Edward Hopper Excursion into Philosophy 1959
The only people willing to go public and make ridiculous statements that Putin has lost the war are President Biden and perhaps his NSA.
This is nonsense, he absolutely hasn't and everyone knows that. pic.twitter.com/pd1kW0EKbR
— Douglas Macgregor (@DougAMacgregor) August 8, 2023
Holy sh*t Trump just bodied Chris Christie
“No Christie’s eating right now”
“Sir please don’t call him a Fat Pig — that’s very disrespectful” pic.twitter.com/5voRsgDc4N
— johnny maga (@_johnnymaga) August 8, 2023
On CNN of all places…
Kiev’s Western backers are losing faith in the ability of the Ukrainian military to penetrate Russian defenses and turn the tide of the conflict, US and other Western officials told CNN on Tuesday. “[The Ukrainians are] still going to see, for the next couple of weeks, if there is a chance of making some progress. But for them to really make progress that would change the balance of this conflict, I think, it’s extremely, highly unlikely,” an unnamed “senior Western diplomat” told the American broadcaster. Illinois Representative Mike Quigley, a Democrat who recently met with US commanders in Europe, described their briefings as “sobering.” “We’re reminded of the challenges [the Ukrainians] face,” he said, adding that “This is the most difficult time of the war.”
Ukraine launched its long-awaited counteroffensive against Russian forces in early June, assaulting multiple points along the frontline from Zaporozhye to Donetsk regions. However, the Russian military had spent several months preparing a dense and multi-layered network of minefields, trenches, and fortifications, which the Ukrainian side has thus far failed to overcome. Advancing through minefields without air support, Ukraine’s Western-trained and NATO-equipped units have suffered horrendous casualties, losing 43,000 troops and 4,900 pieces of heavy weaponry in just over two months, according to the most recent figures from the Russian Defense Ministry. “[The] Russians have a number of defensive lines and [Ukrainian forces] haven’t really gone through the first line,” another anonymous Western diplomat told CNN.
“Even if they would keep on fighting for the next several weeks, if they haven’t been able to make more breakthroughs throughout these last seven, eight weeks, what is the likelihood that they will suddenly, with more depleted forces, make them?” Despite the best efforts of Ukraine’s armed forces chief, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, to convince the US that “the initiative is on our side,” officials told CNN that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky could soon be pushed to sue for peace if progress remains stalled. A senior US military official predicted that Kiev would rely more and more on piecemeal strikes within Russia – like the recent drone attacks on Moscow – to compensate for its shortcomings on the battlefield. The Kremlin has drawn similar conclusions from these attacks, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov declaring last week that Kiev was launching “terrorist strikes” as “acts of desperation” to distract from its failing counteroffensive.
Always be aware of who and what you fund. Before you know it, it belongs to you.
Illegal organ-trafficking is not possible without a cover-up from the authorities, Zoran Zivanovic, a lawyer who defended a number of Serbs in the Hague Tribunal in 2005, told RT Balkan on Monday. Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed that officials in Kiev could be engaged in an organ trafficking business that also involves former Kosovo militants who had run similar operations. No accusations of organ theft and trafficking in Kosovo and Albania in 1999 led to any major prison sentences for those accused, Zivanovic said, adding that “some [of those involved] had been charged and … spent some time in jail,” he told RT Balkan. None of them received sentences “warranted by such serious crimes,” he added.
The network of those involved in the 1999 crimes likely included officials not only in Kosovo but also Albania, Zivanovic claimed. “It is hardly conceivable that the Albanian authorities were unaware of it. This [illegal business] entails organized participation of a large number of people. Captives who were harvested for organs were brought from another country, from Serbia, Kosovo, and Metohija. It cannot be that the authorities noticed nothing,” he said. On Monday, Zakharova said in an article published by the Russian Foreign Ministry that “there is data” showing that a black-market store selling organs of dead Ukrainian soldiers could be cooperating with “those linked to the Kosovo Liberation Army.” The former militants could also operate in Ukraine as mercenaries, she added.
The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also accused members of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s administration of being personally involved in the organ trafficking scheme and of covering it up. Zakharova called Ukraine a world leader in the black-market organ trade. Rumors about organ trafficking in Kosovo and Albania have been circulating since the 1999 war between Serbia and its breakaway province, which ended in a NATO intervention that forced Serbian troops to withdraw from Kosovo. Various sources estimated the number of victims of organ traffickers that supposedly had strong links to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to be between 50 and 300. Media reports claimed that people – mostly Serbs, Roma, and Albanians opposing the KLA – were specifically kidnapped and killed for that purpose.
The allegations were detailed by the then-chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Carla Del Ponte, in her book, ‘The Hunt: Me and the War Criminals in 2008’. They were also the subject of several journalistic investigations in the 2000s. In 2010, Swiss prosecutor Dick Marty presented a report on the issue to the Council of Europe, in which he described the “indications” of an illegal trade in human organs going back over a decade at the time. The Council of Europe supported the report and called for an investigation. The case was dismissed by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo and a number of EU MPs.
Harvard was just caught organ trafficking… The Director of the morgue was selling body parts and skeletons to people on the black market to create dolls and leather for sale on the market pic.twitter.com/2VwLi4qHHC
— illuminatibot (@iluminatibot) August 8, 2023
Q: why would Russia want to kill Zelensky?
Ukraine’s security services say they have thwarted a major assassination plot which targeted President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the country’s Secret Service (SSU) on Monday. A woman who lives in Ochakov in southern Ukraine has been arrested, allegedly for planning to inform Russian intelligence of Zelensky’s precise whereabouts as be visited the Mykolaiv region where the southeastern front with Russian forces is located. Security officials say she was “caught red-handed”. The SSU described that the detained woman, who hasn’t been identified, worked on a military base as a clerk in one of their military stores. She’s accused of “gathering intelligence” in order to pass the info along to her Russian handler so that a large-scale airstrike could be executed, specifically during Zelensky’s trip to the region in late July.
He had at that time visited a medical facility in Ochakiv along with other places in the southern region. She was caught in the act, Ukrainian officials allege, with Ukraine media sources saying “The suspected Russian agent tried to find out the schedule of the presidential route in the region. “The SBU managed to stay ahead of her actions and caught her in the act,” one Ukrainian media report reads. “She also traveled to photograph electronic warfare systems and ammunition warehouses in the area near Ochakiv on the Black Sea coast, as well,” it alleges further. Ukrainian intelligence officials say they received a tip about the woman’s alleged activities, which included mapping out the locations of key military locations and filming sensitive facilities.
Kiev officials have in the past during the conflict indicated there have been multiple assassination plots against the president uncovered and thwarted. But this case appeared to be the most serious, as the woman was caught “trying to pass intelligence to the invaders” in preparation for airstrikes which would coincide with Zelensky’s visit. In March, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak went so far as to suggest Zelensky has survived over a dozen assassination attempts. “Foreign sources talk of two or three attempts. I believe that there have been more than a dozen such attempts. We are constantly receiving intelligence that there are certain reconnaissance groups trying to enter government quarters and the like,” Podolyak has previously been quoted in Ukrainska Pravda as saying.
But these dramatic stories of thwarted plots also tend to be coupled with desperate appeals for more weapons and funding from the West. However, it is likely that there really are threats and plots against the Ukrainian leader given there’s an active war unfolding, even if perhaps accounts are exaggerated in some instances—also for the purpose of Western media consumption.
No, this topic is much broader.
The Washington Post has a Donald Trump obsession. Some might call it a vendetta. Although the flamboyant former president has been out of the White House for more than two and a half years, he gets far more front-page coverage in the Post than the current president, Joe Biden. And nearly all of the Post’s reporting on Trump is negative. To be sure, Trump’s endless legal troubles are big news and should be thoroughly covered. But in the pages of the capital city’s venerable daily paper the nation’s economic, social, educational, health, and foreign affairs problems facing the incumbent president take a back seat to Trump’s ongoing indictments of one kind or another. For June and July – a period of 61 days – Trump’s name appeared 33 times in Washington Post Page-One headlines. Biden, who is the current president, skated away with just 14 Page-One mentions.
Moreover, 31 of the 33 headlines with Trump’s name in them were negative. For example: “Justice Dept. reveals damning details in Trump case” “U.S.: Trump flouted law all along way” In contrast, eight of the 14 Biden mentions were positive, such as these: “Biden announces new loan forgiveness” “Biden’s border authority affirmed” Something is wrong here. Trump is not the president; Biden is. That is not to say that Trump is not newsworthy. He is. After all, polls show he is the leading Republican contender for the 2024 presidential nomination. But more than twice as much front-page coverage of Trump as of Biden seems a little over the top. Is news about Trump more important than news about the man who is currently charged with leading the nation through these perilous times and who is making decisions that affect our lives every day? And isn’t the front page where we expect to find coverage of the day’s most important events?
Editors running the Post apparently think their readers care more about Trump’s legal troubles than Biden’s leadership through these perilous times. Maybe they do. We live in highly partisan, and highly polarized, times. To be sure, every newspaper is free to place stories anywhere their editors decide to put them. There are no formal rules for what must be played on the front page. Each newsroom is free to make its own choices. Most newspapers have what is called a daily Page-One meeting. There, the paper’s top editors gather and discuss the stories they think should be placed on Page One. Each editor makes a pitch for their favorites. Clearly, Post editors agree with robot-like regularity that Trump, not Biden, is the top story of the day.
This past week Trump was in the media spotlight for being indicted again by a federal grand jury and appearing in court in Washington to plead “not guilty” to charges stemming from the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Tons of Page-One coverage of that in the Post, as it should be. But where was Biden when all this was coming down? He was on vacation at his Delaware beach house, riding his bike, and sunning himself on the sand: lots of nice pictures for TV. Do you think it was by accident that Biden just happened to be on vacation while Trump was in the dock? Or do you think Biden knew the indictments were coming down – after all, it was his own Justice Department that brought them – and decided to get out of town and leave the big news spotlight all to Trump? My guess is the latter.
Amash detests Trump.
Former U.S. representative for Michigan’s 3rd congressional district and founder of the Liberty Caucus, Justin Amash, who was the first Republican congressman to call for the impeachment of President Trump, has now taken to Twitter to defend him. On Sunday, Amash – who is well known for his distaste of President Trump – made a post on Twitter outlining why he believes Trump’s indictment is in error because of Trump’s actions being “political contention”. “I may not like Trump, but I love our Constitution, so I feel compelled to speak out. The latest indictment, which I encourage everyone to read, attempts to criminalize Trump’s routine misstatements of fact and law in connection with the 2020 election,” Amash wrote. “But this is precisely the sort of wrong that must be addressed politically under our Constitution, not criminally.”
“Our system can’t survive if political disputes are removed to the criminal realm. There’s no limiting principle to such an approach,” he continued. He wrote: “Remind me again which former presidents have been indicted for going to war without congressional approval, spying on Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment, abusing emergency declarations to bypass checks and balances, or ignoring legal advisers to pursue a clearly unlawful policy.” “We don’t criminalize these actions, egregious as they are, because they are matters of political contention. We’re allowed to disagree about the workings of our constitutional system without fear of criminal reprisal,” he continued. Amash added: “Politicians are constantly misguided and just plain mistaken about a lot of things—often remarkably so.
It endangers all Americans to begin treating politicians’ false beliefs regarding political or constitutional matters, even when they’re obviously wrong, as criminal offenses.” “We impeach people for violating the public trust—for political misconduct or serious incompetence. We reject them. We vote them out. We never again elect them. We don’t imprison them,” he wrote. Finally, he concluded: “As an aside: Even on Jack Smith’s own terms—even assuming the applicability of the cited statutes to a political dispute—the indictment falls woefully short. Showing that others repeatedly told Trump he was wrong is not sufficient to prove he sought to defraud the United States or to corruptly obstruct an election. Proving Trump’s state of mind beyond a reasonable doubt—proving fraudulent or corrupt intent—requires much more than Smith alleges.”
The latest federal indictment of former President Donald Trump was handed down this week with all of the authority of papal infallibility. Pundits lined up to proclaim that case as the greatest prosecution in history. Former Obama administration acting Solicitor General Neil Katyal even declared that the indictment touched off “the biggest legal case in our lifetimes, perhaps almost ever. It’s up there with cases like Dred Scott, it is up there with Brown v. Board of Education.” What was missing was any serious consideration of the implications of allowing the government to criminalize false statements in a campaign. Trump was not charged with conspiracy to incite violence or insurrection. Rather, he was charged because he “spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won.”
In order to secure convictions for this, Special Counsel Jack Smith would need to bulldoze through not just the First Amendment but also existing case law holding that even false statements are protected. The government acknowledges that the Constitution protects false statements made in campaigns, but it insists that Trump must have known that his statements were false and therefore was engaged in fraudulent statements to obstruct or challenge electoral results. As a threshold matter, one problem is immediately evident. If Trump actually did (or does) believe that he did not lose the election, the indictment collapses. And so in an effort to demonstrate his knowledge, the indictment details how many people told Trump that he was wrong about the election and wrong about the law. I was one of those voices. Trump did not listen to me, most legal analysts or even his White House counsel.
Instead, he listened to a small group of lawyers who assured him that a challenge might succeed and that there was evidence of massive election fraud. But Trump is allowed to seek out enablers who tell him what he wants to hear. All presidents do this. (Joe Biden, for example, ignored virtually unanimous legal opinion and relied upon a single law professor’s say-so to justify an obviously unconstitutional executive action that later had to be reversed). This case, which criminally targets the sitting president’s leading opponent, is much more dangerous because it sets up the federal government as the arbiter of truth. This indictment essentially charges Trump with not accepting the “truth.” There is no limiting principle to this indictment. The government would choose between which politicians are lying and which are lying without cause.
“The Democrat-controlled January 6th Committee destroyed evidence that might have exonerated the protesters and the president as well as evidence that implicated Speaker Pelosi and the FBI/DOJ in criminal activity.”
The House select committee that investigated the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 failed to adequately preserve documents, data and video depositions – including communications it had with the Biden White House that are still missing – according to the Republican lawmaker overseeing the GOP investigation into the committee’s work. The now-disbanded “J6” committee, which was run by Democrats and included only two GOP members, has also failed to provide any evidence that it looked into Capitol Hill security failures on the day of the riot, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight for the Committee on House Administration, told Fox News Digital. Loudermilk said his staff has had difficulty gathering all the information it needs to investigate Rep. Bennie Thompson’s handling of the J6 investigation.
“Part of our task as this oversight subcommittee is to actually address the security failures, look into how did it happen… how were these folks able to get into the Capitol,” Loudermilk said. He said the documents they obtained came over in boxes and was completely unorganized. “Nothing was indexed. There was no table of contents index. Usually when you conduct this level of investigation, you use a database system and everything is digitized, indexed. We got nothing like that. We just got raw data,” he said. “So it took us a long time going through it and one thing I started realizing is we don’t have anything much at all from the Blue Team.” The “Blue Team,” as described by Loudermilk, represents the group within the J6 committee that was directed to investigate security failures at the Capitol.
Loudermilk explained that sources have told him the Blue Team was essentially “shut down” by the committee in order to focus on placing the blame on former President Trump. “We’ve got lots of depositions, we’ve got lots of subpoenas, we’ve got video and other documents provided through subpoenas by individuals. But we’re not seeing anything from the Blue Team as far as reports on the investigation they did looking into the actual breach itself,” he said. “What we also realized we didn’t have was the videos of all the depositions,” Loudermilk added. Loudermilk said he has been contacted by a defense attorney that needed access to key information in one of the video depositions, and the committee realized it did not have the videos he was seeking.
Fox News Digital obtained correspondence letters between Loudermilk and Thompson’s offices in which the two disagreed on whether the J6 committee preserved what it was required to under House rules. Loudermilk says Thompson’s committee was required by law and House rules to preserve and turn over all data related to their investigation at the end of the congressional term in December, and Loudermilk said as much to Thompson in a letter on June 26. In response, Thompson wrote a letter saying that Loudermilk’s letter had many “factual errors” and claimed his committee had followed the rules and turned over “4 terabytes” of data. Loudermilk told Fox News Digital that his committee has only received 2.5 terabytes of data and said the first footnote in Thompson’s letter to him on July 7 acknowledged they did not keep what they were supposed to.
Excellent overview of Niger et al.
Africa is the cradle of human civilization and the planet’s richest continent in terms of natural resources. But according to Captain Ibrahim Traore, the president of Burkina Faso, younger generations cannot understand why, despite its riches, Africa continues to be the poorest. Across the continent we have seen uprisings and armed rebellions by anti-colonialist military leaders who have sought to reclaim their sovereignty from European imperialist powers, particularly France. Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger are just some of the countries that make up the collective of former French colonies in West Africa. They have long served as the key source of natural resources for France and other European powers. Niger supplies 15% of the uranium needed for French nuclear reactors. Burkina Faso is a key exporter of gold, while Guinea is a crucial entry and exit point for trade between France and its former colonies. Mali is another major exporter of gold, and has been a battleground between the government and various armed Islamist groups.
The map of West Africa began to change radically in 2021. Like dominos, pro-French regimes began to fall to military uprisings, starting with Mali in May 2021 and the coup led by Assimi Goita, who immediately demanded that the French military leave the country. The Central African Republic also expelled French troops in June 2021. This was followed by the military takeover in Guinea by Mamady Doumbouya, a former French legionnaire, in September 2021. One year later, Traore became the world’s youngest president after seizing power in Burkina Faso, and he proceeded to expel the French military in January 2023. Finally, the military rebellion in Niger on July 26 led by Abdourahamane Tchiani, now assuming the presidency, also expelled French forces and banned the export of uranium to France.
The case of Burkina Faso and Traore is particularly interesting. During his recent trip to St. Petersburg for the Russia-Africa summit, Traore gave a speech in which he called Russia part of the African family. He condemned the looting of the continent by European powers, and ended with the slogan “Homeland or death! We shall win!” – echoing the words of Ernesto Che Guevara and the national motto of Cuba. Many have compared Traore to Thomas Sankara, the revolutionary leader of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987, who was also called the “African Che Guevara.” Sankara likewise expelled French forces, nationalized the country’s resources, and implemented socialist policies of redistribution, before being assassinated in a pro-French coup.
So, what are France and its partners likely to do now? The United States and Britain have already cut all aid to Niger and its allies in response to their ban on exports of uranium to France. On July 30, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a confederation that includes many of France’s former colonies, issued an ultimatum to Niger – Tchiani has one week to step down or a military intervention would begin with the backing of France. Nigeria, a key French ally in the region and the leader of ECOWAS, was chosen as the launchpad for a possible military intervention into Niger. However, the senate of Nigeria rejected the demand of the highly unpopular president, Bola Tinabu, to authorize military action against its neighbour. The ultimatum has since expired, and Niger proceeded to close its airspace to any commercial aircraft.
The presidents of Burkina Faso and Mali have responded that any military intervention in Niger will amount to a declaration of war against them. But the African states also have an ace up their sleeve – their long-time friendship with Russia. At the recent Africa-Russia summit in St. Petersburg, delegations from 49 African countries were in attendance. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared support for Africa’s battle against neo-colonialism, stating that Moscow had written off $23 billion in African debt and that more than 50,000 tons of grain will be delivered free of charge to the continent.
“France has a strong foothold in West Africa through its control of the CFA franc..”
To understand how the coup could affect France’s interests in West Africa, Sputnik Africa spoke to Dr. Ismael Buchanan, a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science and International Relations of the Univeristy of Rwanda’s School of Governance. According to Buchanan, France has a strong foothold in West Africa through its control of the CFA franc, a currency used by 14 West African states that is pegged to the euro and backed by France. He said that some of those countries’ reserves are in the hands of France, and that it is Paris that has control over the printing of the currency. “It is the French government that has over control in printing the CFA currency for the 14 African states in West Africa, which sometimes people in those countries have complained about on how the CFA is pulling down African economies,” Buchanan said.
The political scientist also said that Paris’ presence in West Africa has given it access and opportunities to dominate many positions and lucrative contracts in the Francophone African economies in sectors such as power generation, transportation and logistics, infrastructure development, telecommunications, mining concessions, oil and gas, agro-processing and light manufacturing. “When it comes to the mining and energy sectors, you know very well that major French companies are the main players in these two sectors,” he noted. “So whatever sovereign rights these African countries have, they still need these French companies that have the technology and the capital to make good use of some of their resources, and this is very important and beneficial for France.”
Buchanan cited the example of French company Orano’s (formerly Areva) operations in Niger, which has the seventh-largest uranium reserves in the world and the second-largest uranium production in Africa after Namibia, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA). Orano operates three uranium mines in Niger: Arlit, Akokan and Imouraren. Uranium from Niger accounts for approximately 20% of France’s nuclear power production, according to the French news outlets. Orano has said it will not leave Niger, despite the tensions in the wake of the July 26 military coup.
Ovigwe Eguegu, a Nigerian policy adviser at the Development Reimagined consultancy, echoed Buchanan’s sentiment, noting that both France and the EU heavily benefit from Niger’s uranium exports. He pointed out that, following the eviction of French troop contingents from Mali and Burkina Faso, some of these troops have since been relocated to Niger, a country that served as a “cornerstone of US, French and European Union regional strategies” and that played an important role in France’s “energy security.” “That is why we are seeing this reluctance to exit Niger the way they exited Mali and exited Burkina Faso,” Eguegu said referring to Paris. He added that, due to its control of Niger and because of the fact that “the European Union has considered nuclear energy as green,” France “has always prioritized nuclear energy materials.”
More than 60% of Nigeriens deem Russia to be the country’s most reliable foreign policy partner, the Economist reported, citing data from a survey conducted by Premise Data. According to the poll, less than 10% of Nigeriens named Saudi Arabia as being the country’s most loyal partner, and about 5% of respondents named the US. Even fewer respondents listed China, France and the UN. According to the results of the survey, none of the respondents mentioned the United Kingdom. At the same time, while 54% of respondents opposed foreign intervention in Niger, half of those who favored such a scenario said they would support Russian intervention, so long as the country sides with the rebels.
US intervention was supported by 16% of respondents, the African Union by 14% and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by only 4%. The poll was conducted among highly educated male citizens, 62% of whom live in the capital, Niamey. Nearly 80% of respondents supported the coup. On July 26, military rebels in Niger announced the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum, closure of national borders, introduction of a curfew and suspension of the constitution, as well as a ban on political parties. On July 28, they declared that General Abdourahmane Tchiani had become head of state. During the coup, Tchiani headed the presidential guard, units of which physically seized President Bazoum and continue to hold him and his family at his residence.
At an emergency summit on July 30, ECOWAS leaders demanded that the rebels reinstate the president and restore constitutional order to the country. The ECOWAS states gave Niger rebels one week to meet these demands. On August 4, the militaries of the ECOWAS member states announced that their emergency meeting had developed a contingency plan for intervention in Niger. The ECOWAS ultimatum expired on August 7. However, the Al Arabiya TV channel reports, citing a statement by the regional organization’s defense ministers, that the ECOWAS military leadership recognized the inadvisability of using force against Niger. At the same time, it decided to increase sanctions pressure to force the rebels to release Bazoum.
Exact same as Trump.
Pakistani authorities arrested former Prime Minister Imran Khan on August 5 after a court sentenced him to three years in prison on corruption charges. Khan’s lawyer condemned the court’s decision as a “murder of justice,” with supporters of the ex-PM perceiving the conviction as political interference ahead of the elections. Imran Khan’s arrest on Saturday shows that Pakistani government officials are prepared to go to great lengths to keep the former prime minister “out of elections,” Waqas Ahmed told Sputnik. The cricket legend-turned-political leader was arrested after an Islamabad court sentenced him to three years in prison on charges of corrupt practices in the Toshakhana case, with the move clearly being another attempt at political suppression of the ex-PM, the Pakistani journalist argued.
The conviction, unless overturned by an appeals court, would disqualify the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), also called the Pakistan Movement of Justice, the political party founded in 1996 by Imran Khan, from running in a national election for five years. Last October, Pakistan’s Election Commission stripped Khan of his parliamentary mandate after finding him guilty of “illegally” selling 52 valuables stored in the Toshakhana – Pakistan’s national treasury – and keeping hidden information about gifts he had received personally. According to current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Imran Khan sold state treasures in Dubai worth a total of 140 million Pakistani rupees ($500,000). Waqas Ahmed took issue with claims that the aforementioned gifts were disposed of “illegally.”
According to the rules, gifts received by a government functionary from a leader of another country are deposited in the nation’s treasury. However, if one seeks to retain the abovementioned gifts, this can be done by paying a specific amount of their value, which was 20% at the time of Khan’s prime ministership. These rules were revised in December 2018 to require a payment of 50%. “What you do after that gift is not written in the law,” underscored the journalist, and the judge in the case against Imran Khan was “obviously biased against him,” and “backed by the military establishment.” The sentencing by an Islamabad court came days before incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s coalition government was expected to dissolve parliament, allowing a caretaker assemblage to organize new elections in Pakistan.
Shortly after the court’s verdict, Khan’s supporters and his legal team questioned the ruling, slamming it as politically motivated and targeting a man who remains the most popular politician in Pakistan. “We weren’t even given a chance. We weren’t even allowed to cross [question], to say anything in defense or conduct our arguments. I haven’t seen this kind of injustice before,” Barrister Gohar Khan was quoted by the Pakistani press as saying, decrying what had taken place as a “murder of justice.” Despite attempts by the Pakistani military and the Pakistani government parties to undermine Imran Khan and his PTI, they have been unable to do so, Waqas Ahmed said. [..] “So it’s such a myth. That’s why […] despite this massive crackdown […] despite putting 10,000 people in jail […] putting him in jail, PTI keeps winning,” said the journalist.
They think voting will do the trick.
When former prime minister Imran Khan was arrested over the weekend over corruption allegations, there was barely a whimper of protest. Not a single major demonstration was reported anywhere in the country. Compare this to a few months ago, when the 70-year-old was arrested and taken from a court complex in Islamabad on 9 May. It sparked protests around the country, which also led to violence in some places as Mr Khan’s supporters clashed with security forces. Some protesters raided military buildings and even ransacked the home of the most senior military commander in Lahore. But this time around, when Mr Khan was sentenced and then taken to a prison in Attock city, authorities were ready. His destination was kept secret and reports say there were a number of decoy convoys to deceive the media.
Police and the military were on high alert across all major cities, and dozens of people were pre-emptively taken into custody. Pakistan’s governing party and the army have pointed to the lack of protest over Mr Khan’s arrest as a sign that the former PM no longer enjoys the support of the people. But his Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI) party and supporters say they have been forced into silence by a swift crackdown. The BBC also understands that media outlets were told not to cover PTI’s activities or even mention Mr Khan’s name on air following the mass protests in May. Thousands of Mr Khan’s supporters have been arrested since May. The army has said they intend to try them in military courts, which human rights groups have said is against international law. The PTI has also been systematically gutted, with numerous party workers and leaders being arrested, or facing court cases.
Mr Khan himself still faces some 200 cases. Several PTI members have since defected or quit politics altogether. Ali Akbar, a senior political analyst, said this is why Mr Khan’s calls for a protest went unheeded this time – not only did workers and supporters fear arrest, but they were also unable to mobilise support because of the lack of leadership left in PTI. Fatima, a PTI supporter whose name has been changed on request, said police action against party leaders had frightened her into silence – even online. “I used to still support the party on Twitter, but one day I received a phone call from an anonymous number warning me against posting such tweets. I got scared and my parents also advised me to delete my Twitter account as they said no-one would be able to help me if I were arrested,” she said.
Ha ha ha!
Tech magnate Elon Musk’s much-anticipated cage match against rival Mark Zuckerberg is facing a potential setback, as the billionaire revealed concerns about his neck and upper back health. Musk, who recently flaunted his weightlifting prowess in a livestream, now faces the possibility of surgery before stepping into the ring with Zuckerberg. Despite the excitement surrounding the showdown, the exact date of the clash remains uncertain. “Exact date is still in flux. I’m getting an MRI of my neck & upper back tomorrow. May require surgery before the fight can happen. Will know this week,” Musk wrote on the platform formerly as Twitter. Musk’s injuries came to light after his announcement that the fight would be livestreamed on his platform, X, with the proceeds directed towards charity for veterans.
Musk had been diligently training for the bout, even engaging in a training session with renowned UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre. His recent livestream, in which he demonstrated his weightlifting prowess, was seen as a test of X’s live video feature. This is not the first time Musk’s medical issues have surfaced. In a past encounter, Musk participated in a sumo match that prompted injuries to his neck and back. “Managed to throw him, but it cost me smashing my c5-c6 disc & 8 years of mega back pain! Finally fixed with c5-c6 disc fusion,” Musk said at the time. While Zuckerberg had suggested a date for the face-off, the delay comes as no surprise to him. Zuckerberg remarked: “I suggested Aug 26 when he first challenged, but he hasn’t confirmed. Not holding my breath.”
Can anyone explain this? pic.twitter.com/MTtDf4Fwtg
— illuminatibot (@iluminatibot) August 9, 2023
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