Sep 232023
 


Leonardo da Vinci Head of a Woman 1470s

 

Roadblocks: Zelensky Fails to Achieve Goals on US Visit (Sp.)
Zelensky’s US Trip Revealed Deepening Fractures in NATO Support (Sp.)
West Preparing To ‘Dump’ Zelensky – Lukashenko (RT)
McCarthy Vows To Strip Ukraine Money From Pentagon Bill (Hill)
White House Issues Ukraine Aid Warning (RT)
Pentagon Exempts Ukraine Operations From Potential Government Shutdown (Pol.)
China and Syria Forge ‘Strategic Partnership’ (RT)
Blobitis (Jim Kunstler)
Expert: NATO Helped Ukraine Strike Black Sea Fleet HQ in Sevastopol (Sp.)
Borrell Warns Migration Might ‘Dissolve’ EU (RT)
The Defunct Disinformation Governance Board Exposed (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Panahi

 

 

 

 

Pelosi Jan 6
https://twitter.com/i/status/1704806237630501284

 

 

 

 

Maui

 

 

 

 

Russell

 

 

 

 

“There’s no money in the House right now for Ukraine.”

Roadblocks: Zelensky Fails to Achieve Goals on US Visit (Sp.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the US, which wrapped up this week, proved to be a failure rather than a success.[..] The visit had a rocky start after [the NYT] published the results of its own investigation into the September 6 missile strike on Konstantinovka in eastern Ukraine, which killed 15 civilians. Kiev had blamed the attack on Moscow, however, the newspaper reported that the Ukrainian side was to blame. “Evidence, […] including missile fragments, satellite imagery, witness accounts and social media posts, strongly suggests the catastrophic strike was the result of an errant Ukrainian air defense missile fired by a Buk launch system,” the news outlet pointed out.Another US media outlet reported about “Zelensky’s frosty welcome to D.C.”, referencing six Republican senators and 22 House members’ letter to the White House, which opposed President Joe Biden’s request for $24 billion in additional funding for Ukraine.

As a result, POTUS finally announced the $325 million military assistance package for Kiev during a White House meeting with Zelensky. Notably, the Biden administration opted not to provide Ukraine with the long-range ATACMS missiles that would allow Kiev to launch strikes well behind Russian lines. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, for his part, denied Zelensky’s request to address a joint meeting of Congress, telling reporters that Congressmen “just didn’t have time.” McCarthy was echoed by Republican Byron Donalds, who said that “There’s no money in the House right now for Ukraine.” According to Donalds, “It’s not a good time for [Zelensky] to be here, quite frankly.”The US media outlet noted in this vein that “the effectiveness of Zelensky’s personal appeals has […] been challenged, as dozens of Republicans used his visit as an occasion to snub Ukraine’s requests and mock its wartime leader.”

On September 19, the Ukrainian president addressed a UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York. US television channels at the time showed many empty seats in the premises where Zelensky delivered the speech. Ukrainian broadcasters, therefore, had to edit the footage so as to create an illusion of a full audience, where one could see Zelensky himself among the viewers. His visit came amid the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF)’s futile attempts to break through Russian defensive lines, a counteroffensive that President Vladimir Putin called a “failure rather than a standstill”. According to him, the UAF has lost more 71,000 soldiers and over 500 tanks since the beginning of the counteroffensive on June 4.

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“Clearly, the Patriots have failed in their mission. And it’s not like the United States has a better air defense system than the Patriot batteries – that’s the best we have to offer..”

Zelensky’s US Trip Revealed Deepening Fractures in NATO Support (Sp.)

As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrapped up his trip to the United States on Friday, where he spoke at the United Nations and visited the White House, he is preparing to return to Ukraine with far less than he expected. An expert noted the US and Ukraine are struggling to make a bad situation look better than it is. Retired CIA intelligence officer and former US State Department official Larry Johnson told Sputnik that “nothing of substance” had come from Zelensky’s trip to Washington, DC, but that careful study of the demeanor of Zelensky and several American officials revealed “they’ve had some very uncomfortable conversations behind the scenes.”
“He’s not going to get the ATACMS that he claimed he wanted,” Johnson said, referring to the ground strike missile that is launched from a HIMARS rocket system.

He noted “they are sending some M1 Abrams tanks next week – that was already on the table.” “What was clear is that you’ve got a disconnect between the rhetorical position, what the Biden administration is saying publicly to support Zelensky, and what it’s actually doing,” he pointed out. “On the one hand, they are stridently insisting that they’re going to support Ukraine to the end, that Zelensky is on their team, etc. But when it comes to the actual assistance, they didn’t increase – they’re going to continue to provide aid, but they’re not providing any kind of advanced weapons system. I don’t think they do have a weapon system that would make a difference. But, you know, for example, they talked about: ‘Oh, we have to provide Ukraine with their defense.’ I thought that was what the Patriot batteries were for.

Clearly, the Patriots have failed in their mission. And it’s not like the United States has a better air defense system than the Patriot batteries – that’s the best we have to offer. That didn’t work. But they’re talking about providing some more air defense capabilities. I think it’s a meaningless gesture,” he said. “The problem is, it doesn’t matter what equipment or money the United States supplies. The problem Ukraine faces is the lack of manpower, that they’ve suffered such enormous casualties during this failed counteroffensive that their ability to replace those is a challenge.” Johnson noted that during Zelensky’s visit, there were “subtle gestures” but nothing like the hero’s welcome he was given before.

“During his previous trip, he was celebrated with a joint session of Congress and got to kiss [then-House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, and yet this time he didn’t get that. He did meet with some members of Congress and he heard some challenges to his position. I think there’s still a majority in the Congress, in both the House and Senate, that are saying that they really strongly support Ukraine, but there’s a growing number of voices that are saying: ‘no, we need to spend that money that’s been going to Kiev here in the United States, in Maui, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco.’ There’s growing pressure to spend those funds in the states as opposed to selling it overseas.”

“He didn’t get a joint press conference. They did put out some sort of controlled video of both Biden and Zelensky reading prepared remarks and setting it in a controlled environment, where the press were spectators but not able to ask questions. But they didn’t have a side-by-side press-conference. So, it was a much more tepid response this time compared to previous ones. And he didn’t go back with a greater economic package than he anticipated prior to arriving. Plus, on top of it, he did have Poland and the relationship to Poland and Ukraine was sort of a backdrop to all of this,” he said.

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“Do you think that Poland is putting pressure on poor Ukraine today for no reason? No, they have been given the go-ahead from overseas: We need to dump this Zelensky, we’re tired of him..”

West Preparing To ‘Dump’ Zelensky – Lukashenko (RT)

Washington has given the go-ahead to its partners to “dump” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky as he has become a nuisance, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko claimed during a government meeting on Friday. Lukashenko pointed to the ongoing grain dispute between Poland and Ukraine as an example of this new policy, noting that Warsaw had been one of Zelensky’s staunchest supporters but is now sharply critical of its partner. This shift occurred after Poland, along with Hungary and Slovakia, unilaterally banned the import of Ukrainian grain despite the EU having chosen to lift its bloc-wide embargo. In turn, Kiev filed disputes against the three countries with the World Trade Organization.

“Do you think that Poland is putting pressure on poor Ukraine today for no reason? No, they have been given the go-ahead from overseas: We need to dump this Zelensky, we’re tired of him,” Lukashenko said. He noted that the US has an upcoming presidential election and suggested that no one will care about Zelensky at that point. At the same time, US President Joe Biden stressed on Friday that Washington will stick with Zelensky throughout the Russia-Ukraine conflict and announced that US-made Abrams tanks will start arriving in Ukraine next week. Meanwhile, Zelensky, who is on his second wartime visit to Washington, insisted that Kiev’s continued fight against Russia relied on sustained US military assistance and reportedly said that if it doesn’t get the aid, it “will lose the war.”

So far, the Biden administration has spent $115 billion on military and financial aid to Kiev, recently requesting an additional $24 billion to be approved by the end of the month. However, a growing number of lawmakers, predominantly from the Republican Party, have started to oppose the financing of the Zelensky government with US taxpayer money. Republican Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri stressed on Wednesday that the US should stop endlessly pouring money into Ukraine, especially since Kiev has “nothing to show for it.” The Senator was apparently referring to Kiev’s much-touted summer counteroffensive, which has failed to yield any significant territorial gains. Hawley insisted that the US should not spend “a dime more on Ukraine” and instead conduct an audit of the billions that have already been paid. The senator also suggested that Germany and other European allies should “step up to the plate” to aid Kiev.

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Cornered by Marjorie Taylor Greene.

McCarthy Vows To Strip Ukraine Money From Pentagon Bill (Hill)

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced Friday that he will strip funding for Ukraine out of a Pentagon spending bill after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) joined conservatives in blocking the legislation from advancing earlier this week. McCarthy said he would remove the $300 million for Ukraine currently in the Pentagon appropriations bill and hold a separate vote on the funding. “It would be out and voted on by itself,” McCarthy said when asked about the Ukraine aid in the Pentagon appropriations bill. The Speaker’s announcement comes one day after a band of five conservatives opposed a procedural vote for the Pentagon appropriations bill, sinking the effort and preventing the legislation from moving forward.

It was the second time this week that hard-liners blocked the funding bill from advancing. Votes on rules — which govern debate for legislation — are normally partisan and predictable matters, with the majority supporting voting “yes” and the minority party voting “no.” It is very rare for rules to fail on the floor. Greene, who has emerged as a close ally of McCarthy, was one of the Republicans who voted against the rule Thursday “because it funds the war in Ukraine.” It was a shift from her vote Tuesday, when the congresswoman supported the procedural vote to advance the Defense measure. The rule failed for a second time on the same day that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with lawmakers in the Capitol.

The Pentagon funding bill includes $300 million “to provide assistance, including training; equipment; lethal assistance; logistics support, supplies and services; salaries and stipends; sustainment; and intelligence support to the military and national security forces of Ukraine, and to other forces or groups recognized by and under the authority of the Government of Ukraine, including governmental entities within Ukraine, engaged in resisting Russian aggression against Ukraine, for replacement of any weapons or articles provided to the Government of Ukraine from the inventory of the United States.” Greene has come out against sending additional money to Ukraine. On Friday morning, she went live on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and said she would support the measure if the Ukraine aid is taken out.

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Lindsey Graham returns: “..pulling the plug on Ukraine while they’re winning on the battlefield and letting Putin get away with this is far worse than Afghanistan.”

White House Issues Ukraine Aid Warning (RT)

The White House has urged American lawmakers to approve President Joe Biden’s request for an additional $24 billion for Ukraine by the end of the month in order to ensure an uninterrupted flow of aid to the country. The US government has appropriated funds for the current fiscal year, which ends on September 30, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told the media on Thursday. He said additional resources were now required from Congress by October 1 to avoid disruption to the supply of aid to Ukraine. Continued assistance to Kiev in its fight against Russia is facing a growing pushback from Republican lawmakers, particularly in the House of Representatives, where the party has a majority. Critics argue that Washington has more important priorities and should have stronger safeguards against the misappropriation of the aid it sends to Kiev.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky met members of Congress on Thursday to make his case in person. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said one phrase summed up the visiting leader’s message. “Mr. Zelensky said: ‘If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war,’” he remarked after hosting the Ukrainian president. White House officials held a classified briefing for lawmakers on Wednesday evening. Senator Josh Hawley indicated he had been cemented in the conviction that the Biden administration’s Ukraine policy was failing. “If there’s some path to victory in Ukraine, I didn’t hear it today. And I also heard that there’s going to be no end to the funding requests,”the Republican said. Senator Lindsey Graham, a fellow GOP member with an opposing view on the conflict, argued that “pulling the plug on Ukraine while they’re winning on the battlefield and letting [Russian President Vladimir] Putin get away with this is far worse than Afghanistan.”

He was referring to Biden’s 2021 decision to withdraw the US military from the Middle Eastern country, after two decades of costly counterinsurgency action and state-building experiments. Senator John Fetterman, a Democrat, promised an unorthodox concession to Republicans in the other chamber to secure money for Kiev. “If those jagoffs in the House stop trying to shut our government down, and fully support Ukraine, then I will save democracy by wearing a suit on the Senate floor next week,” he pledged on social media on Wednesday. Fetterman famously has an aversion to formal dress. Last Sunday, Schumer ditched the Senate dress code for elected officials – but not staff members – much to the chagrin of US conservatives.

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If the government shuts down US citizens won’t get paid but Ukrainians will.

Pentagon Exempts Ukraine Operations From Potential Government Shutdown (Pol.)

The Pentagon will exempt its Ukraine operations from a potential shutdown if lawmakers can’t agree on a deal to fund the government by the end of the month, allowing key training and other activities in support of Kyiv’s forces to move ahead uninterrupted, according to a Defense Department spokesperson. Washington is more resigned to the looming government shutdown every day. As the Sept. 30 deadline approaches, congressional leaders showed little progress this week in moving a stopgap funding bill to avert that scenario. The House was in chaos on Thursday as a group of GOP hardliners tanked a vote that could have offered a path to fund the government.

But if lawmakers fail to reach an agreement and government appropriations lapse, DOD has decided to continue activities supporting Ukraine, DOD spokesperson Chris Sherwood told POLITICO Thursday — just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley and other senior leaders at the Pentagon. “Operation Atlantic Resolve is an excepted activity under a government lapse in appropriations,” Sherwood said, referring to the named operation for DOD’s activities in response to the Russian invasion. The move means that the U.S. military’s activities related to the war, such as training of Ukrainian soldiers on American tactics and equipment, as well as shipments of weapons to Kyiv, will continue despite any potential shutdown. As recently as Tuesday, Sherwood had said the shutdown could halt those activities, as POLITICO first reported.

It’s good news for Zelenskyy, as U.S. and European officials worry that international support for continuing to aid Ukraine could be waning. Zelenskyy also pleaded his case with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Thursday morning before heading to the White House to meet with President Joe Biden. The Biden administration is also expected to announce a new package of military aid for Ukraine later on Thursday, including additional air defenses and artillery. During the White House meeting, Biden announced a new $325 million package of aid for Ukraine, including more air defenses, artillery and additional cluster munitions. He also said that the first of the U.S. Army’s M1 Abrams tanks pledged to Kyiv are expected to arrive on the battlefield next week.

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Mere days after the US said it wants to split Syria in two. That just got a lot harder.

China and Syria Forge ‘Strategic Partnership’ (RT)

Beijing and Damascus announced a new “strategic partnership” during Syrian President Bashar Assad’s ongoing visit to China. President Xi Jinping met him in the city of Hangzhou before this week’s launch of the Asian Games, a high-profile international sports event. Assad is visiting China for the first time since 2004, when he met then-President Hu Jintao. Xi announced the new agreement as he welcomed his guest in the capital of Zhejiang Province on Friday. The Chinese leader stated that the relationship between the two nations has “withstood the test of international changes” and pledged to maintain them in the face of international “instability and uncertainty.” The US and its allies have been seeking to oust Assad for over a decade, accusing him of various transgressions during an armed conflict in the country.

The bloodshed started in 2011 as mass protests surged against the Syrian government but were soon hijacked by international jihadist organizations. These elements sidelined other anti-government forces, which Western nations touted as “moderate rebels,” as the main threat to Damascus. Russian intervention in 2015 turned the tide and helped the Syrian Army oust Islamist militants from most of the country. Some portions, where Turkish and American troops or their local allies are present, remain outside Damascus’ control. The US has imposed crippling unilateral sanctions on Syria, which hamper its ability to reconstruct after this brutal conflict. Xi expressed support for Assad’s efforts to rebuild the nation, keep terrorists in check, and seek a political settlement for the Syrian people.

The Arab League readmitted Syria in May as Damascus seeks to normalize relations with its neighbors. Beijing had facilitated the restoration of diplomatic relations between regional rivals, Iran and Saudi Arabia, in June. Both nations played significant roles in the Syrian crisis, the former supporting Assad’s government and the latter initially vying for his ouster. The Syrian president and First Lady Asma Assad arrived in Hangzhou on Thursday. On Saturday, the visiting dignitaries are set to attend the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games alongside a dozen other foreign guests.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1705317278290731396

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Jim posted this piece without a title. Update: Jim sent me an email. Something about an iPad and a 3-day getaway. The article now has a title.

Boblitis (Jim Kunstler)

Did you catch Attorney General Merrick Garland’s performance Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee? The absurdity ran pretty rank in the chamber as the AG artfully evaded explaining how it is he doesn’t know a darn thing about the consequential cases in process at his DOJ — and if he did happen to know, he wouldn’t be able to say because… reasons. For instance, the strange inability of one US attorney David Weiss to generate charges after five whole years of investigation in the sundry matters involving the president’s son, Hunter Biden, until the statute of limitations on tax evasion dribbled away. And then, after concocting a booby trapped plea deal on a Mickey Mouse gun rap that blew up under a judge’s scrutiny, the selfsame Mr. Weiss is appointed Special Counsel (i.e. prosecutor) over those very cases. Say, whu…? Not to mention that it’s against the regulations to appoint anyone special counsel from within the DOJ.

Well, you see, Mr. Weiss is a splendid fellow, Mr. Garland explained. When asked if he could give a working definition of professional incompetence, the AG affected to be stumped. In the course of all this play-acting, Mr. Garland maybe perjured himself several times, and he seemed painfully aware of his own possible looming legal difficulties. One suspects through all this mummery and confabulation that Merrick Garland is not actually in charge of the US DOJ. Then who is? My guess would be the ultra low profile Deputy AG Lisa Monaco, a mitochondria of the DC blob, one of its energy cells. Ms. Monaco was up to her eyeballs in the Obama regime’s prep work for the Russia Collusion Hoax of 2016, and since her appointment as DAG in April, 2021, is a behind the scenes architect of the new American police state.

The Washington Post pretends that she doesn’t exist. One also wonders when a House committee will become interested in deposing her, especially on the subject of her involvement with J-6 prosecutions. So far, the blob has gotten away with its many depredations because the DC federal district court is one of its pseudopods, able to reach out, engulf, and dissolve anyone who poses a threat. But a turning point in America’s struggle against blobbery may have been crossed far away from there. Down in Texas, which is lately afflicted with blobitis, the state Attorney General Ken Paxton escaped an impeachment trap laid by Party of Chaos state legislators and blob allies revolving around Karl Rove and the next-gen Bush family, losing its legacy as owners of the Texas GOP.

Mr. Paxton must be royally pissed off by these shenanigans and maybe ready to rumble with blob agent Homeland Security Sec’y Alejandro Mayorkas and his putative boss, “Joe Biden.” As it happens, with Autumn here and temperatures along the border moderating, crossings of illegal aliens are at 10,000 a day. A few days after Mr. Paxton’s acquittal in the Texas Senate, Governor Greg Abbott officially declared “an invasion.” Under the US Constitution, federal failure to defend the border allows the states to repel the invaders with force. It also pretty explicitly spells out an impeachable offense against “Joe Biden” — failure to defend our country. The blob quivers and throbs.

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It was a major hit. CNN reports dozens of dead and wounded. Waiting for confirmation.

Expert: NATO Helped Ukraine Strike Black Sea Fleet HQ in Sevastopol (Sp.)

The headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol came under a Ukrainian missile strike on Friday, as per the Russian Ministry of Defense. The Ukrainian military attacked a historic building of the Black Sea headquarters in Sevastopol this September 22, with one Russian military serviceman going missing, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense (Mod). The MoD specified that during the Kiev regime’s attack on Sevastopol, five enemy missiles had been shot down by Russia’s air defenses. “[The Ukrainians] mostly attack with Storm Shadows, they are British-made, it is quite likely that they are also French, they are basically identical and almost identical among the French SCALPs,” Vasily Dandykin, a captain 1st rank reserve and military expert, told Sputnik.

“The Americans have not yet delivered their ballistic missiles with a firing range of 300 kilometers. These missiles [Storm Shadow – Sputnik] are quite insidious, they hit the Chongarsky Bridge with them twice; they hit our plant in Sevastopol. Seven were shot down, three penetrated.” “All this is orchestrated with the help of curators and patrons [from the West]. Even though they criticize Ukrainians for such behavior and that it’s not what they are taught. They provide [Kiev] with intelligence data – US strategic surface drones are constantly hovering there – they provide data from strategic aviation, which is in the neutral waters of the Black Sea, they also provide, accordingly, space reconnaissance, especially from satellites that hang in low orbits.”

A missile warning sound was heard in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, in the morning of September 22. According to Governor Mikhail Razvozhaev, the fleet’s headquarters were subjected to a rocket strike by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Heavy smoke was seen emerging from the city center. “The enemy launched a missile attack on the fleet headquarters. A fragment fell near the Lunacharsky Theater… All operational services went to the incident scene. Information about the victims is being clarified. Please remain calm. And do not post photos and videos,” Razvozhaev said on Telegram. He warned of a possible new attack on the Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters. The news came after the Russian MoD earlier announced that the peninsular air defenses destroyed a Ukrainian guided missile and two aircraft-type drones off the west coast of Crimea.

[..] Dandykin noted that the Russian military is due to analyze where the strikes came from and take a closer look at the remaining Ukrainian military forces in Odessa. “They attack, as I understand it, mainly from the south of Ukraine, from Odessa,” the expert suggested. “We must take into account that this is probably the only thing they are now capable of in the situation when their counteroffensive failed. This means hitting our territories, shelling the Bryansk region, Belgorod, Kursk. This means to hit the Kherson region, the Zaporozhye region, including the nuclear power plant, and, accordingly, to attack long-suffering Donetsk and Gorlovka. Here they don’t spare shells, although they always complain that they don’t have enough. “[US President Joe] Biden also gave them cluster munitions. It’s pure slaughtering, as [Ukrainians] are shooting at civilians. We need to be even more vigilant and more effective,” Dandykin concluded.

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10,000 young men land on Lampedusa, and Borrell says: “If we want to survive from a labor point of view, we need migrants..”

Borrell Warns Migration Might ‘Dissolve’ EU (RT)

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has warned that immigration could become a “dissolving force” for the international bloc, arguing that some member states simply “don’t want to accept people from outside.” Speaking to the Guardian for an interview published on Friday, Borrell pointed to rising nationalist sentiment across Europe, noting that “we have not been able until now to agree on a common migration policy.” “Migration is a bigger divide for the European Union. And it could be a dissolving force for the European Union,” he said, adding “There are some members of the European Union that are Japanese-style – we don’t want to mix. We don’t want migrants. We don’t want to accept people from outside. We want our purity.”

However, Borrell argued that Europe’s current “low demographic growth” meant that some states required an influx of immigration, calling the situation a “paradox.” “If we want to survive from a labor point of view, we need migrants,” the official continued. Borrell’s comments come just days after German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier declared that his country could no longer take in migrants and refugees, telling an Italian newspaper that “Germany, like Italy, is at the limit of its capacity.” The president cited “strong immigration from the eastern borders, from Syria, Afghanistan,” as well as the arrival of “over a million refugees from Ukraine” in the last year, and called for a “permanent solidarity mechanism” to ensure a “fair distribution” of migrants in Europe

According to newspaper Die Welt, Rome is also re-evaluating its border policies amid a spike in migration, with officials reportedly notifying other EU members that Italy would be halting migrant transfers “for a limited period of time” last December. They said the move was linked to “suddenly arising” technical issues related to the country’s intake capacity, though the suspension has continued into 2023, the German outlet reported. While Borrell warned that dissent over immigration could eventually threaten the integrity of the EU, he suggested that, for now, the bloc would remain intact. Britain’s decision to leave the EU had served as a “vaccine” for other members, he argued, stating that “No one wants to follow the British leaving the European Union.”

Migration has remained a highly contentious issue within the bloc since 2015, when the EU was hit by an influx of refugees, as well as economic migrants, driven by poverty and wars in Africa and the Middle East. sSome countries, including Hungary and Poland, strongly opposed attempts by Brussels to force them to accept and settle migrants, which initially arrived in other member states. The Italian government, meanwhile, has closed its ports to ships transporting migrants from North Africa, insisting that other member states should share the burden of accepting them. The demand for tighter border controls was also one of the drivers behind the ‘Leave’ campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum in the UK.

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Censorship as a religion, high priests and all.

The Defunct Disinformation Governance Board Exposed (Turley)

We previously discussed the defunct Disinformation Governance Board and its controversial head Nina Jankowicz. After the outcry over the program, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas finally relented and disbanded the board while insisting that it was never about censoring opposing views. Jankowicz has sued over the portrayal of her views. Now, Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF) has exposed just how broad the scope of the censorship efforts were under the board in combatting “misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation (MDM). This range of authority in what the agency called the “MDM space,” included targeting views on racial justice and the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.

New documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests show that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) argued that the agency could regulate speech related to “the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine” as well as “irregular immigration.” Those subjects stretch across much of the “space” used for political speech in the last few years. Notably, within DHS, Jen Easterly, who heads the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, extended her agency’s mandate over critical infrastructure to include “our cognitive infrastructure.” The resulting censorship efforts included combating “malinformation” – described as information “based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate.” I testified earlier on this effort.

So DHS asserted the authority to target viewpoints on racial justice, Ukraine, and other political subjects, including views based on fact but viewed as misleading in context. What is also troubling is the continued effort to conceal these censorship activities. Homeland redacted much of this information on a now defunct board under FOIA Exemption 7(E), which protects “techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations.” That claim is itself chilling. After the demise of the board, National Public Radio ran an interview entitled “How DHS’s disinformation board fell victim to misinformation.”

As the title suggests, NPR just repeated the view of Jankowicz despite the objections of many of us in the free speech community. Jankowicz insisted “we weren’t going to be doing anything related to policing speech. It was an internal coordinating mechanism to make sure that we were doing that work efficiently.” Yet, what were the criminal investigations, prosecutions, and enforcement efforts now being claimed as connected to this work? Recently, a court found that the Biden Administration’s censorship efforts constituted “the most massive attack against free speech in United States history.” Those words by Chief U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty are part of a 155-page opinion granting a temporary injunction, requested by Louisiana and Missouri, to prevent White House officials from meeting with tech companies about social media censorship.

Yet, Democrats have gone all in on censorship, blacklisting, and even red-baiting efforts. The July 4 decision came six months after I testified before Congress that the Biden administration used social media companies for “censorship by surrogate.” Despite furious attacks by congressional Democrats in that and later hearings, a court found that the evidence overwhelmingly shows systematic violation of the First Amendment by the Biden administration. Now we have a glimpse into the chilling scope of the Homeland Security’s efforts to target opposing viewpoints. From racial justice to Covid to Ukraine, these subjects involve core political speech. Yet, the Biden Administration felt that it had the right to monitor and combat opposing views in these areas.

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Octoberfest

 

 

Protect
https://twitter.com/i/status/1705183877499682879

 

 

Cassowary

 

 

Son of the earth

 

 

 

 

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Sep 132023
 
 September 13, 2023  Posted by at 9:07 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  41 Responses »


Michelangelo Pietà 1498 (he was 23 years old)

 

McCarthy Launches Biden Impeachment Inquiry (ZH)
Republicans Fear Giving Biden Popularity Boost With Impeachment Probe (Sp.)
Trump Charges Are Political Persecution – Putin (RT)
Trump Demands Judge in Jan. 6 Case Stand Down (Sp.)
Fani Willis Bankrolls Private Attorneys For Trump Prosecution (WE)
Tucker Tears Into Politicians’ “Betrayal Of American Democracy” (ZH)
Ever More Deadly Arms to Ukraine Reeks of Desperation – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
Africa Will Never Forget That The West Caged Its Children – Putin (RT)
Kiev Reiterates Grain Threat To Poland (RT)
Pocahontas Threatens Musk With Investigation For Blocking Ukrainian Attack (RT)
Nuland: US ‘Supports’ Ukraine Targeting ‘Russia’s Most Precious Assets’ (Sp.)
Ukraine Missile Attack in Sevastopol Leaves 24 People Injured (Sp.)
CIA Bribed Analysts To Change Wuhan Lab-Leak Conclusions (ZH)
France Bans iPhone Over Radiation Concerns (RT)
The Mackinder Strategic ‘Bible’ Reconsidered (Crooke)

 

 


Today Health Canada approved a Moderna fall booster for COVID-19 for all Canadians over the age of 6 months.

 

 


The new FDA approved covid shots were tested. On four rats. Yes, four rats. Four. Rats.

 

 

 

 

Tulsi Watters


https://twitter.com/i/status/1701362658329645541

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paxton Trial

 

 

Schumer

 

 

 

 

McCarthy sounds like a girl here. Maybe better not ask Trump what he thinks.

And Dave Collum: “Could you take a brief moment to release the 41,000 hours of J6 tapes? The longer you wait the worse you look…”

McCarthy Launches Biden Impeachment Inquiry (ZH)

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday announced that the House will open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over a variety of alleged crimes, skipping a formal House vote he had previously teased. According to McCarthy, Reps. James Comer and Jim Jordan will spearhead it. “Biden used his official office to coordinate with Hunter Biden’s business partners, about Hunter’s role in Burisma – the Ukrainian energy company,” said McCarthy, adding “it appears that the president’s family has been offered special treatment by Biden’s own administration.”

Senate RINOs are downplaying an impeachment inquiry against perhaps the most corrupt president in US history, citing a ‘distraction’ from 2024 election issues such as the economy and border security. In truth, they’re nothing more than uniparty shills protecting their preferred candidate at any cost against the return of the highly disruptive Orange Man Bad. “It really comes to how do you prioritize your time? I don’t know of anybody who believes Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will take it up and actually have a trial and convict a sitting president,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) a member of the Senate GOP leadership team, in a comment to The Hill, adding that House Republicans can already investigate Biden without launching a formal impeachment inquiry.

“Since they got the majority, they got the chairmen of the various committees, they could do all of that now without going to a formal inquiry,” he continued. “Members of the House don’t really care what I think. All I can tell you, it’s unlikely to be successful in the Senate. “Rather than doing something they know is unlikely to end the way they would like, maybe they want to emphasize other things.” Cornyn was joined by GOP Whip John Thune (SD) and Marco Rubio (FL), the latter of whom suggested that attempting to impeach Biden would be frivolous, and “should generally be avoided for the interest of the country.”

“It can’t become routine,” Rubio continued, adding “There are countries like Peru that routinely now impeach whoever the president is, and it’s become almost a national sport.” Yes Marco, the sitting US President is suspected of taking bribes from a Ukrainian oligarch in exchange for abusing his position as then-VP, and his son – with no practicable skills in any art – appears to have been his family’s international bag man for more of the same, but let’s not make this into a ‘national sport.’

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“Biden’s either going to have to cut a deal and promise not to run again, or perhaps resign, but we are at the beginning of this process..”

Republicans Fear Giving Biden Popularity Boost With Impeachment Probe (Sp.)

US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced on Tuesday the launching of an impeachment inquiry into US President Joe Biden. The leading Republican said there were “serious and credible allegations” about Biden’s conduct and the alleged “culture of corruption” surrounding the Biden family’s foreign business dealings. At the center of the issue is the president’s son, Hunter Biden, long the subject of journalist investigations and Republican denunciations, and questions about Joe Biden’s relationship to Hunter’s business dealings, especially during Joe’s time as US vice president and since he became president in 2021. Republicans have for years promised to launch such an inquiry once they won a majority in the US House of Representatives again, but that majority was reached in early January following the November 2022 midterm elections.

McCarthy became House speaker at that time after hammering out a nebulous set of promises with a pro-Trump faction of the House GOP Caucus – a faction that is increasingly upset with his performance. Democrats have accused Republicans of giving in to the agenda of former US President Donald Trump, who was impeached in 2019 on accusations he abused his power by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to reopen a probe into the Bidens, including claims that in 2016, then-VPOTUS Biden forced Kiev’s prosecutor-general into closing a previous investigation of Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine. Ted Rall, a syndicated editorial cartoonist, opinion columnist, graphic novelist, author, and co-host of The Final Countdown, told Radio Sputnik’s Political Misfits on Tuesday that while some elder GOP lawmakers are hesitant for the moment over fears they might accidentally help Biden’s reputation ahead of the 2024 election, “Republicans will soon see that this is going to be to their advantage.”

“I think a lot of Republicans are suffering from Clinton Hangover Impeachment Syndrome. This didn’t go well for the Republicans in 1998, [former US President] Bill Clinton left office wildly popular, and they’re worried that something similar could happen. The only thing is: it’s not 1998, it’s a different world now,” he said, noting that when it came to Clinton’s impeachment, the facts were clear. “Here, most liberal Democrats and many moderates – or, for that matter, everyone who’s not a news junkie – doesn’t really know or has been following the story of this Hunter Biden laptop, which has been carefully siloed as a new ‘Benghazi malarkey’ as Biden would say. But that’s not true,” Rall said. “Beyond what McCarthy may or may not want, as the inquiry proceeds, it’s going to be impossible not to move forward with hearings simply because there are too many actionable facts.”

“The call for impeachment, under the most basic definition of the term in the Constitution, which specifically references bribery – I think they’re going to have to impeach him,” Rall asserted. “I think even the Republican senators are going to warm up to it and I think if all the facts are ultimately heard, President Biden’s either going to have to cut a deal and promise not to run again, or perhaps resign, but we are at the beginning of this process,” which he said “has no place to go but ‘down’ for President Biden.” Rall noted there was “a lot to get to the bottom” of in the case.“If my son sells me as a brand, then collects money by doing that, are you effectively bribing me? Especially if I’m 80 years old and I care deeply about my son’s finances and his ability to carry on after I’m gone? That’s a question I think hasn’t been answered and I think we need to answer,” he explained.

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“As for the persecution of Trump, well, in today’s conditions, in my view, that’s a good thing. Because it reveals the rotten American political system, which should not be able to claim it can teach others about democracy. “Everything that is happening to Trump is the political persecution of a political rival. That is what it is. And it is happening in the eyes of the US public and the whole world. They have exposed their domestic problems. In this sense, if they are trying to fight us, it is good because it shows, as they used to say in Soviet times, the beastly appearance of American imperialism, its beastly snarling grimace.”

Trump Charges Are Political Persecution – Putin (RT)

The numerous criminal charges against former US President Donald Trump amount to persecution and showcase the “rot” in the American political system, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated. The US in its current state “cannot claim the right to teach others democracy,” the Russian leader said on Tuesday during a panel discussion at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. “The things that are happening to Trump are persecution of a political competitor… That is what it is. And it is done in the full view of the US public and the entire world,” he added. The controversy is beneficial to Russia in the sense that it “exposes” Washington “for what it is,” according to Putin.

The US government chose to be hostile to Moscow and has propagandized its population into perceiving it as such, he argued. “[The US] demonstrates what they called in Soviet times ‘the bestial scowl of imperialism’,” he joked. Moscow does not expect any substantial change in US foreign policy vis-a-vis Russia, regardless of who takes the White House after next year’s election, the president said. “[Trump] was accused of having a special relation with Russia, which is total nonsense and bulls**t. But he was the president who introduced the most sanctions against Russia,” Putin noted.

The American elites predominantly perceive Russia as an existential enemy, Putin believes. The country also has friends in the US, who want good relations and share Russia’s views on traditional values, the president added, but those voices are being suppressed. Since leaving office, Trump has been charged with numerous crimes at both the federal and state level, ranging from election tampering to inciting the January 6 Capitol riot to financial improprieties. The businessman-turned-politician, who is considered the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for presidency, has said that his legal woes amount to a “witch hunt” by his opponents.

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She’s hated him for years, laments the fact that he’s walking around free.

Trump Demands Judge in Jan. 6 Case Stand Down (Sp.)

Former President Donald Trump has filed a motion in a Washington, DC, court demanding Judge Tanya Chutkan recuse and disqualify herself from his January 6 criminal case, court documents showed. “President Donald J. Trump, through undersigned counsel, respectfully moves to recuse and disqualify the Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan,” Trump’s attorneys said in the court document on Monday. The motion cites what Trump alleges is Chutkan’s compromised impartiality as cause for recusal. “Although Judge Chutkan may genuinely intend to give President Trump a fair trial — and may believe that she can do so — her public statements unavoidably taint these proceedings,” Trump attorney John F. Lauro wrote in the motion.

“The public will reasonably and understandably question whether Judge Chutkan arrived at all of her decisions in this matter impartially,” the motion said, adding that “the law and the overwhelming public interest in the integrity of this historic proceeding require recusal.” US law dictates that judges recuse themselves from any legal case in which they have a personal bias, potential prejudice, or their impartiality could be “reasonably” questioned. A 1994 Supreme Court ruling determined that only in rare cases are judges ever forced out of a legal case; in fact, it must be proved the official demonstrates “deep seated favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment impossible.”

Chutkan has given both sides in the case until Thursday to respond to the motion, with the Trump camp given until Sunday to issue its subsequent reply. Trump is presently facing multiple indictments ranging from alleged fraudulent business practices, mishandling classified documents and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The former president has repeatedly voiced his innocence in each case, underscoring that legal filings are part of a larger political attack intended to shutter his chances at serving a second term in office.

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Taxpayer money.

“..paid massive sums to private sector attorneys for their services..”

“..it avoids the statutory requirements for the appointment of assistant district attorneys, who are paid a fixed salary, and also avoids the administration of an oath of office..”

Fani Willis Bankrolls Private Attorneys For Trump Prosecution (WE)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has paid massive sums to private sector attorneys for their services, and a portion of those relate to investigating and prosecuting former President Donald Trump, according to county records. Nathan Wade, Willis’s lead prosecutor in the case, has raked in more than half a million dollars from the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office from January 2022 to August 2023, according to a payment history. Christopher Campbell, Wade’s colleague at Wade & Campbell Firm, has been paid $116,670 from April 2021 to August 2023, the same records show. Terrence Bradley, a former colleague of Wade’s, was paid $74,480 from May 2021 to June 2022, according to the records.

Wade, a defense attorney who can bill by the hour, was hand-picked by Willis roughly two years ago to serve as special prosecutor in the Trump case. Wade is a former Cobb County fill-in municipal court judge who ran for Cobb County Superior Court and was defeated in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Willis chose Wade over career prosecutors who work on salaries, and while the legalities of that have not been questioned at this stage, some, like Phil Holloway, an Atlanta-based attorney for more than two decades, have found the use of Wade to be “unorthodox.” “It’s certainly unorthodox and appears to be a cash cow for any lawyer paid by the hour,” Holloway said. “I’ve been practicing criminal law in Georgia for 24 years, and I’ve never seen such an arrangement.”

One of the co-defendants, former Georgia GOP Chairman David Shafer, highlighted in a court filing on Thursday the hefty payments to private prosecutors, asking for Judge Scott McAfee to schedule a hearing “regarding improper contact by special prosecutor’s law firm.” [..] Shafer’s attorney in the court filing said it also violated an “anti-contact” rule, noting that “the harassing, or mocking and intimidating nature of the firm’s communication with Mr. Shafer causes grave injury to the appearance of fairness and propriety of this proceeding.” [..] Holloway observed that Wade could skirt the typical obligations of public servants while working as outsourced counsel. “For starters, it avoids the statutory requirements for the appointment of assistant district attorneys, who are paid a fixed salary, and also avoids the administration of an oath of office,” Holloway said. “The oath of office is intended to protect the public from malfeasance by public officials and carries a criminal penalty if violated.”

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Sounds like 2028.

Tucker Tears Into Politicians’ “Betrayal Of American Democracy” (ZH)

In a brief clip dropped last night, Tucker Carlson rages (in his inimitable manner) that the current system of governance in the US does not genuinely reflect the majority’s will but benefits a small group of people with power. “Most governments are run by a small group of people for their own benefit without reference to what the majority wants,” he says. Carlson highlights, based on public opinion polls as evidence, that there is often a disconnect between what the people want and what their leaders prioritize: “Take a look at the latest Gallup poll, pick a poll. What are the top 10 issues for people in the United States and then compare those to the priorities of your leaders.”

The former Fox News host takes aim at Governors Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Greg Abbott of Texas as case examples of this disconnect. Regarding Whitmer, who he calls a “low IQ lunatic”, Carlson says her priorities are not in line with the majority of her constituents, specifically regarding social issues like “misgendering”: “The things that people care about, Gretchen Whitmer couldn’t care less about.” Abbott, who Carlson calls a “liar, and betrayer of your own people”, is accused of not taking significant action on illegal immigration, despite having the resources to do so:

“Don’t you have a National Guard? Why don’t you seal the Border? Oh, it’s very complicated. No, it’s not.” Carlson concludes that this deviation from public will is a betrayal of American democracy. “It’s not just frustrating; it’s a betrayal of the core promise of the country, which is the people rule,” he proclaims; suggesting that the current situation represents a “criminal act,” and, in what some have suggested sounded the most like a campaign/stump speech, urges the audience to reconsider their belief that a majority vote will automatically translate into action or law.

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“..anybody who looks at the situation on the ground in Ukraine knows that Ukraine is losing, Russia is winning. And literally there’s nothing that can be done to prevent a Russian victory..”

Ever More Deadly Arms to Ukraine Reeks of Desperation – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

Over the past year-and-a-half, the US and its NATO allies have adopted a cautious, “two steps forward, one step back” approach to arming Kiev, first assuring that various weapons (be it cluster munitions and long-range cruise missiles or tanks and F-16 fighter jets) would not be sent, citing the danger of escalation tensions with Russia, and then announcing their delivery weeks or months later. “The Biden administration seems to be going through a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-type phase when it comes to the nature of the weapons that it’s willing to provide to Ukraine,” Scott Ritter, a veteran former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, UN weapons inspector, and military analyst, told Sputnik. “A year ago, the Biden administration was very reticent about providing certain categories of weapons out of fear to create the potential of an escalation between the United States, between NATO and Russia over Ukraine.

“The last thing the United States wanted, or so the Biden administration said, was a direct war with Russia.” “Today, all of those inhibitions seem to have been swept away. We see the United States providing M1 Abrams tanks. We see the United States authorizing the delivery of F-16 fighters. And now the United States is considering to provide Ukraine with the ATACMS long-range missile system or the guided multiple launch rocket system, a 45-mile range rocket system delivered by the HIMARS system that has extreme accuracy and could deliver cluster munitions. This, of course, follows on the heels of the decision by the Biden administration made earlier this year to provide Ukraine with the cluster variant of the 155-millimeter artillery shell,” Ritter said.

Desperation over sobering battlefield realities and a desire to “harm Russia,” rather than hopes that the new long-range weapons could turn the tide in the conflict, are the main motivators behind the Biden administration’s escalation strategy, the observer believes. “The Ukrainians, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, have suffered 71,000 casualties over the course of the last four months in a failed counteroffensive effort. And there’s nothing about the nature of these weapons that would improve Ukraine’s chances on the battlefield. These weapons that are being provided are being provided to provide Ukraine with the potential of doing harm to Russia. The ATACMS missiles being provided, simply put, to strike the Crimea Bridge, to destroy that bridge, to enable Ukraine to strike targets deep in the Russian rear area – airfields, command posts, logistics. This is a dramatic escalation of the conflict,” Ritter stressed.

“Why is the Biden administration doing this? Frankly speaking, it’s out of an act of desperation. Look, anybody who looks at the situation on the ground in Ukraine knows that Ukraine is losing, Russia is winning. And literally there’s nothing that can be done to prevent a Russian victory. The provision of ATACMS rockets, the GMLRS rocket system isn’t going to change the outcome on the battlefield. What it will do is provide Ukraine the opportunity to inflict more harm on Russia,” and that, Washington may be hoping, will put political pressure on Moscow domestically, the observer explained.

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“As late as 1957, “people from Africa were taken to Europe in cages… You can’t watch that without tears. Children sitting in cages, displayed for everyone to see..”

Africa Will Never Forget That The West Caged Its Children – Putin (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin remarked on Tuesday that African nations will always remember the dark chapter of Western colonial oppression when European powers trafficked children from the continent, putting them on display in cages. He also noted that these same countries are trying to push their former dominions into indentured servitude. Speaking at the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Putin said he was sure it would not be too difficult for Russia to restore close relations with Africa to the level of the Soviet era when Moscow provided the continent with ample economic aid. The Russian leader argued that African countries remember Moscow’s help in the struggle for independence and that Moscow had never acted as a colonizer.

“Our cooperation has always been based on either mutual grounds or the desire to help,” he said. However, Putin noted that these countries remember not only Soviet aid but also Western ruthlessness. As late as 1957, “people from Africa were taken to Europe in cages… You can’t watch that without tears. Children sitting in cages, displayed for everyone to see,” Putin recalled. “No one in Africa will ever forget it.” The Russian president said the West has not abandoned its subjugation attempts. “Even now, they are trying to boss around and pursue their generally neo-colonial policies,” Putin said, explaining that Western countries have imposed trillions of dollars worth of loans on the region. The West has concocted a credit system with African countries which “by definition… does not allow them to pay back their loans. These are not credit relations; this is some kind of [punitive] indemnity,” he added.

However, Russia adheres to a different approach, which gives it an advantage in fostering ties with its partners worldwide, Putin argued. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out that African countries are ready to talk with their Western counterparts. However, the latter should not expect spectacular results if they reduce dialogue to “patting on the back” while failing to address the continent’s “pressing needs.” To foster closer ties with the region, Russia hosted a landmark Russia-Africa forum in St. Petersburg this summer that produced many bilateral agreements in various fields. Dozens of African delegations also attended it despite what Moscow described as “unprecedented pressure from the West” to skip the summit.

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Poland is one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters. But it won’t kill its own farmers.

Kiev Reiterates Grain Threat To Poland (RT)

Kiev does not want to harm Polish farmers, but it will lobby for its right to export grain into the EU nation under World Trade Organization rules, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal has declared. On Tuesday, the chair of the Ukrainian government reiterated Kiev’s warning that it would seek arbitration if Poland maintained a ban on imports. The current temporary restriction, which was imposed by the EU in May, is set to expire on Friday. “We have no intention of harming Polish farmers,” he stated on X (formerly Twitter). Warsaw’s stated policy of keeping the ban in place would be a “violation of trade law in the interest of political populism before the elections,” he added. Poland is set to hold a general election in October, with the ruling Law and Justice party seeking a third term at the helm.

Earlier in the day, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki pledged to make sure that Ukrainian grain would not “flood” his nation, causing distress to local producers. That will be the case regardless of what the EU decides, he assured. When asked about Shmygal’s remark by local media outlets, government spokesman Piotr Muller said Warsaw would maintain the embargo at the national level if its appeal to the EU to renew the ban failed. The Polish government adopted a formal message to the European Commission arguing its case on Tuesday. Brussels’ ban had de facto legitimized prohibitions imposed nationally by Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovakia. Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania have said they intend to reimpose national bans if the EU prohibition expires.

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Do your homework first?!

Pocahontas Threatens Musk With Investigation For Blocking Ukrainian Attack (RT)

US Senator Elizabeth Warren has called on Congress to investigate Elon Musk over his refusal to enable a Ukrainian drone attack on the Russian naval fleet in Crimea. Despite condemnation in Washington, Musk has defended his decision to cut satellite service to the Ukrainian military. “The Congress needs to investigate what’s happened here and whether we have adequate tools to make sure foreign policy is conducted by the government and not by one billionaire,” Warren told reporters at the US Capitol on Monday. Musk and other Big Tech CEOs are due to meet with US lawmakers to discuss artificial intelligence on Wednesday. However, the subject of the hearing has been overshadowed by news that Musk intervened last year to prevent six Ukrainian naval drones from hitting Russian ships at the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

The Ukrainian military had been using SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service for communications and guidance since the beginning of the conflict with Russia. When Musk learned that the drones were en route to Sevastopol, he ordered SpaceX engineers to shut down the service within 100km of the Russian peninsula, CNN reported on Thursday, quoting an upcoming biography of the billionaire. As a result, the drones “lost connectivity and washed ashore harmlessly,” the report claimed. Ukrainian Digital Transformation Minister Mikhail Fedorov then begged Musk to turn the signal back on via text messages, but Musk refused.

“If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation,” the billionaire explained last week, adding that he never allowed the service to be activated near Crimea in the first place. Musk’s explanation caused outrage in Kiev, with President Vladimir Zelensky’s top aide accusing the SpaceX CEO of “committing evil.” In the US, CNN anchor Jake Tapper argued on Sunday that Musk had “effectively sabotaged” an American ally, and asked US Secretary of State Antony Blinken if he should face “repercussions” for thwarting the attack.

Blinken refused to condemn Musk, but several members of Congress have spoken out against the billionaire. Musk “cannot have the last word when it comes to national security,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed told reporters on Monday. At the time of the thwarted attack, Musk was bankrolling Ukraine’s access to the Starlink network. The Pentagon has since stepped in to partly fund the program, and Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said on Monday that future contracts between the military and private firms like SpaceX will likely include “assurances” that these technologies can be used for offensive purposes.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1701424181580124577

Elon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1701648627297362426

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”..Nuland’s words showed that this was “no longer about Ukraine,” but about “an undeclared hot war with Russia.”

Nuland: US ‘Supports’ Ukraine Targeting ‘Russia’s Most Precious Assets’ (Sp.)

US Acting Deputy Secretary of State and Russophobic hawk Victoria Nuland appears to have let slip that the Biden administration supports Ukraine’s strikes targeting Russian territory. In a video clip circulating on social media, Nuland, who just recently visited Ukraine’s capital, can be heard saying that one “axis” of Washington’s strategy in it proxy war with Moscow in Ukraine is to “put some of Russia’s most precious assets at risk.” This comes amid reports that Washington will be sending long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) to the Kiev regime. However, earlier in September, a Pentagon official told Sputnik no decision had been made to supply Ukraine with ATACMS.

According to US media, the Defense Department has warned that its own ATACMS arsenal is relatively small, and the missiles are already deployed to other areas, such as the Korean Peninsula, and therefore their transfer to Ukraine would jeopardize US combat readiness in other regions. In response to the clip on social media, users commented that Victoria Nuland appeared intent on unleashing a “nuclear war” – something that the career civil servant along with US President Joe Biden and senior White House and State Department officials have been repeatedly accused of. Netizens remarked that Washington has “never shown willingness to talk meaningfully with Moscow,” and warned that Nuland’s words showed that this was “no longer about Ukraine,” but about “an undeclared hot war with Russia.”

Others on social media recalled Nuland’s role in the 2014 coup in Ukraine, when the country’s democratically elected government collapsed, and a pro-Western regime was installed. Then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is remembered for strolling the streets of Kiev with Geoffrey Pyatt, the then-US ambassador, handing out free cookies. Later, in February 2014, on the eve of the Euromaidan coup, in a telephone conversation she famously quipped, as per a leaked call, “Yats is the guy!” referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a politician who got less than seven percent of the vote in the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election, but would be selected as the first prime minister of the post-coup government.

Nuland has been one of the most avid proponents of Kiev massively hitting Russian military installations in Crimea, considering them to be legitimate targets, as per her remarks on February 16, 2023. Crimea became a Russian region after a referendum was held there in March 2014 following a coup in Ukraine. The Russian leadership has repeatedly stated that Crimean residents democratically, in full compliance with international law and the UN Charter, voted for reunification with Russia. Furthermore, the United States considers it important to provide Kiev with the military “of the future,” Nuland had said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank.

In response, Igor Girenko, press secretary of the Russian embassy in the US, said Nuland’s comment that the United States supports Ukraine targeting Russian military installations in Crimea shows Washington’s direct involvement in the Ukraine conflict. After both Washington and London agreed to supply the Zelensky regime with longer-range missiles, they claimed that Kiev had promised not to attack Russian soil with them. However, as Kiev’s counteroffensive falters, the risk of a “desperation” attack outside the Donbass is growing, pundits told Sputnik.

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“..intended to serve as psychological crutch and do not pose a meaningful military intiative.”

Ukraine Missile Attack in Sevastopol Leaves 24 People Injured (Sp.)

Russian air defenses repelled an overnight attack by the Ukrainian armed forces on the city of Sevastopol in Crimea, Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said early Wednesday. Razvozhayev indicated that he is on scene near the area where a fire broke out in the city’s industrial district, detailing that operational services were on site at the Sevastopol shipyard. The governor added that 24 people sustained injuries as a result of the missile strike, four of whom were identified as being in “moderate condition.” The Sevastopol official further said there is no threat to civilian facilities as a result of the fire. The situation in the air continues to be monitored as all operational services remain on standby, he went on to underscore.

A subsequent release issued by the Russian Ministry of Defense stated the overnight strike by the Kiev regime included the use of 10 cruise missile and three drone boats. “Tonight, the Ukrainian armed forces conducted a strike against the shipyard named after Ordzhonikidze in the city of Sevastopol using 10 cruise missiles and attacked a group of ships of the Black Sea Fleet during the movement in the sea using drone boats,” the ministry said. “Air defenses destroyed seven cruise missiles, and the Vasily Bykov patrol ship destroyed all drone boats. As a result of cruise missiles hitting the shipyard, two ships, which were in repair, were damaged.”

Over the last several months, Ukraine has repeatedly carried out drones strikes against Russian territory, more recently in the face of its failed counteroffensive. The Russian government has referred to the repeat drone attacks as a “nuisance” as experts have stressed that such efforts are intended to serve as psychological crutch and do not pose a meaningful military intiative.

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“The CIA bribing CIA officers to hide the CIA’s work on COVID is simply the most CIA thing you’ll ever hear!”

CIA Bribed Analysts To Change Wuhan Lab-Leak Conclusions (ZH)

A ‘senior-level’ CIA whistleblower has come forward to allege that the agency bribed analysts to change their opinion that Covid-19 most likely originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, according to the NY Post. The whistleblower told House committee leaders that his agency ‘ tried to pay off six analysts who found SARS-CoV-2 likely originated in a Wuhan lab if they changed their position and said the virus jumped from animals to humans,’ according to a Tuesday letter from the chairmen of two House subcommittees investigating the pandemic response and US intelligence, Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Mike Turner (R-OH). The pair have requested all documents, communications and pay info from the CIA’s Covid-19 Discovery Team by Sept. 26.

“According to the whistleblower, at the end of its review, six of the seven members of the Team believed the intelligence and science were sufficient to make a low confidence assessment that COVID-19 originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China,” reads the letter from the House panel chairmen. “The seventh member of the Team, who also happened to be the most senior, was the lone officer to believe COVID-19 originated through zoonosis. “The whistleblower further contends that to come to the eventual public determination of uncertainty, the other six members were given a significant monetary incentive to change their position,” the letters continue, adding that the analysts were “experienced officers with significant scientific expertise.”

Wenstrup and Turner also asked for documents and communications between the CIA and other federal agencies, including the State Department, FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Energy Department. In a separate letter, the House committee leaders identified former CIA Chief Operating Officer Andrew Makridis as having “played a central role” in the COVID investigation and asked him to sit for a transcribed interview. -NY Post In June, the US Intelligence Community declassified a 10-page report on COVID origins, in which it found “biosafety concerns” and “genetic engineering” taking place in Wuhan, but that most of its “agencies assess that SARS-CoV-2 was not genetically engineered.”

As the Post points out, however, several scientists at the WIV fell ill in late 2019 with symptoms “consistent with but not diagnostic of COVID-19,” according to the intelligence report, which concluded that the CIA and another intelligence agency “remain unable to determine the precise origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, as both hypotheses rely on significant assumptions or face challenges with conflicting reporting.” ot all former US intelligence officials agree with the declassified report – such as former DNI John Ratcliffe, who told Congress that the “lab leak theory” was the “only” credible explanation for the pandemic. “My informed assessment as a person with as much access as anyone to our government’s intelligence … has been and continues to be that a lab leak is the only explanation credibly supported by our intelligence, by science and by common sense,” he told the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic in a hearing.

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Why only France? Why only Apple?

France Bans iPhone Over Radiation Concerns (RT)

Apple must withdraw all iPhone 12 models from the French market immediately, the National Frequency Agency (ANFR) announced on Tuesday, accusing the popular smartphone of emitting far more electromagnetic radiation than European Union regulations allow. “The ANFR expects Apple to deploy all available means to put an end to the non-compliance. Failure to act will result in the recall of equipment that has already been made available to consumers,” the agency said. According to the regulator, tests at an accredited laboratory revealed that the phone exceeded the specific absorption rate (SAR) value mandated by the EU, which is four watts-per-kilogram (W/kg), when held in hand or in a trouser pocket. The “body” SAR, when the phone is in a jacket pocket or a bag at least 5mm away, was within the 2 W/kg limit, however.

Apple must immediately stop the sale of iPhone 12 models and get ANFR approval if it makes updates to them to ensure compliance, the regulator added. ANFR inspectors have been authorized to check “all distribution channels in France” for the banned device, starting Tuesday. The iPhone 12 was introduced in October 2020 and has continued to be popular due to a lower price point than the subsequent models. Apple says the model has a SAR of 0.99 W/kg when measured by the EU standard. Earlier on Tuesday, the California-based Apple announced the iPhone 15 line of devices, featuring the USB-C connector in order to comply with an EU mandate adopted in 2022.

The US Federal Communications Commission has yet to comment on the French announcement. The FCC has a SAR limit of 1.6 W/kg. sFrance’s radiation crackdown comes after several months of bad news for Apple. Last week it was reported that China has banned government employees from bringing iPhones or any other foreign devices into the office or using them for work purposes. Russian officials were advised to stop using iPhones in July, while the state military industry banned them outright, citing security concerns. Later that month, a class action suit in the UK accused the US-based company of monopolistic behavior regarding fees charged by the app store.

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“..absent Ukraine, Russia would never become the heartland power; but with Ukraine, Russia can and would..”

The Mackinder Strategic ‘Bible’ Reconsidered (Crooke)

In 1997, Zbig Brzezinski, the original ‘driver’ behind the making of Afghanistan as a quagmire of ‘mud’ into which Russia was to be dragged, wrote his celebrated book, The Grand Chessboard. It was a work that ‘forever’ embedded the Mackinder doctrine of ‘he who controls the Asian heartland controls the world’ into the U.S. zeitgeist. Tellingly, its subtitle was American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Brzezinski had already written in his book that absent Ukraine, Russia would never become the heartland power; but with Ukraine, Russia can and would. Thus, Mackinder’s doctrine, ‘He who controls the heartland’ dictum, was codified into U.S. ‘cannon law’ – never to permit a united heartland. And Ukraine became seen as the hinge around which heartland power revolved.

Brzezinski further ordained that this ‘Grand Game of Chess’ was to be one of pure U.S. primacy: “No, no one else plays”, he insisted; it is a game purely for one. Once a chess piece is moved; ‘we’ (the U.S.) simply turn the board the other way around – and move the other side’s chess pieces (for ‘them’). There is ‘no other’ in this game”, Brzezinski warned. This is today’s dilemma – It is so long since Brzezinski originally formulated the Mackinder notion, that classical diplomacy has become etiolated. It was Henry Kissinger however, that gave Mackinder its celebrated twist: ‘He who controls money controls the world’ was to become the dollar and banking financialised hegemony. But, Kissinger, in this, was wrong from the ‘get go’. It always has been: ‘He who has manufacturing capacity, raw materials, food, energy (human as well as fossil) and sound money can change the world’.

But Kissinger simply ignored those adjunct conditions, and based the U.S. instead in the creation of a global ‘spider’s web of weaponised dollars (touch it, and the sanctions gossamer poisons you). Additionally, this system was multiplied through Wall Street parsing out access to trillions in newly created money only to the compliant. Kissinger did, however, evolve the doctrine of ‘triangulation’ in a nod to Mackinder: The U.S. should seek to ally with either Russia versus China, or be with China, in opposition to Russia. But never to let China and Russia conjoin against the West. The heartland must always be fractured. These ‘rules’ are imprinted on Washington’s mental circuits. Yet the notions that underpin them have little validity today. Land mass, militarised states (heartland Asia) versus the naval powers (the Atlanticists) hardly reflects today’s more abstract instruments of power.

[..] The present conflict in Ukraine has underlined the deficiencies in hegemonic power that specifically arise from a neglected manufacturing base. Mackinder, were he here today, might thus need to adjust his model, distinguishing between the land that is ‘outside’ the one set of economic policies (the BRICS-led Asian, African and global Southern bloc), and that which is ‘inside’: i.e. within a ‘coastal’ debt-led, consumerist paradigm.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Fluoride

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 032023
 
 April 3, 2023  Posted by at 7:55 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Bull – Plate 4 1945

 

Bakhmut “Technically Captured” – Prigozhin (ZH)
Zelensky’s Government Is An ‘Evil Force’ – Orthodox Priest (RT)
The Everything Collapse (Egon von Greyerz)
Oil Prices Surge After Surprise OPEC+ Production Cut (RT)
Lavrov Tells Blinken: Up To Court To Decide About US Journalist Future (TASS)
‘Lower the Rhetoric’ on China, Says Milley (D1)
Eastern Europe ‘Drowning’ In -Cheap- Ukrainian Grain – Le Figaro (RT)
Russian Official Ridicules Ukrainian Plan To Rename Crimean Port (RT)
Erdogan Tells US Ambassador To ‘Know His Place’ (RT)
US Allows Migrants To Pick Their Gender (RT)
Banana Time for the Rule of Law (Kimball)
Leaks From Bragg’s Grand Jury Are A Crime (Dershowitz)
Germany To Have Enough Covid mRNA Vaccine To Last Into The 24th Century (Eugyp)
El Pais Reveals How CIA Spied On Assange (RT)
Rep. Rashida Tlaib Demands DOJ Drop Charges Against Julian Assange (Fox)

 

 

Who and what will be the future of Ukraine?

 

 

Taibbi
https://twitter.com/i/status/1642384601418199040

 

 

Five alarm

 

 

ICC
https://twitter.com/i/status/1642416905897099264

 

 

Trump

 

 

Trump numbers
https://twitter.com/i/status/1642615856625594369

 

 

Why vaccinate the young?

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s over.

Bakhmut “Technically Captured” – Prigozhin (ZH)

Russia’s Wagner paramilitary group in the overnight hours on Monday has claimed victory (or at least a partial victory) over Bakhmut by raising the Russian flag as well as its own PMC Wanger Group flag over central government administration buildings of Bakhmut. Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin described that the key city in Donetsk is “ours” but only in a “legal sense”. He wrote on Telegram: “The commanders of the units that took city hall and the whole center will go and put up this flag,” he said in reference to a Russian flag being raised in the accompanying video. “This is the Wagner private military company, these are the guys who took Bakhmut. In a legal sense, it’s ours.”

About two weeks ago Prigozhin claimed that Wagner and Russian forces controlled 70% of the utterly destroyed town, and as the Ukrainians were mounting a stiff defense, pouring more resources into the months-long fight. Hours prior to Prigozhin video showing the flag-raising against a dark night sky, the Ukrainian general staff acknowledged that “the enemy has not stopped its assault of Bakhmut… Ukrainian defenders are courageously holding the city as they repel numerous enemy attacks.” The announcement was meant to convey that the Ukrainian Army still considers that it “holds” Bakhmut. Russian sources say Ukrainian fighters are still concentrated on the Western outskirts. However, going into the weekend it was already clear that Wagner fighters were on the cusp of taking the city center…

On Sunday President Zelensky was still sounding somewhat optimistic regarding the fate of Bakhmut: “I am grateful to our warriors who are fighting near Avdiivka, Maryinka, near Bakhmut… Especially Bakhmut! It’s especially hot there today!” Zelensky said in his own post to Telegram. Near Bakhmut, about 27 kilometres (17 miles) away in Kostyantynivka, a “massive attack” of Russian missiles left three men and three women dead and eleven wounded Sunday, Ukrainian authorities said. Zelensky said the affected zones are “just residential areas”, where “ordinary civilians of an ordinary city of Donbas” were targeted. Zelensky in an interview last week suggested that he may be forced to negotiate with Russia if his forces are definitively defeated at Bakhmut, while also hinting at huge losses.

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“..those who persecute them, “will not get any advantage earthly or heavenly, either physically or mentally… They will be hurt. They will be condemned..”

Zelensky’s Government Is An ‘Evil Force’ – Orthodox Priest (RT)

The “evildoers” who persecute Christians will derive no benefit from such action either on Earth or in the afterlife, Kesis Mezgebu, a prominent Ethiopian Orthodox priest, has told RT. Mezgebu, who serves at the Holy Trinity Theological University in Addis Ababa, was commenting on the attempts by the government of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to evict the monks of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) from the country’s Kiev-Pechersk Lavra monastery. On Saturday, Metropolitan Pavel, the abbot of the Lavra, was placed under house arrest on accusations of “inciting religious hatred” and “justifying” Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. The abbot has vigorously denied those allegations.

What’s happening in Ukraine is a “catastrophic event,” perpetrated by an “evil force,” Mezgebu said in an interview on Sunday. “This is atrocity…hatred… completely evil spirit,” he added, describing the actions of the Kiev authorities. Christians tend to help others and are always a stabilizing factor in a society, so those who persecute them, “will not get any advantage earthly or heavenly, either physically or mentally… They will be hurt. They will be condemned,”he said. According to Mezgebu, followers of the UOC in Ukraine “might be in danger soon” because they may be left with no other choice but to tell the “evildoers” to stop what they’re doing. He urged believers to stay “peaceful [and] remain within the Church” to avoid escalation.

Ukraine has experienced religious tensions for years, with two entities claiming to be the country’s true Orthodox Church. The Kiev government is supporting the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which was created only in 2014 and which the Russian Orthodox Church considers schismatic. Zelensky has explained the moves against the UOC by the need to protect Ukraine’s “spiritual independence”and deprive Russia of an opportunity to “to manipulate the spirituality of our people” amid the conflict between the two countries.

However, the Ethiopian priest suggested that “nationalist xenophobia” can only lead to suffering. “This will never take us anywhere. We have a lot of things to do together in harmony and collaboration, rather than destroying one another in the name of nationality or whatever kind of patriotic feeling. This is not how you reveal your patriotism,” he explained. Mezgebu also suggested that the West is aware of the religious persecution in Ukraine, but – despite having the ability to intervene – it remains silent on the issue because it shares a “similar agenda” with Kiev.

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“..we must remember that 2006-9 was just a rehearsal. The finale is starting now..”

The Everything Collapse (Egon von Greyerz)

Sadly, gold is now on its way to heights which are unthinkable for most people. To all the people who have asked me over the years why gold doesn’t go up, I have replied: “Don’t wish for gold to go up substantially for when it does, your quality of life will deteriorate remarkably.” And we are now at the point in the world when this is likely to happen. [..] I came to the conclusion early in this century that a sick financial system was not going to survive the infestation of vermin in the form of debt that started just over 50 years ago. Nixon’s closing of the gold window in 1971 was the signal that this currency system was going to end like all currency systems in history. And for the ones who haven’t studied the history of money, let me tell you that NO FIAT MONEY HAS EVER SURVIVED IN HISTORY IN ITS ORIGINAL FORM. So with all money going to ZERO, it has never been a question of if but only of when the dollar based currency system would die.

[..] At the beginning of the Ukraine conflict I and some others made the analogy with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 (which I remember well) when Kennedy gave an ultimatum to Khrushchev to withdraw the nuclear missiles pointing towards the US or face war. In the same way as with Cuba, Russia was never going to accept Ukraine becoming a Nato country. But sadly the US Neocons have seen this conflict as the last chance to save the US military, political and economic hegemony from total collapse. Defeating Russia was the last stand for the US. But it now looks like they will fail which seals the fate of the US empire. The US neocons forced a much too willing Europe to not only agree to the sanctions against Russia but also make direct contributions to the war both with money and equipment. This fatal mistake by Europe and especially Germany is totally crushing the European economy. But what the US neocons never understood is that the US sanctions would affect the whole world and in particular the debt infested US and the West.

[..] we must remember that 2006-9 was just a rehearsal. The finale is starting now. The debt which has built up has now reached levels which means the financial system is now too big to survive. Three US banks and one Swiss went under 2 weeks ago although two of the four were rescued temporarily at a high cost. The Swiss government could not afford to let Credit Suisse go under and is supporting the UBS takeover of the Credit Suisse at a potential extraordinary cost of CHF 209 billion. Central banks are on standby to stop the next bank run. Many expected Deutsche Bank to be next. Governments will stop major banks from going under for as long as they can, to stop global contagion. But they will of course fail.

The FDIC (Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation) currently has a capital of $128 billion dollars to support a total of $18 trillion deposits. So with 0.7% cover, it is guaranteed that the US government will soon need to step in as the next lot US of banks fail. Same in Europe where the most EU banks and the ECB are in a terrible shape. Total central bank assets are $25 trillion which is less than 10% of global debt before derivatives. Default rates in coming years are likely to exceed 50% which means much more money printing to come.

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The US has lost Saudi Arabia.

Oil Prices Surge After Surprise OPEC+ Production Cut (RT)

An unexpected announcement by the OPEC+ group of oil producing countries of a plan to slash their combined output by another 1,15 million barrels per day pushed the prices of crude up as much as 6% in early Monday trade. The oil producers who control roughly 50% of global oil supplies reached a decision to reduce their output starting from May until the end of 2023, in a move designed to “stabilize” the markets, according to a series of announcements on Sunday night. Riyadh said it would cut its output by 500,000 barrels per day, while Baghdad announced a cut of 211,000bpd. The UAE will reduce production by 144,000 bpd, Kuwait will cut 128,000bpd, Kazakhstan 78,000bpd, Algeria 48,000bpd and Oman 40,000bpd.

Crude prices jumped on the news, with the international benchmark Brent rising more than 5.5% to $84.30 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures soared 5.6% to $79.90 a barrel as of 3:30am GMT on Monday. Russia already voluntarily cut oil output by 500,000bpd back in March in retaliation for an oil-price cap introduced by the West, which it said would eventually result in scarce supply and trigger uncertainty on the global market. On Sunday, however, Moscow announced it will synchronize with OPEC in extending its cut until the end of the year. Moscow believes the move would contribute to a stabilization of crude oil prices, which fell sharply on concerns that the Western banking crisis could weaken global energy demand.

The Saudi Ministry of Energy called the move a “precautionary measure aimed at supporting the stability of the oil market.” Last month, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman warned Western states against capping the price of crude oil supplied by the kingdom, adding that any attempts to impose a ceiling would be met with a halt of sales and production cuts. The move left Washington disappointed as it comes in defiance of US pressure on oil producers to increase their production and lower the prices. President Joe Biden even traveled to Riyadh last July to petition Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly, to no avail. “We don’t think cuts are advisable at this moment given market uncertainty – and we’ve made that clear,” a spokesperson for the National Security Council told Reuters on Sunday.

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“..respect the Russian authorities’ decision made in conformity with law and Russia’s international commitments..”

Lavrov Tells Blinken: Up To Court To Decide About US Journalist Future (TASS)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that it is up to court to decide about the future of The Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich who was detained on espionage charges in Russia, the Russian foreign ministry said on Sunday after their telephone conversation. “In light of the established evidence of the US national’s illegal activities, his future will be determined by court. The American embassy in Moscow was duly notified about his detention,” the ministry said. “In the context of the discussion of the issue of the detention of US national Gershkovich in Russia on suspicion of espionage, which was raised by the Secretary of State, Blinken’s attention was drawn to the necessity to respect the Russian authorities’ decision made in conformity with law and Russia’s international commitments,” the ministry said.

“Lavrov stressed that Gershkovich had been detained red-handed when he was receiving secret data and was collecting data constituting a state secret acting under the guise of a journalist’s status.” The Russian top diplomat also told his US counterparts that it is inadmissible to fan hysteria around the journalist’s arrest. “It was stressed that it is inadmissible for Washington officials and Western mass media to stir up hysteria with an obvious aim of giving a political overtone to this case,” the ministry said. According to the ministry, Lavrov and Blinken also touched upon several other bilateral matters. The call was initiated by the US side. Lavrov and Blinken had a ten-minute meeting on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty meeting in New Delhi. According to the Russian minister, the meeting was quite constructive. The topics included the situation in the sphere of strategic stability in the context of the New START treaty and Ukraine.

The Public Relations Center of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said earlier that Evan Gershkovich, “acting at the behest of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of an enterprise within Russia’s military-industrial complex.” The reporter was detained in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg. The FSB investigators opened a criminal case against the US citizen under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (“Espionage”). On March 30, Moscow’s Lefortovo district court sanctioned Gershkovich’s arrest until May 29. In light of this, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a statement expressing deep concern for the safety of Gershkovich. According to the WSJ, Gershkovich covers Russia from his post at the newspaper’s Moscow bureau.

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You first.

‘Lower the Rhetoric’ on China, Says Milley (D1)

Everyone needs to calm down about war with China, Gen. Mark Milley said on Friday. The Joint Chiefs chairman warned against the rise of “overheated” rhetoric of a looming U.S. war with China, and he said he doubts China’s chances of “conquering” Taiwan. But, he added, the United States should continue to quicken arms shipments to the self-governing nation and its own military capabilities, just in case. Following this year’s Chinese balloon scare, the China heat is on. In the last two weeks, members of Congress in hearings aimed a list of concerns about China—everything from nuclear weapons to computer chips, invading Taiwan, and allying with Russia—at Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Milley has taken to telling lawmakers that war with China—and Russia—is “not imminent or inevitable.” It’s part of an effort to lower the heat, he said.

“I think there’s a lot of rhetoric in China, and a lot of rhetoric elsewhere, to include the United States, that could create the perception that war is right around the corner or we’re on the brink of war with China,” Milley said in an interview with Defense One. “And that could happen. I mean, it is possible that you could have an incident or some other trigger event that could lead to uncontrolled escalation. So, it’s not impossible. But I don’t think at this point I would put it in the likely category,” said Milley. “And I think that the rhetoric itself can overheat the environment.” Still, Milley said he agrees with calls for the United States to send arms into Taiwan as quickly as possible, to beat China’s Xi Jinping to any punch.

Xi has said he wants the People’s Liberation Army armed and ready to take Taiwan by force, if necessary, by 2027. “So if you think about it, that’s only four years away,” Milley said. “So, one of the elements of deterrence is to make sure that your opponent knows that the cost exceeds the benefit. So, for Taiwan, we’ve—my guess is we’ve got three or four years to get Taiwan in a position where they will create the perception in the minds of the Chinese decision makers that the cost exceeds that.” Milley said Taiwan needs air defense, anti-ship cruise missiles, and anti-ship mines. But he said the island itself, its population of 23 million—including 170,000 active duty military and 1-to-2 million reserves,—and China’s lack of experience make a takeover unlikely. “It favors the defense. It would be a very difficult island to capture,” he said.

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“Ukrainian operators did everything to monetize the situation. In European ports..“

Eastern Europe ‘Drowning’ In -Cheap- Ukrainian Grain – Le Figaro (RT)

Anger is mounting across Eastern Europe as farmers in the region protest a glut of cheap grain from Ukraine threatening their businesses, Le Figaro reported earlier this week. Struggling to sell their crops, producers in Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria have suffered substantial losses due to the surge in imports from Ukraine. Farmers in nations that had previously agreed to help get grain out of Ukraine and on to global markets now face unfair competition, they say. They also are not subject to the same regulatory requirements. Last May, the European Union suspended customs duties on all agricultural produce imported from Ukraine for one year to support the economy of the war-torn nation.

However, grains and other produce leaving Ukraine settled in the EU instead of being sent outside the bloc, putting competitive pressure on domestic production. “Instead of going to international markets, to Africa, as politicians promised us, Ukrainian cereals remained in Poland,” Polish farmer Marcin Misiak told the media, adding that his regular buyers opted to purchase cheaper maize from Ukraine. According to Misiak, he could sell wheat for €340 per ton in August 2022, but at the beginning of March 2023, it cost just €220.

“The EU was unable to anticipate the rapid effects of competition from Ukrainian grains,” said Sebastien Abis, a researcher at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS) and director of the Demeter Club think tank, as cited by Le Figaro. “Ukrainian operators did everything to monetize the situation. In European ports, competition was fierce and produce imported from Ukraine would have been favored.” Last month, the European Commission announced plans to provide financial support to farmers from member-states neighboring Ukraine to compensate for their losses and limit the impact of market imbalances. Brussels tapped a crisis reserve totaling €56.3 million, financed from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

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“.. lustration,” or a vetting process to determine who would lose their political rights over ties to the Russian state..”

Russian Official Ridicules Ukrainian Plan To Rename Crimean Port (RT)

The idea of renaming Sevastopol as part of Kiev’s plan to retake Crimea from Russia should not be taken seriously, the governor of the port city, Mikhail Razvozhaev told TASS news agency on Sunday. Earlier in the day, Aleksey Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, took to Facebook to post what he called “12 steps for the de-occupation of Crimea.” One of the proposed steps was to rename Sevastopol – first simply to “Installation No.6” and then to Akhtiar, after a small settlement that used to exist in the area. The re-branding would be necessary to “break the historic perception [of Sevastopol] as a city of Russian military glory,” the Kiev official stated.

Danilov also suggested that if the peninsula became Ukrainian again the Crimean Bridge connecting it to mainland Russia would be destroyed, while the local population would undergo so-called “lustration,” or a vetting process to determine who would lose their political rights over ties to the Russian state. Reacting to Danilov’s plan, Razvozhaev said that “the news from Ukrainian politicians is more like entries in the medical record from Ward No.6.” He was likely referring to the 1892 short story ‘Ward No. 6’ by iconic Russian author Anton Chekhov, which depicts events at a provincial mental asylum. “One can’t take statements and comments of sick people seriously. They need to be treated, which is what our military is doing right now,” the Sevastopol governor pointed out as cited by TASS news agency. Sevastopol, in the south of the Crimean peninsula, serves as the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. It is one of three federal cities under Russian law, together with Moscow and St Petersburg.

The name Sevastopol, which was given to the city when it was founded by the Russian Empire in 1783, is composed of Greek words “sebastos,” which means “venerable,” and “polis,” which means “city.” For months, Ukraine has been mulling a major counteroffensive aimed at restoring control over all territories lost to Russia, including Crimea. Former Russian president and current deputy head of the country’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said earlier this week that the claims by Ukrainian officials were just “propaganda” and shouldn’t be treated seriously. However, Medvedev warned that if the peninsula, which reunited with Russia as a result of a referendum in 2014, is actually attacked, it could become “the basis for the use of all means of protection, including those provided for by the fundamentals of the Doctrine of Nuclear Deterrence.”

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“We need to teach America a lesson in these elections,” Erdogan said..

Erdogan Tells US Ambassador To ‘Know His Place’ (RT)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that from now on his “doors are closed” to the US Ambassador to Ankara, Jeffry Flake, blasting the diplomat’s recent meeting with his rival at the upcoming presidential elections. Erdogan attended a ceremony in the Bagcilar district of Istanbul on Sunday, dedicated to the official opening of nearly 100 houses and other facilities constructed in the wake of a series of devastating earthquakes. In a follow-up meeting with a group of officials from the Grey Wolves far-right movement, he heavily focused on the May 14 elections and Washington envoy’s alleged abuse of his diplomatic authority. “We need to teach America a lesson in these elections,” Erdogan said, as cited by Anadolu.


Ambassador Flake met with the leader of Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, on March 29, “as part of continuing conversations with Turkish political parties on issues of mutual interest between our two countries,” according to a tweet from the US Embassy. “Our doors are closed for him, he can no longer come in. Why? He needs to know his place,” Erdogan said. “Shame on you, think with your head. You are an ambassador. Your interlocutor here is the president.” Erdogan’s remarks come less than six weeks before presidential and general elections take place in Türkiye on May 14, with Kilicdaroglu put forward by the alliance of six opposition parties as his main opponent after months of political infighting. The Turkish president and his ruling AK Party are expected to face a tough challenge following a devastating earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people in the country in early February.

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What could go wrong?

US Allows Migrants To Pick Their Gender (RT)

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services marked the Transgender Day of Visibility with an announcement that will begin accepting “self-identified gender markers” from foreign individuals who seek legal immigration services and benefits, without requesting any supporting documents. While the only two options on existing forms are still “male”and “female,” the Homeland Security’s legal immigration branch will now allow applicants to select and change their preferred gender at will, according to a policy update alert issued on March 31. The policy change, effective immediately, states that “benefit requestors may self-select their gender marker (in an initial filing or a subsequent change to a prior gender selection), without the need to provide supporting documentation or to match the gender listed on their identity documents.”


President Joe Biden officially proclaimed March 31 as a Transgender Day of Visibility back in 2021, as part of his wider push for equity and inclusivity. In his 2023 proclamation, Biden statedthat “Transgender Americans shape our Nation’s soul.” The immigration agency said it removed the documentation requirement in line with “priorities”set by Biden’s executive orders on advancing LGBTQI equality, combating discrimination, and “restoring faith” in American legal immigration systems. USCIS argued that the requirement to submit proof of gender identity had created extra barriers and delays to travel and employment, and abolishing it will help prevent “discrimination and harassment due to inconsistent identity documents.” Last year, the US State Department began offering an ‘X’ gender option on passports which stands for those with “unspecified or another gender identity,”without the need to provide any medical documentation to prove that they are neither male nor female.

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Very disturbing.

Banana Time for the Rule of Law (Kimball)

The Czech novelist Milan Kundera published The Joke, his first novel, in 1967. It traces the fortunes of Ludvik, a young student, after his politically correct girlfriend shows the Communist authorities a postcard he had written to her as a joke: “Optimism is the opium of the people! A healthy atmosphere stinks of stupidity! Long live Trotsky! Ludvik.” As a result of this whimsy, Ludvik finds himself expelled from the Communist Party, the university, and is eventually conscripted to work in the mines. That’s the way things are in totalitarian societies. No jokes allowed, especially not jokes told at the expense of the regime. Thus it is that North Korea banned sarcasm and irony. Poor Ludvik suffered for his joke. But he got off easy compared to Douglass Mackey, a social media “influencer” who wrote under the pen name “Ricky Vaughn.”

During the 2016 election cycle, Mackey/Vaughn posted a funny meme urging Hillary voters to “avoid the line and vote from home” by texting “Hillary” to a certain number. Who would be stupid enough to fall for such a joke? No one. But his satire was effective enough to get him banned from the pre-Elon Musk era Twitter. And the feds thought—or said they thought—that it was part of a “plot to disenfranchise black and women voters.” I guess that shows you what they think of black and women voters. It sounds stupid. It is stupid. But Mackey was charged with a felony and on Friday was convicted in the Eastern District of New York. He faces up to 10 years in jail for (as an official announcement crows) “his scheme to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote.”

Yes, that’s right. A Trump supporter posts a silly (but amusing) meme that mocks Hillary voters and he is tried and convicted of a felony. In the course of that official announcement, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District called Breon Peace continues with this stomach churning bit of agitprop: Mackey has been found guilty by a jury of his peers of attempting to deprive individuals from exercising their sacred right to vote for the candidate of their choice in the 2016 Presidential Election. . . . Today’s verdict proves that the defendant’s fraudulent actions crossed a line into criminality and flatly rejects his cynical attempt to use the constitutional right of free speech as a shield for his scheme to subvert the ballot box and suppress the vote. In fact, that verdict proved nothing of the sort. It merely confirmed the corruption and politicization of our judicial system. The real moral of this sorry episode is this: Make a joke, go to jail.

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“..even the misdemeanor allegation involving false entries is unprecedented and represents selective prosecution..”

Leaks From Bragg’s Grand Jury Are A Crime (Dershowitz)

It is likely that a serious felony has been committed right under District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s nose and he is not investigating it. Under New York law, it is a felony to leak confidential grand jury information, such as whether the jurors voted to indict. The protection of secrecy is as applicable to President Trump as it is to anyone else. We know that the information was disclosed while the indictment itself remains sealed and before any official announcement was made or charges brought. It is unlikely that the leak came from the Trump team, which seemed genuinely surprised. The most likely, though uncertain, scenario is that a person in Mr. Bragg’s office or a grand juror unlawfully leaked the sealed information. That would be a class E felony, subject to imprisonment.

It is possible of course that an investigation is underway, but it seems more likely that Mr. Bragg is too busy making up a crime against the man he promised in his campaign to get than investigating a real crime that took place on his watch. In my new book, “Get Trump,” I predicted that partisan prosecutors would try to get Trump regardless of the lack of evidence or law. That prediction has come true. Since the indictment itself has not been leaked — at least not yet — we don’t know its specifics. We do know, based on leaks, that it involves multiple counts, almost certainly involving the payment of hush money to a porn actress. Under Mr. Bragg’s likely theory, Mr. Trump should have disclosed in his public corporate records that he paid the hush money to avoid his adulterous affair from becoming public.

But no one in history has ever publicly disclosed the reason he paid money for a non-disclosure agreement. Why would Mr. Trump pay the money in the first place if he had to publicly disclose the embarrassing reason? Furthermore, no one in history has ever been indicted for listing “legal expenses” for setting a potentially embarrassing payment of hush money. Thus, even the misdemeanor allegation involving false entries is unprecedented and represents selective prosecution. It is also almost certainly barred by the two-year statute of limitations. In order to elevate this bookkeeping case into a felony, Mr. Bragg must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the reason Trump made the false entry — if he himself did it — was solely as a campaign contribution to help him win his election.

If Mr. Trump was motivated in part by his desire to protect his wife, children, and business interests from harmful disclosures, that would not constitute the crime of making an undisclosed campaign contribution. So this too is a stretch. It is a fundamental tenet of American law that criminal law should not be stretched to fit targeted defendants. Criminal statutes must be clear and unambiguous. If there is any doubt, the age-old concept of “lenity” requires that these doubts be resolved in favor of the defendant.

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“..having concluded some of the most insanely stupid pharmaceutical contracts in the world.”

Germany To Have Enough Covid mRNA Vaccine To Last Into The 24th Century (Eugyp)

You could not have invented a stupider pandemic: “According to the German Ministry of Health, the federal government at the end of February had amassed a reserve of 116 million doses of Corona vaccine. 111 million more doses, valued at around 2.5 billion Euros, are slated for delivery. According to an answer given by the Ministry on 28 March to a question by Thomas Dietz, a Bundestag member of Alternativ für Deutschland, EU treaties oblige the German government to take delivery of these doses. “In view of the current state of the pandemic, the federal government is working to make these EU treaties more flexible,” the answer continues.”

Tucker vaccine

Another paper does the maths, and notes that if vaccination continues at the current rate of 2,000 jabs per day, the 227 million doses which Germany has procured will last for 311 years. Of course, all of these doses will expire well before then, so Germany will merely receive all of this useless product, store it at substantial expense in freezers for around eighteen months, and then throw it away. This hurts Corona. In related news, Welt reports on the curious failure of Lauterbach’s Health Ministry to finish work on the so-called National Reserve for Health Protection, which Merkel’s government planned three years ago. The Reserve was supposed to be a massive depot for masks (but of course), other personal protective equipment and medicines, which would in theory free Germany from reliance on China the next time somebody is stupid enough to cry wolf about a respiratory virus.


So far, the only thing anybody has done to realise this Reserve, is put 245 million masks in it, a substantial portion of which will expire by the end of the year. A Ministry spokesperson explains that the project has devolved from a Health Reserve into a National Trashbin for Worthless Masks that Nobody Wants, because it has received no funding. It appears politicians have lost enthusiasm and now prefer that the manufacturers and the federal states maintain their own “decentralised” reserves. This obviously means that they have quietly written off the project but hope that nobody will realise. Despite all that you hear from WEF conference attendees and virus pests like Lauterbach about the importance of “pandemic preparedness”, the will to actually do anything about pandemics – even at the highest reaches of government – has never been lower. Perhaps we’re not the only ones who have concluded, after all that happened since March 2020, that it is indeed best to think less about viruses.

Malhotra
https://twitter.com/i/status/1642046182305177600

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Should be enough to throw out the case.

El Pais Reveals How CIA Spied On Assange (RT)

The CIA used private Spanish security company UC Global to secretly install microphones inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to monitor WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, El Pais reported on Wednesday, citing the company’s internal communications. UC Global was hired to provide security for the embassy. Assange, who was granted asylum by Ecuador at the time, resided in the diplomatic compound from 2012 to 2019. The Spanish company’s alleged links to US intelligence agencies were first reported by El Pais in 2019. According to the newspaper, UC Global founder and head David Morales first came into contact with the CIA in 2017. Around that time, Morales informed his employees that the company would have to provide a new American client named ‘X’ with remote access to the server that collected the data from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, which was referred to as the ‘Hotel’.

“Regarding the Hotel work, I would like to offer our information collection and analysis capability to the American client,” Morales wrote in a September 2017 email. “We must… try to make it attractive and easy to interpret.” The information shared reportedly included profiles of Assange’s visitors, including lawyers and diplomats, as well as cell phone data. Morales was quoted as saying in a chat message that “the people in control are our friends in the USA.” One of microphones that Morales’ team secretly planted inside the embassy was hidden in the base of a fire extinguisher in order to listen in despite Assange’s habit of using a white noise machine to prevent surveillance, El Pais said. Stickers were attached to window corners to avoid vibrations and allow sound to be recorded through laser microphones. “I know it is of the utmost interest and that the USA wants to do it,”Morales reportedly wrote to his employees.

According to El Pais, UC Global’s work helped Washington foil a plan to sneak Assange out of the embassy in December 2017. Lenin Moreno, Ecuador’s president at the time, allegedly wanted to grant the WikiLeaks co-founder Ecuadorian citizenship and get him out of Britain in a diplomatic car. Morales’ team reportedly recorded a conversation between Assange and Ecuadorian officials and then quickly sent it to the US. Washington responded by issuing an arrest warrant for Assange to Britain, which apparently prompted organizers to abort the plan. In 2019, the Spanish authorities launched an investigation into Morales’ company and briefly detained him. He has since been released on bail.

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Well, it’s something. Bit late perhaps?

Rep. Rashida Tlaib Demands DOJ Drop Charges Against Julian Assange (Fox)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is asking her fellow House members to sign a letter calling on the Justice Department to end its prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is accused of publishing classified documents. The letter, which was obtained by The Intercept, is currently circulating among members as they are urged to sign it and has not yet been sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland. Democratic Reps. Jamaal Bowman, N.Y., Ilhan Omar, Minn., and Cori Bush, Mo., have signed the letter. The office of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said she intends to sign the letter. “I know many of us have very strong feelings about Mr. Assange, but what we think of him and his actions is really besides the point here,” Tlaib’s letter to her colleagues reads.

“The fact of the matter is that the [way] in which Mr. Assange is being prosecuted under the notoriously undemocratic Espionage Act seriously undermines freedom of the press and the First Amendment.” The letter comes just ahead of the fourth anniversary of Assange’s April 11, 2019, detention. Assange is facing a legal battle over his potential extradition to the U.S. regarding the publication of classified materials detailing war crimes committed by the U.S. government in the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, detention camp, Iraq and Afghanistan. The materials also expose instances of the CIA engaging in torture and rendition. If he is extradited to the U.S., Assange would face 17 charges for receiving, possessing and communicating classified information to the public under the espionage act and one charge alleging a conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

He could be sentenced to as many as 175 years in an American maximum security prison. The Wikileaks founder has been held at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison since he was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2019 for breaching jail conditions. He had sought asylum at the embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations he raped two women. The investigations into the sexual assault allegations were eventually dropped. Tlaib’s cites last year’s open letter from the editors and publishers of U.S. and European news outlets that worked with Assange on the publication of excerpts from more than 250,000 documents he obtained in the Cablegate leak.

“The New York Times, The Guardian, El Pais, Le Monde, and Der Spiegel have taken the extraordinary step of publishing a joint statement in opposition to the indictment, warning that it ‘sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press,’” Tlaib wrote to House members. The congresswoman also warned that major news outlets could later be prosecuted for publishing accurate information using classified materials if the case against Assange is successful. “Mr. Assange’s prosecution marks the first time in US history that the Espionage Act has been used to indict a publisher of truthful information,” she wrote. “The prosecution of Mr. Assange, if successful, not only sets a legal precedent whereby journalists or publishers can be prosecuted, but a political one as well. In the future, the New York Times or Washington Post could be prosecuted when they publish important stories based on classified information. Or, just as dangerous, they may refrain from publishing such stories for fear of prosecution.”

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Hidden within a section of a Colombian newspaper lies a clever three dimensional layout of a kitchen

 

 

Stonefish

 

 


Photographer Pavan Tavrekere used multiple flashes to bring out the multicolors of the so called ‘world’s most colourful spider. The tiny peacock spider measures just 0.75cm in length (0.3 inches)

 

 

 

 

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