonated, it causes serious contamination.
Kiev denied the allegations and invited the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, to inspect several of its atomic facilities, including the Eastern Mineral Enrichment Plant in Dnepropetrovsk Region and the Institute for Nuclear Research in the Ukrainian capital. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi reported in November that monitors found no evidence of undeclared activities at those two locations or a third site, a rocket-building plant in the city of Dnepr. The British government announced on Monday that it will send Ukraine armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium, alongside Challenger 2 main battle tanks that had already been promised.
“They consider supplying the Kiev regime with even more lethal, longer-range, modern sophisticated systems. Thus, the United States once again shows itself as a party directly involved in the conflict..”
Russia urges the United States not to continue down the path of escalation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Wednesday, commenting on the US Congress’ calls to supply Kiev with cluster munitions. “We call on the US side not to escalate,” he said, answering a question from TASS. The senior diplomat also pointed out that the US once again proved its direct involvement in the Ukrainian crisis by supplying Kiev with more and more lethal weapons. “They consider supplying the Kiev regime with even more lethal, longer-range, modern sophisticated systems. Thus, the United States once again shows itself as a party directly involved in the conflict,” the diplomat said.
Ryabkov pointed out that the US Congress didn’t even realize “what consequences such an initiative could lead to for the security of the US-led NATO and for any chances of potentially normalizing relations with Washington.” The Politico newspaper reported earlier that four high-ranking Republicans in the US Senate and the House of Representatives sent US President Joe Biden a letter, urging the American leader to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions.
Russia and China reject attempts to organize “color revolutions” and foreign interference into domestic affairs of Central Asian countries, according to the joint statement signed by Russian and Chinese Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, after their talks in Moscow on Tuesday. “The sides are ready to strengthen mutual coordination to support Central Asian countries’ efforts to ensure their sovereignty and national development. They reject attempts to import ‘color revolutions’ and foreign interference into regional affairs,” the statement reads. The two leaders also lauded the positive contribution of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to regional security and the potential of cooperation between the CSTO and China to ensure peace and stability in the region.
Russia and China are deepening their partnership in nuclear energy and will draw up a roadmap for cooperation in developing so-called fast-neutron reactors for decades to come, Russia’s state-run nuclear energy giant Rosatom announced on Wednesday. According to the company, the comprehensive program lays the ground not only for bilateral cooperation, but will essentially influence the shape of the global nuclear energy sector. The document signed between Rosatom and the China National Nuclear Corporation covers “key areas” and is focused on expanding current cooperation as well as launching new projects “related to fast-neutron reactors, the production of uranium-plutonium fuel and the management of spent nuclear fuel.”
The announcement of a long-term nuclear deal came among a raft of agreements presented during a three-day visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow. China already operates five Russian nuclear reactors and currently has four more under construction, which makes Russia the largest nuclear supplier to the country. Last year, Rosatom launched the construction of the Xudabu-4 reactor and the Tianwan-8 reactor in the Jiangsu province in eastern China. The reactors will be powered by third-generation pressurized water reactor technology supplied by Rosatom, with operations set to begin between 2026 and 2028, according to the agreement. The cost of construction at each site is estimated to be $1.7 billion.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday against the backdrop of the pension reform unfolding in the country that he was ready to sacrifice his popularity for France’s interests as he did not intend to be re-elected. “I am not going to do another term, I cannot do it according to the Constitution. Between the opinion polls and the interests of the country I will choose the latter,” he told the TF1 and France-2 TV channels in an interview. “If I have to face unpopularity, I am ready for it,” he added. The head of the state admitted that he had a responsibility to “settle the understandable anger”, however, he pointed out that this anger should not turn into violence, which he said was unacceptable.
“Rallies, the participants of which show protest – this is legal. But its legality should not exceed the legality of democratic decisions, which come to life through the decisions of the people’s deputies,” Macron said. A draft pension reform to raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64 years was presented in January. This initiative sparked rallies and strikes across the country. On March 16, the head of the French cabinet, Elisabeth Borne, used her constitutional powers and announced that the bill would be adopted without a vote in the National Assembly (the lower house of parliament). This decision sparked a new wave of rallies, which often ended in clashes with the police.
The biggest nationwide protest on record for France…
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claims the US intentionally provided false stories to the media to cover up Washington’s involvement in the destruction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline. In a post on his Substack blog, the veteran reporter claims the CIA was tasked with preparing a cover story in collaboration with German intelligence to provide the American and German press with an “alternative version” of the Nord Stream 2 explosions. “In the words of the intelligence community, the agency was ‘to pulse the system’ in an effort to discount the claim that Biden had ordered the pipeline’s destruction,” Hersh wrote, citing an anonymous source with access to diplomatic intelligence. He noted that the CIA had completed its task and, with the help of Germany, planted stories in the New York Times and German weekly Die Zeit. These referred to a supposed “ad hoc ‘off the books’ operation” carried out by a “pro-Ukrainian group,” which allegedly used a luxury sailing yacht to plant explosives on the Nord Stream pipelines.
“It was a total fabrication by American intelligence that was passed along to the Germans, and aimed at discrediting your story,” a source within the American intelligence community reportedly told Hersh. “The disinformation professionals inside the CIA understand that a propaganda gambit can only work if those on receiving are desperate for a story that can diminish or displace an unwanted truth. And the truth in question is that President Joe Biden authorized the destruction of the pipelines,” he added. In February, Hersh published a bombshell report on last September’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipeline blasts, accusing Washington of orchestrating the attack. The White House denied responsibility. Last week, several Western media outlets claimed the culprits may have been linked to Ukraine. Moscow dismissed the reports as “a coordinated media hoax campaign.”
Seymour Hersh: Germany's🇩🇪 Scholz has been helping the US🇺🇸 to hide data on the sabotage of the Nordstream pipelines. He alleges the CIA and German intelligence were asked to prepare an alternative story to feed to media outlets.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has argued that the US should respond to allegations that it sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines. The remarks came as the Mexican leader hit out at Washington following criticism of his country. “If we are talking about acts of violence, how is it that an award-winning journalist in the United States claims that the US government sabotaged the gas pipeline from Russia to Europe?” Lopez Obrador asked during a press conference on Tuesday. The Mexican president was referring to claims by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh that the Biden administration blew up the Nord Stream pipelines linking Russia and Germany last year. Lopez Obrador’s remarks came as part of a rebuttal to accusations of “violence” by Mexican authorities, made in an annual human rights report issued by the US State Department this week.
The report alleged “significant human rights issues” in Mexico and cited “credible reports” of unlawful or arbitrary killings by the police, as well as torture and forced disappearances. Lopez Obrador rejected the findings as “lies,” and noted Washington’s own list of alleged wrongdoings. According to the Mexican president, that includes the US extradition demands against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who remains in detention in the UK. In addition, Lopez Obrador pointed to failed American efforts to halt the opioid crisis plaguing the country, which caused over 71,000 deaths in 2022 alone from fentanyl-linked overdoses and drug poisonings. The Mexican leader went on to argue that “lying” and “politicking” is in Washington’s nature, and asserted that the US “do[es] not want to change, so they believe they are the government of the world, and they only see the speck in someone else’s eye and not the beam in their own.”
State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel responded to Lopez Obrador’s remarks by insisting that the US has “never been ones to indicate that we are the government of the world or some kind of edict like that.” Patel suggested that the Mexican police, military, and other government structures were responsible for serious acts of corruption and unlawful killings, which is why these issues were highlighted in the State Department report. Lopez Obrador, however, has repeatedly insisted that there is an “anti-Mexico” conservative element within the US government that is trying to inflame tensions between the two countries. “Mexico is safer than the United States,” Lopez Obrador insisted earlier this month.
Elon Musk has proposed a solution to the current banking crisis in the US. The government must do away with the current $250,000 insurance cap on all deposits to stop panicking clients from withdrawing their money, the Tesla CEO wrote in a Twitter post on Tuesday. His comments come in response to a media report that US officials are studying ways to temporarily insure deposits beyond the current limit, without having to get approval from Congress. “Absolutely required to stop bank runs,” Musk wrote. The banking crisis began in the US earlier this month with the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a major US lender focused on the tech and startup sectors. Over 92% of deposits in the bank were uninsured and the lender was shut down by regulators after massive deposit outflows.
SVB’s failure caused the closure of another lender, Signature Bank. Panicked customers have withdrawn tens of billions of dollars in cash from the smaller banks and placed them with bigger lenders. The billionaire entrepreneur and head of Tesla, Twitter and SpaceX, first proposed the idea last week. “FDIC needs to change to unlimited coverage to stop bank runs… Right now,” he wrote on March 18. The government has guaranteed all deposits of SVB and Signature Bank customers. However, according to a recent study, nearly 200 American banks are facing similar risks. SVB, like many other banks, had invested billions in US government bonds when interest rates were at near-zero and suffered losses when the Federal Reserve hiked them in a bid to curb inflation.
The failures of SVB and Signature Bank sent ripples across the entire US banking industry. Many other financial institutions have seen their stocks plunge, with the six largest Wall Street banks losing around $165 billion in market capitalization, or some 13% of their combined value. Last week, credit ratings agency Moody’s downgraded its outlook for the US banking system from ‘stable’ to ‘negative,’ citing the “rapidly deteriorating operating environment.”
“..Ye offered Hunter $1 million to be his “private counsel” and flew to China, leaving his wife, daughter, son, mother, and nanny in his $50 million penthouse at 15 Central Park West. He was detained in Shanghai three months later and disappeared.”
Hunter Biden had an FBI mole named “One-Eye” who tipped off his Chinese business partners that they were under investigation, according to an Israeli energy expert arrested in Cyprus last month on gunrunning charges. The House Oversight Committee is investigating the explosive claims by Dr. Gal Luft, a former Israel Defense Forces lieutenant colonel with deep intelligence ties in Washington and Beijing, who says he was arrested to stop him from revealing what he knows about the Biden family and FBI corruption — details he told the Department of Justice in 2019, which he says it ignored. Luft, 56, first made the claims on Feb. 18 on Twitter, after being detained at a Cyprus airport as he prepared to board a plane to Israel.
“I’ve been arrested in Cyprus on a politically motivated extradition request by the U.S. The U.S., claiming I’m an arms dealer. It would be funny if it weren’t tragic. I’ve never been an arms dealer. “DOJ is trying to bury me to protect Joe, Jim, and Hunter Biden. “Shall I name names?” Luft remains in jail awaiting extradition to the US over what he says are trumped-up charges of arms trafficking to China and Libya, and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Through his American lawyer, Robert Henoch, Luft said he tried four years ago to inform the DOJ that Chinese state-controlled energy company CEFC had paid $100,000 a month to President Biden’s son Hunter and $65,000 to Joe’s brother Jim, in exchange for their FBI connections and use of the Biden name to promote China’s Belt and Road Initiative around the world.
Luft learned about the scheme through his own relationship with Hunter’s Chinese business partners, Patrick Ho and Ye Jianming, the chairman of CEFC. From 2015 to 2018, Luft organized international energy conferences in partnership with Ho’s think tank, the nonprofit China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC-USA), a front organization for Ye’s CEFC. Ye confided to Luft that Hunter had an informant in the FBI “or formerly of the bureau, extremely well placed, who they paid lots of money to [provide] sealed law enforcement information,” says Henoch. The FBI mole was called “One-Eye.” “One-Eye” told Ye that the Southern District of New York was investigating him and/or Ho in late 2017, and that “an Asian, an African, and a Jewish guy” were named on a sealed indictment, says Henoch. Soon after that tipoff, Ye offered Hunter $1 million to be his “private counsel” and flew to China, leaving his wife, daughter, son, mother, and nanny in his $50 million penthouse at 15 Central Park West. He was detained in Shanghai three months later and disappeared.
The giant Pacific octopus is the largest octopus in the world: the largest individual on record weighed an impressive 270 kg and measured 9 m across in length. Along with 8 arms, an octopus also has 3 hearts and 9 brains
The astonishing mimicry and hidden beauty of the dead-leaf butterfly (Kallima inachus)
Jacanas are colorful water birds with long legs and incredibly long toes/claws. The super-long toes spread the bird’s weight over a large area. This allows them to walk across floating vegetation, especially lily pads. This is a baby Jacana
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Einstein: “What I most admire about your art, is your universality. You don’t say a word, yet the world understands you!”
Chaplin: “True. But your glory is even greater! The whole world admires you, even though they don’t understand a word of what you say.”
My @GOPoversight investigation into the Biden family's influence peddling operation is heating up.
We now have financial records showing Biden family members receiving money from CCP connected individuals.
Stone Putin Trump
China warns, guardrails are coming off
"If the U.S. does not hit the brake but continue to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing and there will surely be conflict and confrontation” -> China for the first time aggressively pushed back of the US … the situation is escalating
US drones are collecting reconnaissance data to be used by the Kiev forces for their future strikes on the Russian territory and Russian troops, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov has said. “The unacceptable actions of the United States military in the close proximity to our borders are cause for concern. We are well aware of the missions such reconnaissance and strike drones are used for,” the ambassador was quoted as saying in a communique, issued in connection with Tuesday’s US MQ-9 Reaper drone’s crash in the Black Sea.
The Russian diplomat quoted US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby as saying that US UAVs make these kinds of overflights on a daily basis. “What do they do thousands of miles away from the United States? The answer is obvious – they gather intelligence which is later used by the Kiev regime to attack our armed forces and territory,” Antonov said. “We proceed from the fact that the United States will refrain from further speculations in the media landscape and stop making sorties near the Russian borders,” he added.
The détente between Saudi Arabia and Iran—with China playing a facilitating role—is not as momentous as Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1972, Anwar Sadat’s trip to Jerusalem in 1977, or the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Even so, if the agreement sticks, it’s a pretty big deal. Most importantly, it is a wake-up call for the Biden administration and the rest of the United States’ foreign-policy establishment, because it exposes the self-imposed handicaps that have long crippled U.S. Middle East policy. It also highlights how China is attempting to present itself as a force for peace in the world, a mantle that the United States has largely abandoned in recent years.
How did China pull this off? Efforts to lower the temperature between Riyadh and Tehran had been underway for some time, but China could step in and help the two parties reach agreement because its dramatic economic rise has given it a growing role in the Middle East. More importantly, China could mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia because it has cordial, business-like ties with a majority of countries in the region. China has diplomatic relations and does business with all sides: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Gulf States, even Bashar al-Assad in Syria. That’s how a great power maximizes its leverage: You make it clear that you’re willing to work with others if they are willing to work with you, and your ties with others remind them that you have other options, too.
The United States, by contrast, has “special relationships” with some countries in the Middle East and no relationship at all with others, most notably Iran. The result is that client states such as Egypt, Israel, or Saudi Arabia take U.S. support for granted and treat its concerns with ill-disguised contempt, whether the issue is human rights in Egypt, the Saudi war in Yemen, or Israel’s long and brutal campaign to colonize the West Bank. At the same time, our mostly futile efforts to isolate and topple the Islamic Republic have left Washington with essentially zero capacity to shape Iran’s perceptions, actions, or diplomatic trajectory. This policy—a product of the assiduous efforts of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, etc., and well-funded Arab government lobbying efforts—may be the clearest example of an own goal in contemporary U.S. diplomacy.
By demonstrating that Washington can’t do much to advance peace or justice in the region, it has left the field wide open for Beijing. The Saudi-Iranian deal also highlights an important dimension of the emerging Sino-American rivalry: Will Washington or Beijing be seen by others as the best guide to a future world order? Given the United States’ outsized global role since 1945, Americans have become accustomed to assuming that most states will follow our lead, even when they have reservations about what we are doing. China would like to alter that equation, and portraying itself as a more likely source of peace and stability is a key part of that effort.
The headquarters of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) in Moscow, linked to the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) is arguably one of the most crucial nodes of the emerging multipolar world. That’s where I was received by Minister of Integration and Macroeconomics Sergey Glazyev – who was previously interviewed in detail by The Cradle – for an exclusive, expanded discussion on the geoeconomics of multipolarity. Glazyev was joined by his top economic advisor Dmitry Mityaev, who is also the secretary of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s (EEC) science and technology council. The EAEU and EEC are formed by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia. The group is currently engaged in establishing a series of free trade agreements with nations from West Asia to Southeast Asia.
Our conversation was unscripted, free flowing and straight to the point. I had initially proposed some talking points revolving around discussions between the EAEU and China on designing a new gold/commodities-based currency bypassing the US dollar, and how it would be realistically possible to have the EAEU, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and BRICS+ to adopt the same currency design. Glazyev and Mityaev were completely frank and also asked questions on the Global South. As much as extremely sensitive political issues should remain off the record, what they said about the road towards multipolarity was quite sobering – in fact realpolitik-based.
Glazyev stressed that the EEC cannot ask for member states to adopt specific economic policies. There are indeed serious proposals on the design of a new currency, but the ultimate decision rests on the leaders of the five permanent members. That implies political will – ultimately to be engineered by Russia, which is responsible for over 80 percent of EAEU trade. It’s quite possible that a renewed impetus may come after the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow on March 21, where he will hold in-depth strategic talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A senior Ukrainian government official told The Washington Post that Kyiv doesn’t have the resources to pull off a big counteroffensive in the coming months as Ukraine is lacking skilled troops, munitions, and other equipment. “If you have more resources, you more actively attack,” said the official, who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity. “If you have fewer resources, you defend more. We’re going to defend. That’s why if you ask me personally, I don’t believe in a big counteroffensive for us. I’d like to believe in it, but I’m looking at the resources and asking, ‘With what?’ Maybe we’ll have some localized breakthroughs.” The official said Ukraine doesn’t have “the people or weapons” to pull off a counteroffensive. “And you know the ratio: When you’re on the offensive, you lose twice or three times as many people. We can’t afford to lose that many people,” the official said.
The Post also spoke with a Ukrainian battalion commander who went by the name of Kupol and detailed the grim situation on the frontlines. Kupol said his battalion previously withdrew from the town of Soledar, which is near the eastern city of Bakhmut, and came under Russian control in January. Kupol said of his battalion of 500 troops, 100 were killed, and about 400 were wounded, leading to a complete turnover. He’s now being sent soldiers with no combat experience and very little training. “I get 100 new soldiers,” Kupol said. “They don’t give me any time to prepare them. They say, ‘Take them into the battle.’ They just drop everything and run. That’s it.” “Do you understand why? Because the soldier doesn’t shoot. I ask him why, and he says, ‘I’m afraid of the sound of the shot,’” he added.
The Post report said that Ukraine has sent in an influx of draftees to replace more experienced soldiers who have been killed or wounded. It said that as more Ukrainian men who didn’t volunteer fear they will get called to battle, Ukraine’s security services shut down Telegram accounts that were helping Ukrainians avoid locations where authorities were handing out draft slips. Kupol said Ukrainian forces are also fighting with very little ammunition. “You’re on the front line,” he said. “They’re coming toward you, and there’s nothing to shoot with.” The Kyiv Independent also recently spoke with Ukrainian soldiers who said they were fighting without much ammunition, training, and support.
Ukraine is taking heavy losses in its battle defending Bakhmut, but it’s keeping a tight lid on its casualty numbers. A German official said including dead and wounded, Ukraine has suffered 120,000 troops, but the number could be much higher. Despite the dire conditions for the Ukrainian troops, Kyiv is still sending untrained soldiers into what has become known as the “meat grinder” in Bakhmut. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner Group, said Sunday that Ukraine was “supplying endless reserves” and that fighting was getting fiercer as Russian forces are trying to push through to the western part of the city.
"Zone of Redemption"
The first documentary film about former prisoners who liberate Artyomovsk (Bakhmut) as part of assault squads of Wagner PMC. pic.twitter.com/qnYGbk6oqo
The Russian economy hasn’t collapsed due to sweeping Western restrictions, President Vladimir Putin has stated, noting that, on the contrary, its sovereignty has grown many times over. Putin, who was meeting with aircraft factory employees in Ulan-Ude, Buryatia, on Tuesday, noted the country had passed a very important stage in its development, which could be the most important result of 2022. “We have exponentially increased our economic sovereignty. After all, what did our adversary count on? That we would collapse in two or three weeks or in a month,” the Russian leader said.
“The expectation was that enterprises would cease due to our partners refusing to work with us, the financial system would collapse, tens of thousands of people would be left without work, take to the streets, protest, Russia would be shaken from the inside and collapse. That was their intention, but this did not happen,” Putin declared. He pointed out that the Russian financial system has survived, growing stronger and becoming more independent, thanks to the actions of the central bank. Putin also indicated that the unemployment rate in the country was currently at a historically low level of 3.6%, while GDP has fallen by only 1.2%. According to the Russian president, the fundamental foundations of Russia’s stability are now “much stronger than anyone could previously imagine.”
Modern international problems began after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin said while answering a question of one of the employees of the Ulan-Ude aircraft-building plant during a visit to the enterprise on Tuesday. “Of course, all the problems began after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Why? Because the then world order – in a sense it still exists today – was built after World War II by the countries that won that war. First of all, the United States and the Soviet Union,” Putin said. He recalled that the states then “distributed the zones of their influence among themselves and did not interfere with each other.” “Of course, there were enough problems, including the Caribbean crisis, but nevertheless [the USSR and the US] coexisted,” he said.
Putin stressed that the system of the bipolar world “began to crumble down” after the collapse of the USSR, when geopolitical interests turned out to be more important for the West than confrontation with the Soviet Union. “Frankly speaking, it seemed to the people of my generation, including myself, and even a little bit younger ones, that yes, it was regrettable that the Soviet Union collapsed, but nevertheless, the basis for confrontation between the former Soviet Union and modern Russia and the Western world was gone, that that basis disappeared and there were no ideological foundations for confrontation anymore,” Putin said. “It seemed that now everything would be fine forever. It turned out that this was not so. It turned out that the geopolitical interests of our <…> partners were much more important than, among other things, contradictions with the former Soviet Union,” he added.
Russia cannot abandon the Russian-speaking population and it is fighting for the Russian world in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, while answering a question from one of the employees of the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. “For us, this is a struggle for our people who live on these territories,” the president stressed. “We are a multi-ethnic country. But still, this is the Russian world. If you chance to have a word with the people who come from there – I’ve met some of them – they are no different from you and me! They are the same as we are. They are part of us, how can they be abandoned?” Putin added. He stressed that Russia had spent eight years trying to solve the Donbass issue peacefully, but was repeatedly fooled. “We spent eight years trying to persuade our so-called partners to resolve the Donbass issue peacefully. It has now turned out that they fooled, deceived us. They aren’t shy to say it publicly,” Putin stated.
He stressed that Russia, unlike the West, was fighting not for its geopolitical position, but for the existence of its statehood. “Whereas for our Western partners, so-called, for our opponents today – we can now say this directly – the point at issue is an improvement of the geopolitical position, then for us, bearing in mind the prehistory of the last eight to ten years, everything that is happening now is not just an improvement of some geopolitical position. <…> For us, it is a struggle for the existence of Russian statehood,” Putin said. Putin stressed that the enemy’s sole task was to shake loose the Russian state and “to tear it apart.” “For us this is not a geopolitical task, but the task of the ensuring the survival of Russian statehood and of creating conditions for the future development of our country and our children,” he concluded.
Russia had been patiently trying to normalize situation with Ukraine for decades but the situation changed after the state coup in 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday. “As a matter of fact, we had been patiently trying to normalize relations with the modern Ukrainian state for decades,” he said at a meeting with workers of the Ulan-Ude aircraft-building plant. “The situation changed dramatically in 2014 when the West-instigate state coup was staged.” According to Putin, in its relations with Ukraine, Russia relied on those who considered themselves as part of the large Russian world, but in 2014 their extermination began.
“We relied not just on the Russian-speaking population [in Ukraine]. The whole country there is essentially Russian-speaking. We relied on those who considered themselves as part of the large Russian world, part of our culture, part of our language environment and part of our common traditions. We relied on these people,” Putin said. He stressed that “after 2014 the physical extermination of those who advocated the development of normal relations with Russia began.” The president recalled that when the problem of Crimea emerged, Russia simply could not but support those people.
The same day the German reporting on the new Nord Stream attack narrative broke, The New York Times ran a front-page story entitled “Intelligence Suggests Pro-Ukrainian Group Sabotaged Pipelines, US Officials Say.” For the first time, The New York Times referred to Hersh’s reporting, writing, “Last month, the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an article on the newsletter platform Substack concluding that the United States carried out the operation at the direction of Mr. Biden,” before closing with “U.S. officials say Mr. Biden and his top aides did not authorize a mission to destroy the Nord Stream pipelines, and they say there was no U.S. involvement.” As if echoing the Biden White House denials, The New York Times led off with this:
“New intelligence reporting amounts to the first significant known lead about who was responsible for the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines that carried natural gas from Russia to Europe”. The New York Times, it seems, was more than happy about proceeding with its own anonymous intelligence sources, while dismissing Hersh’s. The problem with both the German reporting and that of The New York Times (whose source was clearly referring to the same data reported by the German reporters) is that the Andromeda narrative doesn’t hold water. Take, for instance, the Tom Clancy-like tale of derring-do that has four allegedly Ukraine-affiliated divers defy physiology by conducting dives that would require the use of a decompression chamber for them to survive an ascent of 240 feet (the depth of the Nord Stream pipelines that were destroyed).
A rule of thumb is that decompression takes approximately one day per 100 feet of seawater plus a day. This means that the team of divers would have required three days of decompression per dive. But to decompress, one needs a decompression chamber. For a dive involving two divers, the Andromeda would have to have been outfitted with either a two-person Class A decompression chamber, or two single-person Class B chambers, as well as the number of large oxygen bottles needed to operate these chambers over time. A simple examination of the interior cabin space of the Bavarian C50 yacht would quickly dispossess one of any notion that either option was viable. Simply put — no decompression chamber, no dive, no story.
[..] a standard high-explosive charge of several hundred kilograms would not be sufficient to cause the destruction that occurred on the Nord Stream pipeline. Enter Hersh, who reported that the explosives used were “shaped charges.” With a shaped charge, the energy of the explosion is focused in one direction, usually by creating a concave shape in the explosive that is them lined with a metal sheet, so that it usually achieves an armor- and/or concrete-penetrating effect. Without getting too technical, the design of an underwater shaped charge that would be sufficient to penetrate concrete-lined steel pipe at a depth of 240 feet is not common knowledge. The charge would have to be prepared by qualified explosives experts and ideally tested prior to being employed operationally to validate the design and functionality of the device. These are not tasks undertaken by a small ad hoc team of Ukrainian underwater saboteurs, but rather state-sponsored actors with access to military grade explosives and testing facilities.
Only a state-level actor could have pulled off such a large-scale sabotage operation, the Russian president said. Russian president Vladimir Putin has dismissed as “nonsense” recent claims that the attack on the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines might have been carried by “Ukrainian activists.” The president made the remarks on Tuesday during his visit to an aircraft plant in the capital city of Russia’s Buryatia republic, Ulan-Ude. “I’m sure this is complete nonsense. An explosion of this kind – of such power, at such depth, can only be carried out by specialists, and supported by the entire power of a state, possessing certain technologies,” Putin told reporters.
Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly admitted that the long term goal of western involvement in Ukraine is not merely to see Moscow defeated, but to enact “regime change” in Russia. Joly made the comments while her government announced new sanctions against the import of Russian aluminum and steel. “We’re able to see how much we’re isolating the Russian regime right now — because we need to do so economically, politically and diplomatically — and what are the impacts also on society, and how much we’re seeing potential regime change in Russia,” Joly stated. “The goal is definitely to do that, is to weaken Russia’s ability to launch very difficult attacks against Ukraine. We want also to make sure that Putin and his enablers are held to account,” she added.
Russian ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov reacted to Joly’s remarks by stating that they may have been a “Freudian slip of the tongue.” “What she or other decision-makers in Ottawa don’t want to recognize is that the current Russian policy is supported by the ultimate majority of the nation,” Stepanov said. A similar awkward ‘slip of the tongue’ occurred back in January when Germany’s foreign minister Annalena Baerbock acknowledged, “We are fighting a war against Russia, and not against each other.” Joly’s comments will only serve to bolster Vladimir Putin’s assertions that NATO support for Ukraine is about isolating Russia and eventually overthrowing its government. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky recently warned that if Ukraine loses then Americans “will have to send their sons and daughters” to war with Russia over the Baltic states “and they will have to fight” and “they will be dying.”
Former UK Defense Minister Sir Gerald Howarth also said last month that NATO may need to send ground forces to Ukraine. The US military-industrial complex is making massive gains as a result of the war in Ukraine and other global conflicts, with weapons manufacturers enjoying soaring profits. Data released by the State Department shows that US weapons sales to other countries rose from $103.4 billion in 2021 to $153.7 billion in 2022.
Becoming increasingly involved in the military confrontation between Ukraine and Russia is not a key interest for the US, Florida’s Republican governor Ron Desantis wrote in response to a question posed by Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday. Carlson asked several “2024 GOP hopefuls” whether opposing Russia in Ukraine was a “vital strategic interest” for the US and shared DeSantis’ response on Twitter. The governor stated that the US had many “vital national interests,” such as securing its borders, addressing the recruitment crisis within the US military, achieving energy security and independence, and “checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party.” However, becoming “further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis noted.
He added that the Biden administration’s policy of issuing virtual “blank checks” to Ukraine in order to fund the conflict for “as long as it takes,” without any defined objectives or accountability, only serves to distract from the most pressing challenges currently facing the US. The governor also blasted Washington for effectively driving Russia closer to China, which he believes represents a much greater threat than Moscow. DeSantis, who many expect to contend for the US presidency in the 2024 elections, has set himself apart from other top Republican leaders with his stance on Ukraine. Responding to the same question, former vice president Mike Pence insisted that “there is no room for Putin apologists in the Republican Party” and that Putin must be stopped to prevent Russia from moving toward Washington’s NATO allies.
Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell has also pledged the Republican party’s commitment to the Ukrainian war effort. In his response to Carlson’s question, former president Donald Trump insisted that the conflict, which he believes would have never happened if he’d been in office, must end as soon as possible and that the US president must meet with both sides and quickly work out a deal. He also stated that while opposing Russia in Ukraine is not a vital American national strategic interest for the US, it is important for Europe. “That is why Europe should be paying far more than we are, or equal,” Trump said. Asked if the US should support regime change in Russia, the former president stated that he did not, and instead called for regime change in the United States itself. “That’s far more important,” he wrote. “The Biden administration are the ones who got us into this mess.”
What Democrats do not seem to understand is that the easing of Dodd-Frank capital requirements was in direct response to the Federal Reserve’s announced plan to tighten liquidity and raise interest rates through 2018. With more expensive credit and a shrinking Fed balance sheet, reducing requirements for bank buffers was one of the few ways to prevent the stimulus addicted lending sector from plummeting. The extra capital also allowed banks to continue lending to companies that engage in stock buybacks, keeping stock markets afloat. With a larger capital buffer even more liquidity dries up, revealing the true economic weakness underneath that Dems have denied for the past few years. So, if Biden and the Dems get what they want (more strict capital requirements for banks), then there will be an even swifter collapse of markets and the overall economy due to lack of liquidity.
By the end of 2018, markets began to plunge anyway under the strain of higher interest rates, which led to the Fed reversing course, and this seems to be what Democrats are really hoping for. They have called for endless liquidity measures and have consistently demanded lower rates and looser monetary policy. However, when Donald Trump’s Administration called for rate cuts during his term, Dems attacked. Once again, when Republicans do it, it’s wrong; when they do it, it’s good policy. Another issue to consider is that each successive program by the Fed to employ bailouts and QE accelerates the inflation crisis. While both sides of the aisle seem to want helicopter money when they are in power so they can boast about rising stock markets and improved employment, the Dems are now facing a systemic stagflationary event; the same event they originally claimed did not exist.
This means that any pursuit of new QE in the face of a credit crunch would lead to an immediate spike in inflation once again, crushing the middle class. Are Democrats willing to accept responsibility for something like that? Not a chance. The Biden Administration has so far taken full credit for the slowdown of consumer inflation as well as the shrinking deficit, but these changes are only due to the tightening actions of the central bank which sets policy independent of the White House. Democrats can’t have it both ways – They can’t take credit for reduced inflation when the Fed tightens policy against their wishes, and then not take credit for the consequences of higher inflation when they badger the Fed to inject more stimulus. The only recourse for the political left is to somehow lay the blame on conservatives no matter which way the wind blows, inflation or deflation.
Emergency congressional hearings have been organized to determine the cause of the SVB crisis and the course of action needed. Democrats including Sen. Sharrod Brown and Rep. Maxine Waters were quick to applaud the backstop initiated by the Fed and the Treasury Department, attempting to calm market concerns and reassure investors and depositors that all is well. Maxine Waters stated that Republicans and Democrats needed to “work together to protect the safety of the financial system”, which is likely a thinly veiled assertion that Republicans must support raising the debt ceiling and commit to even more spending.
Tucker Carlson on SVB collapse:
"We're about to see bank consolidation, which means more government control. It will mean digital currency. A currency politicians control. You think that's not coming? Of course it's coming." pic.twitter.com/6t1JOVaL87
In contrast to billionaire Bill Ackman’s praise for the federal government’s bailout of SVB depositors, Citadel founder Bill Griffin is not impressed, telling The FT that this action by US regulators shows American capitalism is “breaking down before our eyes”. As a reminder, the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund normally guarantees up to $250,000 in deposits, which protects small retail customers including mom-and-pop businesses. Banks pay for this guarantee with insurance premiums, but the insurance fund isn’t intended to backstop deposits of bigger customers with more capacity to weather losses if a bank goes under. Yet, as The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board remarks, after venture capitalists (Democratic donors) and Silicon Valley politicians howled, the FDIC on Sunday announced it would cover uninsured deposits at SVB and Signature Bank under its “systemic risk” exception.
Apparently, Silicon Valley investors and startups are too big to lose money when they take risks. They benefited enormously from the Fed’s pandemic liquidity hose, which caused SVB’s deposits to double between 2020 and 2021. SVB paid interest of up to 5.28% on large deposits, which it used to fund loans to startups. But now the FDIC is guaranteeing a risk-free return for startups and their investors. Uninsured deposits normally take a 10% to 15% hair cut during a bank failure. Some 85% to 90% of SVB’s $173 billion in deposits are uninsured. The cost of this guarantee could be $15 billion. The White House says special assessments will be levied on banks to recoup these losses.
That means bank customers with less than $250,000 in deposits will indirectly pay for this through higher bank fees. In other words, this is an income transfer from average Americans to deep-pocketed investors. Griffin warned a year ago that price pressures will remain stubbornly persistent, forcing policymakers to need to hit the brakes “hard”, which will likely cause a recession, which, he warned, will leave the West facing “existential” problems. A year later, he was proved right as The Fed’s aggressive rate-hikes “broke something”… “The US is supposed to be a capitalist economy, and that’s breaking down before our eyes,” he said in an interview on Monday. “There’s been a loss of financial discipline with the government bailing out depositors in full,” Griffin added.
Pfizer has offered to extend its Covid-19 vaccine contract with the European Union while scaling back deliveries, but still expects the bloc to pay billions of euros for unused doses amid a major supply glut in some countries, the Financial Times reported. The offer prompted outrage from a handful of member states, who say the deal would serve the interests of Big Pharma over their own citizens. The contract extension would push the vaccine agreement out to 2026, with a proposed 40% reduction in the number of doses supplied as well as delays to deliveries, the Times reported on Tuesday, citing two unnamed officials. However, despite the suggested cuts, the US pharma giant still insists that it be paid for the full number of doses originally agreed upon, many of which would never be produced under the new terms.
The amendments to the deal – the full text of which has never been made public – were presented by European health commissioner Stella Kyriakides during a closed-door meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, but faced objections from some EU members. In a joint statement issued following the meeting, officials from Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland said they would not sign the agreement with the proposed changes, as they “do not present a final and fair solution to the problems of the Covid-19 vaccine surplus and do not meet the needs of the healthcare systems, the needs of citizens and the financial interests of the member states.”
Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski argued that the current Pfizer proposal would favor Big Pharma, and has called for the secretive contract to be published, questioning the role European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen played in the negotiations for the massive vaccine deal. An EU watchdog launched a probe into the negotiation and procurement process late last year, after von der Leyen’s office failed to produce personal text messages sent to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla during the talks for nearly 2 billion vaccine doses, prompting accusations of corruption.
The 27-member bloc originally signed a joint contract with Pfizer in 2020, but since the pandemic receded, demand for vaccines has steadily dropped, leaving an overabundance across the continent. Some countries have been forced to throw away vaccines, with Germany alone tossing out some 36.6 million doses, according to public broadcaster BR24, while others are sitting on large stocks of unused shots, such as Austria, which has reported around 17.5 million in its supply. However, Czech Health Minister Vlastimil Valek pushed back on the criticisms, arguing that the “majority of countries” had agreed to the deal and that “the contract is not bad.” He added that the large stock of doses would not pose a problem as “Covid is still here” and “It will be necessary to repeat vaccination each year for a particular group of patients.”
“Watercolor painter Liu Yunsheng’s artworks are famous for their fluidity and transparency, as well as for the richness and complexity of their characters. Some paintings combine reality & illusion which can be described as freehand in realism”
Let us begin by assessing the current situation. One effect of the conflict has already been a fundamental change in the external environment in which Russia finds itself. Its political relations with the collective West, and its allies, have become openly hostile and the armed conflict in Ukraine is a proxy war by the West against Russia. Economic relations with this part of the world have been permanently undermined and are shrinking like Mars bars. Cultural, scientific, sporting and humanitarian ties have been severely curtailed, the information war has reached maximum intensity, and the Iron Curtain in Europe has been rebuilt – this time by the West. However, Russia is not completely isolated. It maintains and develops partnerships in many areas with the world’s new centers of power, and other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
This part of the world community includes most of the world’s states, where the majority of the human population lives and where more than half of the global economy is concentrated. It can rightly be called a world majority with the clear understanding, of course, that this majority is not a bloc and that its members are not allies of Russia. They are guided primarily by national interests and are deeply integrated into the global economy and the Western-centric institutions that serve it, which significantly limits interaction with Moscow. The dramatic shift in the external cycle has led to profound changes within Russia. The old model of mainly exporting raw materials and importing technology no longer works. The political system, which was built on liberal American-French models and then adapted more or less successfully – in substance, not in form – to domestic traditions, is obviously in need of a profound overhaul.
The quasi-ideology of pragmatism and the cult of money, which dominated the country after the collapse of the USSR, proved to be flawed and harmful. In short, the end of the historical orientation towards integration with the Western world logically requires Russia to reorient itself. But what does this mean? To which “self”? Soviet, tsarist or otherwise? A prerequisite for Russia’s long-term strategy is victory in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The most important criterion for such a victory is a state that is guaranteed not to lead to a renewed war after some time. On the contrary, a defeat – if it is hypothetically possible – could provoke a destabilization of the country, accompanied by the disintegration of Russian statehood. The stakes for Russia in the current conflict are therefore existential and fundamentally higher than those of the US and its allies. This in itself is a factor working in Russia’s favor, but it certainly does not guarantee its success.
American Four-Star General Mike Minihan, head of the US Air Force Air Mobility Command (AMC) believes the US and China will go to war by 2025. “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” Minihan reportedly wrote in a memo to his officers, obtained by media outlets. The message instructs AMC personnel to train and get their affairs in order so that they are “legally ready and prepared.” This prediction is the most direct and blunt yet from an American official on the prospect of a potential conflict between the US and China, besides President Joe Biden’s indications that the US would intervene on the side of Taiwan if China invaded.
Of course, Minihan is not a policymaker, and the memo is not an official statement of US military policy towards China. But the influence of the US military and by extension, the military-industrial complex, on US foreign policymaking and on the mood in Washington in general, should not be underestimated. The reality is, especially as seen in Ukraine, that the risk of a major-power conflict is arguably at the highest it has ever been since the end of World War II or the height of the Cold War. That is because the US sees itself as a rightful and permanent global hegemon. It also sees the competition catching up, however, and is ready to use all means necessary, and to take massive risks, to prevent the rise of rival powers. As such, the US and China risk falling into the so-called, “Thucydides Trap,” which is described as “an apparent tendency towards war when an emerging power threatens to displace an existing great power as a regional or international hegemon”.
The current distribution of power in the world is described as “emerging multipolarity”. Following three decades of American unipolarity, when the US ruled unchallenged, a number of emerging powers are changing the international order. Multipolarity differs from “bipolarity,” where two powers compete for hegemony, the best known example being the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. While bipolarity brings a form of stability, as the military capabilities of both powers are evenly matched and the stakes of a potential conflict are extremely high, history shows multipolarity typically brings instability as it creates an insecure, unpredictable, and competitive international environment. The world of 1914, where a theatre of competing European powers scrambled for international dominance, ultimately combusted into the First World War. As competing world powers expanded their imperialist ambitions, they sought to contain others by forming alliances and starting arms races.
Sounds familiar? It should. Today’s world has some disturbing parallels. The US – an insecure hegemon whose relative power is diminishing as other world powers emerge – is desperately seeking to degrade, undermine and contain its rivals by triggering arms races and expanding alliance systems. Already, the focus on expanding NATO has provoked the conflict in Ukraine, but worse still, the Biden administration is actively seeking to expand that model to East Asia against China, in the form of blocs such as the Quad and AUKUS.
It is up to the government in Kiev to decide how to use the new rockets for the US-supplied HIMARS launchers, the Pentagon said on Friday, confirming that the latest batch of munitions the American taxpayers are funding will include Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB).The Boeing-manufactured munitions consist of a rocket motor mated with an airplane bomb, with an estimated range of up to 150 kilometers. While Friday’s announcement listed “additional ammunition” for the HIMARS and “precision-guided rockets,” Brigadier-General Patrick Ryder told reporters that this indeed included the GLSDB, confirming the information leaked to Reuters earlier this week. Ryder also confirmed that the US won’t stand in the way of Ukrainians using the missiles to strike deep inside Russia.
“When it comes to Ukrainian plans on operations, clearly that is their decision. They are in the lead for those,” he said on Friday. “So, I’m not going to talk about or speculate about potential future operations, but again, all along, we’ve been working with them to provide them with capabilities that will enable them to be effective on the battlefield.” The GLDSB are produced by Boeing in cooperation with Swedish Saab AB, and combine the GBU-39 small-diameter bomb with the M26 rocket motor. It was unclear how many of the munitions the Pentagon intended to send, or whether they would come from the US military stockpile or need to be freshly produced. Reuters claimed to have seen a Boeing document saying the first deliveries could be “as early as spring 2023.”
Meanwhile, Bloomberg cited unnamed officials who said the timeline could be as long as nine months, depending on when the US Air Force issues the contract. Bloomberg also reported the GLSDB order would account for $200 million of the $1.75 billion in the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding, referring to contracts for weapons and ammunition not coming out of the Pentagon stockpile. Whenever the missiles actually arrive, Russia has already hinted at how it will respond. On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin tasked the military with “eliminating any possibility” of Ukrainian artillery strikes on Russian territory. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview on Thursday that Moscow will “push back” the Ukrainian troops to a range at which they will not be a threat. “The longer range the weapons supplied to the Kiev regime have, the further the troops will need to be moved,” Lavrov said.
The decision to supply Ukraine with longer-range missiles marks a “deliberate escalation” by the United States, Russia’s ambassador to Washington has said, warning that Moscow would not tolerate strikes on Russian cities. In a statement on Friday evening, Ambassador Anatoly Antonov commented on the latest round of US military aid approved for Ukraine earlier in the day, which is set to include Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB) – munitions with an operational range of 93 miles (150 kilometers). “Washington sees no boundaries in seeking to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. The transfer of increasingly powerful weapons to the Kiev regime is a deliberate escalation of the conflict by the United States,” he said, adding “Any attempt to harm the Russian Federation is doomed to failure. The sooner the United States realizes this, the sooner the current conflict will end.”
Though the Pentagon did not mention the GLSDB by name in announcing the weapons transfer, Brigadier-General Patrick Ryder later confirmed that it would be included in the next round of aid, also noting that US officials would not stop Kiev from using the missiles to strike inside Russia. Fired from the US-supplied HIMARS missile launcher, the GLSDB is among the longest-range weapons authorized for Kiev to date, and could theoretically reach targets deep within Russian territory. Antonov went on to say the United States is “de facto inciting its proteges to attack Russian regions,” arguing that Moscow makes no distinction between newer territories which voted to join the Russian Federation last year and other Russian lands.
“For us there is no difference when we talk about a possible attack by Kiev criminals on the Zaporozhye or Bryansk regions, the Crimea or the Smolensk region,” he continued. Though the new weapons could take up to nine months to reach the Ukrainian battlefield, Russia has already suggested how it might react, with President Vladimir Putin ordering the military to eliminate “any possibility” of Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory earlier this week. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, meanwhile, said Russian forces would repel Ukrainian soldiers to a distance from which they would not pose a threat, declaring: “the longer range the weapons supplied to the Kiev regime have, the further the troops will need to be moved.”
Western support for the Ukraine, the most corrupt country in Europe, has done nothing for America’s authority. It had already been undermined by war crimes, water-boarding, economic decline, a drugs epidemic, mass shootings, a trashed health system for 40 million in poverty and military debacles from Vietnam to Afghanistan. The ‘regime changes’, assassinations, electoral frauds, black propaganda (also called PR), massacres, torture in global black sites, proxy wars and military interventions carried out by the United States since 1945 have resulted in over 20 million dead and planetary revulsion for U.S. imperialism. ‘Yanks go home’. Blood lies on the US. Did they really expect to get away with this?
The conflict in the Ukraine is effectively World War III, or if you prefer, World War I, Part III. A proxy hot war between Washington and Moscow. Yes, the military phase is local, having started between Russia and the Ukraine in 2014. But the repercussions for Russia are enormous. They mark the end of a 300-year period when Russia was enamoured with the West. Now Western deceit means that Russians have lost their illusions and naivety for ever. Now Russia will fight on until the Armed Forces of Ukraine and all those who took up arms and have been fighting Russians for almost nine years are no longer a threat to anyone. The Kiev Army will be routed and Russia will return to its roots of over 300 years ago.
However, the political and economic repercussions for the Western world, held on a tight leash by its feudal US owner, are even more enormous: the end of the rule of the dollar. True, there are those who predict a second military phase between Iran and the US colony of Israel. And a third could be between China and the US, the pretext being the Chinese Ukraine, Taiwan. But nothing is certain. After the coming Russian victory in the Ukraine, all could still be averted, for that victory will be sobering for the Western world. This indeed is the last hope, that defeat here will at last bring the Western world back to its senses and reality. Only through such a crushing defeat for Western hubris can further crazy adventures, including nuclear ones, be avoided.
The UK could deplete its ammunition stocks in mere hours should it be drawn into large-scale fighting, a former British general warned on Thursday. This and other issues make the UK military unfit to be regarded as a “top tier” NATO member, he said. Retired General Richard Barrons, who formerly headed the UK’s Joint Forces Command, sounded the alarm in an op-ed published by The Sun in which he said the fighting force has been “hollowed out by spending cuts.” Barrons claimed that the British armed forces “are smaller and less ready to fight than at any time in living memory.” He also warned that the UK Army is on course to slip below 76,000 troops. However, even these service members often do not receive inadequate training, Barrons noted.
British tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery pieces mostly date to the previous century, while “years of cuts to ammunition production mean that, for some types of key weapons, the army would run out in a busy afternoon,” the general said. Barrons added that the Royal Navy and Air Force are “in better shape” and boast some “outstanding modern equipment,” but cautioned that without experienced personnel, ammunition, and spare parts they might turn out to be just a “glittering shop window” without much to show for it on the actual battlefield. The former commander said the UK should focus on Europe, arguing that the “tilt to Asia can wait.” He urged London to invest in modern capabilities, including drones, missiles, and cyber and electronic warfare capabilities.
Britain should also double its reserves to 60,000 troops, he said. Regarding Russia, Barrons estimated that to be able to handle a “surprise attack,” the British Army will need to spend “£3 billion ($3.67 billion) this year, and every year for the next ten years.” British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace admitted in the House of Commons on Monday that the military has been “hollowed out and underfunded.” His comments followed a Sky News report alleging that a top US general had told Wallace that British forces are “barely tier two” in terms of fighting capabilities.
The West’s recent announcement that it would be supplying Ukraine with main battle tanks marks a major miscalculation, Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday. That’s as Moscow has threatened to burn any Western equipment that enters Ukraine and has vowed to retaliate “far beyond the scope of armored vehicles.” Vucic noted that the decision to supply Ukraine with tanks, especially with the “terrifying” German Leopard 2s, is the West’s “biggest” political mistake because it effectively manages to “unite the Russians like never before.” Last month, Germany and the US agreed to provide a number of heavy tanks to Kiev. Washington has promised between 30 and 50 of its M1 Abrams tanks, while Berlin pledged 14 Leopard 2A6s from the Bunderswehr’s own stocks.
An additional 51 of the same model and 88 of the older Leopard 1 model may also come from Rheinmetall as they get refurbished, Germany said. Berlin also gave the green light to countries that have expressed a desire to export their own Leopards to Ukraine. Those include Poland, Finland, Spain, Norway and the Netherlands. The UK and Canada have also said they would be sending their heavy equipment to Kiev. The decision has been heavily criticized by Russia, which has called it an “extremely dangerous” move that threatens to escalate the conflict in Ukraine. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin likened the new threat of “German Leopard tanks with crosses on their hulls” to the Soviet Union’s struggle against Hitler’s forces and warned that Moscow’s response would not be limited to weapons.
Other countries have also voiced their concerns about the West’s move. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the delivery of NATO tanks to Ukraine was a “high-risk endeavor” that would fail to help end the conflict and only “line the pockets of gun barons.” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also slammed Germany’s decision, noting that these Western countries are “drifting” towards becoming active participants in the conflict. Orban has insisted that instead of arming Kiev, the West should be pursuing “a ceasefire and peace talks” in Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly objected to Western weapon deliveries to Ukraine, arguing that non-stop arms shipments only serve to prolong the conflict and risk direct confrontation with NATO. The Kremlin has also insisted that no amount of military aid will prevent Moscow from reaching its objectives and warned that the tanks would “burn like the rest of Western weapons” supplied to Kiev.
A few years ago RAND put out a report Overextending and Unbalancing Russia. “This brief summarizes a report that comprehensively examines nonviolent, cost-imposing options that the United States and its allies could pursue across economic, political, and military areas to stress—overextend and unbalance— Russia’s economy and armed forces and the regime’s political standing at home and abroad.” One of the things recommended was exploiting Russia’s “greatest point of external vulnerability” by “providing lethal aid to Ukraine.” (Only someone as paranoid as Putin, of course, could see any hostility in this). Well, they did it and it’s time for a new RAND report – Avoiding a Long War.
To save you the bother of reading this trivial effort, I will summarize – they start with the usual posturing – “morally repugnant Russian invasion”, “international community”, “illegitimate and illegal”, “aggression”, “humanitarian reasons”, “international norms.” Then on to how Russia is losing – “Russia’s conventional capabilities have been decimated in Ukraine”, “the weakened state of Russia’s conventional military”, “It will take years, perhaps even decades, for the Russian military and economy to recover from the damage already incurred.” But, as you wade on, you begin to suspect that the authors aren’t as triumphant after all – perhaps victory is not quite so close “given the slowing pace of Ukraine’s counteroffensives in December 2022, restoring the pre-February 2022 line of control—let alone the pre-2014 territorial status quo—will take months and perhaps years to achieve” or even so certain “Continued conflict also leaves open the possibility that Russia will reverse Ukrainian battlefield gains made in fall 2022.”
The authors spend some space explaining why a long war is not to America’s advantage. So, RAND, they followed your advice but things aren’t going very well. Time to try and get out of it. “Since avoiding a long war is the highest priority after minimizing escalation risks, the United States should take steps that make an end to the conflict over the medium term more likely.”
You see, for all its massive plunder of the public purse, the US armaments industry is effectively a modestly scaled high-end boutique. And there is simply no way this domestic US industry can expeditiously expand its production. It would literally take years – probably a full decade – for the US to expand its military production to a seriously potent industrial scale. For one, the labor pool for these industries is extremely finite and highly specialized. In the overwhelmingly financialized and service-oriented US economy, there is a shocking dearth of technical expertise of ALL kinds. It’s not simply a boomer cliché that “kids these days are innocent of almost any mechanical know-how”. If the US wants to staff new armaments factories any time soon, it will have to import the skilled labor from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.
Beyond that, the permitting of new factories, with the attendant bureaucratic delays, public hearings, environmental impact studies, and various special interest road-blocking … well, everyone knows how these things work now in America. It took five years to build the Hoover Dam in the early 20th century. It would take FIFTY here in the early 21st century – if it could be built at all. Those clamoring for the US to intervene in the Ukraine war in order to “teach those filthy Russians a lesson they’ll never forget” simply have no conception of the catastrophe that would ensue were their dreams to be fulfilled. If the Pentagon consented to such an undertaking, it could probably amass no more than 250,000 combat-capable troops in the theater, and to do so would entail the evacuation of virtually every major US military base on the planet (and most of the minor ones).
It could probably assemble an additional quarter million troops from the active reserves and National Guard units in the United States. That said, it is empirically impossible that 500,000 combat troops could be satisfactorily equipped for high-intensity conflict such as would be the scenario in a war between the US and Russia in eastern Europe. And even if they could be assembled and equipped, it would be an insufficient force to face over a million Russian troops, close to a third of which are already “battle-hardened” from almost a year of high-intensity combat in Ukraine. In anticipation of the casualties attendant to great power warfare, it would become necessary for the United States to reinstitute conscription almost immediately. If a strong anti-war movement had not already been incited by its previous actions, conscription in America would almost certainly induce a widespread political upheaval, with large and aggressive public protests cropping up in all the major cities of the nation.
Sanctions imposed by the West on Russian crude oil exports have so far “failed completely,” and new price caps could also prove ineffective, according to a CNBC report on Friday, citing analysts. The conclusions come as the European Union plans to ban imports of Russian refined petroleum products, including diesel and jet fuel, from February 5. The bloc had already prohibited imports of seaborne crude oil from Moscow in December. The EU, G7 countries, and Australia have also set a $60-per-barrel price cap, which blocks Western companies from providing insurance and other services to shippers of Russian oil unless the cargo is purchased at or below the set price. The price cap “was invented by bureaucrats with finance degrees. None of them really understand oil markets,” Paul Sankey, president and lead analyst at Sankey Research, told CNBC.
“It’s been a total bomb; it has failed completely,” he stressed. According to Sankey, Russian oil supplies have not been significantly interrupted and “they’ve sustained exports at high levels.” “I heard it from a great source that the Saudis have been asking around as to how come Russian oil is still flowing,” he said. “That brings the question of what will happen with the sanctions coming up on products, because it just doesn’t seem to work.” The founder of analytics firm Vanda Insights, Vandana Hari, also told the US broadcaster she was skeptical about the upcoming restrictions on Russian refined oil products, noting that “the crude price cap was pretty inconsequential.” “I think the refined product caps that they’re planning – about a $100 [per barrel] for diesel and clean products and perhaps around $45 for dirty fuels like fuel oil – are probably going to be immaterial as well,” the analyst explained.
According to Hari, Russian oil will find its way into the markets that are “still welcoming it” such as China and India. “China and India have benefited quite a big deal last year from heavily discounted Russian crude prices and the same’s going to happen to Russian refined products,” Hari predicted, adding that it could be more complicated for Moscow to find markets for such products. Paul Sankey also noted that “oil friendships are greasy” and there’s a lot of different ways to move Russian oil around the world, bypassing the price caps. Meanwhile, the EU has been struggling to agree on the price cap for Russian oil products, with some members reportedly claiming the proposed level is too generous for Moscow, and seeking a lower ceiling. The measures are expected to come into effect on February 5 after gaining the approval of all 27 EU member states.
For those of you not paying attention the past thirty-odd years, Russia, incorporated as the Soviet Union, collapsed in 1991. The USSR was a bold experiment based on the peculiar and novel ill-effects of industrialism, especially gross economic inequality. Alas, the putative remedy for that, advanced by Karl Marx, was a despotic system of pretending that individual humans had no personal aspirations of their own. That business model could be reduced to the comic aphorism: We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us. It failed and the USSR gurgled down history’s drain. Russia reemerged from the dust, minus many of its Eurasian outlands. Remarkably little blood was shed in the process. Mr. Orlov’s book points to some very interesting set-ups that softened the landing. There was no private property in the USSR, so when it collapsed, nobody was evicted or foreclosed from where they lived.
Very few people had cars in the USSR, so the city centers were still intact and people could get around on buses, trams, and trains. The food system had been botched for decades by low-incentive collectivism, but the Russian people were used to planting gardens — even city dwellers, who had plots out-of-town — and it tided them over during the years of hardship before the country managed to reorganize. Compare that to America’s prospects. In an economic crisis, Americans will have their homes foreclosed out from under them, or will be subject to eviction from rentals. The USA has been tragically built-out on a suburban sprawl template that will be useless without cars and with little public transport. Cars, of course, are subject to repossession for non-payment of contracted loans. The American food system is based on manufactured microwavable cheese snacks, chicken nuggets, and frozen pizzas produced by giant companies.
These items can’t be grown in home gardens. Many Americans don’t know the first thing about growing their own food, or what to do with it after it’s harvested. There’s another difference between the fall of the USSR and the collapse underway in the USA. Underneath all the economic perversities of Soviet life, Russia still had a national identity and a coherent culture. The USA has tossed its national identity on the garbage barge of “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” which is actually just a hustle aimed at extracting what remains from the diminishing stock of productive activity and giving the plunder to a mob of “intersectional” complainers — e.g. the City of San Francisco’s preposterous new plan to award $5-million “reparation” payments to African-American denizens of the city, where slavery never existed.
As for culture, consider that the two biggest cultural producers in this land are the pornography and video game industries. The drug business might be a close third, but most of that action is off-the-books, so it’s hard to tell. So much for the so-called “arts.” Our political culture verges on totally degenerate, but that is too self-evident to belabor, and the generalized management failures of our polity are a big part of what’s bringing us down — most particularly the failure to hold anyone in power accountable for their blunders and turpitudes. This might change, at least a little bit, as the oppositional House of Representatives commences hearings on an array of disturbing matters. Meanwhile, be wary of claims in The New York Times and other propaganda organs that our Ukraine project is a coming up a big win, and that the racketeering operations of the Biden family are a right-wing conspiracy theory. These two pieces of the conundrum known as reality are blowing up in our country’s face. It will be hard not to notice.
As the Biden Documents Scandal continues to build and the Chinese spy balloon over Montana dominates the headlines, some Republicans are still focused on holding Nancy Pelosi to account for the failures of security at the US Capitol on January 6th, failures to which they claim she is connected. One such Republican is Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who said: “The reason there wasn’t a proper security presence on that day goes right to the speaker’s staff and the speaker’s office. As you go back and look at the communications, there’s this pattern that develops where the Sergeant of Arms is meeting with Pelosi’s staff. Many of those meetings, Republican staff wasn’t allowed to be there, but they had this pattern where everything had to run through her office, her staff, before the Sergeant of Arms could make a decision.”
Joining Rep. Jim Jordan was Rep. Troy Nehls, who said “And Nancy Pelosi. You do have questions you need to answer … Nancy, we’ll get you, and we’ll fly you back from Italy once you’re the ambassador.” The statements from Jordan and Nehls follow a late-December of 2022 report released by Republicans that blamed Pelosi for the security failures at the Capitol on that day, faulting her for creating “political pressures” that led to lackluster security and inadequate preparations. The New York Post, reporting on that report, said: “Leadership and law enforcement failures within the U.S. Capitol left the complex vulnerable on January 6, 2021,” says the report, which is based on a trove of texts and email messages, and testimony from Capitol Police leaders and rank-and-file officers.
House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, who answered to Pelosi as one of three voting members of the Capitol Police Board, “succumbed to political pressures from the Office of Speaker Pelosi and House Democrat leadership,” was “compromised by politics and did not adequately prepare for violence at the Capitol.” Pelosi and her staff “coordinated closely” with Irving on security plans for the Joint Session of Congress on Jan. 6, but Republicans were deliberately left out of “important discussions related to security.” And, in an apparent attempt to hide from Republicans the fact that they were being excluded from discussions, Irving asked a senior Democratic staffer to “act surprised” when he sent “key information about plans for the Joint Session on Jan. 6, 2021, to him and his Republican counterpart.”
Having previously noted the absurdity of the trial, Elon Musk has defeated a shareholder lawsuit alleging that tweets claiming he had the “funding secured” to take Tesla private cost investors billions of dollars in losses. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the nine-person San Francisco-based jury said the investors who brought the class-action case failed to prove that Mr. Musk hurt them by tweeting about a possible deal. “The jury got it right,” Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Musk, said after the verdict. Musk testified that the “funding secured” tweet was “absolutely truthful,” touting what he described as an “unequivocal” commitment by Saudi Arabia even though he had nothing in writing. As Bloomberg reports, Musk gave jurors other reasons to believe him.
He said he felt compelled to reveal that he was considering taking Tesla private because earlier that day, the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia was building a sizable stake in Tesla. He testified he was afraid his going-private plans might also be leaked, and that he wanted to put all Tesla investors on equal-footing by broadcasting his plans on Twitter. Musk also said that if required, he could’ve divested his ownership stake in his closely held rocket-ship company, SpaceX, to fund the transaction. This case is unusual for having gone to trial. From 1997 to 2001, less than 0.2% of federal securities class-action cases, excluding those involving mergers or acquisitions, were tried to a verdict, according to Cornerstone Research.
Musk, who had taken the stand as a witness in the case, was present in court during closing arguments. As The FT reports, the “funding secured” tweet has already proven costly for Musk. He and Tesla each paid $20mn to settle legal action from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk also had to resign as the carmaker’s chair, although he kept his position as chief executive. However, Musk has criticized the SEC in the years since, saying he felt pressured to settle and suggesting that doing so made him appear guilty. This case, he said in a deposition, was an opportunity to “clear the record.” And now he has!
44 year old Princess Bajrakitiyabha of Thailand collapsed while out walking her dogs on 14 december last year. According to sources she had not felt well after receiving her 3rd booster. After her collapse she lost consciousness and remains in a coma. According to a report in The Independent, she is ‘on medical equipment supporting her heart, lungs and kidneys.’ Princess Bajrakitiyabha is the eldest child of current King Rama X. The law graduate is a senior diplomat in the Thai government. The Thai palace confirmed she had suffered a ‘heart issue’. But the explanation given by the authorities and a local university that it was caused by a bacterial infection has been called ‘ridiculous’ by medical expert Professor Sucharit Bhakdi.
Thai-born Bhakdi, a former professor of microbiology at the University of Mainz in Germany had a celebrated career in medical science as a world expert on the immune system and arterial disease, until mainstream narratives and ‘fact checkers’ labelled him a ‘conspiracy theorist’ for his strong opposition to the COVID ‘vaccines’. According to Bhakdi, who claims he and his contacts have been in direct contact with the Thai Royal Family over the matter, the princess’ collapse was an adverse reaction to the COVID jab. She was previously healthy with no known medical conditions. Speaking on the ‘neutralswiss‘ Rumble channel yesterday, Bhakdi said:
“This whole COVID-19 agenda is a fake… And I was able to lay out for them the proof that the COVID vaccinations were based on fraud… The EMA declared that safety pharmacological studies were never performed – never. And they were never deemed necessary. So now we have it. So, when I told the Thais this, you know guys, they jumped up. They jumped up in the room. And so they said to me ‘we will see to it that Thailand is the first country in the world that is going to declare this contract null… Which means that Pfizer BioNTech is going to have to pay back those billions to Thailand, with which Thailand will recompensate those peoples that have lost their existence…”
“‘One daughter of the present king Rama X collapsed and is in a coma… within 23 days after the third shot, 44 years old, never been seriously ill, collapsed and is now in a coma. The diagnosis that was given by the authorities and by the university is so ridiculous – she’s supposed to have a bacterial infection that will never do what she suffered from. And so we are determined, and the activists in Thailand who have been on this many many months now – great guys, also a professor from the University of Bangkok, he’s gotten in touch with the Royal Family, and we are sending information to the Royal Family to alert them to the fact that in all probability the princess is suffering as a victim of this jab, as so many people around the world have been suffering.’
In a surprise statement to the world from the White House Situation Room, President Biden has announced America’s unconditional surrender to the Chinese Spy Balloon. “Listen, folks, it’s over,” said Biden as a single tear ran down his face. “We’re outgunned here. There’s no hope that we can match the awesome power of this giant balloon.” Biden’s voice was drowned out by the dozens of weeping journalists gathered outside the room. “I urge you all to hug your loved ones and embrace your children, for the end is near. God help us all,” Biden finally said before signing off for the last time. At publishing time, Americans had been urged by the administration to start learning Mandarin.