Sep 072023
 
 September 7, 2023  Posted by at 9:09 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  38 Responses »


Edgar Degas Dancers in Blue 1895

 

White House Rejects ‘Ridiculous Claim’ That Staffers Treat Biden ‘Like a Baby’ (Sp.)
Kamala Harris ‘Ready To Take Over’ As President If Biden Can’t Do Job (ZH)
Blinken’s Visit to Kiev a Sign of Trouble in Washington – Larry Johnson (Sp.)
$100 Mln Per Day on Ukraine ‘A Lot of Money in Minds of US People (Sp.)
‘World Majority’ Sees Ukraine Conflict As Declining NATO Power (Lukyanov )
Majority Of Russians Support Turning Away From West (RT)
Mitch McConnell Warns US Not To ‘Go Wobbly’ On Ukraine (RT)
Prigozhin’s Three Strikes – Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky, Last Africa Trip (Helmer)
Bucharest Denies Ukrainian Claim That Russian Drone Hit Romania (Antiwar)
Putin, MbS Note Cut in Oil Production Will Stabilize Market (Sp.)
Eyesore Of The Month September 2023 (Jim Kunstler)
Donald Trump’s Georgia Trial Expected To Take Four Months, 150 Witnesses (BBC)
Debunking The Lies In ADL’s Response To Elon (Nawfal)
Facebook Files: White House Lies About ‘Disinformation Dozen’ (ZH)
French Court Turns Down Political Asylum Request For Assange (RT)
CDC Warns Of New ‘Stealth’ COVID Variant: Test Negative, No Symptoms (BBee)

 

 

Real Cover, May 2012

 

 

Tucker SInclair

 

 

2016

 

 

 

 

TuckerWhitmer

 

 

Macgregor believes the Russians have simply decided to wait it out. In his opinion, European economies are on the brink of collapse, and their time is running out. Europe faces not only a severe recession but also catastrophic fuel shortages due to the winter. “I think the Russians have decided: let’s wait a bit until everything falls apart on its own over there. Putin is nothing like us. Putin wants to live peacefully with the West, peacefully with the Ukrainians.

But we say, we don’t want to live in peace with Mr. Putin. That’s where the problem lies,” the Colonel believes. “They are quietly building up troops. They are recruiting 750,000 to reach a force of 1.2 million. Everything we wanted to prevent with this war is happening in reverse. We have inadvertently given life to a force we always feared,” Macgregor concluded.

 

 

Ukraine draft

 

 

Russia MFA Spokeswoman Zakharova: “Since February 2022, over 5 million people have come to our country from Ukraine… Reasonable people who did not want to have anything to do with Kiev’s neo-Nazis, understand perfectly well that in Russia they can build a future for themselves and their children without being targeted for more psychological, gender-based or political experiments.”

 

 

Steven Donziger: BREAKING: In one of the great modern abuses of police power, prosecutors in Georgia filed a bogus RICO case against 61 Cop City activists. Pathetic attempt to silence a powerful movement. The real racketeers are officials who violate the law to persecute their own citizens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Rather than own his failure,” Foer writes, “[Biden] fumed to friends about how he was treated like a toddler. Was John Kennedy ever babied like that?”

White House Rejects ‘Ridiculous Claim’ That Staffers Treat Biden ‘Like a Baby’ (Sp.)

At 80, Joe Biden is the oldest person to ever serve as president of the United States. The first book covering his time as president is nearing its release and published excerpts have already begun to alarm some observers. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre recently said claims that US President Joe Biden is treated like a baby by White House staff are “ridiculous.” The comments came during a Tuesday press briefing after Jean-Pierre was asked about excerpts from a new White House biography by author Franklin Foer, titled The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future. In the book, Foer writes that Biden complained to friends about being treated like a “toddler” after White House staffers had to walk back statements he made about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Rather than own his failure,” Foer writes, “[Biden] fumed to friends about how he was treated like a toddler. Was John Kennedy ever babied like that?” When asked why the White House staff treats the president of the United States like a baby, Jean-Pierre called the assertion “ridiculous.” “No one treats the United States president, the commander-in-chief, like a baby. That’s ridiculous, that is a ridiculous claim,” she said. The press secretary further added that the White House had seen the excerpts with more context and asserted that the quote was making the “opposite overall point” and lauded the value of his “experience and wisdom. In March 2022 during a speech in Warsaw, Poland, Biden discussed the conflict in Ukraine.

During his speech, he made comments about Putin that seemed to advocate for regime change, “for god’s sake this man cannot remain in power,” Biden proclaimed. White House officials quickly walked back the statement, claiming: “The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors in the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.” Foer asserts in his book that Biden “knew that he had erred, but then resented his aids for creating the impression that they had to clean up his mess.”

A late August poll indicated 75% of registered voters believe Biden is too old to run for a second term, including two-thirds of Democrats. Another poll showed 70% of Americans do not want Biden to run for a second term, with half citing age as a major factor. Foer said during a media tour for the book that it “wouldn’t be a total shock” if Biden dropped out of the 2024 presidential race. Biden has downplayed his age as an impediment to his performance as president. “I can’t even say I guess how old I am, I can’t even say the number. It doesn’t register with me.”

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“.. I see how his ability to understand issues and weave through complex issues in a way that no one else can to make smart and important decisions on behalf of the American people have played out..”

Kamala Harris ‘Ready To Take Over’ As President If Biden Can’t Do Job (ZH)

Vice President Kamala Harris is ready to serve word salad to the world as POTUS, should Joe Biden – the oldest president in US history at 80, croak or is otherwise unable to effectively govern (so, now?). “Joe Biden is going to be fine, so that is not going to come to fruition,” Harris told AP in an interview published Wednesday. “But let us also understand that every vice president — every vice president — understands that when they take the oath they must be very clear about the responsibility they may have to take over the job of being president.” “I’m not different,” Harris added. According to a Monday Wall Street Journal poll, 60% of registered voters don’t think Biden is “mentally up for the job” of being president, while 73% say Biden is just too old to be president.

Meanwhile, a Harvard Caps/Harris poll from May found that 61% of voters don’t think Biden would even make it through another term in office. If Biden wins reelection, he will be 82 at the time of his second inauguration and 86 at the conclusion of his term. The current oldest president at the end of his term was Ronald Reagan, who left office in 1989 at the age of 77. In the AP interview, Harris argued that Biden “delivers” when he’s in the Oval Office. “I see him every day. A substantial amount of time we spend together is in the Oval Office, where I see how his ability to understand issues and weave through complex issues in a way that no one else can to make smart and important decisions on behalf of the American people have played out, she said. “And so I will say to you that I think the American people ultimately want to know that their president delivers. And Joe Biden delivers.”

According to Boston University professor emeritus Tobe Berkovitz, “The problem with Biden being 80 is that he is acting more and more like a senior citizen without all of his faculties,” who added that Biden’s general demeanor “reinforces that he is an old 80-year-old, not a spry, competent 80-year-old.” [T]he age issue will be eagerly amplified by political opponents and their media allies if Biden makes any slip-ups during a taxing election campaign. The template has already been established in the extensive coverage given to Biden’s fall at a U.S. Air Force Academy graduation event in Colorado in early June. Verbal misfires — as when he twice in 24 hours referred to the war “in Iraq,” when he meant “in Ukraine” earlier this year — deepen the perception problem. -The Hill

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“Blinken is the message bearer in the first place. He is neither the driver of Washington’s foreign policy nor his stature is similar to that of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: essentially Blinken is carrying the instructions that he’s been given to share.

Blinken’s Visit to Kiev a Sign of Trouble in Washington – Larry Johnson (Sp.)

Antony Blinken arrived in Kiev to show Washington’s support to Ukraine and announce $175 million-$200 million in new US aid as well as a larger package amounting to $1 billion, according to the US press. The secretary of state’s visit came as the third month of Ukraine’s botched counteroffensive has wrapped up, with the Kiev regime unable to boast any military gains. However, the Ukrainian military claims that they made some progress here and there. Still, the topics mentioned by the Western media aren’t the centerpiece of Blinken’s visit, according to Larry Johnson, retired CIA intelligence officer and State Department official. “I think this is just a sign of the trouble with the policy set,” Johnson told Sputnik. “They’re trying to figure out what to do next because the majority of American people do not support [the current policy].

“They’re coming into the political season, getting prepared for elections next year. The Biden administration is under pressure domestically. [A g]rowing number of Democrats are very upset and outraged with his border policy allowing all these illegal immigrants to flood across. They’re now hitting the states of New York, Massachusetts and California, and it’s creating problems for those governors. So, you know, I think when you take it all together, they’re trying to figure out what to do next.” Per Johnson, Blinken is the message bearer in the first place. He is neither the driver of Washington’s foreign policy nor his stature is similar to that of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to the CIA veteran: essentially Blinken is carrying the instructions that he’s been given to share.

Johnson does not rule out that the US secretary of state may also touch upon the issue of the anti-corruption fight in Ukraine, as details of bribery of Ukrainian officials and overbuying of weapons supplied to Ukraine are still being uncovered. Earlier this year, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh cited CIA sources saying that the Ukrainian president and his entourage embezzled around $400 million of US money in 2022 alone. US economic aid to Ukraine is at risk from corruption in the Kiev government and the Ukrainian private sector, the State Department Inspector General’s Office warned in July. Alas, the corruption in Ukraine goes well beyond Zelensky, noted the CIA veteran: “It’s endemic to the Ukrainian government, to the military.”

Most recently, Zelensky sacked Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov whose name is associated with several large-scale scandals, from inflated prices on army food and fuel supplies to a winter jacket procurement row, corruption-driven draft evasion and payoff schemes, and weapons pilfering and smuggling-related criminal allegations. On September 5, Ukraine’s authorities arrested Igor Kolomoisky – one of the country’s most powerful tycoons – who was rumored to be Zelensky’s former patron. Kiev is accusing Kolomoisky of fraud and money laundering. “There’s something just very off about getting rid of the previous defense minister for ‘corruption’,” noted Johnson. “Why wasn’t he arrested? Well, he wasn’t arrested. They’re talking about giving him another job. So this is political theater. I think he’s removing him so that they can at least maybe have a potential scapegoat to point to for this failed counteroffensive.

But if this is really about corruption, he would be arrested. I mean, heavens, they arrested Kolomoisky ostensibly for corruption. And he’s not even a government official.” The botched counteroffensive appears to have seriously undermined Washington’s Ukraine plan. What’s worse for Team Biden – US financial or military assistance cannot currently fix the situation on the ground, according to Johnson. “The only thing that would change is that the United States suspended, cut off all military and financial assistance. This war would end in two or three days, I think. They would not be able to sustain the fight. Otherwise, it does not matter what weapons system or how much aid the United States gives, it’s not going to change the situation on the battlefield with Ukraine losing,” Johnson concluded.

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“.. their own time is limited unless they can fix the election again and retain power. But then what do they have to offer? Nothing.”

$100 Mln Per Day on Ukraine ‘A Lot of Money in Minds of US People (Sp.)

The next few weeks will most likely see the US House’s opposition to the Biden administration’s ongoing financial support of Kiev grow, Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, told Sputnik. Kiev needs to supply coal to international markets for five months and 17 days in order to earn the sum necessary to finance just one day of the Ukraine conflict, calculations made by Sputnik have revealed. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, who was replaced by Rustem Umerov on Monday, claimed in an interview with a local media outlet that one day of the conflict costs Ukraine at least $100 million.

The next few weeks will most likely see the US House’s opposition to the Biden administration’s ongoing financial support of Kiev grow, Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, told Sputnik. Kiev needs to supply coal to international markets for five months and 17 days in order to earn the sum necessary to finance just one day of the Ukraine conflict, calculations made by Sputnik have revealed. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, who was replaced by Rustem Umerov on Monday, claimed in an interview with a local media outlet that one day of the conflict costs Ukraine at least $100 million. He noted that when one expends $100 million per day “on a battlefield for a war that no one really understands, it’s going to raise a lot of questions.”

“I guess that might be one reason why [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky had to get rid of the defense minister because he was being truthful for once,” the ex-Pentagon senior security policy analyst argued. Maloof called the $100 million a day an “incredible amount”, warning that the quality of life in the US “is going to be affected by this”, something that he said would also cause “even greater inflationary trends in the US economy.” The ex-Pentagon analyst warned that the US’ ability to continue pumping Ukraine with money “is going to diminish greatly and it’s not going to be in the too distant future.” “The Biden administration is just totally oblivious and doesn’t have a response to all of this. They’re just acting now and doing what they can, knowing that perhaps their own time is limited unless they can fix the election again and retain power. But then what do they have to offer? Nothing.

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“..it can be argued that the Ukrainian crisis really does draw a line under colonialism in the broad sense.”

‘World Majority’ Sees Ukraine Conflict As Declining NATO Power (Lukyanov )

The Ukrainian crisis has several practical implications for the majority of the world.

Firstly, a power has emerged that openly and unreservedly challenges the West, and the West has been unable to do anything about it, despite considerable efforts. This allows the non-Western world to act more and more independently – right in front of our eyes.

The second is that when the states of the Global North start to conflict with each other, they still don’t care about how it affects the Global South.

Third, the policy of distancing in general but engaging on specific issues can pay dividends, but we just have to use it skillfully.

Fourth, fruitful relations are possible and necessary without grandees who insist on their indispensability, but often do not solve the problems of countries and regions, but instead drive them into a dead end in pursuit of their own interests.

These are all factors that will help shape a new international framework. It has not yet emerged. But when the current conflict comes to an end, whatever the concrete outcome for the immediate participants, it will be the majority countries of the world that will have strengthened their positions the most.

Not only China, which is often talked about as the real winner of the confrontation between Russia and the West (such a conclusion follows only from linear logic), but also a number of countries that previously played a subordinate role and are now emancipating themselves and coming out of this straitjacket.

We dare to believe that world politics could become more rational, because pragmatic interests would then be voiced openly and in a businesslike manner, and not under the Kool-Aid of various messianisms, which have been popular in the Global North for centuries. And in this sense, it can be argued that the Ukrainian crisis really does draw a line under colonialism in the broad sense.

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Most Russians don’t think “Russian and eastern cultures are very close”. But that’s still where they want to go.

Majority Of Russians Support Turning Away From West (RT)

A vast majority of Russians are supportive of Moscow’s policy that prioritizes the development of ties with the countries of the global East rather than the West, a new survey by the state-owned Russian Public Opinion Research Center (WCIOM) shows. The findings of the survey, carried out in collaboration with the Kommersant daily, were published on Wednesday. The polling itself was conducted in late August, sampling the opinions of 1,600 randomly selected Russian nationals. Some 67% of the respondents approved the “turn to the East” policy, with only 11% weighing in against it. A further 15% remain indifferent to the ongoing major shift in Russian foreign policy, with the rest of respondents failing to provide any opinion on this matter, the poll results show.

Around 65% of those who were supportive or indifferent to the “turn to the East” believe that the best way to achieve it was through the development of trade and economic ties, major investment projects, the creation of joint enterprises, and so on. Tourism and scientific cooperation are also deemed to be important approaches to achieve the goal, with 36% and 32% of respondents, respectively, backing such activities. At the same time, only a fraction of those polled believe that Russian and eastern cultures are very close. Some 23% said they differed drastically, while a majority took a more balanced position, stating that the cultures have both common and differing features.

In recent years, Russia has been gradually developing ties with the countries of the global east and south. The process was greatly accelerated amid the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev, backed by the collective West and multiple waves of economic sanctions against Russia. The restrictions accelerated Russian efforts to even further reorient from Western markets to the East. As of the end of 2022, according to data from Chinese customs, Russia had become the top European country in terms of exports to China, fourth in terms of imports, and second in trade turnover. The country has also recently become the top exporter of oil to both China and India.

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When Mitch McConnell does one of his freeze routines, it’s not because he goes wobbly; he just quotes Thatcher on going wobbly. Did I get that about right?

Mitch McConnell Warns US Not To ‘Go Wobbly’ On Ukraine (RT)

The US Congress should approve an additional $20 billion in funding for Ukraine, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday. The Republican senator from Kentucky argued that the aid provided by Washington to Kiev has been weakening Moscow “without firing a shot.” In a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell claimed that President Joe Biden “has not been as decisive as many of us have preferred” when it comes to funding Ukraine’s war effort, but that this was not a reason for Congress to “compound the administration’s failures with failures of our own.” “Helping Ukraine retake its territory means weakening one of America’s biggest strategic adversaries without firing a shot,” the senator argued.

With Kiev “eroding Russia’s capacity to threaten NATO,” McConnell claimed, “it is not the time to ease up,” and with NATO unified and European countries starting to spend money on their militaries, “it is certainly not the time to go wobbly.” That particular line was made famous in 1990 by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who used it to urge US President George H.W. Bush to launch a war against Iraq over Kuwait. McConnell also suggested that Congress would pass the supplemental government funding bill before the end of the month, which is intended to avoid a government shutdown before the new fiscal year starts in October.

The proposed spending bill has bundled $20.1 billion for Ukraine with disaster relief for fire-stricken Hawaii, despite objections from some Republicans who wanted to vote on the packages separately. The US Congress has approved over $130 billion in funds for Ukraine since February 2022. America’s aid to Kiev has included weapons, equipment and ammunition, as well as cash remittances to pay the salaries of government officials. When some Republicans tried to curtail the spending spree last December, McConnell insisted that aiding Ukraine was the “number one priority of the US,” and helped the Democrats to pass the 4,155-page omnibus spending bill.

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“It’s the gangster who thought he was the capo dei capi, boss of bosses; and was brought down to earth because he wasn’t.”

Prigozhin’s Three Strikes – Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky, Last Africa Trip (Helmer)

On March 5, in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR), there was a fire-bombing of a French–owned brewery which destroyed 50,000 bottles of beer. On August 23, a private jet of the Wagner Group was bombed in the air north of Moscow, and the Wagner leaders, Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, were killed, along with five of their associates and three flight crew. The connection between the two incidents is that Prigozhin’s methods of doing business in Africa cost him his life in Russia. The African business, not the mutiny at Rostov on June 23-24, is the fatal link. It was the last straw. This is not a case of a soldier who lived by the sword and died by the sword. It’s the gangster who thought he was the capo dei capi, boss of bosses; and was brought down to earth because he wasn’t.

To ignore the warnings that he had reached his multi-billion dollar operating limit, that he should stop muscling in on the competition, retire and keep his money — these are well-known rules of American business, not to say mafia rules. But Prigozhin followed Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Boris Berezovsky in thinking Russian business is different. They thought there was no limit to their power to get what they wanted. There are two competing Russian press compilations of what exactly happened on August 23, and what the evidence reveals of who arranged the killing and how the operation was carried out. These are Konstantin Malofeyev’s Tsargrad on the national patriotic side, and Meduza, the anti-Putin opposition publication now based in Riga. The Anglo-American accounts in the mainstream press and the alt-media blogs, including Andrew Napolitano’s group of US military and CIA retirees, Douglas Macgregor, Tony Shaffer, Larry Johnson and Scott Ritter, do not come close to the Russian interpretation of the case.

In Tsargrad’s reconstruction of the flight of Prigozhin’s aircraft and of the doppelganger or decoy aircraft which flew ahead by 40 minutes, and then returned to Moscow 35 minutes after the crash, the cause was one or two bombs detonated on board Prigozhin’s flight. The destruction occurred so suddenly that the pilots had no warning and no time to signal air traffic control. The subsequent recovery and decoding of the aircraft black boxes, and the civilian and military radar track records appear to have confirmed this also, although there have been no official releases of this information, and no unofficial leaks. A report by FlightAware suggests that although the two flights appear to have followed the same flight path, tracking their precise locations is impossible “likely due to … interference (or) jamming in the area.”

Reuters reports that position locations were calculated from signals sent to multiple receivers in the area. In the Tsargrad report, the sources include former Russian civil aviation, military and intelligence veterans. They concur the assassination was the settling of “old scores”. They differ on whether these were domestic in origin, or Ukrainian, British or other foreign sources. They also agree that President Vladimir Putin did not order the killing and probably did not know in advance. “Putin forgave him; there are other enemies who did not”, Lieutenant General Leonid Reshetnikov, a veteran of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), told Tsargrad: “No special service of our country will ever go into an operation that leaves a ‘hint’ of the involvement of its leadership.

Of course, [if there was the operational order], another place would have been found — Africa is a big place and the circumstances more opportune there; for example, the crocodiles don’t have enough high-quality meat to eat. And so, there might be a terrorist attack with a subtext pointing away from those most likely to have done it.” A Moscow source believes that before the event Putin did not act and did not know. After the event he did not disapprove.

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Keep your false flags away from us!

Bucharest Denies Ukrainian Claim That Russian Drone Hit Romania (Antiwar)

NATO member Romania has strongly denied a Ukrainian claim that a Russian drone detonated in Romanian territory during an overnight bombardment on one of Ukraine’s ports on the Danube River. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko made the claim on Facebook. He said that according to Ukraine’s state border service, a Russian drone “fell and detonated on the territory of Romania” during an attack on the Ukrainian port of Izmail. “This is yet another confirmation that Russia’s missile terror poses a huge threat not only to Ukraine’s security, but also to the security of neighboring countries, including NATO member states,” Nikolenko said. Romania’s Defense Ministry quickly refuted the claim. “The Ministry of National Defense categorically denies information from the public space regarding a so-called situation that occurred during the night of September 3 to 4 in which Russian drones allegedly fell on the national territory of Romania,” it said.

The Romanian Defense Ministry added that “at no time did the means of attack used by the Russian Federation generate direct military threats to the national territory or the territorial waters of Romania.” Russian attacks in the region risk an escalation as the Danube River acts as a border between Ukraine and Romania. The Ukrainian port of Izmail that was targeted is just across the river from NATO territory. Ukrainian officials have previously made unfounded claims about Russian munitions hitting NATO territory. Last year, when a Ukrainian air defense missile hit Poland and killed two people, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy and his top aides claimed it was a Russian missile in an effort to get NATO to intervene directly.

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Powerful duo. And members of BRICS.

Putin, MbS Note Cut in Oil Production Will Stabilize Market (Sp.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman noted that reduction in the oil production will stabilize the global market during a phone conversation on Wednesday, the Kremlin said. “A high assessment was given to the interaction of the two countries in the OPEC+ format. It was noted that the agreements reached on reducing oil production, combined with voluntary commitments to limit the supply of raw materials, make it possible to ensure the stability of the global energy market,” the Kremlin said in a statement. The sides also expressed satisfaction over development of relations between the countries and discussed a number of issues related to trade, logistics and investment. Moreover, the crown prince thanked the Russian side for supporting Riyadh’s bid to join the BRICS group.

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I’ve never understood the attraction of cruise ships.

Eyesore Of The Month September 2023 (Jim Kunstler)

Behold, Royal Caribbean International’s new ship, Icon of the Seas. Well, okay, but icon of what, exactly, of the seas? Of the wretched excess that the cruise industry is sending forth to sail the oceans blue? I remind you: societies build their most extravagant monuments just before they collapse. This looks like the perfect vehicle for partying at the end-of-the-world (that is, the world as we know it). This monstrosity is so huge — equivalent of a 20-story building — that the promoters say it has “neighborhoods.” Below is the Royal Bay Pool in the new “Chill Island neighborhood.” Very posh, indeed. Excludes all the waddling, land-whales of the lower decks with their slushies and burritos in-hand.

Below: the ship’s Thrill Island Waterslide neighborhood, looking a little bit like the gastro-intestinal system of someone who subjected themselves to six days of round-the-clock, all-you-can-eat buffets.

This beast sets sail in January of 2024. Ask yourself: what sort of economy supports a venture like this? And what if it isn’t there anymore when this thing is ready to launch?

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They don’t want him campaigning.

Tom Fitton: “Fact check: Trump didn’t engage in insurrection/rebellion and, even if he did, the key 14th Amendment clause doesn’t apply to the president.”

Donald Trump’s Georgia Trial Expected To Take Four Months, 150 Witnesses (BBC)

Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s Georgia racketeering case say that the trial would take four months and include approximately 150 witnesses. Mr Trump and 18 others are charged with a conspiracy to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results. A date for the trial has not yet been set, although prosecutors hope to begin on 23 October. The former president and his co-defendants have all denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty. In court on Wednesday, state prosecutor Nathan Wade said that the expected timeline does not account for jury selection, which could potentially add months to the process. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said he hopes to decide questions regarding the trial’s schedule by “either the end of this week or early next week”. All 19 co-defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty and waived their right to in-person arraignments, which were due to take place on Wednesday.

During Wednesday’s court session, Judge McAfee also heard arguments on whether some of the defendants could sever their cases from the wider racketeering, or Rico, case. Attorneys for Kenneth Chesebro sought to sever the counts against him, as did attorneys for Sidney Powell, a former Trump lawyer, who has also asked for a speedy trial – a constitutional right in the US. Both will now go on trial together on 23 October after Judge McAfee denied a motion to sever their cases from one another. In court, he said that he does not believe that “the severance for Mr Cheseboro or Ms Powell is necessary to achieve a fair determination of the guilt or innocence for either defendant in this case”. He added that two separate trials would “inconvenience” jurors and complicate scheduling. In total, six of the defendants in the case have sought to sever their cases, including Mr Trump and ex-Georgia Republican chair David Shafer.

Other defendants are seeking to have their cases moved to federal court. A federal judge has yet to decide on the issue, known by the legal term of “removal”. Mr Chesebro and Ms Powell’s trial is slated to begin on 23 October – the same date being sought by district attorney Fani Willis for the other 17 defendants. Judge McAfee, however, said it seemed “a bit unrealistic” to try all the defendants together in October, noting that “we’ve got less than two months to figure this out”. In court, Mr Chesebro’s attorney Manubir Arora argued that the far-reaching racketeering case would mean that his client would have to be in court for “weeks, if not months” of testimony unrelated to the specific charges against him.

Additionally, Mr Arora said that Ms Powell – who famously vowed to “release the Kraken” after Mr Trump’s electoral defeat – was “sort of on a lark on her own” and not connected to Mr Chesebro. Speaking to CNN after the court hearing, Mr Chesebro’s second attorney, Scott Grubman, accused the government of “weaponising” the Rico statute to “connect three or four conspiracies into one”. Prosecutors allege that Mr Trump and his co-defendants were involved in a multi-pronged effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state, culminating with a phone call in which Mr Trump pressured the state’s secretary of state to “recalculate” the vote tally.

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X thread.

Debunking The Lies In ADL’s Response To Elon (Nawfal)

ADL’s CEO broke his silence on X and Elon by lying and trapping the host: 1) He claimed that Elon brought and amplified anti-semitism and hate speech back to the platform. This is NOT TRUE. The X Safety team shared that an independent assessment by Sprinklr found that hate speech impressions on X to be 0.003% compared to Twitter’s estimate of 0.012%. 2) Greenblatt clarified that he has never claimed Elon or X are anti-Semitic: “I don’ t think Twitter as a platform is anti-Semitic”. 3) When Greenblatt was asked by the host (who also identified as Jewish) if he was seeking a position or donation from X to the ADL, he took offense to this, called it an anti-semetic trope, almost as if he was trying to cancel him, leaving the host uncomfortable and defensive.

4) Greenblatt claimed ADL is NOT publicly or privately talking to advertisers, BUT shortly after, said, “It is true we did call for a pause back in November, after the acquisition and since then” and in a previous interview he stated “if it remains a hellscape the advertisers won’t take part in [Twitter]” 5) Greenblatt said the ADL is a SMALL non-profit in NY. NOT TRUE. The ADL is an influential organization with over 100 years of history, and according to the ADL’s 2021 tax filings, the organization’s total revenue was $101 million with a balance sheet of $238 million. They ALSO received millions of dollars of indirect government funding via grants to groups in which the ADL has special interests.

6) Greenblatt says the ADL works WITH other social media platforms, including Facebook. We saw in the Politico article that @elonmusk posted that the ADL indirectly CONTROLS what can be posted on Facebook. 7) Greenblatt claimed he doesn’t know what prompted Elon’s tweets, but Elon was clear it was prompted by the 60% drop in advertising from the ADL’s interference, which Greenblatt admitted in the video. Doesn’t seem like the meeting with X CEO Linda Yaccarino went as well as Greenblatt is making it out to be.

Greenblatt

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Remember, “We saw in the Politico article that @elonmusk posted that the ADL indirectly CONTROLS what can be posted on Facebook.”

Well, so does the White House.

Facebook Files: White House Lies About ‘Disinformation Dozen’ (ZH)

A UK-based, government-linked dark money nonprofit operated by a far-left British Labour Party operative fabricated statistics about the so-called ‘disinformation dozen’ – people with large social media footprints that expressed vaccine or lockdown skepticism, according to the latest Facebook Files released on Tuesday by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) run by a man named Imran Ahmed claimed that Robert Kennedy Jr. and 11 other people were responsible for 65% of “anti-vaccine content circulating on social media.” That claim itself was disinformation, according to Jordan – who notes that Facebook employees were highly skeptical of the CCDH’s claims, which they said were just Americans expressing “vaccine hesitancy,” which is often “not misinfo” even under Facebook’s policies.

What’s more, the Biden White House repeatedly peddled the 65% lie as Facebook employees were preparing to draft a memo to CEO Mark Zuckerberg to complain about “pressure from … the White House” to remove the so-called Disinfo Dozen, even though they did “not believe we currently have a clear path for removal.” According to the internal emails, Facebook continued to monitor the so-called disinformation dozen to justify censorship, only to find that the “majority” of them weren’t spreading misinformation. The Biden White house kept pushing for censorship despite Facebook’s clear policy against cross-platform punishments except in rare cases. The White House also wanted Facebook to remove all URL links to off-platform websites which would ”

The White House then pressured Facebook’s President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, to censor the ‘disinformation dozen’ even more – which led to frustration among Facebook staff, who said that Biden himself helped ensure that the CCDH’s influence had “unrelenting staying power.” Longtime readers may also recall that the CCDH laundered lies about ZeroHedge through a trust-fund NBC News ‘journalist’ who immediately came under fire for peddling obvious propaganda against a competing outlet, and subsequently left to work for Al Jazeera (and now she’s gone from there too).

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The French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti is Assange’s former lawyer, and still says no. What’s going on?

French Court Turns Down Political Asylum Request For Assange (RT)

A court in France’s Creteil commune turned down a request to grant political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the AFP news agency reported citing a court document, Report informs referring to TASS. The agency quoted the document as saying that “the fact that he [Assange] is being kept in custody” should not be viewed as a reason for an exception to the rule stating that “the applicant must be present on the territory of the country or the European Union” in order to apply for political asylum in France. The request was filed by members of the Robin des Lois association, who sought to challenge in court several regulations related to rules of entry, residence and political asylum for foreigners.

According to the organization, some provisions from French laws contradict the preamble to the country’s constitution, as well as several international conventions. Legal representatives of the French government were not present in the court. The association has no plans to appeal the ruling, but publicly urges French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti – who is Assange’s former lawyer – to “at last take the matter into his own hands.” Assange was taken into custody after leaving the premises of Ecuador’s embassy in London in April 2019, and has since been held at the Belmarsh maximum security prison in London. Washington has been seeking his extradition for more than four years, but Assange’s defense team has so far managed to successfully fend off their moves in court.

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“This deadly variant has bypassed our most sophisticated tests by ingeniously becoming harmless to the human body..”

“Pfizer had announced early development of a new, 103% effective vaccine, followed 3.8 seconds later by approval from the FDA.”

CDC Warns Of New ‘Stealth’ COVID Variant: Test Negative, No Symptoms (BBee)

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky held a press conference to warn the public about a deadly new “stealth” COVID-19 variant that causes negative test results and causes no symptoms. “This deadly variant has bypassed our most sophisticated tests by ingeniously becoming harmless to the human body,” said Director Walensky, “It is estimated that eight billion people have caught this variant. We must prevent it from spreading further by closing schools and locking up kindergarten children.”

The CDC director’s guidance to close schools and stem the tide of this “stealth” variant is backed by data that has been thoroughly and rigorously altered, proving that public school teachers are the most susceptible, testing negative a whopping 100% of the time and often succumbing to the worst symptom-free symptoms. At publishing time, Pfizer had announced early development of a new, 103% effective vaccine, followed 3.8 seconds later by approval from the FDA.

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Jump

 

 

Age gap

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 022023
 
 September 2, 2023  Posted by at 8:56 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  38 Responses »


William-Adolphe Bouguereau La naissance de Vénus 1879

 

Happenings Await (Jim Kunstler)
White House Preparing For Biden Impeachment – NBC (RT)
Biden Dragged US Into Proxy War With Russia That Moscow Is Winning – MTG (Sp.)
Rise of BRICS ‘Devastating’ For US – MTG (RT)
Nikki Haley Calls US Senate ‘Most Privileged Nursing Home In The Country’ (G.)
Conflict Should Be Transferred To ‘Russian Territory’ – Ukraine Spy Chief (RT)
US To Send Depleted Uranium Munitions To Ukraine – Reuters (RT)
How Much Do Mercenaries Make in Ukraine? (Sp.)
Only 10% of Western Firms Have Left Russia – Austria (RT)
African Coups Expose And Unravel A Web Of Western Meddling (Marsden)
Russia Inherits Prigozhin’s African Odyssey (Bhadrakumar)
History’s Starting to Rhyme – The Fight for Uranium (Jim Rickards)
JPMorgan Flagged Over $1 Billion In Suspicious Epstein Transfers (ZH)
BRICS and the Future of Humanity (Solo)

 

 

 

 

Sachs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697822863548612813

 

 

 

 

RFK

 

 

 

 

Tucker
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697603136276598857

 

 

DAX Anthony

 

 

 

 

17% of Americans got the latest booster. They’ve seen enough.

“..the party will be so badly damaged by then that it will have no other option except to let Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in to drive out the remaining demons..”

Happenings Await (Jim Kunstler)

In what might be one of his last official acts, “Joe Biden” announced last week that Americans would be “encouraged” to get a new-and-improved mRNA vaccine booster against the new Covid virus strain EG.5 “Eris” (named after the Greek goddess of strife and discord). The “president,” said he asked Congress for funding “for a new vaccine that is necessary, that works…. It will likely be recommended that everybody get it no matter whether they’ve gotten it before or not.” Say, what…? Did the earlier vaccines not work, Joe? Most assuredly they did not. The shots injured, disabled, and killed a great many people, and it staggers the rational mind that the CDC is still pushing these shots. You might conclude that they’re pretending this didn’t happen to evade responsibility. After all, what would be the consequences if these officials admitted that all the previous Covid vaccines were ineffective and harmful?

And what would be the reaction of the 81.3 percent of the population who got at least one dose of the previous vaccines and the 65.6 percent who are “fully vaccinated” with two or more shots? (Note, statistics from the CDC.) I’ll tell you what would happen: the CDC officials and a great many other persons on the public payroll would be in court on criminal charges. And doctors and hospitals would be subject to so many lawsuits they would never again have time to actually practice medicine, while millions of people with damaged immune systems and wrecked organs take flight like so many black swans flapping into the setting sun of their own prematurely attenuated lives. If you care to be astounded, listen to this talk that Dr. Peter McCullough gave to an audience in New Hampshire a few days ago, calling out all the principals who devised the Covid-19 fiasco by name: Ralph Baric, Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszek, and Francis Collins, and then describing exactly how the dastardly act and the cover-up went down.

Speaking of happenings this autumn, expect the war in Ukraine to come to an end. The news media might omit to inform you about this, but it awaits. Russia will not trumpet its victory, so as to avoid inflaming America’s crazed neo-cons. Rather it will just quietly take charge of its successfully neutralized neighbor, make provision for some sort of administration over what remains of the rump state — in a way that affords Russia a sense of permanent security — at the same time that Russia commences new negotiations separately with several European nations to reestablish realistic relations.

The US will be delicately hung out to dry on this. Short of resorting to nuclear World War Three, there is nothing the US can do about it — except for the Democratic Party to blame the whole sorry thing on “Joe Biden” as he is forced to resign from office pending that aforesaid impeachment threat. No other explanation for the end of our Ukraine project will be required. The party of chaos will flounder a while in the very chaos that it induced, trying laughably to switch out Kamala Harris for Gavin Newsom — or some other ploy to stay in business. But the party will be so badly damaged by then that it will have no other option except to let Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in to drive out the remaining demons and save the venerable old org from suicide.

If you think that these various momentous happenings won’t affect the financial markets and the banking system in the coming season, prepare to be amazed. This is how America truly gets to feel the pain, and this might be how the pitchforks finally come out for the people who wrecked our country.

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Nobody believes McCarthy will actually do it. “He ain’t no Nancy”. He’ll ask for a vote first.

White House Preparing For Biden Impeachment – NBC (RT)

The White House has brought together two dozen legal and media experts to combat an expected Republican effort to impeach US President Joe Biden, NBC reported on Friday, citing a White House aide familiar with the administration’s strategy. According to eight inside sources, the counter-impeachment strategy has reportedly been under development for several months as House Republicans have attempted to investigate the president and his son, Hunter Biden, and their foreign business entanglements. The White House aide who revealed the project to NBC also shared its ultimate goal: to present any impeachment inquiry as an “evidence-free partisan sham that shows a [Republican Party] penchant for chaos.”

The administration’s response will show that its opponents are “out of touch,” one official explained, by juxtaposing Republican attacks on Biden with the president’s work on “economic issues” that affect ordinary Americans. The team has been constructed to prevent any impeachment inquiry from interfering in White House business, the aide explained. This is supposed to allow administration officials to concentrate on their jobs without being “bogged down in the minutia of ongoing investigations.” “Never in modern history has an impeachment been based on no evidence whatsoever,” the aide told the news outlet, implying that taking on the Bidens would constitute such an impeachment.

White House aides on the counter-impeachment team have reportedly spent August’s vacation researching Republican talking points, putting together a message and response team to fight back. They have commissioned polls and studied political ads in the hope of disseminating a unified message supporting Biden to the Democratic Party. The Republican investigation into Biden and his son initially focused on the younger Biden’s alleged crimes, which – according to evidence gathered from a laptop he left in a Delaware repair shop, at least – include influence peddling and corruption as well as more pedestrian drug, gun, and prostitution offenses.

Hunter Biden has not been convicted of anything related to the current investigation, though he was about to enter a guilty plea on tax evasion and gun charges last month before a judge balked at the sweetheart deal he had worked out with prosecutors which would see him avoid a custodial sentence or felony conviction entirely. An issue for an impeachment would be the extent to which the elder Biden was involved in his son’s business deals in countries like Ukraine and China, deals which were directly affected by the policies Joe Biden was making as Vice President under then-president Barack Obama. While the president has denied any knowledge of or participation in his son’s professional activities, email records, as well as the testimony of Hunter Biden’s former business partner Devon Archer, contradict his public statements on the matter.

Comer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697067369770758613

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MTG is, let’s say, a unique voice.

Biden Dragged US Into Proxy War With Russia That Moscow Is Winning – MTG (Sp.)

Republican firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has consistently spoken out against sending more arms supplies to Ukraine. After the Biden administration signed off on the delivery of DPICM cluster munitions to Kiev in July, the congresswoman warned that Washington was dragging the US into an unwanted war with Russia. US President Joe Biden has every single American “involved in a proxy war with Russia” that Moscow “is winning,” Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) told an audience gathered at a town hall meeting in Floyd County on August 31. The politician, who has been staunchly opposed to how the Biden administration has been bankrolling the regime in Kiev, told constituents: The Republican politician went on to point out that the intelligence community was blatantly “lying” to Americans, claiming that Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, wants to “take over Europe.” “If that was the case… He would be much more aggressive in the war, and he’s not,” the politician, also known by her initials, MTG, emphatically stressed.

“Now, I’m old enough to remember, and I know you are. Every single foreign war America has been involved in… What did we see on television? … Bombing after bombing. Remember all that? Do you guys remember we watched the rockets being fired… We watched troops fighting… How many of you have been able to watch the war in Ukraine that you’re paying for on the nightly news? None of you. You want to know why? America is being lied to about that war. Here’s the tragedy. They’re losing. Russia is winning. That’s the truth,” stated the Georgia congresswoman. MTG weighed in on the cost-of-living issues plaguing the people of America, saying that “energy bills are going up, your groceries are going up… inflation is hurting you. You’re watching your retirement money shrink to nothing because inflation’s going up.” Pointing out that the US federal government was mired in debt “worth $32 trillion,” she queried: “Are we going to end up in another war?”

[..] Reacting to the latest exorbitant military assistance for Ukraine announcement, Marjorie Taylor Greene told the gathering on constituents on August 31: “Washington has sent $113 billion over there. 113 billion. I voted no to every single penny of it. No, I said, no.” She added that there were “innocent people dying every single day” in the Ukraine conflagration. Indeed, despite the massive military assisstance to Kiev, the Ukrainian counteroffensive that started in June has brought no tangible results so far, with the costly Western-gifted weapons destroyed by Russia’s military. The Ukrainian military has sustained tremendous losses, including over 43,000 troops dead and even more wounded. “… But what funding that war means is means we are funding death. We are funding the murder of innocent people,” the congresswoman stressed to the crowd. If the “arrogant leaders” in Washington continue to fund the Ukraine conflagration at the rate they are doing it now, it’s “going to drag on for decades,” said MTG.

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She’s not wrong here.

Rise of BRICS ‘Devastating’ For US – MTG (RT)

As BRICS gains momentum, the US economy becomes weaker because the members of the grouping can circumvent American sanctions and trade in their own currencies, Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said on Thursday. Speaking to her constituents in Georgia, the Republican congresswoman lashed out at the administration of US President Joe Biden, which she said is turning a blind eye to the rise of BRICS – an economic group which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa and accounts for more than a quarter of global GDP. The Republican firebrand claimed that while the Washington is “doing… nonsense” – including providing all kinds of support to Ukraine which is locked in a conflict with Russia – “there are other countries in the world, powerful countries, organizing together because they are tired of the United States.”

In this sense, the BRICS countries are making serious trade agreements “where they are saying: we’ll buy from you, you’ll buy from us, we don’t care about US sanctions and we’ll sell to one another, buy and sell in our own currency, not the US dollar,” she stated. “This is one of the most devastating things that can happen to all of us,” Greene claimed. As BRICS becomes more powerful, the US dollar gets weaker, she said. “And you know what happens to all of us? We’re going to go broke,” the congresswoman predicted, adding that this dynamic will negatively affect the retirement plans and personal savings of ordinary Americans. “What is going to happen to our children, when the US dollar means nothing anymore, because Russia, and China, and India with its huge population of billions of people have more buying power in their own currencies than we do?

This is a very serious concern,” Greene said. The congresswoman’s remarks come on the heels of a historic BRICS summit in South Africa, where the group agreed to an unprecedented expansion, admitting six new countries – Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – which will become full-fledged members in 2024. In a declaration summarizing the summit, BRICS, which has historically positioned itself as an alternative to Western-dominated international institutions, reaffirmed its commitment to inclusiveness, while expressing support for the “legitimate aspirations” of African, Asian, and Latin American countries to play a more prominent role in the global arena.

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“An old political saying, that the word “Senate” comes from the same Latin word as “senile”, is circulating again.”

Nikki Haley Calls US Senate ‘Most Privileged Nursing Home In The Country’ (G.)

The US Senate is “the most privileged nursing home in the country”, the Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said. The former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations, 51, was speaking to Fox News a day after the Republican leader in the Senate, 81-year-old Mitch McConnell, suffered a second freeze in a month, this time while speaking to reporters in Kentucky. “What I will say is, right now, the Senate is the most privileged nursing home in the country,” Haley said. “I mean, Mitch McConnell has done some great things, and he deserves credit. But you have to know when to leave.”

On Thursday, the congressional physician said McConnell was clear to work, perhaps while suffering the after-effects of concussion, sustained in a fall in March, or dehydration. Other falls have been reported, including a “face plant” at a Washington airport, but McConnell has said he will complete his current six-year term, his seventh, which ends in 2026. It was reported on Thursday that some Republican senators were discussing whether to force a confrontation on the issue of their leader’s health. Haley said: “No one should feel good about seeing [McConnell’s freezes] any more than we should feel good about seeing Dianne Feinstein, any more than we should feel good about a lot of what’s happening or seeing Joe Biden’s decline.”

Feinstein, 90, is a Democrat and the senior senator from California. Her health and mental capacity long in question, she has said she will retire next year. Biden, 80, is the oldest president ever elected and would be 86 by the end of his second term if he wins re-election. A recent poll showed that more than 75% of Americans think he is too old to run again. This week, the Guardian reported a claim in a new book that Biden has privately admitted he is occasionally tired. The current Senate is the oldest in US history. An old political saying, that the word “Senate” comes from the same Latin word as “senile”, is circulating again.

Polling shows support for upper age limits for elected officials. Haley has called for mental competency tests for candidates over 75, though aiming such remarks more at Biden than Trump, the 77-year-old Republican frontrunner. “I wouldn’t care if they did [tests] over the age of 50,” Haley told Fox News. “But these people are making decisions on our national security. They’re making decisions on our economy, on the border. “We need to know they’re at the top of their game. You can’t say that right now, looking at Congress.”

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Russian hardliners are going to get tired of this.

Conflict Should Be Transferred To ‘Russian Territory’ – Ukraine Spy Chief (RT)

Kiev should bring the ongoing hostilities with Moscow to Russian territory, the head of the Ukrainian military’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) has said, contradicting Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s earlier statement. Both officials’ comments, however, come as Moscow has repeatedly accused Kiev of staging numerous “terrorist attacks” inside Russia. In an interview with Ukrainian TV anchor Natalya Moseichuk, Kirill Budanov touted a transfer of military action to Russian territory as an “excellent idea.” “The war must be extended to other territory – which for us is clearly Russia – and other areas where they have influence,” he said. According to Budanov, such a tactic would help Ukraine stretch and paralyze Russian forces. “The wider the operations are, the better,” the intelligence official added.

Budanov’s remarks starkly contrast with Zelensky’s comments last month when he ruled out attacks on Russian territory, explaining that this “would pose a great risk that we would be left alone” without the West’s help. Around the same time, however, Mikhail Podoliak, a top aide to the Ukrainian leader, said that Kiev’s Western backers supported the destruction of “everything Russian” in the territories it deems “occupied,” including the Crimean Peninsula, a statement the Kremlin shrugged off as wishful thinking. Russian territory, including Moscow, has come under recurring drone raids targeting civilian facilities in recent months. Ukraine has stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attacks, with Podoliak blaming “unidentified” aircraft instead.

In addition to aerial attacks, Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine of attempting to stage incursions into border regions, resulting in intense skirmishes and civilian deaths. In one notable example, in May, a Ukrainian saboteur group infiltrated the Belgorod region, killing one civilian and injuring several others. Kiev claimed this was an operation conducted by the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), comprised of neo-Nazi militants and another collaborationist group called the “Freedom of Russia Legion.”

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Yeah, attack Russian territory with these…

US To Send Depleted Uranium Munitions To Ukraine – Reuters (RT)

The US is set to become the second country after the UK to greenlight shipments of depleted-uranium shells to Ukraine, according to Reuters, despite concerns that such munitions could have a dramatic negative effect on public health and the environment. The munitions are intended for US Abrams tanks, first of which are expected to arrive in Ukraine in the coming weeks, the agency reported. According to several unnamed US officials and a “document” cited by Reuters on Saturday, the depleted uranium shells will be part of the next multi-million dollar arms donation expected to be announced next week. The reported plan follows another highly controversial US move to cluster munitions to Ukraine, which had been criticized even by some of Washington’s closest allies.

Should the US approve depleted-uranium shells for Ukraine, it would follow an earlier move by the UK, which announced similar shipments in March. The UK’s decision left Moscow furious, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying that the delivery would be “taking this escalation to a new and very serious stage.” Russia’s embassy in London accused the US and its allies of being willing to turn Ukraine into “not only an anti-Russian military shooting range, but also a radioactive landfill.” When these toxic shells first showed up in Ukraine, Moscow warned that the UK “will be held accountable” for the irreparable harm caused to civilians and soldiers alike. However, both UK and US officials have disputed health hazards associated with DU shells – which use a dense uranium core to improve their armor-piercing capabilities – and deny studies that the weapons were linked to a spike in cancer and birth defects in Iraq.

In the wake of the British move, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow would respond by placing tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus. He noted that in this respect Moscow’s actions do not differ from those of the US, which has nuclear weapons deployed in five European countries. Moscow said it will only remove these weapons if the US removes its own nuclear missiles from Europe and dismantles the infrastructure associated with them. Ukraine’s Western backers claim that they are not directly participating in the conflict in Ukraine, and have avoided providing certain weapons – notably fighter jets and long-range missiles – that would risk provoking a direct clash with Russia. Nevertheless, they have sent Kiev more than $100 billion worth of arms, while ignoring Moscow’s repeated warnings that every subsequent weapons package brings the US and NATO closer to active participation in the conflict. Furthermore, by enabling Ukraine’s drone attacks on Russian civilians, Western nations have become “sponsors of terrorism,” according to the Kremlin.

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How much of your money, that is.

How Much Do Mercenaries Make in Ukraine? (Sp.)

The Russian military has reported a major uptick in Ukraine’s recruitment of foreign mercenaries. Estimates on just how much these ‘soldiers of fortune’ get paid vary wildly, from less than $1,000 a month to $2,000 per day. Sputnik did a little digging and spoke to a pair of veteran military experts to try to get to the bottom of things. A Bundeswehr vet who volunteered to fight alongside the Ukrainian Army gave a tell-all interview to German media recently, revealing the surprisingly low going rate of foreigners taking part in NATO’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine “It depends on how much time you spend on the front lines. There is a principle of combat payments – that is, they pay for each day spent in battle…Per month, it turns out to about €2,000-€2,500 euros. For Ukraine, this is quite a lot,” the mercenary said.

He added that troops who spend more time on the front can get even more, up to about €3,000 (or $3,260), per month. The merc’s testimony seems to match up with figures put out in February by Russia’s Investigative Committee, which has been collecting information on potential war crimes in Ukraine. According to investigators’ figures, foreigners in Ukraine receive between 30,000 and 100,000 hryvnia (about $815-$2,710). The Investigative Committee launched criminal cases against 160 mercs from 33 different countries, including Georgia, the US, Latvia, Israel and Sweden related to suspected crimes against Russian troops and civilians.

The ballpark figures have also been separately confirmed in an investigation by French media this summer, which uncovered that mercs attached to Ukraine’s infamous International Legion receive a base salary of €500 euros, and up to €3,000 a month when they’re on the front lines. Volunteers also complained about having to pay out of pocket for vehicles, supplies and even small arms, notwithstanding the nearly $100 billion in aid doled out by the West to date for weapons. The monthly figures are a far cry from the smattering of information reported during the early stages of the crisis last year, including reporting by British media in March 2022 on payments of up to $2,000 per day plus bonuses for multilingual former soldiers willing to head to Ukraine to engage in extraction operations.

It also challenges the traditional range of “security contractor” job postings, which similarly cite a pay rate of $500-$1,000 per day, equivalent to a six-figure salary when annualized (assuming that the fighter lives that long). “$1,000-$2,000 a month, I think, is kind of low. If you told me that’s for a day, I’d say okay, I can see that. Maybe a little on the high side, but up to that amount for a commander or something, yes, I can see that. But if you’re talking on a per month basis, actually it’s quite low for a mercenary type of situation,” Earl Rasmussen, a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel-turned international consultant with over two decades of military experience, told Sputnik.

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“Schallenberg said Russia would remain important for the EU, urging the bloc’s lawmakers to “get real.”

Only 10% of Western Firms Have Left Russia – Austria (RT)

More than 90% of Western businesses that were present in Russia before the conflict with Ukraine broke out are still operating in the country, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said on Thursday. In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Schallenberg also highlighted Russian companies are still active in Austria and Germany, while Vienna’s dependence on gas supplies from the sanctions-hit country remains high. “Exit from the Russian market is a far more complicated process than it is often described,” Schallenberg said. Austria’s reliance on Russian gas supplies has been reduced but still amounts to 50%, the minister said, stressing that the landlocked country cannot build LNG terminals, unlike some fellow EU member states.

“All in all, only 12% of Austria’s energy requirements are covered by Russian gas supplies,” the minister added. “We have created strategic gas reserves, and won’t face intermittent power outages during the upcoming winter.” Earlier this year, Schallenberg said Russia would remain important for the EU, urging the bloc’s lawmakers to “get real.” The minister defended the right of Raiffeisen Bank International, Austria’s second-largest lender, to continue operating in Russia, as it is one of only two foreign banks that is systemically important for the Russian economy, along with pan-European commercial bank UniCredit. “To think that there won’t be Russia anymore and we can decouple in all areas is delusional,” he stated in a March interview with Reuters.

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It all fell apart with the murder of Gaddafi.

African Coups Expose And Unravel A Web Of Western Meddling (Marsden)

French prosecutors have just charged former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who spearheaded Western support for the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, over alleged Libyan financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. Time sure does fly! It seems like it was just yesterday that the Libyan leader was visiting Sarkozy at the Élysée in the wake of Sarkozy’s 2007 election victory, insisting on making himself comfortable in a traditional Bedouin tent on the lawn of the lavish state guest house. Sarkozy had made a trip to Tripoli himself just a few months earlier, barely weeks after taking office. His spokesman called France and Libya’s anti-terrorist cooperation a “longtime common combat.”

But suspicions about Sarkozy’s motives for leading the regime change charge arose in 2012, when Libyan intelligence officials implicated French agents in the capture and killing of Gaddafi in October 2011, alleging a cover-up related to Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. Anonymous European officials also started singing the same tune to the Western press. When former US president Barack Obama took office in 2009, Paris insiders said that, given his focus on containing China, Obama delegated much of Africa to the French and Brits – who promptly screwed things up. And Obama was still talking about those screwups in 2016 when he told The Atlantic in an interview that he “had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up,” in the wake of the French- and UK-backed coup against Gaddafi.

Obama underscored, in the same interview, just how easy it was to “purchase France’s involvement in a way that made it less expensive for us and less risky for [America]” – just by allowing Sarkozy to take credit for the coup. The idea that France or a French president can be “purchased” seems relevant here. These events in Libya should also raise questions about the recent coup in Gabon and the role of France in creating the conditions that ultimately gave rise to it. As with Libya and Gaddafi, Sarkozy also seemed to have an odd fixation with Gabon, making three visits to the country between his election in mid-2007 and February 2010, including shortly after Ali Bongo took power in 2009, with 42% of the vote, in the wake of his father Omar’s death. Kind of weird for a French president whose predecessor, Jacques Chirac – who loved Africa so much he built the Musée du Quai d’Orsay in tribute to it – had lamented his lack of interest in the continent.

“The main interest of my trip is to reaffirm loyalty. I want to show that France is faithful,” Sarkozy said during one of those visits to Gabonese President Ali Bongo in 2010. In the wake of these new corruption charges, it seems that French “loyalty” in the case of Libya may have been tied directly to French presidential or special interests. And, by some accounts, that could also be the case with Gabon.

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“More than anyone, the CIA and Kiev had a score to settle and wanted Prigozhin dead… Projecting Russian influence into Africa is a crucial part of Putin’s foreign policy, and Wagner is the key to this success..”

Russia Inherits Prigozhin’s African Odyssey (Bhadrakumar)

Africa, especially west Africa, has a strong sense of collective identity. Trends in one country have a way of spreading across the continent. Therefore, It might or might not be a coincidence that the military takeover in Gabon on Wednesday came just a day after French President Emmanuel Macron took a tough stance vis-a-vis the generals in power in Niger. Macron not only scoffed at the generals’ demand seeking removal of the French envoy in Niamey and the French troops numbering 1500 personnel in that country but threatened to attack Niger. Apparently, Macron meant business. AFP had reported last week the stern warning by the spokesman for the French general staff, Colonel Pierre Gaudillière, that “French military forces are ready to respond to any resurgence of tension that would undermine French military and diplomatic bases in Niger” and that “measures have been taken to protect these bases”.

But the generals in Niamey hit back despatching a communication to the French foreign ministry that Macron’s envoy, Ambassador Sylvain Itté “no longer enjoys the privileges and immunities attached to his status as a member of the diplomatic staff of the French Embassy”; his “diplomatic cards and visas” and those of his family members “are cancelled”; and, the Niger police “have been instructed to proceed with the expulsion” of Itté. It is a humiliating rebuff to Macron. He has no option now but to dial back his threat. A bloodbath in Niger to vent his anger at the deportation of his ambassador will be disastrous for France’s international standing. Besides, a “known unknown” factor also comes into play which will make Paris (and Washington) think twice — the ghost of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin. This needs explaining.

Although no credible source has linked Russia to the coup in Niger, its strong connection with interventions in African countries — Central African Republic, Sudan, Mali and Libya — through the Wagner group leaves unanswered questions. This of course brings up the circumstances of the plane crash of Prigozhin in mysterious circumstances, which Russian investigators now estimate as an act of sabotage. There is no question that Prigozhin was an obstacle to the US/NATO plans in Africa. John Varoli, former foreign correspondent for New York Times, Bloomberg and Reuters TV (who was based in Moscow from 1992 to 2013 and was “trained as a US foreign policy expert with a focus on Russia and Ukraine”) wrote a riveting blog in Substack recently where he concluded on the following lines:

“More than anyone, the CIA and Kiev had a score to settle and wanted Prigozhin dead… Projecting Russian influence into Africa is a crucial part of Putin’s foreign policy, and Wagner is the key to this success. Relations with African leaders are built on Prigozhin’s personal charisma… Likewise, by eliminating Prigozhin and his top officers, NATO has dealt a blow to the Kremlin’s ambitions in Africa… Like with any high-profile assassination, we will never know the full truth. But one thing is for certain — the U.S., certain NATO members and Ukraine benefit the most from Prigozhin’s demise, while the Kremlin gains absolutely nothing. All available information points to Western involvement and guilt.”

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All roads lead to Africa.

History’s Starting to Rhyme – The Fight for Uranium (Jim Rickards)

Another conflict with escalatory potential involves the state of Niger, located in the Sahara desert. A recent military coup d’état overthrew the elected government several weeks ago (although the coup leaders contend the election was fraudulent). Some surveys show that the military junta enjoys broad popular support. Niger is France’s largest supplier of uranium, while France is one of the largest builders of nuclear power plants in the world. France desperately needs to restore order in Niger, including forcing the junta to step aside and reinstate the elected government. France has special forces including the French Foreign Legion ready to intervene. However, France does not want to proceed unilaterally, and is trying to recruit African allies to join the invasion.

The most significant regional grouping is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which includes both Francophone states like Senegal and Côte D’Ivoire and important Anglophone states such as Nigeria. France is recruiting ECOWAS to participate in its invasion of Niger. ECOWAS members are divided on the idea. In any case, ECOWAS action would require approval of the African Union and possibly the United Nations as well as weeks of mobilization. So no military action is likely for several months at the earliest. There’s no evidence that Russia was involved in the Niger coup, but Russia certainly stands as a major beneficiary. Russia is the other large manufacturer of nuclear power plants in addition to France. Russia gets its uranium from inside Russia, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian republics. (Russia also owns large amounts of U.S. uranium deposits obtained in a deal authorized by Hillary Clinton in exchange for huge donations to the Clinton Foundation).

If Russia can cut off France’s access to Nigérien uranium, it will tighten its hold on global uranium supplies and enhance its position as a provider of nuclear power plants. There is some talk now (not confirmed) that Russia may offer support to the Nigérien coup, including possible deployment of the Wagner Group mercenary army. That would greatly complicate any plans for French or ECOWAS involvement. Again, we would have the specter of Russia (via Wagner) and France (a NATO member) squaring off in a war for uranium in the Sahara desert. The escalatory potential is obvious. By the way, the bloodthirsty Victoria Nuland visited Niger recently and was not warmly received. She departed the country empty-handed. No doubt she left some threats of U.S. support for the French behind.

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“The only reason that JPMorgan after 16 years reported the $1 billion in suspicious transactions was because he was arrested and then he was dead..”

OK, what makes them suspicious? And isn’t there a law that says these MUST be reported -when they happen, not 16 years later?!

Also: what are the names on the transfers? We don’t get even one?

JPMorgan Flagged Over $1 Billion In Suspicious Epstein Transfers (ZH)

JPMorgan flagged over $1 billion in suspicious transactions linked to deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, which the bank reported to the US government, the US Virgin Islands has claimed in its lawsuit against the bank. “JPMorgan was a full-service bank for Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking,” said Mimi Liu, an attorney for the USVI, which says the enormous sum bolsters key allegations in their legal action against the bank, which they say knowingly benefited from Epstein’s wrongdoing, Bloomberg reports, noting that this is the first time in the case that the ‘sheer volume of Epstein’s financial activity at JPMorgan over a 16-year period has been disclosed.’ The suspicious activity was detailed in a 2019 filing to the US Department of Treasury, a USVI attorney told a federal court in Manhattan on Thursday.

The filing was made after Epstein died in a Manhattan jail cell a month after his arrest on sex trafficking charges. Epstein had been with the bank from the late 1990s through 2013, when they finally cut ties with him. Epstein notoriously trafficked some of his victims to a private island in the USVI. JPMorgan denies that it let Epstein’s activities slide, and says it reported around 150 cash transactions to a federal regulator between 2002 and 2013. Last month, the USVI told the judge in the case that the bank facilitated over $1.1 million in payments from Jeffrey Epstein to “girls or women,” many of whom had Eastern European surnames. Over $320,000 of the payments were made to “numerous individuals for whom JPMorgan had no previously identified payments,” Singer wrote, accusing the bank of failing to disclose the payments until after the end of discovery – the period in which parties in a lawsuit exchange evidence.

The bank claims that’s irrelevant, because the USVI doesn’t have legal standing to claim JPMorgan obstructed a trafficking investigation because it wasn’t a victim. That said, Liu is urging the judge in the case to decide various claims in the USVI’s favor without a trial. “The only reason that JPMorgan after 16 years reported the $1 billion in suspicious transactions was because he was arrested and then he was dead,” she said. JPMorgan claims they had no idea what Epstein was up to – pointing to depositions from current and former employees who say they had no knowledge of the trafficking. “There is hotly disputed testimony and evidence,” said Feliia Ellsworth, an attorney for the bank.

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BRICS and human rights.

BRICS and the Future of Humanity (Solo)

In Egypt, there are over 60,000 political prisoners and arbitrary detentions. There is also torture, enforced disappearances, death sentences; the persecution of independent journalists and the repression of any dissent are the order of the day. In Iran, the protests following the murder of the young Masha Amini were brutally repressed, leading to several death sentences after show trials. Here too, arrests (often of journalists, accused of documenting protests and abuses), torture, and enforced disappearances, not to mention discrimination against women and the persecution of gays and lesbians are widespread. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy where human rights are systematically violated, freedom of expression is attacked and women are discriminated against by law.

Here too there are unfair trials, arbitrary detentions and death sentences often imposed for simply participating in sit-ins and protests. With the bombings in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has also caused massacres of civilians and one of the most serious humanitarian crises in the world. In the UAE, consensual same-sex relationships between adults are criminalized and political dissidents are subjected to abuse, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment. Press freedom is hindered and limited by controls and bans. In India, democracy is degenerating into an increasingly totalitarian form and aims to transform a multilingual and multireligious country into a monolithic entity dominated by a fanatical Hindu party. Protests and dissent are repressed and religious and ethnic minorities persecuted.

As of 2022, the NGO Reporters Without Borders ranks China as one of the ten countries in the world with the least freedom of the press. In Russia, conscientious objectors and all those who refuse to participate in the war against Ukraine are persecuted, arrested and imprisoned. Brazil, Argentina and South Africa are the only BRICS members to have abolished the death penalty. China invaded Tibet in 1950 and annexed it in 1959, bloodily suppressing the revolt of the population; a situation that continues today. Russia has been carrying on an invasion war in Ukraine for over a year that has caused thousands of dead and wounded and terrible devastation, which is countered by an equally criminal warmongering policy by NATO, the European Union and the United States.

Currently, only Brazil and South Africa are among the 92 signatories and 68 states parties to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Among the remaining BRICS members India, Russia and China are nuclear powers with expanding arsenals.

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Skull moth
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697615347153510622

 

 

Jump

 

 

Alpaca

 

 

Pelican

 

 

Sea slug
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697636709955936532

 

 

Dogfather

 

 

 

 

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Aug 272023
 


Gustave Dore Dante and the Angel of the Church before the Door of Purgatory 1868

 

‘US In Conflict With Itself’ – Medvedev (RT)
Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Has Failed – It’s Time to Reevaluate (Greenwald)
Biden Staffers Met With Special Counsel Aides Before Trump Indictment (NYP)
The House Has No Alternative to an Impeachment Inquiry into Joe Biden (Turley)
Fired Ukraine Prosecutor Corroborates Biden Corruption (ZH)
World Laughing At EU Over Russia Sanctions – Hungary (RT)
Tucker Carlson Blasts ‘Creep’ US Ambassador To Hungary (RT)
No, Biden Can’t Wage Forever War in Ukraine (Sp.)
Biden Administration Sought Control Over TikTok (RT)
Prigozhin, Putin, and What Next? (VandenHeuvel)
I Just Want To Sell Titty Pictures (ZH)

 

 

 

 

VDH

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

“Such domestic conflicts often end with a civil war.”

“Biden’s resolve to aid Kiev against Russia has made him “a hostage of Ukraine, which is very sad for both Ukraine and the US..”

‘US In Conflict With Itself’ – Medvedev (RT)

The highly toxic political climate in the US feels like the confrontation between Democrats and Republicans can spiral into a full-blown civil war, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has said. Speaking to RT and news agency TASS on Saturday, Medvedev said that there was “a colossal rift between the elites” in the US. “It’s a clash between the conservative Republican establishment and the liberal segment, represented by the Democratic Party, which has actually torn America apart.” “America is currently in a state of internal strife. America is conflicting with itself,” Medvedev, who is currently the deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council, argued. “Moreover, in my view, this strife is irreconcilable in some aspects. Such domestic conflicts often end with a civil war.”

“I don’t know what will happen in the US, but the level of the conflict right now is [high],” the Russian politician noted. To illustrate his point, Medvedev brought up the ongoing criminal prosecution of ex-president Donald Trump, who is seeking the Republican Party nomination to run against incumbent Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election. Medvedev claimed that the charges against Trump were brought “not for the sake of justice, but to prevent Trump from participating in the new election.” Asked whether there were similarities between the administration of Barack Obama and the Biden White House in terms of dealing with conflicts, Medvedev said that there was more “pragmatism” during the Obama years.

He went on to argue that Biden has been more “involved mentally, politically and economically” in Ukraine, which had “tied up his hands.” Biden’s resolve to aid Kiev against Russia has made him “a hostage of Ukraine, which is very sad for both Ukraine and the US,”Medvedev said. Trump is facing a litany of criminal charges, including for allegedly mishandling classified documents and attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. On Saturday, he was booked at a Georgia jail and released on bail, becoming the first US leader to have a mugshot taken.

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“..the war in Ukraine is following exactly the same pattern as every other U.S. war fought over the last 50 years.”

Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Has Failed – It’s Time to Reevaluate (Greenwald)

There is no question that the war in Ukraine has radically changed. Even Western media outlets that have been steadfastly cheerleading for this war – and, indeed, even Ukrainians themselves – are now admitting what battlefield realities dispositively prove. The much-vaunted Ukrainian counter-offensive – the imminent dramatic event we were assured for months would be transformative in finally giving Ukraine the upper hand and dislodging entrenched Russian positions inside Ukraine: a claim that doubled as a propaganda tool to assuage a growingly restless Western population about their endless support for this war – is now, no matter how you slice it, a failure.

After months of multi-pronged attacks, Ukraine’s gains are so minimal and trivial as to be barely worth noting. Russia continues to occupy a very significant chunk of both Eastern and southern Ukraine, along with Crimea which they have held since 2014. Even Western intelligence reports acknowledge that the Russians’ defensive positions are more fortified and entrenched than any seen in decades. The U.S. has already depleted its own stockpiles of artillery and other vital weapons and simply does not have to give Ukraine what they need to have any hope of changing this situation in anything resembling the near- or the short-term future.

What makes all of this vastly worse is that the cost to Ukrainians in their lives is staggeringly high. Consider just this one harrowing data point: more Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the first 18 months of this war than the number of American soldiers killed during the decade-plus war in Vietnam. The Ukrainian men who were eager to fight and who volunteered to do so have long ago been used up – killed, maimed, or exhausted. Zelensky’s only option for continuing combat is to increase domestic repression, impose greater and greater punishment for desertion, and use harsher and harsher means to force those unwilling to fight to do so against their will. In so many ways, this conflict resembles some of the worst horrors of World War I, including the need to put unwilling men who do not want to fight the deeply grim choice of either offering themselves up as cannon fodder or facing unimaginably harsh punishments by a government completely unconstrained by basic considerations of human rights or legal process, operating under full-scale martial law.

At this point, debates over who is to blame for this war barely matter. All that does matter is the question of how this will end, and who will end it. It is simply becoming unsustainable – politically, economically, and morally – to justify having Western nations pour their resources into fueling and continuing this war that Ukraine has less and less chance of winning. At the start of the war, many who claim that the real goal of the US was not to save Ukraine and Ukrainians but rather to destroy them – at the altar of their geostrategic goal of weakening Russia – were accused of being callous and conspiratorial. Now, there is little reasonable space to contest that they were right all along.

Joe Biden just asked for another $25 billion to keep this war going – as he offered $700 checks per household to the victims of the Maui fire and as profits for the European arms industry reach such record heights that they do not even bother to conceal their glee. Even if you were someone who supported the US role in Ukraine back in February of 2022 with the best of intentions – namely, you wanted to help a country seeing to avoid Russian domination – the failed nature of this mission has to compel a re-evaluation of perspective and policy. The last thing this war is doing is protecting Ukraine and Ukrainians. It is destroying both of those while imposing suffering among everyone in the U.S. and Western countries other than a tiny sliver of arms dealers and intelligence agencies. In other words, the war in Ukraine is following exactly the same pattern as every other U.S. war fought over the last 50 years.

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“..they have trashed every ethical rule that exists and they have created a state police. It is a Biden state prosecutor and a Biden state police..”

Biden Staffers Met With Special Counsel Aides Before Trump Indictment (NYP)

The White House counsel’s office met with a top aide to Special Counsel Jack Smith just weeks before he brought charges against former President Trump for allegedly mishandling classified documents — raising serious concerns about coordinated legal efforts aimed at President Biden’s likely opponent in 2024. Jay Bratt, who joined the special counsel team in November 2022, shortly after it was formed, took a meeting in the White House on March 31, 2023, with Caroline Saba, deputy chief of staff for the White House counsel’s office, White House visitor logs show. They were joined in the 10 a.m. meeting by Danielle Ray, an FBI agent in the Washington field office. Nine weeks later, Trump was indicted by Smith’s office on June 8, 2023.

Bratt, 63, also met with Saba at the White House in November 2021, when Trump was mired in negotiations with the National Archives, who were demanding the return of presidential records from his Mar-a-Lago estate before a formal investigation had not yet been opened. Saba, who is not an attorney, left the White House in May to attend law school. Bratt had a third meeting in the White House in September 2021, this time with Katherine Reily, an advisor to the White House chief of staff’s office. The logs offer no information about what was discussed at the meetings. Critics and legal experts questioned why Bratt was taking meetings at all with the White House counsel’s office while part of an active investigation into President Biden’s likely 2024 Republican opponent.

“There is no legitimate purpose for a line [DOJ] guy to be meeting with the White House except if it’s coordinated by the highest levels,” said former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a one-time top federal prosecutor in the Southern District. Caroline Saba, a deputy chief of staff for the White House counsel’s office, met with Jay Bratt at the White House, records show. When asked if he believed the White House and special counsel were coordinating the prosecution of Trump, Giuliani said: “You’re damn right I do.” “What’s happening is they have trashed every ethical rule that exists and they have created a state police. It is a Biden state prosecutor and a Biden state police,” he continued.

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“While Garland seems incapable of imagining any crime involving the president, he has made a conclusive — if unintended — case for an impeachment inquiry.“

The House Has No Alternative to an Impeachment Inquiry into Joe Biden (Turley)

House Republicans had previously demanded that Weiss and his team answer questions about the investigation and the plea bargain. And an appearance before a House committee was planned when Garland suddenly preempted that by doing what many of us have demanded for years: He appointed a special counsel. To the amazement of many, though, he appointed the one prosecutor who should have been categorically excluded — David Weiss. Section 600.3 of the DOJ’s code on special counsels requires an appointment from outside the Justice Department, for obvious reasons. While another prior special counsel, John Durham, also came from within the Justice Department, Durham was retiring from the department at the time of his appointment.

Not only did Garland have to ignore his own regulations to appoint Weiss but he also had to ignore the main qualification: The appointed outside counsel should be someone with “a reputation for integrity and impartial decision-making.” Weiss could well have a legitimate defense to Republican complaints that he ran a fixed investigation into Hunter or accusations that he made false statements to his own team. However, he clearly remains under suspicion by many people. That is reflected in an ABC News/Ipsos poll in which almost half of Americans lack trust that the DOJ will conduct the Hunter Biden investigation in a “fair and nonpartisan manner.” In addition to this controversial appointment, Garland again refused to expressly extend the special counsel’s mandate to include influence-peddling allegations involving President Biden.

Even some liberal pundits are mystified by these moves and why Garland would not simply appoint someone in compliance with the regulations who could guarantee a new and full investigation. So Weiss is now investigating crimes that continue to dwindle in number due to the long delays in prosecution. It is like waiting for winter to go goose hunting in Canada, long after the geese have flown South. Everyone just gets dressed up and fires aimlessly into an empty sky. While Hunter still can be charged on the same meager grounds (and possibly the addition of a Foreign Agents Registration Act charge), the alleged fix remains in the Biden investigation. Now, however, Congress will have a more difficult time getting answers out of Weiss because he can claim he is engaged in an ongoing special counsel investigation, and he can use the eventual special counsel report as much to defend his own actions as to detail any potential crimes.

At the same time, the Biden administration still is resisting the sharing of information with the House, including records held by the National Archives. For months, I have discussed a potential impeachment of the president with Republican House members and have encouraged them not to repeat the abuses of House Democrats in the use of “snap impeachments” and the discarding of fact hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. Garland, however, has effectively forced their hands. While Garland seems incapable of imagining any crime involving the president, he has made a conclusive — if unintended — case for an impeachment inquiry.

With the investigative impediments created by the Weiss appointment and by Garland’s refusal to expressly extend the special counsel’s mandate to the allegations of Biden family influence-peddling, there is little choice but to commence an impeachment inquiry. The authority of the House is at its apex when carrying out its duties under the impeachment clause. Whatever interest — or ability — remains to prosecute Hunter Biden, Congress has a separate duty to confirm any high crimes and misdemeanors committed by President Biden. Indeed, the Democrats themselves established precedent for carrying out retroactive impeachments for prior offices, including any which may have occurred when Biden was vice president. With the current state of the Hunter Biden investigation and the baffling conduct of Attorney General Garland, there is no alternative for the House but to launch the impeachment inquiry.

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“The fact that Joe Biden gave away $1 billion in U.S. money in exchange for my dismissal – my firing – isn’t that alone a case of corruption?”

Fired Ukraine Prosecutor Corroborates Biden Corruption (ZH)

Victor Shokin, the fired Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Biden family corruption (that Donald Trump was impeached for asking about) has spoken out for the first time since 2019 – and says the Bidens did it. To review – Shokin had an active and ongoing investigation into Ukrainian energy company Burisma and its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, according to a 2020 US Senate Committee report. Zlochevsky, who hired Hunter Biden to sit on his board, granted his own company (Burisma) permits to drill for oil and gas in Ukraine while he was Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources. Shokin stated in a 2019 deposition that there were five criminal cases against Zlochevesky, including money laundering, corruption, illegal funds transfers, and profiteering through shell corporations while he was a sitting minister.

Now, Shokin tells Fox News that be believes the Bidens were taking bribes. “I do not want to deal in unproven facts. But my firm personal conviction is that yes, this was the case. They were being bribed,” Shokin told the outlet. “The fact that Joe Biden gave away $1 billion in U.S. money in exchange for my dismissal – my firing – isn’t that alone a case of corruption?” he asks in another clip. The full interview with Shokin will air Saturday evening at 8pm ET with Brian Kilmeade. According to the White House, Fox News is giving a “platform to lies” by airing the interview. Republicans, meanwhile, aren’t letting this one go. Earlier this week we noted that memos obtained by Just the News via FOIA request reveal that the Obama Administration was still actively communicating with Shokin after Biden’s December 2015 threat to withhold $1 billion in US aid unless then-President Petro Poroshenko fired him.

The memos reveal: • Senior State Department officials sent a conflicting message to Shokin before he was fired, inviting his staff to Washington for a January 2016 strategy session and sent him a personal note saying they were “impressed” with his office’s work. • U.S. officials faced pressure from Burisma emissaries in the United States to make the corruption allegations go away and feared the energy firm had made two bribery payments in Ukraine as part of an effort to get cases settled. • A top U.S. official in Kyiv blamed Hunter Biden for undercutting U.S. anticorruption policy in Ukraine through his dealings with Burisma. Meanwhile, nobody else seems interested in what Shokin has to say.

Shokin

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“..we are literally destroying Europe.”

World Laughing At EU Over Russia Sanctions – Hungary (RT)

Europe is “destroying” itself in the name of supporting Ukraine, and the EU’s sanctions policy is a laughing stock on the global stage, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has declared. He repeated his government’s position that the conflict in Ukraine “must end this minute.” It would be a “baroque and poetic exaggeration” to say that sanctions against Russia have succeeded in crippling the Russian economy, Szijjarto told attendees at the Tranzit political festival on Saturday. “The policy of sanctions has failed,” he said, adding that “everywhere in the world, the European sanctions policy is being laughed at.” The EU has imposed 11 successive rounds of sanctions on Russia since Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine last February. While the EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, claimed on Saturday that the sanctions are “producing hard, tangible effects across Russia’s economy,” the IMF has forecast that the Russian economy will continue to grow by 0.7% this year and 1.3% in 2024.

By contrast, the Eurozone entered recession earlier this year after the bloc voluntarily cut itself off from Russia, its largest foreign energy supplier. With the energy crunch crippling German industrial output in particular, Russia overtook Germany as the world’s fifth-largest economy last year, according to the World Bank. European leaders have embraced these self-harming sanctions because they “are in a war psychosis,” Szijjarto said, adding that EU military aid to Kiev is also directly threatening security on the continent. “The USA has pushed Europe into the competition of who will help Ukraine and how much: a military aid competition,” he said, lamenting that European politicians “accepted this provocation” even though “we are literally destroying Europe.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has refused to allow Western weapons to enter Ukraine via Hungarian territory, and Szijjarto has repeatedly voted in Brussels against increasing the EU’s arms fund for Kiev. Although Hungary is a party to all of the EU’s sanctions packages, Orban has managed to carve out exemptions for Hungary to continue oil and nuclear fuel imports from Russia in exchange for supporting these measures. Orban and Szijjarto have both repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, arguing that Kiev cannot hope to defeat Russia on the battlefield, and that the longer the conflict persists, the greater the risk of escalation, and the worse the final terms will be for Ukraine. “The only morally tenable position is [that] the war must end this minute,” he said on Saturday.

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“It’s a Christian country, and they hate that. That is enough to incite our policymakers in the United States. That’s exactly why they hate Russia, by the way.”

Tucker Carlson Blasts ‘Creep’ US Ambassador To Hungary (RT)

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has called for the firing of US Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman, saying the diplomat has undermined the interests of Americans by trying to impose an LGBTQ agenda rather than building stronger relations with Budapest. Speaking at an event earlier this week in Budapest, Carlson said he was compelled to apologize for the treatment of Hungary by President Joe Biden’s administration. “The world is realigning at high speed and turning against the United States, but the Biden administration is spending its time harassing one of our last sincere allies in Europe, Hungary, for the crime of being too Christian,” he said. Carlson claimed that Biden administration officials hate Hungary, just as they hate Russia, for defending Christian values.

Pressman, a California-born lawyer who formerly worked as an aide to then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, has harangued Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government for policies restricting promotion of LGBTQ lifestyles. “For a creep like David Pressman . . . to show up in your country and lecture you about your culture – and threaten you because you do things differently from the way they do things where he lives – hurts the United States and is a grave embarrassment to me as an American and an outrage to me as someone who pays his salary,” Carlson said. “It’s disgusting.” He added, “I’m embarrassed that I share a country of birth with a man, with a villain like this. It’s horrifying.” Carlson argued that Pressman works on behalf of special interests, rather than the American people.

He added, “They hate Hungary, and they hate it not because of what it’s done but because of what it is. It’s a Christian country, and they hate that. That is enough to incite our policymakers in the United States. That’s exactly why they hate Russia, by the way.” He suggested that Hungarians “wait it out” because the US is on an unsustainable political path. “You can’t run a global empire on the imposition of boutique sexual politics on countries that don’t want them.” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto rebuked Pressman in February for allegedly meddling in Budapest’s internal affairs. The US ambassador had accused Hungarian leaders of pushing policies endorsed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Szijjarto declared that the era of foreign envoys telling Hungarians how to live was over.

Carlson likened Pressman’s behavior to the dictates of the Soviet Union, saying the Biden administration was engaged in “exactly the same kind of tyranny.” He added that just as the Soviets imposed their ideology, Washington demands that you “worship transvestites. It’s not so different. It’s a foreign power pushing its weird boutique religion on you, and it’s wrong.” Formerly host of the most highly rated cable news show in US history, Carlson now attracts an even larger audience on his X (formerly known as Twitter) channel. Major US media outlets have lied about the Russia-Ukraine crisis to the extent that most Americans falsely believe that Kiev is winning the conflict, he added. “It’s embarrassing to be from a place that has been lied to at scale and believed the lies so thoroughly.”

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“..the territorial gains of Ukraine’s much vaunted counteroffensive have been so miniscule, they are barely visible on a map.”

No, Biden Can’t Wage Forever War in Ukraine (Sp.)

The US mainstream media has hinted at the possibility of a new Ukraine counteroffensive next year. Reportedly, Biden administration officials are privately bracing for a “war of attrition” that will last well into next year. According to The Wall Street Journal, “military strategists and policymakers across the West are already starting to think about next year’s spring offensive” while preparing for a protracted conflict. Having analyzed the publications, one DC-based think tank, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, has raised the question whether the White House is going to unleash a new “forever war” in Ukraine. “I do not believe the US and NATO have sufficient weapons and ammunitions to help Ukraine fight Russia until next spring and beyond,” David T. Pyne, an EMP Task Force scholar and former US Department of Defense officer, told Sputnik.

“Credible US media reports earlier this year stated that the Biden administration had informed the Ukrainian government that it lacked the ability to support Ukraine militarily at a high rate past summer 2023. There is nothing that has been done to increase US munitions or weapons production since those reports came out that would allow the US to arm the Ukrainian military to enable it to fight Russia at the same intensity level beyond that timeframe. The main problem is munitions, specifically heavy artillery shells. This increasing artillery shell shortage will only serve to increase Russian superiority over Ukraine in terms of missiles, rockets, and artillery systems if the war continues beyond September.” The provision of more NATO-grade conventional weapons won’t become a “magic bullet” for Ukraine, either, according to the military analyst.

Pyne takes the reports about planned deliveries of General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons to Kiev and training of Ukrainian pilots undertaken by the US and its NATO allies with a pinch of salt. He believes that the provision of 50-60 early-model F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine is unlikely to make much of a difference in the course of the conflict. “Russia has over fifteen times more fighter aircraft than Ukraine has right now so these additional fighters will not serve to meaningfully diminish Russian air superiority over Ukraine,” Pyne said. “Furthermore, it will take five to eight months to train Ukrainian pilots to fly these F-16 after they have completed English language training, meaning they will not likely see combat until early 2024 at the earliest.”

The military expert noted that US advocates of further weapons supplies to Kiev have been insisting since April 2022 that “if the West just provides with a limited number of additional major weapon systems, then somehow that will enable Ukraine to force Russian troops back to Russia’s pre-2014 borders.” However, all those predictions have proven wrong. “The reality is that there is no conventional weapon system that NATO could provide to Ukraine that would serve as a ‘game changer’ to enable it to defeat Russia which has over five times as many tanks, combat aircraft and artillery systems than Ukraine has. Russia also has 300,000 reserve troops bordering on Kharkov oblast which could be used for a major offensive to surround tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops in southeast Ukraine to force Ukraine to admit defeat and accept a ceasefire and armistice agreement on Russian terms,” Pyne stressed.

What’s more, the Biden administration is going to have a difficult time getting additional aid approved by Congress, according to the former Pentagon officer. “America First conservative Republicans wield substantial influence in the US House of Representatives, and they are very much averse to providing Ukraine with additional assistance of any kind, let alone another $13 billion in direct military assistance. Furthermore, even pro-war congressional Republicans are reportedly questioning the wisdom of providing additional military assistance to Ukraine since the territorial gains of Ukraine’s much vaunted counteroffensive have been so miniscule, they are barely visible on a map.”

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”TikTok has over 150 million American users spending 90 minutes or more on the platform..”

Biden Administration Sought Control Over TikTok (RT)

The Biden administration sought to gain control over nearly every aspect of the inner workings of social media behemoth TikTok as part of negotiations allowing its continued operation in the US, according to a draft agreement obtained by Forbes last week. The agreement, which runs to nearly 100 pages, would reportedly give the White House a level of control over the Chinese-owned platform even greater than that which it was found last year to be exercising over US-based competitors like Facebook and Twitter, allowing government officials to not only monitor and influence the conversation on the platform but also to interfere in the day-to-day operations of TikTok in the US.

Government agencies like the Department of Justice and Department of Defense would have full authority to examine TikTok’s servers, equipment, records, facilities, and other properties, according to the draft. They could also block changes to the app’s US terms of service, privacy policy, and moderation policies and veto the hiring of any individual involved in data security for the US. The agreement would also force TikTok and its parent company ByteDance to submit to outside audits, assessments, code inspections, and cybersecurity checks by supposedly independent entities chosen by the US government. The company would be required to foot the bill for these intrusions.

The platform’s US staff could even have been required to exclude ByteDance’s executives from security-related decisions, instead deferring to an executive security committee whose actions would also be concealed from ByteDance. This committee’s primary responsibility would be maintaining US national security first and TikTok’s profitability second. The draft seen by Forbes, dated last summer, is the product of months of exchanges between ByteDance and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which oversees foreign involvement in business deals that could potentially impact national security and has been investigating ByteDance for four years. TikTok has repeatedly been threatened with a blanket ban or forced sale of its US assets to an American competitor as both President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump claimed the platform is used by Beijing for information warfare.

CFIUS renewed the call for a ban or sale in March after the DOJ launched an investigation into ByteDance employees using TikTok to spy on American journalists. A spokesperson for ByteDance confirmed the surveillance but attributed it to rogue employees who have since been fired. TikTok has over 150 million American users spending 90 minutes or more on the platform. While the company pledged in 2021 to isolate US user data on servers owned by tech giant Oracle to assuage spying concerns, Biden prohibited its use by federal employees in December and dozens of state and city governments have followed suit.

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“He went so far as to declare that it was in fact Russia who militarized Ukraine by launching the invasion..”

Prigozhin, Putin, and What Next? (VandenHeuvel)

A Russian friend texted me soon after learning that the head of Wagner private military company (PMC), Yevgeny Prigozhin, had been killed in a private plane crash, midway between Moscow and his native city of St. Petersburg. My friend had just seen the New York Post headline, “Russian dissident Prigozhin reported dead after a plane crash outside Moscow.” My friend, a longtime independent editor whose paper has published—and protected—dissidents, was apoplectic. “Dissident!?” Between May 2022 and May 2023, the Russian government paid $1 billion to Wagner for military and other services (including inflated catering prices for poorly paid soldiers). Indeed, Putin has said, “We fully funded this group.” (At the time this went to press, Prigozhin’s death had still not been officially confirmed.) If Prigozhin was not already a household name in Russia following the attempted rebellion that The New York Times says exposed him as Putin’s “biggest threat,” he certainly was after his Embraer private jet crashed.

Prigozhin’s Wagner Group operated in several African countries, including the Central African Republic and Sudan, as well as in Syria as of 2015 and in Ukraine since 2014. It captivated governments and media across the globe and made international headlines after having declared a “March on Moscow” to remove what they decried as the incompetent and corrupt Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. Following Wagner’s seizure of a regional military command, the downing of seven Russian aircraft on their way to Moscow, and Putin’s determined speech accusing the mutineers of treason and vowing punishment, the rebellion was halted in dramatic fashion. The charges leveled against Prigozhin and his supporters were dropped following a still unclear agreement ostensibly mediated by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Nevertheless, Prigozhin’s ultimately aborted armed rebellion mesmerized Western audiences who had long believed that Putin’s downfall was just around the corner. The June events followed Wagner’s brutal, yet ultimately successful, tactics in Ukraine–most infamously in the battle of Bakhmut. Although Wagner had initially been seen as subordinate to the Ministry of Defense, Prigozhin increasingly became one of the loudest critics of the Russian invasion from the nationalist right. He demanded more ammunition for his fighters and the intensification of the war effort, and he directly criticized the military leadership–eventually questioning Putin’s justifications for the “special military operation” itself.

During the months-long battle for Bakhmut, commentators had rationalized Prigozhin’s freedom to directly criticize the war’s conduct as due to his being in Russia’s so-called “party of war” camp, which fervently supports the extension of the conflict into a full-scale war. Nevertheless, Prigozhin’s confidence (or desperation) had been visibly increasing in the months prior to the attempted rebellion. He had directly questioned, via his 1,000,000 followers on Telegram, the objectives of the “special military operation,” one of which was to demilitarize Ukraine. Prigozhin remarked how before the full-scale invasion of 2022, Ukraine had “maybe 500 tanks” and “twenty thousand skillful fighters,” but now it had thousands of tanks and hundreds of thousands of skilled fighters. He went so far as to declare that it was in fact Russia who militarized Ukraine by launching the invasion that caused unprecedented military aid to be delivered by the coalition supporting Kyiv. As Anatol Lieven, of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, points out, Putin initially encouraged Wagner as a “rival force” to the professional army, but this ultimately had “damaging results” for his regime.

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Demonetized.

I Just Want To Sell Titty Pictures (ZH)

Sex workers – who frequently face financial discrimination, losing access to payment apps and banking apps such as PayPal, Venmo and CashApp due to their profession – began using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as an alternative for payments, which bypass traditional banking systems and avoid service fees from platforms such as OnlyFans. According to data by the Free Speech Coalition, 2/3 of sex workers have lost access to a bank account or financial service, with 40% having an account closed within the last year, Wired reports. “I just want to sell titty pictures,” said Allie Eve Knox, a professional dominatrix and fetish performer. “I never wanted to be an expert in financial discrimination.” After starting out in sex work in 2014, Knox, like others in the field, has become something of a financial pariah.

The first to ban her were the payment apps—PayPal, Venmo, and CashApp—which prohibit the sale of adult content as policy. But then Knox lost her bank account too. It took a week to recover her money. Nine years on and 30-plus bans later, Knox is jaded: “I don’t want to have to know how to run money to different places. I don’t want to deal with any of this bullshit.” -Wired. Another sex worker, Allie Rae, an ICU worker by training, began posting on OnlyFans when her husband was placed on work furlough. After a short period of time, she was making nearly $500,000 per month more than her day job – but she says she quickly ran into trouble. After her OnlyFans account was discovered by her employer, she was fired. She also found that realtors shunned her, lenders refused to extend a mortgage and accountants ghosted her.

Rae eventually established a corporation to run her business through, however no major bank would open a business account. “Left and right, it’s been a struggle,” she told the outlet. “I was very naive—I didn’t understand the magnitude of the discrimination.” In short, in a world that embraces the gig economy, where YouTubers and Instagram influencers can become millionaires, sex workers have found themselves in a peculiar form of exile. Given the systemic discrimination throughout the banking sector, many sex workers have turned to cryptocurrencies as a means of both storing wealth and accepting payment. For a while, things were great. Digital currencies allowed customers to pay discreetly without supplying personal information, while sex workers now had a way to bypass the banking system entirely.

Knox, for example, began accepting crypto in 2014 – holding up a QR code through which viewers could tip her in crypto. Another sex worker, former escort-turned-porn star Lira Roux, told the outlet that she began to accept crypto in 2015 at the request of clients. Initially, she would exchange the crypto for dollars, however when new laws came into effect – after which many adult-friendly advertising sites were barred from accepting regular money – she began to pay for ads with crypto too. “By and large, crypto is useful for people that aren’t being taken care of properly by the government,” Roux said. “For sex workers, who aren’t well-served by banks, it becomes a useful option.”

Now, thanks to regulatory scrutiny which has gone into overdrive since the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, sex workers are ‘bumping up’ against limitations – and are finding that ‘decentralized’ crypto is no more detached from the banking system than traditional currency – as sex workers are finding it increasingly difficult to convert crypto into dollars. Typically, this is done via an exchange, which then allows one to withdraw to a traditional bank account. Sex workers are now being banned from crypto exchanges. “You get on an exchange for as long as you can, until they shut your ass down,” said Knox. “You quickly [run out of exchanges], so you sit on a lot of useless money. The whole ‘crypto is permissionless and censorship-resistant’ thing is a bunch of bullshit.”

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Handpan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1695363907282444337

 

 

Polly
https://twitter.com/i/status/1695439851510706578

 

 

 

 

Frederik

 

 

Roar

 

 

Puppies- so cute….
https://twitter.com/i/status/1695328439937429802

 

 


The saiga antelope is a critically endangered antelope that originally inhabited a vast area of the Eurasian steppe zone

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 262023
 
 August 26, 2023  Posted by at 8:31 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  55 Responses »


Gustave Dore Dante and The Ninth Circle of Hell (Treachery) 1857

 

Europeans Fear Biden Will Push Ukraine To Peace – Bloomberg (RT)
US To Reduce Military Aid To Ukraine In 2024 – WSJ (RT)
Ukraine Mess Will Cost US $600 Bln More Even If Fighting Stopped Tomorrow (Sp.)
Ukraine Ends With ‘Post-Zelensky Warlord’ – Ramaswamy (RT)
‘Total Lie’ Russia Killed Prigozhin – Kremlin (RT)
Who’s Afraid Of Prigozhin And Wagner? (Bhadrakumar)
Expanded BRICS To Dominate Global Energy Markets (RT)
BRICS 11 – Strategic Tour de Force (Pepe Escobar)
Trump’s First X Post Gets Over 210 MILLION Views In 24 Hours (DCE)
Trump Mugshot Turned Into Merch (RT)
The Trump Mugshot Ignites a Tinderbox Nation (Turley)
Campaign Photo (Jim Kunstler)
Elon Musk Says He’s Being Sued For ‘Political Purposes’ (RT)

 

 

 

 

Trump ad

 

 

 

 

Huntersgate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, we can’t have that.

Europeans Fear Biden Will Push Ukraine To Peace – Bloomberg (RT)

European officials are concerned that US President Joe Biden could “nudge” Ukraine toward peace talks next year, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing anonymous sources. Bloomberg is the second major US outlet this week to warn that American military aid to Kiev may soon dry up. According to the US news site, European leaders worry that Ukraine’s lack of “significant battlefield progress,” coupled with pressure from the anti-interventionist wing of the Republican Party, could lead to Biden pressing Kiev to the negotiating table. The US has supplied more than $43 billion worth of arms to Ukraine since Russia’s military operation began last year, but the Biden administration is out of money for more aid packages. The president has asked Congress to pass a $40 billion emergency spending bill, half of which would be allocated to Kiev, but the bill will likely face stiff opposition from a growing number of Republicans opposed to Biden’s blank-check policy.

Furthermore, media reports earlier this summer suggested that continued military aid to Ukraine would be predicated on Kiev using its NATO weapons and training to make significant territorial gains against Russian forces. However, nearly three months into Kiev’s counteroffensive, the Ukrainian military has failed to breach Russia’s defensive lines, and has lost upwards of 43,000 men for its efforts, according to the most recent figures from the Russian Defense Ministry. With Ukraine’s odds of success dwindling, Biden will also enter 2024 having to campaign for reelection, likely against former President Donald Trump. The former president has repeatedly promised to force Kiev into a peace deal if elected, as has Vivek Ramaswamy, who is currently polling third for the GOP’s nomination.

American officials believe that the US will not give Ukraine “anywhere near the same level” of military aid in 2024 compared to this year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. According to the paper’s sources, Washington would not be able to give Kiev the same amount of arms and ammo again, and American military planners are advising their Ukrainian counterparts to use what they already have more effectively. Publicly, the Biden administration insists that the weapons will keep flowing to Ukraine. According to a report by Axios on Wednesday, “senior US officials” have been in contact with European leaders to reassure them that the aid will continue, while National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday that key Republicans still back the administration’s policy of arming Kiev “for as long as it takes.”

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“What about the money we have already spent? What is the money for and what is victory?”

US To Reduce Military Aid To Ukraine In 2024 – WSJ (RT)

The US is unlikely to give Ukraine “anywhere near the same level” of military aid in 2024 compared to this year, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing officials in Washington. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and his administration insist that they will continue to back Kiev to the hilt. The US has supplied more than $43 billion worth of arms to Ukraine since Russia’s military operation began last year, while leaked Pentagon documents indicate that NATO countries trained and equipped nine Ukrainian brigades to take part in the ongoing counteroffensive against Russian forces. With the Ukrainian military failing to penetrate Russia’s defensive lines after nearly three months of fighting, American military planners are advising their Ukrainian counterparts to stick to their NATO training and use what they’ve been given more effectively, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

“The American advice is based on the calculation that the surge of equipment the US has funneled to Ukraine…is enough for this offensive and is unlikely to be repeated at anywhere near the same level in 2024,” the newspaper explained. Washington’s continued bankrolling of the Ukrainian military is a matter of political contention in the US. While almost all Democratic members of Congress back Biden’s policy of arming Kiev “for as long as it takes,” a group of more than two dozen Republicans are vehemently opposed. Moreover, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has promised to force Kiev into a peace deal if elected president next November, as has Vivek Ramaswamy, who is currently polling third for the GOP’s nomination.

The Biden administration has spent all of its money set aside for Ukraine, and the president is now pushing Congress to pass a $40 billion emergency spending bill, half of which would be allocated to Ukraine. With Republican anti-interventionists up in arms, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has suggested that he won’t give the bill his unconditional support. “You don’t get to just throw money [away],” he said earlier this summer. “What about the money we have already spent? What is the money for and what is victory?”

Biden’s top officials have downplayed the growing divisions in Washington. “We believe that the support will be there and will be sustained,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday. Sullivan added that despite the “dissonant voices” on the right, Republicans in “key leadership positions” will ensure that weapons keep flowing to Kiev. According to a report by Axios on Wednesday, “senior US officials” have been in contact with European leaders to reassure them that the supply of military aid will not dry up.

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It all depends how Ukraine is re-divided.

Ukraine Mess Will Cost US $600 Bln More Even If Fighting Stopped Tomorrow (Sp.)

The costs of the geopolitical, military, and economic quagmire which the Biden administration unleashed in Ukraine will continue to steadily rise even if peace were to break out tomorrow, and American taxpayers are expected to largely foot the bill. That’s the conclusion of an independent economic analysis put out this week by a senior fellow from the Center for Security Policy and the Yorktown Institute, a pair of Washington, DC and Maryland-based think tanks. The analysis takes into account the World Bank’s March 2023 estimate that Ukraine will require some $411 billion in reconstruction support over the coming decade, plus whatever additional expenses may have arisen between then and now, with the analysis giving an overall ballpark figure of $600 billion+ in total expenses.

The analysis compared these ballooning costs to the $60 billion the US spent on Iraqi reconstruction after the 2003 invasion, plus the $90 billion spent in Afghanistan for reconstruction purposes during the 20-year US-led war and occupation of that country, which culminated in the collapse of the Afghan government and its NATO-trained military almost immediately after Washington withdrew its support in 2021. “There is no doubt that most of the US assistance to Afghanistan was probably stolen or went over to the Taliban…In the case of Iraq, most of the aid was wasted thanks to bad management, corruption and poor planning,” the report noted. “The US and its allies will need to cough up $60 billion annually to support Ukraine, and expect that a lot of it will be stolen. It will have to keep the funding up for 10 years,” the analysis added.

Citing waning support for continuing the proxy war against Russia from key allies including Germany and Britain, the report expects the US to have to cough up most of the cash. Accordingly, the analysis doesn’t rule out that the Biden administration may be deliberately seeking to prolong the military crisis as long as possible to put off committing reconstruction aid, particularly as a growing majority of Americans, including several major presidential candidates, no longer want to continue endlessly funding the conflict, or the Volodymyr Zelensky government. Ultimately, the analysis expects Ukraine to become “the most costly” reconstruction operation ever conducted by the US, pointing out that by comparison, the US Marshall Plan reconstruction campaign in Europe after World War II cost “just” $13.3 billion (or $173 billion in today’s dollars, accounting for inflation).

Questions have swirled for months surrounding Ukraine’s post-conflict economic future, with the nation’s gross external debt continuing to mount, and some observers fearing the country will be “crippled” by the debt it owes to the International Monetary Fund and other institutions over the long term. The tremendous interest US hedge fund giants like BlackRock have shown in Ukraine’s fertile black earth soil, as well as the country’s untapped rare earth mineral deposits, has also sparked concerns that Kiev might come out of the present crisis as a full-on economic neo-colony of the United States and its allies.

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Why would Russia allow that?

Ukraine Ends With ‘Post-Zelensky Warlord’ – Ramaswamy (RT)

Continuing to send weapons to Kiev does not serve US interests and is only pushing Russia and China closer together, according to candidate for the Republican presidential nomination Vivek Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy was the only candidate on Wednesday’s debate stage in Milwaukee unequivocally against increasing US funding for Ukraine, already at over $100 billion. Asked about it by the government-funded Voice of America after the debate, Ramaswamy said that sending more money to Kiev “does not advance American interests” and the president’s job is to look out for Americans. “You mark my words, the way this war ends right now, without the US actually stepping in and saying we’re not going to fund any more of it, is going to be some post-Zelensky warlord takes over with a couple hundred billion dollars of American military equipment, just like what happened after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. And you see how far that got,” the 38-year-old tech entrepreneur added.

Ramaswamy also said his plan to end the conflict “will actually be probably better for Ukraine. At least it comes out with its sovereignty intact, which is not the plan they’re on right now.” If a recent CNN poll is to be believed, 71% of Republicans are against sending more money to the government in Kiev, while 59% say the US has done enough for Ukraine already. “I think that this is disastrous, that we are protecting against an invasion across somebody else’s border, when we should use those same military resources to prevent… the invasion of our own southern border here,” Ramaswamy said during the debate. He also argued that the US support for Kiev is “driving Russia further into China’s hands” and accused some of his rivals of putting Ukraine ahead of the US. “I find it offensive that we have professional politicians on the stage that will make a pilgrimage to Kiev – to their pope, [President Vladimir] Zelensky – without doing the same thing for people in Maui or the South Side of Chicago,” Ramaswamy said.

This provoked angry replies from former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former vice president Mike Pence – both of whom have recently visited Ukraine – as well as Nikki Haley, who called Ukraine “the front line of defense” for the US and accused Ramaswamy of having no foreign policy experience. Ramaswamy is currently ranked third in the GOP primary polls, behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with 13.8% but ahead of Pence (4.1%), Haley (3.1%) and Christie (2.9%). Former president Donald Trump has said he would end the conflict “in 24 hours” and condemned the Biden administration’s bankrolling of the Ukrainian government. Trump is the absolute front-runner for the party nomination, with 56% support. He did not attend Wednesday’s debate, choosing to give an interview to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson instead.

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The plane had just come from Africa.

‘Total Lie’ Russia Killed Prigozhin – Kremlin (RT)

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday dismissed what he called unfounded speculation by some media in the West that Moscow may have been behind the crash of Wagner head Evgeny Prigozhin’s plane. “There is a lot of speculation about that plane crash and the tragic deaths of the passengers, among whom was Evgeny Prigozhin,” Peskov told reporters at the daily press briefing. “In the West, all that speculation is being presented from a certain angle. It’s all a total lie.” Peskov asked the media to rely on facts, “which as of this moment are few, as they have to be uncovered by the ongoing investigation.”

He also reminded reporters that President Putin had promised a thorough investigation, including the DNA testing of the remains. “There are no official results as of yet. The moment they are ready to be made public, they will be,” Peskov said. The Embraer 135BJ Legacy 600 private jet was en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg on Wednesday when it crashed in Tver Region. There were ten people on board, seven passengers and three crew members. None survived. Authorities are still working to identify the bodies. Prigozhin’s name was on the passenger manifest, along with Dmitry ‘Wagner’ Utkin, whose call sign gave the private military company its moniker.

Officially, however, the Wagner Group PMC does not exist. Putin commented on Prigozhin’s reported death on Thursday, calling him a man of “complicated destiny” whom he had known since the early 1990s. The Russian president touched on Prigozhin’s business deals in both Russia and Africa and thanked him and Wagner for what they had done in the Ukraine conflict. He did not touch on the failed Wagner mutiny at the end of June, after which much of the outfit was disbanded, with the remainder moving to Belarus, along with Prigozhin.

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Former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar is convinced it wasn’t Putin.

Who’s Afraid Of Prigozhin And Wagner? (Bhadrakumar)

Prigozhin’s murder was staged on a special day that in a historical perspective, must be counted as the finest hour of Russian diplomacy ever since the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. The reality of “a new starting point for BRICS” — as Chinese President Xi Jinping stated — is yet to sink in fully, but what is beyond doubt is that Russia is walking away as the winner. Make no mistake that the BRICS unity held firm and rubbished all western prognosis; BRICS expansion means that the issue of a single settlement currency is on the table, and the international financial system is not going to be the same again; de-dollarisation is knocking at the gates; a new global trading system is taking shape which renders obsolete the exploitative 4-century old western regime geared to transfer wealth to the rich countries; BRICS has graduated, finally, from an informal club to an institution that will eclipse the G7.

[..] The plain truth is, there could be any number of people who wanted to physically eliminate Prigozhin. Within Russia itself, Prigozhin had recruited hardened criminals undergoing prison sentence to fight in Ukraine and thereby get their sentence commuted. He deployed them without adequate military training, and over 10,000 of them reportedly got killed. There is a deep sense of revulsion within Russia in the matter. Then there are the external enemies starting from France, which has been virtually evicted from the Sahel region, its playpen where it had a field day as the ex-colonial power until Prigozhin came and spoiled the party. France could barely hide its rancour toward Russia ever since then.

Meanwhile, the brewing crisis in Niger alerted the US that Prigozhin was on the prowl. The redoubtable acting secretary of state Victoria Nuland, who masterminded the 2014 coup in Ukraine, travelled to Niamey to plead with the coup leaders not to have any truck with Wagner. However, Prigozhin reportedly had sneaked into the neighbouring country, Mali, where Wagner is well established, with a view to establish contact with Niger’s new rulers and offer the services of Wagner. Suffice to say, Prigozhin was threatening to do to the Pentagon what he earlier did to the French Legion in Sahel.

It is entirely conceivable that the Biden administration decided that enough was enough and Wagner must be decapitated. Of course, Prigozhin’s departure along with his core group of senior commanders will incalculably weaken Wagner. Meanwhile, within Russia, the ruthless Uranian intelligence operates at different levels. The drone attacks on Moscow are being staged by saboteurs within Russia. And Ukraine too has a score to settle with Wagner, which is establishing itself in Belarus. Without doubt, there is a congruence of interests between the Ukrainian intelligence and its western mentors to destroy Wagner and eliminate it from the geopolitical chessboard altogether.

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Almost half the world’s oil. Now add Venezuela.

Expanded BRICS To Dominate Global Energy Markets (RT)

The BRICS group of nations is on course to change the power balance in the global energy market, InfoTech news outlet reported on Thursday, citing calculations based on 2022 OPEC data on oil exports and production. According to the calculations, once the group expands after adding six new nations to its ranks, it will control nearly half of the world’s oil production and reserves. BRICS currently consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. However, at the summit in Johannesburg this week, the group announced that Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates will officially join in January 2024. According to the report, the group will greatly increase its weight in the oil market with the inclusion of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran.

Along with current members Russia and Brazil, these nations combined control 39% of the world’s total oil exports, or 17.1 million barrels per day (bpd). The 11 nations of the expanded BRICS will account for around 47.6% of the world’s total oil production, data shows. In terms of oil reserves, BRICS will also control nearly half of the world’s total, 719.5 billion barrels out of 1.6 trillion. If Venezuela, which has also recently applied for membership, is accepted into its ranks, the group’s control will be even greater – around 65.4%. In comparison, the G7 group of leading economies (The US, UK, Germany, Italy, Canada, France, and Japan) controls only 3.9% of known crude reserves. sAnalysts note that the expansion of BRICS to the Gulf countries is likely to see the US lose its influence in the global oil market.

“Saudi Arabia and the UAE joining is… extremely significant. The United States used to rely on the Gulf monarchies, especially Saudi Arabia, to exert control over the oil price. With their accession to BRICS, it seems likely that America has lost any control it had over oil prices for the foreseeable future,” Irish economist Philip Pilkington said in an article for the British portal UnHerd. According to Pilkington, the outcome of this week’s BRICS Summit also symbolizes the end of Iran’s economic isolation. “Given that the country is the world’s eighth largest oil producer and possesses the third largest proven oil reserves, this is a substantial economic and geopolitical development,” he stated.

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“..we may soon progress to BRICS 20 – on the way to BRICS 40..”

BRICS 11 – Strategic Tour de Force (Pepe Escobar)

It will take time for the Global South, or Global Majority, or “Global Globe” (copyright President Lukashenko), not to mention the stunned collective West, to fully grasp the enormity of the new strategic stakes. President Putin, for his part, described the negotiations on BRICS expansion as quite difficult. By now a relatively accurate picture is emerging of what really went down on that table in Johannesburg. India wanted 3 new members. China wanted as many as 10. A compromise was finally reached, with 6 members: Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Argentina and Ethiopia. So from now on it’s BRICS 11. And that’s just the beginning. Starting with the rotating Russian presidency of BRICS on January 1, 2024, more partners will be progressively included, and most certainly a new round of full members will be announced at the BRICS 11 summit in Kazan in October next year.

So we may soon progress to BRICS 20 – on the way to BRICS 40. The G7, for all practical purposes, is sliding towards oblivion. Bur first things first. At that fateful table in Johannesburg, Russia supported Egypt. China went all out for Persian Gulf magic: Iran, UAE and the Saudis. Of course: Iran-China are already deep into a strategic partnership, and Riyadh is already accepting payment for energy in yuan. Brazil and China supported Argentina, Brazil’s troubled neighbor, running the risk of having its economy fully dollarized, and also a key commodity provider to Beijing. South Africa supported Ethiopia. India, for a series of very complex reasons, was not exactly comfortable with 3 Arab/Muslim members (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt). Russia assuaged New Delhi’s fears.

All of the above respects geographic principles and imprints the notion of BRICS representing the Global South. But it goes way beyond that, blending cunning strategy and no-nonsense realpolitik. India was mollified because Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at the table in Johannesburg negotiating on behalf of President Putin, and highly respected by New Delhi, fully understood that a new, single BRICS currency is a long way away. What really matters, short and medium term, is expanding intra-BRICS trade in their national currencies. That was stressed by New Development Bank (NDB) president Dilma Rousseff in her report to the South African summit hosts – even as Brazilian President Lula once again emphasized the importance of setting up a work group to discuss a BRICS currency.

Lavrov understood how New Delhi is absolutely terrified of secondary sanctions by the US, in case its BRICS role gets too ambitious. Prime Minister Modi is essentially hedging between BRICS and the completely artificial imperial obsession embedded in the terminology “Indo-Pacific” – which masks renewed containment of China. The Straussian neo-con psychos in charge of US foreign policy are already furious with India buying loads of discounted Russian oil. New Delhi’s support for a new BRICS currency would be interpreted in Washington as all-out trade war – and sanctions dementia would follow. In contrast, Saudi Arabia’s MbS doesn’t care: he’s a top energy producer, not consumer like India, and one of his priorities is to fully court his top energy client, Beijing, and pave the way for the petroyuan.

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The Tucker interview stood at 255 million views last time I looked.

Trump’s First X Post Gets Over 210 MILLION Views In 24 Hours (DCE)

On Thursday evening, leading Republican presidential candidate and 45th President Donald Trump returned to X, formerly Twitter, in his first post since being suspended following the events of January 6, 2021. The post, which has gone viral, is a picture of Trump’s mugshot along with with the caption, “ELECTION INTERFERENCE NEVER SURRENDER! DONALDJTRUMP.COM”. As of 8:38 PM on Friday evening, Trump’s mugshot surpassed 210 million views after it had been posted for a full day. As of this report, Trump’s mugshot has 211.3 million views, over 331,100 reposts, 93,700 quote tweets, 1.4 million likes, and 39,300 bookmarks. “Approximately 10 million views per hour of this image,” X CEO Elon Musk remarked about the post. “Next-level,” Musk added along with a repost.

The mugshot’s historic nature has already been noted by many outlets. CNN called the photograph “iconic and infamous” and The Associated Press described it as “an enduring image that will appear in history books long after Donald Trump is gone.” The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., defined the image as “the most iconic photo in the history of US politics.” The image has already become a rallying cry for many with Trump supporters purchasing merchandise with the iconic photo ablazed across shirts, hats, mugs, and more. Trump’s return to X after nearly two years to post the mugshot shows his marketing genius and will make a lasting impression on millions of Americans.

Following the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk, the billionaire unsuspended President Trump’s account, however, up until Thursday the president refused to use his account and instead used Truth Social. Trump’s return to Twitter, now X, has been long awaited and rumors circulated for months predicting that he would return to the platform in order to reach the tens of millions of Americans that use the social media network. In addition to being reinstated on Twitter earlier this year, Trump was also unsuspended on Facebook and Instagram. As previously reported by the DC Enquirer, Trump’s Instagram account was reinstated in early February after Meta unbanned his accounts after two years following the events of January 6th, 2021.

At the time of the initial ban, Meta released a press release giving the public an explanation of the company’s reasoning after it removed the 45th president on January 7, 2021. The company set a two-year hiatus until an oversight board could assess whether or not the former president should be allowed back on the platforms to reach his hundreds of millions of followers. Trump’s return to Facebook, Instagram, and now Twitter will prove to be a boon for his campaign and his popularity as the indictments ramp up. His choice to post his mugshot as his first post back to the platform reenforces the historic nature of the (mug)shot that will be heard around the world.

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“to fight the tyranny & insanity we’re seeing before us.”

Trump Mugshot Turned Into Merch (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump’s mugshot from when he was booked and arrested at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia has gone viral while his son has already turned it into a line of merchandise. Shortly after the Fulton County’s Sheriff’s Office released the mugshot on Thursday, marking the first time such a picture has been taken of a former or sitting US president, Donald Trump Jr. posted a message on X (formerly Twitter) announcing new t-shirts, mugs, and posters featuring the former US president’s mugshot along with bold red and white text reading ‘Free Trump’. A t-shirt costs $29.99, a mug is being sold for $15.99, and a mugshot poster is priced at $19.99. The former president’s son pointed out, however, that all the proceeds from the merchandise sales would go to the Legal Defense Fund “to fight the tyranny & insanity we’re seeing before us.” “Unlike many, I won’t try to profit from this but will do what I can to help,” Trump Jr. wrote.

Meanwhile, many Trump supporters on Etsy and other online marketplaces have also jumped on the bandwagon and started selling all kinds of merchandise featuring the mugshot – even thongs. Trump surrendered himself at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday after being charged with several felonies connected to his alleged attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections in Georgia. The former president was booked, arrested, and then quickly released thanks to a bail agreement secured earlier by his lawyers that saw Trump agree to post a $200,000 bond, as well as submit to several other conditions, including not using social media to target any of his 18 co-defendants or any witnesses in the case.

Some of Trump’s associates featured in the 41-count indictment have also turned themselves in at Fulton County Jail, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Trump has faced four criminal indictments this year as federal prosecutors have accused him of mishandling classified documents, attempting to interfere in the 2020 presidential elections, and allegedly paying hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels. The former president has denied any wrongdoing and has dismissed the allegations as a political witch hunt aimed at preventing him from running for the presidency in 2024.

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“The Trump mugshot captures a defining moment for our country. It will define us.”

The Trump Mugshot Ignites a Tinderbox Nation (Turley)

I think that the Georgia, New York, and federal January 6th indictments are unwarranted and threaten free speech. Moreover, it is valid for many to object that these prosecutions could have occurred years ago, but were launched just before the presidential election so that Trump will be running from court to court through the general election. It is also true that the Mar-a-Lago case is more serious and more substantive . . . and that threat is continuing to grow as a threat for Trump as witnesses change their testimony and Trump aides confirm key prosecution claims. Likewise, while I believe the case against Trump in the Georgia indictment is weak, there are defendants in that case that face stronger claims on specific election-related crimes.

Of course, in an age of rage, reason is the first to die. We cannot allow that to happen; we cannot allow rage addicts to drive our political or legal processes. We have the greatest legal system in the world. We will sort out these issues from the criminalization of political speech to the claim that Trump can be barred from the ballot even without a charge or conviction. Courts are likely to divide on these issues. However, we remain a nation of laws. That tradition takes a certain leap of faith. We do not support that system only when we prevail. That is the view of court packers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.,Y.). Notably, Ocasio-Cortez even said that she does not understand why we need a Supreme Court.

Even law professors and legal commentators have called our Constitution “trash” and called for the country to “reclaim America from constitutionalism.” That is the greatest danger of these times: that our deep divisions will cause us to lose faith in our defining values and in each other. The Trump mugshot captures a defining moment for our country. It will define us. I believe that it is paramount that appellate courts consider the merits of the free speech and other challenges to the Georgia, New York, and federal cases. That may be difficult if judges support these prosecutors in demanding trials before constitutional appeals are taken. Appellate judges could agree, in good faith, that challenges are premature before any convictions.

The important thing is for citizens not to be played as chumps. We will sort this out. The courts will address these important legal issues as citizens resolve the equally important political issues raised by these prosecutions. The merchandising and madness aside, we have more matters to resolve . . . together.

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“It helps him hugely that the cases are transparently idiotic and mendacious..”

Campaign Photo (Jim Kunstler)

On Thursday, attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who advised Georgia GOP officials on the process of assembling alternate electors in the case of election fraud under Georgia law, demanded a speedy trial. Under Georgia’s speedy trial law, Mr. Chesebro’s trial would have to take place this fall. (Such are the guiles of the law.) The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper called it, “an aggressive filing.” Ms. Willis had hoped to try all 19 defendants together during the 2024 presidential primary season, to support her RICO charges. Meanwhile, three other defendants, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, filed to have their cases removed to the federal court, in so far as the actions they are accused of taking happened while they worked in the service of the US government. Mr. Meadows is accused of seeking by email to get the phone number of a Pennsylvania election official.

Ms. Willis’s case hinges on a number of novel propositions. First, that it is somehow against the law to object to the outcome of an election. And second, that the process for relief in such a case, as provided in Georgia’s election contest law and the US Electoral Count Act of 1887, does not apply to Mr. Trump and his lawyers. Anyone who intends to challenge the outcome must necessarily assemble a panel of alternate electors if state officials cannot certify the election properly and in good faith. Ms. Willis refers to these erroneously as “fake electors.” Mr. Trump and his co-defendants will necessarily have to present evidence that the Georgia presidential election of 2020 was not certified properly or in good faith.

Will the defendants be allowed to present evidence of serious irregularities in the 2020 Georgia election results? If not, would that not be grounds for dismissal. So far, Democrats in charge of the machinery of law all over the country have skated on mere assertions that the 2020 election was fair. In Georgia, none of the principals involved in the dispute have been subject to cross-examination, the best instrument for truth-finding in the American legal system. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Sec’y of State Brad Raffensperger may not be so hot for an airing of what actually went on Nov 3, 2020 and the days after, especially the validity of over 100,000 mail-in ballots in a state where “Joe Biden’s” margin of victory was a mere 11,799 votes.

Mr. Trump seems to be thriving under the tribulation of four court cases brought against him as he runs for election in 2024. Each new set of charges boosts his poll numbers. It helps him hugely that the cases are transparently idiotic and mendacious. If he is initially convicted in any of them, he can still run for president and be elected, even if he’s jailed — as Eugene Debs did in 1920 getting 913,693 votes running on the Socialist Party from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, where he was jailed under the 1917 Espionage Act for speaking out against America’s entry into the First World War. The Party of Chaos is running scared. Everybody knows that “Joe Biden” can’t possibly run for another term and yet the public debate is so grotesquely disabled that nobody will talk about it. Most particularly, they will not talk about who might take his place. All they are really demonstrating with this barrage of prosecutions against their chief adversary is how broken, craven, and degenerate the party is, and what a menace it is, as they like to say, to our democracy.

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“We couldn’t even hire Canadian citizens..”

Elon Musk Says He’s Being Sued For ‘Political Purposes’ (RT)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk claims that the US Department of Justice has been “weaponized” against his company for “political purposes,” and that the firm is being sued despite trying to stay on the right side of the law. The Justice Department announced on Thursday that it had filed a lawsuit against SpaceX for refusing to hire refugees and asylum seekers, and for allegedly “discouraging” these people from applying. Although SpaceX stated in its job advertisements that it could only hire US citizens and permanent residents due to the national security implications of rocket technology, the lawsuit claimed that refugees and asylum seekers have the same employment rights as US citizens under a 1965 immigration law. Musk claimed on Friday that prior to the lawsuit, government officials told SpaceX on multiple occasions not to hire foreigners.

“SpaceX was told repeatedly that hiring anyone who was not a permanent resident of the United States would violate international arms trafficking law, which would be a criminal offense,” he wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “We couldn’t even hire Canadian citizens, despite Canada being part of NORAD!” he continued, referring to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a cross-border aerospace monitoring and missile warning command. “This is yet another case of weaponization of the DOJ for political purposes,” Musk added. In a separate post, he declared that “the weaponization of government agencies needs to stop. This fundamentally undermines public faith in the justice system.”

The arms trafficking law in question is the US State Department’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). All current SpaceX job listings inform potential candidates that unless a US citizen or permanent resident, they must obtain an ITAR waiver from the State Department to work at the company. As Musk explained on Friday, “the fundamental principle of ITAR law is that US companies who have advanced weapons technology, such as rockets with intercontinental range, must hire people who are permanent American residents, so that the technology does not fall into the hands of countries who wish us harm.”

While attempting to follow one law, the Justice Department’s lawsuit argues that Musk was breaking another. Although Musk is not a political rival of President Joe Biden, he has been at odds with the Biden administration since he purchased Twitter last October. Since taking over the since-renamed social media platform, Musk has published documents revealing a conspiracy by the White House, FBI, and other government agencies to control the flow of information on the site, prompting reports that the Biden administration had launched a national security investigation into the tycoon.

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Washkitten

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 252023
 


Ivan Aivazovsky Sea channel with lighthouse 1873

 

Double Jeopardy (Ingrassia)
Ukraine Will ‘Capitulate Unconditionally’ (Scott Ritter)
Kiev’s Ability To Reconquer Territories ‘Questionable’ – EU Top General (RT)
The Search for Robert L. Peters: He Goes By Various Names. But Why? (Turley)
The Biden Clan’s Con Is Coming to an End (Hanson)
Xi, Putin Hail First BRICS Expansion Since 2010 As Gulf Oil Powers Join (ZH)
BRICS Expansion ‘Main Catalyst’ of New World Order (Sp.)
Putin Comments On Prigozhin Plane Crash (RT)
US Starts ‘Deliberate, Sustained Leak Campaign’ to Blame Ukraine ‘(Sp.)
US Barely Ahead Of Russia In Military Strength – Report (RT)
How Ukraine Lost Its Independence and Became West’s Hostage (Sp.)
What’s Behind Decline of Germany? (Sp.)
Untold Story of George Soros’ Worldwide Soft Power Empire (Sp.)
Tritium in Fukushima Wastewater ‘Very Dangerous, Causes ‘Genetic Damage’ (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

RFK
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694818836539691174

 

 

Rogan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694575314129531060

 

 

 

 

McCullough
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694753709996101938

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very interesting. The Constitution protects the Office of the President. You can not drag a sitting president into court, because “to wound [the President] by a criminal proceeding is to hamstring the operation of the whole governmental apparatus..”

Only the Senate can investigate him/her. And guess what? “Jack Smith’s indictments of Donald Trump are unconstitutional because he was already tried in the Senate.”

Ergo: Since the Senate did not remove Trump from office, Jack Smith’s indictments are null and void.

Double Jeopardy (Ingrassia)

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution reads “[t]he executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” Therefore, President Donald Trump had executive power vested in him through his presidential office. From that power flows certain privileges and indeed executive immunities. Among these privileges are those expressly delineated in the Constitution itself. The impeachment process, for example, as stated in Article II, Sec. 4, requires that for all “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” the President “shall be removed from Office.” In other words, the Constitution lays out a process by which presidents of the United States are to be prosecuted—through impeachment. The reason impeachment, rather than traditional prosecution (and attendant punishments like incarceration), applies to the president is because of the uniqueness of the office itself.

The president exposes himself to outsized publicity, controversy, and risk as a result of his office. Therefore, the punitive measures that uniquely attach to the executive officeholder are consonant with the duties and powers of the office itself. In addition, there is a special constitutional prerogative, one might say, in safeguarding the integrity of the presidential office, no matter the character and fitness of its occupant. Specifically, that would mean not imprisoning the officeholder or former occupants of the office based on alleged criminality done within the officeholder’s official capacities as president. It is for this reason that the Department of Justice has confirmed, “to wound [the President] by a criminal proceeding is to hamstring the operation of the whole governmental apparatus, both in foreign and domestic affairs.” (Memorandum from Robert G. Dixon, Jr., Asst. Att’y Gen., O.L.C., Re: Amenability of the President, Vice President, and Other Civil Officers to Federal Criminal Prosecution While in Office 30 [Sept. 24, 1973]). How far-reaching the scope of those capacities cover while in office should give way to a liberal construction due to the catastrophic impact such charges would necessarily have on the political fabric of the country.

In any event, and for the purposes of what is relevant in Jack Smith’s two indictments, the factual grounds on which President Trump allegedly committed crime(s) within his official duties as president have already been twice considered by the House of Representatives, for which the President—in conformance with Article II, Sec. 4—was acquitted both times by the Senate. Because the Senate voted not to convict President Trump of his alleged crimes, any and every remedial measure afforded by the constitutional process has already been exhausted. Therefore, to continue to bring charges against the President for the asserted crimes on which he has already been prosecuted is by definition an abuse of the judicial power and an expressed violation of the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment: “…nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…”

Notably, the Impeachment Judgment Clause of the Constitution, Art. I Sec. 3, reads as follows: “a person convicted upon an Impeachment, shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.” A plain reading of the clause allows for the subsequent indictment after a person is convicted and convicted only. This is in agreement with the longstanding judicial canon of construction, expressio unius est exclusio alterius, “the expression of one is the exclusion of others,” which provides that because the text excludes the term “acquittal” from the relevant clause, the framers’ intent was that only convicted officeholders would be open to additional prosecution, and not officeholders that were already acquitted based on constitutional procedure for their alleged crimes, therefore exhausting the constitutional remedy in toto. United States v. Wells Fargo Bank, 485 U.S. 351, 357 (1988).

[..] In conclusion, Jack Smith’s claims are ill founded; to the extent they have any merit at all, they have already been prosecuted to the fullest extent the Constitution allows, and on each count, President Trump has already been acquitted of any and all criminal wrongdoing.

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“Think Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945. That’s your future. Enjoy..”

Ukraine Will ‘Capitulate Unconditionally’ (Scott Ritter)

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine will conclude with Kiev’s unconditional surrender, according to Scott Ritter, a former US intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector. On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that “Ukraine does not trade its territories, because we do not trade our people.” The message was dedicated to the Third Crimea Platform Summit, where Ukraine discussed ways of “de-occupying” the peninsula, which reunited with Russia in 2014 following a referendum triggered by the US-backed Maidan coup in Kiev earlier that year. Replying to Zelensky’s post, Ritter wrote that “it was NATO that suggested a trade. Russia isn’t trading anything.”

The former US intelligence officer was apparently referring to remarks by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s chief of staff, Stian Jenssen, who said in mid-August that Ukraine could “give up territory [to Russia], and get NATO membership in return.” According to Jenssen, this idea was actively being discussed within the US-led military bloc. The suggestion caused outrage in Kiev, with presidential aide Mikhail Podoliak branding it “ridiculous.” Such a move would amount to “deliberately choosing the defeat of democracy… and passing the war on to other generations,” he claimed. The head of the Ukrainian National Security Council, Aleksey Danilov, reiterated that Kiev would never negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin, insisting that “Russia must be destroyed like a modern-day Carthage.” Jenssen later apologized for his remarks, saying they were “a mistake.”

Ritter insisted that Moscow is “dealing with reality” when it comes to the conflict with Kiev, including “where Russian boots will be when Ukraine capitulates unconditionally.” “Think Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945. That’s your future. Enjoy,” he wrote, addressing Zelensky. On that date, representatives of the Japanese Empire signed an unconditional surrender to the Allies aboard the USS Missouri, ending the country’s participation in World War II.In line with the deal, Japan agreed to the loss of all its territories outside of its home islands, complete disarmament, Allied occupation of the country, and tribunals to bring war criminals to justice. On Wednesday, Zelensky admitted that the Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces, which began in early June, was proving “very difficult.” However, he also claimed that the operation was moving “slowly, but in the right direction.”

Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that the Ukrainian campaign is showing “signs of stalling.” The newspaper warned that “the inability to demonstrate decisive success on the battlefield [by Kiev’s forces] is stoking fears that the conflict is becoming a stalemate and international support could erode.”President Putin claimed on Wednesday that it was “astonishing” to see how little the authorities in Kiev cared about Ukrainian soldiers. “They are throwing [them] on our minefields, under our artillery fire, acting as if they are not their own citizens at all,” the Russian leader said. According to Moscow’s estimates, Ukraine has failed to make any significant gains since the launch of its counteroffensive, but has lost more than 43,000 troops and nearly 5,000 pieces of heavy equipment. Kiev has so far claimed the capture of several villages, but these appear to be some distance from Russia’s main defensive lines.

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“I am convinced that Russia can continue the war in Ukraine for a very long time..”

Kiev’s Ability To Reconquer Territories ‘Questionable’ – EU Top General (RT)

Ukraine might not be able to achieve its goals in the conflict with Russia, the EU top general, Robert Brieger, admitted to Germany’s Die Welt daily on Thursday. Moscow possesses vastly superior weapons and personnel reserves and can continue fighting for a long time despite Western sanctions, the head of the bloc’s military committee believes. The Ukrainian counteroffensive launched more than two months ago “has not gained any ground yet,” Brieger said, adding that he would be “cautious” about expecting any breakthroughs in the future. “The number of brigades available to Kiev for the offensive is limited,” he told Die Welt, adding that the Russian forces had built “well-secured defense lines” in the months before the Ukrainian operation.

The Austrian general, who chairs the meetings of the chiefs of staff from all 27 EU members and serves as an adviser to the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrel, believes that the conflict between the two sides has come down to a “war of attrition.” Under such circumstances, Moscow has some visible advantages over Kiev, Brieger said. “Russia has a very large number of weapons and a huge reserve of potential troops,” he explained, adding that “in this regard, Russia is clearly superior to Ukraine.” The sanctions imposed by the West against Russia over its continued military campaign in Ukraine have also barely impacted Moscow’s ability to continue the fight, the general noted. “I am convinced that Russia can continue the war in Ukraine for a very long time,” he said.

Kiev’s ability to recapture all the territories it considers part of Ukrainian territory “remains questionable,” Brieger said. The general also said he does not expect the EU to let Ukraine join the bloc before the conflict ends and a peaceful solution is found. Even after that, Ukraine’s membership might pose additional security risks for the EU, Brieger believes. The general said that territorial disputes with Moscow could remain even after the end of the fighting. In the future, if another conflict breaks out, the bloc would have to defend Ukraine under Article 42.7 of the EU treaty if it becomes a member state, he added. “As soon as Ukraine joins the European Union, this would mean completely new obligations for the EU in terms of security policy,” Brieger said, adding that the organization “would be challenged much more than before.”

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This is a topic a New York Times journalist should be investigating. Not a constitutional law proffesor. But here we are.

The Search for Robert L. Peters: He Goes By Various Names. But Why? (Turley)

He is a man with many names. “Celtic.” “The Big Guy.” According to congressional investigators, most citizens know him as “President Biden.” Alias are tricky things. They are sometimes innocent or essential like the code name that the Secret Service gives you as part of your protection like “Celtic.” Then there are nicknames that are preferred to your given name. Take the Big Lebowski. He did not like being called Mr. Lebowski and preferred “Dude” but he was flexible: “I’m The Dude. So, that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or, uh, Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.” It appears that President Biden also preferred on occasion not to be called “Mr. Biden.” The question is why and whether Mr. Peters is more Big Lebowski or Big Guy.

People apparently were told to avoid directly referring to President Biden. In one email, Biden associate James Gilliar explained the rules to Tony Bobulinski, then a business partner of Hunter’s, and not to speak of the former veep’s connection to any transactions: “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.” So it was not “Mr. Biden” who would receive a planned 10 percent cut on a deal with a Chinese energy firm. It was “the Big Guy,” who also was to receive benefits like office space from foreign sources. Recently, an FBI document showed that a trusted source relayed an allegation of bribery where Ukrainian businessman said that he was told not to send money directly to “the Big Guy” but used a complex series of accounts to transfer the funds.

The question is whether “Robert L. Peters” used in various emails was in fact Joe Biden. House investigators want to find out, but the Administration does not seem eager to resolve the question. The earlier email using the alleged alias is from 2016. It holds particular significance for House investigators because it cc’d Hunter Biden about Ukraine. In the now widely accepted influence peddling operation, the object of the influence was Biden. We now know that the President lied for years in denying knowledge or conversations about his son’s foreign dealings. Even the Washington Post now admits that the President lied when he said that Hunter made no money in China. However, these emails may show the quid in the quid pro quo. Biden is accused of sending official information on these countries to his influence peddling son.

The nothing-to-see-here crowd is dismissing the allegation while resisting any further confirmation of these emails. (Notably, many of them insist that the false claims of Russian collusion against Trump were established by the fact that his campaign chair, Paul Manafort, gave polling data to a Russian client). Yet, there are 27 emails linked to Joe Biden’s alleged “Robert L. Peters” alias including sent from John Flynn, a former senior adviser to Joe Biden, with the White House “@ovp.eop.gov” domain name. For his part, Peters uses “@pci.gov” domain name on a government network, which includes the Executive Office of the President. House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) has pushed the National Archives to share unredacted copies of these emails and has said that the House has not received the evidence. If so, it is not clear why the Archives would redact names from these emails or other information. If that matter comes to a head, the House is likely to win in court. However, efforts to obstruct such efforts could soon be one of the subjects of an impeachment inquiry.

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“So what is the Congress to do now—un-impeach and exonerate an innocent impeached Donald Trump, and instead impeach a guilty Biden for essentially the same allegations?”

The Biden Clan’s Con Is Coming to an End (Hanson)

Despite years of Biden family and media disinformation, we are finally learning that Joe Biden really did fire Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin for looking into state corruption involving the oil company Burisma and Hunter Biden—and ultimately Joe Biden himself. As Vice President, Biden, in his own words, bragged that he had threatened to cancel the deliverance of American foreign aid to Ukraine unless Shokin was dismissed. So what is the Congress to do now—un-impeach and exonerate an innocent impeached Donald Trump, and instead impeach a guilty Biden for essentially the same allegations? After all, the Left redefined the impeachment bar in 2019 as leveraging foreign aid to Ukraine to benefit one’s political career.

And that is exactly what Joe Biden did to ensure his son could continue to raise millions for the Biden family with foreign governments, while being shielded from political consequences. An impeached Trump also was accused of using the power of government to go after his likely 2020 presidential rival by suggesting that Joe Biden and his family were corrupt, and should be investigated by Ukrainian officials for fraud and bribery. Despite Joe Biden’s denials, Trump was right: there was plenty of evidence to link Ukrainian unwarranted payoffs going into Biden family coffers. So Trump in 2019 had good reasons to ensure that none of the Bidens were still burrowed deeply into the Ukrainian payoff machine. In contrast, Joe Biden had far less grounds to unleash the full powers of government against his probable 2024 rival ex-president Trump.

Special Prosecutor Jack Smith is not charging Trump with bribery of the Biden sort. He does not allege that Trump gave special foreign policy preferences for those foreigners who paid his family for such services. Instead, Smith argues that Trump unlawfully took out classified presidential papers—although Joe Biden did nearly the same. Biden kept quiet about his vast removal of classified documents for over a decade. Not until Trump was being investigated did Biden suddenly notify the government of his illegal removals. In contrast, a combative and boisterous Trump fought openly and constantly with federal archivists over which of his papers at his Mar-a-Lago estate were truly classified. Prosecutorial leaks floated all sorts of unproven nefarious agendas that had prompted Trump’s disputes over his presidential papers.

But no one to this day has seriously asked why senator and then Vice President Biden secretly and weirdly removed and kept such sensitive material for years. Recent reports allege that Hunter Biden may have been treated with kid gloves by prosecutors, partly because Hunter’s lawyers had threatened otherwise to call Joe Biden to the stand as a favorable witness. Government prosecutors under pressure from the White House apparently balked at the nightmare of a befuddled president of the United States testifying under oath about the supposed innocence of the very guilty Hunter Biden.

Hunter flights

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“..with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran set to enter the fold, it will have three of the world’s biggest oil producers..”

Xi, Putin Hail First BRICS Expansion Since 2010 As Gulf Oil Powers Join (ZH)

At a moment China and Russia have envisioned the future of BRICS as fundamentally an anti-Western bloc of developing nations, the Gulf oil powers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been formally invited to become members, which marks the bloc’s first expansion in over a decade. “The membership will take effect from the first of January, 2024,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said, adding that additionally Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia and Iran will be added to the fold next year. China’s President Xi Jinping hailed the rare expansion, beyond the current large economies of China, Russia, Brazil India, China and South Africa as “historic”. He said it will “inject new impetus into the BRICS cooperation mechanism and further strengthen the power of world peace and development.”

President Putin too congratulated the soon to be newest members, saying in a video message, “I would like to congratulate the new members who will work in a full-scale format next year.” “And I would like to assure all our colleagues that we will continue the work that we started today on expanding the influence of BRICS in the world,” the Russian leader added. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hailed the expansion which he said will strengthen the bloc. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan’s statement said, “the special, strategic relations with the BRICS nations promotes common principles, most importantly the firm belief in the principle of respect for sovereignty, independence and non-interference in internal affairs.”

He vowed in words before the BRICS conference on Thursday that the kingdom will be a “secure and reliable energy provider,” and noted that total bilateral trade between Riyadh and BRICS countries exceeded $160 billion in 2022, the Saudi foreign minister said. Set up in 2009, the BRICS nations represent some 40% of the world’s population and significantly over a quarter of the world’s GDP. And now with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran set to enter the fold, it will have three of the world’s biggest oil producers. As for Iran’s statement on it’s upcoming entry into the bloc: Mohammad Jamshidi, the political deputy of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, called the decision to add his country “a historic move.”

“A strategic victory for Iran’s foreign policy,” Jamshidi wrote on X, the website formerly known as Twitter. “Felicitations to the Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution and great nation of Iran.” In Putin’s virtual address the day prior, he emphasized that de-dollarization is “gaining momentum”. He said the dollar’s receding global centrality is an “objective and irreversible” process.

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“.. it’s the beginning of the end of the petrodollar..”

BRICS Expansion ‘Main Catalyst’ of New World Order (Sp.)

Integration of new members into BRICS will facilitate the advent of a new world order, marked by the end of the petrodollar’s “yoke,” Michael Goddard, president of the Netley Group, told Sputnik. Earlier in the day, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates were invited to become full members of BRICS. “The membership will take effect from January 1, 2024,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday at the BRICS Summit in South Africa. With two of the new countries located in the Middle East, two in Africa, and the rest – previously neighbors of the association of five nations that incorporates Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, this expansion is a hugely significant event in the world history, said Goddard.

“Obviously Africa is emerging, and that’s very important. But the main news is Saudi [Arabia] and the UAE. Basically, this will change the balance of power in the world, as it’s the beginning of the end of the petrodollar. And this is the main catalyst to bring about the new world order,” Michael Goddard underscored. He added that in his opinion, the “Saudis will begin to price more and more oil only in local currencies, in yuan, and whatever.”Integration of the six abovementioned countries in the BRICS group is “relevant on both economic and geopolitical grounds, for at least two reasons,” according to Sergio Rossi, professor of macroeconomics and monetary economics at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

“On the one hand, these countries export some key goods much demanded in the global supply chain, which could thereby contribute to economic growth across the global economy, particularly with regard to the so-called ‘Global South’ of the world. On the other hand, their own contribution to the global economy could accelerate the de-dollarization of this part of the world, with all the ensuing geopolitical consequences that could actually accelerate the creation of a multipolar economic system at global level,” Rossi told Sputnik.

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Lots of stories, his body was not found but his phone was, he was seen in Mali etc.

Putin Comments On Prigozhin Plane Crash (RT)

Yevgeny Prigozhin was a man of many talents who made a “significant contribution” to the struggle against neo-Nazis in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, commenting on the plane crash that reportedly killed the Wagner Group head. Speaking with journalists at the Kremlin, Putin said that he had known Prigozhin since the early 1990s, and described him as “a man of complicated destiny.” “He’d made serious mistakes in his life, but also got results. For himself as well as our common cause, when I asked it of him in these last months,” Putin added. He described Prigozhin as “a talented businessman” who worked in Russia as well as in Africa dealing with oil, gas, precious metals and gems.

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It’s all THEIR fault…

US Starts ‘Deliberate, Sustained Leak Campaign’ to Blame Ukraine ‘(Sp.)

As the summer approaches its end, US officials have begun to openly attempt to shift the blame for the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive from the West and NATO onto the Ukrainians. US officials speaking anonymously told America’s so-called “newspaper of record” this week that the counteroffensive has not succeeded because Ukrainian commanders spread troops out across the 1,000 km frontline with Russia, instead of concentrating forces on “severing” the “land bridge” linking mainland Russia and Crimea through Zaporozhye region. US strategists reportedly “advised Ukraine” to pump more troops toward the “top priority” target of Melitopol in Zaporozhye’s southwest, and to “punch through” Russian defenses and minefields, even if it cost large numbers of soldiers and equipment.

Instead, Kiev has reportedly spread forces out, keeping a significant reserve near the Donbass city of Artemovsk (Bakhmut), despite US estimations that trying to take the city back from Russia would “lead to large numbers of losses for little strategic gain.” Senior NATO military officials, including Pentagon Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Christopher Cavoli, and British Chief of Defense Staff Tony Radakin reportedly held a video call with Ukrainian command to push for a change in focus, with officials briefed on the call saying Ukraine’s top commander had verbally agreed to do so. US officials also confirmed anonymously what the Russian military has been saying publicly: that Ukraine’s forces have been taking staggering losses, and running out of senior commanders and experienced fighters, whose units have had to be “reconstituted a number of times” due to the intensity of the fighting.

Along with erroneous tactics, US officials have also criticized Ukraine for supposedly operating under the “old Soviet Communist doctrine, which seeks to minimize rivalries among factions of the army by providing equal amounts of manpower and equipment across commands,” and thereby “failing” to prioritize key objectives.

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And even that is not true..

US Barely Ahead Of Russia In Military Strength – Report (RT)

Russia is right behind the US in military strength, with China rapidly catching up, the Global Firepower (GFP) website said in its 2023 rankings report, released this week. GFP has been producing the annual report since 2006, ranking 145 countries around the world by “potential war-making capability across land, sea, and air fought by conventional means.” The in-house formula considers “manpower, equipment, natural resources, finances, and geography represented by 60+ individual factors” to arrive at an index, with zero being the theoretical perfect score. The US “leads the world technologically and is advanced in key medical, aerospace, and computer / telecom sectors,” according to GFP, which assigned Washington an index of 0.0712. It also has “a certain degree of self-sustainment,” while displaying “commanding numbers in key material, financial, and resource categories.”

Factored into GFP’s calculations were the size of the Pentagon budget – over $750 billion, more than triple that of China – the US Navy’s carrier fleet, and the size of the US Air Force. GFP claims that the Ukraine conflict has “showcased key limitations in Russian military capabilities” in terms of “preparedness, leadership, training, and supply issues,” admitting that it has relied on ‘open-source intelligence’ to estimate Russian combat losses. Even so, the outfit assigned Russia a score of 0.0714, just .0002 below the US. China came in at third place with a PowerIndex score of 0.0722, but “continues its climb to the No.2 spot owned for some time by regional powerhouse Russia,” according to GFP. India was fourth with a score of 0.1025, followed by the UK in fifth place at 0.1435. London’s ranking seemed to be influenced in part by the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers in Royal Navy service.

Global Firepower rankings showed France (9th) behind Japan (8th), Italy (10th) ahead of Türkiye (11th), and Iran (17th place) ahead of Israel (18th). Poland was supposedly 20th, ahead of Germany in 25th place. Ukraine ranked 15th, up from 16th place in 2022, “as a result of its response [to the conflict], financial and material backing from the West.” It had a score of 0.2516 as of May 31, and its armor, artillery, and aircraft numbers were based entirely on estimates. Global Firepower’s location, funding and ownership aren’t entirely clear. The outfit “does not assume responsibility as to the accuracy, correctness, completeness, reliability and ‘up-to-dateness’ of information made available throughout,” per its own disclaimer.

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“Ukraine gained independence with an economic clean slate, with an unheard of $0 in foreign debt in December 1991. Three decades on, the country’s socio-economic status is nothing short of catastrophic..”

How Ukraine Lost Its Independence and Became West’s Hostage (Sp.)

“The Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic resolves that: Ukraine shall be declared an independent democratic state on August 24, 1991. Upon declaration of its independence, only its Constitution, laws, orders of the Government, and other legislative acts of the republic are valid on the territory of Ukraine. A republican referendum shall be organized on December 1, 1991 to confirm the act of declaration of independence.” This was the partial text of the Ukrainian act of independence, adopted into law by Communist Party boss-turned-first president of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk. Just a little over five months earlier, in the status referendum of March 17, 1991, Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly (71.5 percent to 28.5 percent) in favor of saving the USSR. By December, 92.25 percent favored independence, with only 7.75 percent opposed.

Ukraine entered the 1990s with perhaps the most enviable status among all the former Soviet republics, starting out with an advanced industrial and agricultural economy comparable in size and complexity in Europe only to Germany, France, and the UK. Ukraine boasted a vast industrial sector ranging from heavy machine-building to aircraft manufacturing and rocketry, and some of the richest farmland on the planet. Unlike Russia, which agreed to shoulder responsibility for paying off the Soviet Union’s $100 billion debt, Ukraine gained independence with an economic clean slate, with an unheard of $0 in foreign debt in December 1991.

Three decades on, the country’s socio-economic status is nothing short of catastrophic, with Ukraine now one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in Europe (even before 2022), its economy almost entirely dependent on Western economic aid, and the nation facing an unprecedented demographic crisis (with a current population of 36.7 million, down from 43.5 million in 2021, and a peak population of 52 million in 1991). Politically as well, contemporary Ukraine’s fate is unenviable, with the Volodymyr Zelensky administration cancelling elections scheduled for 2024, banning opposition parties and imprisoning political opponents “linked to Russia,” and targeting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, again over suspected “Russian links.” His predecessors’ record was little better, with the post-Maidan coup authorities disappearing dozens of political opponents, banning the largest pro-Russian opposition party, and unleashing a wave of terror across the country’s southeast after coming to power in 2014.

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Is Germany an exceptionally stupid country, or are they just “early adapters”?

What’s Behind Decline of Germany? (Sp.)

Germany is projected to be the only G7 economy to contract in 2023: the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will slide by 0.3%, as per the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) forecast. The IMF attributes the trend to weak production output as well as economic contraction in two consecutive quarters (Q4 in 2022 and Q1 in 2023). The latter factor prompted international economists to conclude in mid-July that the country had fallen into a technical recession. “The end point after which the German economy began to shiver was the conflict in Ukraine and related [anti-Russia] sanctions,” Eugen Schmidt, member of the Bundestag, told Sputnik. “All these had a tremendous effect on the German economy.

Now we are witnessing inflation which is unprecedented over the past decade, and which the government, despite numerous measures to support the economy, has not been able to reverse. We also see this in the form of high energy prices, including for utilities for ordinary consumers and industrial enterprises.” “As a result, German industry (and we know that the wellbeing of the German economy and German citizens was based precisely on German industry) is feverish precisely because energy prices make the products of German enterprises unprofitable, that is, uncompetitive. Therefore, there is now a trend seeing energy-intensive enterprises in Germany either radically reducing production in the country, or even transferring production to those countries where energy prices are much lower,” the German parliamentarian continued.

Despite the nation having fallen into a recession, the German government is doing virtually nothing to smooth the situation, according to Schmidt. He argued that Berlin was guided by purely ideological ideas when it closed its nuclear plants, which had worked quite normally, covering the energy needs for the nation’s industry. “Now we buy expensive liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US and Qatar,” he said. “We import electricity from neighbors, from nuclear power plants that are located in France or Belgium. That is a completely absurd and harmful policy toward German industries.”

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“..Ukraine, perhaps more than any other case study to date, demonstrates the effective synergy between private “soft power” wielded by billionaires like Soros combined with institutions like USAID and the US State Department..”

Untold Story of George Soros’ Worldwide Soft Power Empire (Sp.)

X CEO Elon Musk dropped a bombshell late Wednesday after confirming that his social media empire would “be filing legal action” to “stop” an attempted crackdown on free speech by politicians and George Soros-funded NGOs justified using trumped-up data on the number of “hate incidents” in the British Isles. “Can’t wait for discovery to start!” Musk wrote. The billionaire did not elaborate, prompting users and media to speculate on the exact nature of the case. Musk’s message was a response to a report by an independent Irish journalist accusing authorities in Ireland and Scotland of inflating statistics about “hate-based offenses” to pass a new “hate speech” law which would make it a criminal offense to possess “hateful material” on your person or in your home – including up to a year in prison and a 5,000 euro fine for those refusing to hand over their digital device passwords to the authorities.

The crackdown is reportedly being backed by George Soros-funded non-government organizations (NGOs) accused of supporting a hardline censorship agenda, including by supporting police intervention and the seizure of personal phones and computers, as well as raids on the homes of the accused. Soros-backed NGOs’ alleged attempts to influence Irish and Scottish government policy are a prime example of soft power. Soft power, or the use of ideological, cultural, or economic influence rather than force to achieve one’s policy objectives, has been a primary tool of US and European foreign policy from at least the mid-1980s onward. After 1991, Western countries working to build the post-Cold War unipolar world order used soft power tools to spread visions of liberal democracy, free market economics, and “open societies” as “universal values” applicable to all nations. Countries refusing to adhere to these concepts have faced invasions, crushing sanctions, and coup d’états (among them Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine, just to name a few).

[..] Setting up shop in Ukraine immediately after independence in 1992, Soros’ foundations played an intimate role in the formation of the country’s post-Soviet elites, especially its liberal, pro-Western faction. Both during the Orange Revolution of 2004 and the Euromaidan coup in 2014, the OSF had a critical job to play in financing and otherwise supporting the “revolutionaries,” from lobbying efforts targeting US allies to “legalize” the coup, to meeting with the country’s new authorities to advise them on policy, to spending vast sums of money on an array of domestic “civil society” initiatives (including over $181 million by late 2015 alone). Ukraine, perhaps more than any other case study to date, demonstrates the effective synergy between private “soft power” wielded by billionaires like Soros combined with institutions like USAID and the US State Department, showing the effective role soft power in creating a crisis from scratch, and then attempting to use it to achieve a geopolitical objective.

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Check if your fish comes from Japan…

Tritium in Fukushima Wastewater ‘Very Dangerous, Causes ‘Genetic Damage’ (Sp.)

The tritium contained in filtered cooling water from the Fukushima nuclear site is very dangerous, renowned nuclear expert Dr. Christopher Busby told Sputnik. “It gets inside you easily. It exchanges with normal hydrogen, sometimes it becomes organically (covalently) bound. It causes genetic damage at tiny conventional doses (calculated using the energy per unit mass, joule/kg formula of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, employed by the IAEA),” said Busby. After months of controversy, Japan earlier announced that it would begin the release of over a million metric tons of treated, highly-diluted radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) into the Pacific Ocean on August 24.

The decision was made regardless of a torrent of criticism from the local population, the international humanitarian community, as well as vehement objections from China and other neighbors in the region. The plan to release the water had been in the wind for years. Back in 2019, Japan’s authorities had warned that they were running out of space to store the material. “The water has apparently been treated to remove the radioisotopes that the regulators believe pose the greatest risk, strontium-90, caesium-137, and carbon-14. But to take out the tritium is too expensive, and so the radioactive water is largely contaminated with large amounts of tritium oxide, in the form of tritiated water HTO. Tritium is the largest contaminant in terms of radioactivity, disintegrations per second, clicks on a counter, from the operation of all nuclear energy processes.

The neutrons, which are central to nuclear energy, produce tritium by various processes in reactors, and even outside reactors, where the nuclide, a radioactive form of hydrogen, is formed by adding neutrons to nitrogen in the air, and oxygen in the water, various other processes,” Christopher Busby, physical chemist and scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, explained. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. While it is produced naturally from interactions of cosmic rays with gases in the upper atmosphere, it is also a by-product of nuclear reactors. Tritium possesses the same number of protons and electrons as hydrogen, but unlike regular hydrogen, which does not have any neutrons, tritium has two. Thus, it is both unstable and radioactive.

While the Japanese (also the International Atomic Energy Agency, and a long list of self-identified experts) collectively say: “no problems, the quantities are very small and pose no risk to health, neither to people nor marine life,” this is not the case, according to Christopher Busby. “Tritium is interesting stuff. Its radioactivity is extremely weak: it emits a very short-range beta electron and itself then changes into nitrogen… In terms of radioactivity, because the decay electron is so weak, the method that the risk agencies use to quantify radiation effects has classed tritium as almost a non-event, in terms of health effects. This is most convenient for the nuclear industry, as it means that the exposure limits for tritium (in terms of Becquerels per liter) are truly enormous, when compared with other radioactive waste,” the nuclear expert clarified.

“The low beta energy of tritium allows the regulators to argue that the releases of huge amounts to the sea and rivers is safe. But the regulators are wrong. The system of analysis using the concept of ‘Absorbed Dose’ is unscientific, dishonest and at the origin of a huge historic public health scandal that has caused hundreds of millions of deaths from cancer due to badly regulated releases of certain specific contaminants, and this includes tritium, carbon-14, uranium (as particles) and certain other substances produced by nuclear processes,” Dr. Busby explained.

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Sifakas
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694753131198926888

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 242023
 
 August 24, 2023  Posted by at 8:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  30 Responses »


Francesco Queirolo Il Disinganno, Naples, Sansevero Chapel 1753-1754

 

Trump: “There’s A Level Of Passion… And Hatred I’ve Never Seen” (ZH)
Ukraine Can’t Defeat Russia – Ex-NATO General (RT)
Ukraine Must Seek Ceasefire With Russia Now – Ex-Presidential Aide (RT)
US ‘Cannot Afford’ To Fund Ukraine War – Think-Tank Chief (RT)
Ending Ukraine Conflict Now Is ‘Smartest Thing We Can Do’- Macgregor (RT)
Ukraine Blames Foreign Journalists for Botched Counteroffensive (Sp.)
Russia’s Goal Is To End War That West Unleashed In Ukraine – Putin (TASS)
NATO Fighting ‘Full-Scale’ War Against Russia In Ukraine – Medvedev (TASS)
BRICS Should Set Up A Kiddie Table For Western Leaders Like Macron (Marsden)
Xi Laments ‘Cold War Mentality’ (RT)
Joe Biden’s Ukraine Defense Falls Apart (Turley)
Rand Paul On Return Of COVID Measures: “These People Have No Shame” (SN)
Wagner Decries ‘Murder’ Of Prigozhin Amid Reports Missile Struck Plane (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Trump ad
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694136146987483643

 

 

Joe is lost

 

 

 

 

RFK

 

 

Renz
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694131730171547815

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I think he’s worse mentally than he is physically… and he’s not exactly a triathlete.”

Trump: “There’s A Level Of Passion… And Hatred I’ve Never Seen” (ZH)

“It started with protests against you, then impeachment twice, and now indictments… Are you worried that they are going to try to kill you? Why wouldn’t they try to kill you?” Trump calmly responds: I’ve seen the lengths that they go to… when they make up the Russia, Russia, Russia collusion and that’s exposed… these are sick people. I think they hate our country.” On the indictments sending Trump’s poll numbers higher: “I think the people of this country don’t get enough credit for how smart they are… but they get it…” “…the people see it’s a fraud.”

On Biden: “Crooked Joe Biden is so bad, he’s the worst president in the history of our country. I don’t think he’s going to make it to the gate, but you never know.” “I think he’s worse mentally than he is physically… and he’s not exactly a triathlete.” “He’s both the most corrupt president we ever had and most incompetent.” On Biden’s links to China:”I actually believe he’s compromised… the Chinese have so much on him.” “He is in many ways a Manchurian candidate. “Do you think the rest of the world looks at Biden and thinks, somebody else must be running the government?” “well, somebody else has to be. I don’t think he’s capable of doing anything.”

Who is pulling the strings? We have a president that can’t put two sentences together, can’t speak, can’t walk, can’t talk. I don’t think he gets to the starting gate but these people do miracles… I mean he ran out of his basement and he got away with it because of COVID… and they cheated on the election…but they have people that are very smart, but they’re fascists and they’re radical left lunatics and they’re destroying our country.”

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“..fueling the expectations in the public opinion of a victory that is impossible on the ground. The Ukrainians will not prevail..”

Ukraine Can’t Defeat Russia – Ex-NATO General (RT)

Ukraine will be unable to defeat Russia on the battlefield as Moscow has more men and an “impressive” advantage in firepower, retired Italian general Marco Bertolini has said. “The Ukrainian victory is inconceivable. We must take note of this fact and sit at the negotiating table,” said Bertolini, who headed Italy’s Joint Operations Command and the Folgore paratroopers brigade in the 2000s. “This war should’ve been stopped much earlier, but in recent months the rhetoric of ‘we will win’ has been cultivated, fueling the expectations in the public opinion of a victory that is impossible on the ground. The Ukrainians will not prevail,” he told Libero Quotidiano newspaper on Monday. Kiev’s much-anticipated counteroffensive, which started in early June, “proceeds slowly,” the retired general remarked.

He mentioned a report by the Washington Post last week, which cited a classified US intelligence assessment that concluded “Ukraine’s counteroffensive will fail to reach the key southeastern city of Melitopol,” and that the aim of severing Russia’s land bridge with Crimea would not be realized this year. According to Bertolini, this was “an acknowledgment that Kiev’s objectives can’t be achieved in the expected form and time frame.” “The Russians have an advantage in the number of men and firepower. The firepower unleashed by the Russians, especially when it comes to artillery, is superior and this is impressive considering the aid that has arrived in Ukraine from all over the West,” he said. The retired general suggested that there’s now an understanding in many circles that reclaiming territories captured by Russia from Ukraine is “unrealistic.” He also pointed out that “a ceasefire with the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, at any moment, and resuming hostilities won’t suffice for the Russians.”

“The conflict can only be ended through negotiations” in which the interests of both sides are respected, Bertolini said. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week that Moscow remains ready for “meaningful dialogue” on Ukraine, but the prospects for negotiations with the West “are non-existent at this stage.” Kiev’s main backer, the US, which declared the goal of inflicting a strategic defeat to Russia in Ukraine, “has no intention of ending the conflict,” he insisted. Washington maintains that any negotiated settlement must be based on the so-called ten-point peace plan proposed by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, which calls for Russia to withdraw to borders claimed by Kiev, pay reparations, and submit to war crimes tribunals. Lavrov described this as a “pointless ultimatum.”

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“..the House [of Representatives] will not pass this $24 billion. They think the situation is at a complete impasse. That’s why Ukraine won’t get any money..”

Ukraine Must Seek Ceasefire With Russia Now – Ex-Presidential Aide (RT)

Ukraine should hasten to end hostilities with Russia before the flow of American military and financial aid to the country dries up, a former aide to two Ukrainian presidents has said. In a video on his YouTube channel posted on Tuesday, Oleg Soskin, who served as an economic adviser to Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma in the 1990s, described the US as “the key country” in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, arguing that if it cuts off its military assistance to Kiev, the latter will sign some kind of agreement with Moscow “within days.” Against this backdrop, Soskin suggested that the US Congress may refuse to rubberstamp the request of US President Joe Biden to provide Kiev with an additional $24 billion in assistance, citing reports of growing reluctance among Republicans to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

“Basically, this means that the House [of Representatives] will not pass this $24 billion. They think the situation is at a complete impasse. That’s why Ukraine won’t get any money,” he said. If the US, which has already provided Kiev with tens of billions of dollars in various forms of aid, were to stop helping Ukraine, its NATO allies, including Germany, Britain and all other European countries, would follow suit, crippling Kiev’s military potential, the ex-official noted. “I think that [Ukraine] should stop before the US does that,” Soskin said, suggesting that “there should be a meeting of smart people in Ukraine who would be more forward-looking” than Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his small group of what he called “war chanters.”

Soskin also noted that the Ukrainian army has already lost the backbone of its seasoned troops, with replacements being prone to serious morale issues. He said that Kiev is forcibly drafting inexperienced soldiers who are reluctant to fight. “Ukrainians lack the motivation they had in the past year and a half,” he pointed out, suggesting that, under these conditions, Kiev stands little chance against the Russian army. The ex-official’s comments come on the heels of a recent Politico report that said “even pro-Ukraine Republicans are hedging against supporting” a new assistance package for Ukraine, with Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland noting that Kiev “can’t win the war and, therefore, the US should reconsider further stocking its defenses.”

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US Just Cannot Satisfy Ukraine’s Financial Hunger..

US ‘Cannot Afford’ To Fund Ukraine War – Think-Tank Chief (RT)

The US should reduce the assistance it’s providing to Ukraine because it cannot maintain its current level of support, the head of a leading conservative think tank has said. European nations need to do more so Kiev can keep fighting Russia, added Kevin Roberts, the president of the Heritage Foundation. He set out the case for stopping the flow of aid on Tuesday. The Washington-based think tank prides itself on its ties to the presidency of Ronald Reagan, Roberts said during an appearance on Fox News, but much has changed in America since he was in power. “The US is much weaker economically than it was. It’s impossible for us to prosecute military interventions in multiple places around the world,” he said.

Consequently, Reagan’s ‘peace through strength’ principle needs to be adapted to new realities, Roberts argued.“The US simply cannot afford the level of support that it is giving the Ukrainians. The American people are saying that,” he stated, citing recent opinion polls in the US, which indicated that the US public was turning against the continued bankrolling of Kiev. Earlier this month, the administration of President Joe Biden requested an additional $40 billion in funding from Congress, including $13 billion for Ukrainian military assistance and $7.3 billion for Kiev’s other needs. The proposal was tied to the provision of $12 billion for disaster relief in the US.

Roberts said he wanted the Ukrainians to “win” and urged Germany and France to “pull more of their own weight” to achieve that goal. When asked for his definition of a Ukrainian victory, he said he wanted “precious lives that are being lost to stop being lost today.” The Biden administration has stated that it was up to the Ukrainian government to decide how they should prosecute the war and what their end goal was. Kiev has declared that its only option is to seize all territory that it claims to be under its sovereignty, including Crimea. Moscow considers the conflict part of a US proxy war against Russia, which, it claims, Washington intends to wage “to the last Ukrainian.”

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Video is in Tuesday’s Debt Rattle.

Ending Ukraine Conflict Now Is ‘Smartest Thing We Can Do’- Macgregor (RT)

Washington needs to make every effort to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as Kiev’s counteroffensive has failed, and any Western intervention would be a disaster, a former Pentagon adviser has argued. Retired US Army colonel Douglas Macgregor told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday that claims of an imminent Ukrainian victory are a “lie” and that the latest campaign against Russian forces, launched in June, is “collapsing, because what is happening on the battlefield is horrific.” Ukraine may have lost “at least 40,000” servicemen over the past month, Macgregor claimed, while “Ukrainian hospitals are full,” and troops have been surrendering due to heavy losses and an inability to evacuate their wounded.

Moscow still has large personnel reserves and a steady supply of ammunition and missiles, Macgregor noted, warning that the West might not be able to keep up the current supply levels. “It will take us many, many months to come up to this kind of standard when we can compete in a high-end conventional warfare,” he said. The former Pentagon adviser predicted that any attempt to save Kiev from defeat might require direct Western intervention, which would have catastrophic consequences. “If we intervene…. the Russians will be ready for that. And the consequences for us and for NATO will be devastating, because we are not ready,” Mcgregor said. The US and its allies might eventually “fall back on the nuclear deterrent,” putting the world on the brink of all-out conflict.

“The smartest thing that we can do is end this war,” Macgregor concluded. The former adviser’s interview came more than two months into Ukraine’s much-hyped counteroffensive, which has so far failed to bring any tangible results, while inflicting heavy losses on Ukraine. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Kiev’s forces have lost some 43,000 soldiers and 5,000 pieces of heavy equipment since early June.

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“Ukraine is failing in its offensive and they’re looking for somebody to blame instead of blaming themselves,” retired CIA intelligence officer Larry Johnson said.”

Ukraine Blames Foreign Journalists for Botched Counteroffensive (Sp.)

Ukraine has reportedly banned foreign journalists from visiting frontline positions without any written permission by its Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny. Switzerland’s Le Temps newspaper reported that this act of censorship could be explained by Kiev’s reluctance to make huge losses public after its troops were unable to break through the Russian defense lines amid their counteroffensive. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar, for her part, earlier argued that Western media reports about the deployment of the elite 82nd Airborne Brigade had led to strikes on its positions. All this shows that “Ukraine is failing in its offensive and they’re looking for somebody to blame instead of blaming themselves,” retired CIA intelligence officer Larry Johnson said.

Referring to the counteroffensive, he said that Kiev is unwilling to “take responsibility for launching an attack that has no chance of succeeding.” He added: “Primarily because they lack air cover, they’re now trying to blame journalists or someone else.” “What’s so absurd about this? You remember we spent the first three months of 2023 hearing about Ukraine saying, ‘We’re going to attack or launch a counteroffensive’. I mean, who does that? If you’re going to launch an offensive, you’re going to sucker-punch people. You want to surprise them. You don’t want to announce it in advance. So this is just one more sign of Ukrainian failure,” Johnson underscored. The ex-CIA officer argued that even if Ukraine had “some extra reserves hanging around”, it would “not change the situation on the battlefield.” He also theorized over a hypothetical scenario assuming the Ukrainian military had gotten the better of Russian troops during Kiev’s counteroffensive.

“If Ukraine was winning, if Ukraine was defeating Russia, they [Kiev authorities] would have reporters out there on the front lines, they’d have cameras. They’d be doing live updates every 15 minutes, because there would be good news to tell. Well, there’s no good news. There’s very bad news. Ukraine is getting defeated and they’re trying to cover that up. And the only problem is as long as there are smartphones, government can’t cover up what’s happening on the ground,” Johnson concluded. The Ukrainian military launched its much-touted counteroffensive in early June after multiple postponements. Russian President Vladimir Putin underscored late last month that “the enemy was not successful in all directions of the fight.” According to him, “All counteroffensive attempts have been stopped, and the enemy has been pushed back with heavy losses.”

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“Russia has decided to support the people who are fighting for their culture, for their traditions, for their language and for their future..”

Russia’s Goal Is To End War That West Unleashed In Ukraine – Putin (TASS)

Russia’s special military operation pursues the goal of ending the war in Ukraine unleashed by a number of Western countries and their satellites, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of BRICS leaders. “Russia has decided to support the people who are fighting for their culture, for their traditions, for their language and for their future. Our actions in Ukraine have only one reason – to put an end to the war that was unleashed by the West and their satellites in Ukraine against the people living in Donbass,” Putin said. He stressed that it was the wish of a number of Western countries to preserve their hegemony in the world that “has led to the grave crisis in Ukraine.” Putin recalled that “first, with the help of the Western countries, an unconstitutional coup d’etat was carried out in that country, and then a war was unleashed against those people who did not agree with that coup.” “This brutal war, a war of extermination, had lasted for eight years,” Putin emphasized.

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“The Western world keeps falling into the same trap over and over again..”

NATO Fighting ‘Full-Scale’ War Against Russia In Ukraine – Medvedev (TASS)

NATO is fighting a full-scale war against Russia, using the Kiev authorities as proxies, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said in an op-ed dedicated to the 15th anniversary of Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia and Russia’s recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which was published on the aif.ru website. The politician pointed out that “hostile observers” should have learned a lesson from those developments but “unfortunately, it did not happen.” “The Western world keeps falling into the same trap over and over again,” Medvedev said. “Our adversaries are up to their necks in the proxy war that NATO is fighting against us in Ukraine through the hands of the Kiev regime, which is a full-scale and deadly one,” he stressed.

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“..there’s no better time for non-alignment, particularly since going all-in with the Western camp’s US-led agenda hasn’t worked out too well for the average French citizen..”

BRICS Should Set Up A Kiddie Table For Western Leaders Like Macron (Marsden)

There’s no ‘F’ (for France) in ‘BRICS’ but that didn’t stop French President Emmanuel Macron from trying to “F” it up. It wasn’t that long ago that Western leaders wouldn’t give the BRICS the time of day, treating the economic bloc like the girl next door who didn’t warrant even a second glance. But now that she’s all grown up and has a massive purchasing-power-adjusted GDP that’s set to beat that of the G7, according to the International Monetary Fund, it seems to have triggered Macron’s seduction instincts. And probably his gold-digging ones, too, particularly given the richness of natural resources of the BRICS member states and their partners, notably in Africa, and at a time when France and Europe face a greater lack of resources, due to misguided policies on everything from cutting off cheap Russian energy over the conflict in Ukraine to having the welcome mat yanked out from under them in Africa, with stability operations that resulted in a proliferation of coups.

If any Western leader was going to have the audacity to try getting into a summit led by countries that they’re constantly bullying – notably China and Russia – it makes sense that it would be Macron. The French President has a unique talent for speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. On one hand, he caters to Washington’s agenda by toeing its party line on Russia and China, while at the same time he occasionally brings up the need to maintain strategic autonomy from Washington. But whenever there’s a choice to be made, Macron ultimately follows the Washington agenda, even when it’s to France’s and the EU’s economic detriment.

But the mere fact that he’d asked for an invite to the 15th BRICS summit this week allows Macron to lay claim to open-mindedness. He can say that, hey, he tried to reach out, but that his hand was pushed away – which is like badmouthing a girl and then telling everyone that she won’t go out with you when she turns you down. Anyone with half a brain would think that the best thing to do now would be to go away and start proving yourself through your actions before asking for another date. The good news for Macron is that there’s no better time for non-alignment, particularly since going all-in with the Western camp’s US-led agenda hasn’t worked out too well for the average French citizen suffering from a seemingly endless cost-of-living crisis.

Macron wants a date with the BRICS so badly that the bloc should really do with him and other Western leaders what Macron himself decided last year that the European Union should do with prospective members: set up a ‘kiddie table.’ The new ‘Baby BRICS’ summit could be the equivalent of Macron’s ‘European Political Community’ of countries seen as still having to prove themselves for EU membership, but who can still score an invite to a smaller summit alongside the ‘adult’ one, in the hope of being chosen for cherry-picked special trade relationships and customs arrangements of primary benefit to the EU.

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“There are many civilizations and development paths in the world, and this is how the world should be..”

Xi Laments ‘Cold War Mentality’ (RT)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has condemned the “Cold War mentality” still “haunting our world,” as he laid out his geopolitical vision at the BRICS summit in South Africa on Wednesday. “We gather at a time when the world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation,” Xi told the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa in Johannesburg. He added that the world “is undergoing major shifts, division and regrouping, leading to more uncertain, unstable and unpredictable developments.” “The Cold War mentality is still haunting our world, and the geopolitical situation is getting tense,” he continued, before restating China’s position on the Ukraine conflict: that the fighting began for “complex reasons,” and that “no one should add fuel to the fire and worsen the situation.”

The Chinese president has maintained for several years that American hegemony is in decline, and that a more multipolar world – in which Washington must treat “rising” powers like China as equals – is emerging. Xi has publicly celebrated the rebalancing of power, telling Russian President Vladimir Putin in March that both men were driving “changes, the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years.” Behind closed doors, he has reportedly warned his military that the geopolitical shift may lead to “the outbreak of a war and its chain reactions.”To avert this, Xi declared on Wednesday that “BRICS countries need to champion the spirit of inclusiveness, advocate peaceful coexistence and harmony between civilizations, and promote respect of all countries in independently choosing their modernization paths.”

There are many civilizations and development paths in the world, and this is how the world should be,” he stated. The Chinese leader called for the strengthening of global institutions and the adoption of global rules based on the UN Charter, “rather than dictated by those with the strongest muscles or the loudest voice.” Beijing has repeatedly condemned the US for positioning itself as leader of the “rules-based international order,” while violating the same rules that it applies to others.

“BRICS countries should practice true multilateralism, uphold the UN-centered international system, support and strengthen the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, and reject the attempt to create small circles or exclusive blocs,” Xi said, calling for increased trade, financial, and development ties between the five-nation group. Xi was not the only BRICS leader to denounce Western hegemony at the Johannesburg summit. Addressing the conference by video link, Putin blamed the conflict in Ukraine on the West’s attempts to preserve its power, and declared that BRICS stands for “the formation of a multipolar world order, truly just and based on international law.”

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“While Joe was portraying his work as fighting corruption, some officials were warning the Bidens could be part of the problem, not the solution, in Ukraine.”

Joe Biden’s Ukraine Defense Falls Apart (Turley)

The Oct. 1, 2015, memo summarizes the recommendation of the Interagency Policy Committee that was handling the anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine: “Ukraine has made sufficient progress on its reform agenda to justify a third guarantee.” One senior official even complimented Shokin on his progress in fighting corruption. So Biden was told to deliver on the federal aid but elected to unilaterally demand Shokin be fired. When the firing occurred, Shokin’s office was investigating Burisma Holdings, an energy firm that paid Hunter Biden a huge amount of money. The State Department had identified it as a corrupt company engaged in bribery. Recent testimony from Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden, revealed that Burisma executives made the removal of Shokin a top priority and raised it with Hunter.

He described how the need to neutralize Shokin was raised with Hunter and how “a call to Washington” was made in response. While Archer also said that “the narrative spun to me was that Shokin was under control,” he and others also heard concerns over Shokin and the risks of the investigation. President Biden has insisted, “I did nothing wrong. I carried out the policy of the United States government in rooting out corruption in Ukraine. And that’s what we should be focusing on.” Indeed, that will now be the focus, including the close correlation of the money and demands going to Hunter and the actions of his father. There is evidence the State Department was alarmed by Hunter’s work and its impact on anti-corruption efforts. While Joe was portraying his work as fighting corruption, some officials were warning the Bidens could be part of the problem, not the solution, in Ukraine.

Leading diplomat George Kent wrote then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, “The real issue to my mind was that someone in Washington needed to engage VP Biden quietly and say that his son Hunter’s presence on the Burisma board undercut the anti-corruption message the VP and we were advancing in Ukraine b/c Ukrainians heard one message from us and then saw another set of behavior with the family association with a known corrupt figure whose company was known for not playing by the rules.” As part of the first impeachment of Donald Trump, Democrats largely dismissed earlier accounts of these misgivings and portrayed Shokin as a thoroughly corrupt prosecutor perpetuating corruption. Biden’s Ukrainian Corn Pop story was celebrated as a gutsy moment of leadership.

During the impeachment, Kent said Biden’s demand was consistent with US policy. Yet we now know the State Department had found progress was being made on corruption and Shokin was praised in private correspondence. The demand for the replacement of the equivalent of the attorney general in another country is an extraordinary move. We give massive amounts of money to countries with rampant corruption and authoritarian records. But Biden decided Shokin had to go and used public money to make that happen.

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“We will fight back, and we will point out that they are making money off of this.”

Rand Paul On Return Of COVID Measures: “These People Have No Shame” (SN)

In response to reports of COVID restrictions, including social distancing and masking being reimplemented by colleges and offices, Senator Rand Paul asserted that those pushing the measures again “have no shame.” During a Fox News interview, Paul described the move as “hysteria” being pushed by the leftist media to financially benefit their corporate pharma owners. “These people are so conflicted,” Paul said, adding “It’s so dishonest to put people like that on the air to promote a product that they make more money from … promote this hysteria. This defies all logic. It defies science, and it defies common sense.” “To see this coming up again, these people have no shame,” Paul continued, pointing to Morris Brown College in Atlanta, a black private liberal arts college that has reinstated the measures as part of a “precautionary step.”

“That university that’s wanting to mask up and do all this testing — zero cases,” Paul urged, adding “But even worse than that, even when COVID was really more potent in 2020, the death rate for young, healthy people turned out to be close to zero.” “We don’t know for sure because the CDC won’t release it, but we do know that Germany released all of their data, and not one young, healthy person died. So, it’s a crime to mandate masks. It’s a crime to mandate vaccines, which do have some risks for young, healthy people,” Paul further noted. The Senator urged that Americans are “not going to lay down and take it again,”adding “there will be more resistance” this time. “We will fight back, and we will point out that they are making money off of this. These are not high-minded people. They are making money off of us and making money off of generating hysteria,” the Senator asserted.

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Easy to jump to conclusions..

Wagner Decries ‘Murder’ Of Prigozhin Amid Reports Missile Struck Plane (ZH)

The internet has exploded with an avalanche breaking reports that Wagner chief Yvgeny Prigozhin’s business jet has crashed over Russia’s Tver region, northwest of Moscow. Unconfirmed reports say anywhere from seven to ten people were on board, all presumed dead – but it was initially unclear if Prigozhin himself was on board at the time. Russian media sources are now confirming that he was on board the downed plane, and is presumed dead.
This has led to immediate speculation that the private plane could have been shot down upon Putin’s orders (or people in the military command placed a bomb?… or a sophisticated Western intel op?). Per FT’s Moscow correspondent: “Wagner-linked channels say Russian air defense *shot down the plane* – the same private jet Prigozhin regularly uses.”

The Kremlin has quickly issued confirmation that the aircraft did indeed belong to the controversial Wagner leader who led a mutiny against the defense ministry June 23-24. Per official news wires out of Russia
• RUSSIA SAYS 10 PEOPLE KILLED AFTER PRIVATE JET CRASHES IN TVER REGION NORTH OF MOSCOW
• RUSSIA SAYS EVGENY PRIGOZHIN COULD BE ON BOARD OF PLANE THAT CRASHED IN TVER REGION NORTH OF MOSCOW – TASS

Russian official sources are confirming, including RT… KOMMERSANT: • PRIGOZHIN HAS DIED IN THE PLANE CRASH IN RUSSIA’S TVER, RUSSIA’S FEDERAL AIR TRANSPORT AGENCY SAYS. State news outlet RT writes in an update: “A private jet traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg crashed on Wednesday in Russia’s Tver Region. The Russian Emergencies Ministry said all 10 people on board had died. Rosaviation has since said that Evgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Private Military Company, was listed among the passengers.” And additional statements are emerging: Former Putin advisor Sergei Markov: “The murder of Prigozhin is the main achievement of Ukraine and all enemies of Russia will rejoice” — Al Jazeera

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Crustacean
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694275094825107944

 

 

Maui

 

 

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Jul 112023
 
 July 11, 2023  Posted by at 9:11 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  65 Responses »


Gustave Doré Over London — By Rail 1872 (woodblock)

 

China Ready To Contribute To Build Stable World Jointly With Russia – Xi (TASS)
41+ Countries Returning To Gold Standard (QTR)
Anti-Russian Sanctions Spooking Countries Into Repatriating Gold Reserves (RT)
US, Europeans Depleted Their Weapons Stockpile Fighting Russia in Ukraine (Sp.)
Vaudevillian Visitors in Vilnius (Sp.)
Zelensky Can Expect Military Aid Guarantees From NATO Summit at Best (Sp.)
Ukraine In NATO Is ‘Path To Peace’ – FM (RT)
US State Dept Has Become ‘Ministry Of Truth’ – Moscow (RT)
Erdogan Ties Sweden’s NATO Bid To Türkiye’s EU Membership (RT)
Putin Held Meeting With Prigozhin, Wagner Commanders June 29 -Kremlin (Sp.)
Prigozhin’s War (Lauria)
US Cluster Munitions to Ukraine Can Lead to Humanitarian Problems – China (Sp.)
Ukraine Stepping Up Mercenary Recruitment Effort – Russian MOD (RT)
Welcome to Zuckerberg’s Vision of Internet “Kindness” (Turley)
UK Parents Prosecuted for Refusing to Pay for Transgender Treatments? (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Baby myocarditis
https://twitter.com/i/status/1678475139841662996

 

 

 

 

Luft
https://twitter.com/i/status/1678528304616226816

 

 

BRICS

 

 

 

 

“..mutual assistance, deep integration, innovation and pioneering, as well as mutual benefit.”

China Ready To Contribute To Build Stable World Jointly With Russia – Xi (TASS)

Beijing is ready to join efforts with Moscow to contribute to building a prosperous, stable and just world order, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said on Monday. “China is ready to continue working with Russia <…> in order to contribute to developing and reviving both countries as well as to build a prosperous, stable and just world order,” China’s CCTV quoted Xi as saying at a meeting with Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko in Beijing. Xi said that, in the new era, his country was ready to continue developing the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation with Russia which imply “mutual assistance, deep integration, innovation and pioneering, as well as mutual benefit.”

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“That’s one she’s going to want to take back at some point, I’m certain.”

41+ Countries Returning To Gold Standard (QTR)

Remember back when the Russia/Ukraine war had just started, and I predicted that Russia and China would launch their own gold backed currency? At the time, this idea sounded completely foreign, and I was ridiculed for bringing it up. Today, it just become reality. 41+ countries look like they could be returning to a gold standard. The images plastered all over RT this weekend had headlines like “New Money, New World” and “Gold Standard Will Be Of Great Benefit To Strengthening New Singly Currency”. “The official announcement is expected to be made during the BRICS summit in August in South Africa,” Kitco reported over the weekend. “At first glance, a new transaction unit, backed by gold, sounds like good money – and it could be, first and foremost, a major challenge to the US dollar’s hegemony,” Thorsten Polleit, chief economist at Degussa, said.

He continued: “For making the new currency as good as gold, a truly sound currency, it must be convertible into gold on demand. I am not sure whether this is what Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have in mind. Using gold as money, the unit of account would be a true game changer, no doubt about it. It could lead to a sharp devaluation of many fiat currencies vis-à-vis the yellow metal (including the BRICS fiat currencies), and it could catapult up goods prices in terms of fiat currencies. It could be a shock to the global fiat money system. I am not sure that this is what the BRICS wish to achieve.” The official announcement of the new currency is expected in August during the BRICS summit in South Africa.

Even more shocking than the announcement is the cavalier attitude that United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen appears to be taking to the news. In statements I can only describe as completely delusional, Yellen said this weekend: “I just want to reiterate what I’ve said in the past, which is I think the United States can rest assured that the dollar is going to play the dominant role in facilitating international transactions and serving as a reserve currency in the years ahead. I don’t see that role being threatened by any development including the one that you’ve mentioned [BRICS common currency].” That’s one she’s going to want to take back at some point, I’m certain.

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“’If it’s my gold then I want it in my country’”

Anti-Russian Sanctions Spooking Countries Into Repatriating Gold Reserves (RT)

An increasing number of countries are bringing home their bullion reserves in the wake of unprecedented sanctions imposed by the West on Russia, Reuters reported on Monday, citing an Invesco survey of central bank and sovereign wealth funds.According to the report, widespread losses for sovereign money managers resulting from last year’s financial market rout made them “fundamentally”rethink their strategies amid fears of higher inflation and further geopolitical tensions. The survey showed that over 85% of the participating 85 sovereign wealth funds and 57 central banks believe that inflation will now be higher in the coming decade than in the last.

A “substantial share” of central banks were reportedly concerned by the precedent set by sanctions on Russia. Almost 60% of respondents said it had made gold more attractive, while 68% were keeping reserves at home, compared with 50% in 2020. “’If it’s my gold then I want it in my country’ (has) been the mantra we have seen in the last year or so,”according to Invesco’s head of official institutions, Rod Ringrow, who oversaw the report. Confirming Ringrow’s assessment, one central bank told Reuters anonymously: “We did have it (gold) held in London… but now we’ve transferred it back to [our] own country to hold as a safe haven asset and to keep it safe.”

Nearly half of Russia’s $640 billion worth of gold and forex reserves were frozen by the West last year, included in numerous rounds of sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine. Moscow has condemned the freezing of its assets, describing the West’s plans to expropriate those funds as theft and warning of retaliatory measures. The Ivesco study showed that geopolitical concerns, combined with opportunities in emerging markets, have also triggered a shift among some central banks away from the US dollar. Of those surveyed, 7% reportedly believe that mounting US debt is also negative for the greenback, but most still see no alternative to the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

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The military industrial complex is making a killing.

US, Europeans Depleted Their Weapons Stockpile Fighting Russia in Ukraine (Sp.)

The US and Europe may have the military budgets which far outstrip those of their global rivals, but there are multiple factors helping to explain their depletion and inability to expand production, retired. Major General Vallely, the chairman of the Stand Up America Foundation, a US advocacy and non-profit, told Sputnik. “As you know, when the Americans surrendered in Afghanistan, we left $85 billion-worth of equipment, ammunition, guns, tanks, helicopters, artillery. $85 billion is a lot. That would arm an entire country for years,” Vallely explained. Secondly, the US defense sectors “sells a lot of equipment to other countries – some 50 different countries,” which means not all its resources can be concentrated on one task, like flooding arms into Ukraine.

“And the third reason is the amount that we have sent into Ukraine, including what we called ‘prepositioned’ equipment in Europe. Those resources are depleted. So the American defense industry can’t keep up with demand now. We don’t have the manufacturing capability to keep up with what’s being used and what is needed in the future. The same goes for the European countries,” the senior officer said, pointing out that much of the weapons and equipment given to Kiev over the past year-and-a-half have been destroyed. Vallely also pointed to political, economic and social factors to account for the shortfall, saying many NATO countries, particularly in Europe, “are sort of reluctant” to keep pumping their military equipment into Ukraine with no end in sight.

Instead, they’ve actually “slowed down their production, I think, and also the amount of supplies that they’re giving Ukraine, because they want to keep a lot of that, at least some for themselves. So those are all reasons why we see this shortage and it’s going to continue,” he said. Major European NATO powers such as Germany, Italy and the UK have spent months warning that the stocks of weapons they have left after splurging on Ukraine would be enough to withstand just “48-72 hours” of combat in the event of a surprise invasion or other major conflagration. In the UK, defense officials complained privately back in January that the military had been “hollowed out” by arms shipments to Kiev, and London’s reluctance to up defense expenditures.

In spite of talk among NATO members about record defense budgets, Vallely doesn’t expect the alliance to be able to substantially ramp up production capabilities over the coming months and years. “I don’t think they want to. It costs the countries a lot of money to build this equipment. And you have an ailing economy in Europe and the United States. They can print all the money they want to, but still you have to build these things and it takes a lot of time,” he said. On top of that are resource constraints, including the rare-earth minerals the US has come to rely on China for but which Beijing has recently indicated it would be trimming down amid the ongoing trade war with Washington, Vallely said.

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NATO must deliver this week. But all they have is words. Bonuspoint for the headline.

Vaudevillian Visitors in Vilnius (Sp.)

The crisis in Ukraine is in many respects the consequence of the Western alliance’s decade-and-a-half long quest to pull Kiev into the bloc, despite repeated warnings by Russia that Ukrainian NATO membership was a “red line” for Moscow. The alliance first welcomed Ukraine’s “Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership” at its 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania. Two years later, the pro-Western government in Kiev was replaced in democratic elections by the government of Viktor Yanukovych, who pledged Kiev’s bloc neutrality. Four years after that, in 2014, Yanukovych was overthrown in a US-backed coup d’etat, with the crisis prompting Crimea to break off from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, and sparking a bloody conflict in Donbass. Moscow attempted to mediate the crisis over eight years through the Minsk peace accords, a comprehensive, 12-point peace deal calling for broad autonomy for Donbass as part of Ukraine.


Successive governments in Kiev dragged their feet on the Minsk deal’s implementation. In the meantime, in 2019, Ukraine’s parliament amended the country’s constitution to cement Kiev’s aspirations to join NATO and the European Union. In December 2021, as war clouds gathered over Donbass, Moscow attempted one final push to prevent the escalation of the Ukraine crisis into a Russia-NATO proxy conflict, proposing comprehensive security agreements to the US and the alliance to reduce tensions, including a request for a commitment from the Western alliance not to allow Ukraine to join the bloc. The alliance refused, saying it would never reject its “open door” policy. Several weeks later, amid Russian intelligence reports that Kiev would try to resolve the Donbass crisis by force, Moscow kicked off its special military operation.

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“NATO member states cannot use security guarantees as an alternative to Ukraine’s membership in the bloc.”

Zelensky Can Expect Military Aid Guarantees From NATO Summit at Best (Sp.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky can expect from the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius on Ukraine’s admission to the alliance is guarantees of further military aid at best, Konstantin Gavrilov, the head of the Russian delegation at the military security and arms control talks in Vienna, said in an interview with Sputnik. Zelensky continues to bend his line that he needs Western weapons and military equipment under the pretext of a confrontation with Russia, the diplomat said, adding that is why Zelensky has long hinted that he would like an accelerated process of joining NATO. The UK and the US, however, have made it clear that the necessary criteria must be met for this.


“The best that Zelensky can expect [from the summit] is guarantees of further military assistance and supplies of ammunition,” Gavrilov said, adding that “the fact that a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council will be held during the NATO summit is just a nod to Kiev and nothing more.” On Monday Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that “NATO member states cannot use security guarantees as an alternative to Ukraine’s membership in the bloc.” The Lithuanian capital city of Vilnius will host the NATO summit from July 11-12. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will chair the meeting. Discussions on Ukraine’s NATO prospects, strengthening the alliance’s eastern flank and defense spending are expected to top the summit’s agenda. On June 19, Stoltenberg said that the summit would not discuss a formal invitation, but rather ways to “move Ukraine closer to NATO.”

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War is peace.

Ukraine In NATO Is ‘Path To Peace’ – FM (RT)

Inviting Kiev into NATO will create peace in Europe, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba argued on Monday, during an interview with the German public broadcaster ARD. Kiev was “promised entry” in 2008, but Germany and other Western European countries got cold feet, Kuleba told the Tagesschau newscast on Monday. The upcoming Vilnius summit of the US-led military bloc is the time to correct that “mistake,” he added.“We appreciate everything that Germany and the US are doing for Ukraine to support us in this war,” Kuleba added, but disagreed with Berlin that the invitation into NATO would drag the West into open war with Russia. The invitation is simple “a political message to Ukraine” and Article 5 – the mutual defense clause – “only applies if Ukraine is a member country.”

“Ukraine’s NATO membership is a path towards peace. Once Ukraine can join NATO, there will be no more wars in Europe,” Kuleba claimed, because “Russia will no longer dare to attack the alliance.” Although Kiev’s bid is strongly supported by the Eastern European and Baltic states, the leaders of Western Europe and the US have opposed making Ukraine a full-fledged NATO member. In a CNN interview over the weekend, US President Joe Biden reiterated that Washington is against admitting Ukraine into NATO and offered “Israel-like guarantees” instead. “Why does everyone always want to put Ukraine in a separate pot?” lamented Kuleba. “Why are people always looking for alternative solutions? Why can’t we simply develop a holistic solution for a European security architecture in which Ukraine sits in the NATO boat?”

He went on to insist that Ukraine is “a win” and not a burden, because “without our army, the eastern flank [of NATO] could not be defended at all.” Kiev will not accept guarantees as a replacement for membership, Kuleba added, but only as an interim measure. The US and its allies have spent over $100 billion just in 2022 to provide Ukraine with weapons, equipment, ammunition and even cash, while insisting they were not a party to the conflict with Russia. Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov has argued on multiple occasions that his country was already “de facto” a member of the Western alliance and “carrying out NATO’s mission” with theblood of Ukrainian soldiers.

No NATO membership for Ukraine was one of the key demands in Russia’s collective security proposal sent to Washington and Brussels in December 2021. Biden also revealed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had presented that condition at their July 2021 summit in Switzerland – but that he refused, citing NATO’s open-door policy. Moscow considers NATO’s eastward expansion as a threat to Russia’s national security and has cited Kiev’s ties to the bloc as one of the root causes of the current armed conflict with Ukraine. Russian officials have argued that Ukraine’s neutrality would be one of the necessary prerequisites for a lasting peace between the two countries.

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Yup, more Orwell.

US State Dept Has Become ‘Ministry Of Truth’ – Moscow (RT)

US authorities are urging the country’s media outlets to propagate falsehoods about Russia in a bid to undermine its stability amid the ongoing stand-off between Moscow and the West, the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has claimed. In a statement on Monday, the agency quoted its director, Sergey Naryshkin, as saying that “the US State Department … basically dictates to the American media what exactly they should write and say,” adding that it “has finally turned into the ‘Ministry of Truth’.” The comment was an apparent reference to the fictional ministry tasked with falsifying historical events from George Orwell’s world-renowned dystopian novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’.

The SVR, citing intelligence data, claimed that last month the department sent instructions to several major media holdings, including AT&T, Comcast Corporation, Graham Media Group, Nash Holdings, Newsweek Publishing and The New York Times Company, telling them to “reflect events in and around Russia in a distorted manner.” According to the agency, these outlets were tasked with convincing Russian citizens that there was a need for a “forceful struggle against the authorities, up to an armed rebellion.” They also wanted to “involve the population in protest actions” by “actively circulating falsehoods” about Russia’s purported weakness and its “inevitable defeat in the stand-off with the West,” the statement read.

To achieve this goal, Washington has told media organizations to focus on packaging certain narratives to young Russians, as well as hailing Russian opposition figures and other nationals engaged “in sabotage and terrorist actions” against Moscow as heroes, the agency claimed. “There is nothing new in freedom of speech being trampled on in the West. It is unfortunate that the State Department, which used to be a sober-minded and rational agency … has turned into a stinking landfill of informational garbage,” the SVR added. The statement comes after Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov predicted in April that the level of “external interference” into Russia’s domestic affairs would only grow amid the Ukraine conflict. He also suggested that the West would be interested in derailing Russia’s presidential elections, which are scheduled for March 2024.

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The EU will never accept a muslim nation as a member.

Erdogan Ties Sweden’s NATO Bid To Türkiye’s EU Membership (RT)

Ankara will sign off on Sweden’s accession to NATO if the EU “opens the way” to membership for Türkiye, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday. Erdogan has reportedly asked US President Joe Biden to help pressure Brussels into accepting Türkiye into the European bloc. “Türkiye has been waiting at the door of the European Union for over 50 years now, and almost all of the NATO member countries are now members of the European Union,” Erdogan told reporters before flying to NATO’s summit in Lithuania. “Come and open the way for Türkiye’s membership in the European Union. When you pave the way for Türkiye, we’ll pave the way for Sweden as we did for Finland,” he added.

Sweden, Finland, and Türkiye agreed last summer that Ankara would approve the two Nordic nations’ applications for NATO membership if both granted a number of key concessions to Ankara. Sweden and Finland promised that they would lift arms embargoes on Türkiye, extradite alleged Kurdish and Gulenist terrorists, and crack down on the activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) within their borders. Türkiye’s parliament signed off on Finland’s application in March, but Erdogan maintains that Sweden hasn’t fulfilled its end of the bargain. In a phone call with Biden on Sunday, the Turkish president claimed that Sweden still allows “terrorist organizations” – referring to the PKK – to demonstrate on its streets, according to a readout of the call from Ankara.

Erdogan also told Biden that Türkiye expects a “clear and strong message of support” from NATO leaders for its EU membership at this week’s summit in Lithuania. A readout of the call from the White House made no mention of this request. Erdogan is set to hold talks with Biden and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson while in Lithuania. sAsked about Erdogan’s comments, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told the Associated Press that Türkiye’s accession to the EU was not a part of the deal that Sweden, Finland, and Türkiye signed last year.

Stoltenberg insisted that Sweden has fulfilled its obligations, and that it is “still possible to have a positive decision” on its accession to the military bloc during this week’s summit. Türkiye applied for EU membership in 1987 and was recognized as a candidate in 1999. Membership negotiations opened in 2005, but progress was slow, and no talks have taken place since 2016. Brussels has since condemned Erdogan over alleged human rights abuses, and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament warned in a 2017 report that constitutional reforms strengthening his powers could run afoul of EU law and threaten Ankara’s membership bid.

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“Putin listened to the explanations of the commanders and offered them further employment options..”

Putin Held Meeting With Prigozhin, Wagner Commanders June 29 -Kremlin (Sp.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting in the Kremlin with Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner PMC and the group’s commanders to discuss the events of June 24, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. “Indeed, the president had such a meeting. He invited 35 people to it. All group commanders and company management, including Prigozhin. This meeting took place in the Kremlin on June 29 and lasted almost three hours,” Peskov told a briefing. The details of the meeting are confidential, but both Putin and Wagner commanders gave an assessment of the June 24 events, the spokesman said.

“The only thing we can say is that the president gave an assessment of the company’s actions at the front line during the special military operation, and also gave his assessment of the events of June 24. Putin listened to the explanations of the commanders and offered them further employment options,” Peskov said. Commanders of Wagner told Putin that they are his staunch supporters and are ready to continue fighting for Russia, the spokesman concluded. On June 23, forces of the Wagner Group (PMC) seized the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District in the city of Rostov-on-Don, following accusations leveled against the Russian Ministry of Defense for allegedly striking the group’s camps. Both the Russian military and the Federal Security Service have denied the allegations.

The next day, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko revealed that he had spent the entire day negotiating with Yevgeny Prigozhin, as agreed upon with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As a result of the talks, the Wagner group leader accepted Lukashenko’s proposal to stop the movement of his troops in Russia and take measures to de-escalate the situation. Putin guaranteed that the Wagner group fighters would have the opportunity to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, return home, or move to Belarus.

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“..Western governments and pundits clearly suffered more embarrassment from this episode than Putin did..”

Prigozhin’s War (Lauria)

MacGregor disagreed that the former Wagner chief was in cahoots with Russia’s enemies. He said: “I see no evidence that Mr. Prigozhin was made an agent by MI6 or the CIA or anybody else. Anybody who knows the Russians knows that any senior officer or commander or leader is surrounded by numerous FSB informants. The idea that he could have sold out even if he wanted to seems ludicrous.” Ritter pointed out in his CN piece that the Russian government is investigating the matter. If Prigozhin was indeed working for Western or Ukrainian intelligence they clearly did not get what they paid for. Lessons: For Russia: Don’t repeat the mistake of hiring a private army. Several analysts pointed to a 500-year old lesson from Niccolo Machiavelli that Russia ignored:

“Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful. … I wish to demonstrate further the infelicity of these arms [i.e., mercenaries]. The mercenary captains are either capable men or they are not; if they are, you cannot trust them, because they always aspire to their own greatness, either by oppressing you, who are their master, or others contrary to your intentions; but if the captain [i.e., the leader of the mercenaries] is not skillful, you are ruined in the usual way [i.e., you will lose the war].”

MacGregor disputed the whole idea. He told Galloway: “I reject the notion that these people are mercenaries. I would compare them to the French Foreign Legion. The French Foreign Legion consists of large numbers of non Frenchmen in many cases, but they have sworn allegiance to the French state and the French nation, and no one has fought harder and more loyally for France than the French Foreign Legion. I would say you have something very similar in the Wagner group.= These are still Russians overwhelmingly, but there are numbers of Serbs or some Germans or others in the group, and they too have sworn allegiance to the Russian state. And as far as we can tell, none of them thought that they were marching on Moscow to remove Putin.

On the contrary, they saw themselves as going to Moscow to rescue Putin from what was widely considered bad advisors, bad councilors who have held up the Russian offensive and caused this war to drag out beyond the point of reason.” Whether they were mercenaries or not, the Kremlin and the MOD tried to get away with a dodgy legal maneuver and it caused them international embarrassment and nearly a bloody civil conflict. Lessons: For the West: Wait until an operation is over before popping the corks. Cries about a Russian civil war being under way, such as tweets from former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, which blared that “The fight is now on. This is now a civil war,” blew up in their faces when Prigozhin turned tail.

The bigger lesson would be not to meddle in other nations’ internal affairs but that would be too much to ask. The entire Russian nation had rallied around Putin, leaving him in a much stronger position, exposing the continuing line that Russia is now a dangerously unstable nation. Western governments and pundits clearly suffered more embarrassment from this episode than Putin did. But ideologues rarely learn any lessons.

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A soft warning. China speaks in whispers.

US Cluster Munitions to Ukraine Can Lead to Humanitarian Problems – China (Sp.)

Last week, the US unveiled a new military assistance package for Ukraine that includes cluster munitions. The weapons are banned by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which has been ratified by 123 countries, excluding the US and Ukraine. Supplies of cluster munitions by the United States to Ukraine may lead to humanitarian problems, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Monday. “Many countries have spoken out against it [cluster munition supplies], irresponsible transfers of cluster munitions can easily lead to humanitarian problems. Humanitarian issues and military security issues must be dealt with in a balanced manner, and the transfer of cluster munitions must be treated with restraint and caution,” Mao told reporters.

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“..a recruitment drive is underway in Argentina, Brazil, Afghanistan, Iraq, and areas of Syria that are “under American control.”

Ukraine Stepping Up Mercenary Recruitment Effort – Russian MOD (RT)

Ukrainian units formed from foreign mercenaries have suffered high battlefield casualties, forcing Kiev to change its approach to finding hired fighters, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Monday. In a statement, the ministry alleged that the Ukrainian military command views foreign fighters as cannon fodder, sending them into the riskiest missions and placing them at the back of the line when it comes to the evacuation of injured troops. This has made recruiting fighters in European countries such as Poland much harder for Kiev, the assessment claimed. Ukraine has consequently ramped up efforts to find candidates in other parts of the world, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, which stated that a recruitment drive is underway in Argentina, Brazil, Afghanistan, Iraq, and areas of Syria that are “under American control.”

The reference to Syria likely concerns the predominantly Kurdish northeastern part of the country. The US supplied Kurdish militias with weapons, training and air support when they served as ground forces for the Washington-led coalition in the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). The Pentagon also maintains a military base in eastern Syria, despite the objections of the government in Damascus. The Russian Defense Ministry further claimed that Ukraine’s diplomatic missions in the US and Canada are actively hiring fighters with the help of the CIA and private military contractors under its influence.

Ukraine created the so-called International Legion for what it describes as foreign volunteers fighting for its cause. Moscow considers the fighters to be mercenaries and has repeatedly said that the regular laws of war do not apply to them. The Russian Defense Ministry’s assessment on Monday put the number of foreign mercenaries currently employed by Kiev at 2,029. There are numerous accounts from foreign fighters describing the perils of joining the Ukrainian ranks, including mismanagement by military leaders, corruption with logistics, and the overwhelming risks of engaging Russian forces.

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I’m seeing Orwell eveywhere today:

“..they were unwilling to allow the safety of others “to go to the winds so that people can speak freely.”

Welcome to Zuckerberg’s Vision of Internet “Kindness” (Turley)

“Threads’s rollout coincides with a court ruling that the government’s interventions to censor people on social media represented “the most massive attack against free speech in United States history.” Now, Facebook is offering an alternative to Twitter, with the assurance that users will be protected against any thoughts that Meta’s staff finds problematic. While free speech on Twitter is portrayed as harmful, the company has promised to “prioritize kindness.” That sounds eerily familiar to some of us as a way to deprioritize free speech. Recently, former Twitter executive Anika Collier Navaroli testified on how she and her staff would remove anything they considered “dog whistles” and “coded” messaging. Rather than using “kindness,” Twitter used undefined standards of “safety” to cancel free speech.

Navaroli declared that they were unwilling to allow the safety of others “to go to the winds so that people can speak freely.” Facebook has long tried to get the public to embrace its role as some kind of speech overlord. Years ago, Facebook rolled out an Orwellian commercial campaign to get the public to embrace censorship. The commercials showed young people heralding how they grew up on the internet and how the world was changing, creating a need for censorship under the guise of “content moderation.” Facebook, they promised, was offering the “blending of the real world and the internet world.”

Facebook is not alone in trying to get people to accept censorship. Recently, after the court ruling, various figures assured the public that they are better off letting corporate and government censors protect them from harmful thoughts. On CNN, Chief White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly went so far as to state that it simply “makes sense” for tech companies to go along with government censorship demands. After this week’s decision, the New York Times immediately issued a panicky tweet that the resulting outbreak of free speech could “curtail efforts to combat disinformation.” For his part, Zuckerberg prefers to just offer “kindness” and “sanity” with few details. Of course, there is a very simple way for Zuckerberg to show that he is committed to free speech: He can release the Facebook Files.

One of the reasons many of us in the free-speech community still support Musk is that he transformed the debate over government censorship by releasing the Twitter Files. For years, politicians and pundits dismissed objections from some of us to government-corporate coordination of censorship as unproven. In Congress, Democratic members attacked witnesses for supposedly lacking proof of censorship, even as they fought to block any investigation that might uncover that evidence. Musk changed all that by showing the public an extensive network of government interventions to support censorship and blacklisting of private citizens. Much of what we know today is derived from the Twitter Files, but surely there is more to learn.

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“The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail – its roof may shake – the wind may blow through it – the storm may enter – the rain may enter – but the King of England cannot enter.”

UK Parents Prosecuted for Refusing to Pay for Transgender Treatments? (Turley)

According to the UK’s Code for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), abusive conduct now includes “withholding money for transitioning [and] refusing to use their preferred name or pronoun.” So a parent with familial or religious objections to the transitioning of a child would be required under the law to fund operations or treatments. According to the guidance material, this is not even “an exhausted list,” but some of the first “examples” of potentially criminal conduct that comes to mind. The guideline would suggest that parents with deep-seated religious convictions against transgender status would either have to fund an operation that they consider immoral or face arrest for failing to do so.

To potentially prosecute a parent for refusing to use an adopted pronoun of their child is chilling and wrong. Nevertheless, a CPS spokesperson doubled down with a comment to Fox News that “domestic abuse is a severe crime and leaves victims with a lasting impact . . . This assists prosecutors to ensure that any victim, regardless of who they are, can get justice for the abuse they have faced.” This follows the erosion of free speech and religious rights in Britain, including English courts upholding the criminalization “toxic ideologies.” It was Sir Edward Coke in The Institutes of the Laws of England, 1628 who declared “For a man’s house is his castle, et domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium [and each man’s home is his safest refuge].” William Pitt, the first Earl of Chatham later added:

“The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail – its roof may shake – the wind may blow through it – the storm may enter – the rain may enter – but the King of England cannot enter.” That no longer appears the case when misusing pronouns or failing to write a check for a child’s transitioning, which will now be treated as the same as physical child abuse. As the definition of abuse is broadened, the state derives greater control and direction over family affairs and relations. Moreover, leaving enforcement to the discretion of police in this “nonexhaustive” list only further undermines this long-standing protection over internal family matters. The question is what the limiting principle will be as the state defines a wider array of conduct to be child abuse. The default assumption of Pitt appears to have flipped in the United Kingdom.

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RFK
https://twitter.com/i/status/1678544638334967809

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jul 022023
 


Douglas Percy Bliss High Noon, Windley 1951

 

Kiev Must Show ‘Battlefield Results’ In Next Ten Days – Zelensky (RT)
Ukrainian Counteroffensive Will Be Long And ‘Very Bloody’ – Top US General (Az. )
Ukraine Preparing for Second Stage of Counteroffensive in Zaporozhye Region – Official
Kiev Ready For Talks If It Gains Control Of 1991 Border – Zelensky (TASS)
Ukraine’s Growing Addiction to Foreign Mercenaries (Scott Ritter)
Medvedev Raises Specter Of Poland Using Nuclear Weapons (TASS)
Prigozhin’s Folly (Seymour Hersh)
Orban: ‘Weak Nations Will Perish, Strong Will Survive’ (Sp.)
Sweden Should Reconsider Turmoil It Would Become Part of in NATO – Maloof (Sp.)
Tulsi Gabbard Slams Biden for Nuclear Warmongering (Sp.)
Prices Rising Across The Eurozone (RT)
Gas Prices Fall 50% In Europe (Az.)
Dedollarization Accelerates: Argentina Makes IMF Payment Using Yuan, SDR (Sp.)
US Military Veterans Tell Family Members Not To Enlist – WSJ (RT)
Musk Explains New Twitter Limits (RT)
Twitter’s Rate Limiting Is Temporary (S.I.R.)

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1675246410684301314

 

 

 

 

“NATO without Ukraine is not NATO..” ?!

Kiev Must Show ‘Battlefield Results’ In Next Ten Days – Zelensky (RT)

Ukraine wants to make some progress on the battlefield in its counteroffensive against Russia before the upcoming NATO summit, President Vladimir Zelensky said on Friday, although he admitted that this would lead to new losses. Speaking to several Spanish media outlets, the Ukrainian leader stated that Kiev has to “show results” before NATO leaders convene in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11, adding that “every kilometer costs lives.” Zelensky noted that “torrential rains… slowed down some processes quite a bit” and reiterated calls for Kiev’s Western backers to continue sending arms to Ukraine. He also claimed that Ukraine’s offensive operations conducted last autumn were undermined by the late arrival of artillery.

“We stopped because we couldn’t advance. Advancing meant losing people and we had no artillery,” he explained. “We are very cautious in this aspect. Fast things are not always safe.” The Ukrainian president also reiterated his long-standing demands that Kiev eventually be admitted to NATO. “NATO without Ukraine is not NATO,” he stated, claiming that there were no other armies on the continent like Ukraine’s that had the same battlefield experience. Zelensky’s comments come after Igor Zhovka, a deputy head of the president’s office, warned that the Ukrainian leader could skip the NATO summit altogether if the bloc did not make a serious commitment to Kiev’s accession. Earlier, Jens Stoltenberg, the head of the US-led military bloc, stated that any discussions about Ukraine’s membership could start only on the condition that it prevails over Russia.

Ukraine launched a large-scale offensive against Russian positions in early June but has failed to gain any ground and has suffered heavy losses, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. Zelensky himself has admitted difficulties, saying that the offensive is proceeding “slower than desired” in the face of “tough resistance” from Russian troops. According to a Financial Times report from earlier this week, Western officials have been unimpressed by Ukraine’s performance on the battlefield, with the paper’s sources noting that long-term Western support for Kiev is contingent on the eventual outcome of the offensive.

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So start peace talks.

Ukrainian Counteroffensive Will Be Long And ‘Very Bloody’ – Top US General (Az. )

Ukraine’s counteroffensive will be “very difficult” and achieving significant gains could take a long time, a top US military officer has warned, Report informs, citing Yahoo. Army general Mark Milley told the National Press Club in Washington that the counteroffensive was “advancing steadily, deliberately working its way through very difficult minefields … 500 meters a day, 1,000 meters a day, 2,000 meters a day, that kind of thing”.


Mr Milley said he was unsurprised progress was slower than some people predicted. He said: “War on paper and real war are different. In real war, real people die. Real people are on those front lines and real people are in those vehicles. Real bodies are being shredded by high explosives.” Mr Milley added: “What I had said was this is going to take six, eight, 10 weeks, it’s going to be very difficult. It’s going to be very long, and it’s going to be very, very bloody. And no one should have any illusions about any of that.”

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“They are currently trying to confuse our intelligence, so along the entire line of contact on the Zaporozhye front, they are constantly maneuvering and transferring troops.”

Ukraine Preparing for Second Stage of Counteroffensive in Zaporozhye (Sp.)

Ukraine launched its long-advertised counteroffensive in early June after multiple postponements. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukrainian troops continue to try but are failing to advance along three directions: South Donetsk, Artemovsk (Bakhmut) and Zaporozhye, the latter being of primary focus. Ukrainian troops are preparing to attempt the second stage of a large-scale counter-offensive in the Zaporozhye region in the coming days, Vladimir Rogov, a senior official of the Zaporozhye regional administration, told Sputnik.

“The enemy is already prepared for the second stage of a full-scale offensive. It can start any day, at any moment. They are currently trying to confuse our intelligence, so along the entire line of contact on the Zaporozhye front, they are constantly maneuvering and transferring troops. This is being done in order to hide the location of the main forces,” Rogov explained. He added that Ukrainian forces could concentrate the main blow for a breakthrough at any location of the front line. “Over the past four weeks, they have conducted the maximum number of attempts at reconnaissance in combat, offensive options, breakthroughs, studying our reaction and interaction of units, plus regular shelling of our rear in order to hit infrastructure facilities – bridges, transport hubs, units, depots with equipment and ammunition, airfields,” Rogov told Sputnik.

Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, after the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics appealed for help in defending themselves against Ukrainian provocations. In response to Russia’s operation, Western countries have rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign against Moscow and have been supplying weapons to Ukraine. On September 30, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the heads of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, signed agreements on the accession of these territories to Russia, following referendums that showed that an overwhelming majority of the local population supported becoming part of Russia.

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aka never no talks.

Kiev Ready For Talks If It Gains Control Of 1991 Border – Zelensky (TASS)

The government in Kiev will be ready to hold talks to end the conflict in Ukraine if its armed forces gain control of the borders that the country believes are recognized internationally, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said at a joint news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday. These borders would include the Crimea, Donbass and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, the president said, when asked if Ukraine would be ready for talks if its troops regained control of the positions they had held before Russia started its special military operation in February 2022.


“Are we ready for diplomatic settlement and what kind of diplomatic settlement are we ready for if we’re at the borders as of February 24?” Zelensky said, repeating a question from a reporter, according to a video of the news conference that he posted to Telegram. “It wasn’t our borders on February 24, it was a line of engagement,” he went on to say. “And so we emphasize once again: Ukraine will be ready for some format of diplomacy when we are really on our borders, on our real borders according to international law.” Zelensky also brought up the issue of the country’s much-desired NATO membership. He said he believes that there is every reason for the alliance to invite the country to join when the bloc convenes for a summit in Vilnius on July 11-12. He said he was expecting a clear signal in this context.

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“..not only are they legitimate targets under the laws of war, but also the fact that they themselves most likely lack any protections under international humanitarian law..”

Ukraine’s Growing Addiction to Foreign Mercenaries (Scott Ritter)

A Russian missile strike on a popular restaurant in the city of Kramatorsk has set off a wave of discussion over the presence of foreign military personnel in Ukraine. The Russian Ministry of Defense has described the target as a gathering place for the command and officers of the 56th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade of the Ukrainian army and claims to have killed scores of Ukrainian soldiers—and foreign mercenaries. While the Ukrainian government has not made any mention of the presence of foreign volunteers/mercenaries at the Del Rio Pizzeria, video from the scene of the attack shows numerous personnel in uniform, many of whom are obviously foreigners, congregated at the scene, providing first aid, and helping rescue victims.

The presence of military vehicles near the destroyed restaurant reinforces the Russian contention that there was a congregation of military personnel at the time of the attack. This would appear to lay to rest any question about the legality of the Russian strike—it conformed with the accepted precepts set forth under the laws of war. The legal status of the foreign personnel working alongside the Ukrainian army is not so certain. The fact that many are dressed in camouflage uniforms and engage in social media activity which advertises the military/paramilitary aspects of the work they are engaged in only reinforces the reality that not only are they legitimate targets under the laws of war, but also the fact that they themselves most likely lack any protections under international humanitarian law when it comes to being treated as lawful combatants.

The lack of legal status, however, does not appear to serve as a deterrent for the scores of foreign soldiers of fortune that had congregated at the Del Rio Pizzeria, or the thousands of others who, like them, had travelled to Ukraine to participate in a war with Russia that is entering its sixteenth month, and which has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, most of whom are combatants fighting on the side of Ukraine. The presence of these foreigners in such numbers under such conditions is suggestive of two unescapable realties: that there is a high demand for their services, and that foreign governments are actively facilitating the availability of personnel possessing skill sets attractive to the Ukrainian military.

An examination of the 56th Motorized Infantry Brigade might provide better insight into both the role played by the foreigners that had been congregated in Kramatorsk, and the scope and scale of their involvement. When the Special Military Operation began, the 56th Brigade was stationed in Mariupol, and was in the process of transitioning into a naval infantry (Marine) unit. The brigade was largely destroyed in the subsequent fighting for the city, and the surviving remnants reconstituted using mobilized personnel from the territorial forces. Most recently, the 56th Brigade was operating in the vicinity of the city of Bakhmut, where once again it suffered heavy casualties.

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“US National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby [..] underscored that the United States saw no Russian intentions to use nukes amid the Ukraine crisis.”

Medvedev Raises Specter Of Poland Using Nuclear Weapons (TASS)

The potential deployment of nuclear weapons to Poland may prompt the country to use them, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev told TASS. Commenting on Poland’s ambitions to take part in NATO’s Nuclear Sharing program, he said, “The only danger arising from the request to deploy nuclear weapons to Poland is that such weapons will be used.” Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki announced that Warsaw would like to join NATO’s Nuclear Sharing program amid Russia’s intentions to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus. Speaking during an online press briefing on Friday, US National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby said that he has absolutely nothing to say about this kind of negotiations. However, he underscored that the United States saw no Russian intentions to use nukes amid the Ukraine crisis.


On March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that, at Minsk’s request, Moscow would deploy its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, similar to what the United States has long been doing on the territory of its allies. Moscow has already provided Minsk with Iskander tactical missile systems capable of carrying nuclear weapons and has helped Minsk to re-equip its military aircraft to carry specialized weapons. As well, Belarusian missile crews and pilots have undergone training in Russia. On June 16, Putin said that the first Russian nuclear warheads had already been delivered to Belarus, while the rest would arrive before the end of this year. On June 23, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said that his republic had already received a substantial portion of warheads that were planned to be delivered.

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“..He is, after all, no matter how cunning financially, an ex-hot dog cart owner with no political or military accomplishments.”

Prigozhin’s Folly (Seymour Hersh)

[..] below is a look at what is really going that was provided to me by a knowledgeable source in the American intelligence community: “I thought I might clear some of the smoke. First and most importantly, Putin is now in a much stronger position. We realized as early as January of 2023 that a showdown between the generals, backed by Putin, and Prigo, backed by anti-Russian extremists, was inevitable. The age-old conflict between the ‘special’ war fighters and a large, slow, clumsy, unimaginative regular army. The army always wins because they own the peripheral assets that make victory, either offensive or defensive, possible. Most importantly, they control logistics. special forces see themselves as the premier offensive asset. When the overall strategy is offensive, big army tolerates their hubris and public chest thumping because SF are willing to take high risk and pay a high price. Successful offense requires a large expenditure of men and equipment. Successful defense, on the other hand, requires husbanding these assets.

“Wagner members were the spearhead of the original Russian Ukraine offensive. They were the ‘little green men’. When the offensive grew into an all-out attack by the regular army, Wagner continued to assist but reluctantly had to take a back seat in the period of instability and readjustment that followed. Prigo, no shy violet, took the initiative to grow his forces and stabilize his sector. “The regular army welcomed the help. Prigo and Wagner, as is the wont of special forces, took the limelight and took the credit for stopping the hated Ukrainians. The press gobbled it up. Meanwhile, the big army and Putin slowly changed their strategy from offensive conquest of greater Ukraine to defense of what they already had. Prigo refused to accept the change and continued on the offensive against Bakhmut. Therein lies the rub. Rather than create a public crisis and court-martial the asshole [Prigozhin], Moscow simply withheld the resources and let Prigo use up his manpower and firepower reserves, dooming him to a stand-down. He is, after all, no matter how cunning financially, an ex-hot dog cart owner with no political or military accomplishments.

“What we never heard is three months ago Wagner was cycled out of the Bakhmut front and sent to an abandoned barracks north of Rostov-on-Don [in southern Russia] for demobilization. The heavy equipment was mostly redistributed, and the force was reduced to about 8,000, 2,000 of which left for Rostov escorted by local police. “Putin fully backed the army who let Prigo make a fool of himself and now disappear into ignominy. All without raising a sweat militarily or causing Putin to face a political standoff with the fundamentalists, who were ardent Prigo admirers. Pretty shrewd.” There is an enormous gap between the way the professionals in the American intelligence community assess the situation and what the White House and the supine Washington press project to the public by uncritically reproducing the statements of Blinken and his hawkish cohorts.

The current battlefield statistics that were shared with me suggest that the Biden administration’s overall foreign policy may be at risk in Ukraine. They also raise questions about the involvement of the NATO alliance, which has been providing the Ukrainian forces with training and weapons for the current lagging counter-offensive. I learned that in the first two weeks of the operation, the Ukraine military seized only 44 square miles of territory previously held by the Russian army, much of it open land. In contrast, Russia is now in control of 40,000 square miles of Ukrainian territory. I have been told that in the past ten days Ukrainian forces have not fought their way through the Russian defenses in any significant way. They have recovered only two more square miles of Russian-seized territory. At that pace, one informed official said, waggishly, it would take Zelensky’s military 117 years to rid the country. of Russian occupation.

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“Brussels is calling for mandatory migrant quotas once again. The Soros-empire strikes back..”

Orban: ‘Weak Nations Will Perish, Strong Will Survive’ (Sp.)

Hungary must strengthen its own defense capabilities and law enforcement agencies, as the time will come when weak nations will perish, and only the strong ones will remain, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Saturday. “We need a strong country, a strong government, a strong economy, a strong army and, last but not least, strong law enforcement agencies… We have to train and equip ourselves,” Viktor Orban declared at a graduation ceremony at the Faculty of Law Sciences of the National University of Public Administration (NKE) in Budapest. 166 students of the Faculty of Law Enforcement were taking their oath of office at the event attended by Orban, Minister of the Interior Sandor Pinter, and Minister of National Defense Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky.

The prime minister warned that the world is experiencing tremendous upheavals, and “strong people are greatly needed, because the truth is worth little without strength.” Orban emphasized that Hungary must face up to the challenge that thousands of migrants from the south are “besieging our borders.” In June, Viktor Orban had slammed the European Union’s newly-adopted quotas for the equitable resettlement of migrants from the Middle East and across the Mediterranean Sea in EU member states. “Brussels is calling for mandatory migrant quotas once again. The Soros-empire strikes back,” Orban tweeted at the time. Addressing graduates on Saturday, the Hungarian PM emphasized that crime levels had gone down in the country, and today, “Hungary is one of the safest countries in Europe, or perhaps the safest,” and we are all proud of that.

As far back as in 2019, Viktor Orban has been urging the need for Hungary to beef up its military to defend itself. “I belong among those who consider NATO important, but I don’t think Hungary’s military security can be based on NATO… We need to be able to avert attacks with our own power,” Orban told US media at the time. Orban also advocated for Europeans to be able to address security threats without US assistance. In 2022, the PM said that Hungary will speed up its defense development program to “radically increase our defense capabilities.” He also emphasized that his country would not only refrain from supplying weapons to its neighbor, Ukraine, after the conflict there escalated, but would not permit such deliveries to transit through Hungarian territory.

This was a matter of national security, Peter Szijjarto, minister of foreign affairs, underscored. On May 2-23, Hungary blocked the European Union from allocating its eighth €500 million aid package from the so-called European Peace Fund to pay for military assistance to the Kiev regime. Orban has insisted that the ongoing hostilities stem from a “failure of diplomacy.” The politician has also offered especially harsh criticism of the European Union’s aggressively anti-Russian policies. Rather than pursuing a strategy of further ramping up tensions, the veteran Hungarian leader urged an immediate end to escalation by the West.

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“.. Sweden has traditionally been unaligned and that “neutrality was important for Sweden before,” adding that “ought to remain that way.”

Sweden Should Reconsider Turmoil It Would Become Part of in NATO – Maloof (Sp.)

Ankara and Stockholm already have a rocky relationship as the Scandinavian state seeks to join the NATO alliance, but Turkiye has conditioned its assent for Sweden’s admission based on the ending of its support for Kurdish nationalist groups that Ankara considers terrorist organizations. Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst in the US Office of the Secretary of Defense, told Sputnik that both Sweden and NATO should consider what benefit is gained by adding the Scandinavian state to the alliance, especially given the kind of tensions that further NATO expansion to the East is likely to create in the region. Maloof explained that NATO’s policy “seems to be to contain Russia at all costs, never mind anybody else and what their political considerations might be.

“I think it’s been damaging for Europe generally to have this kind of an expansion. It certainly has alarmed [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to the point that he basically said ‘it’s a red line if you do it in Ukraine,’ and they attempted that, and we saw the reaction, it had to do with fundamental security.” “The United States does not appreciate the sensitivities and the security concerns, historically, of Russia, and previous to that in the Soviet Union. When the Cold War was over, NATO expanded, but the Warsaw Pact went away. And so that raises a very serious question: what’s the point and purpose of NATO’s continued existence? Before [the conflict in] Ukraine, they were looking around for a new purpose. We had them looking into space, looking at the Arctic, NATO officials now are looking into the Asia-Pacific.

What is that? What’s that all about? What’s the point? It really raises questions about what the concerns are, really, about dominance and the need by the United States and using NATO as a basis to extend its hegemony everywhere – and at what cost,” Maloof said. The former Pentagon official noted that Sweden has traditionally been unaligned and that “neutrality was important for Sweden before,” adding that “ought to remain that way.” Stockholm already has its own security arrangements with other Scandinavian countries separate from the NATO alliance, and expanding that to include 31 other states across Europe “can have repercussions.”

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RFK Jr.’s running mate?

Tulsi Gabbard Slams Biden for Nuclear Warmongering (Sp.)

Former US presidential contender and ex-lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard has accused US President Joe Biden of pushing the world to the brink of a possible nuclear war as the Ukrainian conflict continues to escalate. “We are faced with the reality. Now, President Biden’s actions and policies have pushed us to the brink of nuclear war. This is an existential crisis, not only for us here, but the world. This proxy war against Russia using the Ukrainian people’s lives continues to escalate,” Gabbard said on Saturday at a meeting in a university in Centennial, the US state of Colorado, which was broadcast on her social media.

The politician also said that NATO’s weapons delivery to Ukraine would “only increase the likelihood” of a possible direct confrontation between the United States, NATO member states and Russia. “Now if you hear President Biden and his administration … talk about this, they talk about World War III and nuclear war as though it is just another war, just another conflict … it is so far removed from the reality … they are not being honest with the American people what the cost and consequences of these wars would look like,” Gabbard added.

Western countries have been providing financial, humanitarian and military support to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s military operation in February 2022. The support evolved from lighter artillery munitions and training in 2022 to heavier weapons, including tanks, later that year and in 2023. Russia has been warning countries giving weapons to Ukraine that it sees military shipments as legitimate targets. Moreover, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that NATO allies’ arming and training Ukrainians is tantamount to a direct involvement in the conflict.

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This caught my eye: As “core inflation” rose over 5%, gas prices were cut in half. Odd.

Prices Rising Across The Eurozone (RT)

Core inflation in the euro area accelerated and stayed stubbornly high in June, a preliminary reading revealed on Friday. Head inflation in the 20 countries that share the euro hit 5.5% this month, coming in slightly lower than analyst projections. But core inflation, which excludes energy and food, remained high and surged to 5.4% as price growth in the service sector also rose to 5.4%, up from 5.0% recorded in April. “The core rate is likely to remain well above the 5% mark in the next months which will [require] further rate hikes by the ECB,” said Ulrike Kastens, an economist for Europe at DWS.


Although the Eurozone’s core inflation eased somewhat from 5.6% in April to 5.3% in May, the latest deterioration may eclipse an improvement in the headline inflation gauge, economists warn. “Base effects and statistical distortions are likely to keep the core reading elevated over the next couple of months and see the ECB hiking at least until September,” said Bloomberg’s senior economist, Maeva Cousin. Consumer price growth will be closely monitored by the European Central Bank, which hiked interest rates to their highest level in 22 years on June 15. The regulator moved the benchmark rate by 25 basis points to 4%, in a ninth consecutive rate hike.

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“..abnormally warm weather, high level of gas in storage facilities and reduced demand for gas in the EU..”

Gas Prices Fall 50% In Europe (Az.)

The price of gas in Europe in January-June 2023 fell by half, to about $425 per 1,000 cubic meters, Report informs via TASS. The main factors behind this decline were abnormally warm weather, high level of gas in storage facilities and reduced demand for gas in the EU. On December 30, 2022, gas futures were trading at about $845 per 1,000 cubic meters, but on June 30, 2023, trading closed at $425 – 50% lower compared to the beginning of the year.

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And the IMF accepts it.

Dedollarization Accelerates: Argentina Makes IMF Payment Using Yuan, SDR (Sp.)

The US dollar, which has enjoyed the status of de facto world reserve currency since 1945, has come under growing strain as countries search for alternatives amid Washington’s efforts to use its financial might to bully and sanction adversaries into submission. Argentina made a loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund worth the equivalent of $2.7 billion “without using dollars” on Friday, using Chinese yuan and special-drawing rights notes (the IMF reserve asset based on a basket of five currencies – the yuan, the euro, the dollar, the yen, and the pound) instead. Argentina’s Economy Ministry said the payment – the first ever of its kind by Buenos Aires, was made in yuan and SDRs to hang on to dwindling dollar reserves in the Argentinian Central Bank’s coffers.

The Latin American nation, which is in the grip of a major economic and debt crisis, has turned to yuan as one means to help stabilize the situation, signing a 130 billion yuan ($19 billion) currency swap agreement with Beijing in April amid plummeting agricultural exports caused by an unprecedented drought, which has already caused $20 billion in damage. Argentina and the IMF reached an agreement in 2022 to restructure the nation’s $44 billion debt. The IMF had approved a $57 billion loan to the administration of now former President Mauricio Macri in 2018, with current President Alberto Fernandez left to clean up the consequences of what he has dubbed “reckless,” “toxic and irresponsible” borrowing.

After his election in 2019, Fernandez asked the IMF not to move forward with transferring the remainder of the loan amount, citing a dearth of dollars in the nation’s coffers to pay it back with. Argentina’s economic crisis has resulted in inflation topping 110 percent, and poverty reaching 40 percent of the population, even as GDP continues to grow, rising 1.3 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023. International reserves have dwindled to about $28 billion, their lowest since 2016.

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“..her father returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. During the nightly fireworks show, he cowered in a fetal position while his family looked on.”

US Military Veterans Tell Family Members Not To Enlist – WSJ (RT)

The US military’s recruiting woes have reportedly intensified as current and former troops increasingly advise their family members against enlistment, weakening a tradition of multi-generation service that has historically been the nation’s primary source of new soldiers. Veterans have soured on recommending that loved ones follow in their footsteps in the face of a tight labor market and rising concerns over low pay, debilitating injuries, suicides, and indecisive wars, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The recruiting crisis also comes amid controversy over the Pentagon’s prioritization of left-wing issues, such as transgenderism and critical race theory.

The sudden end of the Afghanistan war in August 2021 added to the consternation of some current or former troops, such as US Navy veteran Catalina Gasper, the WSJ said. “We were left with the gut-wrenching feeling of, ‘What was it all for?’” said Gasper, who still suffers from a traumatic brain injury incurred during a Taliban attack on her base in Kabul. She vowed to do all she could to make sure her children never join the military. “I just don’t see how it’s sustainable if the machine keeps chewing up and spitting out” our young people.

Likewise, US Air Force officer Ernest Nisperos decided that he did not want his children to join the military after realizing the toll that his deployments took on him. One of his daughters, Sky Nisperos, said that after years of dreaming about following her father and grandfather into military service, she would instead become a graphic designer. One event that stuck in her mind came during a 2019 family trip to Disneyland after her father returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. During the nightly fireworks show, he cowered in a fetal position while his family looked on.

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The video and the Twitter thread below explain what is happening. It’s serious. Twitter must protect itself and its users.

Musk Explains New Twitter Limits (RT)

Twitter owner Elon Musk announced on Saturday that users of the platform will be limited to viewing a maximum of 8,000 posts per day, claiming that the measure would cut down on “data scraping and system manipulation.” Musk’s announcement came hours after Twitter users around the world found themselves unable to view their timelines or read comments under tweets. “To address extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation, we’ve applied the following temporary limits,” Musk tweeted, explaining that verified accounts would be limited to reading 6,000 posts per day, unverified accounts to 600 posts per day, and new unverified accounts to 300 per day. Shortly afterwards, Musk posted an update saying that the limits would be increased to 8,000, 800, and 400 respectively. He did not say for how long the “temporary” limits would remain in force.

Since purchasing Twitter for $44 billion last October, Musk has repeatedly promised to clamp down on non-human use of the platform, for example by data-mining companies. As of Friday, Twitter has not been viewable to anyone without an account, a decision that Musk said was made as “several hundred organizations (maybe more) were scraping Twitter data extremely aggressively, to the point where it was affecting the real user experience.” Concurrently, Musk has been encouraging users to shell out for verification, which costs $8 per month. The prospect of ten times more tweets, however, has not gone down well with users, and as of Saturday evening, “#RIPTwitter” and “Goodbye Twitter” were trending topics in the US.

American whistleblower Edward Snowden explained that he could no longer use Twitter effectively as, for security reasons, he often browses the platform without logging in. Other users who follow breaking news stories on Twitter – for example updates from the conflict in Ukraine – complained that even when verified they burn through their allocated tweets in a matter of hours. It remains unclear whether Musk will keep the new restrictions in place. Shortly after purchasing Twitter last year, the billionaire said that he would end up doing “lots of dumb things” in his bid to overhaul the platform, and would “keep what works and change what doesn’t.”

Scraping

Read more …

Twitter thread.

Twitter’s Rate Limiting Is Temporary (S.I.R.)

Some people asked me to share what I just shared in a space about the rate limits. I don’t work for Twitter but, I do architect IT cloud solutions as my day job. It is temporary. Twitter’s rate limiting is not what everyone is thinking it is. It is not to punish non-paying users. “Data scraping” is a big deal. This is where automated systems load the website or app and pull your tweets/data. It’s a huge security issue. Automated systems are pulling every tweet/word/user account information to store in an unknown database somewhere else. This could be state actors like China, the US Government, Australia, or other bad political actors like PAC’s that are trying to gain access to everyone’s information to analyze and use for nefarious things.

Manipulating what is said on the site can be done at scale with data scrapping. It could also be used to figure out the identity of Anons or to punish people in their country for what they tweet. Looking at you #Australia and #Canada and #UnitedKingdom. The temporary measures of limiting tweets is to protect users just as much as it is to protect the entire Twitter network from going down. They are currently scrambling to get ahead of this and tune their network security to block it from happening again. It’s also important to note that twitter has 500,000+ servers. That’s not free. In cloud data centers, the companies that use them have to pay for what is called “ingress and egress” of data going “in and out” of the servers.

A data scrapping event that is large enough for them to start limiting means that it was a MASSIVE event that could be considered an attack on the site. It would also put massive load on their servers and cost them so much money it could threaten the site’s financial ability to keep running. It could be on purpose to put twitter out of business from cost alone. Many people are misunderstanding why @elonmusk wants people to pay for twitter or for the twitter API (a programming interface that can pull data for other sites and apps). The reason he wants people to pay is because if China or porn companies want to create massive bot farms of fake accounts, it is currently free.

These bad actors are highly skilled and operate like a business. They have professional staff that continuously change their tactics and Twitter engineers have to fight 24/7 to stay ahead of them. If they have to pay for every account or pay to use the API, it would cost them A LOT of money. This limits the amount of people who could create bots, put automated porn on here, and the hacking/scrapping/DDOS attacks on the site. It protects you. It also guarantees twitter will continue to exist without bloating it with tons of ads. This is all a part of the plan to create a free-speech place we can enjoy without being controlled by outside actors or advertising companies. I know $8 is a lot to some people but, it is for many reasons. None of the reasons are to hurt or punish people.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

SoF

 

 

 

 

Cat

 

 

 

 

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Jul 012023
 
 July 1, 2023  Posted by at 12:00 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  3 Responses »


Albert Bierstadt Storm in the Mountains c1870

 

 

Andrew Korybko:

 

It was earlier advised to “Be Very Skeptical Of US Intel Claiming That Surovikin May Have Helped Plan Prigozhin’s Coup”, and now two new developments lend even more credence to those suspicions. The “investigative project” of exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was designated by Russia as a foreign agent last year due to his operations being funded by Ukraine, shared “documents” with CNN purporting to show that over 30 senior military and intelligence officials are secretly VIP Wagner members.

The outlet reported on these alleged findings around the same time that they published former Vice President Mike Pence’s answer to the question that one of their journalists asked him during his unannounced visit to Kiev regarding his opinion of whether or not President Putin has full command of his military. He claimed that this is an “open question” in light of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed coup attempt last weekend, thus suggesting that Russian leader is struggling to exert his authority.

These two back-to-back news items were intended to leave their audience with the impression that the President Putin remains at risk of being overthrown by his armed forces, which is nothing but an artificially manufactured information warfare narrative designed to sow doubts about his leadership. It simultaneously attempts to influence him and his circle into carrying out large-scale purges that could adversely affect the special operation while also making the public think that he’s weak if he doesn’t.

The New York Times earlier admitted that “American officials have an interest in pushing out information that undermines the standing of General Surovikin, whom they view as more competent and more ruthless than other members of the command. His removal would undoubtedly benefit Ukraine, whose Western-backed troops are pushing a new counteroffensive that is meant to try to win back territory seized by Moscow.” It’s with this motivation in mind that the latest reports should be interpreted.

No honest observer on either side of the debate really thinks that an exiled Ukrainian-funded oligarch and one of the US’ previously most powerful neoconservatives have President Putin’s best interests in mind when suggesting that he’s at risk of being overthrown if he doesn’t purge the Russian military. To the contrary, the only reason why these insincerely expressed concerns were publicly shared and then amplified by one of the world’s top Mainstream Media (MSM) outlets was for subversive purposes.

What’s curious to note is that the MSM and their putative competitors in the Alt-Media Community (AMC) are each aggressively pushing weaponized conspiracy theories to their respective audiences in the aftermath of recent events. The first wants folks to think that last weekend’s regime change plot involved high-level military-intelligence collaborators who might soon give it a second shot out of desperation to preempt their supposedly impending purge if President Putin doesn’t remove them first.

At the same time, top influencers in the second have suggested that President Putin colluded with Prigozhin to stage a so-called “false flag coup” to redeploy Wagner to Belarus and/or expose internal enemies, thus implying that he ordered that group’s chief to shoot down Russian pilots. It’s unclear whether those who propagate this totally ridiculous theory actually believe it, but this baseless innuendo is nevertheless anti-Russian to the core by hinting that its leader therefore committed treason too.

The reality is that Western intelligence agencies masterfully manipulated Prigozhin’s rivalry with the Defense Ministry, the paranoia that this provoked, and his delusions of grandeur after Wagner led Russia to victory in the Battle of Artyomovsk to plant the seeds in his mind for carrying out a coup. He therefore functioned as the West’s most potentially destabilizing “useful idiot” in history who risked sparking a civil war that was only narrowly averted at the last minute as was explained here and here.

While it’s possible that senior military-intelligence officials are VIP Wagner members, that can’t be known for sure until the FSB’s investigation concludes, which might even determine that there’s truth to this claim whether in whole or in part but that it isn’t evidence of a deeper and more serious plot. In any case, the speculation of those Ukrainian-backed and US figures like Khodorkovsky and Pence respectively should be seen as meddling since they don’t have innocent intentions in talking about this.

They only want to manipulate the public’s perceptions of President Putin and the state of affairs in Russia, which their MSM allies like CNN are helping them do by maximally amplifying their messages. Likewise, those in the AMC who spew anti-Russian conspiracy theories about Prigozhin’s failed coup attempt such as suggesting that President Putin was in on it and thus colluded to have his own country’s pilots shot down by Wagner are also scheming to manipulate the public, albeit a different segment.

Taken together, they represent complementary efforts of the same destabilization operation that’s actively underway in the aftermath of last weekend’s events, which aims to manipulate perceptions among the MSM’s and AMC’s audiences alike about what recently took place. These weaponized conspiracy theories are being deployed to discredit President Putin, his government, and the Russian security services in the minds of their targets, and those who launder them are these three’s enemies.

 

 

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Jun 302023
 


Edward Bawden Sahara 1928

 

Ukrainian ‘Failure’ A Big Problem For Biden – Seymour Hersh (RT)
Ukraine Suffers ‘Disastrous’ Losses In Counteroffensive – Forbes (RT)
The Darkness Ahead: Where The Ukraine War Is Headed (Maersheimer)
American Troops Will Not Fight In Ukraine – Washington (RT)
US Mulls Sending Long-range Missiles To Kiev – WSJ (RT)
Prigozhin Was The Pinup For Western Regime Change Enthusiasts (Marsden)
Today’s European Union Offers ‘Neither Peace Nor Prosperity’ – Orban (TASS)
Zelensky Ally Attacks Hungary’s Orban (RT)
US’s 40yo Stinger MANPADS Don’t Stand a Chance Against Russia in Ukraine (Sp.)
BRICS Partners See Futility of Discussing Ukraine Conflict Without Moscow (Sp.)
Koran Burning ‘Not Illegal’ – NATO Chief (RT)
Trump and Attorney-Client Privilege (Felten)
Aspartame To Be Labeled As Possible Carcinogen – Reuters (RT)

 

 

Fires and riots in Paris overnight.

 

 

Nuke war
https://twitter.com/i/status/1674631599063969793

 

 

Sound of Freedom
https://twitter.com/i/status/1674416606108319744

 

 

RFK Maher

RFK town hall
https://twitter.com/i/status/1674266437890744323

 

 

 

 

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1674484603216691200

 

 

Zel 2019

 

 

 

 

“..Biden’s “overall foreign policy may be at risk”should Kiev fail to deliver results on the battlefield..”

Ukrainian ‘Failure’ A Big Problem For Biden – Seymour Hersh (RT)

Ukraine’s foundering counteroffensive will mark a major embarrassment for the White House, Pulitzer-winning journalist Seymour Hersh has argued, suggesting President Joe Biden’s hardline support for Kiev could cost him the next election. Writing in his latest Substack article on Thursday, Hersh outlined the progress of Ukraine’s offensive operations, claiming it would need a “miracle” to reverse Russian gains after Moscow took “total control” of the Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. While a short-lived rebellion by Russia’s Wagner Group last weekend offered a brief distraction from “Ukraine’s failing counter-offensive,” Hersh went on to argue that Kiev is heading for “disaster.”He said that could be politically damaging for Biden, who will seek to sell Ukraine as a foreign policy success as he campaigns for re-election in 2024.

“It may be prudent for Joe Biden to talk straight about the war, and its various problems for America – and to explain why the estimated more than $150 billion that his administration has put up thus far turned out to be a very bad investment,” the journalist added. Pointing to battlefield statistics and other information provided by US intelligence sources, Hersh claimed that Kiev had reclaimed only 44 square miles of territory since launching its counteroffensive in early June, “much of it open land.” He said at the current pace, Kiev would take 117 years to completely repel Russian forces, attributing the figure to an unnamed official. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov has acknowledged the slow progress of the counteroffensive, but told the Financial Times this week that the operations so far were merely a “preview,” saying Kiev had yet to deploy the bulk of its Western-trained reserves.

While Ukraine and its Western backers insist victory is still on the table, Hersh said Biden’s “overall foreign policy may be at risk”should Kiev fail to deliver results on the battlefield. The journalist urged Democrats to take the “looming disaster” in Ukraine as a “wake-up call” as they enter the 2024 race, noting the president’s waning approval numbers. The Russian Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said that the repeated pushes by Kiev’s troops have failed to breach the Russian defenses and gain any significant ground. Moreover, multiple German-made Leopard 2 heavy tanks and US-made Bradley combat vehicles were either destroyed or abandoned on the battlefield. Videos shared by Russian and Ukrainian sources this month showed Ukrainian soldiers bogged down and retreating due to minefields and artillery fire.

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“even more disastrous” than previously thought..”

Ukraine Suffers ‘Disastrous’ Losses In Counteroffensive – Forbes (RT)

Ukraine’s widely anticipated counteroffensive has seen Kiev’s forces lose a significant amount of armor, including dozens of Western-supplied tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, Forbes reported on Tuesday. According to the outlet, analysts believe that an attempt by the Ukrainian army’s 47th Assault Brigade and 33rd Mechanized Brigade to cross a minefield near the town of Malaya Tokmachka in Russia’s Zaporozhye region on June 8 proved to be “even more disastrous” than previously thought. Despite deploying de-mining vehicles, including several ex-Finnish Leopard 2R and one German-made Wisent, the Ukrainian battlegroup appears to have failed to thoroughly clear a path through the mine field. The Wisent and three Leopard 2R struck mines, as did several US-supplied M-2 Bradleys, while the brigade came under fire from Russian artillery and aviation.

As a result of the failed breakthrough, which lasted several hours, experts have estimated that no fewer than 25 Ukrainian vehicles were destroyed, including 17 M-2, four Leopard 2A6 tanks, three Leopard 2R and one Wisent. Forbes noted that while the loss of one Wisent is not important, as the Ukrainian army still has dozens of them, the other losses have proven to be more significant. The 47th-33rd Brigade battlegroup lost nearly a fifth of Ukraine’s M-2, a fifth of its Leopard 2A6 and half of its Leopard 2R, the outlet claimed, pointing out that Kiev lost the equivalent of an entire battalion in one single botched assault. Although Washington has already pledged to provide more M-2 vehicles to make up for Kiev’s June 8 losses, Ukraine’s European allies have yet to agree to provide more Leopard 2A6 and there are literally no more Leopard 2R left to send, Forbes noted.

Meanwhile, Kiev has admitted that its much-lauded counteroffensive is not proceeding as quickly as it had hoped. Speaking to Ukrainian media on Wednesday, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Aleksey Danilov stated that Russian troops have shown stiff resistance and acknowledged that the huge minefields laid by Russian forces have proven to be a challenging obstacle. The Russian Defense Ministry has also reported that Kiev’s large-scale assault has so far failed to achieve results. Russian President Vladimir Putin has described Ukraine’s losses as “catastrophic” and claimed on Tuesday that Kiev had lost 259 tanks and 780 armored vehicles since the start of the advance.

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“The West made a colossal blunder, which it and many others are not done paying for.”

Much more in the article.

The Darkness Ahead: Where The Ukraine War Is Headed (Maersheimer)

The conventional wisdom about the war’s origins is that Putin launched an unprovoked attack on 24 February 2022, which was motivated by his grand plan to create a greater Russia. Ukraine, it is said, was the first country he intended to conquer and annex, but not the last. As I have said on numerous occasions, there is no evidence to support this line of argument, and indeed there is considerable evidence that directly contradicts it. While there is no question Russia invaded Ukraine, the ultimate cause of the war was the West’s decision – and here we are talking mainly about the United States – to make Ukraine a Western bulwark on Russia’s border. The key element in that strategy was bringing Ukraine into NATO, a move that not only Putin, but the entire Russian foreign policy establishment, saw as an existential threat that had to be eliminated.

It is often forgotten that numerous American and European policymakers and strategists opposed NATO expansion from the start because they understood that the Russians would see it as a threat, and that the policy would eventually lead to disaster. The list of opponents includes George Kennan, both President Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, William Perry, and his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Shalikashvili, Paul Nitze, Robert Gates, Robert McNamara, Richard Pipes, and Jack Matlock, just to name a few. At the NATO summit in Bucharest In April 2008, both French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposed President George W. Bush’s plan to bring Ukraine into the alliance. Merkel later said that her opposition was based on her belief that Putin would interpret it as a “declaration of war.”

Of course, the opponents of NATO expansion were correct, but they lost the fight and NATO marched eastward, which eventually provoked the Russians to launch a preventive war. Had the United States and its allies not moved to bring Ukraine into NATO in April 2008, or had they been willing to accommodate Moscow’s security concerns after the Ukraine crisis broke out in February 2014, there probably would be no war in Ukraine today and its borders would look like they did when it gained its independence in 1991. The West made a colossal blunder, which it and many others are not done paying for.

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The home of the brave lets others do its fighting.

American Troops Will Not Fight In Ukraine – Washington (RT)

US President Joe Biden has no intention of sending American troops to Ukraine, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Thursday. However, while its forces may not be openly fighting Russians, an unknown number of US military personnel are reported active in the zone of hostilities. “The president has been very clear that US troops will not be on the ground in Ukraine,” Miller said at a press briefing in Washington. Miller had been asked whether the US supported former NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s suggestion earlier this month that individual NATO members – likely Poland and the Baltic states – could deploy troops to Ukraine without involving the entire bloc.

Rasmussen said that such a scenario would be likely if NATO fails to agree on “security guarantees” for Ukraine at a summit next month in Lithuania. Miller’s answer did not directly address the issue of a potential Polish or Baltic mission to Ukraine. Meanwhile, the EU has rejected the idea of any such mission. “To send ground troops to Ukraine is to be a party in a war, to be at war with Russia, and nobody wants that, neither the EU, nor NATO,” the director general of the European Union Military Staff, Vice Admiral Herve Blejean, said two weeks ago.

Despite Miller’s insistence that the US will stay at arm’s length from the Ukrainian conflict, US forces are already operating in the country. The Pentagon acknowledged in November that a “small number” of American troops were guarding the US embassy in Kiev and inspecting weapons deliveries away from the front lines. In April, leaked Pentagon documents suggested that 14 US special forces personnel were deployed in Ukraine as of mid-March, along with 50 from the UK. Aside from active-duty troops, there are an unknown number of US citizens fighting alongside Kiev’s forces. Multiple Americans have been captured by Russian soldiers, and several hundred were listed as fighting in Ukraine by Russia last summer.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday that as many as “20 foreign mercenaries and military advisers” were killed in a missile strike on a temporary base of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Donbass city of Kramatorsk on Tuesday. Unverified images and videos circulating on social media after the strike purportedly showed English-speaking military personnel in American uniforms recovering the dead and wounded from the base. Moscow already considers the US and NATO to be involved in the conflict by proxy, with Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing the West last week of waging war against Russia “to the last Ukrainian.”

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There will be no Ukraine left.

US Mulls Sending Long-range Missiles To Kiev – WSJ (RT)

The US might approve sending Ukraine long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing American and European officials. The White House feels it must urgently boost Kiev’s military capabilities, the outlet said, weeks into a much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive which has thus far failed to yield any big gains. Capable of striking targets as far as 300 kilometers (190 miles) away, ATACMS are capable of hitting facilities deep inside Russia. The missiles can be launched from US-made HIMARS launchers, which have already been supplied to Kiev by Washington. The US has so far been reluctant to provide the longer-range munitions to Ukraine out of concern for possible escalation of the fighting.

Last July, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that President Joe Biden’s administration would never supply Ukraine with such weapons as they could provoke a wider conflict if used to attack Russian territory. Officials now say that the issue is “pending approval at the highest levels,” according to the WSJ. Both American and European sources told the newspaper that the White House might change its position on the matter. The European officials also said they had been pressing the US privately on the need for longer-range missiles for Ukraine. A senior Ukrainian defense official told the WSJ that Kiev had received “positive signs” on the issue in recent weeks. Certain variants of the ATACMS can strike any targets on the territory of the Crimean Peninsula and as far as the Russian city of Voronezh located more than 240 kilometers from the nearest border with Ukraine.

In early June, a group of US lawmakers urged Biden to provide even more advanced weaponry to Ukraine, including the ATACMS. The bipartisan group, led by Representative Jason Crow (D-Colorado), dismissed concerns that such weapons could escalate the conflict or leave US missile supplies too depleted. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh has said that Kiev’s inability to penetrate Russia’s defenses should serve as a “wake-up call” for the US. America’s estimated $150 billion military aid package for Ukraine “turned out to be a very bad investment,” the veteran journalist has argued, adding that the Ukrainian military might need more than a century to take back the territories newly-acquired by Russia, if its offensive continues at the current pace.

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“For A Hot Minute..”

Prigozhin Was The Pinup For Western Regime Change Enthusiasts (Marsden)

Western figures who have long dreamed of Russian regime change saw an open window with the Wagner mutiny, and apparently saw a prime opportunity to toss their credibility out of it. They couldn’t stop grafting their disaster porn fantasies onto the events, even as facts and reality started distancing themselves from all the wishful thinking. Who cares that Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin himself had said that his beef was with Russian military leadership – Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and chief of the general staff, Valery Gerasimov, about whom he previously complained for insufficient ammunition and support. Or that his armed march towards Moscow was for “justice” for his men who he said had done the heavy lifting in the grueling months-long battle of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut), leading to an eventual Russian victory.

So what if Prigozhin explicitly denied that he was mounting a coup, and hadn’t at all evoked Russian President Vladimir Putin as his target? This whole drama, viewed from here in Moscow, where people continued to go about their daily lives as usual, just seemed like a tiff between siblings, one of whom was hell-bent on getting Daddy Putin’s attention by tossing his toys out of the pram – at Rostov-on-Don and Moscow. Putin ended up striking a deal to send the tantrum boy to Belarus, where the Russian President said his Wagner comrades could join him. This conveniently places them all closer to Kiev than they ever were to Moscow on their march – and right as the Russian tactical nukes are set to arrive, too.

However, regime change proponents don’t seem too interested in these facts or analysis. Instead, they can’t stop dreaming of chaos, since they used Prigozhin to project their anti-Putin fantasies – like he’s Pamela Anderson and they’re teenage boys in the 90s. And let’s just say that some of their musings are…out there. “Do we worry about Russia falling into the arms of China? Is there going to be disintegration? Will it go full on fascist? Will we have a long period of confusion and chaos? Will they use their nuclear weapons as a bargaining chip to try and get things?” asked the Center for European Policy Analysis’ Edward Lucas on BBC radio. Woah, slow your roll there. The babushkas who feed the pigeons at the local park are busy making plans for lunch tomorrow and haven’t yet received your memo that perhaps they should be considering adopting the fascist ideology against which their country has actively fought in its biggest historical battles.

As for Russia “falling into the arms of China” – they’re just buddies, and aren’t really into that kind of thing. Maybe it’s time for a cold shower? Lucas didn’t stop there either. In the wake of Putin’s non-demise, the expert has since doubled down, looking right past Putin to a “post-Putin junta” with “a weak central government battling powerful criminal warlords.” In reality, the same kind of regional figures, separatist minorities, and corporate heavyweights he evokes constantly wrestle for power in every country that has any resources or power worth arguing about. He could just as easily be talking about France, or the US. So why do few such experts ever do so, despite the fact that life in inflation-hit Western Europe right now is far more taxing than life in Moscow? And I say that as someone who pings back and forth between both.

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“The European Union was established for two purposes..”

Today’s European Union Offers ‘Neither Peace Nor Prosperity’ – Orban (TASS)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban offered a downbeat assessment of the current state of affairs within the European Union, before departing Budapest on Thursday for the bloc’s annual summit in Brussels, lamenting that neither peace nor prosperity prevailed in the bloc. “The European Union was established for two purposes. First, for peace, and now a war is raging there. Second, for prosperity, and the economy is now increasingly a matter for concern,” Orban wrote on the Hungarian government’s page on Facebook (prohibited in Russia due to its ownership by Meta, which has been designated as extremist).


At their two-day summit that kicks off later on Thursday, the EU leaders are planning to discuss the attempted armed mutiny in Russia and the military conflict in Ukraine, and the bloc’s further support for it, as well as how to legally tap frozen Russian assets. The bloc’s relationship with China and regulating migrant flows from Asia and Africa will also be on the agenda.

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“an agent in the EU” who is working to protect Russian values in the bloc..”

Zelensky Ally Attacks Hungary’s Orban (RT)

Ukrainian MP David Arakhamia, who leads the faction of President Vladimir Zelensky’s Servant of the People party in parliament, has accused Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban of being a pro-Russian “agent,” according to Austrian media. Orban is a vocal critic of the EU’s Ukraine policy. The Hungarian leader is “an agent in the EU” who is working to protect Russian values in the bloc, Arakhamia was quoted as saying by the newspaper Kleine Zeitung. This came during the lawmaker’s meeting with liberal MEPs on the sidelines of the ongoing summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday. Kleine Zeitung said the Ukrainian MP failed to provide any examples of Orban’s purported actions as a Russian agent but expressed overall disappointment with the Hungarian leader’s behavior.

Arakhamia was present at an event organized by the liberal faction of the European Parliament, the report said. French President Emmanuel Macron and the leader of Germany’s Free Democratic Party, Christian Lindner, were also invited. EU leaders, including Orban, have gathered in Brussels this week to discuss several issues, including support of Ukraine. Earlier in the week, the Hungarian prime minister argued that the EU’s failure to provide peace and prosperity to citizens was fueling the popularity of “protest parties,” such as the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The Orban government has been highly critical of the European response to the crisis in Ukraine. It has argued that arming Kiev and imposing unprecedented economic sanctions on Russia have failed to end the hostilities and have caused enormous damage to the bloc’s member states. Hungary also has a bilateral beef with Ukraine, after in May Kiev branded a top Hungarian financial institution, OTP Bank, a “sponsor of war” for refusing to stop operations in Russia. The Hungarian government has been blocking EU aid to Ukraine in retaliation. Arakhamia traveled to the Belgian capital to meet EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic and discuss ways in which Brussels could assist his country, according to public statements.

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“Their effectiveness is limited when enemy aircraft are equipped with modern countermeasures..”

US’s 40yo Stinger MANPADS Don’t Stand a Chance Against Russia in Ukraine (Sp.)

Retired Raytheon employees enjoying their golden years have been brought back to train the current workforce to make FIM-92 Stingers, with the MANPADS’ production process so antiquated that its seekers must be assembled by hand, Raytheon President Wesley Kremer has revealed. In an interview with defense media this week, Kremer confided that the US defense giant is pulling old Stinger “test equipment out of warehouses” and literally “blowing the spider webs off them” as a weapon that hasn’t been in demand for decades suddenly finds itself at the heart of a powerful political narrative. Stingers – envisioned as a favorite weapon of anti-Soviet Mujahedeen ‘freedom fighters’ during the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s, returned to the spotlight in 2022, after Washington and its allies sent nearly 3,000 of them to Ukraine.

Developed in the 1960s and introduced into the US military in the early 1980s, Stingers are a 15.7 kg, 1.5-meter long portable missile system with a 1-3 kg high explosive fragmentation warhead which detonates on impact. They home in on their target using an infrared homing guidance system, locking on to sources of heat generated by aircraft engines. Their effectiveness is limited when enemy aircraft are equipped with modern countermeasures such as flair dispensers. Operated by over two countries around the world, over a dozen variants of the Stinger were made during their initial production run between 1981 and 2003, including Stingers with improved seekers, better software, and the ability to target drones.

The US military has had little use for Stingers in the wars it has fought over the past quarter century, Russian military expert Viktor Litovkin pointed out, recalling the US preference for invading, bombing and occupying nations with little to no airpower. “They fought in Afghanistan, which had no unmanned aircraft or aviation whatsoever. The same goes for Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya. Therefore, the need for Stingers disappeared,” the retired Russian Army colonel told Sputnik. Moreover, he recalled, after the US invaded Afghanistan in the 2000s, “they began buying the Stingers that the Taliban had, which the US shipped to the country while [Soviet] forces were there, because they understood that a Stinger in the hands of terrorists could mean catastrophe for any civilian plane.” And so the US stockpile grew and grew.

According to Litovkin, the Stingers shipped to Ukraine have not proven as effective as Washington and its allies might like, given Kiev’s propensity for selling off its Western military aid to third countries, plus the countermeasures available aboard Russian fixed wing and rotary aircraft which can disarm these systems. “Furthermore, some of our helicopters are equipped with radioelectronic warfare systems, allowing them to evade Stingers. Therefore Stingers have had had limited success or effect in Ukraine,” Litovkin said.

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Insultingly stupid.

BRICS Partners See Futility of Discussing Ukraine Conflict Without Moscow (Sp.)

Russian partners within the BRICS bloc understand the futility of discussing the settlement of the Ukraine conflict without Moscow, Pavel Knyazev, an ambassador at large of the Russian Foreign Ministry and sous-sherpa of Russia in BRICS, told Sputnik on Friday. Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, said Sunday that national security and political advisers from Brazil, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, Turkey and Japan attended a meeting in Copenhagen to discuss the settlement of the Ukraine conflict, adding that the sides agreed to continue consultations in this format.


Yermak also said that Ukraine wanted to host a so-called global peace summit for the discussion of Kiev’s peace plan. “About this initiative – this is, as you know, an attempt to promote the ultimatums that Zelensky is proposing and the line that his patrons in the West are promoting. Everyone, including our BRICS partners, understands the futility of such discussions of the situation in Ukraine or a settlement between Ukraine and Russia without Russia,” Knyazev said, commenting on the meeting in Copenhagen.

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How to please Erdogan.

Koran Burning ‘Not Illegal’ – NATO Chief (RT)

It is not necessarily a crime to burn the Koran in public, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday, responding to a question about the recent incident in Sweden, which caused outrage among the Muslims. The issue is especially sensitive, given that the Muslim-majority country of Türkiye is one of the two member states that has so far refused to ratify Sweden’s bid to join the US-led military bloc. “I understand the emotion and the depth of feeling this causes,” Stoltenberg told reporters at a press conference on Thursday. He added that the burning of the Koran was “offensive and objectionable [but] not necessarily illegal.” Stoltenberg also addressed the anti-NATO protests in Sweden that took place earlier this month. “I do not like them. But I defend the right to disagree. This is part of the freedom of expression,” he said.

“What is important for me is that we have to make progress on finalizing the accession of Sweden into the alliance,” NATO chief explained. “I spoke with [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan recently and we agreed to convene a high level meeting of officials here in Brussels, Thursday, next week.” On Wednesday, an Iraqi citizen living in Sweden burned a copy of the Koran outside a mosque in Stockholm amid the celebrations of Eid al-Adha, a major Muslim holiday. Türkiye, which is one of the two member states that have so far not ratified Sweden’s bid to join the bloc, strongly condemned the Swedish authorities for allowing the book-burning to go ahead. “We will eventually teach Western monuments of arrogance that insulting Muslims is not freedom of thought,” Erdogan said on Thursday, according to Anadolu news agency.

“As [for] those who commit this crime, those who allow it under the guise of freedom of thought, those who turn a blind eye to this baseness will not achieve their goals,” the Turkish leader said. Ankara previously objected to anti-Turkish demonstrations in Stockholm that were organized by Kurdish and left-wing groups. Erdogan has threatened to block Sweden’s accession to NATO unless the Nordic country extradites people linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist organization. The Swedish authorities have condemned the public burning of the Koran in the past, but argued that such actions are protected under the country’s liberal laws. “Sweden has a far-reaching freedom of expression, but it does not imply that the Swedish Government, or myself, support the opinions expressed,” Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said in January.

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If this privilege is not absolute, what use is it?

Trump and Attorney-Client Privilege (Felten)

Curious complications come up when the attorney-client privilege is breached. When Donald Trump was arraigned in Florida on federal charges, a condition of the former president’s bail was that he not discuss the case with anyone who might be a witness. But did that mean Trump couldn’t speak with Evan Corcoran? One of Trump’s lawyers, Corcoran has already testified before the federal grand jury in Florida about his interactions with his client. The testimony was not, it appears, to his client’s benefit. A charge of obstruction was brought against Trump based on the allegation that he misled Corcoran, leading the lawyer, in turn, to make false claims to the federal government. Corcoran “memorialized” the instructions the former president gave him. That is, he took notes – notes the attorney eventually turned over to the special counsel seeking an indictment.

“One of the key witnesses that we know is still the president’s lawyer,” argued one of Trump’s attorneys, Todd Blanche. He told the federal judge that “a special condition that President Trump cannot communicate with his lawyer, obviously doesn’t work, respectfully, your honor.” It wasn’t the first time Donald Trump has found he couldn’t rely on the attorney-client privilege, or on other expectations of confidentiality in his communications with lawyers. Michael Cohen, it will be remembered, was Trump’s long-time personal lawyer. He had a central role in the Stormy Daniels affair, which led the FBI to search not only Cohen’s office but also the hotel suite where he lived. The documents seized were in the thousands, if not more. Trump turned to Twitter to declare, “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”

Trump may not be wrong if he thinks the Department of Justice, and Democrats more broadly, have demonstrated a willingness – an eagerness – to put the screws to lawyers representing him. It’s not just Evan Corcoran who looks likely to be called as a witness against him, but also Christina Bobb, who found herself under Justice Department scrutiny within months of joining the Trump legal team last year. Like Corcoran, Bobb was required to testify before a grand jury. Trump White House lawyers Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin were compelled to give evidence to a grand jury not once but twice, despite Trump asserting both executive privilege and attorney-client privilege.

Corcoran reportedly did assert the attorney-client privilege in an effort not to testify regarding his client and the disposition of boxes storing documents from Trump’s presidency, but federal judge Beryl Howell ruled in favor of the government, which argued Trump had forfeited the protection of the privilege by using his lawyer to break the law, in what is known as the “crime-fraud” exception to the privilege. The crime-fraud exception holds that a “lawyer may not counsel or assist the client in conduct the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent.” Even so, that exception is limited, according to the American Bar Association. It does not, for example, “require the lawyer to reveal the client’s misconduct” other than in certain circumstances. The narrowness of those circumstances is a measure of the protection the privilege has traditionally been afforded, a protection needed for lawyers to do their job at all.

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Is Rumsfeld still alive?

Aspartame To Be Labeled As Possible Carcinogen – Reuters (RT)

A cancer research branch of the World Health Organization (WHO) is set to designate the popular artificial sweetener aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” next month, according to Reuters. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) will deliver its ruling on July 14, after reviewing 1,300 studies, the news agency said on Thursday. It stated the impending announcement had been leaked by two insiders. The IARC does not account for consumption levels when assessing whether a substance poses cancer risk. Reuters said the ruling is intended to push for additional research into the matter. A separate opinion is expected to come on the same day from an expert committee called the JECFA (the Joint WHO and Food and Agriculture Organization’s Expert Committee on Food Additives), alongside rulings by national regulators.

The body made its own review of aspartame safety this year. Since 1981, the JECFA has considered the sugar substitute safe for humans within generous daily consumption limits. This view is globally shared by food safety regulators today. An IARC spokesperson told Reuters that the two rulings were “complementary.” Some national health bodies asked the WHO to release them on the same day to avoid “confusion and concern among the public,” as a letter to the organization’s leadership from Japanese health officials put it. Frances Hunt-Wood, the secretary general of the International Sweeteners Association (ISA), which has major food producers among members, referred to the IARC as “not a food safety body,” the report noted. He claimed that the review was “not scientifically comprehensive” and “based heavily on widely discredited research.”

In the past, IARC rulings have been used as evidence in court cases filed by cancer patients against manufacturers. One example would be glyphosate, the herbicide used in Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup, which the IARC classified “probably carcinogenic in humans” in 2015. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sucrose, the primary component of regular sugar, which means a much smaller amount is required in a food recipe. The substance is broken down into components during digestion and absorbed by the body.

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Carson

 

 

Watermelon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1674508098155737099

 

 

Beluga

 

 

Pelican
https://twitter.com/i/status/1674371209943736323

 

 

 

 

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